Lucia has something to say

Monday, January 08, 2007

Where Are the Problem Solvers?

“Welcome to American Airlines flight blah-blah. We’d like to apologize that on our flight from Buenos Aires to Miami, we’re three flight attendants short, so won’t be able to provide our high quality service as quickly as you may like. We apologize, too, that you have the December entertainment guide, so the movies listed will not match the movies on your in-seat entertainment system.”

“This is your pilot from the cockpit. I apologize, folks, but we’ve been circling Atlanta for so long, that we need to go back to Jacksonville to refuel. I know you’re hungry from being on the plane for so many hours, so I’ll call catering and see if I can get some minuscule bags of snacks to hold you over.”

How do airlines and airports manage to run at all with inefficient systems and archaic communication methods? There are service cutbacks, no flow to moving people or luggage, constant delays, backed up air traffic, and, most bothersome of all, no real people to assist in the airport...only red phones to a reservation center. I don’t expect my luggage will arrive with me when it’s pushed into a comical line in the “group meeting room” after customs. (And it didn’t.)

Granted this is a complex industry with a myriad of external factors over which it has no control, but where are the problem solvers? Is there no one in this industry who can assess the situation and make changes? A lot of businesses wouldn’t last if there was so little problem solving. Warehouses need to be efficient. Customer service needs to be good. Problems need to be solved. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I spent a lot of time in airports and on airplanes both in the U.S. and elsewhere. On this trip, O’Hare (yes, O’Hare) proved to be the haven of calm. That should serve as a reference point for what Miami and Atlanta were like.

And with that, my airport raving is done, and I’ll move on to other topics.


Blogger Scottsdale Girl said...

yER makin me fear flying to Greece...I'm jes sayin

8:57 PM  
Blogger magickat said...

Welcome home. You may be naked, you may be hungry, you may be tired... but you are home.

Now share some more stories about where you've been. We are all well rested and eager to hear.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

I get all oogy just thinking of having to deal with airports snide stewardesses and mini-bags of saliva-inducing peanuts and not being able to read my porn whilst sitting in the middle seat.

Welcome back!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Sarah Jane said...

Hey Lucia! thanks for coming by my site and definitely send me Rwandan laundry pics! I certainly don't have any of those yet - very curious to see how they do it!

6:17 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

SG: Of course, this won't happen to YOU. Not on your big trip to Greece.

Kat: Naked, check. Hungry, always. Tired, check. Home, oh yeah, check.

Mona: You're a smart chica. Hide it in Good Housekeeping or Vogue.

Vickie: I'll be on the lookout for laundry from here on out.

6:59 AM  
Blogger karmic said...

Heh @ the flying horrors.
Glad you are back home safe and sound.
I don't travel even 1/10th of the amount you do, but haven't some of the discount carriers within the US done a better job?
While flying abroad, I tend to avoid American carriers and have gone with the European airlines, they just have better inflight service, then again you might know better. :)

7:17 AM  
Blogger St. Dickeybird said...

Considering the expense of an airline ticket, we shouldn't have to put up with service like we do.
Glad you made it home safely!

7:20 AM  
Blogger amusing said...

Too many systems, too many people using the systems, too many of those with a "when do I get my paycheck" attitude. We need someone with a frighteningly brilliant mind, vision and the power (not to mention cash) to swoop down and fix it all. (Or one jarringly charismatic CEO of a single airline to get the others to follow him/her in a giant systems overhaul...)

7:52 AM  
Blogger Lynnea said...

You reminded me of that movie "Catch Me If You Can" with DiCaprio in it. Flying used to be an 'experience' - the good kind. People who worked for the airlines were envied. Now, not so much eh?

8:16 AM  
Blogger thailandchani said...

Isn't it unfortunate that we can't teleport? :)



8:20 AM  
Blogger Citymouse said...

I have some ideas why things are they way they are when we fly... will be posting them soon. Glad your back safe and sound.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Wait, did you say Jacksonville? As in FLORIDA?

3:38 PM  
Blogger meno said...

It's a wonderment that any of us get anywhere given the general chaos that is air travel these days.
I hope you bags reappear someday sooner rather than later.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

we’re three flight attendants short

What??? Three less flight attendants for me to flirt with??

An outage! An absolute outrage!

9:13 PM  
Blogger QT said...

It's called pension plans. The airline industry is going broke paying for the "cadillac" retirment plans of its retirees, which include full health care coverage. There is also a demographic gap - more retirees than active employees paying into the system. Throw in 9/11 travel cutbacks, high fuel prices. I'll stop now....we taxpayers will be picking up the tab soon enough.

Glad you are home, tho!

12:17 PM  
Blogger gary rith said...

And to think, these are airports in a MODERN first world country.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

For O'Hare to be referred to as a "haven of calm" is a pretty scary thing. ;)


1:50 PM  

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