Let’s start with the good news. Paul and I took a flight Friday from New York to Geneva in Continental’s “Business/First” cabin, and the flight was great. It was a newish plane (767) with roomy seats that had a significant recline. Service was excellent, food was pretty tasty, there was decent (and plentiful) wine, and the cabin crew was friendly and professional. The flight also left and arrived on-time. For a “legacy” American carrier this was pretty darned good all around. No complaints.
The check-in experience in Newark was a little different, though.
Continental has a dedicated area in Newark for international business check-in. Besides the agents who were behind the check-in counter, there were a handful of additional agents mingling with passengers to offer assistance with the self-service check-in kiosks.
I noticed that one of those agents (let’s call her Janice) who was walking around had her hand near her mouth; I thought she must be coughing or sneezing. But it turned out that she was flossing her teeth.
Janice would periodically remove an 8 inch-or-so long piece of floss from her mouth to answer a customer’s question. “The lounge is to the left after security!” she’d say with a white-teethed smile, waving the soiled floss in her right hand as if it were a 4th of July sparkler.
At one point I saw Janice tuck the floss away in her pocket, only to pull it out again a short time later to resume the task at hand. I suppose you have to applaud her conservation efforts in this rough economy.
I mentally prepared the email I might send to Continental.
“Dear Continental: As the son of a dentist, I can certainly appreciate the need for good oral hygiene. However,…” or “Was Janice just trying to make us feel orally inferior, since there was in fact no floss in your on-board amenity kit?”
But alas, I ended up just making this blog entry, instead.
I suppose there are a few things (comments, please!) that a customer service rep could do that are more distasteful than this. But think about it – it seems like flicking rotting food out of your mouth while you’re on duty for a major airline serving the traveling public has got to be pretty high up the list, right?
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.