5 Rules of Customer Service I Learned in the Fog of Discontent

Take Off in the FogAs fun as it was to visit the Barrett-Jackson Auction, our actual time traveling was exasperating.

To save a few pennies, we chose to fly out of a small regional airport just south of the Canadian border in Bellingham, WA. From our house in the suburbs, BLI is only about an extra 40 minutes further away than YVR here in Vancouver. The two airports and the airlines that fly out of them compete for customers and, for this trip, BLI came out ahead for our two tickets by about $200, especially when factoring in the much cheaper long term parking. The smaller airport is friendly and we feel very comfortable there, so it seemed a no-brainer to book our flight to Phoenix via Seattle out of BLI.

To make a long story short, we will likely never fly out of BLI in the winter ever again. First off, during the drive down on the I-5 our traction control engaged going straight on the freeway; it was that white-knuckle icy in one stretch.  But that just got the heart pumping. It was the thick fog over the airport that ate our trip. We were delayed several hours on our way down, experienced an aborted landing through the fog in Seattle due to an instrument glitch, and our flight from Seattle to BLI was outright cancelled on our return home. Even the backup flight we got bumped to on the following day was cancelled because of the fog.

We eventually ended up staying overnight in Seattle and caught a bus to Bellingham (where our car was parked) the next morning. Neither the cost of the hotel or the bus ride were covered because the delay was weather induced, so we ended up paying as much overall as the flight into YVR would have cost in the first place – and then some.

But the aggravating part of the flight cancellation was not the cost, but rather the hideous, unnecessary panic the whole experienced caused.

Here are a few rules I believe airline companies – heck, any company – should learn to live by: