Is US Customer Service Always Useless?

 
Old Nov 22, 13, 9:34 am
  #1  
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Is US Customer Service Always Useless?

Earlier this week I flew US Express from CLT to YYZ. I did a SDC ($75) at the gate to grab an earlier flight and as a result didn't get a change to grab lunch. No big deal I figured as I could purchase a snack on the plane. When the FA arrived and I attempted to purchase a snack with a $10 she indicated that she had no change and in fact needed to make change for the person in front of me who just purchased a drink. I was in row 2 of the CRJ and figured that by the end of the service she would have change and come back to me. She could really care less. She sold the snacks of of the cart as well as other drinks and never once tried to sell me the snack. At the end of the service I asked again and "sorry no change". She even complained that the cash service is really a pain for her and hates the whole process. Needless to say - no snack.

I complained on the US website and the reply from a David Gross that I received was insulting. Basically apologizing but also implying that I should have known about the cash only and thus brought on a stack of $1? Didn't suggest that maybe they should carry change but instead made an excuse that the connectors don't accept CC while the mainline does. This is brilliant stuff from an airline that used to charge for soft drinks in Y. I guess ultimately they don't need my $3. As they are leaving *A and I am an AC FF, they don't need to worry. They will never get another $ from me again.
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Old Nov 22, 13, 9:51 am
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Feel better now?
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Old Nov 22, 13, 10:01 am
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No. All you hear about from the airlines is how difficult it is to compete and make money, blah, blah. Maybe they should ask themselves what are they doing wrong? I'm sure my complaint is minor compared to some of their other day to day challenges. Once they leave *A there will destinations that UA doesn't serve (TRI) for example. As I still need to go there I will need to fly DL or US/AA. As US don't seem to care, I will give my business to DL. They probably won't care either but at least I will give them a chance to.
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Old Nov 22, 13, 10:19 am
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If you wanted the snack that badly, why didn't you buy 3 of them and just tell the FA to keep the change?

Really, this world has bigger things to worry about.

As an aside, my laptop bag always has about $20 in small bills and a cliff bar in it - you just never know when you need a buck or two for a tip. Or a tin of Pringles.
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Old Nov 22, 13, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
No. All you hear about from the airlines is how difficult it is to compete and make money, blah, blah. Maybe they should ask themselves what are they doing wrong?
OMG! You should totally apply to be the VP of Operations of the new airline. I'm sure they need plenty of input on how to run one of the largest companies in the world.

Note - US airlines collected $6 Billion - yes billion - in baggage fees in 2012. I'm pretty sure they know how to compete and make money without your assistance. Thanks for playing.
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Old Nov 22, 13, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by AlphaTango View Post

As an aside, my laptop bag always has about $20 in small bills and a cliff bar in it - you just never know when you need a buck or two for a tip. Or a tin of Pringles.
Yeah I always have about $30 in the local currency in small bills because you can't count in the cabbie to have change, or you get stuck dragging $18 in conus from the fare card machine change when it's not taking bills, etc etc. plus about $3 in coins because unattended change-only toll booths really suck when all you've got is foreign money. I think I spent about $8 AUD trying to find a coin that weighed just right to let me off the toll road in Tampa.

There's a pretty well-established bar that used to occasionally run out of small bills and since the banks are closed at night, they'd send the bartenders to the seedy adult "novelty" shop down the block to trade $20's for $1's. The kind of shop with private booths in the back and sticky floors. Grim.

Yeah I get it, anyone who might reasonably be expected to make change should have it on hand, always, but anyone who's left the house more than five times knows sooner or later, anything bigger than a $5 is going to be a pain. There are so many ways travel can go pear-shaped; it's a bit silly to not try to prevent as many as you can, by not leaving your snack/taxi ride/you name it, in someone else's control. It's like being surprised and upset that you were late for your meeting because the bus came 3 minutes early and you weren't at the bus stop yet.
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Old Nov 22, 13, 6:09 pm
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Anybody who says that they are going to jump ship because they didn't bring enough small bills for a snack and didn't want to buy 2 of them or whatever (or just let the change from the $10 go and ask the FA to put it in a charity jar somewhere), absolutely should and see what the world is like out there.

Lots more bad stuff in a day. The US response wasn't insulting, it's exactly right.
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Old Nov 23, 13, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
I will give my business to DL. They probably won't care either but at least I will give them a chance to.
They won't make change for you either. DL is all cc, no cash.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 8:04 am
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Something tells me the OP probably doesn't carry a pen to fill out custom forms either.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 10:03 am
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Is US Customer Service Always Useless?
No.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 10:21 am
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So for all the people who are saying US Air customer service isn't useless, do you actually have a recent experience with customer service to justify their usefulness. Recently, it seems that the standard customer service mantra is apologize but do nothing to fix any problems.

I've also thought the screaming about cash only on express flights and then credit only on mainline flights is just nonsense. It is an annoying inconsistency that should be addressed and I'm sure US Air corporate could easily implement credit only on express flights. It is also logical, like in any business that deals with cash, that they should mainly have $5's and $1's so change should never be an issue. Frankly, I think it is a valid complaint caused by a combination of a stupid policy and poor planning on US Air's part.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
So for all the people who are saying US Air customer service isn't useless, do you actually have a recent experience with customer service to justify their usefulness.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/21828673-post10.html

I'd say proactively reaching out to a family to arrange for small children to sit with their parent without having to wait until flight time and try to arrange swaps with strangers outweighs getting a snack box. But YMMV, I suppose.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 10:35 am
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For future, ALL MAINLINE and Shuttle flights are cashless
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Old Nov 24, 13, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
Earlier this week I flew US Express from CLT to YYZ. I did a SDC ($75) at the gate to grab an earlier flight and as a result didn't get a change to grab lunch. No big deal I figured as I could purchase a snack on the plane. When the FA arrived and I attempted to purchase a snack with a $10 she indicated that she had no change and in fact needed to make change for the person in front of me who just purchased a drink. I was in row 2 of the CRJ and figured that by the end of the service she would have change and come back to me. She could really care less. She sold the snacks of of the cart as well as other drinks and never once tried to sell me the snack. At the end of the service I asked again and "sorry no change". She even complained that the cash service is really a pain for her and hates the whole process. Needless to say - no snack.

I complained on the US website and the reply from a David Gross that I received was insulting. Basically apologizing but also implying that I should have known about the cash only and thus brought on a stack of $1? Didn't suggest that maybe they should carry change but instead made an excuse that the connectors don't accept CC while the mainline does. This is brilliant stuff from an airline that used to charge for soft drinks in Y. I guess ultimately they don't need my $3. As they are leaving *A and I am an AC FF, they don't need to worry. They will never get another $ from me again.
I like the Cashless Cabins with a Credit Card there is none of this change no change ordeal. You could have given your seatmate the money and they could have swiped their card and given you change etc.

American has Cashless cabins so I guess US will go the same route/
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Old Nov 24, 13, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
I've also thought the screaming about cash only on express flights and then credit only on mainline flights is just nonsense. It is an annoying inconsistency that should be addressed and I'm sure US Air corporate could easily implement credit only on express flights. It is also logical, like in any business that deals with cash, that they should mainly have $5's and $1's so change should never be an issue. Frankly, I think it is a valid complaint caused by a combination of a stupid policy and poor planning on US Air's part.
I tend to agree on part of this. I assume that the reason that US hasn't gone cashless on Express is the sheer number of handheld readers needed (300+) added to the occasional substitution of planes with the contract carriers (on mainline the readers stay with the plane).

As for having a change fund, an airline is certainly different from most businesses. With near 9000 FAs, do you give each a change fund ($180,000 floating around daily), have catering provide a change fund (opening the door to theft), provide each plane with a change fund daily (who handles the distribution with ~500 planes scattered all over the country). An airline certainly isn't a restaurant or local establishment with a limited number of employees in one location.

Jim
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