Fly me away

There seems to be a rule that wherever you are and whatever time it may be: If you switch on a television set the first thing to appear will be a re-run of friends or come dine with me.

It’s no surprise. Both are bite-sized pieces of televisual fluff perfect for playing on a constant loop. There’s no complex storylines to follow so pleasure can be derived from just a few minutes viewing and no real references to outside reality mean that apart from the haircuts they are almost timeless.

Airline seems to be joining these two as a re-run staple. I say this as I’ve just caught two episodes myself in as many days. Now, I’m old enough to remember when the programme was originally aired back in the late nineties and early noughties. Back then I was a student. Unaware of the bright future in customer service waiting for me my sympathies were actually with the customers. How cold and uncaring of those check in staff I used to think, just 30 seconds late for check in, how could they!

Now however, with the value of my experience on the sharp end my loyalties have shifted. I’m now on team checkout desk assistant. Why? Because the rules are quite simple. Like they said on the episode I saw today check in is open for two hours. If you show up outside that time it’s not their fault. The company rules state that they cannot let you on the flight. Simple. Customers being customers though will not accept such straightforward logic. There must be a way they plead, implore, then scream, then insult and finally hurl abuse when they realise they wont get their way.

Once I had a customer who was unhappy because they wanted me to write a message which exceeded the number of words permitted by the computer system. I advised them that their request was not possible and explained that we would need to edit the message.

The customer however, chose to disbelieve me. They thought that I had just decided to be obstructive and insisted that they wanted me to take down the message exactly as they dictated it. That would not be possible I patiently explained again we’d need to reduce the word count for it to fit on the system.

This went back and forth for about 10 minutes the customer continually insisting there must be a way to override the system.

There was not I insisted once again.

“Well can you put me through to someone who can help then”

Customers. Gotta love them.



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