Letters – April, 30 2012

Letters – April, 30 2012

Sidewalk Flowers

I am forwarding this email to you guys that I sent almost a month ago to the “rewards program” of Etihad Airways. No action was provided. It fell on deaf ears. They should NOT be voted in this year as the BEST rewards program in the Freddie Awards (Etihad Guest, that is).

Letter Joe sent to Etihad Guest:

I am very, very, very, very disappointed with the flowers I ordered online via Etihad Airways’ website as a reward. I was expecting this floral arrangement as a Valentine’s gift for my partner. The reward description was: Flowers Made Easy: Bouquet Rose & Thistle Mix. A beautiful bouquet of spray roses and purple thistles wrapped with Aspidis leaves.

And we end up getting a bunch of red roses with summer snow that I can buy from the sidewalk vendor. To think this cost almost $80 when you convert the miles into dollars. I can buy these red roses anytime for less than $10 in the Philippines!

Never again will I get flowers from you. This is very frustrating.

Editors’ Note: Joe, we contacted Etihad Guest and they will get back to you regarding your disappointment. Let us know about their response to you.

Go Nader Go

I read recently that Ralph Nader was unhappy with not being able to get an aisle seat assignment in advance for an American Airlines flight. Evidently, he was told that he would have to buy a full-fare ticket to be able to get the seat assignment more than 24 hours in advance. The article mentioned that these prime seats are set aside for the airline’s frequent flyers. Although I am one of those frequent flyers, I can totally see Nader’s point of view, and I hope that he’s successful in bringing some sanity to the airlines over just how far they can nickle and dime you to get more money out of you. I feel like sending them a bill according to my own personal “misery index” which ranges from slightly annoyed, to on the verge of tears, depending on my most recent travel experience.

I also thought it interesting that Mr. Nader says he travels on Southwest Airlines most of the time because that airline is “proletariat”. He said American is “behaving like a monopoly extortionist” and that the company is bankrupt in more ways than one. I tend to agree with him, but American Airlines is certainly not alone in the race to the bottom.
A.J. in Miami

Flying US

Regarding US Airways, I like flying with them because they go the extra mile for me. But buying reward tickets costs twice the miles compared to United.

Also it is about time they get economy plus and let other elite Star Alliance members use them. I always get put in the back of United planes and I’m a Chairman’s Preferred.

Real SWA

The new Southwest program has really shafted their flyers in the following ways:

1. Conversion from old program to new program penalized flyers and required them to use the old program and use far more points for a flight than the new program requires for a free flight. (Southwest should have converted all points and credits to the new program on implementation.)

2. Invalidated all original drink coupons and made sure to tell you on the flights that they are no good. Why would you have them anyway on your current flight? (These were earned by the flyer and should be honored.)

3. Now requiring more points for flights than new program originally required. With the government’s new regulation to have the full fare quoted, Southwest now has to show that fare on the website. Instead of doing any kind of adjustment for their program, the flyer now has to pay points for the taxes as well as the base fare since all is calculated per dollar spent. (Southwest could make an adjustment on the program that reflects this new policy, but instead they are just requiring more points to now take these free flights.)

Overall, these program changes were not for the flyer but for Southwest’s benefit!

Though I have been an exclusive Southwest flyer for the last several years, I will now be flying alternate carriers. This gives you some REAL feedback on the Southwest anti-flyer program.

Why No La Quinta?

I voted in the Freddie Awards, but it seemed weird to me that Choice Hotels was in the list but not La Quinta. La Quinta is a much better choice of hotel group at that price range, and there is no pet fee. I stay at both chains quite a lot. Choice Hotels often charges too much for pet fees. La Quinta needs more properties, in which case I would drop Choice Hotels.

Editors’ Note: Thanks for your feedback. We will certainly bring up the possibility of including La Quinta in the next Freddie Awards.

Don’t Have the Time

I use all three majors. I fly for best connections. I’m the odd guy. Delta is not bad. American Airlines is not bad but we will see what happens with the bankruptcy, but AA has a great first class. United Airlines (new) is terrible. I was on the phone for over an hour to get a cancelled $4,000 ticket to Paris changed and it was still not done after being switched to another phone line. What’s up!!!??? At this rate it ain’t going to be fixed for a while. Customer service at UA has taken a major huge drop and I don’t have the time or patience to wait until it’s fixed. In my company heads would roll. I doubt I am the only customer who has said I don’t have the time to just wait for this merger to work–especially if I’m paying a damn good penny!
John B.

Penalty and Praise

InsideFlyer: Please make an effort to embarrass Delta Air Lines into following the industry standard for redemption of frequent flyer miles. Our family of four has about 35,000 miles each, which would easily have gotten us all domestic roundtrips on Northwest. We snoozed, we lost. Since the Delta takeover, we haven’t been able to find any redemption that wasn’t totally outrageous. We’ve looked at a number of routes over a long period of time and even flights without connections are beyond reason. Example: This month, we needed to fly Jackson, Wyo. to Sioux Falls, S.D., roundtrip. Delta wanted 90,000 miles and too much money for just a one-way. We booked it for only 20,000+ miles and $10 roundtrip on United.

Please praise United, American and Frontier for offering a variety of one-ways for 12,500 miles. What we really need is to be able to use the Delta miles we earned. Perhaps others are writing you with this same concern.

We’re writing today because Delta just sent more junk mail promoting its credit card. Until Delta is sensible about mileage redemption, who would want their card?

Hopefully, you will be addressing these concerns soon.
Paula from Lakewood, Colo.

Customer Sensitivity

I have had a bad experience with Club Carlson customer service, particularly in the U.K. Their staff are a very angry group of people and are very rude with customers. Recently, I called them for their triple points program and I asked if the customer representative could forward me the document which referred to policies. The Club Carlson customer supervisor said that I was calling her a liar.

They really don’t care if you have spent #4000 and you are eager to earn points. They are certainly not sensitive to their customers.

I am not able to understand how can they service globally if they have this kind of supervisors who lead their team.

Not Happy

US Airways flights to Hawaii and Europe are not eligible for free upgrades. I’m a US Airways Platinum member and I have to pay $250- $600 for upgrades on those routes.

I once tried to move up to an earlier flight to Hawaii because I arrived in PHX early. Again, not possible on Hawaii flights, even though there was room on the plane. I travel for business to both destinations several times per year and I am not happy about this.

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