CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain

Cab Ride Hell

Posted by Jeffrey on August 17, 2008

Part of being an airline pilot requires the crew to rely on shuttles, or heaven forbid, taxis, to get to the hotel. Each have their perils.

If you are relying on a shuttle, you could either have to wait awhile before they show or you get the scary night security person that could be a serial killer. OK, that’s an exaggeration. Granted many van driver’s are very nice, courteous, helpful and prompt. But where would be the fun in talking about them? Waiting on a hotel van at midnight after you have flown through thunderstorms or been de-iced four times in one day can be the icing on the cake. Glamorous job…I don’t think so. Alternatively, you get the van that doesn’t have air conditioning in 90 degree weather or the van driver that fails to notice that the radio is on scan, changing channels every 10 seconds. Both of those happened the last time I was in Lincoln. By the way, we also thought the van driver was a serial killer albeit disguised as the night security person. We were all looking at each other wondering if this guy was for real.

Budget, National, Avis, Hertz, & Alamo!

Tonight is fresh in my mind though. We are at a new hotel in Louisville, KY. By the way, if you have never been here, it seems that Louisville has a SPECIFIC way of saying their city. Google “pronounce Louisville” and you will see. It is not taken lightly. I don’t even try to pronounce it correctly when I make an announcement on the PA and I don’t hide that I can’t pronounce it. I don’t want to offend these folks. Check out this website, if you need a guide to pronouncing Louisville.

Anyway, so we get a Yellow Cab in Louisville, because the Galt House does not provide a van. First of all, you can tell that taxi driver’s seriously dislikes flight crews. Their body language tells you so. This particular driver was no exception. We had to put our bags in the trunk. Then, as soon as well pull away from the airport, he is on his cell phone talking to someone in his native language which is definitely not English. Now I have no problem with anyone trying to make a living in the United States. None! BUT…there are certain things you don’t do and one of them is, if you are a taxi driver don’t get on your cell phone when you have customers. It’s only common courtesy. Even though crews aren’t “paying” for the transfer, they are in their mind determining what they are going to tip you. Now, beside the fact that he was on his cell phone, he was driving as though he was possessed. Weaving in and out of cars. Accelerating into red lights. Turning corners like his life depended on it. Eventually we stopped all conversation because we were all wondering if we were going to live. When we got to the hotel, we unloaded our own bags and I was the only one that tipped him…a dollar. He looked genuinely shocked. The flight attendants and the first officer just walked away and the driver, well if eyes could kill, my crew would be history.

So the moral of the story…when in the service industry, treat your customers with respect. You may not get the tip, you may get nothing, but regardless, treat people with respect and you probably will. This taxi driver would have gotten a tip from us if he had been congenial, stayed off his cell phone, drove safely, and helped us with our bags. Maybe next time.

Till next time…

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