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The ethics of taking a mileage run during an operational meltdown

The ethics of taking a mileage run during an operational meltdown

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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:28 pm
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The ethics of taking a mileage run during an operational meltdown

I have a planned mileage run to Denver this weekend. Not really an awesome deal, but I had a voucher to use and there were fairly inexpensive fares so I booked about a month back.

Of course this week has turned into an operational meltdown for AA, with over 2500 flights cancelled, due to the MD-80 groundings.

Having had to reschedule once (not a problem being an EXP with already upgraded seats) due to a cancellation, I started wondering what everyone thought about the ethics of taking a mileage run during an operational meltdown.

With flight cancellations stretching into the weekend, am I taking seats away from passengers who really need to be some place, while I'm just flying around for the fun of it?

Judging by the number of zero'ed out flights through Saturday, it appears that might very well be the case. Is this something which should bother me?

With AA's travel waiver in effect allowing a full cancellation, should someone in my position do the "right" thing, take a refund and forego the flying?

Curious about everyone's thoughts...

Greg
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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:37 pm
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I think the phrase, "If you have to ask....then you probably know the answer" may apply

AA's going let you cancel, full "refund" and/or use of voucher amount at a later time? If so, sure, I'd consider postpoining.

If I didn't HAVE to fly THIS weekend, I wouldn't. For all the reasons you rightly state, and, if AA hasn't gotten things straightened out by then, not sure I'd want to willingly dive in.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:40 pm
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I would probably postpone it. I have had to fly for work and it is not pleasant out there. I would let the dust settle a bit.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:43 pm
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Well, see here's the thing... AA seemed to be very pro-active about cancelling flights on Wednesday evening to ensure that there would be few, if any, last minute cancellations on Friday or Saturday. Looking at the four segments I'll be on, there have been no additional cancellations in over 24 hours.

At this point, I'm confirmed on all segments that I'm taking -- with multiple backup options showing availability in both directions. I'm not worried about delays... that's par for the course.

In fact, this might even make the possibility of a bump more likely due to all of the misconnected passengers -- which is an extra incentive for me.

Perhaps you are a bit more sensitive to operational disruptions after your seven-segment, two-day ORD-STL trip back in December 2006!

Greg
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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:49 pm
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If your personal life were in an operational meltdown, I'm sure that AA would be more than willing to allow you to reschedule your non-refundable tickets..... so it's only fair that you offer the same courtesy to them.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 9:59 pm
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I'd say it really depends on what you find interesting...I find normal ops boring and think that it is fascinating to see how any enterprise responds to crisis. If things keep on going in the present direction, I suspect that in another week or two we will have congressional hearings.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by worldwidedreamer View Post
I'd say it really depends on what you find interesting...I find normal ops boring and think that it is fascinating to see how any enterprise responds to crisis. If things keep on going in the present direction, I suspect that in another week or two we will have congressional hearings.
STL was bizarre this afternoon. There were a few RJs on one side of the C terminal and one MD80. Just one. The rest of the place was empty. Just empty gate after empty gate.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:15 pm
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Perfect bumping/interlining opportunity. I'd still go.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:26 pm
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Right. Go and hope for a bump
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:31 pm
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Regardless of how bad people think the experience may be, that's not what I'm trying to get thoughts on. Rather, I'd like to focus on the aspects of taking this trip for miles (and a potential bump) versus the possible inconvenience of people actually trying to get to a destination.

Greg
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by GregL View Post
Regardless of how bad people think the experience may be, that's not what I'm trying to get thoughts on. Rather, I'd like to focus on the aspects of taking this trip for miles (and a potential bump) versus the possible inconvenience of people actually trying to get to a destination.

Greg
Offer to take a bump and reschedule for another day if your conscience bothers you.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:40 pm
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I have voluntary rescheduled a few times during winter months when a ski destination airport had been closed for several days before my flight. I knew there was a big backlog of stranded pax.

All I got was a clear conscience and a few brownie points with the lounge staff.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Spiff View Post
Offer to take a bump and reschedule for another day if your conscience bothers you.
Unfortunately, that is unlikely to occur since AA tends to zero out all flights (regardless of the number of seats open) when irregularities occur to accomodate standby passengers.

Of course this means displaced passengers are now forced to standby for flights not knowing if they have a good chance of making it on, or none at all.

Greg
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Old Apr 10, 08, 10:53 pm
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I cancelled a Wed/Thurs itinerary to open up seats for those that really need them. The first time I called on Wed a.m. they were not willing to let me cancel without a fee, so I ended up with a new routing with some different flights. When one of those flights was cancelled I called back, and was able to cancel. If they weren't going to let me cancel, the new flights would have been on RJ's and 757's and would have worked.

My first flight was SFO-ORD with zero across the board. Just didn't seem right to be taking seats from those that really need them.

I also cancelled a trip right after 9/11 for the very same reason. I had a priceline room on that stay that was also refunded without any question.

My take is that there will be plenty of opportunities down the road that I can take bumps, and this week is just not the right time to capitalize on the current situation.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
My take is that there will be plenty of opportunities down the road that I can take bumps, and this week is just not the right time to capitalize on the current situation.
Well said.
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