US Airways Really Sucks!

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Old Jun 20, 03, 10:30 am
  #1  
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US Airways Really Sucks!

My daughter just called from LaGuardia. She had hoped to catch an early flight home. She's travelling light with just some carry-on luggage.

She got to the gate, and the agent told her that even though the plane is half empty, she can't standby for it without buying a $25 standby coupon. And even if she wants to buy the coupon, there's not enough time to go back out to the ticket counter and buy one.

So this flight goes out half empty. The next flight, that she has a reservation on, is sold out. She now gets to sit a couple extra hours, and everyone is really pissed.

To the experts at USAirways... You not only don't get the $25, you've also got customers that will never come back.

What a "Brilliant" business plan...........
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Old Jun 20, 03, 10:35 am
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And how is this different from what happens at many other major carriers?
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Old Jun 20, 03, 10:52 am
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If your daughter had gone to the special services desk, which is in the middle of the concourse at the non-Shuttle end of the terminal at LGA, inside security, she could have bought a standby coupon there without having to go back to the ticket counter. Not all airlines allow this.
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Old Jun 20, 03, 10:57 am
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UAMillion has a more important point here --

BAD SERVICE.

What a waste of time. I would not be happy either!
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Old Jun 20, 03, 11:05 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by elbidercni:
UAMillion has a more important point here --

BAD SERVICE.
</font>
I agree. What exactly is the point of inconveniencing this passenger and the ones on the later flight, which was sold out, for $25.00 in extra revenue? US or any airline would have gotten a lot more than $25.00 in future business from this person. Instead, they have alienated her and others. Brilliant!
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Old Jun 20, 03, 11:20 am
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This is an existing policy. Some airlines charge more than $25 for same. While the policy is not a great one, it is a known one. There's a coulda-shoulda-woulda lesson here. I'm sure she would have been treated much better by UA? Sorry for the inconvenience, will have to shout at another airline the next time.
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Old Jun 20, 03, 11:25 am
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First, major airlines are all broke; charging $25 for standby is a modest fee, although irritating, and it's better than the $100 fee or prohibition on standby that were previously discussed and/or enacted, and it's a lot cheaper than the cost of changing a cheap ticket. The $25 fee is almost pure profit; I've bought standby coupons before and it's a 10-second process.

Second, according to what a friend who works for Delta told me, for security reasons, airlines can't just have people walk onto planes; they need up-to-date records of at least how many people are on board. Notice that the FA counts how many passengers there are before the plane takes off. The standby coupon serves this purpose. Going to the special services desk and getting a standby coupon would probably be faster than waiting in the line at the counter near the gate to have a ticket agent change the ticket and re-print the boarding pass; I've done both.

Third, if a similar situation had happened, say, in CLT, the customer service result would have been a lot more pleasant, probably-- blame LGA, not US.

Fourth, why in the world didn't your daughter not mention wanting to go standby when checking in? Even if I noticed an earlier flight after checking in, I would have expected some kind of red tape to deal with before just jumping on an earlier flight (although I would have just gone to the nice people in the US Airways Club for help).

[This message has been edited by NYCommuter (edited 06-20-2003).]
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Old Jun 20, 03, 11:43 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by NYCommuter:
First, major airlines are all broke; charging $25 for standby is a modest fee, although irritating, and it's better than the $100 fee or prohibition on standby that were previously discussed and/or enacted.
</font>
It probably costs them more than $25 to follow this asinine procedure rather than the old perfectly workable stand-by procedure. Net impact to profitability is negative.

Don't forget -- by putting her through this pointless exercise they ended up bumping her.

It may be better than the stupidest idea they've ever had but it's still stupid and a ****ed sight worse than the policies that existed a year ago.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Second, for security reasons, airlines can't just have people walk onto planes; they need records of at least how many people are on board. Notice that the FA counts how many passengers there are before the plane takes off. The standby coupon serves this purpose.</font>
Bullspit. The boarding pass serves that purpose. A year ago (and still today if you have the right fare basis) standby didn't require extra trips to the counter and coupons. Security was no different then.

This "new" stand-by policy is stupid beyond compare. It always has been. It serves no purpose but to alienate customers. (The hidden purpose is, just as it is with all of their idiotic rules and restrictions, to try to force business travelers to buy the less restrictive tickets.)
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Old Jun 20, 03, 11:55 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Skip Middleton:
This is an existing policy. Some airlines charge more than $25 for same. While the policy is not a great one, it is a known one. There's a coulda-shoulda-woulda lesson here. I'm sure she would have been treated much better by UA? Sorry for the inconvenience, will have to shout at another airline the next time.</font>
The original post had to do with a specific experience with US. Maybe the title of the post could have been different but the bigger point is valid: the policy, whether at US or any other airline, is shortsighted and, yes, stupid, regardless of how well known it may be, IMHO. The airlines are struggling and they will continue to struggle because they have failed and still fail (evidently) to understand the most basic concepts of good customer service. In this case, how was it in US or anyone's best interests to deny this lady boarding when the plane was going out half empty anyway? And suppose that the later flight is not just sold out but oversold. They will have to bump passengers, give out vouchers, etc., which willl add up to a whole heck of a lot more than $25.00.

And what is the end result? US did not get $25.00 and the passenger will likely not choose to fly US again in the future. But oh, yes, the policy was enforced!


[This message has been edited by Skyman (edited 06-20-2003).]
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:13 pm
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Maybe this'll help put it in perspective:

On Monday I have a flight to DFW that I have to fly AA on. I called Tuesday to try and upgrade to kill some leftover FF miles. The woman informed me that it was 15k miles each way (not the published 5k on the website for full-fare tix) because I am not a AA gold/silver whatever. In addition, after I consented to the 30k deduction, she then told me there was an additional $75 charge because it was inside a 7 day window. Unbelievable!
We'va all probably been seriously inconvenienced by some of the airlines' moves of late, but this one just blew me away.
I still say a bad day on US is better than a good day on some others!
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:18 pm
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Seeing that my daughter is still sitting in LaGuardia. I have some time to vent and do some research.

1) She arrived at the gate 45 minutes before the earlier flight. That's plenty of time for the gate agent to put her on the standby list, and eventually on the flight. It was not enough time to go back and wait at the ticket counter, and then go through security again, and then board the plane.

2) I know of no other industry that expects more flexibility from their customers. We are not only expected to arrive early, but delays, cancellations, lost baggage, and overbookings are all things the airlines expect us to put up with. Airlines should always be willing to give back a little flexibility.

3) I haven't had time to check every airlines, but it looks like she would have been better off on United, Northwest, or JetBlue.

-----------------------------------------------
United Airlines
http://www.ual.com/page/article/0,1360,1821,00.html#a3

United will continue to allow customers on domestic nonrefundable tickets to standby for flights on their ticketed day of departure without a standby fee.

-----------------------------------------------
Northwest Airlines
http://www.nwa.com/features/new-policy.html

Northwest will continue to offer passengers on domestic fares the option to standby for Northwest and Northwest Airlink operated flights on the same day as originally ticketed at no charge.

-----------------------------------------------
JetBlue
http://www.jetblue.com/pdf/jetblue_coc_052003.pdf

For travel to the same destination, passengers may change their reservation to standby travel on any flight departing the same day as their original departure without an additional charge.

-----------------------------------------------
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:24 pm
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45 minutes is more than enough time to go to the Special Services desk near the gates and get a standby coupon; I've done it in under 5 minutes.

The evidence you give showing that other airlines that don't charge for standby doesn't mean that (a) there's no red tape involved or (b) you can just walk up to the gate and get on an earlier flight.
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:37 pm
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How is she suppose to know to go to the Special Services counter, when the agent tells her that she has to go to the ticket counter, and also tells her there isn't enough time?

Also, why charge an annoying $25, when putting her on the earlier flight would have been good for both her and for US Airways? They would have had another seat they could have sold on the later flight, or maybe someone on an even later flight could have travelled earlier. In my opinon, this is has a lot to do with why people no longer want to fly.

If your flight is late or cancelled, it's just tough luck. It would be nice if once in awhile you could go early.

There is NO flexibility at USAirways.
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:43 pm
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The Special Services counter is the general place to go with problems.

Why else would there be a counter with people sitting there in the middle of the terminal?

If a gate agent told me "too bad, despite 45 minutes, you don't have time to get a new coupon", I would have just run at the speed of light to the ticket counter if I didn't know about the Special Services desk. The worst thing that would have happened would have been that she'd have paid $25 (which is refundable) and missed the earlier flight if she hadn't gotten back in time and then would have gotten the originally scheduled flight.

There's plenty of flexibility at US Airways in CLT, GSP, PIT, etc. The problem is LGA, whatever the airline.

Lesson from this run-in: ignore what the gate agents say (and ask other gate agents if one of them tells you something that's not helpful), and use the Special Services desk.

[This message has been edited by NYCommuter (edited 06-20-2003).]
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Old Jun 20, 03, 12:53 pm
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But this standby fee nonsense also hurts US in lost revenue. I generally fly cheap ($100-$200) personal trips on US, knowing about the standby fee. But when I recently had a choice for $900-$1200 business flights I went with AA. Why? Because I wasn't sure what time I would finish with my meetings and conferences, and I knew with AA I could standby for free for earlier flights to get home. Its not that I couldn't have expensed the $25. But at least with my company, I would have had to submit the paperwork, write up an explanation for the standby fee, have my boss approve it, then submit it to A/P. I would have MUCH preferred to fly US, but the paperwork nightmare kept me on AA. I hope US gets a lot of those $25 standby fees, because they lost several thousand dollars in business fares due to it.
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