Letters – September, 26 2008

Letters – September, 26 2008

Take My Dividend Miles, Please

Please do not publish with my name. I love your comments on US Airways [Opening Remarks, July 2008]. I was a Platinum member for three years and stuck out the grief only because Phoenix is a hub.

Their employees hate their jobs. Their customers hate to fly them. Their flight attendants have not had a raise in years. Their pilots are underpaid and many are extremely out of shape and obese. They have the least amount of space in their seats.

I have had over 250,000 miles in my account that have gone unused for years because Dividend Miles allots the least amount of seats in the industry. You can have mine.

Forty-seven flights on Southwest in the last 45 weeks with no delays and no cancellations.
Name Withheld

Vanishing US Perks

I read the article in the Arizona Republic relative to US Airways cutting [elite-level] bonus miles. I am PO’d. They don’t give you squat now and they are going to give less. There has to be an alternative. Do you know if I can transfer my status (Platinum) to Continental or Northwest? I think this would be an opportunity for them to pick up travelers who use US Airways because it is the only crap game in town (Phoenix).

I have traveled for 40 years and have not seen the perks disappear as fast as they have in the past year.
Ross Rector

Upgrade Me

I am responding to the “Upgrade your title” article from the July issue. In 1998, three friends and I started what has become an annual trip to Asia to celebrate Thanksgiving. We all flew United to Singapore and from there a Singapore Air flight to Manila. I bought the four SQ tickets and as a joke I titled myself Doctor, and the others Lord, Reverend and Professor. I just wanted to see their expressions when they saw the boarding passes.

Well, 10 years have past and we’ve sure had fun with it! Now all my correspondences from SQ (and others) come to me as Dr. We’ve had tickets, boarding passes and vouchers printed in titles, as well. It’s great seeing limo drivers holding signs with those monikers, although the funniest is hearing us paged at the airport that way.

No rewarding upgrades or other amenities have ever been provided but we’ve had plenty of laughs. The best part of it is now we refer to each other by title, nicknames that have had the power to supplant those deep-rooted handles given to each other as kids.

Thanks for bringing this up and keeping the yarn alive!
Dr. Byer

No Seats 330 Days Out

I have probably subscribed to InsideFlyer almost since its inception. I have always had little trouble in using my miles for travel but have noticed a lot of contrary opinion from others. Now, I have joined those who have a problem.

I have been a longtime United Airlines flyer and am a million miler; during my working career, I was 1K for seven years. We visit Australia every year in January, and for the past 12 years have gotten first class award seats. I always call as soon as the 330-day date arrives. Sometimes I have had to take another day, etc. but always succeeded. This year, I was again successful in getting two first class awards for outbound travel in January 2009. However, when I tried for a return in early February, the door slammed shut! There were and are NO award seats in first or business class during the month of February (and perhaps later). This is apparent because for the week of Feb. 2, of the 14 flights (LAX and SFO to SYD/MEL), seven have every seat available for sale, four others have only one seat sold, two have two seats sold and one has three. (I am waitlisted in both first and business class on Feb. 2 and 3 and have been since the 330-day window.)

I fully understand and accept the concept of capacity/inventory controls. It seems that beginning in February, the system has decided that NO award seats will be available until much closer to flight dates. The system has every right to assume all seats will be sold later and I can’t quarrel with that. However, the record suggests that isn’t the case and it seems to me a few seats ought to be available now. As I said, I have a reservation outbound in first class and inbound in economy class plus the waitlist. Obviously, I will never use this reservation as is. If the waitlists never clear, I will cancel it because I won’t go economy. Also, due to trip planning, I can’t wait until a few weeks before the flight.

The point of all this is to tell yet another tale of woe and also to hope that RANDY might call this to the attention of someone in UA with authority to help.

Thanks and keep up the good work.
Ray Klein

Spend More Miles or Red Eye

DELTA…Originally, they were great, and this was the reason they were my airline of choice — a person to talk with, seats usually available, etc. NOW, you must book online. And despite the fact they show a plane half empty months in advance, once you select the outgoing flight at the lower mileage, when you input your return, you have no choice at the lower mileage, or can only get a “red-eye.”

Delta wants your loyalty and gets it with promises. Their loyalty sucks. My father once told me, “Son, it is not that hard to get a customer, but once you do, you have to work twice as hard to please them, otherwise they will leave. And when they leave, they do not come back.”

Web Bewilderment

I recently used Delta miles for a 25k award ticket. The final procedure on the Delta site was for you to select your seat assignments. The first two legs of my flight brought up a diagram showing both coach and first class available seats. Of course I selected seats in first. Unless I missed it somewhere, I was charged an additional 15k miles [without fair warning]. Had I any clue that this would happen I would have stayed in coach. The return segments were both in coach so no problem. I spoke to a Delta agent about my concerns and he said that the frequent flyer program was now more flexible since you could order individual items. I also asked that the 15k miles be credited back into my account but of course it didn’t happen.

Even more amazing was the fact you could look at available seats prior to ticketing — those only showed coach class, not first and coach. After ticketing, first class seats were added to coach as available.

I understand what happened but the method used to get the extra mileage charge from the customer was, to say the least, questionable.
Gary Redmore

Platinum Elite Sounds Off

I believe that the loss of elite bonuses at US Airways is just another problem that they are blaming the passenger/elite flyer for. I am a Platinum elite member and a loyal non-business traveler for several years. Since midyear last year, I have watched US Airways totally lose their focus.

Since the first of the year, I have had questions regarding their program and especially regarding their awards program. Out of six tries to get correct information, I have about eight hours of conflicting answers. They range from “I don’t know,” to “go to the airport and they should be able to help.”

My second to last straw was trying to get information on our trip to Europe. I had a problem getting it booked so I called Platinum customer service. I was told I had to write customer service, which I did. After two weeks, I gave up and just booked the trip. The next day customer service wrote and said since I booked the trip I didn’t need their help anymore so they were done. This has happened two more times since. Customer service writes after two weeks, “since it has been some time since you wrote us we assume you have found the answer and are dropping the case.”

We decided to upgrade to Envoy on our return from Europe, the deal was $500. The receipt we received had it billed for more than $1,600. I started talking with Platinum customer service in Germany, then Philadelphia, Tampa and Sarasota, and each said, “we don’t know, but the billing is wrong and we can’t help.” Finally, I was told I had to call accounting and that they are the ones to fix it. Call, and you get on a loop that basically says, don’t bother us, we don’t talk to customers.

Early June, I talked to a supervisor two levels up and was told how sorry they were and that they would send me discount coupons for my trouble. I since have written three times as to why I have received nothing. No reply!

I wrote US Airways questioning why they do not want leisure elite frequent flyers. Unlike business travelers, whose company chooses who they fly, we leisure elite can and will choose who we fly with. The dropping of the elite bonuses will achieve US Airways’ apparent goal of only flying business and non-elite travelers. As with every other question or comment, NO RESPONSE! The silence from US Airways to their customers shows just what they think of US! They could care less!
Edward Ploughman

Fold and Walk Away

Why play this game? The airlines have all the cards, can change the rules, and play mean and dirty with us! Hey, people, go Greyhound if you can. Or take Amtrak. Otherwise, forget it, and let the airlines go broke.
Ross Rector

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