Friday, July 31, 2009

It pays to tweet (the squeaky wheel gets the grease)

If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably know by now that I endured the flight delay to end all flight delays on Wednesday. I--along with two of my co-workers--was scheduled to depart Chicago's O'Hare airport at 12 noon. We boarded the plane 30 minutes late, sat on the plane for a couple of hours, and then hauled ourselves and our stuff off the plane for another hour or so in the waiting lounge. Then we reboarded the aircraft and sat on the tarmac for 4 hours. That's two feature-length crappy movies! And, while the flight attendant comped our bad red wine, I was willing to pay top dollar for some Lay's Stax salty snacks--if only they had any on board.

At 9:20pm, nearly 9 1/2 hours after our original departure time, United finally took us off the plane for good and canceled our flight.

It sucked, royally. And I used my Blackberry to tweet my growing frustration. I included @UnitedAirlines, the official Twitter ID for United in many of my tweets, and I suspect someone out there was listening, because minutes after my final, frustrated update, I received an email to my personal email address expressing "sincere apologies for the experience you had on Flight 680 on July 29, 2009." Even better, United offered me my choice of make-good gifts. My colleagues, neither of whom made their suffering known to the Twittersphere (is that even a word?), did not receive an email or the promise of a $150 flight credit or 7000 bonus miles.

So there you have it, Twitter-doubters. There's more to micro-blogging than letting people know what you're having for dinner.

7/31/09 @11:02 update: turns out the colleague in First Class, the one who's a super-duper Platinum Double-Plus Rewards Member, also got a credit. A $200 credit. The gal sitting back in Economy with me is furiously penning her letter.