10k Miles for Weather?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Captain Oveur, Mar 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I sometimes feel that United hands out goodies a little too much. Specifically, compensation for things that happen in-flight.

    Last week, SFO was a mess because of the weather. I missed a moderately tight, yet very legal, connection. Was booked on a flight two and-a-half hours later.

    I know this kind of goes against what some may feel is the theme to sites like Milepoint, but I don't know, United didn't need to send me 10k miles because we ended up holding 50 miles out of SFO because of visibility issues (and missing the connections).

    While I do appreciate the miles and the pro-active approach (and no, I'm not going to ask them to pull the miles from my account), I just wonder if the bar has been set incorrectly for "Customer Appreciation" things.
     
  2. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    Many of your fellow travelers would disagree with you. I, on the other hand, don't. I think it's silly to give away miles based upon things that the airline has zero control over, such as the weather. It will be interesting to see if UA continues this type of practice once the merger is final and CO disappears.
     
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  3. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    It is just a nice touch... I agree 10K is too much, but it is always nice when a company sticks out its neck to recognize the inconvenience that we faced even though it is not the company's fault...

    CO on the other hand, you have to fight for compensation in situations where the airline is at total fault, like when planes go mechanical... Talk about being stingy.

    I believe AA and DL observe similar practices with miles as UA...
     
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  4. Ygor
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    Ygor Gold Member

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    10k is way too much for a couple hours delay that was out of the airline's control, IMO
    I am sure it buys a lot of good will, but I wonder if it make good business sense, on top of setting expectations way too high.
    What do you get for a mechanical? Free ticket? What about a cancelled flight due to weather? A massagy with a happy ending?
     
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  5. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    Yeah..
    FWIW, seems that never happens to me! ;)
    Yet I'm admittedly open to getting some well intentioned FREE miles, no question! :)
     
  6. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    I respect an airline far more when they proactively reach out (i.e. when AA deactivated power ports, I got 10k miles and a phone call). However, when its weather related or something similar outside the airline's control, then I wouldn't expect anything.
     
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  7. JLSocks
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    JLSocks Silver Member

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    Same here...it's been years since UA has proactively done something like that for me. I was on a 6+ hour delay last week coming back from DCA and got nothing, but 6 years ago with a piddly 2 hour delay from STL, they gave me 9,000 miles. Go figure.
     
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  8. Renard
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    Renard Silver Member

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    Don't worry one minute, I am sure that is about to change....

    I know that I've never been offered compensation for anything that remotely looked like a weather issue.

    I believe there is a way for folks who have miles that they don't think they deserve to donate them to various worthy charities
     
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  9. ahow628
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    ahow628 Silver Member

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    Do you have status with them? I would think they would give more miles if you have status with them and a lowly cattle flyer would get very few, if any. :shrug:
     
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  10. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Yep, it's good business.
     
  11. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Yes, I'm 1K/MM.
     
  12. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    UA has never given me (a 1K) free miles for a weather delay.

    DL on the other hand recently gave "no status me" an unsolicited, 10K miles for a weather delay.

    As with any gift, I appreciate the gesture.

    No doubt this issue has been analyzed to death and I'm confident that if United (or any other airline) felt otherwise, the practice would end in a heartbeat.
     
  13. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    It is a very low cost item for the airline, and is good PR. For those with status and lots of miles, the bank (rarely if ever) goes below 10K miles and is unlikely going to affect much, i.e., when you redeem, if you have enough to redeem, etc. For those that don't fly very much, the 10K isn't going to get too many people their "once in a lifetime free domestic trip in Y."

    For an airline that has a major hub @ SFO and knows that it builds legal connection times that are likely to be blown every time someone sneezes and the wind changes direction, or a puffy cloud blows in too low, it is a wise move.
     
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  14. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Great points. Thanks for the reply.
     
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  15. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    The airline has some control -- the airline controls the schedules that create the backups in these situations.
     
  16. Captain Oveur
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    What an absurd thing to say.
     
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  17. sfogate
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    sfogate Gold Member

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    :rolleyes:
     
  18. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    An airline in an ATC situation is decide how many flights to run.

    No doubt you're aware that UA whacks a lot of flights when SFO goes into ATC mode regularly. Usually Express flights and high frequency mainline get the greatest impact.

    The net result is that the remaining flights run on time or closer to on time.

    To think the airline has no control over the schedule in an ATC situation is absurd.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    For any single flight, they have a bit of control. In the bigger picture they do not. When ATC calls down and says "scratch 50 flights" the airline certainly gets some latitude in choosing which 50 but that doesn't mean that they are in control of the situation.

    And the expectation that you are due something because yours is the flight that got axed is, IMO, misguided. If the airline decides to kill the schedule that's their fault. If they are forced by someone else to do so it is not. Even when they have some control over how the schedule will be trimmed, that doesn't mean they are able to control the fact that it must be trimmed. Big difference there.
     
  20. Hannaman
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    I don't believe that's how it works.

    I believe ATC tells them how many flights they can take, and the airline decides whether to backlog the schedule and fly them all, or whether to whack some flights and stay closer to on time.
     
  21. Wandering Aramean
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    I do not believe there is a difference between what I wrote and what you are suggesting. If they are told that there are NN fewer slots available over then next ZZ hours then the airline has to figure out how to scratch that many flights from that time period. Sure, they could simply delay them sufficiently that they eventually do get to fly and that happens sometimes, too. But between crew scheduling and other issues I believe that more are canceled than not. And the airline certainly has some choice in which ones to cancel.
     
  22. Hannaman
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    Hannaman Silver Member

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    Exactly. The point is that while the airline is not in control of the weather, they have some control over how to plan for it, and respond to it.

    In addition, the airline's other choices come into play here. You mention crew scheduling. Take a hub like SFO. It's a hub for UA, so UA has crew here. But take some non-hub airlines. AA and DL both have crew bases at SFO given that it's a major city. CO, OTOH, does not. So in a SFO ATC situation, CO's choice to only keep crew bases at its hubs may play a bigger role in how they choose handle the ATC situation. UA, DL, and AA have more flexibility in terms how how to respond. CO does not have that luxury.

    That aside, there's also scheduling -- how much cushion is between flights on a turn. In a delay-prone city, it would be prudent to cushion the turn to help with possible delays. When I fly with US, I see they're more likely to do things to mitigate delays at SFO, such as ovenighting crews instead of turning them, and/or having more time between turns.

    CO seems far more aggressive in this regard (e.g., 1 hour turn with a crew change coming from another inbound with a similar 1-hour turn).

    While CO may save some money from this strategy, the net result is a less reliable operation during ATC issues. Take the last three (3) months of DOT stats, and you'll see that CO is at the bottom, or second from the bottom at SFO on time arrivals among its legacy peers (UA, AA, DL, and US).

    I've said this before, but once we moved away from CO as our primary carrier, we were both surprised how much more on time we arrived home from our trips.
     

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