Travel isn’t inconvenient enough, let’s make it harder! Delta’s Chief Irritation Officer is alleged to have said these exact words as she gathered her minions for a secret brainstorming session in a dark, dank Atlanta room. I understand the meeting went something like this.
- Let’s schedule the flight at 6 AM and ask passengers to arrive three hours early.
- OK, let's play out the scenario.
- We have no one at the counters until 3:30.
- I like where this is going...
- At 3:30, once the line is 100 people long, we have our two slowest clerks show-up and start calling passengers up.
- Good stuff! Keep going...
- When passenger angst is at the tipping point we send-out three more clerks. Efficient clerks this time, able to get the line moving.
- Why would we do that?
- This gives them hope.
- Yes! Hopeless passengers cease to care... This way... yes!
- Of course when a party of three flying to Ecuador on a three segment trip shows-up, we tell them the last segment of their flight doesn’t actually fly today.
- Oddly specific, but a nice touch. By now they’ve been in line close to two hours, so, by the time they decide they have no choice, they’ll have to run to catch their flight.
- Exactly! They’ll stand in line for fifteen minutes waiting for the only “regular” security checkpoint, as they watch half a dozen idle TSA agents on the “Clear” line making small chat with each other. Gotta love the financial arrangement (over and under the table) between Clear, the airport and the TSA.
- But wait, there’s more! They’ll be the last to board the plane, not having had breakfast, they’ll anguish over a layover filled with arrival logistics, hotel rebooking and trying to deal with that unused segment.
- Genius! No online way to fix it, unhelpful airport personnel, forty five minute hold times, our mid-call client disconnection algorithm... they’ll waste hours trying to fix this.
- You’ve really outdone yourself this time. Have a donut, on me.
And so ends a conversation which Delta executives vehemently deny ever took place. Wink!
Notice all the empty Clear checkpoints...