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Bullet Sunday 112

Posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from the insanity of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport!

• Success. When it comes to travel, things going right is what's SUPPOSED to happen and doesn't really tell you much about a company. It's when things go wrong that you find out what they're made of. How they handle problems and the way they treat their customers is everything you really need to know. For the most part, Alaska/Horizon Air has been pretty good in dealing with an unprecedented weather situation that you can never really be prepared for. They have a genuinely caring, hard-working bunch of employees that are working their asses off against a never-ending tide of very upset people. This cannot be easy, and is truly a testament to the company philosophy that has made Alaska/Horizon Air such a huge part of my travel plans for decades. I consider myself extremely fortunate that they are "my local airline," and happy to keep flying with them.

Airport Flight Board All Canceled

Sea of Luggage!

• Failure. Where Alaska/Horizon fails... and fails badly... is in organization and communication. There have been several incidents that boggle my mind, and has me wondering just how people in charge thought they were Doing The Right Thing. As I said in my previous entry, there's no point screaming and getting upset at the airport... but I have no problem doing that in my blog!

  1. I needed a current boarding pass for my flight, but couldn't get one from a machine because it was a Northwest Airlines ticket. I headed to the gate where my flight was taking off in two hours so I could get one from the gate agent. After 20 minutes of waiting in line, they closed the counter and told everybody to go to another counter. FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES! You do not... DO NOT close a counter without reaccommodating customers. EVER. You've just wasted everybody's time and rightfully pissed them off. If you need to close a counter, you CLOSE OFF THE LINE FIRST, then take care of those people who were waiting. There is no fucking excuse what-so-ever for screwing over your customers like this. SHAME! SHAME ON HORIZON AIR FOR THIS ABUSIVE TREATMENT!!
  2. When you tell people their flight will board at 1:20, and you don't board the plane within ten minutes of that time... MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT YOU SADISTIC FUCKS! If you know what's causing the delay, MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Even if you don't know what's going on, YOU STILL NEED TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Don't leave people standing there wondering if you've forgotten them and feeling ignored, that's just rude. There were times we waited a half-hour past the boarding time with NO ANNOUNCEMENT, and this is completely unacceptable. Don't be shocked that you piss people off when you fail to keep them informed, or at least acknowledge them if you don't have any information.
  3. Now, I realize that the airport is simply not able to handle the massive amount of luggage piling up from hundreds of canceled flights. I get that. But there is no excuse for the disorganized cluster-fuck that Alaska/Horizon had going on in baggage claim. No notices posted as to where you can find your bags. Nobody to tell you which line to stand in or even what the lines are for. Not even adequate security to keep people from walking off with whatever they could grab... just a sea of suitcases going on forever. They were announcing that you could claim your baggage at a future time, but I honestly have no idea if I will ever see mine again. It is inexcusable that they didn't have people there segregating bags by flight as they came down the carousels, posting signs with flight numbers, and announcing incoming bags by flight. Such a simple thing to do that would have gone a LONG way towards organizing things, but they did pretty much nothing after the hammer was dropped. This is more than annoying... it's borderline criminal.
  4. They announced again and again that you needed to leave the airport by going home or finding a hotel if you didn't live in Seattle, and call back for re-booking of your flight. Which would be fine... if Alaska/Horizon didn't have the STUPIDEST FUCKING PHONE SYSTEM ON EARTH!! Seriously, what is the point of answering the phone only to tell people that all lines are busy? Just let the busy signal come up so people can auto-redial until an agent is available! The only times... ONLY TIMES... I have gotten through on the phone was to get a recording saying that all the lines were busy, which is just insane. IF YOU CAN'T TAKE THE FUCKING CALL, DON'T ANSWER THE CALL YOU DUMBASS MOTHER-FUCKERS!!! This is stupid on a level of stupid that has me wondering if the Bush Administration is running the call center at Alaska/Horizon Airlines. I know that call volumes are obscenely high and you're doing the best you can... but don't be dicks by teasing people with no help when they finally manage to get through. This just makes you assholes.

• Redial. Speaking of auto-redial, it is pathetic... PATHETIC that the iPhone doesn't seem to have this most basic of calling functions. Hopefully it will be added soon via an update or third-party application.

• Outsourced. Last year, a movie came out with the very timely topic of outsourcing. In the film, a Seattle call center manager, Todd Anderson, has his entire department outsourced to India, and ends up having to travel there so he can train his replacement. The trailer looked funny, so I put it on a list of movies I wanted to see...

But then I was reading a review of Outsourced in the Seattle P.I. where it was just savaged. The reviewer Bill White hated the film. He made it sound highly offensive to Indian culture for the sake of laughs, which I hate, so I ended up skipping it altogether. Turns out this was a mistake. I ended up renting Outsourced for my iPhone on this trip and liked it quite a lot. All of the criticism from the Seattle P.I. review was entirely unjustified. White called the lead actor Josh Hamilton "aggravatingly nondescript," but that was the entire point of his everyman character! White said the film "vulgarized the sacred sex manual, the Kama Sutra," but it absolutely did not! I thought the film was great in communicating the cultural differences between our countries in an entertaining way and, if anything, made more fun of us here in the USA than India. Sure there's some stereotypical humor in there, but it's on BOTH sides! As Todd becomes more and more adjusted to Indian life and starts to embrace his new surroundings, you get a wonderful taste of the culture, and can appreciate the country through his eyes. It doesn't hurt that his love-interest (played by Ayesha Dharker) is freakin' adorable...

Outsourced: Todd and Asha

And I love the relationship between Todd and his "replacement" Puro (played by Asif Basra), which was pretty funny...

Outsourced: Todd and Puro

Outsourced: Todd and Puro

Outsorced: Holi

All-in-all, a wonderful film that I regret having missed on the big screen. The cinematography of India (including the wonderful Holi Festival of Color) begs to be seen big. I guess that will teach me to trust a crappy review over my gut instinct when it comes to picking what movies I see in the theater.

And now, since I've given up getting home until after the 25th, it's time for Wii Bowling!


Categories: Bullet Sunday 2008, Movies 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Come on Dave, as far as the Alaska Airlines thing, tell how you REALLY feel!

  2. Peter says:

    Dave, I hope you still make it home before the 25th and that you don’t have planned any more flying till the New Year.

    Have a great feast of Light wherever you are and a healthy, successful and creative 2009

    Greetz from Amsterdam

  3. Avitable says:

    You must be a Wii Bowling expert, getting all 300s, by now!

  4. Tracy says:

    How frustrating. I hope that you are able to make it home before the 25th!

  5. So….. Wii bowling, huh? What’s your average?

  6. kapgar says:

    I’ve been seeing Outsourced on the shelves of Target the last few times I’ve been in there and I keep meaning to check it out but forget to add it to Netflix. Now that I’m near a computer for this reminder, it’s added!

  7. ajooja says:

    I liked Outsourced too.

    I have a regular route I take when deciding what movies to try out, but I don’t let any one film critic sway my decision too much. Movies are just too subjective. I can’t imagine anyone actually winning the Netflix prize.

  8. Holy shitballs, I LOVE this post. THANK YOU for putting into words what I fucking hate about flying. And I just adore Horizon/Alaska, but I love your description of the entire cluster.

    Also – thanks for the great film recommendation.

  9. I really enjoyed Outsourced. I saw it when I was in Costa Rica so some of the “third world” situations were extra funny.

    The Holi Festival of Color was a great scene, I don’t think I had heard of it before. I’m off to go Google it now…

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