(Source: NYTimes.com)

The New York Times online posted an article yesterday about how airline customers have little rights even amidst the airline debacles going on.

This was my favorite part of the article:

“Passengers on airlines are treated differently than other service customers,” he said. “Most customers have an opportunity to be face to face with a bona fide representative or the company itself. In the airline business, passengers are left to talk to gate agents or ticket counter employees. If they ever do get their complaint to higher levels, there is such an elaborate level of forms and letters and wait and wait. It’s one of the few pure customer businesses where the customer has very little connection with someone who can do something about their situation.” read more here…

It’s amazing how we as customers can pay a minimum of $100 to fly with a failing company and still get shafted as if we were second rate citizens. Has our customer worth been demoted to the fruit flies on the apple that won’t make it past Customs?

Three things to know in case you get stuck at an airport:

1. $50 lounge day! If you know that you’re going to get stuck at an airport for a long time, go check out the airline lounge. Typically, they have comfortable chairs, internet, food, drinks, and best of all… unfrazzled peace. Turn your frustrating layover into a serene experience. Besides, you’re going to end up paying $15+ for a small garden salad and bottle of water anyway.

2. Talk to the agent over the phone: After being harassed at the counter for hours, ticket agents might not provide the friendliest and efficient customer service. So call the airline hotline and talk to an agent over the phone. They will have less environmental pressure and may be able to find you another flight out.

3. Read the airline policies: Now that you have lots of time, read the airline’s Contract of Carriage, Customer Service Commitments (Rule 240), and Customer Bill of Rights. Better yet, do it now. Each airline have a different policy, but they should be able to provide you with a hotel room if your flight was canceled. If they say no to a reasonable request, read the fine print and SHOW IT TO THEM.

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