EridanMan From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 121 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5343 times:
Where to begin...
Lets start with- Ok, I'm a passionate B6 flier, I _love_ them... every time I've traveled with them (even in cases where the culpability fell solely on me), they have been a pure delight- the agents friendly and more than accomodating- the prices fair, and the experience downright pleasant... Unfortunately the same cannot be said of nearly any other airline I've experienced in the last five years. The only one that has come close to being decent was SW - but I find their 'no-frills' service goes a bit far, they're planes are downright uncomfortable for long-hauls...
nonetheless, I really _should_ have booked with SW through to MDW... too bad my Fiancee hates Midway (Chi native) and I thought, perhaps, I'd try one of the few airlines who haven't made my life hell in the past five years (cross out US airways (same airline, dumb, I know - the same company who overbooked me 4 years prior selling 34 seats on an Embrier 110), United, Delta and Continental)... HP to ORD seemed like a valid alternative..
Wow how that was a stupid decision in hindsight... but you know what they say... (20/20 and all that jazz)
Flight out- purchased the tickets 3 months in advance, get to OAK and find out my fiancee and I were still on rows 4 and 28 (A320) respectively... The flight was sold as a non-stop OAK->ORD... when we got in the terminal, our gate was occupied by a flight to Las Vegas - I checked in with the Gate attendents, telling them that I was looking to fly to ORD, and they told me (I wish I was kidding) that the flight to ORD would come after the flight to Vegas, which was late to depart...
I went back just as boarding was wrapping up - when one of the other CUSTOMERS told me that the flight was heading to ORD Via LAS... We almost missed last call for Boarding.
Not a good start (granted, the mis-selling of the ticket was priceline's fault).
Got on the flight- and to say that the crew could care less about me and my fiancee's mis-seating would be an understatement - they actively told us that they would not be willing to help in any way because the flight was full... god forbid they ask around or anything... Fortunately, again, a fellow passenger was willing to swap with me making the leg bareable.
Arrive in LAS late so they had to turn around quickly... no big deal- but again we're sitting on opposite ends of the plane (original seats)... again, despite the much emptier flight, the crew didn't seem to care to bother helping us get seats together, but again we found better seating arrangements with the other customers. The flight was marked by truly horrible customer service - Beverage service did not start until nearly an hour after departure, the single beverage cart then took the next hour to progress back to our row 22 seats. After ordering a juice, I decided that the frustration of the day really called for an overpriced beer, so the next time I saw I flight attendent (a half hour later at best) I made my request... "I'M DOING TRASH RIGHT NOW SIR!" the flight attendent bit my head off...
I decided the beer wasn't than important... (finally, about 10 minutes before we started our decent into ORD (hour and a half later), they brought a Heineken by), sat back in my tiny seat, and 'enjoyed' the remainder of the flight...
Lesson learned I figured... Can't be worse on the flight back, right?
Flight back-> arrive 2.5 hours early (1850 for a 2100 departure)... Auto-checkin, and am told that I will need to stand in line because the ORD->LAS flight is delayed and I will not make my connection... oh darn.
Get in line, about 5 parties back, spend the next 30 minutes standing there... I suppose I should have taken the hint when every single party called up in front of me seemed to immediately get exhasperated in furious, none the less, I was still cheerfully nieve when I walked up to the counter (staffed by 2 attendents who really seemed to be both overwhealmed and under-qualified in the intellect department to handle the line which was now out the front door of ORD) and was informed that yes- my flight would be late... but since it was a weather delay (which I did confirm from the atc.gov website before boarding - but only seemed to be effecting every other airline by 10-15 minutes, not the 2 hours that it was setting HP back) that I was SOL once I was in Vegas - They could put me on a 10am flight out the next morning, but I was on my own for accommedations, never minding the fact that I had to be at work by 10:00am the next morning... (yeah yeah, I'm dumb for trusting airline timetables)... With no other choice (staying in Chicago would mean not getting a flight until after new years) we reluctantly accepted...
By now, of course, the line behind me was growing infuriated (and growing well out the door), one of the other customers had clued them in to HP's policy, and it was near pandemonium... Still fuming, I figured at the very least I would do better finding a flight home from LAS than I would from ORD. Get through security, its now going on 10:00pm, and ORD security was closing soon... I'm not sure how the rest of the line ever got through...
(It strikes me that the lost business in that line was no doubt FAR more than a few corporate rooms at a cheap Las Vegas hotel... go America West Penny pinchers... I know - Comped rooms are a line on your excell spreadsheets, while lost income from the hundreds who will never even dream of considering your airline again is unquantifiable and therefore 'doesn't exist'... way to run an airline into the ground guys)...
Sat around in ORD getting drunk until well into the night... finally flight starts boarding at 2350... at this point - the pissed of customers have rubbed off on the attendents - everyone is in a bad mood, those few customer's whose original destination was LAS had just spent four hours in line, the rest of us were getting ready for a wonderful stay in LAS airport (or, wait, we could have taken a 'coupon' for a 60 dollar stay in a local vegas hotel - never minded that by the time we landed (2:00am), got our bags (2:30) and got to the airport (3:00) we would have had all of enough time for 3 hours sleep before having to be back at the airport at 7:00am to catch our morning flight out...
Overnight... no accommodations... all I can say is I'm glad it was LAS- at least the airport bars were open...
F27XXX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5003 times:
Quoting Phxplanes (Reply 2): Look on the brightside HP is gone anyway so you dont have to worry about flying them again.
Gone? hardly! They've just taken over another airline not very well known for good service either. It's just gotten bigger and goes by a different name now. But the new livery is growing on me, I will admit.
I have yet to read even one Trip Report with anything good to say about HP.
Lets just hope they can make two bads into one good. Everyone's gonna be watching!
AirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4975 times:
Can't blame everything on America West. Somebody didn't do their homework or they would have known that HP doesn't fly OAK to ORD non-stop and the whole "mess" could have been avoided. If he wanted to go non-stop he should have flown UA or WN, its as simple as that. The more stops that you make, the increase of a chance that someone can go wrong.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6247 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4602 times:
Sounds to me like you should cough up more dough and actually PAY to sit with your fiancee... if she's your fiancee and all, surely she's worth the extra bucks to buy seats off the airline's website???
Also, with the long list of major carriers that have made your life miserable in the last five years, you seem pretty near impossible to please.
Furthermore, Southwest has more seat pitch than the majors- 33", while most majors (Delta, CO, NW) have 31, and NW DC-9s have just 30.
By the way, I hear Air Namibia is rough stuff too- I would avoid them when booking in the United States.
It's unfortunate that the flight crew wouldn't ask if anyone would move. But had you considered asking for new seat assignments AT CHECK IN, where seat assignments are normally given?
And they're right- it doesn't matter whether you're going to a wedding, a funeral, or simply work... if it's weather, they are NOT responsible for your overnight accommodations.
Sounds to me like nothing out of the ordinary happened to you:
1. You didn't get to sit together, Well, DUH- you RESERVED SEATS that weren't together.
2. You got weather delayed. Yep, weather happens.
3. The airline didn't pick up your tab. Guess what? They don't have to.
Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 5): By the way, I hear Air Namibia is rough stuff too- I would avoid them when booking in the United States.
C'mon easy on the rookie, guys, not all of us are perfect , just a few lucky ones...
Point is, that you could have avoided all that being more carefull during the booking.
I learned from websites like expedia , priceline, hotwire and such that ''direct flights'' could have connections too ( ) , so I triple check everything before booking.
And BTW, shit happens.
Bridogger6 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 718 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4522 times:
Quoting F27XXX (Reply 3): I have yet to read even one Trip Report with anything good to say about HP.
Yeah sorry you had a bad experience, but this comment isn't true... in fact the majority of the trip reports you'll find if you do a search for HP are good ones.
It is not the flight attendant's responsibility to get you seats together, sorry if they were rude, that's uncalled for but you should really ask for help at the gate, not when everyone needs to be seated so the plane can push on time.
Lastly, I don't know any airline that comps a free hotel when there are weather issues, so not quite sure what your problem is there, it DOES seem like you're hard to please.
If you look at these issues, not one of these problems is really HP's fault at all. It's not HP's fault you don't know what flight you're supposed to be on, it's not HP's fault you didn't book seats together at the time of booking, and the weather in Chicago, an act of God, had nothing to do with HP. Sounds like you made the whole experience bad all on your own. Sorry it wasn't a good one! Oh, but I'll give you the crabby flight attendants, that shouldn't happen and I'm sorry it did.
EridanMan From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 121 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4141 times:
I'm sorry, got caught up in C/A (well, that and I'm bad at keeping up with forum postings), didn't properly respond here...
Btw, thank you for the good responses- I will admit that I am both young, and very 'idealistic' in my views on customer service... I personally like to think of it as 'I haven't had a reason to become too cynical yet'... and frankly, I'd like to keep it that way.
(FWIW, I'm a 23 year old software engineer in the bay area).
If I may respond/clarify.
My initial hatred of US Airways came from an event the day before thanksgiving, 2000... I was on a Beech 1900 (not EMB 110 like I said originally)... and some brilliant business type at US had decided to overbook the 19 seat puddle jumper by 15 seats (34 tickets sold total)... obviously, the day before thanksgiving the padamonium that errupted when they started asking for bumps was nuts (not to mention, other regional flight customers were at the gate going through the same problem we were, it seemed like _ALL_ US Airways flights out of ROC that day were overbooked 40% or more...
call me high maintenence... but it was the first ever aggrevation I had ever experienced flying, and I am probably 'scarred for life' so to speak.
As for the other points-
Perhaps I didn't emphasize this enough, but the largest part of my aggrevations with my recent flight were simply the attitude and helpfulness of the HP staff... period.
I came in not having done my homework (or hell, even having heard of this website, it was my desire to rant about my experiences that lead me to to a.net)... but you would have thought the ticket counter agent could have taken a quick moment to say 'Oh, you want to go to Chicago? you'll board this flight to vegas" and not _blatantly lie_ (or ignore, as the case may be) to me and tell me that the flight I want would follow afterwards...
As for the seat assignment, I kiosk checked-in... when I noticed the problem (2.5 hours before scheduled departure), I mentioned it to the ticket agent, who very gruffly blew me off and told me to talk to the gate agent... who, as I mentioned, _lied_ to me (or at least mis-informed me) and told me that the flight sitting at the gate was not the one I wanted to board... by the time I realized this was indeed my ticket to Chicago, all I cared about was actually boarding the plane before they closed the door...
Once the flight was boarded, well first there was the seating issue (ok, sure, I should have 'bought the right seats in the first place'... but I was naive, my two travelling options had before, always been 'jetBlue' or 'Other' where other was usually a visit to Priceline or Expedia... I know better for the future)... The most annoying bit of that was simply that, despite the very rude blowoff by the FA's, the other Pax were more than willing to help us and it turned out to be an absolutely trivial shuffle... come on, you'd think they could have taken the time to at least smiled and tried, eh? Then came the in-flight experience... we never even got a drink-cart on the OAK-LAS leg... The single LAS-ORD cart took well over an hour to traverse the relatively small cabin, and even then, when I asked for another drink 15 minutes later (and if I may quote, my _exact_ phrasing was "Ma'am, when you have a chance, I would love a Heineken") provoked an extraordinarily harsh and biting rebuke "I'm doing _TRASH_ now sir" that was so out of place that it inspired comment and joke from all of the Pax who immediately surrounded us... I didn't dare ask any of the FA's for another thing the entire flight. (I finally did recieve a Heineken almost an hour later, from another FA, less than an hour from landing).
The flight back... I guess it was just the gruffness of the whole affair that annoyed me- the fact there were only two Ticket agents on duty (both of whom showing zero confidence, skill, or customer service ability), who were left to deal with 100+ angry pax and a line which had grown out the door of ORD. I suppose my experience was further 'tainted' by discussions with two TSA security agents who inquired about our bad mood, and then laughed when we said that the object of our aggrevation was HP, and suggested that this was an extraordinarly common occurrance with the particular airline and even quipped 'at least next time you'll know better' (come to think of it, I'm sure this was a highly innappropriate conversation for them to be having... the guys looked like they felt rather awkward having me just standing there while another co-worker was running my professional photography equipment (of which I have far too much) through the bomb-detector equipment).
Customer service on the flight back was no better than on the flight out... we did see the drink cart reasonably early in the flight, but we didn't see it again the entire time (fortunately we had met some nice Pax in the terminal and proceeded to talk to them the whole time). The real hell didn't come until we landed in LAS...
I actually ended up dumping my HP reservation in favor of a 0630 WN flight that put us in to OAK ~0900, just about enough time for me to catch a cab across the bay for my 1000 staff meeting...
Not exactly the best way to spend the night...
So... am I neive for being pissed at HP corporate for my experience over winter break? well... I sure as hell hope not, let me put it that way... There are many places where the engineer in me saw clear, obvious, and profitable ways for customers to be handed a better experience than they recieved- granted, I will fully admit that such 'knowledge' on my part is quite arrogantly wielded with more than a little bit of sophmoricisim...
I will fully admit though, that this (my naivite) is probably the case. less than a year after my Useless Air overbooking experience, my gf at the time and I screwed up badly and missed her 24 dollar ROC-JFK flight home (we had no good excuse)... The customer service experience we recieved from there (Both the no-fee bump to a later flight on a 24 dollar ticket, and the wonderfully personal (and amusing) response I recieved to my thank-you letter to jetBlue for not taking advantage of my clear error won a loyal customer out of me... and I'll fully admit, I probably hold b6 in higher regard and expectation than they would be capable of fulfilling today...
but the fact remains, I've flown them a dozen times since my missed flight- and each time, whether it be through 'hindsight distortion' or actual experience, every flight I've had on B6 has been a pleasure, and virtually ever flight I've had elsewhere has been a pain... for that very reason, I will fly b6 wherever and whenever I can...
They gave me good customer service once, and I will reward them for it... just as US Airways gave me hell once and I'll punish them for it as long as I can... rational or not, I know I'm not the only person who thinks thus...
and the entire point of such a drawn out and rambling post (granted, the Wine has probably helped this evening) is simple- I am not the only yuppie who harbors such memory and irrationaly loyalties... Companies, of all shapes and sizes disregard customer service at their own risk... what looks good on a balance sheet one year can seem pretty stupid the next year when alienated customers take their business elsewhere...
DesertAir From Mexico, joined Jan 2006, 1545 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3688 times:
I have taken a number of America West and AW Express(Mesa) flights over the last few years. The following problems have been regular:
-AW Express arriving in Phoenix and no gate crew available to
move the jetway.
-AW Express waiting on the tarmac for an available gate when there
is no plane at a gate in sight.
-AW flights late for mechanical reasons.
-Flight cancelled and trip rebooked without notification.
-Substitution of a smaller aircraft for a larger one. This means many
passengers assigned to a middle seat.
-Watch for insufficient connection times in Phoenix between Express
and mainline flights.
DFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3591 times:
I have purchased tickets on HP 3 times in the past 10 years, and have only flown one trip. The first two times, I ended up on American and Delta, respectively. My first HP experience, I was going DFW-PHX-SNA. When I checked in they notified me that the flight had not yet left PHX and will be late. I asked about my 45 minute connection and the person said it didn't look like I was going to make it. I asked him if I could catch a nonstop AA flight, and they rebooked me on AA.
The second time I tried to fly on HP, it was for a nonstop 10pm DFW-LAS. When I checked in at 9pm, the flight hadn't yet left PHX, so it was going to be late. (I'm guessing PHX has some real bad weather problems). I knew there was a 10:15pm DL 767 to LAS that I considered booking, so I asked him if I could catch it, rather than arrive LAS after midnight, and they let me. So, kudo's to them for that at least! On the LAS trip I had upgraded using my Continental Onepass Elite status to upgrade, and I let that go to catch DL.
Anyway the last time I flew HP it was much less eventful. This was a couple years ago and I was working for AA at the time. I was in LAS on vacation and all the flight were overbooked. I was there during a big convention..CES, so I knew ahead of time I couldn't non-rev out. So I bought a cheap ticket on HP LAS-ONT on an A320 to connect me with a half-ful AA 757 to DFW. That time, it worked out beautifully.
I understand about how upset you got with HP, and your idealism, etc. When I was 20 (I'm now 31) I booked my family on a trip to Italy on DL, having always been in charge of my family's bookings, and we were to return from Venice to the USA via CDG, using the new SkyTeam alliance or whatever. In VCE they told us that they could give us boarding passes to CDG, but in CDG we would have to check in with DL, meaning we had to clear customs. When we did that in CDG, they told us were were checking in too late and they had given up our seats. We eventually did get on the brand spanking new 777 to ATL, but I've never booked my family on DL again since that trip.
The next year we went to France on AA/BA oneworld. On the return we went LYS-LGW-DFW-SHV, and BA printed out our boarding passes for the whole trip home, and we flew Business class on the 777. That trip was flawless. I'm not really mad at DL anymore, but now I work for AA, and my parents carry Gold status with AA (which they achieved the year after abandoning DL) so DL lost a customer for life basically, from that one incompetence.