It’s early Sunday morning and I’m leaving O’Hare on a plane to Vegas with my business partner, Sue Salach. We’re heading to the annual SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) conference. I was asked to be a part of the press/blogging team and I’m totally humbled.
We’re flying on Spirit Airlines and I couldn’t help but think “I totally have to blog about this whole experience.”
Yesterday we tried to check in online and print our boarding passes and realized they wanted to charge us for a larger seat (who does that?) and it would be an additional charge to choose your seat before getting to the airport, and additional charges for even a carry-on bag (in the amount of 35.00 each way). What could we do at that point but pay the money and make the best of it. (It did make me stop to wonder if the IRS had recently taken over Spirit Airlines).
Our flight was leaving O’Hare at 7:00 a.m. so I had to get up at 3:00 to leave, pick up Sue and head to the airport so we could wait. Because they would not allow anyone (and everyone) who was on this flight to Vegas to check in online we had to wait in line with everyone else. We were getting frantic thinking we were going to miss our flight but we made it through the TSA Nazi’s and on to find our gate.
I don’t think we were the last to board but were pretty darn close to it. I was wondering if they were going to charge me for helping lift my 100 lb. suitcase up to the overhead because no one sure came to my rescue. I was the lucky one to get the middle seat and was quickly wishing I had paid the extra 60 bucks to have a larger seat.
I pulled the laminated in flight menu out to enjoy the whole in flight experience and noticed that, not to my surprise, they actually charge for sodas and peanuts. Okay, it hasn’t been that long since I flew back home to Alabama, February in fact. Of course it was a different airline.
It just made me think of how things change. The things we once took for granted such as in flight meals, movies, snacks and superb customer service seem sometimes a thing of the past. I get that we are in a current economic crisis in our country and I also get that during times of crisis things like fuel costs increase and surcharges may need to be added but how can some corporations maintain their prices and their superb customer service even in and especially during hard times.
I recently heard one of the executives from Southwest Airlines say, “Our business is customer service, we just happen to fly planes.” Wouldn’t you think that customer service would be crucial and the thing that sets you apart from the rest in a tough economic time?
The one great thing about the flight was the Flight Attendant who did an awesome comic routine while we were waiting to take off. He was pretty funny. But I couldn’t help but ask if he was going to be charging us for that. I was lucky that they didn’t have a paid toilet on board cause I didn’t have a lick of change.