US Airways Tackling Member Complaints

US Airways Tackling Member Complaints

Three thousand complaints down, only 5,500 to go.

US Airways has hired three dozen temporary customer service employees in recent weeks to help its existing staff of 140 chip away at a mountainous backlog of complaints from passengers upset with the airline’s merged Web site Dividend Miles program, according to Tom Fontaine of the Beaver County (Pa.) Times.

“That’s good to hear. This has probably been the worst time in their history, as far as their ability to deal with problems goes,” Carol Zimny of the Travel Centre, Chippewa Township, told the Times.

“I’ve heard complaints almost on a daily basis,” Zimny added.

Frequent flyer Rich Ostrom of North Sewickley Township told Fontaine that he became so exasperated trying to book flights online and use his miles to get seating upgrades that he has chosen to have Zimny do it for him.

Customers started flooding US Airways with complaints in May, when the Web sites of US Airways and the former America West merged.

In a conference call, Scott Kirby, vice president of marketing and sales, acknowledged “some problems and some bugs” at the site and said the airline was still working to make the site easier to navigate.

“There was some customer confusion. … Once we converted the site, we expected our (complaint) calls to go up 50 percent. They actually went up 200 percent, so we overwhelmed the call center,” Kirby said.

US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said there were roughly 7,000 emails and 1,500 letters in the backlog of complaints by late July.

Rader told the Times that further improvements are expected to be made to the airline’s Web site by next week. As far as the difficulties frequent flyers may be experiencing using their miles to upgrade to premium seating, she said, “Our planes have been very full (more than 80 percent, on average). The seats fill up pretty quickly.”

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