Downgrading compensation - it's official!

 
Old Apr 27, 11, 8:50 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,383
Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
Those are all totally reasonable business decisions. Of course I also make a business decision: I pick a carrier every year.
I think this is the nut of it. The "CO culture" SMI/J is trying to push on United relies on the fact that CO has fortress hubs. When he makes a customer-unfriendly business decision, the CO folks have one choice..."thank you sir, may I have another." That's definitely not the case for people who fly out of ORD, SFO, or LAX...or even DEN to some extent.

I thought he finally figured that out when he decided to keep E+. But this shows that he is reverting a bit.

The charitable explanation for all of this is that he assumes that 6-in-6 is fair because he'll whip the UA fleet into shape so there is no way that anyone would experience more than six customer service fails in six months. I find that assumption highly dubious.
boolean64 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 9:43 am
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Toronto, NYC, somewhere on planet Earth
Programs: UA 1K, AA ExPlat, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 8,289
This does seem like a CO-influenced decision. I am not against a 6 complaints in 6month rule (bar exceptional events like your 7th complaint involves major delays or problems, etc).

What I think is less palatable is that they will reduce the level of compensation, which the first two posts (responses by UA CR) have indicated.


I have not had to deal with CO "Who Cares" program. Is it bad?
neuron is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 9:55 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K-MM, AA Gold-MM, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Gold, IHG Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 6,294
Interesting.

Last edited by hobo13; Apr 27, 11 at 11:44 am
hobo13 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 9:59 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Near SEA
Programs: UA MM, AS MVPG75K, Marriott Lifetime Gold
Posts: 7,952
Originally Posted by fastair View Post
So some wanted the airline to read and have a rep on this board, and CO has had a more active role. One of the most popular threads is people bragging how much they got for trivial things on UA. I could see this coming a mile away. I think another great suggestion would be to post fares in the MR forum and by/sell/barter coupons and certs and miles in the CC forum, while others ask for airline participation on FT and hope that the airline includes more FT stuff in their world. One could even post a long thread on how to use ITA's to circumvent the fuel surcharge rules.

It's like having a kegger in the police station's parking lot and then peeling out before driving home. It would be foolish to expect someone not to act on such obvious actions.
I actually am not too big of a fan of CC or FDs, and I think ASKING for compensation for trivial things is silly. However, comp for reasonable issues should not be affected; for example, I recently had a broken C seat on a CDG-IAD flight, no recline/legrest, and was issued a skykit. I got $200 off a future flight. That seemed slightly low - maybe that and my SWU would have been fair - but if I were offered $50 or $75 for that, I would be pissed.

Last edited by bmvaughn; Apr 27, 11 at 10:20 am
bmvaughn is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 10:43 am
  #65  
RETIRED ACCOUNT
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: *A
Posts: 135
As a legacy CO flier, I have to say that I was shocked and surprised to receive a $75 e-cert and a personal response to an email I sent for a broken reading light (didn't expect or ask for compensation, just wanted to point it out) in domestic first ORD-NYC. I have come to expect from CO that similar emails will only occasionally get a response, and NEVER compensation whether or not compensation is requested. Case in point, I recently went through a 3-hour mechanical delay, eventually boarded a plane that was leaking fuel, de-planed and waited another hour before finally taking off. The whole time was spent in the absolutely wretched Continental A terminal at EWR. Frankly, I was pissed, but it didn't even cross my mind to seek compensation as I know how futile it generally is. A few days later I received a mass, auto-generated email apologizing for the delay and noting that 500 miles would be added to my account. 500. I wrote back saying that 4+ hours of my time is worth more than 500 miles and that CO should have kept quiet rather than issuing a slap in the face. I received a response that made no sense and was completely out of context to the message I had sent. I responded to the gibberish "please read my email and send a response that addresses the issues I raised." Months later I received a phone call from a nasty woman in Texas who told me that she had approved an additional 1000 miles to be added to my account but that it was against company policy and that I shouldn't expect it in the future.

A stark comparison.

Frankly, as the merger unfolds, I'm hoping that the combined company is more UA than CO.

Otherwise, here's to a DL status match for 2012!
GUEST052119 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 11:06 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: BOS, PVG
Programs: United Global Services and 1MM, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 9,599
Originally Posted by bmvaughn View Post
I actually am not too big of a fan of CC or FDs, and I think ASKING for compensation for trivial things is silly. However, comp for reasonable issues should not be affected; for example, I recently had a broken C seat on a CDG-IAD flight, no recline/legrest, and was issued a skykit. I got $200 off a future flight. That seemed slightly low - maybe that and my SWU would have been fair - but if I were offered $50 or $75 for that, I would be pissed.
As SMI/J takes over, expect $25 or 500 miles in the future.

CO's culture is "We are the most professional. We can do nothing wrong. No apology."
kb1992 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 11:35 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton ♦ , Hyatt Carbonado, Wyndham ♦, Marriott PE, "Stinking Bum" elsewhere.
Posts: 4,402
Since the primary goal of any business is to make a profit, there is no doubt that UACO needs to cut costs and increase airfares unless they want to go down the road to bankruptcy that seems to be par for the course in the airline business. Some have argued here that reducing compensation vouchers is a de facto airfare increase and they are absolutely correct. I would argue, however, that increased airfares is not necessarily a bad thing. Those of us who fly primarily for business are either expensing the costs and deducting them on our, or the business'/corporation's taxes. So, absent a drastic increase in fares, our companies/corporations become slightly less profitable, thereby reducing the amount of taxes we pay. Thus, I believe the negative consequences of increased airfares are largely offset by the decreased taxes paid out of pocket. However, there is a possible positive side to increased airfares: Reduced passenger loads. Since most of us value the availability and frequency of upgrades more than anything else the airline has to offer, a reduction in loads would theoretically increase the availability of upgrade space. Of course, if there were to be an increase in paid premium cabin travel, no such benefit would accrue, regardless of the overall loads.
zombietooth is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 11:41 am
  #68  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westchester with HPN (LGA, JFK, EWR possible but...)
Programs: AA EXP, UA PP, HHonor Diamond, etc.
Posts: 124
This is very interesting thread!

I would like to see more followup actions rather than just compensation.
They can give us a copy of repair order or report from unprofessional employee and his/her supervisor, then I would be happy with $25 or 500 miles range.

If they cannot do so within a week, add one digit so internally they would "work harder" to solve the problem.
uecsome is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 11:52 am
  #69  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
Programs: UA Plat 2MM; AS MVP Gold 75K
Posts: 35,060
Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
Since the primary goal of any business is to make a profit, there is no doubt that UACO needs to cut costs and increase airfares unless they want to go down the road to bankruptcy that seems to be par for the course in the airline business. Some have argued here that reducing compensation vouchers is a de facto airfare increase and they are absolutely correct. I would argue, however, that increased airfares is not necessarily a bad thing. Those of us who fly primarily for business are either expensing the costs and deducting them on our, or the business'/corporation's taxes. So, absent a drastic increase in fares, our companies/corporations become slightly less profitable, thereby reducing the amount of taxes we pay. Thus, I believe the negative consequences of increased airfares are largely offset by the decreased taxes paid out of pocket. However, there is a possible positive side to increased airfares: Reduced passenger loads. Since most of us value the availability and frequency of upgrades more than anything else the airline has to offer, a reduction in loads would theoretically increase the availability of upgrade space. Of course, if there were to be an increase in paid premium cabin travel, no such benefit would accrue, regardless of the overall loads.

I'm not sure I follow your logic. Reduced loads will eventually mean reduced service, which could mean no or reduced upgrades. There are stations today with very little service, or RJ or prop only service with little to no F, that used to have significant mainline service. If that trend continues, I don't see how it could be a positive for the customer. Remember also that from a UA flyer perspective, we now have to accept the CO RJ fleet, which contains no F class, not to mention the pilot scope issue whereby CO can only outsource flying of planes with 50 or fewer seats. So reduced loads may not mean more upgrades, it may mean that they get stuck with legacy CO RJ aircraft with no upgrades.

But back to compensation, part of the goal of compensation is to demonstrate a tangible goodwill gesture to retain the customer. If that gesture is so insignificant with respect to the customer relationship, then it becomes a slap in the face.

The CO example that's often touted here is 500 miles. What is 500 miles to someone who flies 100,000 miles, gets those doubled, and has a credit card and other ancillary sources of mileage? When you're raking in 250,000 miles a year, or a domestic ticket costs 25,000 miles, 500 miles seems paltry.
channa is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:14 pm
  #70  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: BOS, PVG
Programs: United Global Services and 1MM, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 9,599
Originally Posted by channa View Post

But back to compensation, part of the goal of compensation is to demonstrate a tangible goodwill gesture to retain the customer. If that gesture is so insignificant with respect to the customer relationship, then it becomes a slap in the face.

The CO example that's often touted here is 500 miles. What is 500 miles to someone who flies 100,000 miles, gets those doubled, and has a credit card and other ancillary sources of mileage? When you're raking in 250,000 miles a year, or a domestic ticket costs 25,000 miles, 500 miles seems paltry.
I am raking half million miles a year.

CO's 500 mile or $25 compensation is a total joke.
kb1992 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:26 pm
  #71  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton ♦ , Hyatt Carbonado, Wyndham ♦, Marriott PE, "Stinking Bum" elsewhere.
Posts: 4,402
Originally Posted by channa View Post
I'm not sure I follow your logic. Reduced loads will eventually mean reduced service, which could mean no or reduced upgrades. There are stations today with very little service, or RJ or prop only service with little to no F, that used to have significant mainline service. If that trend continues, I don't see how it could be a positive for the customer. Remember also that from a UA flyer perspective, we now have to accept the CO RJ fleet, which contains no F class, not to mention the pilot scope issue whereby CO can only outsource flying of planes with 50 or fewer seats. So reduced loads may not mean more upgrades, it may mean that they get stuck with legacy CO RJ aircraft with no upgrades.

But back to compensation, part of the goal of compensation is to demonstrate a tangible goodwill gesture to retain the customer. If that gesture is so insignificant with respect to the customer relationship, then it becomes a slap in the face.

The CO example that's often touted here is 500 miles. What is 500 miles to someone who flies 100,000 miles, gets those doubled, and has a credit card and other ancillary sources of mileage? When you're raking in 250,000 miles a year, or a domestic ticket costs 25,000 miles, 500 miles seems paltry.
I agree that 500 miles is nothing---it is more like a slap in the face, but I haven't been able to spend any miles in years anyway. So even 15,000 miles, which is the latest amount that I received from UA, doesn't actually help me. $250- to $450- vouchers were valuable and will be missed, however.

Note that I said that it was only a "possible positive side".
I am open to to the possibility that increased airfares could be negative across the board--even for elites, and your scenario is a plausible alternative. I am just looking at what is obviously going on with the merger, i.e. increasing revenue and decreasing costs. Smisek doesn't think that these changes will cost him many customers, at least at the high end, and this is a juggernaut that will not be stopped by complaints from the elites and FT postings. Smisek has already made up his mind on the "overly generous" compensation scheme at UA and is committed to stop it. Only reduced profitability will stop this experiment, which means that only if the high-yield, primarily business, customer actually takes their business elsewhere will Smisek consider changing things back.
zombietooth is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:33 pm
  #72  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: LGA/JFK/EWR
Programs: UA 1K1.75MM, Hyatt Globalist, abandoned Marriott LTT (RIP SPG), Hertz PC
Posts: 21,008
500 points (offered to my flight 2 months ago for a 3 hour delay) is the new normal for CO. As I've said before, since airlines typically value miles at $.01 per, CO is saying your time wasted on MX delays is worth between $1.25-$1.35/hour. Classy.
UA-NYC is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:36 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,460
Originally Posted by zombietooth View Post
I agree that 500 miles is nothing.
Very OT, but who was it (or maybe still does) give like 250 or 500mi if your upgrade doesn't clear?
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:37 pm
  #74  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: near to SFO and LHR
Programs: BA Gold, B6 Mosiac, VS, AA, DL (and a legacy UA 2MM)
Posts: 2,216
Originally Posted by bmvaughn View Post
I have to admit, the $150 I once received for not getting a spoon with my soup was excessive (note I never asked for it - I sent a note commenting on how the catering ex-LAX was crap), so I'm not surprised that they've finally taken a look at what kind of crap was getting eCerts.

I imagine the "more than reasonable" (read: unwarranted) comp is what's being targeted first.
Agree, actually I got an unexpected $200 cert last year for complaining about the new earplugs - now that's over-the-top! But it left me with a good feeling about a vendor (UA) with whom I've spent more than $200,000 over the years.
StingWest is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 12:39 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: DEN
Programs: Recovering after 7 years of UA 1K, Still UA Silver (Which means nothing), Marriott Lifetime Plat Pre
Posts: 1,950
Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
Very OT, but who was it (or maybe still does) give like 250 or 500mi if your upgrade doesn't clear?
Thats DL. If you are Diamond, you get miles and a free drink and snack. If you are gold, you get a free drink or snack.
emanon256 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread