It’s 2008 and Airlines still don’t get it. In this world of technology where I can buy stocks at the click of a mouse, transfer money from one bank to another in seconds, and get a meat lover’s pizza from Papa John’s delivered without talking to somebody, I can’t check in for my flight online.
I’m heading to New York tomorrow bright and early (7:45am flight) to visit our other office and train on a new tool. Booked through our internal service and got my Alaska Airlines record locator. For those that don’t fly Alaska, they have a ton of partner airlines with which they code share. Code sharing, how I understand it, is talking about the same flight but giving it flight numbers according to the booking airline. This particular flight, although marked as Alaska, is being operated by their partner airline American Airlines. Okay, whatever works for them.
Just like every day before a flight, I wake up (in this case early) to check in online. I absolutely hate waiting at airports. Imagine being in a line to ask for something where you know that 80% of the people in front of you have a problem. How nice do you think the CS is going to be? that’s why I love the internet and the ability to complete transactions without the complication of making things personal. Unless you are on a code share. I have 2 record locators, one for each airline, and I can’t check in online. I can’t even check in on the phone, which I learned after talking to both airlines. What’s my resolution? I have to get to the airport even earlier to check in for a flight that I woke up for this morning.
I can already see what will happen with this. I have an exit row seat booked through Alaska, and if American tries to put me somewhere else I’m going to flip out. I have such a short temper for issues where I deem the situation to be simple. I book a seat on a flight, you give me a seat on a flight. One too many times I’ve arrived at the airport and had my seat changed (or gone missing) because of their overbooking ways. Then it’s “oh we have an aisle seat near the back that is open” or “we can get you on another flight but it’s not direct and leaves 3 hours later” conversations.
What confuses me is why I can’t check in even though I have a record locator for both airlines. More importantly, the CS just nonchalantly says I can only check in at the counter. What magical button do they have at the airline counter and why isn’t that made available to online users. Have they forgotten the fundementals of doing business online? The consumer is saving them money by not having to interact with somebody. Lines at the counter are kept to a minimum, which improves support time, which helps with customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat customers. Really, is it that hard? Give me the ability to save you money while you continue to jack up prices on me. I’m begging you to let me make you money!
I hope I’m just being pessimistic about the situation and the truth ends up being a smooth transaction with limited hassle. But my recent bouts with airlines and travel have not been good lately. I ranted about these before, although my posts were lost during a reinstall of wordpress. They were real gems I tell ya…