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Thank you for calling. Due to high call volume, we cannot answer your call at this...

Thank you for calling. Due to high call volume, we cannot answer your call at this...

 
Old Dec 19, 09, 5:34 pm
  #1  
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Thank you for calling. Due to high call volume, we cannot answer your call at this...

time." <click>

It's been like this for 2 days. I know they're busy, but that's just ridiculous.

fly2nrt is offline  
Old Dec 19, 09, 5:40 pm
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I guess you haven't heard about the major snowstorm in the Northeast??

HTSC
Originally Posted by fly2nrt View Post
time." <click>

It's been like this for 2 days. I know they're busy, but that's just ridiculous.

HereAndThereSC is offline  
Old Dec 19, 09, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by HereAndThereSC View Post
I guess you haven't heard about the major snowstorm in the Northeast??

HTSC
I was just about to say that. IAD and DCA were closed today, PHL was impacted, and the storm is heading north, probably affecting LGA, JFK, and BOS tomorrow. If it's not an emergency i.e. your flight was canceled and you're trying to rebook, I'd hold off for the next few days.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 6:06 pm
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Actually the local news reported IAD kept 1 runway open all day. Delta and United canceled ALL flights to/from the WAS region (I assume US did the same).

We have 21 inches so far and its still snowing!!
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Old Dec 19, 09, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by uva185 View Post
We have 21 inches so far and its still snowing!!
Wow-you must be setting records. I heard DC is a mess. They freak out and close schools when they get 2", so I can't imagine them in a blizzard.

BOS is supposed to get 10-15" and parts of southeastern Mass are supposed to have blizzard conditions. It's already pretty windy here today-and only in the 20s.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 6:16 pm
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My family is still up in the DC/NoVa region and my brother is working on inch number 26 out in the western burbs. School holidays start Wednesday so most systems will close until the new year....this sucks for me because I may not be able to get home for Christmas with the forecasted ice storm next week.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 6:21 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by uva185 View Post
Delta and United canceled ALL flights to/from the WAS region (I assume US did the same).
Nope, although the last arrival was from PVD at 7:30am and the last departure was to PHX at 10:30am.

Jim
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Old Dec 19, 09, 6:57 pm
  #8  
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The problem for airlines these days is that there are many fewer telephone rez agents than in the past. In case you haven't noticed, people generally don't book airline tickets by phone anymore.

So when a storm happens, you simply don't have the personnel to deal with it. Not sure what kind of "on call" system they have. Like I'm sure you didn't have people fighting over the opportunity to earn overtime the weekend before X-mas.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 7:02 pm
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People complain when there are long hold times. When the hold times exceed a certain length or the queue grows to a certtain number of calls the system rejects any additional calls. Damned if they do and damned i they don't.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by COpltASgldPHX View Post
People complain when there are long hold times. When the hold times exceed a certain length or the queue grows to a certtain number of calls the system rejects any additional calls. Damned if they do and damned i they don't.
Amen. There was another thread on here from last night where a guy was complaining because it told him his hold time would be approximately 40 minutes and he had been on hold for over 2 hours.

Which is the worse of two evils? Shutting down the phone system, or keeping people on hold for a extremely long time.

And keeping an adequate phone staff is nearly impossible to do during severe weather operations such as today. I bet if you recalled every single phone agent the company employs for all shifts, the hold time (and subsequent abandon rate) would still be incredibly high.
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Old Dec 19, 09, 11:02 pm
  #11  
 
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took me about 2 hours to reach someone at US, i had 2 awards bookings in Intl F that I needed to confirm by midnight. I had 4 phones (including one skype) and kept calling back whenever i heard the "Due to high call volume" message. I finally got 2 lines that told me it would a 30 minutes wait... one never got through and after an hour wait i hanged up. the other one was picked up after 22 minutes. Great agent, that confirmed my tickets and took my CC #.

But she also told me that everyone answering the phone at US had been called back to work even if it were their day off, and that they were scheduled for 16 hours shift. So they are trying the best they can! Its just that with so many flights cancelled they are completely overwhelmed.
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Old Dec 20, 09, 11:07 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by synd View Post
But she also told me that everyone answering the phone at US had been called back to work even if it were their day off, and that they were scheduled for 16 hours shift. So they are trying the best they can! Its just that with so many flights cancelled they are completely overwhelmed.
Right, there's only so many resources a company can have. This is the equivalent of a 10 year flood. No business could afford to routinely staff for that.
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Old Dec 20, 09, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
This is the equivalent of a 10 year flood. No business could afford to routinely staff for that.
Isn't there one of these storms that hits the NE hard about every year?

I guess we're see how a business does staffing at minimum for the good times...

Jim
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Old Dec 20, 09, 1:02 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by BoeingBoy View Post
Isn't there one of these storms that hits the NE hard about every year?

I guess we're see how a business does staffing at minimum for the good times...

Jim
No, I would say a storm of this magnitude hits the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast about once every 5 years (more often in BOS, but that's a different and more limited situation). December has had more snow in PHL than all of last year. And, obviously, the timing of this one on a peak holiday travel weekend is extraordinary.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect an airline to be able to handle calls in this situation within 10 minutes. It would be nice to see them answer calls within 30 minutes. If it's taking an hour, one might think that it would be worth considering whether additional resources should be spent to address this problem. I have no idea whether that would be a good use of limited funds. Perhaps money could be spent to make it easier to rebook on line?
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Old Dec 20, 09, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I don't think it's reasonable to expect an airline to be able to handle calls in this situation within 10 minutes.
Nor do I, especially the general res line.

It would be nice to see them answer calls within 30 minutes. If it's taking an hour, one might think that it would be worth considering whether additional resources should be spent to address this problem.
And when calls aren't even being taken? Is that the point where it's possible to say that US should routinely have more resources?

I have no idea whether that would be a good use of limited funds.
Well, first you have to decide if US is "healthy" and in "good shape" or if it's down to "limited funds" (although I guess it could be argued that even $1 trillion in cash is "limited" - there's only $1 trillion and no more).

At least you're making progress - at first this was a 10-year storm and now it's only a 5-year storm. Of course, you temper that by talking about the amount - after 5-6 inches it doesn't matter that much.
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