Arriving early at Knoxville McGhee-Tyson’s airport, I discovered a flight to Charlotte a full hour before the one I was scheduled on. But when I asked about getting on it, the smiling woman with the red ponytail told me a transfer would have cost $75. Not worth it, no bother, thanks.
Twenty minutes later an announcement appeared that my flight was delayed two hours due to mechanical failure. I went back to the counter and the smiling woman was busy with someone else. I spoke instead to the woman standing next to her, whose face suggested a hard say with little incentive to be pleasant.
She was in fact not unpleasant at first, just not helpful. She told me since my flight out of Charlotte was at 4, I’d be fine. I pointed out that the transfer time due to the delayed flight was about 30 minutes. She said, “Yep, fine.”
And walked away.
I walked away as well, swallowing anger in an attempt to understand this disinterest. Not two minutes later the announcement of my flight number was followed by a request that all ticketed passengers for this flight report to the counter where I had just been; we would be rerouted via the earlier flight since it was half-empty.
Smiling Woman with Red Ponytail laughed as she took my old ticket. “We tried to do this earlier, didn’t we?” She handed me the rescheduled flight. I paused a moment and she said, “Tell me, what?”
I felt a bit nit-picking asking, but explained what had happened, and she gave an apologetic shrug. “She must have been busy and not thinking. Anyway, we got you on.”
Yes, thank you smiling lady. Soon we were being called to board. The Diamond and Platinum and Teak Hardwood with Ruby Inlay passengers were invited to board, Smiling Woman taking and handing back their tickets. When they opened a second lane and announced the middle classers could now board, Unhappy Lady was there. Ignoring the line, her back to the customers. Smiling Woman tapped her, pointing.
“They’re ready.” Unhappy Lady shrugged, reached a reluctant hand for a ticket, swiped it, handed it back.
A minute later someone who had gone down the gangplank came back up. Someone was in his seat. Unhappy Lady hadn’t been checking the actual flight number, and a passenger from the later flight had boarded this one.
Smiling Woman rerouted him to the correct flight as Unhappy Lady watched, not seating others until that was taken care of by her colleague.
So I don’t know how to complain, really, American Airlines. Clearly you hire some good people who are kind and competent. And some real duds. All I can say is you might want to tighten your application process. Unhappy Lady wouldn’t have lasted the day in my bookstore.
Switching to Delta