New DTW Terminal, Same Old Employee Attitude

FrugalFlyer

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
254
0
I''m sure it has been said before, but NW has a great world gateway (McNamera Terminal) at DTW. Although the gates, boarding areas, chairs, carpeting, express tram etc. are all new, I see that many NW emplyees attitute is still same old.
A few days ago, I got into DTW around 5:30pm (A concourse). My connecting flight was scheduled for 10:30pm, but the gate info was not yet posted on the monitors. So I grabbed some reading material and plunked myself down in one of the comfy new seats at one of the gate areas that was empty on the A concourse. At about 7:30pm or so my connecting flight information was still not posted on the monitors. I noticed that at one of the gates an agent was by herself doing something at the computer (the flight has been boarded, door closed, nobody around, etc.). Since there was nobody around I thought I would go and ask the agent if she could tell me what gate my flight will depart from. So I make my way over to the counter, and politely wait, thinking I''ll wait until she finished doing whatever she is doing on the computer before asking. Well I might as well have been invisible.
So after some time I speak up: Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but I have a connecting NW flight later this evening, would you be able to look up for me the gate for flight ....
I did not get a chance to finish my sentence when she snapped back at me: Wha doncha check them over there monitors and turned back to do some more keypunching on the computer.
I replied: The flight doesn''t depart until 10:30, its not posted on the monitors yet, I''m just wondering .............
To which I received the fast reply Shiznit, eye cain''t do that 4 yaz''all. The agent them promptly gathered up some material from the counter and left the gate area.
So, what am I trying to point out here? Basically a new terminal will only go so far to attract and maintain people if the employees continue to give customers the attitude described above. Now, I don''t know whether she could have told me the information I was looking for or not, that''s irrelevant. However, that agent needs to brush up on her people/social skills (and the English language).
Don''t get me wrong, I''m not going to write complaint letters or threaten to quit flying NW (they''re quite convenient for me). But, other people might have a different reaction. I just laughed it off. Also, I thought that I''m lucky that agent doesn''t work for Mesaba at my station because then she might have to work the check in counter, boarding gate and even luggage, and I sure wouldn''t want to deal with her under those circumstances.
 

justanadd

Advanced
Jan 20, 2003
211
0
Thats funny I find that it's the Mesaba agents that are rude. But I think you'll find that type of behavior from alot of customer service people not just airlines.
 

dfw79

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
308
0
It wouldn't be Detroit without shaddy attitude and cold looks from their employees. Perhaps that's why Flint is boarding over 700,000 people a year now.
 

GraftedOne

Member
Dec 11, 2002
31
0
FrugalFlyer : Please let me say that I am so very sorry for the agent's attitude. I work for NWA and do desire to provide excellent service. I have found that there are these attitudes at every airline and every station. It does not make your experience any less hurtful though. Please accept my apology. I believe that some have replied to your post with the attitude that there are no rude people in DFW. Please let me say that PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION. Lets work together and build a great airline industry and stop tearing each other down.
 

nw_a330

Member
Jan 18, 2003
18
0
www.usaviation.com
Frugal:

As another NW employee I'd also like to apologize for your experience.

Back when our DTW employees were working out of what was arguably one of the worst facilities in the U.S. (if not the world), that type of attitude was at least partially understandable. These days, however, there is absolutely no excuse.

However, at the risk of starting a "war of words," I believe this is partially a symptom of the industry's screwed-up labor situation. The people who were young enough to still care about providing top-notch service were laid-off two years ago, leaving employees with so much seniority (read job protection) they have little motivation to treat customers with respect. I'd like to believe your experience was the exception rather than the rule, but I'm unfortunately not so sure.

I know people will argue that if we paid these people enough, empowered them, and all those other "feel good" things they'd do better, but you can only "pay people to care" so much. There also has to be a way to recognize and reward those who provide excellent service (even if they aren't at the top of the seniority list) and "motivate" those who don't get it. The current system has robbed the airline industry of both these options. Until that's fixed, I'm afraid to say this may not be your last such experience.
 

dfw79

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
308
0
[blockquote]
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On 2/8/2003 8:34:21 AM GraftedOne wrote:

I believe that some have replied to your post with the attitude that there are no rude people in DFW.
----------------
[/blockquote]

I'm going to take it that this was directed to me. Sometimes it helps not to read into a user name so much - they are my initials...as I live about 1200 miles closer to DTW than I do DFW. I've met several rude people in Dallas...you find them everywhere - expect maybe OKC. :)
 
OP
F

FrugalFlyer

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
254
0
GraftedOne & nw_a330;
Thanks for your replies and apology (although no apology was necessary). As I said in my post, I'm still able to laugh about minor stuff like this.

The agent probably was running late or maybe had to do other things, which is understandable. However, I'm sure the new NW terminal is drawing some people who may have otherwise avoided DTW - and some of those people may be more 'sensitive' to how an agent talks with them, etc. - so perhaps a minor course is social skills would not hurt some employees.

Overall my experiences with NW have been alright, keep up the good work.
 

Cris L

Newbie
Aug 20, 2002
13
0
I recently took my first NWA flights since 2001, and flew via DTW.

I was impressed by the new facility and can only compliment the NWA staff incredible helpful & friendly service such as I experienced at DTW.

It was simply superb.
There was a single incident with a Worldclub agent, which did put my back up somewhat. However that only lasted a few moments, and after later interaction with the same agent, I realised that was simply a cultural misunderstanding.

What I was really shocked at - was the EXTORTIONATE cost of net access at the airport.
 

Cart Pusher

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
146
0
[blockquote]
----------------
On 2/7/2003 2:57:09 PM dfw79 wrote:

It wouldn't be Detroit without shaddy attitude and cold looks from their employees. Perhaps that's why Flint is boarding over 700,000 people a year now.
----------------
[/blockquote]


And how many of those passengers change planes in DTW? Half maybe?
 

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