Every two years, I look forward to heading to the Moncton Truck Show. You can't find nicer, more accommodating people, and the show itself is well run and well attended. It was held in June this year...
Every two years, I look forward to heading to the Moncton Truck Show. You can’t find nicer, more accommodating people, and the show itself is well run and well attended. It was held in June this year and for a change, I was actually organized (no thanks to me).
My airfare was booked with our country’s largest airline and paid for months in advance, our hotel rooms reserved and booth materials we’re waiting for us at the show.
The day of my flight I arrived at check-in an hour and 20 minutes before departure. I was told that although I had purchased a ticket, there was no seat for me on my scheduled flight. I tried to explain the ticket was purchased and paid for months before, so there had to be some sort of mix up. “No mix up Mr. Wilkins, you didn’t pay the $15 surcharge to guarantee your seat so we’re not responsible” was the counter person’s response. It was explained to me that the all powerful “they” had statistics on how many no-shows any given flight may have. To ensure they don’t fly a seat or two empty, it’s common practice to over-sell domestic flights. The only way to guarantee you don’t get the boot is to pay the extra cash.
At that point, I was told they’d put me on standby but not to worry, if I didn’t catch the flight, I’d be on the next one out and be compensated with cash towards another flight.
Being the fair guy I am, I opened up negotiations at $10,000. The counter person laughed and told me $200 was all they’d offer.
She made some more clicking noises on her keyboard, looked up and explained “Mr. Wilkins, apparently we have no seats on the next flight either, but we’ll put you on standby, maybe someone won’t show up…statistics tell us that blah, blah, blah.”
And finally, “Mr. Wilkins, if we can’t get you onto that flight, we have one leaving for St. John. You can take that and then we’ll bus you into Moncton.”
The final straw was broken when I ran into an associate at the gate. She had a seat on my original flight, paid $150 less and had booked it just three weeks before.
As I was being driven across New Brunswick, I couldn’t help but think that “Go West Young Man” had a whole new meaning for me.
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at (416) 510-5123.