Thursday, August 17, 2006

What is it With Airlines?

I seem to have ongoing bad luck with Air Canada. It isn't always their fault: I've been stranded overnight at Pearson Airport several times in the past couple of years because of bad weather. That I can live with. It's the attitude of the airline and their employees that pisses me off.

The latest issue: we were on vacation, staying with friends in CT, when my wife Peggy found out her mother was quickly declining (she fought breast cancer for more than six years). I called Air Canada to change her flight to come home on the same flight just one day early, and they wanted $1,000, plus the change fee, of course, to do that.

Change fees I understand (well, sort of; $100 seems like a lot for a simple 2-minute conversation and database change) but the whole "we'll refund your current ticket and then sell you a new ticket at last-minute prices" thing doesn't make sense to me. I paid for a service: flying my family from point A to point B. If there are empty seats on the plane, why can't they simply change the flight from one date to another? I've also run into this when, at the last moment, a staff member got sick and couldn't attend a conference so we wanted to send someone else instead. Again, just a database change, right? Nope, it's the "refund old, buy new" policy again.

Maybe one day airlines will see their customers as people they appreciate doing business with rather than as bags of money.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Gotta Get to Phoenix

In case you missed Andy Kramek's blog on this, let me reiterate his point: Southwest Fox 2006 is a must-see conference. The 2004 and 2005 editions were the best conferences in North America, and I'm sure 2006 will easily exceed everyone's expectations. It's organized around a weekend to minimize missing billable hours and feels more like a reunion of friends than a big formal conference. Come hang out with the speakers and other attendees at meals or over drinks and get all your VFP questions answered.