Letters – February, 01 2008

Letters – February, 01 2008

Squeaky Wheels
I’d like to share my recent experience with American AAdvantage. In August 2005 I was supposed to use mileage to go to JFK from San Diego, but I cancelled the flight. I was supposed to pay $100 to reinstate my mileage, but since I didn’t need the mileage at the time I didn’t do it. Now when I tried to reinstate the mileage, they told me no, because it had been over a year since the tickets had been issued.

I responded back and referred to the email they had sent me in July 2006 where they stated that to reinstate any mileage from prior to July 2005, I would need to pay $100. The email made no mention of the fact that my time limit was about to expire (or as I figured out today, had already expired when they sent me the email which was a response to an inquiry I had sent them in July 2006).

They said no again, and I put “complaint” in my email heading, and argued some more. Every time they said no, I replied back stating how I didn’t think that was right since they advertise that your miles “never expire” as long as you have activity at least every 18 months (which I do).

Surprisingly, I got a call a few minutes ago. They said this is against their policy, but that they will make a one-time exception and reinstate my 25,000 miles. Of course, I still had to pay $100, but it’s well worth it since it represents a flight to New York for $100!

I’m glad I didn’t give up, and just kept replying back to them. My mileage is now up to 141,896 which makes it easier for me to transfer 20,000 to my father for an upcoming trip. Of course, I’ll need to pay another $200, but I suspect that my Dad will insist on paying it. I’ll try to convince him that it’s a Christmas present.

Yea for squeaky wheels!
Deborah P.

Up in Smoke
I am a very frequent traveler (United 1K, American Gold and Continental Silver and fly over 150,000 miles annually) and a big fan of InsideFlyer.

Recently we had a terrible experience on a Continental flight from Hong Kong to Newark. Just after take-off the cabin filled completely with smoke — it was a terrifying experience — and I really thought that this might have a horrible outcome. Fortunately, the smoke had come from a cleaning agent in the engines which I think should have been burned off before our flight. Part of the fear was not having any information about the situation for what seemed like an eternity — maybe two minutes — as we watched the flight attendants frantically search the plane for a possible cause of the smoke. Finally the captain came on to explain the situation as something that is routine (neither I nor any of the flight attendants had every experienced this situation before).

I wrote to Continental (see letter below and their response) to explain how upset we were about the experience. In their response they basically told me that they believed there was effective communication and that they were pleased to learn that our flight arrived 47 minutes early! Not one apology!

I am still upset over that flight and even more upset at the cavalier response from Continental.

Thought you might want to share this with your readers so they understand the concern that Continental feels for their customers!
Sincerely,
Brad Demsky

Dear Mr. Demsky:
Thank you for including Continental in your recent travel plans. I appreciate the time you took to let us know of your concerns. I can imagine how frightening it must have been when the smoke filled the cabin.

We fully recognize the importance of keeping our customers informed during a flight and regret that you feel our flight personnel did not effectively communicate information that may have alleviated your inconvenience and discomfort. The best available information on the status of a flight is expected to be communicated to you as soon as it is available, with updates approximately every 20 minutes.

I certainly appreciate your point of view that the information should have been provided immediately; however, the captain must first make contact with ground personnel and advise them of the situation and his assessment of the problem; as well as, provide his recommendation of continuing the flight or making an immediate landing.

Mr. Demsky, I trust you understand that we would never intentionally put our customers or crew in danger, and I was pleased to find that your flight arrived safe and 47 minutes early. I certainly respect other airline procedures regarding four hour delays, and realized that all corporations have guidelines that they follow and Continental is no different. Contrary to popular belief, airlines are not required to offer compensation except in situations of denied boarding resulting from over sale of flights. Although this is a situation that we both wish would not have happened it does not warrant compensation.

We appreciate your business, and look forward to welcoming you onboard again very soon. I am confident you will experience the outstanding service and operational reliability we traditionally provide.

Thanks again for your message.
Regards,
Denise Taylor-Booker
Customer Care Manager

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