Why I will NEVER Fly vanguard Again and Why You Should not Either
Here's my story.
First, I fly a lot, and mostly on business fares. I am allowed to fly on whatever airline I choose. I pay for all travel expenses and get reimbursed by my firm in 2 weeks.
SO about a month ago, I bought a one-way tikcet for about $100 from MSP to MDW on a fare I got off Vanguard's website. The ticket was for the 6 am flight. I read the temrs and conditions carefully, and figured I could go later standby if need be. It so happened that my meeting was rescheduled for later that day. So I called Vanguard to see if they would be nice enough to confirm me on a later flight, even though they didn't have to do so.
Not only would they not confirm me, I was told that I could not go standby on a later flight. I told the CS person that the terms and condidition of my purchase reflected many restrictions, but NONE relating to stnadby. I had printed out the screen and politely offered to fax it to them to show it to them. The CS supervisor then told me I was lying (Called me "a liar") and that they didn't want my business, even though I spend $5K-$10K a year on airfare.
I still have the sheet. It says nothing about standby restrictions. They don't want my business over a $100 ticket. Fine. They can go bankrupt, and that jerk on CS can lose her job. I await that day. I fly on Co and NWA instead. Even NWA's customer service crushes Vanguard's.
I have NEVER been treated that badly by ANY customer service people. Vanguard is doomed to fail.
The restrictions on your fare stated
"Any change to the reservation may result in a $75 service fee per person plus any applicable fare difference." It also states "A customer may fly "stand-by" on an earlier flight at no charge."
Since you were changing to a later time, it's a change to the reservation, and as a business traveler they know that you will pay for the privilege to do so. United (and NWA and CO) make good money to schmucks like us who have to change their flight plans and get hit with these types of fees. United pulls money out of my pocket all the time for this.
Besides, what if you flew the later standby and couldn't get on and missed your meeting? Is saving a hundred bucks worth it?
The CSR sounded pretty rude though. Usually I just sigh and pay up, especially if it's not my money. For Vanguard flights, you can get advance tix for so cheap it's often cheaper to just throw them away and buy another one when plans change.
[This message has been edited by Tino (edited 06-14-2000).]
Vanguard is definitely the most restrictive airline I have flown on when it comes to ticket changes. They are simply completely inflexible about change fees. I can't say that I blame them for this considering the cost of the tickets are so low to begin with. As a result of this (and a spotty on-time record), I fly Vanguard only for personal travel.
If you want them to go broke, you may get your wish. Earlier this year, they got a "going concern" letter from their accountants, which is often the kiss of death for companies. Vanguard has since drastically increased their prices ($39 each way MCI-DFW to $69 each way as one example). I'm sure this is at least partially due to higher fuel costs, but my guess is they are looking to increase their margins as well.
Anyway, for the longest time, Vanguard was the absolute cheapest airline in the country. To some extent, you get what you pay for.
Vanguard isn't alone on the change fees for one-way tickets. I recently bought a United one-way (DEN-MCI) for mid-morning, then changed my mind and went to the airport for an afternoon flight. Had I gone *earlier* than my flight time, it would have been a free change, but because I went *after*, I had to pay the $75.
Two or three years ago, VNGD appeared to be turning the corner to reliability and profitability. They got listed on the Naz and were making about a few cents profit for a couple of quarters. High fuel costs have hurt them to be sure - and an enchanced LUV schedule at MCI doesn't help either. Rumor has it they are trying to dump the old gas-guzzling 737's to lease some new 717's. Not sure if they are financially healthy enough to pull it off...