Thursday, January 04, 2007

Loyalty: hard to earn, easy to lose

Usually, mileage from United Airlines flights posts on my US Airways account within a couple days. When I flew back from Pittsburgh in early December, I didn't get my miles normally debited. So I mailed in the ticket stub, as they say to do after a couple weeks. A couple weeks later, no miles posted.

So I email them:
... I haven't yet received the miles, and miles are always deposited within 2 days. I even mailed in the ticket to the
mailing address you specify...

They reply, 8 days later:

To credit missing flight activity ... in your Dividend Miles account, we require both a copy of the ticket receipt and the original boarding passes to be submitted ...

Ok, at least pretend to read my email, please.

So I call. I have status on US Airways, so I call my spiffy elite line. I figured I'd get some perky, happy customer service rep - I mean, shouldn't frequent flyers get better service? Nope, the CSR was completely unenthusiastic and bored.

I used to be happy with US Airways: usually on time, usually pretty good service, usually just kind of another mainline carrier. In 3 events (miles not normally posting, lousy and slow email support, unenthusiastic customer support reps), in the span of a month, I've completely lost any enthusiasm to fly with them.


Stevious said...

Seems like the old school mainstream carriers are banking on the concept of using their loyalty programs to keep you coming back, and I have to admit it's pretty effective, I mean, I keep going back to AA for that reason alone. You know it's not for their outstanding customer service, or generally speaking, friendly staff...

In a conversation with a coworker this week, he highly recommended JetBlue because their customer service and fleet were so much better than AA.

Anonymous said...

I also had a horrible experience with US Airways recently. I was flying from BWI to BOS, through PHL. I got in to PHL around 10:45, and went to the gate for my 11:30 flight to BOS, only to find that it was cancelled due to "maintenance". By "maintenance", they meant a service vehicle ran into the plane and damaged the plane.

Anyway, I went to rebook, and was told the 1:30 and 3:30 flights were full, and I was put on standby. They gave me a confirmed seat on the 5:30 flight. They also reiterated several times that they do not book passengers on cancelled flights onto other airlines, and even if they did, all the other airlines' flights into BOS that day were full.

So, I show up at the gate for my standby on the 1:30 flight, and they announce the flight is overbooked. They bump 14 volunteers on that flight onto an AirTran flight leaving 10 minutes later at 1:40 in exchange for a free roundtrip. Apparently, I'm further down the standby list than 14th.

I go back to USAir special services, and ask them to book me on the 1:40 AirTran flight, and they tell me it's full. I ask them if they can book me on a different AirTran flight, and they tell me there's on at 3:20, but it has no seats. Eventually, I talk to like 3 people, and one of them calls up AirTran and checks, and finds me a seat.

I end up flying out on AirTran at 3:20, and getting into Boston 4 hours late. The AirTran flight wasn't even half full.

Soo not flying US Airways again for a long long time...