Friday, August 28, 2009

Thank you for flying AmeriSouthBlueDeltWest

Drives Durham resident’s nuts to sit as I did in Atlanta late last month for an early morning return to RDU on Delta and hear a gate agent repeatedly make an announcement that went like this:

“I apologize that our flight to Raleigh has been delayed. We won’t depart for
Raleigh now until such and such. We’ll board for Raleigh at such and such. Thank you Raleigh bound passengers for your patience.”

It would ordinarily be endearing to customers but the vast majority of people in the waiting rooms weren’t destined for Raleigh. We know that from research. Nor of course is the airport located in Raleigh. It is in Morrisville midway between Durham and Raleigh. And Raleigh only co-owns 1/4th of the airport, sharing equal ownership with the City of Durham, Durham County and Wake County.

Sitting there in the gate area wearing a “Durham-Where Great Things Happen” logoed shirt, I looked up to see eyes from all over the waiting room on me belonging to people I didn’t know. I thought about commenting to the agent but it was early, and I just didn’t want to get the dismissive or “I don’t get it” reaction or worse, the rude and defensive reaction often typical.

And I was already deep in thought about how to correct RDU bound online boarding passes issued by Delta that list features in the so-called “Raleigh Area,” many of which are really in Durham which for those of you who don’t know is in a different county, a different metro area and for all the differences, a different planet.

I can already "see" some eyeballs I hear rolling…well, "Just get over it!" Durham is extremely community spirited so instead of trying to hush us, how about our neighbors speaking up to clarify once in a while? I don’t mean just support Durham speaking up, I mean speaking up on our behalf. I mean “do unto others…”

Thank goodness another gate agent took over and used accurate terminology as did the pilot. And the person posting the flight at the gate really had it all down. They even put Raleigh/Durham signifying “and” rather than just the first part of the airport name.

Residents have asked DCVB for a convenient “business card” they can hand to gate agents or pilots or flight attendants when these inaccurate references occur. We’re going to do that.

One thing I know for certain, if the shoe was on the other foot and Durham mangled any airline’s name or brand or worse, attributed it to another carrier…we’d probably hear from their lawyers vs. get a polite card providing the accurate reference.

The sad part is Delta is one of the better airlines about respecting brands. It's time for airlines to realize they serve more than airports and not all airports are located in a centric area with a dominant city.

And the old excuse “there isn’t enough room on the route map” doesn’t hold any longer. The web would permit any airline to put in all of the cities they serve just by asking each airline or airport for the cities and towns in their catchment areas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This irks me every time I fly. The last time I said something to the attendant. Rolled eyes and a 'tude were the response. It felt very personal as they yukked it up for the entire flight, saying Raleigh-DURHAM sarcastically at every possible occasion.