Let’s Start to Complain a Little More.
The airline business is complex. I know that. But it does seem as though we passengers get stuck with a lot more than our fair share of the inconvenience that results from all that complexity.
I met a Norwegian couple on my trans-Siberian rail journey back in 2011 and we became friends. Two years later, I visited them in Oslo and in about six weeks they’ll be arriving here on Maui for a return visit. Of course we’re eagerly looking forward to seeing them again, but as I understand it, they were originally scheduled to fly from Seattle to Honolulu on Delta, then from Honolulu to Maui on Hawaiian Airlines. But Delta changed the departure time of their flight out of Seattle from morning to afternoon, which meant they would arrive too late for the Hawaiian flight to Maui. Then they were switched to a Delta flight direct to Maui from Seattle. That gets them here to Maui in fewer hours, but it’s an afternoon departure from Seattle which means they won’t arrive here until 10:00 p.m.
That’s disappointing because first-time visitors are eager to see something of our island and the drive from the airport to our place goes past fields of sugar cane and along the northern coastline of the island with a great view of the beach at Hookipa, one of Maui’s most popular windsurfing areas. But because of their late arrival, they’ll miss most of that experience. Of course we’ll make sure they see everything before they leave.
They’re also stuck with the two Hawaiian Airlines tickets since they will no longer be flying from Honolulu to Maui. I would certainly hope that they’ll be able to get a refund, but you know how those things work: a lot of back-and-forth, there could be a change fee, and in the end, it won’t be worth all the time it takes.
To be sure, the change of flights and departure time is a minor inconvenience and perhaps a small extra expense for my friends. But this kind of thing happens a lot and I guess my point is that we just take it for granted. In fact, most of the time we just take it. The fact is, we really should complain. Last June, American Airlines switched flights on me and that turned a 90-minute connection in Dallas into a wait of almost four hours. I complained and guess what? They apologized … and added 5,000 miles to my Advantage account!