Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kiosk's are our friends

Having worked for nearly six months as a customer service agent for an airline, I have gleaned some valuable insight that I feel needs sharing for the flying public. Enjoy!

  • First rule, airline kiosks are our friends! They are faster and never surly, like often times customer service agents can be. Use the kiosk, embrace the kiosk, you DO NOT have to stand in line and see the customer service agent unless you have a problem, such problems include:
  1. wanting to change reservation/flight
  2. haven't paid for the ticket
  3. canceled flight
  4. transporting pets, unaccompanied minors, or traveling with a lap child

Trust me, the kiosk is going to take you much less time and headache. You don't even need your credit card to use the kiosks, simply carry your confirmation code (also referred to as airline record locator, airline record number, PNR). This confirmation code is always five or six letters/numbers combination. The only need for the credit card would be to pay for the suitcases.
  • This brings us to the second useful tip, factor in at least $40 for airline incidentals, that includes but is not limited to suitcase costs, in-flight entertainment, food, and seat upgrades. I know its not fair, but airlines are now nickel and dime'ing their customers. And for God's sake don't act surprised with having to pay for a suitcase, the ONLY domestic airlines that give free bags are Southwest and Jetblue. My rule of thumb is be prepared to pay and if you don't, than that is a good surprise!
  • Please don't complain to a customer service agent about the company's policies, we don't make the rules, we often agree with you but we must enforce said rules or we get in big trouble. Besides there is NOTHING we can do about it (see note above about getting in big trouble). If you have a problem, your best bet is to write a letter to the airline and copy in the FAA (they keep a track of all airline complaints, airlines hate to have high complaint numbers).
  • The final lesson in this particular post is about carry-on's. The size of the overhead bins vary by airline to airline and by plane. What you insist fit on the way going may well not fit on the way back because the plane size has changed. It might not look that way to you but believe me a Boeing 737 has different overhead bin configuration than an Airbus 330. Also, please don't try to pull a fast one or be cheap, by packing too much in your carry-on so it becomes fat and weighty but so you don't have to pay for a suitcase - nowadays you will be stopped by a customer service agent. It is our job to prevent these bags from making it to the gate and causing delays. Either pack light or plan to pay for a suitcase. And yes, we customer service agents will ask you to fit your carry-on into the sizer, your bag should be able to fit into that sizer, that approximates the overhead bin space. Remember, until you become a billionaire and own the entire plane, there will be others flying with you and they deserve overhead bin space as well and not be forced to gate check a perfectly acceptable carry-on at the last second because you packed everything including the kitchen sink into your bag.


Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wait a minute - if I get there first that bin is mine! Heck with the rest of them, let them check their bags.
Better yet, just wear all your clothes on (yes, four pairs of pants and all the underwear) so the carryon is light.

5:09 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

I usually gate-check a carry-on, if possible. And I make it a point to stay polite. But I also am feeling pretty put out with the way airlines are conducting themselves these days. Feels like any concern for the customers has gone right out the window.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Joe - I'm assuming you are being sarcastic.....

Secret Agent - yes concerns are gone by airlines I agree, hence my tips to hopefully make one's visit the airport less painful : )

1:10 AM  

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