Monday, January 5, 2015

Out with the old, in with exactly the same

My hair hurts. Also my earlobes and my cheeks. And my eyeballs. Even my fingers. I know some of you don't believe that is possible, but anyone who has ever suffered from migraines can assure you that it is. It starts with a throbbing pain behind my eyebrow and then spreads to the rest of my body. My feet don't hurt, but that's probably only because this one hasn't lasted long enough. Day two of migraines this time. Luckily, they are afternoon ones, so I managed to give the training class I was assigned to do in the morning, have lunch with Child 1, and then go with her to the National Gallery of Art in the afternoon because I was supposed to have the whole week off to spend with her, except I had forgotten about the stupid training. Then after a lovely afternoon of art, we took the metro home and by the time we got in the house, my head was threatening to explode. I took all the medicine, and no help this time. So excuse me if I get lost while writing. At least I'm not driving.

I imagine migraines are a lot like a hangover, at least they make me look like I'm hung over without the benefit of the fun night before. I get thirsty, and light is painful. I've never had a hangover, so I wouldn't know, but if they are anything like migraines, why would anyone drink ever? They must not be this bad, and probably they also go away after less than a day. Yep. This photo pretty much sums up how my head feels. My head is the concrete pillar, in case you're confused.

But all this brings me to what I really want to talk about which is the Fly America Act. You see, Congress, in its infinite wisdom, requires all government employees to fly on American owned airlines whenever possible. This actually does seem like a good idea, because if it's taxes that are paying for the flight, then we should use them to support American businesses. I don't dispute that idea at all. The problem is that like all government services, airline routes are put out and awarded to the lowest bidder, which means we get fares that require ridiculous routings that take up incredibly inordinate amounts of time and we have to put up with the worst customer service ever. Ever! More on that in a minute. It also means we can't book seats until we arrive at the airport, which means if you have a family, you can't book seats together and by the time you get to the airport, the only thing left is middle seats, and then your children are all spread out all over the plane and though that might be an awesome thing for you as a parent, no one else wants to sit next to a 5 year old screaming "I'm bored!!!" at the top of her lungs for 11 hours. I sometimes think that the OAG, which does not stand for "Only Awesome Gifts" but does award the routes to the airlines who bid, should have to fly these legs with three children and a dog in tow before they award them. I am betting no one in the OAG ever had to travel to New Delhi in coach in a middle seat. Just saying. Also panicking a little because I have time to stress about travel arrangements.

Anyway, even worse than the hassle of seat arrangements is trying to deal with customer service over the phone, which is apparently the only way to contact airlines these days since they don't respond to email. And United's customer service is enough to try the patience of a Saint. Literally. Remember when they told me I needed to provide my medical records in order to get a gluten-free meal? And they accused me of lying about my need for one? True story. Well, this actual monk got upset with them, too, when they accused him also of lying.

So United Airlines, you win for worst customer service ever. Why do you always assume it's your customer who is lying? I am not a business expert, but I would think that is not a great strategy to win loyalty. Your call center is not better than a brownie, and I really, really hope I never have cause to call it again. But given how lousy your service is in general, I probably will, and it will probably give me another migraine.

No comments:

Post a Comment