Saturday, February 11, 2006

Business Travel?

Yesterday it was absolutely critical that myself and our CEO attended a midday client meeting. We booked a ticket with US Airways going there, Southwest the return leg. Neither of us was given a seat assignment, which I inquired about upon checking in - sure enough the plane was not full they just “needed to balance the load.”

Off we go to the gate, sorry you need to get a seat assignment. It was at that point that we were told we have to wait and see if the loadmaster would give us the green light to fly. During the wait I could only think of Ghostbusters and the Keymaster.

Not to shock anyone, they won’t let us on the plane. They were happy to rebook us on a flight touching down at 4pm, which would get us in after our meeting was over. I ask for a refund, sorry there are no refunds. Let’s think about this one a little more, I book a specific time to arrive, the plane isn’t full and now you won’t refund my ticket? I’m a business traveler, I’m willing to pay more to get where I need to go on time. Nice.

I immediately called Southwest and booked another flight (definitely cutting it close, it got in later than the previous meeting) and as soon as I hung up I hopped on my blackberry to check in. We both ended up with B boarding passes.

I continue to be impressed by how well Southwest is run as well as their constant innovation.

US Airways has lost my business, sure there will be sometimes when I can only fly them, any other time – it’ll be anyone else – hopefully Southwest.

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