How was your flight?
It’s an interesting question. And, like so many other curious questions, I can’t help but wonder about the motive of the question.
I flew somewhere for the first time after nearly three years.
I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to attend and speak at one of my favourite conferences, “Prairie Dev Con.”
Well, at least it was my favourite pre-pandemic, and thankfully this experience lived up to my expectations.
This post, though, isn’t about the conference.
Instead, I want to talk about my airline experiences.
A bit of important information before you read the story is that I wanted to fly from our local airport. It’s a smaller airport, and it would mean I’d avoid the potential craziness of Toronto’s Pearson airport.
Given this, my only choice was the discount carrier, Flair Airlines. I’ve flown on discount airlines before, and the experiences were fine.
Enough with the intro; let me share my story.
It started the Saturday before departure. If you don’t know, you can check in to a flight online within 24 hours of departure.
I was well within that window and trying to check-in. Yet, their system kept telling me I wasn’t eligible for check-in to any flights.
After investigating, I learned the airline switched my departure time from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. A schedule change is hardly unusual. It happens all the time.
The problem is that I didn’t receive any notification of the change. If you’re wondering, my spam folder was the first place I looked.
I wanted to confirm the change, so I used their “customer service” chat, as there is no call center to phone for this airline.
The chat took 30 minutes, and three-quarters of the time involved me waiting for the person on the other end to reply. I assume they were chatting with far too many people to be responsive.
At one point, the person got condescending with me, but I needed to confirm that my flight was later in the day.
In the end, they only told me what I already knew.
So, I waited and checked in that evening. Thankfully, the later departure had no impact on my plans.
And the flight itself was fine. In fact, the cabin crew were terrific.
But wait! The story gets better!
Let’s fast forward to my return flight.
I was to fly home on Wednesday evening. It was a later departure than expected, but no big deal as I would work that day.
On Wednesday morning, I was in my hotel room working. Then, a little before 11:00 am, I received a text from the airline.
The text said, “Sorry about the reschedule. Here’s your hotel coupon.”
WTF?!? (I actually said the words out loud)
It took me about two minutes to determine that my flight was cancelled.
What made things worse was that I had been rescheduled to return on Sunday. (Yes, four days later!)
No notice. No options. Nothing.
And again, it gets better. The hotel coupon was for a one-night stay at a local hotel. I’m unsure what the airline thought I’d do the other three nights.
At that moment, I was through with the circus and immediately looked for the next flight I could take. I paid $800 for a one-way ticket on Air Canada, leaving in 90 minutes for Toronto.
I finished packing and went to the airport.
I entered my information to pull up my itinerary at the check-in kiosk. On the screen where it displayed my flight information for confirmation was a bright banner.
The banner said there was a two-hour delay for my flight.
So, I went through security and found a comfortable place to sit and have lunch. No problem, as this delay was minor in my mind.
After all that, I got home just fine.
So, what have I learned through this travel saga?
1) I create my reality – I chose to buy a ticket on a discount airline, and I know what that means. With that choice comes the fact that customer service may not be as robust, and they will be less able to deal with problems due to their smaller fleet size.
2) Don’t make problems bigger than they are – I could have made a mountain out of all of these problems. But, instead, they were quickly resolved, including a four-day delay in coming home. So, why make a problem bigger than it is?
What problems are you making bigger than it truly is?
You’ve got this.