There is nothing more trying on the human spirit than airline travel. What once was considered luxury and only for the very privileged is now a hostage like humiliating experience. Yesterday I was to board a 5:27pm flight from ABQ to DIA, spend a luxurious 30 minutes in the United Club (at $500 a year membership fee) and then off to SEA for business/family/friends/fun long week-end.

Instead I write this from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott in Denver compliments of United Airlines in yesterday’s clothes.

It had nothing to do with weather which is why I was labeled a distressed passenger and provided with complimentary lodging and a $7.00 meal voucher. It was “crew delay.” Not sure if that meant the pilot wasn’t sober or a flight attendant overslept….nevertheless it provided me with less than ten minutes to run the 1/2 mile from Gate B71 to B25 in heels. I have flown 1.2 million miles with the Friendly Skies. I know they use computers because I can see them. I know they have the ability to communicate from the air to the ground because I have heard them. But by the time I got to the gate the door had closed. The airplane was still there. I have been on United flights where we reopened the door for a distressed passenger. So UAL, a question. How many miles do you have to fly for this privilege?

My guess is it is up to the crew. As are most customer service experiences. How do they feel about their employer at that moment of truth? Time to viciously comply with the rules or make a loyal customer’s day? Thanks for subsidizing my $12.95 breakfast buffet. This experience only cost me $5.00 plus tip, $90.00 in cab fare, a business meeting and a chunk of my soul. Keep up the good work.

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