James Britt

Maximum R&D

Good Things Happen

March 2012

I’m planning another trip to NYC and it occurred to me that there’s a short tale I should tell.

My last trip to New York I planned on taking Super Shuttle from the Upper West Side to get to Newark airport.

I was leaving on Thanksgiving, and learned that the street where I was staying would be closed of because of the parade.

When I called Super Shuttle in New York to schedule a pickup I explained this to the dispatcher and we arranged for the van to get me at a corner location down the block.

The pickup time was unusually early; the dispatcher was insistent that because of the holiday and street closures I needed additional time. I wasn’t too thrilled, but I assumed she knew what she was talking about and really didn’t want to miss my flight.

I needed to get up at, I think, 4:45am in order to get myself ready and out down the street. On the day of my departure, right before my alarm was to ring, I get a phone call.

It’s Super Shuttle, telling me that my pickup has been canceled because hey, guess what, it’s a holiday and there are street closures, so they can’t come get me.

I’m livid. Seething. This is fucking nuts; they knew there were to be street closures. They insisted on an extra-early pickup because of that.

No matter. Dude on the other end really couldn’t give two shits about my problem.

I end up calling a car service, and we get to the airport in record time. Seriously, I could not believe how little traffic there was. For the money it cost I really would have liked a longer ride.

Not only do I get to Newark stupid early but the line at the gate was nonexistent, and it seemed like the entire TSA took the day off.

So, fine, I have time to kill, so I use it to plot my revenge on Super Shuttle. I had a reserved trip home once I got to Sky Harbor, and was thinking I’d just cancel it and take a taxi, then, you know, rant or something. (One thing I thought about was what people can do, in any practical way, when they get crappy service, other than to stop using that service and complaining to the company. While there are assorted Web sites for dissing shitty services I’m unconvinced they do much good.)

It occurred to me that Super Shuttle was a franchise thing. Idiocy in one city didn’t mean all of Super Shuttle was terrible. Besides, I’ve always had a good experience with them in Phoenix, so screwing people didn’t seem like some endemic corporate strategy. Taking a taxi would really just be me spiting myself anyway, and I dished out all my cash back in Newark.

So I get to PHX, get Super Shuttle, and on the ride home I took off the rather nice zippered fleece jacket I was wearing. When I was dropped off at my house I somehow managed to leave it in the back of the van while grabbing my luggage.

I realized my mistake after about 30 minutes, and called the local Super Shuttle. They were really nice, reached the driver, who checked and found my jacket, and told me he would drop it off later that day.

Sure enough, about two hours later, he came by the house with my jacket. Happy Thanksgiving.

So by now I’m mentally sorted out about my NYC mishap. I’ll never use Super Shuttle in New York, but the folks in Phoenix are great.

A short while later I get around to writing a letter to Super Shuttle to let them know how happy I was to get my jacket back and make sure this driver’s behavior isn’t overlooked.

In my letter I give a run-down of my NYC trouble. My intent was not for this to be a complaint, but to explain that the outstanding actions of the Phoenix driver really made me change my opinion of Super Shuttle as a whole, despite a bad experience.

Maybe a week or so after sending that letter I got a call from Super Shuttle. They thanked me for my letter and apologized for the crappy treatment I got in New York. I told them it was pretty much water under the bridge, though apparently (as I learned from assorted Googling) I’m not the only one with such a dim view of Super Shuttle NYC.

Bottom line, though, they wanted to make it right, and to compensate for the additional cost in my taking a taxi that day they give me two vouchers for PHX. Sweet!

I’ll be using those vouchers to get to and back from Sky Harbor, I’ll still never take Super Shuttle in NYC, but thank Super Shuttle for being, overall, quite good.