Medicated Money

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been!



First things first, we have been extremely busy for the past 2 weeks, and therefore, our postings have significantly decreased. We are trying to get back into our normal posting schedule, but it has been difficult. Thanks for stopping by and reading though!

This past weekend we headed back home to the Northeast for a graduation party as well as an engagement party of our friends. We take the same scheduled Continental flights every time we go home. We check in online for each flight hours before the schedule departure time and for the most part, we are extremely please with the service with Continental. Unfortunately, for our return flight, this was not the case!

We arrived at the airport for our flight home an hour before the scheduled departure time. We had our printed online check-in passes in hand and needed to just drop off our luggage (I hate carry-on luggage and believe it should be banned. I have been on too many delayed flights because some idiot decided that his/her 3 pieces of luggage could fit in an area of 2 x 2 feet. But I digress!) After swiping our ID to finish the information, the computer screen and corresponding ticket agent told us to stand off to the side until she was ready to help us. We waited a good 15 minutes until she was ready for us (she had to finish telling her co-worker about her brother’s crazy wife), and we told her our destination and need to check our bags. She then proceeds to tell us that we will be unable to get on this flight due to the fact that our tickets were given away because we did not check in on time. Okay, when did this policy begin at Continental? When we tell her we checked in online and had our tickets in hand, she told us we did not ‘officially’ check-in 45 minutes or earlier from the time of departure at the airport. I laughed (bad move) and told her we were waiting for the past 15 minutes for her assistance per her request. She immediately got upset and tells me that she never said that to us. Trying to defuse the situation, I tell her that we are not going to check our luggage, go straight to the gate (we had e-tickets in our hands), and board the plane. She then tells that we could board the plane, but they have no room for luggage. I guess another new policy at Continental! Unbelievable! She then proceeds to tell me that Continental has the right to refuse e-tickets that you print from THEIR website, and that they will do this in this circumstance. She tells us that our only way home that night to Houston is through a different city. She said that we were very lucky she was able to do this for us because most times, they make you travel the next day. The final new policy just started that day at Continental. Instead of fighting with her and realizing it would go nowhere, we agreed to the re-routing. Instead of a 3 hr flight home, we were re-routed to Cleveland on a flight 2 hrs from our departure time with an hour lay-over, then a flight home to Houston. All in all, a 4 hr delay.

After arriving in the terminal, we immediately went to seek out a Continental Customer Service Desk and explained our circumstances. To his credit, this manager listened to our compliant, and apologized for the situation. He tried to get us on the flight to direct flight, but unfortunately, the flight had just left. He again apologized for the situation and ticket agent. He then compensated $175/each for the missed flight. All in all, we were amazed by the difference is professionalism of the two Continental employee’s. Had we been offered the compensation right from the beginning, we probably would have given our seats up. The fact that we missed the flight due to Continental overbooking the flight, dealing with and not be given a direct reason for the situation with the ticket agent was upsetting. However, we felt that the manager did everything he could at that point to help us from this situation. We joked with him and told him that because of his assistance, Continental would keep two more customers. He laughed and said the US bankruptcy courts would be happy to hear that!

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