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SWU / Systemwide Upgrade problems, issues, glitch

SWU / Systemwide Upgrade problems, issues, glitch

Old May 12, 16, 9:12 am
  #1  
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AA service deterioration – can't seem to get SWU right

I've had a recent frustrating experience in trying to use a SWU on a non-elite companion.

I made two calls to the Executive Platinum line and was told that since we weren't in the same record locator, that I'm not able to use a SWU on a companion.

It was third third call before someone would process the SWU. However, one of the segments no-longer had SWU availablity.

I was told that my companion was put on SWU waitlist for the itinerary. I know of no way to verify this, but I assume it occurred.

Within 24 hours of the trip, I call the Executive Platinum line again to verify the SWU standby. I'm told it is good. However, once my companion checked in, it didn't show an upgrade request. So, I called back and was told that this could only be done at the airport.

At the airport ticket counter, the agent refused to do anything since my companion didn't have any upgrades in HIS account.

I go to the Admirals Club and, while very nice, the agent there tells me that there is no availablity in first, so she can't waitlist the SWU. She also tells me that a SWU doesn't apply to the entire itinerary (this one had two segments).

She also says that SWUs can only be done over the phone.

She finally attempts to waitlist the SWU on the one segment. Once she is done, my companion is dead last (33) on the upgrade list, even though SWU is supposed to be priority.

I posted this to vent some frustration but to point out the absolute ineptness of the new AA. These folks generally haven't been trained well and, unfortunately, this isn't the first time things that used to be handled quickly and easily by AA have become an ordeal with a generally unfavorable result.

Any suggestions on what else I could've done?

Last edited by JDiver; May 12, 16 at 5:23 pm Reason: Restore original post title
LetsGoToo is offline  
Old May 12, 16, 11:17 am
  #2  
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In 12 years as EXP, I've never had the type of experience you have described. I'm inclined to put this down to a miscommunication of some kind, resulting in confusion between stickers and SWUs. What was the itinerary?
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Old May 12, 16, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by LetsGoToo View Post
She finally attempts to waitlist the SWU on the one segment. Once she is done, my companion is dead last (33) on the upgrade list, even though SWU is supposed to be priority.
That whole experience is awful, but this is not true. SWU and stickers have same priority at airport based on status and request date.
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Old May 12, 16, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
That whole experience is awful, but this is not true. SWU and stickers have same priority at airport based on status and request date.
This is true, but since OP's companion is a non-elite (non-EXP for that matter), on the airport PALL list he receives the same "priority" as non-elites/general AAdvantage members for the upgrade, which basically amounts to last on the list.
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Old May 12, 16, 2:36 pm
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AA service deterioration – can't seem to get SWU right 2

Here's the story, this episode was on March 26th, only had the time to write it down now:

1) Months before, I called the EXP desk, applied 4 of my SWUs on my brother and his wife's reservation. GIG-MIA-GIG. GIG-MIA had availability, MIA-GIG gets waitlisted.

2) 24h before return MIA-GIG flight, upgrade goes through, re-ticketed in business.

3) They arrive at the check-in desk, agent tells them she needs the upgrade certificates (???). Tells them I need to call EXP desk and reapply the SWUs.

4) Just to be clear, I wasn't travelling with them. I'm at home while my brother and his wife are at the airport.

5) I call EXP desk, they tell me it's already ticketed in J, no need for any certificates. Brother tells me check-in agent is still demanding the certificate numbers. EXP desk agent tells me she doesn't need it but tells me she can find it in the reservation on lines 79 and 80.

(While this all happens, I'm still on the line with the EXP desk, waiting for the clueless check-in agent to check them in)

6) Check-in agent says there's too many numbers. Calls her manager. Manager is clueless. Calls her "help-desk". Over 10 minutes go by. Nothing.

7) Check-in agent asks which numbers she needs to type in since the certificates have 15 numbers but her system only accepts 13.

8) EXP agent tells me the first two digits should be suppressed, also says "how come she doesn't know it? DUH!"

9) Many many minutes go by, EXP agent comments to herself or maybe someone close to her "this is ridiculous", I guess she thought she was muted.

10) After 1:30h waiting by the check-in desk, (not joking, got the whatsapp message history with my brother to prove it) check-in agent finally says she's got it but there has been an equipment swap, they lost their seats and hands out 2 boarding passes with no seat assignment nor anything saying it's business class or priority or whatever.

11) They end up taking 2 middle seats on old 777 2-3-2 business class instead of the new 1-2-1 config they were in.

12) The next day I check my account and 3 (!!!) not two SWUs get deducted from my account. After a week or two, one gets restored.

Was that just an outlier or is this just becoming the new norm?

I wrote AA customer relations over a month ago and got no answer whatsoever. Did it go to a limbo?

Last edited by JDiver; May 12, 16 at 5:14 pm Reason: Restore original post title
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Old May 12, 16, 3:02 pm
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Write again and complain on Twitter too.
At GIG they are clueless, I tried to change a domestic leg at the Customer Service desk, for the very known Same Day Flight Change (confirmed) after I got an alert from EF ("E" bucket), but they didn't know what it was or how to do it, they even tried to charge me $200/250 for the change and I said, "no thanks". Went to the lounge, open my laptop and I was able to do it online in less than 3 minutes.
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Old May 12, 16, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by fedechat View Post
At GIG they are clueless [...]
This was at MIA, though.
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Old May 12, 16, 3:20 pm
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In that case is weird, I never had a problem with a SWU at MIA (my HUB) and I had used like 5 in the last 3 months.
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Old May 12, 16, 3:29 pm
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Personally, I do two things when requesting an upgrade-

(1) I don't get into the details of who is or isn't flying with whom. "Please look at the record ABCDEF for Mrs XYZ"

(2) I refer to them as "Executive Platinum VIP upgrades" - while it is tedious and pretentious, it makes very clear to them what kind of instrument I expect them to use. "SWU" seems like it was misinterpreted in your case as "sticker."

Finally, if an upgrade is waitlisted I generally call back every few weeks (or if I'm calling about a different itinerary) to check on its status.
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Old May 12, 16, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by fredshino View Post
This was at MIA, though.
Was this at the priority desk?

Agreed that it's inconsistent with my experiences at MIA as well. For all of its problems, MIA generally benefits from knowledgable agents.

It sounds like the upgrade was confirmed and the reissue stored but the agent was struggling with how to process it. Contrary to what the EXP agent said, there would be no prompt for a certificate number if the ticket had already been reissued.
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Old May 12, 16, 4:07 pm
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My partner had a similar issue at the checkin desks at MSY. No certificate number present in her booking apparently. I wasn't at the airport so spoke to the EXP desk and got the line number where the certificate number was recorded in the booking. Passed this to my partner and she told the checkin agent. Took nearly an hour to get sorted. First and only time we had this happen.
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Old May 12, 16, 5:10 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by vasantn View Post
In 12 years as EXP, I've never had the type of experience you have described. I'm inclined to put this down to a miscommunication of some kind, resulting in confusion between stickers and SWUs. What was the itinerary?
The itinerary was PHX-LAX-ATL.

I don't think it was a miscommunication on my end. I mentioned only SWU to each person I spoke with. The 500 mile upgrades never came up.
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Old May 12, 16, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by LetsGoToo View Post
The itinerary was PHX-LAX-ATL.

I don't think it was a miscommunication on my end. I mentioned only SWU to each person I spoke with. The 500 mile upgrades never came up.
How did you pronounce it? "swoo"?
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Old May 12, 16, 5:17 pm
  #14  
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There are numbers of new peeps in the AA system, and US peeps unfamiliar with AA procedures. It's a PITA when dealing with these folks, and ime their help desk backup is less than robust. And non-AA peeps - worse.

I've experienced similar issues recently at DFW. And prior to that a couple of others.
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Old May 12, 16, 5:21 pm
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Just a further update on this:

The itinerary was PHX-LAX-ATL.

The PHX-LAX flight was significantly delayed due to an engine not starting.

I would clearly miss the connection.

I went back to the Admirals club and was told that I'm not allowed to re-route. I pointed out that I was missing my connection.

I was then told that there were no seats on any flights to Atlanta available. I had already checked and ITA was showing 25+ flights from PHX to ATL for sale by AA. This also occurred around 8:30 AM. It's almost illogical to think there is nothing that can be done. The Admirals Club agent told be to go to general customer service in the concourse to get CUSTOMER SERVICE! I said that I thought that Admirals Club agents were there to provide customer service. Anyway, eventually every thing got re-routed. However, this agent insisted that she was not allowed to process SWUs. Ugh.

So I decided to go to general customer service in the concourse and this agent is extremely rude. She says that she can't do anything in regard to a SWU and says I have to call AA to get help with SWUs. I told her that I had already done that and the Executive Platinum line had told me that they can't process same day SWUs on the phone, that this can only be done at the airport.

At this point, I gave up.

In total, I talked to two Executive Platium Desk reps, two Admirals Club reps, a ticket counter agent, and now an in-airport customer service rep and not a single one of them could process a SWU, nor did a single one make any significant effort to do so.
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