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August 17, 2005


I had a similar experience not long ago with AC. I'm trying to book a flight online, and I get to the very end and it keeps rejecting me (oh, metaphor!), so I call live reservations, and they won't book it for me -- same as your story. Well, at least not at the "Web rate" they won't. They tell me they can book it for me but they'll have to charge me a $5 service fee, which on principle I refuse to do.

They tell me to call tech support, so I do. Tell them what's happening.

"Oh," says Tech Guy, "You have to go into your profile and update it."

"OK, but why?"

"Because we updated our system a few weeks ago, and everyone has to update their profile in order for the new system to recognize you."

Apparently it's too much to expect that they might notify their customers of such a requirement. But then, they've only had my email address since... 1996.

By the time I got it all updated and tried to book the flight again, the rate had gone up.

This should sound familiar to you, Rick:

Online business, a.k.a. left hand, may I introduce you to your brinks-and-mortar business, a.k.a. right hand? ;-)

Air Canada's customer service is terrible (in my mind, two different customer touchpoints not able to work together is a function of customer service). I've had some really poor experiences with them. Unfortunately, there's still not a lot of choice when flying the Canadian skies. Flying from the US to Canada--as I do frequently--is definitely better, but the bastards have me locked into their airmiles program...


Alot of organizations have operationalized themselves to death with so called best practice programs. They streamline, optimize, reduce head count attached to business the name of maximizing profits. But the reality is they lose advantage to enlightened companies. These are the small numbers of companies that employ technology and flexiblity while moving to operational excellence. Meanwhile we suffer the dysfunctional ones.

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