I have been a road warrior for almost thirty years, racking up several million miles in the air and countless nights in hotel rooms. Accordingly I am a bit opinionated about airlines and hotels. About a year and a half ago I awarded Continental Airlines the distinction of “Worst Airline In America” after I had a stunningly bad experience. Certainly running an airline is a complex business and problems occur. But as I and many have discovered, Continental’s problems run deep into management. There is an inbred distaste for their customers that begins at the top. They have a record of almost torturing their flyers.
Wait a minute. Continental is a Texas company. Is it possible that Dick Cheney developed their customer service practices?
Anyway, last week a Continental flight from Houston to Minneapolis was diverted to Rochester, MN. due to weather. No problem there. Airlines can’t control weather. However, once they landed in Rochester, Continental refused to let the passengers disembark, and instead made them stay on the tiny commuter plane for the entire night, finally allowing them freedom from Continental Prison at 6 am the next morning. At first they tried to blame the airport, saying there was no place for the passengers to wait if they got off the plane. But the airport officials soon blew that story apart, saying the had room and offered to help. Continental finally has to fess up and admit they were cruel and incompetent. Well, actually they didn’t admit that, but they did offer people vouchers and refunds.