Thursday, November 19, 2009

Continental Airlines sees box, refuses to think in or out of it.

I am sitting on a "weather-delayed" (or could it be the delay caused by the massive computer glitch, here?) flight from Austin to Houston IAH, hoping to get there in time to board my flight from Houston to New Orleans. I need to be in New Orleans TONIGHT, because I'm testifying in a court case tomorrow morning.

When I called Continental to see what it could do if I missed my connection, the customer agent (yes, I've omitted the word "service"--intentionally) told me that all other flights were sold out, she couldn't help me find another flight on another airline, and that she could put me on a flight in the morning which would get me to New Orleans after I was supposed to be in court.

So I got on my computer, went to, and found a first-class ticket on a later Continental flight from Houston to New Orleans. Price? Just a hair more than the original ticket.

You tell me: how difficult is it to tell a distressed customer that there are first-class seats available on the sold-out flight?

Southwest Airlines doesn't treat its customers with this much disdain. Normally, I like Continental. I really do. (I love Southwest--that's the difference.) But c'mon. The entire nation is having flight problems today, and the customer agent doesn't want to look at other alternatives?

For shame, Continental. For shame.

UPDATE: I made it to my original connecting flight with 5 minutes to spare, and Continental refunded the back-up ticket. So at least it improved on its original customer service glitch. Thanks, Continental--but please learn to think a bit more broadly when travelers seek help.

1 comment:

Kathleen Bergin said...


Just came across this post, and same thing happened to me. Flight to New York connecting to Istanbul cancelled, no help from counter agent, so I called a friend who got on-line and found a flight leaving 2 hours later.

Go figure.