MAN-PHL Row 1 Disappointment

Old May 1, 2005, 6:36 am
  #1  
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MAN-PHL Row 1 Disappointment

Well, I was able to use my DMUTA's to u/g to Envoy both ways on my PHL-MAN rt. Scored 1H both ways, my fave seat. Outbound was fine, but on the return I tried to recline my seat after takeoff and nothing happened. Called the FA, who went away for a while and came back saying, "You aren't going to like this, but that seat was reported broken and they neither fixed it nor blocked it out". Of course, the flight was oversold and they were giving op upgrades to coach pax, so every seat in Envoy and coach was taken.

It is not pretty to sit bolt upright for 7 and a half hours. Coach would have been better but as I said, not a single seat open anywhere on the aircraft. I am writing a letter to Consumer Affairs, I was thinking of requesting a couple of DS0087's, one would get me the Envoy seat I should have had on this trip and the second would be compensation for the inconvenience which as I said aside from the meal was a "worse than coach" experience. Appreciate any comments on whether I am asking for too much or not enough.

Btw the FA's could not have been nicer, they brought me extra pillows and apologized many times for the way their airline is run. They are truly embarrassed at what US has become.
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Old May 1, 2005, 6:50 am
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OK, but dont hold your breath

Sounds appropriate to me. Although I dont know the details on the upgrades you have asked for - do they work the same way, other than looking like they came from a kit? I know there are some that are only confirmable 1 day in advance or day of flight. I wouldnt ask for those.

Also - I wouldn't expect a reply anytime soon.

I sent a letter about a bad trip almost a year ago to which I did not receive a reply. Sent a followup a month ago (at the urging of a consumer affairs agent I happened to be on the phone with to help a colleague) and haven't heard back from that either. Sent an email to consumer affairs via the website a few weeks ago and also, no reply. Its one thing not to send compensation, its another to ignore my complaint entirely.

I wonder if they laid off the whole staff and didnt tell anyone? Or are assuming America West will deal with all of these issues?
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Old May 1, 2005, 7:12 am
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gardener, I feel for you! On my last Envoy flight, my seat was stuck with the headrest stuck tilted forward uncomfortably. Luckily, I was able to change to the only other free seat in Envoy.

Did you try to recline the seat manually? I know from my own experience there are manual pulls in the armrest toward the seatback - at least in the seats row 2 through 7, not sure about row 1. Did any of the FAs try to adjust the seat manually?
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Old May 1, 2005, 8:22 am
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A330 seats in Envoy are always a "little under the weather". Apparently the seat doctor doesn't make house calls. Usually the malady has to do with keeping the footrest up (hold the Viagra jokes, please). In any case, I continue to marvel at people's fascination with Row 1 in the A330 front cabin. Despite a slightly better recline, they get no more maintenance than the rest of the ship. In addition, the plane is somewhat narrower at that spot, so you lose a little space that way.
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Old May 1, 2005, 11:34 am
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Same happened to me about 6 months ago to FRA. Unluckily for you the FA was only nice but had to clue. I was lucky enough to have a FA that knew there was a manual override located under a panel on each Row 1 seat. I had to recline manually but it was better than sitting up straight for 7 hours.
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Old May 1, 2005, 3:24 pm
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. . . They are truly embarrassed at what US has become . . .

Yes, you are absolutely correct that it is a real disappointment and a huge pain in the butt to get stuck with a dysfunctional seat, especially in Envoy which is presumably the premium class. Hopefully CA will respond with some sort of appropriate compensation as this is not a situation that a pax should put up with. You should definitely receive some sort of compensation for your inconvenience.

I do feel however that the FA's comment misses the point. The real question to ask here is where the PHL-MAN-PHL aircraft ends up after it completes each leg. In other words, where is the plane located when it is not flying and how much ground time at each location does it have. Does this time and location afford ground crews sufficient time and resource to address a problem such as a broken seat? It's difficult to determine where the problem lies in this situation as spare parts/resources may not be availible at all locations. The problem becomes a communication issue between FCs and operations as to how mechanical issues are reported and how repairs are scheduled.

I've always wondered how any airline can keep up with maintainance issues when planes fly for untold hours with short ground intervals between flights. As an example the A330 which flies between PHL and LGW actually flies LGW-PHL-SJU before turning around to complete the circuit the next day. I've always noted delays with the SJU-PHL leg which frequently impact the timeliness of the PHL-LGW leg.

So is it ineptness by the airline or the constraints of keeping an aircraft in the air where it earns income? I don't think that one can say for certain in this instance. But US does indeed need to develop a more precise system for reporting and rectifying in-cabin maintainence issues.

Barry
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Old May 1, 2005, 4:02 pm
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I would call CA instead of writing them 866-523-5333 option 2 then 4
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Old May 1, 2005, 5:24 pm
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If you really feel that your experience in row 1 was worse than coach, I bet it would have been easy to find a pax in coach willing to switch with you despite the lack of recline in the row 1 seat.
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Old May 1, 2005, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseyfinn
. . . They are truly embarrassed at what US has become . . .

Yes, you are absolutely correct that it is a real disappointment and a huge pain in the butt to get stuck with a dysfunctional seat, especially in Envoy which is presumably the premium class. Hopefully CA will respond with some sort of appropriate compensation as this is not a situation that a pax should put up with. You should definitely receive some sort of compensation for your inconvenience.

I do feel however that the FA's comment misses the point. The real question to ask here is where the PHL-MAN-PHL aircraft ends up after it completes each leg. In other words, where is the plane located when it is not flying and how much ground time at each location does it have. Does this time and location afford ground crews sufficient time and resource to address a problem such as a broken seat? It's difficult to determine where the problem lies in this situation as spare parts/resources may not be availible at all locations. The problem becomes a communication issue between FCs and operations as to how mechanical issues are reported and how repairs are scheduled.

I've always wondered how any airline can keep up with maintainance issues when planes fly for untold hours with short ground intervals between flights. As an example the A330 which flies between PHL and LGW actually flies LGW-PHL-SJU before turning around to complete the circuit the next day. I've always noted delays with the SJU-PHL leg which frequently impact the timeliness of the PHL-LGW leg.

So is it ineptness by the airline or the constraints of keeping an aircraft in the air where it earns income? I don't think that one can say for certain in this instance. But US does indeed need to develop a more precise system for reporting and rectifying in-cabin maintainence issues.

Barry
The A330 that goes to LGW in the evenings actually originates in PHL in the morning and does a SJU turn then continues on to LGW. The late PHL-SJU trip is operated by another type of a/c. They will also swap airplanes for the through flight very often to rotate airplanes through for maintenance. Most of the European arrivals come into PHL in the afternoon, and the airplanes sit in PHL for several hours before leaving again so there is plenty of time to do several types of maintenance on them. I've seen many airplanes towed over to the gates from the hanger at night for the Europe flights after they've performed maintenance on them.
As far as the seat on the MAN flight, I'm sure that was an inconvenience and you should follow through with CA if you feel the need. All maintenance performed in Europe is contracted out and costs a small fortune for the company, and there are many times when they don't have all of the airplane parts that might be needed for smaller jobs such a fixing a seat. Not to downsize the seat situation, but the parts that they keep on hand are geared more towards "no go" items that absolutely have to be fixed before the flight can be dispatched.
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Old May 1, 2005, 7:45 pm
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I had the same exact problem in row 1 last November from PHL-LGW. About an hour into the flight, the seat simply stopped working. Fortunately, all of Envoy had a light load (all seats save one other in Row 1 were empty) so I just moved from window to aisle.

The flight attendant tried to flip some switch to reset the seat control, but it didn't work.

gardener, since you're CP, you should get a response from Consumer Affairs within a few days if you use the Chairman's e-mail address. They've always been timely in responding to my concerns.
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Old May 1, 2005, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by chrisw
If you really feel that your experience in row 1 was worse than coach, I bet it would have been easy to find a pax in coach willing to switch with you despite the lack of recline in the row 1 seat.
I would have asked the FA to look for a passenger traveling by themselves with their chair not reclined. Odds are that she might have found one.

I don't recline my seat as a matter of forgetting to do so after take off!
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Old May 2, 2005, 4:42 pm
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Broken seats do occur but there is a manual option

While it is too late now there were manual controls behind the center armrest. You lift the armrest and then a cover plate (says something like FA only access) under this their are four switches. These switches control everything manually. You can recline the seat, raise the foot rest, extend the foot rest ect.. A FA should have been able to assist you with doing this or do it for you. This happened to me on the flight PHL to Rome where my seat broke just a bit after take off (just this past march). I started playing with the buttons and figured them out. It was hard to get the seat back up from the full recline without getting out of the seat. It is much easier to do with two people.

Last edited by swanscn; May 2, 2005 at 4:44 pm Reason: spelling
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