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The Airlines Can Be So Stupid  
User currently offlineCorocks From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1220 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3575 times:

I could not believe when the airlines are hurting for money so bad that this is actually happening.....

I am currently holding a reward reservation in business-first on Continental from IAH-CDG for vacation. I just found out that I am actually going to have to go there on business a couple of days before my vacation, so I figured I can pull a fast one and get the airfare for my vacation free through my company trip.

I call up Continental to ask how much it is to redeposit the miles, and they tell me $35. I ask them if they are willing to wave the fee if I buy a full-fare BusinessFirst seat ($7000, ridiculus) and they say no. I ask "Are you really willing to give up a $7000 airfare just so you can charge me $35??" They reply, "That is policy and there is nothing I can do about it".


I am sure I will probably argue with them until they change it, but it is just dumb. Even if they don't, i will still pay the $35, because it is basically like getting 100,000 points for $35.

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3813 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3482 times:

Take it from the CEO of Continental himself: "This is a stupid industry (airlines) led by stupid people." It isn't any one particular stupid decision that has put the U.S. full-service airlines into their precarious position -- it's countless stupid decisions layered on top of countless previous stupid decisions that have accumulated to cause a malaise for which the end is not yet in sight. The consequences of stupid decisions tend to snowball due to the equal stupidity demonstrated in the flawed mentality that each stupid decision is somehow isolated from the big picture and will resolve itself with no more than negligible effect on the overall picture. In reality, the cumulative effect of the stupid decisions the airlines routinely make add up to the dire consequences of record losses in spite of load factors at near-record highs while the state of denial (for the real causes) continues unabated.

In my study of history and current events, I have discovered a dynamic called the "dissolution of delusion." Only when an individual or a group of people or a nation or a business comes to terms with their state of delusion that has contributed significantly to the crisis they are experiencing will they begin to return to a stable situation in which the crisis that threatened their well-being is contained and overcome. The U.S. full-service airlines (with the possible exception of HP) are nowhere near the point where I can see the dissolution of their delusion -- which delusion is at the root of their penchant for making countless stupid decisions and the equally stupid assumption that "just this one" stupid decision will be of no consequence.

User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3457 times:

So now the entire industry is dumb and stupid because there are some moronic people sitting in a large room manning the callcenter (which is 90% of the time outsourced to another company outside the industry anyway) who have no authority and don't want to admit it?

The telephone operator you got has a list of things (s)he is allowed to do, and waiving the fee isn't on that list.
To look important (or just because (s)he can't be bothered to make the effort) (s)he will say no (and keep at it until you hang up) rather than call in someone with more decision making power.
That's the same all over the world, especially in outsourced telephone support.

These are specialised companies where failed students and housewives working a 20 hour job when the kids are at school sit behind a telephone answering calls for many different companies. She might have been working on support for Continental today, tomorrow it might be the rewards hotline for Walmart that she's working for...

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3455 times:

But we can take solace in the fact that this is not the only stupid industry.
Take a look at the characteristics of the airline industry: high fixed cost, high tech, high government involvement, used to mainly serve the rich but is now a mass consumer market.

Other industries with these characteristics are also acting stupidly. Look at long distance phone service, and the cellular phone industry. What do you see? a great deal of unneccesary complication. Short term thinking. A focus on marketshare above all things, even profit and customer service. Management and workers constantly playing tricks on each other and demonizing each other. Bankruptcies. Government meddling.

These people can't get it through their thick heads that it is not some businessman's savvy travel agent or secretary that deals with them now. It is joe blow off the street, or worse, the businessman himself. Those people will not put up with a complicated, lawyer-like mess every time they want to do something simple like buy or change a ticket. We can't understand all their moronic rules and do not care to. Nor do we like dealing with people who have been abused all day by their bosses and have been given no power to do anything for us anyway.

The airlines that are making money and getting customers are the ones who

1.KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. For both themselves with simpler operations, and for their customers with their simpler fare classes and rules.


2.TREAT THEIR PEOPLE WELL. This is not primarily wages and benefits. It is in terms of RESPECT and the AUTHORITY to do their job well.

Having said that, hearing Bethune calling the airline industry stupid is the pot calling the kettle black. Bethune has done some very good things on the operational side of things at Continental. But his customers have to deal with the same nasty mess at Continental as at every other airline. In this area, he has led the charge to maintain the status quo - even punishing America West for simplifying its fare system.

User currently offlineAroundtheworld From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 279 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3362 times:

Jwenting: I would love for you to tell me where you get any idea that airline support personnel could be outsourced to companies that provide "do this one day, do something else the next day" type service. Have you ever sat in a reservation center, taken reservations calls and even began to think of all the complexities that go with it? There are countless DOT regulations that cover reservations centers even! There are so many must-do's and can't do's that are required by law that it'd make your head spin. Before making such an assumption, think about it for a moment. No, I'm not a reservation agent. Do I know what they do? Yes, very much so.

User currently offlineKevi747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3339 times:

I think airlines give away too much to frequent travellers. They are so spoiled. These people act as though they've paid for the tickets out of their own pockets. (When no one but the fabulously wealthy, or celebrities, can afford our astronomical prices.)

This topic brings up a good point (to me anyway). Why don't airline crews accumulate points to stay at the hotels we lay-over at? The other day I worked a flight (LHR-JFK) and we had 15 upgrdaes in F/C and 2 full-fares. The majority of our full-fare F/C, B/C and even Y/C PAX have their tickets paid for by their companies. Yet they recieve the FF miles for when they want to go on vacation. Why shouldn't F/A's and pilots recieve the same courtesy from L/O hotels, where our companies foot the bill? Oh well, just another injustice perpetrated against airline labor.

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
User currently offlineBraniff727 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 686 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3224 times:


It depends on the hotel. My boyfriend has gotten tons of points from hotels stays on layovers, however I believe the vast majority of them were in the US, which probably won't help you.

Still it's worth a shot. A lot of times, it's up to the front desk worker. Never hurts to ask!

User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3139 times:

You're gonna spend $7,000 to save a $35 fee? And the airline's mad?

User currently offlineZoomer From Netherlands, joined Dec 2000, 221 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3050 times:

The point BACKFIRE is that he's spending $7000 of his company's money because he now has to go to the same destination on company business and doesn't want to let go his freebee - even though it was the company that effectively paid for it!!!

User currently offlineKevi747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2999 times:

Branniff727, the only hotel chain that I know of that lets us collect points at all is Marriot. However, we do not accumulate the points for the room charge, just for any incidentals that we pay for ourselves, (ei. in-room movies, room service, etc). I wonder if thats where your boyfriend is getting points from.

By the way...Backfire and Zoomer, thanks for pointing out the irony of this post!

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert
User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2923 times:

I think airlines give away too much to frequent travellers. They are so spoiled. These people act as though they've paid for the tickets out of their own pockets. (When no one but the fabulously wealthy, or celebrities, can afford our astronomical prices.)

Just realize that to get all those miles, someone spent a lot of money with the airline (even if you used a credit card to build miles, the airline is still selling the miles to the credit card company, at a profit!) Every major airlines' FF program is a PROFIT CENTER for the airline, even in these dog days.

You remove benefits, then you drive more to the commodity market. Which is fine as long as you're the cheapest and most convienent. Nothing else will matter. And getting costs down farther and farther will mean ongoing salary decreases for airline employees.


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6210 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (13 years 1 month 19 hours ago) and read 2803 times:

Even if they don't, i will still pay the $35

Looks like they gambled right right you  Big grin

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineAIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (13 years 1 month 18 hours ago) and read 2771 times:

Here's another perspective; you get the $35 waived, purchase the high airfare, then you (or whomever is the purchaser) cancel and get the amount refunded. Now the airline is out of the $35 because they took your word for it. I know it might not seem like a lot.

Let me just say from a former (laid-off) agent point of view, they are watching everything we do. All overrides (AA) are logged and management is given a detailed report monthly or weekly, depending on the station. I don't think "Waived $35 because purchasing business-class fare" will cut it. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

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