Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Adam Says: Skybus Hates Me and Really I Hate It.

So I have a new nickname for the year 2007; "2007 The Year of Bad Customer Service." You already know all about my issues with Larry at Blockbuster, but over the holiday I had an experience that can top even that. After Christmas me and the wife headed out to Ohio (its flat, cold and smells like poop) to visit family. We decided the cheapest option for our travel would be flying to Columbus by Skybus. When D-day came we checked in online at the Skybus website, we arrived at the airport an hour early we got our bags on the plane we stopped for breakfast we jumped on the plane and in less than two hours we were in Ohio (flat, cold and smells like poop.) We enjoyed our stay and then came the morning of our last day.

We woke up at the butt crack of dawn to head over to the Columbus airport so we could catch our 6AM flight. Since we were leaving from grandmas we didn't have access to a computer to check in so we headed to the airport without the online check in assuming that we could check in there. Once again we get there one hour early (5AM) alas when we get there we find out that Skybus has seven different flights leaving before 7AM and thus there is a super huge line waiting for us. Right away we were worried about making our flight so we talked to an airport official about our situation; you see Skybus policy is that they will not check in bags for a flight thirty minutes or less before the flight. The airport official tells us to stay in line. then we see a Skybus girl (I will call all Skybus employees Skybus girls because I don't think one of them was old enough to drink and they were all female) and we told her about our situation and once again we were told to stay in line, finally we spoke to a second airport official who was directing the line and they also told us to stay in line.

You may have guessed this but by the time we reached the Skybus girl at the counter she tells us she can check us in but she can't check our bag. Oddly enough we found this to be an issue. So we ask "What should we do with our bag?" seemed reasonable... answer: "leave it here." At which point through the red challenge flag... you want us to leave our bag here? Come on that's crazy talk, and because it was so early the UPS store had yet to open so we did not even have the option of sending the bag to ourselves... after a several moments of frantic "serious? is there anything else we can do?" exclamations me and the wife mutually decided that we needed to speak with a manager. Let me spell this out for you Shakespeare style.
Adam: I need to speak to a manager.
Skybus girl: (dumb founded stare, drool drips down chin) Okay (turns to right and hollars down to Skyburs girl at end of the counter waiting on other customers) Suzy can you talk to these people?
Skybus girl manager: Do you want me to talk to them about why they are missing their flight? (rolls eyes like we can't see and hear everything going on.)
Adam: Are you serious? don't roll your eyes like that! We can't help that your system sucks. (then we stand and wait... and wait... and wait until finally Skybus girl wipes the crust out of her eyes.)
Skybus girl: Yeah you are going to need to go down to her line to talk to her (after ten minutes of waiting. We quickly head over to Skybus girl managers line... now I know its not polite but we cut into the front of the line.)
Skybus girl manager: You are going to need to go to the back of the line.
Adam: What? (I turn around to the rest of the line and ask if it would be okay for us to cut in line... and of course when the six foot four bearded man with the crazed look in his eye makes such a forceful request everyone is okay with the idea ((I don't know what I would do if I was short.))
Skybus girl manager: How can I help you (like she just didn't slight us twice in the last fifteen minutes.)
Adam: Yeah we are going to Richmond and we need to get our bag on the flight.
SGM: Let me see your tickets; (scan tickets) I'm sorry I can't check you into this flight.
Adam: What?!!?
SGM: It's too late to check you into this flight.
Adam: Seriously I have been waiting here for the last fifteen minutes and forty five minutes before that I waited in your line it's not my fault your system is a complete mess... what am I supposed to do about that?
SGM: The website states that you should be here two hours ahead of time, but if you came up when you got here would could have pushed you through (tell me that is not the ultimate insult... at this point I am on the verge of going King Kong)
Adam: Urgh... can we get a refund or another flight?
SGM: No.
Adam: Can I speak to your manager?
SGM: No they will not be in until Wednesday.
Adam: Can I have their number?
SGM: No.
Adam: So what am I supposed to do?
SGM: I don't know, sorry.

Yeah then everything goes red and I do my best King Kong impression... its a little foggy now but my wife tells me she was not pleased by my behavior...

I won't bore you with the details but we finally get the ear of an airport employee who cares... Brian is supper nice and understand... alas Brian can't give us our money back, but he is willing to help in any other way he can. He then tells us that we should talk to the Skybus Grand Pu Ba; Brandie (yep she spells it just like a stripper;) and he will get hold of her for us. To say the least we were confused by the existence of another manager on the premises because Skybus Girl Manager told us there was none... but wait... there is actually another manager on site... we were lied too! Hm... so Brian gets this new Skybus Girl Grand Pu Ba on the phone and she says she will come down as soon as possible... the phrase "come down" automatically makes me think of a queen up in her ivory tower so this is not getting off on the right foot. Apparently she comes down at some point, but instead of meeting us in the lobby area with Brian she goes to Skybus ticket counter and "waits" for us... while Brian heads off to find Brandie my wife spies a frumpy squat little woman with long brown hair heading off to Chili's for breakfast with Skybus Girl Manager...

An hour later the pair come out and Brian informs us that Miss Frumpy 2007 is actually Brandie... based on my previous negotiating tactics the wife decides she should handle this one alone... fifteen minutes later she returns red in the face... Frumpy was zero help... apparently we are the only ones to miss our flight that morning and she can't help us... but we can send an email complaint to the Skybus website... great, thanks, have a nice life.

At this point we are out the Skybus airfare... which was not the ten dollar tickets mind you... plus the other carries in the airport don't fly direct to Richmond so its either $300 for a flight to BWI or Norfolk that lands at 3PM (It's currently 8AM) or $600 for a flight that will get in to Richmond at 2PM via Philly... not appealing options so we decide to rough it in a rental car and drive the 8 hours back to Richmond... not happy... out another $150... In conclusion yes I realize that we did not help the situation by only getting there an hour early, but honestly I do not think I have ever been treated so poorly in my entire life... and that includes Blockbuster Larry. Customer service is not hard and sometimes you cant help a customer but you can communicate the issue to the customer... "Oh I am so sorry you can't check your bag because homeland security requires half an hour lead time to make sure all baggage is safe for air travel, but we can put it on tomorrow mornings flight to Richmond." "Wow I am so sorry about this but we can't take your bag, if you want I can book you for tomorrow mornings flight to Richmond." " I understand this long line is a real hassle and I am sorry you missed your flight." Really "Sorry" is the very least they could say... needless to say Adam and Jeremy will not be flying Skybus and we do not endorse the use of this tyrannical airline... I hope you head our warning and stay away from this flying nightmare.


  1. Man that really was the pits for customer service.

    We've flown them a BUNCH of times (maybe 6 or 8 or something) and hadn't had problems, but it completely was OK because we followed the "process". Everything I've seen and read (which is quite little) on their site is that you're so up the creek if you don't follow the "process". We obeyed - if nothing else, for the cheapness of the flight. I've been told that they can do the prices because they really DON'T have customer service or anything even close to it.

    I've had just as bad problems with the bigger companies including airlines too.

    We recently changed (well, we've started the process of changing!) out our bank from Wachovia. I wrote about it awhile back here. We forgave them the first time but not the second time.

    Sure you're not willing to forgive them once? Their costs are just *sooo* much cheaper to get to really just Ohio than anything else! I know I would but hey I'm just that cheap. Before SkyBus, I only wanted to drive because of the costs...

    BTW - what in the heck is up with EVERYONE around here having family in Ohio??? Or Michigan??

    Oh and you must have family that live away from any of the big cities - those areas do smell a fair amount like poop (isn't it the farms?), but not the cities. They have some other smell :)

  2. Duh - I forgot the link to that post about Wachovia... there's actually two:

    this and the older one

  3. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!