Has Alaska Airlines taken over the reservation call center?

Old Apr 26, 17, 7:27 pm
  #1  
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Has Alaska Airlines taken over the reservation call center?

Reason for my question is that today I experienced a glitch in processing my 24-hour Gold upgrade options for Main Cabin Select and First Class.

Similar glitches have happened in the past (the system offers the standard, higher cost upgrade pricing at the 24-hour window, rather than the free Main Cabin Select and lower cost First Class pricing that Gold members receive).

Calling into the call center, I encountered people that had zero understanding of the program, a subtly more hostile, less customer-centered focus, and conflicting explanations as to what was happening & how to solve it: first person immediately punted me to a supervisor-- where I held for 10 minutes without anyone picking up, second told me my upgrade was being processed manually and would show up in a couple of minutes (not true, never happened), third call was a pick up after extended hold with no one on the line (but I could hear general call center chatter). I kept thinking I would get someone who understood the program, and might treat me with a general level of courtesy, but that never happened-- so weird & different from my prior interactions.

Unfortunately, my final call was with a surly gentleman who said he could see that I had "bid" on the upgrade, but that my bid had been rejected. He further explained that Golds, Silvers, and people without any status whatsoever could bid and that he implied that I was attempting to pull some sort of scam. It's rare that I need to call and interact with a human at Virgin, but they have always in the past been really nice people... today, it was like I had entered some hellish alternate universe.

I'm really not liking my introduction to Alaska Airlines so far, if that's what I encountered. Or was I just unlucky today?

Last edited by HKG_Flyer1; Apr 27, 17 at 8:21 am
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Old Apr 26, 17, 7:45 pm
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As was mentioned in several other threads, the problems started when Virgin was trying to save costs to make themselves more attractive to a buyer and moved the outsourced call center to Denver. Many of these agents were not trained properly. After the acquisition and the announcement by AS that pretty much everything Virgin will be gone as soon as possible, the outsourced call center people know that their jobs answering calls for the Virgin brand are winding down. These workers are outsourced and now temporarily employed answering calls for a brand and FF program that will soon be gone. Going through the motions is to be expected. It will take AS awhile to hire and train new people and they will not be trained in how elevate or VX works as by then, both will be a distant memory.

Try to do what you can online or fly somebody else until things are sorted out over the coming months with the transition to everything Alaska.
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Old Apr 26, 17, 8:34 pm
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Alaska is hiring and training hundreds of new phone agents. The current AS agents are some of the best call center staff I have ever dealt with.
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Old Apr 26, 17, 9:26 pm
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Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
As was mentioned in several other threads, the problems started when Virgin was trying to save costs to make themselves more attractive to a buyer and moved the outsourced call center to Denver. Many of these agents were not trained properly. After the acquisition and the announcement by AS that pretty much everything Virgin will be gone as soon as possible, the outsourced call center people know that their jobs answering calls for the Virgin brand are winding down. These workers are outsourced and now temporarily employed answering calls for a brand and FF program that will soon be gone. Going through the motions is to be expected. It will take AS awhile to hire and train new people and they will not be trained in how elevate or VX works as by then, both will be a distant memory.
This is not completely accurate. The prior call center, in seattle, was the main center for about 8 years, and closed last year. prior to this, virgin opened a call center in dallas, which is now the main call center (for the time being anyway). the denver call center is a smaller concern and will likely close before the larger dallas center. any customer service call you make to any company has the chance of getting you a poorly trained or simply angry or unwilling to assist agent.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 7:19 am
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...but your chances in getting a clueless/powerless agent when calling Virgin are exponentially higher. Poorly trained outsourced agents who will be out the door in a matter of months are not going to be the best representatives of the brand. Both Dallas and Denver agents are usually terrrible and were the worst part of VX for the greater part of the past year. Expecting you will find an agent that knows elevate in and out is a fools errand.

AS is hiring their own people and will train them in their own way of doing things. There is little reason for them to put resources into retraining the outsourced people as Elevate will be gone soon.
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Old Apr 28, 17, 7:41 am
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As far as I know Xerox BPO is still handling calls for VX until the switch to a single reservation system where AS will take over.
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Old Apr 28, 17, 11:56 pm
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The Xerox call center in Seattle closed last year. The remaining call centers in Dallas and Denver are not operated by Xerox.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 8:46 am
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Originally Posted by cringle View Post
The Xerox call center in Seattle closed last year. The remaining call centers in Dallas and Denver are not operated by Xerox.
They are run by Rent-A-Call Center. You give us the least amount of money possible and we will provide you with customer service agents that have never even seen an airport.
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Old May 1, 17, 8:35 am
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So frustrating. Could never reach an agent who had any familiarity with the Gold upgrade program after repeated tries.

Sent an email to customer service and was told they were unable to help me, referred me back to the call center.

Last edited by HKG_Flyer1; May 1, 17 at 9:45 am
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Old May 1, 17, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by HKG_Flyer1 View Post
So frustrating. Could never reach an agent who had any familiarity with the Gold upgrade program after repeated tried.

Sent an email to customer service and was told they were unable to help me, referred me back to the call center.
They are useless, email people can't do anything and not even the call center can help most of the time.
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