Advice on Booking US for Now--Allow Plenty of Connection Time

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by Art234, Aug 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Art234
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    We have been following the developing escalation in the dispute between the pilots at US and the company, specifically with regard to its impact on customers. While we won't speculate one way or the other as to who is right or wrong in this case, we remain concerned about the viability of short connection times which are offered as "legal" when booking US.

    During my recent trip via PHL, all I heard from other passengers was their complaints about misconnections and how unhelpful US was in re-accommondating them. We think, therefore, it would be prudent to allow for significantly more connection times than the US web site may offer, at least for the short term. My recommendation would be an 60-75 minutes minimum on domestic and 100-150 minutes on international.

    On one of my flights, I encountered a delay of more than 20 minutes due to issues with the IFE system. While not crucial to the flight (domestic short flight), the mechanics still came on, and tried to reset the system a number of times before it was decided to proceed and have the FA's do the safety briefing live. As a result there were a good number of misconnects in PHL. Compounded with the fact that some agents are closing aircraft doors a full 10 minutes prior to departure even when they now connecting passengers are on their way, we think it prudent that you allow the additional connecting time to allow for such delays.

    As I said, we will not take sides one way or the other in this alleged activity, but we remain concerned for our members and all customers of US Airways who may inadvertently be affected by recent operational irregularities there.
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    Who is "we" here? Do you represent a travel agency?
     
  3. Art234
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    Read my signature line. I am Chairman of FFOCUS a customer advocacy organization which works with airlines and flyers to resolve customer service issues.

    My suggestion is based on US' unrealistic minimum connecting times plus a number of other factors which are causing a great number of misconnects of late. In addition US is not known to be very helpful in reaccommodating distressed travelers.

    Hope this answers your question,

    Thanks.
     
  4. ArizonaGuy
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    There is no signature shown for those of us who disable the option to show them in our account preferences. Don't count on everyone seeing your signature when posting as a FFOCUS representative.
     
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  5. DeacFlyer1
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    I would love to know what US Airways short domestic flight you were on with an IFE system, because to the best of my knowledge, those were removed from all planes about 4 years ago.

    And I don't understand...you were in PHL and all you heard were complaints about US not being helpful in re-accomodating people who missed their flights...so you were on a plane full of people who had been re-accomodated? Or on a plane full of people who didn't miss their connections?
     
  6. Art234
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    The aircraft in question was a 757, which still has the overhead IFE system (video tape). They spent 20 minutes trying to reset it with mechanics and F/As repeatedly running to and from the flight deck. You could see the agents and some of the F/A's just roll their eyes. They do use 757s and 767s between PHL and CLT.

    With regard to the passengers, I heard most of the people around me say they were either returning from flights in which they were misconnected or that they were on board this flight as a reaccommodation but in one case it was more than 24 hours after their original flight. I know that 3 or 4 people just in my row missed their connections in CLT on the outbound flight (that one I don't know the reason for the delay), and at least 3 on the flight with the video problem had missed their connections to Europe or the west coast....and I hope they were successfully reaccommodated.

    While I am used to hearing people complain about US, the number of people who were complaining about being misconnected as well as those who were obviously going to miss their connections on the last flight was unusually high, even for US.

    Does this answer your questions?
     
  7. Art234
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    I did not realize that was an option-to disable signatures. I stand corrected on that count. Thank you for pointing that out.
     
  8. dcpatti
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    Honestly with the relentless weather here on the East Coast, I'd pad my connection times anyway, with or without allegations of work slowdowns. Between DCA, PHL, LGA and BOS it seems like at least one of those airports gets a wicked storm every afternoon, if not more than one airport, and once one of them starts backing up, there's a huge knock-on effect across all of them. I'd also not count on any leeway with flights being held for late passengers; while it's nice to hope for such a courtesy, the way the weather patterns have been, sometimes there's just a narrow window to get into the air before the next storm rolls in. Happens a lot at MCO this time of year too. But this summer has been exceptional in this region in that regard.
     
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  9. Art234
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    Well said dcpatti. It's never a good idea to accept short connections with ANY airline, but it's just a perfect storm (no pun intended) here.
    I heard from a friend in CLT of numerous cancellations including LGW last night...so apparently things are ratcheting up rather than slowing down in light of the potential court case.
     
  10. SS255
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    Another good practice is to build even MORE connection time when switching between terminals in PHL. I flew through PHL for the first time since September, 2008, a couple of weeks ago........and the lines for the C-F shuttle were MUCH longer than I remembered. Back in the day, the shuttles were plentiful, and there was always an empty one waiting behind the one which was loading. I suppose that now, if you miss the shuttle, you'll be waiting around another 10 or 15 minutes for the next shuttle to show up.
     
  11. MSPeconomist
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    Is everything you post on MP in behalf of FFOCUS in your official capacity as an officer(?) in that organization? You might want to explore getting official representative status and a username making this clear combined with a different username for when you are speaking as an individual.

    Starwood Lurker has this set-up on MP and it can be useful to know when his posts represent SPG and when they don't. For emphasis, he signs official posts with his Starwood title and SPG contact info.
     
  12. Art234
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    No MSP, I mostly post as an individual and as a Milepoint guide.
    I will add a signature to the body of my posts a on behalf of FFOCUS in future. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  13. MSPeconomist
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    If you're originating or connecting in PHL, be aware that in many cases, if there's a big security line or a problem with doing an airside transfer between terminals, you can go through security in a neighboring terminal. MOST but NOT ALL of the terminals at PHL are connected by walking airside, although a long walk can be required. Become acquainted with the PHL terminal map from the airport's website before going there.
     
  14. DeacFlyer1
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    I believe the Express terminal (F) is the only terminal not connected to the other terminals airside (by walking).
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    I think that's right although there was a time when E was separate IIRC. IME you do better in PHL to avoid the security lines going directly toward gates of (1) Southwest and (2) US.
     
  16. dcpatti
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    All this advice is equally well applied to every carrier and any hub. Qantas is having issues with their mechanics union and pilots union; UA/CO pilots had a small-scale sick-out last week; AA's union relationships aren't great even if there's no accusations of shennanigans yet; the weather sucks all over the US (but especially in the northeast and midwest); and security lines at any hub can be unpredictable. It always pays to add a little extra padding to a summertime connection; between the tornadoes down south and thunderstorms everywhere else (and who knows if the Southeast will get hurricanes) it hurts to have a short connection in the summertime. Add in a labor dispute or even a routine ATC delay and you're in a pickle. It's even worse in the summer though because loads are so high, if you misconnect, there's a really good chance that they won't be able to get you onto another flight for quite a while.

    Even if you do make your connection, there's a lot more weight restricting going on this time of year as the higher temps affect the plane's fuel load requirements and they do like to carry a bit of extra fuel if there's bad weather forecast so they can circle if needed, but that extra fuel weight may mean a fully loaded plane can't make its max takeoff or landing weight.
     
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  17. Art234
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    That's true, Patti, but with all the rancor and anger going back and forth between USAPA and US management right now with regard to the alleged "safety first" campaign currently going on and the related publicity thereto, it makes sense to increase connect times even more than normal on US right now. This coupled with the fact that many of their agents are misapplying guidelines with regard to closing aircraft doors (-10), is making for a surprisingly high number of angry and inconvenienced customers.

    As Patti said, the advice applies to almost all airlines right now, but I put this in here due to the reasons outlined above.
     
  18. DeacFlyer1
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    Sorry, I don't understand the 10 minute door close issue being talked about here...I thought closing the door 10 minutes before departure is standard policy throughout the industry?
     
  19. Art234
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    DeacFlyer,

    The 10 minute door closure policy is NOT standard. Closing the FLIGHT 10 minutes prior is what the policy is SUPPOSED to be, meaning that they concentrate on standbys at that point. They are permitted to leave the aircraft door open to about 3-4 minutes prior, however US agents usually close the DOOR at -10.

    In a case where they KNOW connecting customers are on the way and are literally minutes or seconds from the gate, they DO have the leeway to keep the aircraft door open until that 3-4 minute mark and still get the flight off on time. For whatever reason, however, (it is most likely poor training but that came from within, not from me), they close doors at -10 regardless of how many connecting passengers get stranded. The fact is that the extra 6 or so minutes CAN make a difference.

    This information as I said came from within, and I had some of my friends confirm what the actual policy is versus the perceived policy out on the line...
     
  20. DeacFlyer1
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    Gotcha, I see what you're saying. Thanks for clarifying.
     

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