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Thanks CO; DirectTV preview runs out in F early in SuperBowl and no fix given

Thanks CO; DirectTV preview runs out in F early in SuperBowl and no fix given

 
Old Feb 7, 11, 2:18 am
  #1  
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Thanks CO; DirectTV preview runs out in F early in SuperBowl and no fix given

Normally I bring an e-book and never trust the IFE but upon returning home to YEG from FLL via EWR & IAH today was surprised to find the Super Bowl on the DirectTV in the F cabin of the 737 model so settled into 1A and enjoyed the first half of 1st quarter while economy loaded. I thought great, I'll get to watch the whole game on the IAH-YEG segment and it'll keep me awake after a longer day with a few connections.

Upon take-off the reception drops out a bit but I'm patient and it eventually improves only to have the system tell the F cabin our free preview time has run out and we gotta swipe our CC to keep watching. This hasn't happened on the other two CO flights I was on earlier today so I politely advise the FA who disavows any knowledge of the system or desire to help resolve it faster than I've ever heard from an airline employee in my years of travelling. There were a few unhappy campers in a full F cabin but all she would repeat was that there was nothing that could be done, it was the "system" and it couldn't be reset or the fee waived for F passengers. One even suggested someone from the crew swipe their own CC and get it reimbursed from the airline to which she sputtered an ardent and emphatic 'no'.

After a few tense moments she basically went and hid in the galley but did come back later to offer the meal service and advised me others had caved in and swiper their CC to watch the balance of the game but I said no way, jose and turned the unit off altogether as did a few others around me. Once the free preview is over there isn't much point to having it on anyway IMHO as it just shows movie trailers on a loop.

Does this happen often and was it just my bad luck for the tech gremlins to strike early in the game? Other than the technical difficulties all my CO flights in the front cabin went very well today and I appreciated the service overall but the reaction to the DirectTV troubles sounded so classic airline buck passing it was disappointing. Maybe my 15+ years in the customer service trenches has taught me the effort has to be made even if the outcome is never really in doubt. Had the one FA even tried to talk the matter through with her co-workers the passengers would've appreciated the effort but that wasn't the approach taken and the take it or leave it 'no' seemed IMHO a poor choice with folks in the F cabin.

Now, those are my impressions and if I'm wrong about the system someone can point it out as it seems almost every system has a small degree of ability to reset or reboot or manually override an obvious error but it just seemed the all too familiar airline unwillingness to apologize for an error let alone bother seeking a solution. Had one or the other been done it would've smoothed a few football fans feathers.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 5:54 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
Normally I bring an e-book and never trust the IFE but upon returning home to YEG from FLL via EWR & IAH today was surprised to find the Super Bowl on the DirectTV in the F cabin of the 737 model so settled into 1A and enjoyed the first half of 1st quarter while economy loaded. I thought great, I'll get to watch the whole game on the IAH-YEG segment and it'll keep me awake after a longer day with a few connections.

Upon take-off the reception drops out a bit but I'm patient and it eventually improves only to have the system tell the F cabin our free preview time has run out and we gotta swipe our CC to keep watching. This hasn't happened on the other two CO flights I was on earlier today so I politely advise the FA who disavows any knowledge of the system or desire to help resolve it faster than I've ever heard from an airline employee in my years of travelling. There were a few unhappy campers in a full F cabin but all she would repeat was that there was nothing that could be done, it was the "system" and it couldn't be reset or the fee waived for F passengers. One even suggested someone from the crew swipe their own CC and get it reimbursed from the airline to which she sputtered an ardent and emphatic 'no'.

After a few tense moments she basically went and hid in the galley but did come back later to offer the meal service and advised me others had caved in and swiper their CC to watch the balance of the game but I said no way, jose and turned the unit off altogether as did a few others around me. Once the free preview is over there isn't much point to having it on anyway IMHO as it just shows movie trailers on a loop.

Does this happen often and was it just my bad luck for the tech gremlins to strike early in the game? Other than the technical difficulties all my CO flights in the front cabin went very well today and I appreciated the service overall but the reaction to the DirectTV troubles sounded so classic airline buck passing it was disappointing. Maybe my 15+ years in the customer service trenches has taught me the effort has to be made even if the outcome is never really in doubt. Had the one FA even tried to talk the matter through with her co-workers the passengers would've appreciated the effort but that wasn't the approach taken and the take it or leave it 'no' seemed IMHO a poor choice with folks in the F cabin.

Now, those are my impressions and if I'm wrong about the system someone can point it out as it seems almost every system has a small degree of ability to reset or reboot or manually override an obvious error but it just seemed the all too familiar airline unwillingness to apologize for an error let alone bother seeking a solution. Had one or the other been done it would've smoothed a few football fans feathers.
First write a letter to CO immediately. That is totally unacceptable service and the FA invovled should be fired. She won't be because of unions, but hopefully you can start a paper trail in her personnel file. Second, I think you should have made your own in flight entertainment, along with the other F passengers by using the call button every time she went to sit in the galley and read her People magazine. Third, you probably could have swiped your card and just disputed the charge on the credit card.

Come to think of it, the fact that the machines in F even have a mechanic for card swiping is absurd. I bet Ole Smissey is going to start charging us.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by gawhite411 View Post
Come to think of it, the fact that the machines in F even have a mechanic for card swiping is absurd. I bet Ole Smissey is going to start charging us.
Nothing absurd about it. Probably more expensive to have two versions of the system - one with the swiping and one without - than just have it on all the systems.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 7:24 am
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That hasn't happened to me. I have been on flights where the DTV was not working (I was in FC) and the FA's still made the DTV announcement. I mentioned it 2 times to the lead FA who told me that it is out of her control. When I asked why she would make an announcement to Y to push them to purchase the service when she knows it isn't working, she replied, "Because that is what I am told to do."
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Old Feb 7, 11, 7:42 am
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I was on a 738 and the system was not configured properly to provide FREE DirecTV to FC.

The FA did try and play with the system but had no idea how to force the system to provide the service free of charge to FC.

Dan
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Old Feb 7, 11, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by dan1431 View Post
I was on a 738 and the system was not configured properly to provide FREE DirecTV to FC.

The FA did try and play with the system but had no idea how to force the system to provide the service free of charge to FC.

Dan
And that effort or failing that an apology was really all I was expecting. I'm a polite Canadian so didn't make a scene about it and may write a letter, though relax folks as I won't be seeking compensation but rather merely pointing out a customer service experience.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 7:55 am
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My first experience with the DTV was a couple Saturdays ago in the F cabin. I was glad I wasn't sitting in Y (where I might have been tempted to buy it out of curiosity); the signal came and went, and the notice about "your free preview is ending soon" stayed up nearly the entire flight, obstructing a large portion of the screen.

One of the gentlemen a couple rows up had inadvertently swiped his card, not knowing that the service was complimentary in F. I heard the FA give him a similar song-and-dance regarding the issues we were having: she was unable to do anything about it, and he would need to contact someone on the ground.

It doesn't surprise me to learn that there's not a lot FAs can do with the system. Similar to the IFE system on the larger birds, about all I would expect them to try would be a restart, but don't know if that's possible with DTV. Either way, the system was buggy enough to convince me that it's not worth purchasing until they get the kinks worked out.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
And that effort or failing that an apology was really all I was expecting. I'm a polite Canadian so didn't make a scene about it and may write a letter, though relax folks as I won't be seeking compensation but rather merely pointing out a customer service experience.
An apology should have been offered [FULL STOP], I find that many times the FAs are really unsure what to do, not an excuse just an observation of mine.

Dan
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Old Feb 7, 11, 8:18 am
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The lack of DTV signal has happened quite frequently on my few flights equipped with DTV.
Sometimes the one channel I want to watch will not play due to lack of signal, while other channels might come on.

I dont complain. I dont really care about watching TV that much.

However, in the OP's situation, he/she should at least write a letter about the way the situation was handled by the FA. The SuperBowl is a very prominent event. Millions watch it around the world.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 9:19 am
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sometimes NO means NO. She said she couldn't comp it, he said she tried to fix it, and no she couldn't fix it. So now you want her to discuss with her crew what else she can do, even though she has ben trained on the system, and probably had this problem many times, as if we the PAX know more about operating it than she does.

I'm certain after the "cabin suggested she use her own card" she was completely over the outrageous suggestions being offered to her and repeated cry from customers to try some other method of fixing which her training has told her won't work anyway.

NO MEANS NO.

Somewhere in this forum, a FA has posted the picture of the FA controls for the system. Basically it's ON or OFF, no manner to go in and allow a particular station to reboot or comp. that's the limitation of the hardware on CO planes which does vary from other airlines, NOT of the FA.

Write to CO Customer care, they are the ONLY ONES who can accommodate this. The flight attendant herself should not be chosen to be you bank, unless she's the one you all paid your fares to initially.

NO MEANS NO.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 9:22 am
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Had the same issue last month - the FAs did apologize and explain the system was not working from IAH so the techs reset it before boarding, but did not do the reset correctly so F was not free. There was nothing she could do - but did say to purchase the TV, then go to continental.com and request a refund.

So...I purchased the TV and went to continental.com for a refund - but the webpage was not functioning properly and would keep hanging on the "number of card swipes" entry - after 3 days of trying, I gave up.

Now that I see this thread, I am going to try yet again to get my $4 back (if Smisek can be cheap, so can I).

So - the gist of the issue is the FA cannot do anything, but if this happens to anyone, let the FA know so it can be written up for a proper reset at the next station and just buy the TV and go to the website to process your refund after arrival.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 9:24 am
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Wink A thank you is in order.

Actually, I would write to thank CO, because you were spared from the embarrassment and irritation of having to watch the Queen of Unneccessary Melismatic Drivel screw up the anthem, and whatever that unbelievably badly mixed crap was it was that passed for the half time show.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by hangpilot View Post
Actually, I would write to thank CO, because you were spared from the embarrassment and irritation of having to watch the Queen of Unneccessary Melismatic Drivel screw up the anthem, and whatever that unbelievably badly mixed crap was it was that passed for the half time show.
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Old Feb 7, 11, 10:22 am
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So, seriously, understanding that it is supposed to be comped in F...

..If you wanted to watch the game, why not pay the $6 ($4 if you have a CO CC) and then request reimbursement afteerward from CO if youa re so inclined?

That's what I would have done. Blaming it on the FA doesn;t seem to make sense..especially when you don't know what kind of control she has over the system capabilities. In her shoes, I'd be embarrassed it wasn't working and probably not want to hang out in the cabin if there were going to be a bunch of whiners who think I can do something I can;t ...
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Old Feb 7, 11, 10:30 am
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Service recovery hasn't exactly been one of CO's strongpoints. Hopefully UA can help CO out in this regard.

As for what the FA could have done, the FA could have hit the FREE switch for the whole flight. Perhaps a bit of overkill, but it would've made right by the F customers at least. And with the number of people in Y who would have paid for it, processing all those refunds for ~20 F customers would have probably cost the same, not to mention the goodwill generated.

That said, CO employees have had their hands tied for years since Bethune left, so doing something like that and standing behind that decision is not exactly something can be expected with CO's fear culture.

Next best thing would be to document the problem and have CS issue customer care proactive email to everyone in F within 24 hours of the flight a la UA. But as I said before, service recovery is not exactly one of CO's strong points, so assuaging customers is not their forte.

That leaves the next best thing -- pay the six bucks and fight for a refund.
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