Coming near you on Tax Day: The promised "Leading Airline"!

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by NYCUA1K, Mar 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Attached is the latest evidence that nearly a month after the merged company went to a single conmputer system, we have had, not the making of a "leading" airline, but the making of a "paralyzed" one.

    Acitivity screen 03-27-12.png
    I just returned from a trip in MEX, which earned me 2,179 PQM on outbound alone so far, as reflected in my account Activity online. That is well and great that the PQMs posted, except that when I look at my Account Summary, it shows those very PQMs that just posted, as a deficit of (2,179) miles in my Beginning Balance as of 03/01/2012 (20 days before the trip!), which is then subtracted from my Airline Activity to date of 27,796 PQM to show my Ending Balance as of 03/27/2012 of 25,617.

    As you can see it is a mess, and, in fact, based on my records, my current Ending PQM Balance after the MEX trip posting should be the same as my Airline Activity, which is 27,796 and not 25,617!

    So, I got on the horn to 1K Desk to find out what was going on, only to be put on hold for 48 minutes! It is then that it dawned on me that this was no "Leading Airline", it was a "Paralyzed Airline"! How so? Well, counting the ways exhaustively would take days so I will just mention a few things that have happened in the last day or so that make this clear:

    1. There is a thread out there right now where someone has reported that s/he could not book a flight online...
    2. In my many years as top tier elite in MP, I had never had to hold the CS line for more than 10 min. Since the merger, being put on hold for at least 30 min has been the norm rather than the exception.
    3. And then there are the bugs in every day FF program accounting: wrong miles awarded if at all, account activity that makes no sense as in the case of my MEX trip above...
    4. ... and "la piece de resistance": these problems are so pervasive and rampant that the various units within the airline that are supposed to address them routinely are no longer able to... and that is the technical definition of "paralysis" or "paralyzed".
    When the customer support representative finally came on, she asked how she might help me. I told her that while I was holding the line, I had already figured out the answer to the issue that I had called about. And she said "Oh, how so?", and I said that I already knew that her answer would simply be: "We appreciate your loyalty! We are experiencing technical deficutlies, so please wait for a couple of days to see if the problem will be resolved. Our IT people are working around the clock on this..." Then I added that I had stayed on hold for 48 minutes simply because I wanted to ask: "Are you building a 'leading airline' as a smiling Smisek kept telling us on every flight we took, or have you been in the process of building a 'paralyzed one', as is clear by the fact that a 1K calling the 1K Desk nowadays must expect to hold the line for at least 30 min, which was unheard of in the PMUA days!"
    It was at this point that she dropped the bomb: Apparently, the internal date by which all of the problems that we have been experiencing will go away is April 15. She told me to be patient until April 15 and all will be well again... To confirm, I asked her: April 15 is the target date? and she said yup. So, there you have it...we have a date with "Tax Day"...

    ...and that is a date I am looking forward to...
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    So one user reporting trouble booking a flight - with zero additional details - means that the company is in complete disarray? Seriously??

    Ditto for the fact that you waited on hold.

    Or that the CSRs don't have answers to every single question (something that happens all the time with all airlines)??

    Yes, miles aren't always posting correctly. Annoying, to be sure, but hardly the end of the world.
     
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  3. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    Without addressing the other points that you made, the PQMs posting first as negative are a regular occurrence. They will clear up in a few days, or sooner. Lots of people posted about it on FT, myself included, and I haven't seen an instance where posters came back weeks later and said that the negative PQMs didn't eventually move into the positive territory.

    It is weird and annoying. I always kept a spreadsheet to track my RDMs, PQMs, and UG awards however i realize that most people aren't as anal as me and before you say it, yes, I think that it shouldn't be necessary. :(
     
  4. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    You want some ticketing difficulty details?

    For me it was 10 ow flights all trying to be booked with an ecert where the cert was greater than the base fare and paying only taxes and fees.....

    PMUA
    At most, the entire process for all 10 reservations would have taken 30 minutes with all reservations booked AND ticketed.

    COdbaUA
    Call number one took 30 minutes to book 3 reservations (but not ticket as COdbaUA does not do instant ticketing) as no one knew how to handle PMUA ecerts. Somehow, no one got the message that PMUA ecerts do not have pin's :rolleyes:

    Call number two, as call number one disconnected, took another 2 hours to book (but again not ticket) the remaining reservations

    Call number 3-Fast forward 5 days-I figured since I am unfamiliar with how COdbaUA tickets, I have waited long enough and called to find out why my reservations have not been ticketed. Told that ticketing is taking place in travel date order and where these reservations are not until Sept & Oct, they should ticket within 48 hours. Nonsense afaic but I'll go with the flow.

    Call number 4-Three days later I call and none have ticketed. Per reservations, there are "problems" with my reservations as apparently, the "new system" can't handle a zero dollar base fare the way PMUA systems could so all 10 reservations needed to be re-done. Reservations were re-done and told all should ticket within 24 hours

    Call number 5-I looked at my itineraries the next morning and 3 had ticketed but 7 had dropped off entirely! 4 hours later, the missing 7 reservations have been booked and will ticket in 24 hours

    Call number 6-I looked at my reservations and 4 of the remaining 7 reservations had ticketed but 3 had not. Reservations did not know why but sent them to ticketing and they should ticket in 24 hours

    Call number 7-I looked at my reservation s and the 3 remaining reservations had ticketed but one of the 3 ticketed at full value without taking the ecert into account. Per reservations I will be issued a refund in 1 to 3 billing cycles in my credit card. Told the agent that these were debit card purchases and not a credit card and the regs require no more than 48 hours to issue a refund. Agent speaks to a supe who says they can issue me a $100 ecert (the value of the cert I used) as my refund where I said not only was that not acceptable, but also against the law as the refund needs to be the in the exact form of the payment (and in this case, cash). Transferred to another supe who fixes the reservation and assures me that a $100 refund will be issued. Ask to be transferred to refunds so I can confirm and when being transferred, a fast busy signal and disconnected

    Call number 8-I call refunds and am assured that my refund will be issued within 48 hours

    It has now been 24 hours and no refund so we'll see what the next 24 hours will bring

    This is not my first ticketing rodeo and It's a good thing I'm out of work as I don't know of any employer that would allow 10+ hours for one of their employees to be on the phone, do you?
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    That is a great story. But, as I said before, annoying, to be sure, but hardly the end of the world.
     
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  6. Ygor
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    Ygor Gold Member

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    And you had trouble with such a simple thing?(sarcasm) Right around the time when two of the world's largest airlines are merging their complicated reservation systems? Sh:eek:cking batman, for sure.

    Annoying, yes. I would be annoyed as well. But seriously dude, you need to review your expectations for the time being.

    10 one ways. That's a hell of a MR.
     
  7. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Just keep drinking the COol-Aid :rolleyes:

    Note #1 The process started on March 12th which is after the systems conversion date and imho, far enough after the conversion date to have things to be working properly

    Note #2: Not one hell of a m/r but 5 runs of 2 ow tix each ;) but regardless of that, this was a simple ticketing situation which the front line folks did not know how to handle due to improper/inadequate/insufficient training where proper/adequate/sufficient training and having the resources in place for the operational "hiccups" is a basic tenet of any operational conversion

    Note #3: My expectations are what they are as are everyone else's however the simple thing of not being able to properly book a ticket is not acceptable under any circumstances-system conversion or not as booking a ticket is bread and butter for any airline. This is operations "plane" and simple and if operations are broken (as they are now), they need to be fixed and need to be at the top of the priority list and not behind things like launching a new credit card :rolleyes: . Mileage balances, missing upgrades and etc are "numbers" and numbers can always be fixed but not the daily ins and outs. Can you imaging a bank that was unable to open a new account? That cannot happen. If a bank incorrectly posts a transaction which overdraws an account, they make good on it and make their customer whole as those "are only numbers" but not being able to do the basics like opening an account and/ or establishing a loan (or in this case book and ticket a reservation) can't happen.

    Bottom line imho, is that the system is not working and was not properly tested but was stilled rolled out anyway. In any operational conversion, you test, test, test and continue to test until you get it right before rolling it out or you roll it out with only non-mission critical issues* not working-or you don't roll it out until all mission critical issues have been solved/resolved-it's really that simple

    *and going back to my original argument that simple ticketing issues (and yes, using an e-cert which is greater than the base fare IS a simple ticketing issue) are mission critical and that part is not working!
     
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  8. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    No one can explain to me why my name doesn't show up in the upgrade queue...
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I hope that this is not just another one of your reflexive contrarian posts and that you are not suggesting that all is just peachy when scores have been reporting problems with just about every aspect of the merged airline's operation. I'd be happy to provide the canonical list what just I have found to be "broken", but considering your past attitude, I know that it would be a waste of time. On the other hand, it seems to me that UA "moles" who cruise these boards are listening and reporting the disgruntled voices to the company, as not only did the miles for the inbound portion of this trip post within a hours of my starting this thread (i.e., in less than 48 hr from end of trip), I got also 150% PQM bonus for the MAX-IAH and IAH-LGA segments, which were purchased in Y and then upgraded! Another glitch? Not likely, because considering the specificity of details that I had provided about this this trip, it was easy forUA to find out who I was, so I interpret this 150% PQM bonus on a Y ticket as an expression of "mea culpa"...

    You can make light of things because that is what you do by nature, but here's hoping that the promised date on "Tax Day" would materialize as promised by the CSR....
     
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  10. Pat89339
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    Pat89339 Gold Member

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    Listen people hate my birthday enough because it's Tax Day, do they need to dump another of UAdbaCO's miserable broken promise of fix it dates on it too? People are cranky enough that day. :p

    But I'm glad to hear that your miles already posted. I'm still waiting for my incredible shrinking miles flights to correct themselves "in a few weeks." :rolleyes:
     
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  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    :rolleyes:, indeed.

    Agreed. And if the company actually couldn't sell any tickets I'd likely be singing the same song you are. The reality, however, is that they are issuing many, many tickets each day. The situation is not nearly as dire as it is being presented here IMO.
    Agreed on the first part, but not the "*" bit. That simply isn't a mission-critical use case by any stretch. Just like it isn't mission critical that they have a special check-box solely for being able to search for fares that are SWU-eligible. These are edge cases, not the norm, and their frequency in the overall number of transactions is way too small to be considered mission critical. It is frustrating, to be sure, if you're the affected party, but there is a big difference between a few customers being affected for certain types of transactions and what would actually be critical to the company.

    Nope. In fact I've been pretty clear in acknowledging that there are things that are still in need of being fixed. The difference is that I seem to be capable of separateing the stuff from the stuff and knowing what the difference is between an actual failure of the overall systems and relatively minor inconveniences which will be resolved soon enough.

    The "moles" that you are referring to (hardly a polite or flattering term, FWIW) aren't individually posting flights for people who kvetch. Miles posting within a couple days of the travel is actually quite normal when the systems are running smoothly, and they are getting much closer to that these days.

    As for 150% PQMs for the Y fares, that's actually the documented credit level so I'm not sure what bonus you're speaking of.
     
  12. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    So you're saying that purchasing a ticket and using an e-cert on said purchase of a ticket is not mission critical? What part of purchasing a ticket is not mission critical to an airline? :confused:

    Yes COdbaUA is issuing many tickets each day however if the process is not done smoothly and in an operationally efficient manner, customers will simply get fed up and go to another airline that can meet their needs-and this is no different that customers from one bank getting fed up with problems that should not be happening in the first place and going to another bank because the first bank couldn't do it right. It's really that simple (and btw, before you ask/say, "so why don't you leave United then?". No I'm not leaving UNITED as I have too many friends that I have made along the way but United did leave me and became a new airline called COdbaUA)
     
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  13. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    I spilled my coffee this morning and I'm blaming this whole UA/CO merger and Jeff specifically. Because we all know before the merger they were both perfect and i never spilled any coffee (which was a fresh cup of Starbucks Pike place roast errrrrr) before the merger.
     
  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Point in fact, I've bought several in the last 24 hours. One got screwed up, but why I was booking a one-segment SAS flight on UA when I could have booked it on SAS's site is beyond me. So, after I'd slept, I did just that when the booking failed.
     
  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    If you actually believe that no purchases of tickets with e-certs is working and that all such transactions are failing then there is a much larger problem here. The reality is that many customers are able to redeem both sUA and sCO TCVs without issue on new purchases and have been able to do so nearly seamlessly since the transition to the new PSS platform.

    If the company was completely unable to sell tickets I would consider that a complete failure of the system, similar to what you are suggesting. When the reality is that only a very, very, very small subset of the transactions are failing then, no, I do not consider that a failing of the mission-critical function of selling tickets.

    And, to paraphrase an old Yiddish saying, if my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather. There may be folks who get so fed up that they leave. The company may see lower revenue this quarter because of the transition. But the Month to Date consolidated mainline LF is over 80%. And that's after they artificially restricted it during the migration weekend. We won't have the completion and on time rates for a couple weeks yet, but I'm guessing they aren't going to shift materially YoY or from last month United is still flying and still getting the planes out quite full.

    There are some transactions that are failing. Some customers are affected. But they are the edge use cases, not the bulk of the transactions. That's why I'm quite comfortable in saying that this is a lot of noise rather than critical problems that are going to see the company fail imminently. The issues need to be fixed, but they are decidedly not mission critical as has been repeatedly insinuated.

    This thread started with the claim that miles not posting completely accurately can be seen as the company being "paralyzed." I believe that point of view is somewhere between myopic and ludicrous and I've explained why.
     
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  16. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Bolding mine #1: You're putting words in my mouth as I never (n.b. never) said "no purchases with e-certs were working and that all such transactions are failing. I simply said that it is not working correctly-to what degree it is not working correctly is how COdbaUA and the CO loyalists want to spin it. To use the "glass half full/half empty" analogy, even if the glass is half full, half of the glass is still empty and to equate that to the ticketing issue that we are discussing, that means half are not being ticketed and imho, that is a larger problem than you care to admit.

    Bolding mine #2 You say "when the reality is...." (n.b. reality). Does that mean you are privvy to certain information that others here are not? If yes, please share your data and source(s) (n.b. sources) and I'll gladly apologize :)

    Bolding mine #3: Who is this "we" you speak of?

    Bolding mine #4: Never said that either

    Now as to your comment "This thread started with the claim that miles not posting completely accurately can be seen as the company being "paralyzed....", I agree with you 100% but that is not my issue as those are only numbers and those numbers, just like bank account balances, can always be fixed to make a customer whole-I'm going back to my original argument that basic operational issues are not working correctly and need to be fixed and COdbaUA needs to step up and admit that there are still some major issues which are occurring.

    Lastly, my Zaydee will see your old Yiddish saying and raise it with "and if I had three, I'd be a pawn shop" ;) :)
     
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  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Indeed, you didn't say that no tickets are being issued. But you also have drawn a number of parallels ("imaging [sic] a bank that was unable to open a new account") where you are claiming an absolute situation rather than one where there are a small number of exceptions. Like I've said a few times now, the difference between not being able to sell any tickets and having a situation where there are edge cases that don't work is quite significant. The "spin" would be suggesting that the edge cases represent the "mission critical" ones. And you absolutely have explicitly claimed that.

    Sources that they are able to still sell tickets? Hmm....how about personal experiences, anecdotal reports from many others and the month to date load factor reports available in the link that I posted above. Knowing the booking horizon window for the carrier based on previously made public statements and combining that with the LF numbers it is actually quite easy to know that they are able to sell tickets in pretty significant quantities.

    The general public, which includes both you and me. The airlines are legally obligated to file on-time and completion numbers with the DoT and those are published to the public. Once that happens we (you, me and the rest of the world) will know the completion and delay rates for the month. Just like I posted.

    True. You just claim that they are critical. The examples you have provided aren't. Maybe they are to you, but they aren't to the company. As they shouldn't be. After all, they are edge cases.

    Yes, they need to fix the issues that are there. But they are not major and they are not what I'd call "basic operational issues" in that they are not affecting the basic operations of the company in a manner that actually has a significant impact to the company's operations. If there is any evidence that the core functionality of the company is actually being affected I'd love to see it. Thus far all I've seen are a few edge case examples. They need to be fixed, but they do not indicate a failure of the systems in the manner that is being portrayed by many.
     
  18. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    I'm starting to think that some people on this board may not be who they say they are. As a 1K, even on 3/3 (while traveling) I've waited 5 minutes AT MOST, and normally less than 1 minute, even at peak travel times on peak days of the week (monday and thursday). So are the "vocal few" really 1K's, or 1K super lite? Maybe I'm just incredibly lucky :D
     
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  19. E170

    E170 Silver Member

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    I've had short or 0 hold times for most calls and I'm a lowly Plat. I think some people enjoy complaining or are very unlucky. Flip side may be that United likes more more than you. :p
     
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  20. Pat89339
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    Pat89339 Gold Member

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    1. You're at a CO hub.
    2. You probably were calling CO numbers.
    3. You want to share your magic number?
    4. I travelled 3/2, 3/3 and 3/4 through all the changeover and chaos. I would have loved to have your experience. I was on hold with the 1K desk for 55 minutes before I got "disconnected" and another 5 attempts to get through to receive an announcement that they were too busy and hung up on me, then once I got through again, 40 minutes later only to be told they could not help me. Of course that was after waiting for an agent in the UC to tell me to call the 1k desk. Flight delayed for 2+ hours so I did have the time to wait on the phone. Our plane took off without a manifest because the computers crashed again etc.

    I could go on, but what's the point? Just because you had an uneventful flight and phone experience that day, doesn't make it so for the rest of us in the system flying that day.

    And no I am not a 1K lite. Nor am I a MM lite like most are now. :rolleyes:
     
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  21. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Oh, oh can I have this one?

    The part that's not mission critical is the second clause of your question. The part where you want to use an e-cert to reduce the base fare to zero--basically fly for free.

    Just my guess here, but that's probably fairly far down the list of critical systems since it yields neither revenue nor profit.

    Now if anyone needs me, I'll be in the lobby bar :cool:
     
  22. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    As a QA person, I know that even non-basic operational issues need to be working correctly. I think you and WA disagree on whether or not this is a "basic" issue. They certainly are major issues, but it does seem that they are expending effort on things that affect the greatest number of people rather than the edge cases. Unfortunately, that's cost them some clientele.

    Let's be honest: most people, most of the time, do not use their miles or won't use them soon after an existing flight, so a delay of several weeks in fixing some bugs relating to edge case posting is unlikely to affect > 90% of UA's flyers. Sure, it frustrates us. It is a fundamental issue, but, in the grander scheme of things, their programmer time is limited, and I'm sure they have some higher priorities that affect greater numbers of tickets right now.

    Also remember that, unlike the separation of many front-line jobs at UA, programmers may work on several different kinds of projects, and there's always Brooks's law (adding manpower to a late software project only makes it later), so there's little they can do now to speed things up. IOW, if they had allocated programmer time to fix mileage posting bugs but those programmers are currently working on flight operational issues, adding more people on the mileage posting will only delay that being done.
     
  23. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    Maybe you are an edge case?
     
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  24. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I called in for clarification on a ICN itinerary I have for early May. I called about 5pm EDT and I have to say, less than a minute hold time on 1k line.
     
  25. Pat89339
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    Pat89339 Gold Member

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    Are you talking about today or on 3/3?
    Was your phone number recognized or not? I understand that you get dumped into the general member queue if it recognizes your number.
     

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