It Was the Best of Airlines, It Was the Worst of Airlines

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Traveling yesterday from Boston Logan to Nashville via Newark was, as air travel is all too often these days, an adventure. Permit me to whine for a moment...

The 8 am flight was delayed for 3 hours because, as we found out about 3.5 hours later, one of the pilots had a sinus problem and had to be replaced. No biggie, stuff happens. But I was concerned about making my connection in Newark and, with a fellow passenger, went looking for help. The woman behind our original gate said she wasn't open and couldn't talk to us, and send us to another gate. When we arrived, there were two agents, one on the phone and the other texting, both ignoring us solidly. The texter finally acknowledged us when the woman I was with burst into tears and swore she'd never fly that airline again. She was missing her connection to Denver, which meant she'd miss her son's graduation this afternoon. The agent said that this gate also wasn't open and she couldn't help her, then started asking who had sent us to her. When we told her, she started yelling, "She did what? Are you kidding me?" etc., etc.

I felt so badly for the sobbing woman, but had had enough nastiness for that time of the morning and left. (I later ran into her again and she said she had to go back out through security to find someone who could help her, and she still was going to miss the graduation). I understand that the gate agents probably couldn't help, were on their way to do something else, whatever, but they could have at least shown some compassion instead of acting like this poor woman was putting them out deliberately.

The rest of the story is much better. At the suggestion of a friend, I tweeted about it with the airline's hashtag, and they responded right away. And everyone since has been terrific.

But I do find it interesting that the airline seems to get customer service on Twitter, but real live gate agents couldn't seem to deal with a real live customer in distress.

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