Airline Kiosks



  • I flew to my hometown over Christmas. I flew Alaska to Vegas, and US Air from Vegas to Tuscon.

    I arrive at the airport and approach one of the checkin kiosks. It asks me for my name. Then it asks for my destination. It then gives me a list of flights and asks me which one is mine. Of course none of them are. Out of the 5 flights listed, there is only one to Vegas, and its several hours off.

     I ask for some help. The nice little man told me I can't enter my destination city, I can only enter in an Alaska Destination City. Lets ignore for the moment that Alaska actually flys to Tucson, and it did find a flight to Vegas, just not the right one. How am I supposed to know to only enter an Alaska Destination?

    So as we are going through the process of entering LAS and letting the computer do a search I tell the nice little man that this is bogus. "Oh well see it has to search all of the records in the database!" Considering that there are what, 30,000 domestic flights a day, figure a few hundred people a flight thats what like 10 MILLLION records!

    Of course I mentioned it was bogus that I had to enter much more than my name. "Ohhh well what if there is more than one Chris travelling."

     

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"



  • It sounds like you should have written a letter to Alaska Air and tell them how their system is. Let me see if I can get you started.

    Dear pointy-headed, time wasting, bandwidth killing, database morons,

    I've just had the pleasure to deal with your check-in kiosk system. It somehow surpasses Codethulu and new Coke in complete stupidity. If you're going to use my name to search a database, can't you figure out where I'm going from that? If not, then I will start booking flights from Dallas to Ft. Worth and then use that ticket to fly from L.A. to New York, or Dallas to Tokyo or San Francisco to the Klingon homeworld.

    Assuming that the user knows how to work your system and only enter Alaska destination cities and not the name of the place they are going too is as smart as the "Don't tase me bro" guy. If I had use of the "Force" to figure out how to work your abomination, I would not be using it on your piece of junk.

    I'm not even going to mention the damage you did to my eyes when I saw your program access every single record in your database or the amount of shaking and smoking that the kiosk did while trying to pull up a request that should have taken 5 seconds but nearly made me miss my flight. I do want you to pay for the damage done to my poor googles. And the damage done to the kids behind me that had to see me take the kiosk out back and go Old Yeller on it.

     In closing, I'm going to give you the name and number of someone that will be able to improve the speed of your system. SpectateSwamp

    Signed,

    disgruntled customer who is still picking bits of kiosk out of his hair



  • Pretty much every flight I've been on, they've just made me swipe a credit card.  It pulls my name from the card and searches on that though.  Good for when I can't remember which card I used (or if somebody else bought the ticket), bad if my name was just "Chris" with no last name.

    Maybe they had you down as Christopher, and needed an exact match to find your flight?  I once had a TSA agent tell me I couldn't board my plane because the ticket was for "Mike", but my license said "Michael".  I seriously considered punching her, but she told me she was joking and let me through. 



  • @chrismcb said:

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"

    I suppose a trivial implementation would just have an integer that increments for every new account.  But thanks to punks like you, they had to pay a series of worthless consultants $90/hour to come in and figure out how to prevent collisions in that case.



  • They don't do that, they charge you just because they can. They provide no excuse why it costs that amount. They just give you the option of paying them or not getting it.



  • @chrismcb said:


     

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"

    Why would you expect a company to give you something for free?  If I worked at a company and some dumb shit customer asked me why we charged him money to perform a service for him, I would tell him that it was to pay my salary so I could go stick it in the g-string of a dancer down the street. 



  • @tster said:

    @chrismcb said:


     

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"

    Why would you expect a company to give you something for free?  If I worked at a company and some dumb shit customer asked me why we charged him money to perform a service for him, I would tell him that it was to pay my salary so I could go stick it in the g-string of a dancer down the street. 

    Free market competition ought to mean that a service that costs a negligible amount to the company to cost a negligible amount to the customer.

    Of course it doesn't, because the "free market" is a myth and/or an unattainable goal.



  • @m0ffx said:

    @tster said:

    @chrismcb said:


     

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"

    Why would you expect a company to give you something for free?  If I worked at a company and some dumb shit customer asked me why we charged him money to perform a service for him, I would tell him that it was to pay my salary so I could go stick it in the g-string of a dancer down the street. 

    Free market competition ought to mean that a service that costs a negligible amount to the company to cost a negligible amount to the customer.

    Of course it doesn't, because the "free market" is a myth and/or an unattainable goal.

    Yes, but how many phone companies are competing on the "we'll even search for your own damned special phone number" service?  Last I looked, none.

    Want a special number?  Pay the special fee.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    @chrismcb said:

    Reminds me a few years ago when I was requesting a special phone number. I was told there was a surcharge for that. What was this charge for, I asked. "To search the database to make sure it didn't belong to someone else!"

    I suppose a trivial implementation would just have an integer that increments for every new account.  But thanks to punks like you, they had to pay a series of worthless consultants $90/hour to come in and figure out how to prevent collisions in that case.

    Or the simple answer that picking your own phone number is a service they can charge for, so they do. Just like vanity license plates for your car.



  • @SuperousOxide said:

    Or the simple answer that picking your own phone number is a service they can charge for, so they do. Just like vanity license plates for your car.

    Still doesn't explain why an SMS will cost you $0.50 (if you don't have a plan that offers some/all sms's free), for ~300 bytes of data, when the cost of 300 bytes of surfing or 300 bytes of voice data on the same cellphone is far far FAR FAR lower. 

    I don't begrudge the cell Co.'s their profits. It's insanely expensive to buy spectrum licenses, build out the infrastructure, etc... But still, at some point it's just profiteering, plain and simple.
     



  • @MarcB said:

    @SuperousOxide said:

    Or the simple answer that picking your own phone number is a service they can charge for, so they do. Just like vanity license plates for your car.

    Still doesn't explain why an SMS will cost you $0.50 (if you don't have a plan that offers some/all sms's free), for ~300 bytes of data, when the cost of 300 bytes of surfing or 300 bytes of voice data on the same cellphone is far far FAR FAR lower. 

    I don't begrudge the cell Co.'s their profits. It's insanely expensive to buy spectrum licenses, build out the infrastructure, etc... But still, at some point it's just profiteering, plain and simple.
     

    Business is business. A business should be able to charge whatever they want for anything they want to offer. 

    If you as the consumer are unhappy with the price, you can:

    1) Negotiate a new price

    2) Use a different vendor for the service/product

    3) Not use the service/product

    4) Start your own business that offers this product/service for a price you feel is fair

     


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