Thursday, December 3, 2009

PHX Sky Harbor Service and Disservice

I'm flying again this weekend. I do that for a living. So when something is different at the airport I notice it.

Imagine my delight the day before Thanksgiving when I drove up to the East Economy parking lot and there were two employees there to hand me my ticket. Usually I just punch the button and get my own. Imagine my delight when there was a Roadrunner bus waiting for me after I parked in the garage and the driver jumped to assist me with my bag. Wow!

So when I flew back the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was really looking forward to the PHX Thanksgiving service. My eager anticipation dwindled quickly as I stood in line waiting at the Roadrunner bus stop. It pulled up and looked pretty full to me. The driver beckoned us on anyway and I lugged my suitcase up into the bus. There was a place near the luggage rack so I put my suitcase under the rack and held on for the ride to the parking lot.

That's when things got really nasty. The driver kept asking folks to get on, whether there was room or not. He demanded (yes, demanded loudly) that the already cramped and luggage laden riders move back to make room for more and more passengers. There was no room to move! A USAir flight attendant standing next to me was very tired. She said if there was anywhere to move and if someone would lift her luggage she would be happy to move back farther in the bus. A strong man in front helped some passengers move slightly back, and the driver (who sat in his seat like a king on a throne) continued to demand that we make room for more passengers. Finally there was a mini-revolt as the passengers said there was no more room. (I had begun to wonder if there were no more busses coming). Needless to say, by the time we got to our stops we had lost quite a bit of the holiday cheer we had before boarding the "bus from Hell."

So I have no idea what to expect as I travel this weekend. My expectations of the level of service at PHX have certainly been reduced and I'm prepared for an unhappy ride to Terminal 4.