July 20, 2007

Power & Success Meets the Friendly Skies (Part 1)

Ah, the joys of summer travel: warm, sandy beaches; thick lush forests; beautfiful rock formations; crabby, unbearable air travel. As a part of my job, I have the "privilege" of frequenting the friendly skies. Every travel experience is such an adventure, so today I thought I would discuss some power and success strategies for managing air travel.

On a recent trip I had airline tickets with United Airlines. The day before my travel date, they sent me a lovely e-mail informing me that I could use their electronic early check-in system to avoid hassles at the terminal. I thought that this was such a great idea, because they were trying to save time and stress for customer. In fact, I began to wonder why other carriers weren't doing the same thing. This is before I remembered that everything sounds great in theory.

I followed the instructions in the e-mail and checked in from the comforts of my home. I felt at ease and confident as I drove to the airport knowing that all I had to do upon arrival was turn in my one piece of check-in luggage. As I enter the airport, I see numerous lines, so I ask a United attendant where I needed to go to drop-off my luggage. The gentleman points me to a nearby line, and I settle peacefully into the queue.

After 20 minutes I arrive at one of the many electronic kiosks only to discover that this machine is not for submitting luggage; it is for checking-in and getting a boarding pass. I ask a counter agent if I can turn-in my luggage at this location anyways, but get directed to another line--the line I should have gone to in the first place. I stand in this new line for an additional 5-7 minutes before reaching the front of the queue. I'm still not worried, because I know they expect me on the plane.

After all, I did check in from home...Go to Part 2 of the story.

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