"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


in which good triumphs over evil (customer service)

Many of you may recall that my March journey to the wonderland that is Kosovo was somewhat less than 100% smooth. And by "less than 100% smooth," I refer, of course, to the fact that the journey was disrupted by a blizzard, which caused a 22-hour delayed reroute to Pristina via Des Moines and Istanbul, and luggage that made it to Kosovo approximately 96 hours after it was checked in.

Now. Believe it or not, I could have been patient with the whole process. Weather emergencies happen; I understand that, and I also understand that airline employees are under a lot of stress when every single passenger in the airport has to be rebooked. I get it. Really.

What I was not patient with, however, was the extraordinarily poor level of customer service I experienced while waiting in two different lines for 4 1/2 hours on that day in Dallas/Fort Worth. Our 3 gate agents, for example, all decided to take a break at the same time, leaving 25 customers standing in line for 30 minutes with nowhere to go. And the quality of customer service received varied with the particular agent with whom one spoke. When I finally reached a helpful individual, everything went smoothly. But that's not how customer service should work. Every agent should be helpful and able to deal with the problem.

Anyway, I'm not one to put up with bad customer service, and having remembered to Document! Document! Document!, I sent pictures of the abandoned gate and the long line to the CEO of American Airlines' personal email address which mentioned that I don't believe that bad customer service is ever acceptable, particularly for people who have been members of their frequent flier program for more than 20 years.

We here at Texas in Africa don't mess around.

Anyway, I am pleased to report that this morning, I received a reply from a customer service specialist. The airline is issuing me a travel voucher to restore my confidence in their company. Why I would want to ever fly with AA again is an open question, but I do appreciate having received a timely reply for my complaint, and that the airline made an effort to make amends.

In other news, Steve the Lawyer sent a new Kosovo flag to take to the Kosovars in McGregor. He used a friend who's a New York Times reporter as a courier service. This is something I could get used to.


Blogger Tauratinzwe said...

Vouchers in return for poor service indicates that the company doesn't think their customers are very intelligent. What's that line about repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome?

Do you think that guy who was forced to ride in the bathroom would want a voucher on that airline again?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:27:00 AM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Exactly. But then again, if it gets me to Istanbul for free, I can probably put up with their service again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:48:00 AM


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