Letters – May, 07 2014

Letters – May, 07 2014

Unprecedented If the American Airlines AAdvantage program is chosen as program of the year, I think you should consider throwing out the results. They waited until after voting to make unprecedented changes with no advance notice.

You can read more details on FlyerTalk. You won’t find it on AA.com because they’ve spread the changes throughout the website. It’s not all in one place. I’m sure this would be unprecedented for you, but what AA has done is also unprecedented.
R. G.

Lost Resort
Hilton HHonors has changed its policy at its properties with “resort fees”. In the past, HHonors Diamond and Gold members were exempt from such fees as the services included in resort fees are already free benefits. Now Diamond and Gold members pay for WiFi, health club, etc. that were once free. I am now boycotting such properties including Hilton Walt Disney World and DoubleTree Tropicana Las Vegas, until the policy is changed back. I encourage others to join me and be sure to let HHonors and the properties know it.

Time to Play Nicely
My college age daughter is Platinum this year through my Million Miler companion status. Generally she travels with my wife (Platinum) and me so she knows boarding etiquette. Recently, she has made several trips without us and has found that the people in Boarding Group 1 automatically assume that she is in the wrong line (BG1) and that she should get the heck out of the way.

Foolish, prejudiced individuals tried to push her and two of her college friends aside physically from the BG1 line in SFO as they were connecting to EWR after a break in Oahu. As an athlete she was able to hold her ground and show them her status, but it was a bit of unfriendliness that was not necessary.
8MiHi [Milepoint]

Editors’ Note: Thanks for the letter. We’re sure no InsideFlyer readers would be so rude but we’ve seen it many times. Everyone should think twice before assuming anything about another person based on how that person looks. Good for her for standing her ground.

Seat Dismay
I just hate that you can’t get assigned seats anymore for flights. I have to take my chances and hope that if I check a couple days ahead of time, I will be able to get something other than a middle seat without having to pay extra. If the “extra” amount is up to $15, I just pay it, but it would cost me $130 to get seats on both of my upcoming flights, and the company doesn’t pay for us to get “upgraded” seats. Crazy!

This is on American. I have over 80,000 miles on American, so I figured I might as well add to them. At least you can still get flights using miles with American (although with horrible connections).

Flying sure isn’t what it used to be unless you are an elite member, and even then there are problems.
Deb P.

What’s Going On?
What’s going on with American AAdvantage? The airline just changed some of their awards with virtually no notice. This is not what I’ve come to expect from American and it makes me very nervous about what is going to happen to the program once the merger with US Airways is complete. I just don’t like the look of this at all.

And although the news was not good news, if it had been communicated with plenty of notice for members, I would have taken it more in stride. Yes, I’ve used the oneworld distance-based Explorer awards to make some very memorable family trips so their statement that no one was using them stings a bit because, ahem, I was using them! And don’t get me started on American deciding to discontinue stopovers on international awards – the policy was already more restrictive than other programs; and now, well, I guess I should not have complained about only getting to stopover in the U.S. because now I won’t even have that. But really, I digress – it’s all about COMMUNICATION – letting your members know in advance so they can plan accordingly. There’s nothing worse than planning a big trip with miles and then to have all your plans dashed overnight because your frequent flyer program decides to change the rules without notice.

I know that American made these changes to save money. We all know that. But, Dear American Airlines, how does that justify not giving notice to your customers? Your loyal, frequent flying customers? The ones who have stuck by you through thick and thin?

I’m putting a call out to all AAdvantage members to let your voice be heard and tell the program now that you expect more from them. You DESERVE more from them. If American AAdvantage goes down to the murky depths, I feel that the whole FFP industry is on its way down too. (I can see the circling water and hear the whoosh as my frequent flyer dreams go down the drain as I write this.) And as a frequent flyer, that makes me very sad indeed. Please, AA, do the right thing and take care of your customers.
Gary J. Smithson

In for the Long Haul
I just read on Forbes that United Airlines is going to be launching two of the world’s longest 787 flights. I can’t help but be intrigued. One is between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia (one of my favorite cities) – a distance, Forbes says, of 7,927 miles. And another flight will be from San Francisco to Chengdu, which is the first nonstop flight ever from the U.S. to Chengdu. Now, I’m not as familiar with Chengdu as Melbourne, but I’m still intrigued. That flight will be 6,857 miles.
And wouldn’t it be nice if United Airlines offers double, or even triple miles, on the flight? Let’s see… 31,708 for a coach nonstop flight to Melbourne if they offer double miles (well, more because I have the United credit card) and 47,562 miles if they offer triple miles. All I’ll have to do is buy the ticket, go to the airport, get on the flight, settle in and enjoy my time in Melbourne when I arrive. Count me in for the long haul.
James Crawley

Feeling Blu
I am frequently appalled at the “customer care” I get from various hotels and airlines. I’m generally not an elite member, so I’m just your average Joe calling in with questions or trying to make reservations. Recently, my wife and I both used Club Carlson points for a stay in London – two nights at the same hotel. One night with her points and one night with my points. So, naturally, I thought I would get in touch with Radisson Blu to let them know that although we have two separate reservations, and used two separate Club Carlson memberships to make the reservations, we were indeed the same party and would like to be assigned the same room for both nights. I was hoping to not have to move from one room to another on our consecutive two-night stay.

When I called Radisson Blu, I was friendly, spoke slowly and explained the situation. The man who was my “customer care” representative immediately starting telling me in an agitated tone that he could not combine the reservations. I did not at any time ask him to combine the reservations, I merely thought that perhaps a note could be placed on the reservations explaining that we would like to stay in the same room for the two nights. That was all I was asking, but he was extremely rude and not at all helpful. I thanked him and quickly hung up the phone before his bad attitude rubbed off on me.

I realize now that I should probably just have let it go and talked to the people at the front desk to make the request when we arrived at the hotel. It’s unfortunate that this individual has a job in customer service. Because of his attitude, I’m no longer looking forward to our stay at the hotel that we carefully chose to spend our points on.

And I wish I could say that this was an anomaly but unfortunately, it is not. I am often surprised at just how bad customer service is for hotels and airlines. Even the smallest requests or questions can turn into a Monty Python sketch, only this time, I’m not laughing.
Not Laughing in Las Vegas

Italian Style
Perhaps your readers would be interested in hearing my thoughts on flying Iberia to Europe. I know that I struggled with trying to decide the best way to use my Avios points when I chose this flight. We flew business class from New York (JFK) to Madrid and we could not have happier with our flight. The meals were excellent and included foie gras, consomme, a selection of cheese, fresh salads and even suckling pig. Even the coffee was good with a choice of espresso drinks. The wine was also good for an airline meal.

The seats were comfortable and felt private. The amenity kit was a really nice touch and even the lavatory had nice touches like fresh flowers. I would definitely fly Iberia in business class to Europe again.
Jason Marston

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