Letters

Letters

Earthlink Warning
I signed up for Earthlink’s Internet service on Nov. 30, 2001, with the understanding that I would receive 5,000 Delta SkyMiles within 12 weeks from the date of activation. After much time had elapsed, and after numerous excuses by agents at Earthlink, my airline bonus miles never appeared.

I believe I began calling Earthlink in February to complain about my missing mileage. Excuses ranged from A to Z, and some offered no excuse at all. I was promised numerous call-backs by Earthlink (including a supervisor), but no one ever called me back after "researching the problem." Again, time marched on. April came and still no 5,000 Delta SkyMiles! I know emphatically that I spoke to at least 12 or more agents with Earthlink over the span of several months. Even after threatening to file a complaint against Earthlink with the Better Business Bureau as well as a civil lawsuit, I still received no help from Earthlink.

I have never encountered such poor customer service from any company. In desperation, I called Delta and managed to speak to a reservations’ floor supervisor, who promised to send my problem to its SkyMiles Help Desk. Still, no airline bonus miles! I finally wrote a letter to Ms. Patricia Myles, VP of Consumer Marketing for Delta, on April 27 about the situation. I cancelled my Earthlink service on May 1, still with my problem unresolved. In the first week of June, I received a letter from Duane Phillips, Manager of Customer Care with Delta. The letter was dated May 30, and acknowledged the fact that the missing 5,000 airline miles were eventually posted to my frequent flyer account (sometime in May).

I fault Earthlink for not living up to its customer commitment in a timely and satisfactory manner. I certainly paid my subscriber bill of $21.95 a month on time. Although this problem was not Delta’s responsibility, I sense that someone at Delta got the miles to my account somehow. I feel certain that a large majority of Internet customers would have given up and resigned themselves to losing the 5,000 mile bonus.

What I went through is completely inexcusable.
Sincerely,
Dr. Nicholas Kalafatis

eBay/OnePass Auction Tres Cher
The Washington Post reported recently that Ebay is permitting Continental OnePass members to use their miles to buy things on EBAY…now that’s creative; but from the examples given (56,000 miles for a Cher concert) it must be similar to the airline auctions, where people appear to way overpay for what they are getting.

The airlines are desperate (with their accountants looking over their shoulders) to reduce the liabilities on their balance sheets that are posed by the billions of banked miles. And, with travel picking up to near normal levels, the airlines obviously want people to redeem miles in ways other than on their nearly full planes. But, what amazes me (even after redeeming four business class awards to Australia last Christmas, I’m sitting on over 1.2 million miles in all of our accounts) is that none of the airlines have gotten really aggressive on the "miles redemption" front. For example, while Continental and others occasionally list "under-traveled" domestic markets that have good availability for redeeming miles, the airlines need to more aggressively offer specific "all mileage deals" in their weekly promotions, especially during non-peak periods for international travel. Delta, American and Continental did that to a limited degree during off-peak periods last winter (travel to Latin American and Asia for 25,000 or 35,000 miles during winter etc.), but that broad approach should evolve into a standard feature of their weekly special deals and it should be for specific international destinations each week (except in the summer when most international flights are full).

So, this fall, if travel to certain international markets drops, then the airlines should offer not just lower fares but also offer "all mileage specials" each week to under-traveled locations.
Bob Thompson

Swiss Plug
I wanted to give a plug to Swiss, the new/old airline, which is an outgrowth of the collapsed Swiss Air. I recently flew first class to and from Europe, and think they are truly a great airline. My experience was superb. The first-class seating was the best I’ve seen, the crew exceptional, and the overall efficiency is that which one expects of the Swiss. They are trying hard, doing a fine job, and deserve a plug. Oh, by the way, the food was absolutely wonderful.
Dick Van den Bosch

AA Angst
I’m curious to find out if I’m the only one who has a problem with the aa.com new user policy, that you have to agree to before you can log in? In my mind this is the worst user agreement I’ve seen and so far I have refused to agree to it and hence I can’t use the Web site. It’s so one-sided and as a customer you are not worth anything at all. I thought that the customer was the King!! AA keeps all the rights.

It would be interesting to hear if you have looked at the airlines Web site’s use agreements and if you have any comparison and comments.
Per Hjerppe

No Upgrade For You
Why is it that Continental are so underhand with their policy changes?

On trying to upgrade to Business First from Mexico to Newark today I learned the airline has, without notifying it’s supporters, decided to change their upgrade program.

Now they have their award to hell with the staunch supporters who, after Sept. 11, have kept the airline in business. As a OnePass customer, who on all my flights, most of which are international, has supported Continental I find that upgrades no longer exist. In fact to upgrade from Mexico to Newark they wanted over $900 which is outrageous and to my way of thinking very under hand.

Despite a search of their site I was unable to find any notice of the change only statements of praise about the program.

I quote from Continental’s site: "Business travelers find it easy to place their loyalty with Continental because they can enjoy the benefits of America’s best Elite Level Program while flying on an airline that is universally recognized for its superior customer service, newer aircraft and consistent reliability," said Mark Bergsrud, vice president of marketing for Continental.

Mark Bergsrud obviously feels now he has the award and business is improved his OnePass customers will accept what he dishes up.

I believe, as you have rightly stated, members are going to be upset. In fact perhaps it is time to look for another airline this one is becoming complacent.

Let’s face it Mark Bergsrud, if the upgrade seat was empty it cost you nothing to move a supporter, they were already on the flight and if the truth be known it gave you an extra economy seat for a fare paying passenger. But now it sure will, the empty seats in economy will hurt.

I have no doubt when your competition find out they will be after your OnePass customers — and we will go!

By the way, when were you going to tell us about Air France?

Keep your "wings" I will find more leg room and straight talking.

Disillusioned.
Allan Butler

Search Exhaustion
You recently ran an article about the frequent flyer that seemed to be getting "random searched" a lot. I’d like to give you my two cents worth.

I am a Platinum flyer with Continental Airlines. One trip that I regularly make is between Houston and Memphis on Continental Express. I am continually and consistently pulled aside at the boarding gate and subjected to a complete search. This despite the facts that: 1) I fly almost 100,000 miles annually with these guys; 2) I make this specific trip about 50 times per year; 3) I book round-trips only; 4) I book at least three weeks in advance and pay with a credit card.

There can be no legitimate logic driving these searches but then again they are happening too consistently to be random. In the meantime I see people who I wouldn’t share a taxi with scurrying on board unimpeded.

Conversely, I am also Platinum with America West and I don’t believe that I have ever been "gate searched" on an America West flight. I guess if they’re leaving their Platinum flyers alone I should be concerned about my safety on one of their flights.

Go figure!!!!!!!!!!!!
Frank Pahlke

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