Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm sorry, but you have to wait for an agent...

It never fails that when I'm inside the terminal, checking the computer for my work information, in uniform, and a passenger walks up and starts requesting information about something I have no clue what they are talking about. Often it's about switching seats, or get a seat assignment because they are 'standing by' for a flight and haven't received a seat assignment.

One of the things to differentiate Pilots, Flight Attendants, and actual gate agents is agents do NOT have any sort of wings, or stripes on their uniform. These are reserved for pilots and flight attendants.

Both pilots and flight attendants will often have their roller-board bags with them, and are quickly checking the status of their schedule, or looking to see what is going on for their next flight. They don't have any ability to look at a seat map of the plane and check a passenger in, or switch seats to accommodate a family of four.

Sure, pilots may have a bit more information about a possible delay, but they usually don't know any more about seats than flight attendants do. Pilots, whether the Captain or First Officer, will have stripes on their sleeves, as well as epaulets on their shirts. Many pilots wear hats that have a lightening bolt on it (captains) or hats as shown on the left. Either way, we can't give information about Upgrades, seat-swaps, or anything like that.

The biggest customers who request info from Flight Attendants or Pilots are surprisingly the Frequent Flier. I'm always amazed because they fly so often, they know what a pilot or flight attendant uniform looks like (Wings, stripes, bags) vs. an agent who is actually stuck behind the counter being hounded by other passengers regarding their Upgrades, seat-swaps, or other questions.

I also wonder why passenger ask the TSA what gates their flights are leaving out of when there are monitors, 99.99% of the time right at the checkpoints. I've witnessed people getting mad at the TSA because their flight wasn't listed, or shows "Final Boarding", but why get upset at the TSA? They are there to screen bags, test for explosives, and make sure that potential terrorists don't make it to your plane, not know where your gate is.