Monday, April 4, 2011

.....and on Southwest Airlines

In a previous life I worked for an airline.

No, actually I worked on the phones, you know, taking calls from people. Usually taking calls from people who were having trouble.

The worst kind of calls we got started with a little whisper in the headset. It let you know that trouble was coming because the agents at the airport had rolled out the portable bank of phones. Not good.


Oh no. Not rebook. No, please.

It usually meant bad weather or some other bad thing was happening in some poor city. And people were going to be stuck. I mean, eventually they'd get out and on to their vacation or business trip or they'd get home to their cat or their baby or their elderly great Aunt. I mean, no one gets stuck in an airport forever.

The poor folks would yell and curse or sniffle, but really--there was not a whole lot I could do. Planes usually fly mostly full--even the flights from other airlines. There's not a whole lot of room on other planes to get you there, buddy. Sorry.

We were authorized to put people on other airlines when things were really bad. Usually when there was a mechanical delay to the flight--a problem with the plane, not weather. I mean weather just happens and if one airline is grounded, they're all grounded.

There was a hierarchy to getting the passengers on other airlines. The airlines with codeshare agreements were highest on the list, the ones who shared the routes and mileage plans and all. The others were lower on the list, but we could do it when things were really crazy.

But not Southwest. They didn't code share with anyone. No luggage agreements, no shared flight information. They were on their own, no need for any other airlines.

I gotta wonder how things went on those zillions of cancelled flights this weekend. And oh man, am I glad I wasn't anywhere near that mess!

Give me a quiet church kitchen with some crusty dirty dishes left over from a big auction and a quick turn to a soup lunch any day! Upset kids having a bad morning and needing to do the rounds with me? Yep. They hug you at the end of the day. Sweeping up after a very successful money making lunch while a marimba band practices? Oh yeah.

But please, never again ".....rebook..."

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