Was I upgraded and then downgraded?

 
Old Apr 8, 02, 8:44 am
  #1  
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Was I upgraded and then downgraded?

Am really just trying to figure out what happened to me yesterday. First comment, DFW was a mess on Sunday afternoon (4/7) as thunderstorms were rolling through and there was a ramp hold for a couple of hours.

I and a companion checked in at PHX for flights PHX-DFW-EWR. Was told that we hadn't been upgraded DFW-EWR, but we were the first PLT's on the list. On landing at DFW went to the gate and asked as to the upgrade. Was told, "wasn't going to happen". When I got into the office this morning I see that I got an email confirming both my and my companion's upgrade on the DFW-EWR flight sent while we were in the air from PHX-DFW (ie well before I asked at the gate).

When we tried to board the DFW-EWR flight with our printed boarding cards for 16A/B, we were rejected and told to check at the gate. We were hopeful that the upgrades had come through. We were then told that our seats had been given away and the agent had no explanation beyond "you were on the upgrade list". When I began to question her about it she told me to step aside so she could work on it as "I know what I am doing". After a whole lot of typing and questions back and forth between the gate agent and what I assume to have been a supervisor (young woman in a business suit with a walkie-talkie), was finally handed boarding cards for 27D/E. I immediately complained about the fact that our original A/B (window and aisle on the two-seat side) had now been switched for an aisle and middle on the three side. The agent then told me that she would do what she could for my companion but I had to board right now or "we'll have to security screen you and you'll miss the flight". Needless to say I didn't board and the best they could do was to move my companion to 27F and keep me in 27E.

The only way that I can piece together what happened is that we got the upgrade and then before we could claim the seats at DFW, paying First Class passengers were moved onto our flight (there were flights to LGA and JFK that were cancelled because of weather), thereby downgrading us again, but without seats. I am livid about how this was handled by AA and the rudeness of the gate agent. In retrospect I should have gone to the Aadmiral's Club right from the start and had the agents there deal with it.

Is my explanation plausible (we were upgraded, then downgrade without seats)? Could I have done anything differently? Do I have a valid complaint either regarding the situation or how the agent handled/threatened me? Unfortunately I didn't get her name.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 9:02 am
  #2  
 
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Your story makes a lot of sense. I have been upgraded and downgraded on a flight on a number of times. The agent has always managed to get back my old Y seats by throwing out whomsoever had been given them when I was upgraded.

I think you have some cause for complaint but personally I don't think you have that big a cause. From what you say the amount of time spent typing may well have been a desperate attempt to at least give you your old seats back. I think you suffered from the high numbers of elites which will be running around demanding re-accommodation etc at DFW when bad weather has made for cacellations
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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:06 am
  #3  
 
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cut em some slack for the weather fubaring the whole thing. i realize its a long flight and all stuff, but when the weather hits and the flights get hosed, its tough all around. i always try to cut them some slack, and simply be happy to be home.

if there werent any bad weather, you'd have a slight gripe about ending up with those lousy seats, but maybe EXP's took them away from you?

ideally the gate agents would explain all of it to you, but thats not how it is. instead they sit there like hemingway or somehting typing their heads off while you wait.

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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:08 am
  #4  
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It does sound like you were upgraded and then downgraded.

I don't think there's much they can do at that point. If other people have already been given your seats I think it's somewhat unreasonable to pull them off and give them new seat assignments.

I'd chalk this up to "the risk you take" when trying to upgrade, especially in bad weather when a lot of flights are getting canceled.

d
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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:12 am
  #5  
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You know, you're all quite correct. I really don't have a lot to complain about. It is the risk of playing the upgrade game, although it's the first time I have ever had this particular series of events happen to me (I thought you were locked into seats until you upgraded when you were assigned seats).

In retrospect the thing that really sticks in my craw is the security screening comment. The more I think about it the more this was said simply to get me to go away and was meant to scare me into moving so as not to be "randomly selected". I don't plan on making a big deal of it (and my travelling companion actually congratulated me on being quite calm and friendly about the issue at the time).

I sent an email to AA just to see how they reply.

[This message has been edited by FlyLots (edited 04-08-2002).]
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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:29 am
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Well even though I dont fly AA, I have few friends that work for AA, so if get mistreated at the gate and you go home and open up ur email and poof there are emails telling you have been EUA, Darn right you have cause. I would copy the screen and send it to AA. If it happened to you how many more people will it happen to? Have the EUA notifcation sent to your cell phone! That is if it has email.. which a lot of them do today
I would like to see them send you 2 non restrictive upgrades on your next flight of your choosing!

Shame on AA for pulling this.

NOW

At the gate they said yes u were upgraded and there was an error, blah blah blah fine but they didnt they basically lied to you and forced the lies down your throat!

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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:43 am
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This all raises an interesting question, though. In this case, you were upgraded and then downgraded and your original seats were gone - what if ALL of the economy seats had been assigned during the time the system had temporarily upgraded? Would you be without a seat at all? Would they tear up the boarding passes of a confirmed non-elite customer to give the seat to a Plat or EXP?

I'd be very curious to see how this situation would be handled. I'm not sure what kind of safeguards there should be, but there should be something. Or perhaps once an upgrade seating assignment is made, then don't downgrade under any circumstance.

I have to say that the security screen comment was way out of line! As if the situation is not stressful enough, should airline personnel be using security screenings as a threat? Most certainly not! The rest of your story is unfortunate, but on that point, I would seriously have taken down the name and would write to the airline. That behaviour is completely inappropriate.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 10:52 am
  #8  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ernestb:
Well even though I dont fly AA...
At the gate they said yes u were upgraded and there was an error, blah blah blah fine but they didnt they basically lied to you and forced the lies down your throat!
</font>
I think the others who have commented here had a more appropriate perspective on how to look at the events depicted in this case.

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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:04 am
  #9  
 
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Wait a minute.

homey, I agree that weather, especially at DFW, can be a pain in the you-know-what. As a matter of fact, I drove through DFW yesterday (had to drop a package off at cargo). "FUBAR" doesn't begin to describe how things looked on the tarmac.

However, waether or no weather (and I agree with you about trying to cut gate agents some slack), FlyLots lost two confirmed seats.

Not once, but TWICE.

Sure, the first seats he/she lost were because of an upgrade. But then the upgrade seats were lost as well! What good is a confirmed seat assignment, upgraded or not, if AA is not going to stick by the confirmation?

And doppy, I have to take issue with your comment about the "risk you take" when upgrading. Why is upgrading a risk we take? AA offers confirmed upgrades to elite members as a published benefit. If space is available, and you're willing to pay the fee via stickers, AA offers a way to confirm a seat in F. That's exactly what happened to FlyLots. Then the weather set in. AA offered a perk/product/service to an elite FF, and they should have stood by it. Upgrading elites should be a risk AA takes.

That's complaint #1.

Then, to make matters worse, the agent a) lied to the passenger, b) couldn't resolve the situation to the customer's satisfaction, even though the customer (assuming the veracity of the story) was clearly the wronged party, and c) threatened the customer with a security screening.

I'd say you have lots to complain about.
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:08 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JonNYC:
I think the others who have commented here had a more appropriate perspective on how to look at the events depicted in this case.

</font>
perhaps Jon your one of those people that like to scale around the truth of the matter and in which case I hope that you experience a situation such as this one and have the threat of security screeening shoved down your throat. Sometimes the truth isnt pretty but facts are facts. Good day
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:12 am
  #11  
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The really fascinating thing is watching you guys go back and forth exactly the same way I did in my own head during the actual flight DFW-EWR. I have boiled it down for myself into two seperate issues.

1) It appears we were upgraded and then downgraded at the gate. If they are going to do this then at least protect us with seats in coach. I think there is a larger issue here as well which is .... once you are upgraded I think it should stick. In other words if a full-fare F tries to get on the flight then the answer should be, "I'm sorry the flight is full" or "F is full but we could accomodate you in Y since your other flight was cancelled". I know this opinion could open me to flaming from people who pay full F. But, for example, what happens if a full F pax tries to get on a totally normal flight (no weather issues, etc.) but just because they are there early? Would they downgrade someone already upgraded to accommodate them. I hope the answer is no. BTW I never noticed in the upgrade emails before, but it does say "*Note* This upgrade is subject to passenger being an AAdvantage Gold,
AAdvantage Platinum, or AAirpass Member or companion of AAdvantage Gold,
AAdvantage Platinum or AAirpass member and must meet all rules and
regulations of the AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum and AAirpass
programs. Final confirmation and acceptance of upgrade will be made at
the airport on the day of departure."

2) The threat of being security screened made to get me to board is the thing that really upsets me in the end.

Final thing to send some people over the edge.... the flight (with all the weather delays and a number of pax being turned away from our EWR flight from cancelled flights to JFK and LGA) DID NOT GO OUT WITH EVERY SEAT FULL. Interestingly, 26B was empty when we pushed back. My travelling companion was paying enough attention that he quietly suggessted to the woman seated between us in 27E that she might be more comfortable in 26B (the aisle), so she took it and left us with an empty seat between us. If there was going to be an empty seat, don't you think after everything we had been through, as the agent, I would have made sure it was 27E?

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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:13 am
  #12  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ernestb:
perhaps Jon your one of those people that like to scale around the truth of the matter and in which case I hope that you experience a situation such as this one and have the threat of security screeening shoved down your throat. Sometimes the truth isnt pretty but facts are facts. Good day</font>
Yes, perhaps. Thanks for your input.

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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:15 am
  #13  
 
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Fact you got the email and the fact that ur AA Plat is enough reasons why I would fight this....
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Old Apr 8, 02, 11:55 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyLots:
...The agent then told me that she would do what she could for my companion but I had to board right now or "we'll have to security screen you and you'll miss the flight"...</font>
At a minimum, I would complain to AA to make sure that you didn't have your upgrades taken and not returned.

Second, I would write a letter to AA detailing the threatening comment that the GA made. The comment was entirely uncalled for and unprofessional. Good for you to not board and call her bluff. I can't say that I would have stayed calm if I were in the same threat. Write a letter to AA (copy the letter to the DFW station manager and send a copy of the letter to the head security moron himself, Mr. Mineta) as an example of bad employees (who should be fired) who are abusing passengers in the name of "security." I would also consider sending a copy of the letter to the WSJ or USA Today (any of the newspapers who like to attack the airline industry and highlight the antics of the security morons).

Understanding that DFW was screwed up due to weather, it would have been better for the GA to be honest and say that due to the weather, you were inadvertantly (and regrettably) downgraded out of F because 1,000s of passengers had to be reaccomodated and the seats were taken while you were inbound from PHX. She could have at least pretended to be sympathetic and say that she will do all she can (which I can understand that under the circumstances, could probably be nothing). But for her to threaten you is absolutely uncalled for and just highlights her unprofessionalism and hatred for her job.

At a minimum, the GA will get chewed out and have a negative comment made to her personel file which should hopefully negatively impact her for the rest of her AA employed life, better yet, bad people like her should be fired.


[This message has been edited by onedog (edited 04-08-2002).]
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Old Apr 8, 02, 1:01 pm
  #15  
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A couple questions about the security screen you and miss the flight comment: I always thought or assumed that once you had your tix scanned and were being checked by Security that the plane couldn't leave without you.. one reason being the head count would not match the ticket count on the plane, is that incorrect?

Also, I'm not sure about this but is this a legal threat, or what would happen if a complaint was made to the government agency responsible for screening that AA GA's are doing this?

Shall I carry a tape recorder in my suit jacket pocket from now on just to tape all GA comments?

Finally, I didn't know that AA sent EUA's on upgrades... thats cool...
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