Ridiculous Advice? Who, us?

George Hobica, April 08, 2007
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q: As an airline reservations agent for Delta I must say that I disagree with the advice you have given after reading a few of your columns.


     
    Several weeks ago I read an article regarding a question about a schedule change that the airline had advised the passenger of several months in advance. You suggested that she contact the station manager at the airport to have her problem resolved hoping that he/she would offer more alternatives than an ''anonymous reservation agent''. I don't know if you realize this but the station manager has little or no knowledge of tariffs and rules that govern future date travel and options based on the type of ticket you purchased. The average person would have as much of a chance of talking to a station manager regarding an upcoming problem as you or I might have asking to talk to Donald Trump about an upcoming Apprentice Show. Their responsibility is to resolve real time problems that may arise daily at the airport .
     
    Today I read another ridiculous piece of advice you published. The question was regarding shipping a pet dog by air. You suggested that the family and pet take the Queen Mary 2 rather than fly. The animals that are too large to fly under a passenger seat fly in the cargo section of the plane where the luggage is. The temperature and air pressure is maintained much the same as the main cabin.

    A: Actually, this is a little known fact, but our very own Tracy Stewart  is a former Delta baggage handler who worked at the airline’s Atlanta hub.

    You should talk to him about what he’s seen happen to pets that are shipped in the hold. You'd probably never ship a pet by air, especially after reading this statement from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. You'd probably never check a piece of luggage, either. The fact is that shipping a pet by air carries risks, and I would never take the chance. For example, if there’s a cabin depressurization, no one is going to be able to go down in the hold and put an oxygen mask over Fido’s mouth. Heating and air conditioning can malfunction down there, and the pets aren't going to be able to ring the flight attendant's call button, are they? In addition, pets are too frequently lost, just as bags are.  I love my dog too much to take any chances. Maybe you’re just not a dog person. Is that Browser I hear growling? Down boy.

    As for the station manager tip, that ridiculous piece of advice came from a United Airlines station manager who emailed me in response to a previous, similar problem experienced by a United Airlines passenger in Chicago. This manager said that he would have gladly fixed the problem had he known about it.
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