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Why our airlines are going bankrupt!!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Here's an email I sent to USAIR customer service after trying to book frequent flyer travel to the EpicSki Academy today. There's a reason the cattle cars that we call airlines are going out of business and this is it. Please get a good chuckle out of this as I'm starting to

Today 5 Sep 05 (Labor Day) I had an experience with your airline (used to think it was our airline) that will probably terminate my business with USAIRWAYS. I called 3 times trying to arrange award travel from Norfolk, Virginia departing on 28 Jan 06 to Salt Lake City, Utah returning 8 Feb 06 and let me relate my experience. Call one I talked to a lady named Nancy and was simply told that award travel was not available to SLC and when I mentioned your partnership with United I was either disconnected or hung up on. Call two I spoke with a gentleman who put me on hold and then transferred me to WEBSITE customer service and when transferred back was disconnected again. Call three I spoke with another young lady and when I told her I was going to Utah wanted to transfer me to INTERNATIONAL reservations. The girl didn't even know that Utah was in the United States!!! I then asked to speak with a supervisor and it was explained that seats were not available at any award level for my desired travel dates. Might I mention that NOT ONE of the 4 people I talked to had ENGLISH as a FIRST language. I must have said "PARDON ME" 20 times in the 4 conversations. This story is so absolutely ridiculous it's almost funny. If you would like me to remain a CUSTOMER I expect a response and resolution of this problem as soon as possible. James R Gallup (XXXXXXX for dividend miles)
post #2 of 20
I had a Frequent Flier problem with United once and found the name of the VP of Marketing. (I called Investor Relations and asked them, if you say you're a stock holder this is a very good way of getting names and contact info.) I then wrote to the guy a long email. He wrote back and did everything I wanted, it was pretty amazing!

Marketing cares what we think.
post #3 of 20
That sucks,

Haveing said that, I was in a call center for a few years. Let me say a few things.

1) whenever something like that happens after the second call you ask for a Manager not a superviser, superviser's just play lip service they have no power.

2) if one is not availble ask for the managers direct line or Extension.

3) If they refuse get there name and Extension or agent # call right back as a new caller and when you get someone ask for a manager directly when they ask why just say no i've spoken with a rep and i want your boss.

What has happened is now you are A escalted call, and you should be getting some help. Always rember NAMES and Dates.

I had a problem with Cit-bank they refused to let me speak with a manager I went online and got the head office (as opposed to the customer service line) and asked for the president they wouldn't put me through but tranfered me to a customer service manager who solved my problem.

It sucks but I got what i wanted.
post #4 of 20
Marco Po NO
Nyette
Nine

how does that Capital one comercial go??

The FIRST rule in negotiations:
NEVER accept a NO from some lowlife that doesn't have the authority to give you a YES!
post #5 of 20
There are other 'strategies' to accomplish what you want. One might be that SLC is not your final destination, but only a stop over. Ex. Norfolk > Seattle. Return trip is Seattle > SLC > Norfolk, with a five day stop over in SLC.

For more 'strategies', look at the US Air forum at Flyertalk: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=505
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Apreciate the negotiation strategies and expect a complete lack of response from the airline. I've NEVER felt worse about or had expectations lower than corporate america displays today
post #7 of 20
Why don't you skip talking to the incompetant customer service people and do it online?

And Elk- I don't think that works. If SLC is just a stop-over, you can't join the flight there if you don't check in for it in Seattle.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn
Why don't you skip talking to the incompetant customer service people and do it online?

And Elk- I don't think that works. If SLC is just a stop-over, you can't join the flight there if you don't check in for it in Seattle.
I was suggesting you do the flight all the way to Seattle, take the return trip the same day, and stay over in SLC for however-many-days. Check that Flyertalk link, those guys do this kind of stuff all the time.
post #9 of 20
Did you get a response back from them yet? I had same problems last winter trying to fly into Denver. Needless to say I got fed up with their bull shit and went with another airline myself!
post #10 of 20
United has availability right now for the lower 25,000 mile reward level, I just logged into my Mileage Plus account and checked. So probably you could get the same flights from US's Dividend Miles by asking for a "Star Alliance Reward" which according to usairways.com you have to call to book and pay a fee.
Quote:
To redeem miles for global award travel on Star Alliance and all other Dividend Miles partners, you must call US Airways Reservations. Also, if you are traveling with a connection between a US Airways and partner flight, you must call us to take care of it for you.

Members may also make award reservations up to three hours prior to departure by calling the phone numbers below. Please note that a $5 service fee applies for all tickets purchased by calling US Airways Reservations.

US / Canada travel: 800-428-4322
Here's what United.com showed for their own award availability as of a few minutes ago - three possible outbound connections and three possible return connections available at the standard 25000 mile level:
Quote:

Outbound:

Norfolk, VA (ORF) to Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) Saturday, Jan 28
Select Flight info Depart Arrive Availability Stops Meal Dist (mi) On-time Flight Time
United Airlines 5999
(Operated by United Express/Awac)
9:52 am
Norfolk (ORF) 11:15 am
Chicago (ORD) R1 X1 N2 Non-stop None 717 2:23
United Airlines 741
Boeing 737-500 3:00 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 5:30 pm
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) R0 X0 N2 Non-stop L 1249 60% 3:30
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip

United Airlines 7529
(Operated by United Express)
Embraer ERJ-170 2:25 pm
Norfolk (ORF) 3:46 pm
Chicago (ORD) R1 X1 N2 Non-stop None 717 2:21
United Airlines 6997
(Operated by United Express/Skywest)
4:55 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 7:28 pm
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) R0 X1 N2 Non-stop None 1249 3:33
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip

United Airlines 7719
(Operated by United Express/Chautauqua)
Embraer ERJ-170 5:05 pm
Norfolk (ORF) 6:26 pm
Chicago (ORD) R5 X6 N1 Non-stop None 717 2:21
United Airlines 565
Boeing 737-500 7:45 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 10:15 pm
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) R0 X1 N1 Non-stop S 1249 40% 3:30
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip

Return:

Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) to Norfolk, VA (ORF) Wednesday, Feb 8
Select Flight info Depart Arrive Availability Stops Meal Dist (mi) On-time Flight Time
United Airlines 614
Boeing 737-300 7:50 am
Salt Lake City (SLC) 11:58 am
Chicago (ORD) R0 X1 N3 Non-stop B 1249 80% 3:08
United Airlines 7538
(Operated by United Express)
Embraer ERJ-170 1:25 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 4:38 pm
Norfolk, VA (ORF) R0 X1 N3 Non-stop None 717 2:13
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip
United Airlines 554
Airbus A319 10:55 am
Salt Lake City (SLC) 2:56 pm
Chicago (ORD) R0 X1 N3 Non-stop L 1249 70% 3:01
United Airlines 5992
(Operated by United Express/Awac)
6:10 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 9:21 pm
Norfolk, VA (ORF) R0 X1 N3 Non-stop None 717 2:11
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip

United Airlines 1234
Boeing 737-300 1:00 pm
Salt Lake City (SLC) 5:09 pm
Chicago (ORD) R0 X1 N5 Non-stop L 1249 50% 3:09
United Airlines 5992
(Operated by United Express/Awac)
6:10 pm
Chicago, IL (ORD) 9:21 pm
Norfolk, VA (ORF) R0 X1 N5 Non-stop None 717 2:11
25000 Mileage Plus miles are required for this round trip
Star Alliance partners aren't absolutely required to make the same award seats available to their partner airlines as they make to their own members, but ususally if a United Mileage Plus customer could get a United reward, a partner customer could get the same thing. Call back US Airways reward desk, and specifically use the words "I'm requesting a Star Alliance Reward on United" and tell them the United flights you want.

And be nice. "More flies with sugar..." and all that. If their computer doesn't have availability in the 25000 mile reward class, there's not a thing the rep can do about it no matter what you say. That's not an excuse for how you were disconnnected or got reps that don't understand normal collouquial American English language. But you want the rep to do the extra work to check the other airline. It's entirely possible they don't even know that they can request Star Alliance rewards - rather than get upset that the rep doesn't know it, go into the call armed with what you need to get the ticket.

Good luck,
Mark
(booked about 4 or 5 award tickets this year without problems).
For more on mileage earning, see my article Maximize your Miles at finetuning.comhttp:// http://www.finetuning.com/articles/8...-programs.html
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info Mark, but I did tell them to check with United and was told no availability. The info you posted will be helpfull however when I call them about going to Tahoe jan 7-14. If you're bored and don't mind checking on orf-rno for the mentioned dates I might be able to use it to my advantage. BTW, I booked northwest to SLC for 290 R/T and the reason I did it this early is I don't believe that price will be beatable given the current fuel price situation. Thanks to all who have posted with their strategies.
post #12 of 20
Book online, this is the way to go. I am not sure though if airline partner mile redemption will work online (i would figure it doesn't).
Avoid transferring through Philli if you can (probably not), they run their operations like... well like all the good people at US Airways jumped ship a long time back.
On my last four transfers through Philli on US Airways (burning miles) with my skis checked, the ski bag did make it only once with my arriving flight.
Actually, ORF is my home port as well. I had a pretty rough experience there. I did the usual paperwork at the baggage claim for the delayed ski bag, and asked the guy for the local number to check back. He told he wouldn't give it to me "because i have to work here". Oops.
post #13 of 20
Actually, I think our airlines are going bankrupt because the price of fuel is sky high, but everyone wants to fly cheap.
post #14 of 20
You can't book partner travel online with US Airways. You need to call.

I tried to check if US even sold the flights, and they do, but with funky 3-flight connections. So the United flights are a lot better bet for what he wanted. I'd call them back again - even though he asked the US Airways people to check United, it sounded like the reps he got didn't know what they were doing. They may have been looking for US Airways code-share flights operated by United, with US Airways flight numbers and not found any.

They need to specifically look for Star Alliance rewards for United flights with United flight numbers. A lot of times, both for reward tickets and for paid tickets, the very same flight as a codeshare will be available while the operating airline's one will not, or vice-versa. Or there will be hundreds of dollars in fare difference.

I recently found a reward trip that I could NOT book directly on Northwest with Northwest Miles. But I was able to book seats on the very same Northwest flights with my Continental OnePass miles via Continental. And I've also seen situations where United has codeshare seats on flights operated by US Air for much less $ than the actual flight from US Air.

Call them back and make sure they check for Star Alliance awards on United. For that matter, see if they can check for Star Alliance awards on Air Canada via Toronto or Calgary or Ottawa connections, or some mix of US Airways, United, Air Canada flights. There are three Star Alliance carriers in North America and your reward miles are good on them, including on combinations. These combinations will NOT always show up on the web nor even on the first few screens a typical minimally-trained reservations rep looks at. You need to guide them to some of the more strange possibilities.
post #15 of 20
Why fight it. US Air, Delta and United are all in trouble. The tickets you buy (or frequent travel miles) today may be worthless by 2006. Southwest Air now has service to SLC and Norfolk (ORF) and will do the trip for cheap with one stop-over. You just won't be able to book it unitl next month. SWA doesn't book more than 6-months out.

Come to think of it, this long lead time may be why you are unable to book award travel.
post #16 of 20
Harry

The big airlines are going bankrupt - because of high labor costs - negotiated by greedy labor unions and incompetent Management that negotiated those contracts.
Our airline industry has been in trouble since the time gas was selling for $1 a gallon.
The best thing (long term) that can happen to the US economy is if one or more of these unprofitable airlines - united, delta, american - shuts down. Newer, more efficient airlines will take their place (like southwest, jet blue etc) and offer the same if not more competetive pricing. Our govt continues to prop them up the way Japanese govt continues to prop up their unprofitable industries. It only leads to more inefficiency and greater burden on the overall economy.
post #17 of 20
High labour costs? In the US?!
Going by that reckoning, airlines in countries with much higher wages than the US should be going broke all over the place (western europe, Australia etc).
post #18 of 20
And they are. Sabena (brussels ?) and Swiss Air in the last 3 years have filed for bankruptcy. A number of countries prop up their airlines (Air France and Air India - for example). If they stopped doing that - more airlines would file for bankruptcy.

BTW - ant - I was pointing out "poorly negotiated labor contracts" in my post.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty

The best thing (long term) that can happen to the US economy is if one or more of these unprofitable airlines - united, delta, american - shuts down.
Did you miss the point where Eastern, PanAm, TWA, National, People's Express all folded?

So far, it hasn't seemed to make a significant impact. How many do you suppose will have to fold before the airline industry is stable? Of cource if we got down to one or two, they could charge anything they want.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
Did you miss the point where Eastern, PanAm, TWA, National, People's Express all folded?

are you suggesting these above airlines folded due to high fuel costs!!

So far, it hasn't seemed to make a significant impact. How many do you suppose will have to fold before the airline industry is stable? Of cource if we got down to one or two, they could charge anything they want.
Its not a question of how many need to close - its a matter of weeding out the unprofitable businesses. Federal govts funding unprofitable businesses - using our tax dollars - with a view to increase competition - just does not make sense. Why do you think Japan has still not be able to come out of their recession that started 15 years back?
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