Another archaic industry

There are lots of ridiculous anecdotes about the airline industry. Here’s another one.

My family flew to Italy to visit my sister. At some point in the process, actual paper tickets and boarding passes were mailed to them. They brought the boarding passes on the journey, but were told at the airport and on the plane that they needed “flight coupons” that were sent as well. The actual pieces of paper. The fact that they had ID, confirmation numbers, credit cards, etc. associated with the reservation apparently meant nothing. Somehow they made it to Italy, even after being stopped several times by staff requesting the coupons. In order to avoid testing their luck on the way back, they’ve been on a mission to get these paper coupons from the airline. A trip to the airport and even an expensive 6-hour round trip to Rome were unsuccessful. They ended up having to cancel the existing reservation (made months ago) and create a new one, which of course costs significantly more being at the last minute, and they don’t get the refund for the cancelled reservations for six months.

Honestly, how can you tell someone with a serious face that they need a piece of paper to get something done these days? I realize that this may be a complicated situation (credit card company and multiple affiliated airlines involved), but if you’re going to offer something to your customers, it should work.

2 thoughts on “Another archaic industry”

  1. Yeah, I love how the fact that something is printed on paper makes it magically more secure and believable to so many stupid situations. Like when they make you fax something… I had a program that let me fax anything I could turn into a .tiff file on my 386 in 1994.

    Unless they’re giving you something with an actual 2nd or 3rd factor for authentication, I don’t see the point.

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