Commavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 10188 posts, RR: 63 Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3802 times:
This was totally to be expected.
There is simply no need for nearly as many traditional reservations call centers these days as more and more of the reservations volume is moving online by the day.
Increasingly, reservations agents at the call centers are working on more specialized, tailored functions and services that cannot be handled online and require an English-speaking human to complete. In addition, the res offices still handle lots of the premium call volume from top-tier frequent fliers (Exec Plat desk, Plat desk, etc.).
We have seen AA close down (now) all but three of their call centers, including some - like Cincinnati and Hartford - that have been around for decades and decades. That's sad.
I would guess that the three remaining now (in descending size order) - the SRO (Fort Worth), SWRO (Tucson), and SERO (Cary/Raleigh) probably won't be closing anytime soon. These three were always AA's largest, and handle by far the most call volume, and I suspect that these will stay open for at least the near future.
Ultimately, however, I do not think it is inconceivable that one day (in maybe a few more years) AA could potentially consolidate down to two or possibly even one huge call center(s). This is a bit risky if there are weather, communications, public services, etc. issues in that area, but that risk is likely outweighed by the huge cost savings. If they go down to 2, to me it's a toss-up between Tucson and Raleigh, since Tucson is bigger but Raleigh has better network access to the system, but I am quite sure that the one res office that is very safe and won't ever close is the SRO. That place is freaking huge, and located basically across the road from AA's headquarters, and handles by far the largest volume. The SRO closes when AA goes out of business.
EA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 12557 posts, RR: 64 Reply 3, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3727 times:
My condolences to the staff at BDLRR.
Closing or consolidating call centers is never easy, both from a logistical standpoint and the far larger one - the fact that you're impacting the lives of hundreds of loyal employees.
That said, affected employees typically (assuming they're under a CBA) have bumping rights into other stations, and as Home Agent programs have become more popular it's conceivable this might be an option for some agents, depending on whether or not they can work remotely (dial into the ACD for another call center).
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
Commavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 10188 posts, RR: 63 Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3682 times:
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 3): That said, affected employees typically (assuming they're under a CBA) have bumping rights into other stations
AA's agents do not have a union or a legally-binding collective bargaining agreement, so I'm not sure exactly how this will work, but I do not believe these agents have bumping rights. If they do, that may lead to some changes, as Hartford has some of the most senior res agents at AA.
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 3): as Home Agent programs have become more popular it's conceivable this might be an option for some agents, depending on whether or not they can work remotely (dial into the ACD for another call center).
True, and AA does have an active home-based program that has expanded from a test program back about five years ago to being huge now. However, that being said, again, I simply don't see too much capacity still being needed for too many agents for the reasons already mentioned: call volume simply isn't there. It continues to decline virtually by the day.
AJMIA From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 708 posts, RR: 16 Reply 5, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3546 times:
I started in the ERO back in 1991 and left for MIA back in 1995. I am sorry to see it close. I have a lot of good memories of my time there.
The training program was demanding. I had a wonderful stainless steel instructor named Joyce Peck. We started with 24 in my class and we ended with only nine. Every Friday we had a test before the lunch break. If you did not pass the axe came down while everyone was on break. My friend Donna used to take all her crap with her to lunch because if she failed the test she did not want to have to come back to the classroom to gather her things. We called her Jynxie because all the people who sat next to her got booted.
I remember one night 20/20 did a special called "Getting Out Alive" and they made some suggestions about where the safest seats on a plane were... All of a sudden all the call waiting lights went on and everyone was calling to change their seats.
Back in the early 90s, most people called the airlines directly to book their reservations. Travel agents also called us a lot too. A huge number of them that did not have their own CRS back then.
Even if the economy was not in bad shape it is inevitable that some of these offices will have to close. People have changed the way they buy travel.
I have a lot of good friends at the ERO. I am sure many are not in a position to move. I wish them all the best of luck!
TOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3219 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1660 times:
It's a shame to see these offices close, but it is a sign of the times in a few ways. The push to direct book online of course. But also where these two offices (BDL, CVG) were located. both were located in high tax states. The cost of doing business in those two locations was much higher than the remaining locations.
AIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 8 Reply 8, posted (3 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1566 times:
While AA's Customer Services department (Agents, Reps, Planners) are not unionized; a bumping policy was put into place after the TWA merger. Agents can only bump within their own work-group (Airport Agents with other Airport Agents, etc.). I'm pretty sure this policy extends into the Reservations department as well.