Hey Pitbull, listen up!

Old Aug 25, 03, 3:41 pm
  #1  
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Hey Pitbull, listen up!

Here's you're chance to shine. Though we don't know your rank or rate, maybe we will by the end of this exercise.

This morning I flew 142 (YVR-YYZ, depart 8:30am) as I invariably do when I head east. I pick this flight for a number of reasons, but the most important is that it is an A330 -- that is, emPower, space, IFE, and seat.

But not this morning. Arggghhh. Burned. By AeroLotto. Downgraded to a 767-200 -- nasty little planes. It's particularly annoying when you "pay" full whack for a J ticket, expecting an A330 Executive First seat but getting a United Economy Plus seat (well, close enough.) And it all could have been avoided, if only I'd known a few minutes earlier.

Problem is I didn't realize the equipment change until I was walking down the C concourse to the lounge. But by then it was too late. I had checked baggage, and I was heading to Atlanta, in the US, so there was no chance I would be able to change flights at this point.

If only the check-in agent had mentioned it.

Packing lots of extra safety time into my itineraries, I could have easily got on a later plane. That would have accomplished two things. First it would mean one more person could be accomodated on the 8:30am flight, instead of being bumped to the 9:30am or later flights. (Read another way, one less person would be inconvenienced.)

More importantly, to me anyway, I could pick the flight of my choice. I already checked and there were seats available on later, suitable flights, with aircraft more to my liking. So instead of two dissappointed customers, you now have one satisfied customer and one very satisfied customer.

I know equipment changes are sometimes unavoidable (we like to think it's due to need or safety issues, and not mere convenience -- probably wise not to burst that bubble) -- but they are disruptive and annoying to the passengers. Groups are split up, including parents and children, passengers are assigned seats in non-existant rows, and the plane invariably departs an hour or so late. But with a quick word or two, much of that annoyance can be eliminated, at least for some passengers.

Perhaps most basic members don't know, care, or understand the signifcance of an equipment change. But probably most Prestige and Elite, and I suspect every Super Elite does understand. So how 'bout a new customer service policy? One that costs essentially nothing to implement, and yet could do wonders for many passengers, particularly your most important passengers.

All the policy has to say is that in the case of an equipment change, inform the passenger of the fact at check-in, and offer them alternative arrangemest that are appropriate in the circumstances.

Those circumstance me be such that no alternatives are available. But that's no reason to not offer when the alternatives are available, doable, and reasonable. And I don't want to hear that it can't be done because sometimes it won't work. That's the old "We can't fix it for everyone, so we're not going to bother trying to fix it for anyone."

For every single person that you do "fix" it for, you'll have a happy and satisfied customer. For those who don't get their "fix" -- they may spend 4-5 hours stewing in a seat very much not to their liking.

Ball's in your court. Show us your tricks.
Ken hAAmer is offline  
Old Aug 25, 03, 4:12 pm
  #2  
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As much as I agree with you that aircraft change is annoying, domestic business class is advertised as 'Executive Class' [Domestic J]. Getting international J is a bonus and is certainly not guaranteed.
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Old Aug 25, 03, 11:20 pm
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Doesn't matter, they still have the opportunity to make 2 or more, perhaps several customers very happy for Zero dollars.

Zero. Nuthin'. Nada. Zip. Tango.

The alternative is to say "You deserve to get hosed today." Like MacDonalds. Only better.
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Old Aug 25, 03, 11:33 pm
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Hi Ken,

I'm very sorry that you didn't get to ride on the 330, I love them too...but did you have to break my airplane? It's still sitting in ATL and I just got home! <pout>

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Old Aug 25, 03, 11:59 pm
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Hey, you guys lose-a my baggage, I break-a your airplane.

(It's OK, it came in on the next flight. I just hung around unto 8032 came (15 minutes early, no less.)
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Old Aug 26, 03, 12:00 am
  #6  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">It's still sitting in ATL</font>
Ah, so that's what Rita was talking about.
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Old Aug 26, 03, 10:33 am
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If AC simply listened to its customers, especially those that have great ideas like Ken's, then it might have a chance to survive this mess. I suspect most FT'ers would be pleased to donate a day to the cause if AC flew them to a meeting at their expense (ie. no expense). I fear that the culture just doesn't allow for such innovative things like MVP Gold Lunches put on by Alaska Airlines to foster communication and understanding between the company and its best customers. I know AC had some of lunches at some point but somehow I doubt they were done in an effective manner.

Empress, I don't think Ken was suggesting he was owed compensation or anything for the domestic J plane, it would just be good customer service to advise the customer at check-in of such changes and accomodate reasonable requests.
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Old Aug 26, 03, 11:01 am
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But being the savvy traveller he is, surely KH should have asked at check-in about the type of aircraft he would be on. Particularly knowing the lotto game on this route, and that AC has a couple of long range intercontinental Airbuses out of commission, and thus necessitating the repositioning of those remaining to these more appropriate routes.

Sure, we have all had this happen to us, and are all disappointed when those intercontinental versions of 767s don't show up on YVR-YYZ-YVR. Why should the check-in agent tell you what the aircraft is if you don't bother asking. How is she to know you know it was scheduled to be an A330? Or that it means so much to you, or that you could have changed it had you known otherwise?
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Old Aug 26, 03, 12:00 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Shareholder:
But being the savvy traveller he is, surely KH should have asked at check-in about the type of aircraft he would be on. Particularly knowing the lotto game on this route, and that AC has a couple of long range intercontinental Airbuses out of commission, and thus necessitating the repositioning of those remaining to these more appropriate routes.

Sure, we have all had this happen to us, and are all disappointed when those intercontinental versions of 767s don't show up on YVR-YYZ-YVR. Why should the check-in agent tell you what the aircraft is if you don't bother asking. How is she to know you know it was scheduled to be an A330? Or that it means so much to you, or that you could have changed it had you known otherwise?
</font>
Perhaps you should go work for AC - a perfect fit it would appear.

Don't you think if you work at the airport and check-in a flight EVERY day that you would know what EQP operates it on a regular basis? I should think the answer would be yes, even at a busy airport like YVR for significant flights like YYZ in particular. The point is that being pro-active wrt customers pays dividends, floating through life and just reacting gets you where AC is today.

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Old Aug 26, 03, 12:17 pm
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Altaflyer - It's more complicated than that. Sometimes when it switches from international 763 to domestic 763 [or the other way around], the system will always be showing 763. For a specific flight, it could be scheduled as a 763 for the entire week but the type of 763 being used could be different everyday and the agent is unlikely to know that a change took place.

Sometimes aircraft changes are done more than 24 hours ago [such as in Ken's case, the aircraft change was done the night before because AC149 from YYZ had a switch], so the agent will never know there is an aircraft switch when ckin starts.

[This message has been edited by Empress (edited 08-26-2003).]
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Old Aug 26, 03, 8:09 pm
  #11  
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Then how about this... put a one line comment in my AC profile (the one that always pops up on the computers -- DCS?) saying "Please advise PAX if there is an equipment change."
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Old Aug 26, 03, 10:40 pm
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Altaflyer - whether you're aware or not, Aeroplan does do this. I can say this with certainty as I have spent several hours with some excellent AE staff going over "good" and "bad" issues, some my own, some that I have seen on FT but which do not impact me personally.

Unhappily, in many cases there is not much that can be done, because of (a) cost (i.e., pretty much any IT change is out of the question at the moment) or (b) union contracts (i.e., getting rid of evil T1 MLL agents for instance).


Simon
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Old Aug 26, 03, 11:59 pm
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How about just getting rid of those lousy
transcon flights with Economy Plus that they
call Executive class.......That would just be
a whole lot better.
I do not like 319,320,or 767-200 J class seats. They do not live up to the old AC standards AGAIN .... back to basics please
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Old Aug 27, 03, 12:05 am
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I don't mind the A319/20/21's, it's only the 767-200s. The seats are very narrow, the location of the IFE controls and headphone jacks is crazy, and the planes are getting a little tired.

While I'd rather be on an A330, getting moved down to an A320 wouldn't be that big a deal.
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