Spring Break

To the Customer Service Department at United Airlines:

My sincere apologies for missing my scheduled flight from Chicago to Puerto Vallarta (with layover in Mexico City) on March 8, 2019. This was 100% my fault and I am sorry: I was very hungover and told my friends the flight would depart at eleven a.m. instead of ten. 

However, I did not appreciate the United employee’s snickering, “Your friends probably hate you now, don’t they?” when I explained my reason for needing a flight change. For this reason I will not be filling out the customer satisfaction form you e-mailed me. You should look into some later flight times to Mexico—especially during spring break.


Queridos empleados de Aerolínea Volaris:

Thank you for sending me your kind survey concerning my customer satisfaction with my recent Volaris flight.  Having given the issue some careful thought, I would rate my level of satisfaction “pretty unfuckingsatisfied.” After missing our United Airlines flight to Mexico City, where we intended to board a connecting flight to Puerto Vallarta, my friends and I found and boarded a Volaris flight with the same itinerary. However, your flight to Mexico City was delayed for “weather reasons” (it was 80 and sunny in Mexico City), leaving us only 15 minutes layover time to make it to our connecting flight. When we landed in Mexico City and I asked a Volaris employee if we might be able to move ahead in the customs line in order to make our connection, she encouraged me to “steal an airport wheelchair” so that one of my friends could “impersonate a cripple” and gain the sympathy of our fellow travelers, thus skipping the line.

Because I chose not to mock my fellow travelers with disabilities, we were severely delayed in the customs line.  We still might have made our connection, but Volaris then inexplicably discharged all of our checked luggage instead of carrying it through to our final destination. When I asked another employee if we could quickly re-check it and board our connecting flight, she told me to speak to another employee, who turned out to be a janitor. I asked to speak to a manager, at which point the janitor instructed us to sit on the floor and wait. While I greatly appreciated the janitor’s repeated assurances that “El Jefe is coming,” I was slightly perturbed when El Jefe did not come for over an hour and a half, causing us to miss our connecting flight. That said, I do appreciate the wide variety of diet cola flavors available at Mexican in-airport convenience stores, so much so that I drank three of them before El Jefe arrived. May I politely suggest that you add alcohol to the Sangría flavor—I don’t see the point in a wine-flavored soda with no wine in it.

When "El Jefe"—not a boss, but a teenaged employee with braces—finally arrived, he informed us that we had now missed all flights that day to Puerto Vallarta and that we would need to buy a flight on a separate airline if we wished to continue to our destination. To our protests he offered that Volaris would pay for an overnight stay in the Mexico City airport hotel. This hotel turned out to have a special dinner menu specifically for customers who were being forced to stay there after missing their connecting flights, which suggests this happens with concerning frequency. However, in fairness to Volaris I will say that the enchiladas verde y roja were above average, and we were given complimentary breakfast Jell-O before leaving at five a.m. 

All told I would rate my Volaris Airlines experience two out of five stars. The enchiladas needed salt.


To the Customer Service Department of Aeromexico:

I want to express my thanks to Aeromexico for its five a.m. flight from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta, which Volaris claimed did not exist. I would have preferred if you had let us smuggle our complimentary hotel Jell-O through security, but I guess you win some, you lose some. In response to your e-mail I would say it is "muy probable" that I will recommend Aeromexico to a friend if they are ever in this unlikely situation.


To the Customer Service Department of American Airlines:

I wasn’t even going to respond to your customer survey, but you emailed it to me six times in twenty-four hours, so I guess you deserve this. When we tried to fly from Puerto Vallarta to Austin, Texas, with layover in Dallas, we were informed before departing that the flight to Dallas was delayed and we were in danger of missing our connecting flight. While initially wary of boarding—not wanting a repeat of the Volaris situation—the American Airlines staff assured us that should we need to spend a night in Dallas, the airline would pay for our hotel with a voucher. 

Upon arriving in Dallas, we had indeed missed our connecting flight. When we asked about the hotel voucher, the American customer representative in Dallas said “I don’t know why they promise that to people” and that while we would have to stay overnight in the Dallas airport hotel, they would not be paying for it. When I went to the airport hotel and tried to pay for it myself, I was told that not only was the entire hotel sold out, but so was every hotel in downtown Dallas. 

We ended up driving thirty minutes to a local corporate convention center, which was the only available option. As we checked in to the convention center at two a.m., the only other person in line was an American Airlines pilot, who sadly turned around and said to us, “They didn’t pay for my hotel, either.” In answer to your persistent question, I am “extremely unlikely” to recommend American Airlines to a friend.



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