Rude Gate Agents

Old Mar 7, 08, 2:16 pm
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Rude Gate Agents

I normally fly Air Canada, but I had a four city tour (LAX, SFO, JFK and LEX)over two weeks so I booked all of my flights on UA. While this is hardly unique to UA, I have to admit overall the UA gate agents I saw have to be some of the rudest and most disgruntled people I've seen. I saw agents litterally yelling at customers, and the distain answering customer questions was something else. Granted people get pissed when their flights are delayed and cancelled and GA get asked the same questions 1000's of times a day, but surely they had to suspect this before they started their job. If they hate their jobs that much, they should find something else. I was just wondering if this is standard for the course at UA?
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Old Mar 7, 08, 2:22 pm
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I'm convinced just about every airline has some rude GAs, even SQ.

For every bad GA, UA probably has .5 good one. Also keep in mind that UA deals with the masses, and some passengers just don't get it unless a bit of aggression is involved.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 2:28 pm
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-Flip a coin-

Sometimes gate agents can be great, sometimes they are horrible. You cannot predict it.

I have found the same is true with AC, BTW.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 2:32 pm
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I have found that GAs are worse in the evening hours, presumably because they're towards the end of their shift?
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Old Mar 7, 08, 2:34 pm
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Most airlines seem to have at least a few, but overall, I think I see it more often with UA than others. It certainly varies by airport too. The other extreme seems to be inhabited mostly by real LCCs like Southwest and JetBlue. The fake LCC US is closer to UA.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 3:01 pm
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I think I've been really lucky. I've had a few rotten GAs, but for the most part, when I've needed something, they've been at the very least businesslike, on up through friendly and pleasant.

I think the ones you see yelling at customers are likely dealing with customers who also have an attitude, whether it's being pissed off about their flight getting canceled or they feel they're entitled to an upgraded seat on a sold out plane.

I'll stand up for my rights if I get a GA with a bad attitude, but starting out with honey usually helps.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 3:02 pm
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<Flame suit on> Perhaps part of the edge that some of the GAs has comes from having to deal, individually and en masse, with the same people that we FTers refer to as gate lice, and the once-yearly fliers, and the rude elites.

I know, I know, people with low tolerance thresholds shouldn't go into careers where they have to deal with the public, but we all have our breaking points! When I lecture to medical students and residents, I remind them that they are in a customer service job, and that they should aim to provide good, timely and appropriate service to their customer (patient), and that they should not take the holier than thou attitude.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 3:05 pm
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I'd rather deal with rude UA agents than pathetic AC onboard services.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 3:08 pm
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I've seen it both ways, GAs that are great and some that are pretty foul, that said I've also seen some pretty poor behavior from customers->GAs. Not that it excuses it.

Also as someone else said some airports do seem to have a higher % of "I really don't want to be here right now" GAs.

the F terminal in ORD and all of LAX come to mind.

The UX folk in ORD I do actually feel sorry for, they have a tiny gate, one person and 6 flights leaving one after another (with min 2 delayed - go mesa!), now thats a craptacular job.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
I'd rather deal with rude UA agents than pathetic AC onboard services.
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Old Mar 7, 08, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
I'd rather deal with rude UA agents than pathetic AC onboard services.
What are you talking about? AC has a far suprior hard and soft product than UA in Business/First...
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Old Mar 7, 08, 9:21 pm
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There is a blonde gate agent in SFO I have had a couple of times named Heather who is UNBELIEVABLY awesome. Patient, professional, proactive, polite....I have never seen anyone get mad at her or vice versa. There is one that I like. The rest across all of North America pretty much stink. Okay, maybe not all. But I honestly am horrified by most of what I see and I see and hear a lot. I know better than to talk to them. There is one woman in Boston that I want fired....she tries to be professional but then says things which are beyond rude, insulting, judgmental and condescending.

Sadly, I am convinced I know more than the majority of them. If you think they are bad in true UA, try a visit to the UX terminal at Dulles! Oy!!
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Old Mar 8, 08, 11:47 pm
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Getting a great GA is so incredibly rare, that I always give out one of those customer service kudos cards that Elites get in the mail when I feel a GA is doing a great job. You have to reinforce that.
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Old Mar 9, 08, 12:06 am
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It also depends on the culture of the country, I've been in transit at Tokyo and the GAs are fantastic but most Japanese are courteous by nature.
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Old Mar 9, 08, 12:27 am
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FWIW, two family members describe themselves as "slaves to UA" because their 40+ years of mileage/level make it difficult to leave, yet both regularly experience extreme rudeness and/or incompetence from GAs to Premier Club(?) gatekeepers. I haven't flown UA myself since an incident in the 90s when the two remaining employees at IAD closed up and left because it was 2300, stranding two elderly couples in wheelchairs. Our international flight had arrived five hours late, we all missed our connections. They took care of the first 50 or so pax and let the rest of us hang.

I don't fly AC regularly, but despite rumours otherwise have never experienced anything but classic Canadian politeness.
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