Monday, January 19, 2009

Life as a CSA-Part 2

Hello All. I wanted to go into the next topic. COS or also known as Customer of Size. This simply refers to passengers who are to large to sit in an airline seat comfortably. However be aware this does not mean if you are fat, or obese you cannot sit in the seat. Southwest Airlines has a unique rule in that if you are too large to sit in your seat comfortably and you require too raise one of the arm rest to sit, you will be required to purchase a second seat at the lowest cost possible at the time of booking. Why do we impose this on our large Customers? We do this for the safety of you, and those passengers sitting around the obese passenger. No, I am sorry to say this is NOT discrimination at the least. Southwest has been sued many times for this and have never lost, because it is not discrimination at all.

What safety is we talking about one would probably ask? As much as you as an obese person claim you have the right to the seat, and should not have to pay for the second seat, that Customer who purchased his seat next to you does not have the right to have his seat taken up by the obese person next to them. This is why require them to purchase the second seat. We get many more complaints about passengers whose seat was taken up by an obese passenger than we do by the obese passenger complaining about having to purchase an extra seat. It is uncomfortable situation for the airline employee, for the obese passenger and especially for the passenger who has to sit by them.

Someone has asked “I saw a guy use a seatbelt extension and he didn’t have to buy a second seat” Once again; we are not concerned about how large you are in front of even by side or anywhere. Our guideline rule is “if you must raise the armrest to sit in a comfortable position you are required to purchase a second seat”.

“But, the flight isn’t full, why are you making us purchase a second seat?” We do this for CONSISTENCY. So if the flight is full on the next time you fly Southwest, you cannot say to the agent “well they didn’t make me book a second seat last time”. This is why we do this, we strive to maintain consistency.

The good news is, if one can find any good news in all of this. If there is even ONE seat open on board the aircraft, YOUR SECOND TICKET WILL BE REFUNDED, CASH BACK. You simply need to call the Customer Service folks and they will be happy to do that process for you.

Drunk People…Oh Lord are they everywhere. Drunk People cannot be blamed on us, no way no how not ever. YOU chose to drink that beverage, once you do so, you are at our discretion of whether you can fly or not. If you show signs of being drunk, you will not fly at all. I don’t care WHO served you the alcohol, no one forced you to drink it. If you continue to resist against us you will be arrested and escorted off the airport property.

More to come! Questions or Comments leave them here!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life as Customer Service Agent for a Major Airline

I know quite a few of you fly a lot, and some may have never stepped on board the aircraft! Kind of surprising but they are out there. I know a lot of you may have seen or heard about the show “Airline” which featured one of the major airlines to fly in the USA, Southwest Airlines. As many of my readers probably know and personal online friends I used to work for this airline back in 2007. It was a great time, and I absolutely LUV-ed every minute of it even the tough times. I wanted to type this up because I got so many questions that seemed to make the airlines and employees of the airline out to get you, and screw up your travels. I promise you, we are NOT out to do that. If we were to do that, not only does it make it hard on you guys, it makes it harder on us, because to the passenger it is about ONE person and that is all they care about. We as an airline not only have to care about you, but every single other passenger traveling at that moment too.

One of the most asked questions I have been asked was “Why do Airlines overbook?” While some policies differ from airline to airline, the basic reason is, we usually have a high rate of people NOT showing up for the flight. We overbook to compensate that and fill up seats that would have otherwise gone out as empty. It also is a way to raise revenue also. We get to keep your money if the passenger does not fly, however at Southwest if they contact the airline; they may be re issued a refund in the form of a travel voucher to future travel on Southwest. Most other airlines have this same policy but they also require a cancellation fee of upwards to 150 dollars. Kind of sucks. So what happens when everyone does show up? This is when we do deny boarding. Keep in mind it is AGAINST THE LAW to deny boarding on an airline WITHOUT asking for voluntarily passengers. We always seek them first to see if anyone does not mind taking another flight. Depending on the airline the reward for volunteering to be bumped could be an upgrade to first class, or a refund of the ticket you purchase in a voucher, or an extra 400-800 dollars in flight voucher. It’s pretty nice isn’t it?! On my shifts, I never had to deny anyone boarding, I always was able to find someone willing to accept a voucher. If you have questions regarding overbooking, and denied boarding please ask!

Two examples of flights being oversold, we had a Flight to Phoenix out of St. Louis, it was a Boeing 737-700, and it held 137 passengers. We were overbooked to 142 passengers and they all showed up. Oh no! My partner made announcements that we were in an oversell situation and that we were seeking volunteers to get off this plane. In return they would be issued a refund of their ONE WAY segment, and a 200 dollar voucher added on to it also because we would not be able to get them out of St. Louis within the four hour limit. I had to collect the passengers boarding passes for those who did want to volunteer. We were able to get 137 passengers OFF the plane, and find five passengers, who were willing to be bumped, issue the travel vouchers, and board another 137 passengers onto the plane, in 17 minutes! Yes, that is correct, 17 minutes; we actually were able to push the plane 3 minutes early! This friend is TEAMWORK. Another situation was we had a huge oversell, we had an aircraft that held 122 seats and it was overbooked to 140 people! This was clearly not going to work and we were not in the mood to deny 18 passengers. We called Chicago Midway Airport where Southwest bases one of the aircrafts and asked for a 137 seater, which is our biggest in the fleet. This way we would only oversell by 3 passengers. Chicago agreed and swapped the 122 seater for a 137 seater. When the plane had arrived into STL, it turned out three people did not show up, we had 137 passengers for a 137 seat plane! Wow, we got LUCKY! We were happy, and the Customers were happy too.

Finally one more event that people ask. Why do they delay our flight and the account of weather and storms, when I am looking out of the airport and it is sunny and not a cloud in sight! I was ALWAYS asked this in my shifts. Passengers seem to think the planes magically appear at the gate and take us to the destination we are booked to. Well folks, I have to say sorry this is not even true. You have to realize the planes are 100% likely coming from another destination that may have bad weather in that city. That is why, your St. Louis to Dallas flight in St. Louis which is sunny and cloudless is delayed for 1 hour due to snow, because the plane is stuck in say Chicago or Boston. Then they sometimes seem to understand but there are some that have to see it to believe it. Obviously we cannot show them the snow covered runway in Boston or Chicago but they just have to take our word for it. We want nothing more to get you on time and safely, but safety is every airlines NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. We will do everything we can to get you there on time, but Safety comes first. So we apologize that we delayed that flight or cancelled it not allowing you to get to Hawaii in time for your drink at the beach because we were concerned about your safety and may possibly have prevented a plane crash or something. We will never know, but please take that into consideration the next time your flight is delayed or cancelled, it is for a SAFETY reason and we probably have a very good reason for doing that.

I will bring more stuff to my blogs upcoming, I will discuss in flight incidents, medical situations on board, death, drunk people, why the fees and changes and “nickel and diming” passengers and a big issue is obese people taking up two seats, which we call COS-Customer Of Size. This is probably another blog in itself. Hope you have a good weekend!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 into 2009

Well, well, well. Two Thousand Eight. What. A. Year. So many things happened to me that I couldn’t believe possible to happen for me. I cannot even begin, but where to start?! I guess probably at the beginning of 2008!

I started off the year a bit distraught from my bad experience working at a major airline. I had to leave for unfortunate reasons, so I was left without a job and not in school. I had spent rest of 2007 sitting at home on the computer doing nothing. Life was wasting away and fast. I didn’t like it. I was a bit confused in my life right now. I was about to turn 21 in Feb and a lot of the goals I had set for myself personally hadn’t been accomplished yet.

I always knew I was bisexual at least, I never questioned that. I stumbled by happen chance to a website about a deaf man who was also gay. Hmmh, to my surprise there was someone else like me?! I know that was probably a stupid question but for a guy who lived entirely in the hearing world, and where being gay was still not the most open thing ever, I was shocked to see it. I logged on to his website started talking to him and grilled him 50 million questions. I couldn’t believe it, I met another gay man who was also deaf too!

I met so many more deaf people online. In 2008 I met more deaf people online or in person then any other year as far as I can remember all thanks to Seekgeo’s site, I of course had to go visit him and his boyfriend Jes to hang out and be around someone else who was deaf like me. As I had never had that.

I began to meet more gay people in the spring but not deaf just hearing. I soon found my comfort level and was amazed to meet and hang with people who were also Gay and bisexual like me. We had things in common and that was great to me. But alas, I was still alone and lonely. No girl or guy really gave me a chance to date me or try me out or anything.

Then one Sunday after work, the weight of being gay weighed on me and I broke down and cried. Not ashamed that I was gay, but the fact I was hiding it from my mom. I couldn’t stand lying anymore. The people I was seeing, where I was going. I wanted to be able to say I lived a life of truth. To quote a guy I know from a TV show I watched “I have been called names, had stuff thrown at me, and been humiliated but if there is one thing I can say above the rest, is that I never, ever had to live a lie” I agreed and wanted to be like him.

So come June 26th, 2008, ironically pride day in St. Louis, I came out to my mother and to any other friend who wanted to know or asked me. My mother then said, “well finally it’s about damn time, do I need to buy you condoms? When can we go to the gay bar?” I was so relieved, and was mad I hid it for this long. Of course she was ok with it, she already knew! She just wanted me to tell her on my own time.

The rest of the summer went ok, continued to hang with friends I went to a gay bar too which wasn’t to bad either! I traveled a bit more, meeting more people when possible.

Then in September I met a guy. I don’t know where we are right now but he is a great guy, cute I might add ha-ha, and we are enjoying the time together and that really is all I can ask.

I think 2008 turned out better for me then I expected. I learned SO much from that year from friends and families, met so many people in just 12 months, and finally met someone who is giving me a chance. Where will it go? I don’t know, I may have my heart broken by him or I may end up moving with him. I don’t know, just go with the flow is all I can say.

2009 may be harder for me, now that I am out, and seeing a guy, I stand to lose a lot for those who are against gay people. But to those who don’t want to get to know me because of that, it is entirely their loss and I don’t aim to waste my time with them. I do look forward to 2009 more now that I met a lot more of my goals and setting up new ones for myself.

So, thanks 2008 for teaching me a lot, and 2009 I welcome you with open arms and hope whatever happens in 2009, it was done in my best interest, and I will know in the end why the things that happened, happened.