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Confirmed in FC seat 4A, get to EWR and I'm in seat 21B- compensation?

Confirmed in FC seat 4A, get to EWR and I'm in seat 21B- compensation?

 
Old Jan 21, 03, 2:04 am
  #1  
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Confirmed in FC seat 4A, get to EWR and I'm in seat 21B- compensation?

A more details than you probably want to know version of my nightmare this past evening….

My request is any advice on how to get and what level of compensation I should request.

Called on 1/16 to change my full Y $2150 rtrip ticket for my outbound portion from Flt 1202 to 1502 (EWR-LAX). Was originally confirmed in FC and specifically asked if FC upgrade was available before switch was made. Was told yes and given seat 4A. Received e-mail confirmation that I had seat 4A now on both the outbound and return portions of my itinerary.

Took Airtran to EWR and tried to use kiosk at Airtran station (55 minutes before scheduled departure) and received message that I could not receive my boarding pass as my itinerary did not match my reservation. I hopped on the monorail and called the Gold Elite line for help (wanted to try to get ability for kiosk use since I started to worry about getting to gate in time if I had to go to counter- I had not printed out my receipt to get me to gate area). After 5 minutes on hold- the agent said that everything was straightened out and I could use the kiosk as soon as I got to the airport (30 seconds later). He was right- the kiosk worked. The only problem was that it put me in seat 21C instead of my confirmed seat 4A! It was still 40 minutes or so to flight time- so I ran to the gate and asked the agent to straighten out the problem. She said, "nothing I can do FC is full- do you have proof of your seat assignment?". I said yes- I just have to download my e-mail and I could show her the screen with the e-mail. She said go ahead but there is nothing she could do. Maybe, she suggested, I should call the elite line and see if they could "figure things out". I ran to the phone and called the Gold Elite line again as I booted up my laptop. Boarding had now begun.

The res agent said that she did not show me ever being confirmed on my outbound in FC. I explained that this couldn't be true as I never would have switched my res if I weren’t confirmed in FC on the new flight. She then asked me to hold while she dug into it. Meanwhile they called final boarding for the flight. I hadn’t yet gotten to my e-mail so I shut down my laptop and went to the gate agent to ask if I had a moment more to wait for the Elite line to finish their research. She told me “no you have to get on now- and its not going to do you any good since there are no FC seats!!!”. I delayed a few seconds more and the Elite line agent came back on to explain to me that they were able to trace back that I was indeed assigned seat 4A but a last minute equipment change was made and I was bumped back because I wasn’t Platinum (apparently the 737-800 mid cabin lav w’ 5 FC rows was swapped for a non-mid cabin lav 800 w/ only 4 FC rows). I told the agent that this was totally ridiculous as I was never contacted etc…. I said that I had to board the aircraft but I would call back asking for significant compensation. She said she was sorry and understood my frustration.

Well as I said I was now supposed to be in seat 21C- at least it’s an aisle. I get there and there is someone else with the same seat assignment. So I wind up stuck in a middle seat (21B) of a packed aircraft- guy on the window got up 6 times to use the bathroom, the guy on the aisles snored so loud I could hear him louder than the movie through my $5 headset (left my back-ups home figuring I didn’t need them!). I had tons of work I had to get done on the flight and I didn’t get to half of it as I could hardly move (hence I watched the movie).

So given this long-winded saga- what should I do? I mean a confirmed FC seat becomes a middle seat in coach- for $2150!!!! I don’t pay that fare to be treated like this. And to think I drive and extra 45 minutes to fly CO from EWR rather than go to PHL.
MaxMiles is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 6:25 am
  #2  
 
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This is unfortunate and a call/letter might generate a few extra miles (or maybe even some confirmed upgrades), but I don't think you're in line for a lot of compensation. You were jerked around but you had not purchased a first-class seat. Equipment swaps are a fact of life and usually happen for fairly good reasons. Since this was not a change in aircraft type (not a crew issue), there's a good likelihood it was maintenance-related.

The most blunt response would be "you want to sit it first, buy a first-class ticket." A first-class ticket costs in excess of $2,500.

------------------
...or passengers swim.
Engines turn is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 6:50 am
  #3  
 
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agreed
IMStill4Travel is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 6:53 am
  #4  
 
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This happened to me on late 2001. I was confirmed on in FC on a 777 to IAH for a connection and when I arrived I had *no seat* at all, nada. I was put on the standby list They had downgraded the equipment from a 777 to a 73G and "decommited" something like 125 pax. There was a prob w/ another 777 going to Europe so they took this one instead.

Needless to say, I was not the only one in this dillemma. Not to sound callous, but at least you got a seat... I got bounced off the freakin' flight! After several calls I was told (who knows if it is true) that their computer system really has no provision to "protect" Elites when equipment changes. Almost like first come, first served for getting the new seats... and everyone else is S.O.L.

Of course it did not stop there... they were albe to work out a new flight plan to get me to my destination, leaving about 4 hours later. When I inquired about my checked bag I was told that there was nothing they could do about it... huh? two hours 'til departure and then I leave four hours later and there's nothing that can be done? gimmie a break? well to top it off, my bag that was supposed to get in on my original flight before I did, wound up being *misplaced* for a while and came in the next day sometime.

How can I forget the "and then" portion of my saga? when I showed up for my return flight I was informed that my itinerary had been cancelled due to the fact that I skipped the outbound flight! the one that I was kinda bounced off! that's a whole other story all together...

and yes, I was compensated for my troubles...
EWR-COflyer is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 7:04 am
  #5  
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You should have taken your Y ticket to a competitor. AA would have been happy to take it and give you a space-available complimentary upgrade if you were AA Gold/Plt/EXP.
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Old Jan 21, 03, 7:42 am
  #6  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by EWR-COflyer:
After several calls I was told (who knows if it is true) that their computer system really has no provision to "protect" Elites when equipment changes. Almost like first come, first served for getting the new seats... and everyone else is S.O.L.</font>
i had this happen to me, as well. and, i was also told that their computer system has no way to protect elites. amazing, this airline is really run by idiots--oh, sorry, i meant "the airline industry" is run by idiots.

[This message has been edited by fly co to see the yanks (edited 01-21-2003).]
fly co to see the yanks is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 7:50 am
  #7  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by MaxMiles:
....snip....

Called on 1/16 to change my full Y $2150 rtrip ticket for my outbound portion from Flt 1202 to 1502 (EWR-LAX).

....snip...


So given this long-winded saga- what should I do?
</font>
You should rest assured in the confidence that you have thoroughly and completely put to bed the myth that CO cares about "real loyal passengers" who spend the "big bucks" on their airline, and they simply treat ALL PASSENGERS as "Riff-Raff".
NJDavid is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 7:51 am
  #8  
 
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Bottom line is you paid coach and got coach. That said, given the fare paid and the fact that you ended up in a middle seat (ouch), you should be able to at least get the "value" of a 1-way upgrade. Ask for 10K miles and I suspect you will get it.
happymob is offline  
Old Jan 21, 03, 9:39 am
  #9  
 
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This happened on a flight I was on last fall that had an equipment change with fewer 1st class seats.

Passengers who were automatically upgraded and holding first class seat assignments were offered $1,000 in travel certificates for being "bumped" to coach. Those still on the waiting list to be cleared were simply given their coach seating without compensation.

Moral of the story: get a boarding pass ASAP -if there's a last-minute equipment change, they'd probably get you a 1st class seat (if you're holding a 1st class boarding pass) or accomodate you elsewhere in 1st class.

It's also been my experience that once you're upgraded into 1st class and volunteer to give-up your seat in an oversell situation, they'll protect you into a 1st class seat elsewhere. But if you haven't been cleared into 1st but volunteer your seat up, they'll just protect you into another coach seat.

If you paid full-Y and its an Elite perk to get an automatic upgrade to F when its available at booking, and it was obviously available at booking (otherwise they wouldn't assign you 4A) I would demand some sort of compensation for the snafu if there were fares cheaper than Y available on your flight.
Weatherboy is offline  
Old Jan 22, 03, 10:51 pm
  #10  
 
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Spiff's idea is really great and I'll use it if it ever happens to me again. I had a similar thing happen to me on NW. Bought Y tickets, automatic upgrade. NW cancels flight and puts us on CO in coach. Except at the time I was with my barely-able-to-walk grandfather. Lots of fun getting him into coach.

Any airline would be glad to have your Y seat. I guess it doesn't work if you're time-pressed, but I for one am going to take spiff's advice next time.
dthernandez is offline  
Old Jan 23, 03, 8:57 am
  #11  
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Heres another vote for what spiff said. If you paid that much for a ticket I am guessing it was refundable.

I am guessing that your company paid for the ticket. I don't know your timing and where you had to be and at what time but i would have cancelled, gotten a refund, walked down to another airline and bought a ticket, sent a copy of it to CO with the details and have asked them how can they afford to lose high yield customers like this when you just lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then I would have sent them my elite card and a copy of my middle finger with it.

this should not have happened. I would switch my primary carrier instantly. Assuming CO is your primary. Like NJD said, we are all riff raff at CO; and the customer always gets it up the backside in the end.
TrojanHorse is offline  
Old Jan 23, 03, 9:17 am
  #12  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Engines turn:
The most blunt response would be "you want to sit it first, buy a first-class ticket." </font>
... to which the responce should be that according to the elite benifits guide on CO.com, the following should be honored, "Gold Elite members traveling on a full Economy (Y) or Northwest -26/-27 type fare may request an upgrade at time of ticketing when traveling on Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines or Copa Airlines (subject to availability). Gold Elite members can simply call their Elite Priority Line and provide their ticket number. "

This is a perk for your loyalty to the airline and it is absolutely shameful that they wil give you a runaround like that.

[This message has been edited by knit-in (edited 01-23-2003).]
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Old Jan 23, 03, 10:58 am
  #13  
 
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I would suspect that EWR-LAX is full of elites. Perhaps, by the criterion that they sort the elites, you no longer made the cut (i.e. plats only). As others have said, if you require FC, buy it. If you want to take your chances, sometimes s**t happens.
installer is offline  
Old Jan 23, 03, 11:03 am
  #14  
 
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Assuming that you paid a higher fare to ensre a comfortable and risk-free upgrade (and got it), the best thing for CO would be to:

1. Give you the difference between the fare you paid and the lowest coach fare available at the time of booking.

OR

2. Compensate you in the same way they compensated any other first class passenger who had a confirmed First Class ticket and was given a different class of service.

I don't know how urgent your trip was and if it could have been delayed or not, but I usually carry an e-mail confirmation with me. I have been screwed over so many times not to carry paper proof with me.
arawal is offline  
Old Jan 23, 03, 11:22 am
  #15  
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Just to let you know what happened when I made my attempt at becoming happy again...

I called the WE DONT CARE line and basically recited my entire story and then requested a $1,000 travel voucher win compensation ith the logic that:
-I personally saw that offered at the gate to get volunteers to move to the back when this situation happened before
-I paid $2253 rtrip for a confirmed first class trip (yes it was a officially a coach fare for which I was allowed to confirm a first class seat). I paid $355 for an advance purchase coach fare on the same flights without the confirmed FC seat (yes I would have to stay over a weekend to get the $355 fare- but I fly every week and on the same EWR-LAX route and could easily book that low fare legally by flying a one-way to LAX on my first trip and then booking all Saturday night stay trips after that- I explained that I don't do that because, by paying $2253, I am buying a first class seat rather than coach!!). If I divide both fares in half to be equivalent to one-way, then I paid $949 more than I should have for the seat that I sat in.

The agent's quick response to my story was I did not pay for a FC seat so there is no way that she could give out that kind of compensation. We then spent the next 25 minutes calmly "discussing" my logic that I did pay for a FC seat because by paying $2253 I received a confirmed FC seat based on the rules set up by Continental- I have complete access to all available FC seats the same as someone asking to be booked directly in FC- it is merely a loophole that CO set up so that companies would allow employees to purchase FC tickets with out breaking the no FC ticket rule that many companies enforce. Well after multiple trips back to talk to her boss, the 1st and final offer of two upgrade certificates held. I told her they were useless to me since I can purchase full Y fares under company rules and would actually have better access to the FC seats since the certificates come out of a more restrictive bucket. She said, "sorry that is all we are going to do for you". I said, "thanks for nothing, I will take my weekly $2000 business back to good old USAirways and return to flying out of Philly saving the extra 45 minute drive to the Airport.
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