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Independence Taking Advantage of College Students?

Independence Taking Advantage of College Students?

 
Old May 25, 05, 12:03 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation Independence Taking Advantage of College Students?

As you can see, I'm new to these boards. I must admit, I don't understand most of the content in these threads (fiscal matters, abbreviations, etc.) and am perhaps a bit out of my league. However, after my recent expereiences with Independence Air I'm left feeling very displeased, and would appreciate your feedback. I might be channeling the activist roots of my hippy parents a bit here, but please bear with me.

I bought a Glide pass. Why wouldn't I have? It's a phenemonal deal for someone with a flexible schedule and dreams of jet setting. I managed to book a ridiculous flight from IND-ORD by was of IAD on May 7th. I wanted to go home for mothers day, and didn't feel like making the drive. With my Glide pass, I figured I could just sit back and enjoy my hot towel and ipod. I was made to check my bag when I arrived at IND over an hour and a half prior to my departure. My IND-IAD flight was delayed due to weather, and the ground staff was nice enough to hold my connecting flight for me. I was on the ground at IAD for 3 minutes max, and realized the chances of my bag making the flight were quite slim. I was told by the flight attendant that in the event it didn't make the connection, I would be kindly rewarded under the Happy Bags promotion. No surprise, when I arrived at ORD my bag was no where to be found. A helpful gate agent helped me complete a lost bag form, but told me that my bag never even made my first flight and was still on the ground in Indianapolis! I was also informed that as a Glide pass flyer, I was ineligible for the Happy Bags promotion. I could have excused my bag not making the connection, as that was a weather delay. But I have a hard time justifying my bag not making it onto the original flight when I checked in 90+ minutes early. After reviewing the online Happy Bags rules, the only wording I could find limiting participation referred to employees and other "non-revenue customers". I take great offense in being called a non-revenue customer as Independence gladly accepted my $249. I certainly paid for my flight, and was as inconvenienced as anyone else would have been by having their bags lost and not delivered until nearly 8 pm on Mother's Day. I feel I'm owed some sort of compensation for my troubles as the Happy Bags promotion promises. Three separate calls to the Dulles Call Center resulted in no help or even an apology. Two emails to the complaints address were returned 8 days later with a rudely worded rejection of my request. I am most concerned that Independence feels they are able to treat college students as second class travelers, as I can't imagine them feeding an adult traveler the type of disrespect and miserable customer service that I was served up.

My most pressing concern is the availability of Glide flights. In early May, these flights were plentiful and easy to book. This is no longer the case. I check the Glide fares every single morning, and for the past two weeks I have not been able to book a single trip. There's one $0 fare flight per week, and rarely a returning flight. This was my greatest fear for the Glide program, and I gave Independence the benefit of the doubt when I jumped into this. I convinced my family and friends to buy these passes because they were such a fantastic deal, and now feel absolutely awful that they've proven to be nothing more than a useless $249 iClub account. I've sent several emails to the complaints address about this as well, none of which have been responded to.

I think Independence Air is a great airline. I'd rather have a crumby flight with them than a good flight on just about any other airline. I've stood up for them through several fumbles on their part, and encouraged others to give them a shot. In return, I am left feelings like Independence Air has absolutely taken advantage of me as a college student. They have taken money I don't have, and treated me poorly throughout. Regretfully, I will not be sticking up for this airline again until I see a major shift in the way they handle customer service.
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Old May 25, 05, 1:00 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by jasamuel
As you can see, I'm new to these boards. I must admit, I don't understand most of the content in these threads (fiscal matters, abbreviations, etc.) and am perhaps a bit out of my league. However, after my recent expereiences with Independence Air I'm left feeling very displeased, and would appreciate your feedback. I might be channeling the activist roots of my hippy parents a bit here, but please bear with me.

I bought a Glide pass. Why wouldn't I have? It's a phenemonal deal for someone with a flexible schedule and dreams of jet setting. I managed to book a ridiculous flight from IND-ORD by was of IAD on May 7th. I wanted to go home for mothers day, and didn't feel like making the drive. With my Glide pass, I figured I could just sit back and enjoy my hot towel and ipod. I was made to check my bag when I arrived at IND over an hour and a half prior to my departure. My IND-IAD flight was delayed due to weather, and the ground staff was nice enough to hold my connecting flight for me. I was on the ground at IAD for 3 minutes max, and realized the chances of my bag making the flight were quite slim. I was told by the flight attendant that in the event it didn't make the connection, I would be kindly rewarded under the Happy Bags promotion. No surprise, when I arrived at ORD my bag was no where to be found. A helpful gate agent helped me complete a lost bag form, but told me that my bag never even made my first flight and was still on the ground in Indianapolis! I was also informed that as a Glide pass flyer, I was ineligible for the Happy Bags promotion. I could have excused my bag not making the connection, as that was a weather delay. But I have a hard time justifying my bag not making it onto the original flight when I checked in 90+ minutes early. After reviewing the online Happy Bags rules, the only wording I could find limiting participation referred to employees and other "non-revenue customers". I take great offense in being called a non-revenue customer as Independence gladly accepted my $249. I certainly paid for my flight, and was as inconvenienced as anyone else would have been by having their bags lost and not delivered until nearly 8 pm on Mother's Day. I feel I'm owed some sort of compensation for my troubles as the Happy Bags promotion promises. Three separate calls to the Dulles Call Center resulted in no help or even an apology. Two emails to the complaints address were returned 8 days later with a rudely worded rejection of my request. I am most concerned that Independence feels they are able to treat college students as second class travelers, as I can't imagine them feeding an adult traveler the type of disrespect and miserable customer service that I was served up.

My most pressing concern is the availability of Glide flights. In early May, these flights were plentiful and easy to book. This is no longer the case. I check the Glide fares every single morning, and for the past two weeks I have not been able to book a single trip. There's one $0 fare flight per week, and rarely a returning flight. This was my greatest fear for the Glide program, and I gave Independence the benefit of the doubt when I jumped into this. I convinced my family and friends to buy these passes because they were such a fantastic deal, and now feel absolutely awful that they've proven to be nothing more than a useless $249 iClub account. I've sent several emails to the complaints address about this as well, none of which have been responded to.

I think Independence Air is a great airline. I'd rather have a crumby flight with them than a good flight on just about any other airline. I've stood up for them through several fumbles on their part, and encouraged others to give them a shot. In return, I am left feelings like Independence Air has absolutely taken advantage of me as a college student. They have taken money I don't have, and treated me poorly throughout. Regretfully, I will not be sticking up for this airline again until I see a major shift in the way they handle customer service.
That is very interesting. That deal did seem to be better then it looked.

P.S. I can't believe you flew from IND to ORD via IAD. I love flying more then the next guy, but i would have just drove. Or at least take southwest to MDW.
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Old May 25, 05, 1:29 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by prhs1989

P.S. I can't believe you flew from IND to ORD via IAD. I love flying more then the next guy, but i would have just drove. Or at least take southwest to MDW.
Well that plan was to stop over in IAD to have dinner with my father, but that plan was squashed by a weather delay. I'd still fly that route again, if I could find a flight on Glide. It's still cheaper than gas!
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Old May 25, 05, 2:58 pm
  #4  
 
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Welcome to Flyertalk. You obviously know airport codes, which 99% of flyers don't know, so don't worry about the other confusing codes we use around here. The help section ( http://www.flyertalk.com/help/ ) has an explanation on a lot of these codes.

If FlyI doesn't reply to your emails there are some FlyI employees who post here that hopefully can provide you with help or who to contact. If you still can't get anywhere, you might need to take it up with the DOT. If the number of seats/flights they are making available each week is miniscule and unusable, then I would bet the DOT would be interested to know about how much they advertised and promoted the Glide pass and how no one can use it.
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Old May 25, 05, 3:16 pm
  #5  
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Thanks for your help. This is exactly what I was hoping to find in these forums. In the heat of anger, you start to question whether your gut instinct is correct. It's good to know my complaints have at least some validity as I continue to press Independence for a sympathetic response to my requests.
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Old May 26, 05, 7:04 am
  #6  
 
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i don't have the number in front of me but you may want to call the 1800 number (18003593594)and ask for customer advocacy. They should be able to transfer you or at least get you the number. The ladies that work there are very nice and will try to help you out the best they can. Sorry for the delayed bag. but bags do get delayed. there is no way around that but we do try to keep it to a minimum. our delayed bag number for the month is somewhere around 3.4, which is pretty good. that means 3.4 bags mishandled (delayed, damaged, etc) for every 1,000 customers. ORD to IND thru IAD. Even i wouldn't do that and i fly for free. Good luck to you.
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Old May 26, 05, 7:30 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by flyin_i
i don't have the number in front of me but you may want to call the 1800 number (18003593594)and ask for customer advocacy. They should be able to transfer you or at least get you the number. The ladies that work there are very nice and will try to help you out the best they can. Sorry for the delayed bag. but bags do get delayed. there is no way around that but we do try to keep it to a minimum. our delayed bag number for the month is somewhere around 3.4, which is pretty good. that means 3.4 bags mishandled (delayed, damaged, etc) for every 1,000 customers. ORD to IND thru IAD. Even i wouldn't do that and i fly for free. Good luck to you.
Thanks, I'll give that number a shot. I understand that delayed bags happen. I just resent being excluded from the Happy Bags promotion because I am a Glide passenger. That combined with the almost non-existent Glide fares has made it seem as though Independence has taken my money and run with it. I wouldn't expect a refund of my entire $249, but do feel I should be compensated as anyone else would have been. Even an apology for my inconvenience might have left me with out such a bad taste in my mouth. As for the inconvenience of flying through IAD to get to ORD, that type of flight was sort of my reasoning behind Glide. College students have a little more time and patience to take a ridiculous flight such as that, which may have some empty seats.
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Old May 26, 05, 9:53 am
  #8  
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A little off topic but remember that Independence is the old ACA. ACA used to manage United Express check-in in Nashville and after my experience with them, I will never fly or reccomend that anyone flies Independence. In all of my years of travel I have never had a Ticket Agent flat out ignore me when I was talking to him and when I asked of a supervisor, wait until I repeat the request three times before he acknowledged it and rudely told the supervisor I wished to speak with them. Without looking up from her computer, the supervisor shoved the United Customer Relations # in my face and ignored my follow-up requests for their names. These are the same people which make up Independence today so it doesn't surprise me in the least your disastisfied.

Beyond Independence I avoid LCC's like the plague - haven't flown one in years. They are just not worth it. Customer Service on the legacies can be just as bad at times but in general you get a professional experience and a lot more protection in the case of travel irregularities.
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Old May 26, 05, 11:04 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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UAX past

I'm not 100% for sure, but I believe BNA was not staffed by ACA employees when we were flying there. Even though they flew to a LOT of stations as ACA, not all of the stations were staffed with ACA gate agents / customer service... most of the bigger cities which UAL also served were staffed by UAL ground crews, and the rest of the stations were split between ACA / AWAC ground crew. It was not uncommon for ACA passengers to receive sub-standard treatment from both UAL or AWAC employees, even though we were all supposed to be working for the same "team". As an employee I stopped using the UAL travel priviledges all-together when I had a series of unpleasent run-ins with UAL employees, and witnessed a UAL gate agent working an ACA flight in LGA scream at a passenger who thought his bag could fit in the overhead compartment, and wanted to try it before he left his bag planeside to be put in the cargo hold. This is not to say that this could not have happened in ACA days at one of our stations, but from my experience with UAL / AWAC ground crews I think it is MUCH more likely that you had a run in with them instead.
Sounds like you've already ruled out LCC's altogether, but the only thing I can say is that if you are ever in a position to try FLYI you should give it a shot / second chance... things have changed despite the negative slant to this thread.
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Old May 26, 05, 11:10 am
  #10  
 
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........

Last edited by flygirl2004; May 26, 05 at 2:43 pm
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Old May 26, 05, 11:40 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by jasamuel
I am most concerned that Independence feels they are able to treat college students as second class travelers, as I can't imagine them feeding an adult traveler the type of disrespect and miserable customer service that I was served up.
First of all welcome to FlyerTalk...

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with your bags. I can't remember where I saw it, but I am pretty sure that I heard that GLiDE passes were not eligible for the "Happy Bags" promotion. Don't quote me, but I believe the reason given was that since your base fare was $0 and the Happy Bag doesn't refund taxes or fees, there would be nothing to refund. I know this doesn't take into account the $249+ you have already dropped on the pass itself, but from that angle it really isn't that different from policy's at other carriers (example - certaiin fares may not be eligible for upgrades, FF miles, etc...). I know you are upset, but the idea that FLYI treats college students flying on this pass as "second class travelers" is pretty far out in left field. If anything FLYI wants to retain these travelers so that when they graduate college and move on they will become loyal FLYI customers... and despite any negative experiences (which are inevitable from time to time) I think you will find that FLYI tries to bend over backwards for the customer... HOWEVER, you have to draw the line somewhere. Just as other carriers set rules and policies in place for their fare codes (as mentioned above) FLYI must do the same.

Originally Posted by jasamuel
My most pressing concern is the availability of Glide flights.
Once again, I'm sorry for the inability of flights... however, once again I fail to see how FLYI is "taking advantage" of college students on this one. If you go to the FLYI website and look up the GLiDE program rules #2 states very clearly:

2. While $0 fare seats will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, they are limited and may not be available on all flights and heavy demand may cause some Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to sell out early.
FLYI made it very clear that the seats were limited and might sell out.
The summer travel season is historically busier than most times of the year, and when you add that to the HUGE popularity of the GLiDE program (more people looking for those discounted seats), it makes sense that the flights would be limited... that is why they stressed flexibility.
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Old May 26, 05, 12:04 pm
  #12  
 
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To the OP

I haven't flown I-Air yet, nor have I had an opportunity to, as most of my travel is international.

Checked baggage: this happens from time to time regardless of what carrier I take. FWIW, I had a checked bag left in BUD (Budapest) which was never loaded onto my Malev flight. I then made it to AMS and continued onto BOS with NW. By the time Malev got my bag to AMS there was no way to get it to the states. BOS was only a stop en-route to see some family. The next day I flew back to SDF (Louisville). NW authorized $200 for clothing purchases, but I didn't have the time to shop and survived with what I had.

My baggage finally made it to BOS, had to overnight there and then NW had to get it to SDF. It took close to a week for me to get my luggage back. I did get a $50 Travel Voucher after kindly speaking to the luggage agents in BOS. (FWIW: My SDF-BOS-BUD ticket was about $1000~ ).

Unfortunately, it's one of those things that happen. I now carry-on 90% of the time unless I am flying between the US & Australia where it is necessary for me to check a couple of bags.

As FlyI operates RJ's, find a decent sized roll-a-board (I know it's hard on a college budget; I'm still paying my student loans; thankfully I made my last Indiana University Loan payment! Now I just have to pay the federal stafford loans). With a roll-a-board, perhaps combined with a backpack, you can gate-check the roll-a-board (this way you know it gets on the plane and you get it back at IAD to gate check it for the next flight) and the backpack can go on the floor in the seat in front of you, providing it's not too big.

I now use a max size roll-a-board and a backpack when traveling. If on an RJ, roll-a-board gets gate checked, backpack goes in overhead or under seat. This is the best way to protect yourself from luggage going walkabout. I can get 5 days of clothing into my roll-a-board. The same roll-a-board fits perfectly into overhead bins on mainline aircraft, including the smaller DC-9's (must go over the 3 side though). Only problem is some of the older 757s which have a lip on the overhead - but it still fits with adjustment. Otherwise, perfect for DC-9/DC-10/MD-11/MD-88 and the 737/747/757/767/777 and Airbus A300/A319/A320/A330 (I haven't flown the 717, A310 or A340, but I'm sure it would fit. 727 is now obsolete).

Second Issue - lack of availability of Flyer Pass: If you do not get anywhere with I-Air, file a written complaint with the State of Indiana Attorney General's office (I assume Indiana is your current state of residence for college purposes). It seems deceptive to me if they sell these passes but offer no seats for weeks at a time. Secondly, contact the DOT. Look around the web, you should be able to find their address. The Indiana Attorney General's office should easily be found on the web - it may take a bit more digging to find the correct address for DOT complaints.

Best of luck,

SDF_Traveler

Last edited by SDF_Traveler; May 26, 05 at 12:09 pm
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Old May 26, 05, 1:22 pm
  #13  
 
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spampurse, while its understandable there there is not a lot of capacity on the Glide fare, having almost NO activity should not be acceptable and would indeed be taking advantage of customers who purchased this fare. Its definitely showing bad faith and its a stupid business move if the airline has hopes for long term survival because one of these days those poor college kids will be frequent business travelers.
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Old May 26, 05, 1:25 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by spampurse
First of all welcome to FlyerTalk...

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with your bags. I can't remember where I saw it, but I am pretty sure that I heard that GLiDE passes were not eligible for the "Happy Bags" promotion. Don't quote me, but I believe the reason given was that since your base fare was $0 and the Happy Bag doesn't refund taxes or fees, there would be nothing to refund. I know this doesn't take into account the $249+ you have already dropped on the pass itself, but from that angle it really isn't that different from policy's at other carriers (example - certaiin fares may not be eligible for upgrades, FF miles, etc...). I know you are upset, but the idea that FLYI treats college students flying on this pass as "second class travelers" is pretty far out in left field. If anything FLYI wants to retain these travelers so that when they graduate college and move on they will become loyal FLYI customers... and despite any negative experiences (which are inevitable from time to time) I think you will find that FLYI tries to bend over backwards for the customer... HOWEVER, you have to draw the line somewhere. Just as other carriers set rules and policies in place for their fare codes (as mentioned above) FLYI must do the same.


Once again, I'm sorry for the inability of flights... however, once again I fail to see how FLYI is "taking advantage" of college students on this one. If you go to the FLYI website and look up the GLiDE program rules #2 states very clearly:

2. While $0 fare seats will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, they are limited and may not be available on all flights and heavy demand may cause some Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to sell out early.
FLYI made it very clear that the seats were limited and might sell out.
The summer travel season is historically busier than most times of the year, and when you add that to the HUGE popularity of the GLiDE program (more people looking for those discounted seats), it makes sense that the flights would be limited... that is why they stressed flexibility.


That wording was definitely very clear when buying the Glide pass. I never expected availability on all FlyI flights. However it's been two weeks now of complete unavilability. While there's no doubt that these fares are snatched up quickly, I'm not sure how much more effective my searching can be. I check the fares each morning and have been unable to book anything in weeks.
I understand that it becomes difficult to refund a ticket that was technically a $0 fare. I do think that FLYI is an inovative enough organization that they could figure out a way to compensate me for my trouble, however minimal it may have been. As I said before, I didn't even recieve an apology. I know this isn't common practice on all carriers, but this airline has gone out of its way to promote a program specifically to compensate travelers who's bags are lost. Nowhere in the wording do the Happy Bags rules mention Glide passengers. And no where in the Glide rules does it mention that I'd be traveling as a "non-revenue flyer". I'm still really insulted by that term, as I now know I could have put my $249 to much better use with a company that would count me as a revenue customer.
I'm sorry if I insinuated that FLYI preys on college students. I understand that not every passenger can be completely satisfied all the time. But, I've experienced a complete failure of customer service on the several occassions I've contacted FLYI about my concerns. It makes sense that FLYI would try to build customer loyalty through these programs, but I'd say their follow through has been miserable enough to drive me the complete opposite direction in my future travels.
I'll hold off contacting DOT until I recieve a response from my last email, but I appreciate that suggestion.
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Old May 26, 05, 1:41 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Originally Posted by jasamuel
That wording was definitely very clear when buying the Glide pass. I never expected availability on all FlyI flights. However it's been two weeks now of complete unavilability. While there's no doubt that these fares are snatched up quickly, I'm not sure how much more effective my searching can be. I check the fares each morning and have been unable to book anything in weeks.
I understand that it becomes difficult to refund a ticket that was technically a $0 fare. I do think that FLYI is an inovative enough organization that they could figure out a way to compensate me for my trouble, however minimal it may have been. As I said before, I didn't even recieve an apology. I know this isn't common practice on all carriers, but this airline has gone out of its way to promote a program specifically to compensate travelers who's bags are lost. Nowhere in the wording do the Happy Bags rules mention Glide passengers. And no where in the Glide rules does it mention that I'd be traveling as a "non-revenue flyer". I'm still really insulted by that term, as I now know I could have put my $249 to much better use with a company that would count me as a revenue customer.
I'm sorry if I insinuated that FLYI preys on college students. I understand that not every passenger can be completely satisfied all the time. But, I've experienced a complete failure of customer service on the several occassions I've contacted FLYI about my concerns. It makes sense that FLYI would try to build customer loyalty through these programs, but I'd say their follow through has been miserable enough to drive me the complete opposite direction in my future travels.
I'll hold off contacting DOT until I recieve a response from my last email, but I appreciate that suggestion.
Have you tried emailing their college person? It was on the old 20% off site (which i can't find anymore) but i think it was [email protected].

Hope this helps.
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