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Multiple Flights Of Entitlement

, , , , | Right | April 11, 2021

With most major airlines, once you purchase a ticket, the time and date of your flight are set, and if you’d like to change that, you have to pay a change fee. That’s standard practice at my airline, but we do have a same-day flight change option that is about half the regular change fee. If your flight has been delayed or canceled, it can be changed for free, but all voluntary changes must be charged.

A man comes up to the ticket counter demanding I change him to an earlier flight. This happens all the time, so I go into the system, find his flights, and find out he’s eligible for the same-day change.

Me: “Good news, sir: I can change you to the earlier flights. That will get you to your destination about two hours earlier. It’ll be $75.”

Customer: *Explodes* “$75?! Are you kidding me? You have the seats available; you should change my flights for free!”

This response is also super frequent, so it’s not particularly distressing.

Me: “Our normal change fee is $200 plus any price fare difference, but this is a special rate you get if you are changing your ticket on the same day. I’m sorry if it’s too much. I totally understand, but I cannot make voluntary changes without the charge.”

Customer: “Look, I am going for a very special event and I got off work early. I’m not going to pay to change my ticket, but you are going to change it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I understand your frustrations, but I cannot change your ticket without the payment.”

Customer: “But it’s supposed to storm today. If I wait, my flight might get delayed. I have to be there in time.”

I totally understand, but I still can’t change the flight if it’s not yet delayed.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. If you don’t want to pay the change fee, I can’t change it.”

The man went off about how I was taking it upon myself to make an arbitrary decision to not please the customer, etc. It was really nothing I hadn’t heard on a regular basis. After a few minutes, and myriad more apologies, he left the counter to go sit on a nearby couch instead of going through security.

Uh-oh. That always means there’s an act two.

Sure enough, he watched the flight he wanted to be switched to go without him, and he was simmering.

Then, the worst happened. His flight was delayed. 

It was only for ten minutes, but that didn’t matter. He was back in line at my ticket counter, yelling about how he was going to miss his connection, and I had done it personally. To. Him.

It got to the point where I had to call a supervisor who, thankfully, backed me up, and informed the man that his connection was safe and if he continued yelling, he’d be escorted out by security. 

He lowered his voice but continued to make a scene until they started announcing that the boarding of his flight was nearing completion. Then, he bolted off to try to get through TSA and make it on his flight.

He ended up missing it and had to be rebooked on standby for the flight after.

Sad, but he was still not my worst passenger.

Question of the Week

Tell us about a customer that lied or scammed to get what they wanted.

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