Emirates over rated?

Old Oct 4, 15, 10:22 pm
  #91  
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Originally Posted by rgdave View Post

I understand revenue management decisions about pricing. But in a lot of cases the decisions aren't directly about revenue management, but about inflexible policies and procedures. In the case of my CX flight from HKG to JFK (which, by the way, my longer layover was the result of CX's actions, not mine), moving me from the later flight to the earlier flight would have been revenue neutral.
With which airline points had you made the booking ? was it with Asia Miles or another carrier's scheme?

If the latter than would definitely not expect a voluntary change to be considered by CX but simply to refer back to the booking agent to rebooked if availability for awards

Also , in this case, the complaint about not being informed is one to take up with the issuing company - it was the one responsible for informing the customer of the change

If CX opened Z inventory to allow award bookings, then would then be no issue ( as long as the scheme issuing the ticket allowed changes to booking )

If CX had not opened up Z class, then it suggests that its view on what is available to offer may be different to what you feel it should be

Regardless of this - as far as the OP goes - complaints such as not being able to get upgraded after having earlier declined to get upgrade processed when it was available are risible
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Old Oct 4, 15, 11:47 pm
  #92  
 
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I have just sent an official complaint about my upgrade experience to Emirates and will wait for their response. I specifically mentioned this in my complaint: "If you will give me a satisfactory resolution I will take another Emirates flight and become gold member, but if you will not offer me a satisfactory resolution then I will have no other choice but to move my loyalty program to another airline since the failed upgrade option was not my fault."

Now all I have to do is sit and wait.......

Edit:
I forgot to mention that amenity kits were not provided on their evening flight from KUL - DXB......
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Old Oct 5, 15, 12:21 am
  #93  
 
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That was fast! Okay here is Emirates official response on this:

Hi Mohammad,

Thanks for your email regarding reward upgrade.

Instant upgrades are applicable only for the flight you are undertaking (i.e. if you are transiting on to another destination the upgrade will not apply on the next flight) and are subject to seat and catering availability. To find out more about upgrade rewards and instant upgrades, please visit our FAQs.

http://www.emirates.com/ae/english/s...-benefits.aspx

For future flights, please contact our Emirates Service centre 0097142144444 or submit the online form from our website www.emirates.com if you face any technical issues online and we will assist you further.

Regards,
XXXXX
Skywards Member Services
It is also official that I'm tossing away my digitally printed skywards card in the bin where it belongs. I'm officially done with Emirates and its terrible customer service. No wonder it is rated as 4* airlines and Qatar Airways is rated as 5* airlines.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by aceboy44 View Post
It is also official that I'm tossing away my digitally printed skywards card in the bin where it belongs. I'm officially done with Emirates and its terrible customer service.
^^^ Can we get that in an affidavit please?

As others have explained far more patiently to you than I ever could, the entire ordeal was your own making when you refused the upgrade at the town ticketing office. The rest simply follow naturally from your foolish decision.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by aceboy44 View Post
That was fast! Okay here is Emirates official response on this:
They were surely following up this thread and hardly waiting to conclude the painful story.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 1:51 am
  #96  
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Originally Posted by aceboy44 View Post
It is also official that I'm tossing away my digitally printed skywards card in the bin where it belongs. I'm officially done with Emirates and its terrible customer service.
Is that a promise ?

You got a rapid response , that addressed the issue and was completely accurate?

I can see why you wouldn't want to use Emirates again
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Old Oct 5, 15, 3:25 am
  #97  
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Originally Posted by aceboy44 View Post
It is also official that I'm tossing away my digitally printed skywards card in the bin where it belongs. I'm officially done with Emirates and its terrible customer service. No wonder it is rated as 4* airlines and Qatar Airways is rated as 5* airlines.
*You* messed up... can you not see that?
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Old Oct 5, 15, 4:15 am
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The self absorbed, self important can NEVER see it.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 4:31 am
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Originally Posted by rgdave View Post
So in aceboy's case, what I think is the frustrating aspect, is that the EK agent at the origin station, if they don't have the ability to clear to upgrade for the continuing ex-DXB flight, why can't they pick up the phone and call to some central EK number, to clear the upgrade for the ex-DXB flight, and issue the boarding passes? If you market yourself as a premium carrier, then your internal systems aren't the passenger's problem. Figure it out. It's not rocket science. If they're contract staff rather than EK, again it's not the customer's problem. Especially if a passenger is flying in a premium cabin, pick up the phone and get it dealt with, if the computer terminal in front of you can't deal with it.

Why do we have to replay this situation, over and over again, of having to HUCA (hang up call again), or trolling FT for the hidden numbers for specific off shore call centers (with supposedly 'better' staff to deal with issues), or having to call US call centers while sitting on planes delayed at PVG or NRT because of clueless outstation personnel? This isn't an EK issue, but a global airline one.
When check in opens (depending on station) we are generally 3-6 hours from departure. So that your ticket is not extortionate, airlines try and complete check in and boarding with the bare minimum of staff deemed necessary. Yes it would be nice if all pax had individual check in staff who then escorted pax to gate, whilst assisting with carrying luggage etc! But in reality on a B777 flight, 5-8 staff will check in, board and transfer 300+ pax. And some of those pax may be UMs, require wheelchairs/ambulifts etc and require a bit of extra assistance. There is a finite timeframe to check all pax in whilst meeting an airline's SLA criteria. Then on to boarding, transfer, escorting crew etc... And whilst the staff hopefully try and provide an acceptable level of customer service to pax, safety and security of pax are other major concerns of check in staff. If you work it out, after all the legal requirements (checking your passport, asking if you are carrying dangerous goods etc), check in staff have a very limited amount of time to deal with you personally...

With a handful of check in staff at T-3, it really is not feasible to start calling up DXB to see whether silver card holder Aceboy can upgrade his DXB-KWI leg. If Aceboy was IO, the call might well be made. With the amount of plats on EK, most staff would not make that call for a plat.

Fortunately I doubt Aceboy will ever achieve IO.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 4:33 am
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How positive to see that a thread that got quite janky was redeemed by some high quality rage free rational analysis by eternaltransit (who walked through each point, specifically, with no glib throw-away irrevelant comments), who also was part of a great discussion rgdave opened up.

While it does require investing a little time (like eternaltransit did), it is far better to unpeel irrational positions by progressively dealing with the elements through a transparent path of logical statement. It helps normalise expectations and expands understanding, and is far better than sniping emotionally (as much as the Internet loves to do so).

One thing I'd like to add to enternaltransit's and rgdave's discussion is that you also have to take into account the quirks of command and control factors (the psychology of administrative permission systems) as to why sometimes what would appear commonsense options are outside the reach of authority of frontline agents (and are difficult to refer to anyone else who might be able to exercise outcomes sought). There is always conflict in almost all organisations between "empowering" those dealing with customers to provide commonsense outcomes for customers, and the desires of the organisational hierarchy to have set boundaries for authority and standardised procedures and practices (and certain cultural norms can have considerable influence here between permissive and restrictive authority systems).

Most travellers with familiarity of the ME3 airlines will note, for example, that front line agents will be fairly limited in the exercise of authority beyond common and well defined situations, and to be referred to second line management (who may have the authority) in these cases is not an automatic process (there is a higher degree of distance). Airlines based in other cultures can similarly be like this. Even in Western airlines, you will find centralised authority high distance organisational cultures among the airlines.

This can feel frustrating for customers looking for common sense in non-routine situations - you have simply fallen through the gaps in that organisation's command and control structures. You are asking an agent running on fairly tight authority rails for something outside their remit to provide, yet they are also limited in getting anyone with the authority to provide the requested common sense to deal with the matter directly (and in the majority of cases, they can't just say so, leading to some less than honest tap dancing).

Sometimes you just have to accept that rather difficult roadblocks will stand between you and common sense outcomes, and just take the sub-optimal but obtainable solution instead. Like any organisation comprised of humans, you are going to find quirks and illogical aspects, and there's a certain point where you'll continue to get diminishing returns on time spent chasing resolution of issues. At least you can turn such things into eyebrow raising anecdotes to share with others for a wry laugh (certainly better than working one's self into a inconsolable froth over - given it won't make one iota of difference).
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Old Oct 5, 15, 5:20 am
  #101  
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Originally Posted by SuiteFlight View Post

This can feel frustrating for customers looking for common sense in non-routine situations - you have simply fallen through the gaps in that organisation's command and control structures. You are asking an agent running on fairly tight authority rails for something outside their remit to provide, yet they are also limited in getting anyone with the authority to provide the requested common sense to deal with the matter directly (and in the majority of cases, they can't just say so, leading to some less than honest tap dancing).
Issues with non-routine situations are irrelevent here though

This is only a routine situation - The terms of on departure upgrades are that they are for flights from that airport only and in accordance with this he was only able to upgrade that section

This is also what EK customer service confirmed in its prompt response to the complaint

The issues are of the OP's own making by refusing to process an upgrade due to other passengers sitting nearby
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Old Oct 5, 15, 6:00 am
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Originally Posted by rgdave View Post
eternaltranit, thanks for such a thoughtful, reasoned and thought provoking resonse to my last post. It's something I find so refreshing on FT, when there's a thought provoking comment that doesn't degenerate into flaming.

You raise a very interesting point, that every day, there are hundreds of thousands of passengers that, to the airlines, are little more than revenue data points. To each airline, we have sort of like a FICO score, in terms of our revenue potential. If you're a super platinum loyal to a single airline, you have an 890 score and get better treatment. Every airline has overrides for those flyers. But the vast majority of passengers don't have high flyer FICOs, and that's the challenge, particularly for airlines that promote themselves as premium, and can lead to a wide expectation gap.

I'm an airline agnostic. I don't have strong airline loyalty (maybe my bad). My revenue flights tends to be coach/low categories, while my award redemptions are premium. I'm an independent business person who pays for my own travel, but I still drop a good amount of change every year on airline travel. I'm am FT groupie who works every angle. For example, if I'm paying to fly coach on a long haul flight, I'll pick an airline that gives me an opportunity to bet an an upgrade through Optiontown or an airline bid system over one that doesn't, or an airline like Alitalia that has attractive awards upgrades. I'm that weird " free agent" that has $20 or $25 thousand a year in airline revenue up for grabs, but with varying travel patterns that don't fit placing all my chips on red or black.

I understand revenue management decisions about pricing. But in a lot of cases the decisions aren't directly about revenue management, but about inflexible policies and procedures. In the case of my CX flight from HKG to JFK (which, by the way, my longer layover was the result of CX's actions, not mine), moving me from the later flight to the earlier flight would have been revenue neutral. Three hours prior to departure, it's highly unlikely they're selling another revenue F seat. And given CX's tight upgrade policies, unlikely they're holding seats out to upgrade J pax, either. That seat likely went out empty, not because of anything revenue related, but because of an internal policy. And I sat for an extra couple of hours in the HKG airport. Likewise, on an upcoming SQ res, I'm already holding the filet mignon part of the itinerary, SIN/FRA/JFK in suites; the connectors SGN/SIN or HAN/SIN is the hamburg or sirloin, and it's probably revenue neutal for SQ to shift my connector (both flights have plenty of J award space to SIN). This is what I mean by common sense.

So in aceboy's case, what I think is the frustrating aspect, is that the EK agent at the origin station, if they don't have the ability to clear to upgrade for the continuing ex-DXB flight, why can't they pick up the phone and call to some central EK number, to clear the upgrade for the ex-DXB flight, and issue the boarding passes? If you market yourself as a premium carrier, then your internal systems aren't the passenger's problem. Figure it out. It's not rocket science. If they're contract staff rather than EK, again it's not the customer's problem. Especially if a passenger is flying in a premium cabin, pick up the phone and get it dealt with, if the computer terminal in front of you can't deal with it.

Why do we have to replay this situation, over and over again, of having to HUCA (hang up call again), or trolling FT for the hidden numbers for specific off shore call centers (with supposedly 'better' staff to deal with issues), or having to call US call centers while sitting on planes delayed at PVG or NRT because of clueless outstation personnel? This isn't an EK issue, but a global airline one.
I totally agree that it really isn't a passenger's problem to think about the airline's point of view when it comes to internal processes etc. - I liken hospitality to a theatrical production: a paying customer is an audience member, who has paid good money (and sometimes quite a significant amount to sit in the best seats in the house) and is there to enjoy the performance. Audience members should rightly not care about production issues such as cast members having relationship drama, or the venue having facilities issues or supply problems with props. Those are all issues for the producer to deal with.

Similarly, when it comes to airlines - customers shouldn't have to know or care about things such as fare bucket availability, or issues with turnaround managers who don't load blankets properly or being short of crew because of illness. That's the airline's problem to sort out.

The problem I feel is the mismatch between how customers perceive their importance to the airline and how airlines perceive how important any individual customer is to them - which directly impacts the cost of each point of contact between them.

Airlines have a delicate balancing act - they are asking for 4x-10x the cost of a coach seat, for ostensibly not 4x-10x the floor and cargo space on their aircraft. That means they need to justify the cost - which they attempt to do through hard product, but also through their marketing department, i.e. selling the image of luxury, in whatever cultural context of their target market. The uniform feature of luxury globally though is making someone feel important and valued. Hence our problem: making a customer feel special, but not too special because that would be too expensive, mainly because of the time and therefore manpower it takes to do so.

Manual overrides and calls take time - and in a low margin business with punctuality measured to the second, it needs to be very much worth it to the airline if they need to process something that takes thought. In your example about why they don't call and make a change - imagine the scenario:

Check-in agent calls supervisor: "pax on award space wants to move to earlier flight"
Supervisor goes "why are you calling me about this, I need to load this flight and there are issues with crew control, call ticketing"
Check-in agent calls ticketing: "pax on award space wants to move to earlier flight"
Ticketing: "ok, give me the sequence number...ok...he's on Z class, there's no Z on the earlier flight, can't do it"
Check-in agent tells pax. Pax says, the flight is empty though, why can't you do it
Check-in calls ticketing again: "pax says it's empty, why can't you do it?"
Ticketing: "Because revenue says no, they don't want to open Z"

Even before we get to an actual reason that isn't internal processes (e.g. the reasoning - the airline thinks they can sell the flight and doesn't really care if it goes empty because it protects the premium halo in their opinion) we have wasted perhaps 5 minutes of time. Imagine you get 5-10 people doing this every flight. You can see how this could add to queues. Add on to this the fact that there is a very small window of around 120 minutes from when the plane is on the ground and passengers are at airports, and sometimes there are 500 people to load on a plane, and you can see how it is much more cost effective to stop the same query with a process wall that saves face instead of giving the corporate reasoning (which usually boils down to, you aren't important enough for us to spend time and money on fixing this for you).

As you said, airlines rate their passengers on how commercially important they think their passengers are. There will always be those who spend a lot but slip through the cracks - but as the old adage goes, you can't please all the people all of the time. One may spend 10-20k USD with an airline, which is a lot for any individual, but in the context of billions of dollars in revenue, is it really worth it for them to sacrifice time and margins to win that incremental business? I think the grim reality is that process responses that serve to irritate are a critical part of making sure everything works on-time - after all, we are all annoyed when a pax no-shows and we have to offload bags. Imagine if the system ground to a halt because an airline treated every pax like a VIP! There will be those who get angry and irritated enough to never use the airline again, but that is a cost of doing business and perfectly acceptable customer attrition.

For every customer leaving an airline, another customer is leaving another airline for you - passengers are to some extent captive to geography and flight networks!

In short - service recovery is one thing, but perception mismatch is another. When a customer says "common sense" like picking up the phone, what that means to the airline is additional costs of customer processing, which is just not worth it (unless you are a high valued customer as you say - which triggers overrides and mentions of "he is a diamond member" etc.)
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Old Oct 5, 15, 6:04 am
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by rgdave View Post
Your example about an upgrade without lounge access I don't find churlish, as along as it's stated upfront. Offer me an upgrade for $400 ( or whatever) , without lounge access and no reward points for the higher class of service, and I can make my take or no take decision based on that. (But do I at least get priority check in and security clearance?) Anytime you go below 'full retail price', it's fair for either side to negotiate the details. But this isn't a "common sense" issue. It's a negotiated value issue, of what is the value to each party. With my SQ SGN/SIN/JFK versus HAN/SIN/JFK example, if there'e an actual value difference, give me a price and let me decide.
I agree - I simply meant that there are many many customers who take up the offers and then argue vehemently that it makes no sense for them to be denied lounge access because "it's a business class ticket". For instance, I saw one couple where the wife was on a special offer upgrade (no lounge), and the husband had a J ticket and of course the wife was denied access to the lounge. The husband was very angry, but eventually upgraded to F to guest his wife in. He then tried to downgrade again at the gate for a full mileage refund, but that's another story

I even see it when customers have been given complimentary upgrades to J. From the airline's perspective again, the passenger has been moved to another seat so they can fill the plane up with more revenue. The passenger however, sees it as being upgraded to "business class" with all the associated privileges...hence arguments!
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Old Oct 5, 15, 7:09 am
  #104  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Issues with non-routine situations are irrelevent here though

This is only a routine situation - The terms of on departure upgrades...
Dave, I don't know why you persist in just skimming posts and reading in what isn't there. You have conflated two seperate discussions into a muddle of likely chip carrying.

The discussion of common sense outcomes (as extended further by my post on how authority systems impact that), as first discussed in general between eternaltransit and rgdave was a stand alone discussion that was not embedded in aceboy44's complaints. I'm sure you are intelligent enough to be aware of that, but for some reason seek to pick an argument that doesn't exist.

I have clearly agreed by the wording of my post with enternaltransit's quite comprehensive (and high quality) analysis of aceboy44's rather unreasonable view regarding his upgrades. You seem to share aceboy44's habit in this example of creating rather fanciful views, distorted from reality, for motives that appear questionable. Yet another case of you telling people what they've said, by your personal reconstruction? Oh dear...
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Old Oct 5, 15, 7:36 am
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by eternaltransit View Post
I totally agree that it really isn't a passenger's problem to think about the airline's point of view when it comes to internal processes etc... [they] should rightly not care about... [operational] issues... Those are all issues for the... [airline] to deal with.
I'd certainly agree that airline operations, the creation of policy, procedures, and governance systems are not things passengers should involve themselves with (they are, after all, not employees or managers of the airline), but there could be cause for confusion here in that what has also been strongly outlined is that passengers should be aware of these restraints in a general sense (such as that you are probably not as important to the airline as you'd like to think you are lol) to ground their expectations.

If you read your post in full I think that comes across clearly, but I thought it worth highlighting in case someone just quickly glances over the first paragraph. Like a sausage, we don't need to know what goes into it, but we should have a basic appreciation of what a sausage (or airline, in terms of how it acts) tastes like lol (so we don't expect it taste like spinach - or expect airlines to just accomodate every whim).
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