TSA suffers the slings and arrows of the worst customer service

Haha... Is this Miss TSA for 2011?For as long as most of us can remember, the airlines industry has always scored the worst customer service marks on almost all surveys. Within the airline industry, the marks for whom is doing it better for passengers may have seemed significant, but let’s face it, the airlines industry doesn’t really care how we feel. Now the Transportation Security Administration has surpassed the rudeness, incompetence, and general discontent of even the major airlines.

A recent survey conducted by Consumer Travel Alliance revealed more than 50% of the participants rated the TSA as offering the worst customer service. Following close behind with 29% were airlines, 10% were car rentals, 5% were hotels, 3% were cruise lines, and 1% were for online and brick and mortar travel agencies.

So why all the discontent with the TSA? After all, aren’t they in charge of  protecting all of us from terrorism on transportation conveyances? As that may all be true, the survey showed the most outrage with the inconsistency of the TSA. During Thanksgiving, the vast media coverage involving no responses from TSA officials over alleged egregious acts affecting passengers during “pat downs,” incompetence of agents, and non-existent compromises from passengers with legitimate physical complaints were heard nationally and internationally – most people reacting with disgust and discontent.

But alas the airlines followed in the worst customer service in an overwhelming second place. Passengers are especially unhappy with extra baggage fees and the “unbundling” of services that used to come with the purchase of a ticket. Now everything is extra from booking a seat, where the seat is located, to extra charges for the first bag. Still other passengers are  disgusted by delays for maintenance or just plain rudeness among airlines staff.

Now this is the part of my blog post where I recommend changes that could be made to improve customer service with the Transportation Security Administration and the airlines, but it doesn’t seem as if either organization is interested at all. Air service is a necessary travel conveyance for many, and unless travelers are able to obtain alternative transportation, it would seem neither the TSA or airlines have any motivations to change. The TSA states they will not entertain any compromises to the controversial scanning and pat down procedures. The airlines are reporting record profits with all of these add-on fees.

So what’s our only hope to recapturing some dignity and customer service which we all pay grandly for when we choose air travel? It seems that is now up to the government. Congress has pending legislation designed to limit the TSA – making the rules more tolerable and less invasive than searching inside someone’s pants or bra. Legislation is also pending which will require all airlines to quote fares that include the cost of a checked bag or other consequential service that might be reasonably encountered  when traveling.

In the meantime, we are all the victims of terrible customer service.

photo credit: char1ie