heavymetal
Posts: 4442
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:37 am

ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 1:59 am

On Friday morning I got a call no one wants to hear....one of my best friends was in a multi-car accident on an expressway in North Dallas, Texas. At first the news was that he was okay, then he had been "admitted with head and abdominal injuries". There's nothing worse than uncertainty, so I began to plan...

I frantically called American, and explained that a loved one may or may not have been in a dire medical condition. I have almost (but not quite) enough miles for a free restricted round trip. My plan was to buy the extra 2,000 miles and use those to get to Dallas fast.

Within 15 minutes, AA agents and AA AAdvantage agents had:

1) Booked me on a flight MIA-DFW that left in four hours.
2) "Loaned" me the extra miles....apparently it takes three days for new mileage purchases to post into an account...which wasn't gonna help me.... but AAdvantage offers a program to, as I understand it, "loan" miles for use based on assumed future purchase. This feature is only available to VIP and very frequent AAdvantage fliers, of which I am neither. But the AAdvantage agent dispensed with 'the rules' because of my predicament . In no time I was set. All I needed to pay was a $75 same-day transaction fee at the gate in MIA and I was on my way. She even set it up so I could pay there instead of on the phone, adding "let's hope he's okay and maybe you won't need to go."

She nailed it. By 2pm I got a call from him. Banged up a bit but otherwise fine...out of a car that had been totalled by a speeding semi-truck. No hospital, no trauma care...treated and released. Since I was planning to see him next week anyway, no flight needed.

A special thanks to the good folks at American reservations and the AAdvantage service. We critique and bemoan on this forum about the likes and dislikes about the airlines, but it's good to be reminded that these are companies staffed by basically decent human beings, hopefully working for an organization that empowers them to help customers...even frantic ones. AA came through in tense moments for me, a fact that will be remembered as I choose air travel for a long time to come.
 
LMP737
Posts: 4810
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 2:02 am

The news is always filled with nightmare stories about airline travel. It's nice to hear something good every now and then.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
acidradio
Crew
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2001 3:19 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:19 am

Through all the bad things I constantly see and hear about airlines and air travel, it's good to see an airline come through and help out a customer above and beyond the normal call. Air travel, after all, IS a customer-service type of business.
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:27 am

Why are you thanking them on Airliners.net?
Why aren't you writing them a letter?
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:35 am

I wasn't being rude. They appreciate the acknowlegement--particularly those that you don't see (res agents, etc). They are a hidden treasure when you have problems (same as counter agents).

My father had a heart attack right before Christmast year before last--the worst possible time for air travel.

AA was the ONLY airline that:

a) could find me a seat (even thought the connection was not 'legal')
b) not charge me full fare but allowed my ticket to be fully changealbe and refundable without charge.
c) actually acknowledged at check in what a terrible tragedy to happen (how did they know this?).

Brgs.
 
Alaskaairlines
Posts: 2326
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 12:28 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:42 am

Excelletn job AA! Keep that up!

-Dmitry
 
jmc1975
Posts: 2893
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2000 10:57 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:55 am

You may now want to reconsider your username, since your friend was hit by Heavymetal. It just looks like bad omens.
.......
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 4:55 am

When my father passed away last year, AA gave me a bereavement fare of about half the normal fare from MCI to DFW. They were changeable and refundable. After his funeral, my daughter got an inner ear infection and could not fly home. My wife and daughter used my WN rapid rewards tickets to get down there. AA had no problem changing my reservations. And WN had no problem changing the RR tickets. Both airlines did a wonderful job of customer service...and both airlines got a letter from me telling them this.
 
777fan
Posts: 2256
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:09 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 5:10 am

About two years ago, my Dads only brother was in a coma from a car accident and not expected to live.

Frontier Airlines gave us a berevement fare (my uncle did end up surviving) from Bloomington, Il to Denver and we were on our way the next day.

While out there, we ended up staying an extra week to help out and Frontier let us change our return date with no additional charge.

It is good to hear these type of stories. I fly AA exclusively and good to hear a great story about them!

DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 5:17 am

I'm probably part of the minority who believes that bereavement fares actually hurt the bottom line. Passengers who have to travel to funerals and deathbeds at short notice are the kind of folks who are willing to pay big money for their tickets, and hence constitute the best target demographic for high revenue. By allowing discounted bereavement fares and *lending* of AAdvantage miles, airlines are passing up a revenue earning opportunity. Sorry, but thats poor business sense.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
Guest

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 5:31 am

747-437,

Poor business sense it may be, but I will give you three guesses as to whom I choose & recommend the next time the need for last minute-emergency travel occurs. Of course MRTC doesn't hurt either
Heavymetal, I am glad to hear of good Airline PR, when it seems so much of what hear could be classified as "nightmare"
 
blink182
Posts: 5273
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 3:09 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 5:33 am

Oddly enough, last friday, I was checking in for my flight home with AA and me and a few of my friends had checked in together in order to sit next to each other and realizing that there wasn't anybody else in line, our agent was very pleasant and realizing how we were all in somewhat of a somber mood because we were leaving, she cheered us up quite a bit. Employees like her are few and far between, but when they appear, it is a nice surprise.

blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
LMP737
Posts: 4810
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 5:39 am

Actually it's poor business sense NOT to accommodate people with personal emergencies. Yes, you could stick someone with a high fare but in the longrun it will backfire. People in these kind of situations have a long memory. When they are planning a business trip or a vacation sometime in the future they will remember the way they were treated by the airline. If they think they got screwed by the airline in their time of need chances are they will take their business elsewhere. Not only that but they will probably tell all their friends and family how they got stuck with a high fare in their moment of need.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
UALbrat
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:49 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 6:00 am

I agree with LMP737; and if we can't expect CSAs to make these kinds of decisions for better or worse we may as well insist that all transactions normally handled by CSAs be done by computers, which of course would base everything on the rules it was programmed to follow.
 
Guest

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 6:05 am

You should re-read what B747-437B said. Giving discounts like this make poor business sense, as he says.

However, they do have great customer service benefits, as is evident by this post even being started.
 
UALbrat
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 1:49 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 6:22 am

Points well taken but given the story as told, I have to assume that the seat in question was unsold just hours before departure, so AA got the $75 transaction fee it wouldn't have otherwise received, and reduced the number of miles available for future use in this account... so isn't that good business?

Or does the AA yield management computer indicate that lots of seats are taken at the last minute on this route by full-fare customers?
 
heavymetal
Posts: 4442
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:37 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 7:06 am

Why are you thanking them on Airliners.net?
Why aren't you writing them a letter?


I've already faxed my praise to a customer service number provided.

You may now want to reconsider your username, since your friend was hit by Heavymetal. It just looks like bad omens.

Don't mix Robitussin and ginger ale. It's clearly affrecting you.

I'm probably part of the minority who believes that bereavement fares actually hurt the bottom line.

Reason #8,907,890 I love America.

Giving discounts like this make poor business sense

First of all, as UAL brat said, they would have made 75 bucks on an unsold seat if I had gone. Secondly, they didn't give up a free seat anyway..they gave up only 2,000 AAdvantage miles, as I had already earned 23,000 flying with them. Basically they would have ate 2,00o miles, which they sell in increments of a thousand anyway at $29.95, or essentially 60 bucks(or made $15 instead of $75). As it happily turned out, it cost them absolutely nothing to do business with me (with the possible exception of reserving a seat for two hours.) That's it. And because of a phone agent with a heart, the next time I need to go somewhere my first stop and likely purchase will be at AA.Com. On top of that, I've conveyed my story not just to you fine folks but a dozen friends, family and coworkers, all of whom are frequent fliers. You can't pay for that kind of word of mouth adverstising.

If you think any of that is "poor business sense", turn in your MBA. Someone once said compassionate business is good business. In this cynical age, it seems hokey to think of. But in this case AA got it right.




 
N766UA
Posts: 7843
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 7:14 am

Great story, heavymetal. Kudos to AA! I've always liked AA's customer service people. Even though I've never flown them they treat me like a customer anyway
This Website Censors Me
 
707CMF
Posts: 4698
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 5:39 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 7:22 am

Well, to keep on this tribute mail, I will also thank BA.
Last year for my sister's wedding, all the Eurostar trains went cancelled while I *had* to cross the Channel and be in Paris the nex day.

Just a call to them, from my mobile phone in an overcrowded Waterloo station, and I was booked for the next and last LHR-CDG flight. (about 2 hours later with about 1h30 of transportation time to go to Heathrow!!!)

I thank them for having, unlike Eurostar company, keep their cool at that difficult time (it was September 15, just guess why Eurostar was cancelled!), and thanks to the flight crew which was perfectly helpful, smiling, even with a two hour delay and a full 757 at midnight.

Okay. On the low point, I paid the excessive price of more than 450$ for a highly delayed LHR-CDG, but you know what ? I'm really happy to have had this option. Thank you BA, thanks to you, I did not miss the wedding !
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 8:08 am

747-437. Call it bad business sense if you like, but in my case, AA charged me what amounted to about .29 cents per mile for my round trip. Using their 10K as a guide, it would appear that they made a pretty decent profit on my trip. And at the same time, they got a bunch of customer goodwill. That, in the words of Mastercard, is priceless.

FWIW, I hope you live close to your folks. Heaven forbid something happen to them, putting you into that "prime" category for people who would be willing to pay full fare. True, one would, but it's rather kind of the airline to keep you from taking out a second mortgage in an emotionally trying time.
 
LMP737
Posts: 4810
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 9:10 am

Sieple:

I re-read what B747-437B said hurting the bottom line. It still is bad business to stick a customer with a personal emergency. Yes you might make a quick buck but there is a good chance you will lose that customer. That customer might have spent ten times the amount you made off that one ticket over their life time. However left a bad taste in their mouth and therefore you have lost that revenue.

Short term: Bad business sense

Long term: Good business sense.

Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
mirrodie
Posts: 6789
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 3:33 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 9:42 am

Great service. It's nice to real about something so differnt and positive these days.

A few months ago, I read a magazine article that went over the same prdicament. They surveyed by calling all the major US carriers to see what type of last minute service would be available in case of emergency. Turned out that Delta and AA were at the top of the list.


AA all the way. Thanks for the uplifting post!
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
CMK10
Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:56 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 9:53 am

The only nice thing i remember about USAirways was a similar story. My grandfather died rather suddenly and they were able to find us seats going to GSO the next day. Its not too easy to get 6 people seats in a 20 hour period
DC-10's Forever
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
 
Dash8King
Posts: 2657
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 8:45 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 10:08 am

I would hope that my national carrier Air Canada would do the same for me and lend me 2000 FF points. Oh wait by the time it took to get through on the phone he would have been out of the hospital. Oh well.

Great to here about AA. Your right B747-437B thats terrible business I am appalled! Now 529 people know about this story plus the people he told verbally. Terrible advertising I just hope they don't make this mistake again and other people here about good deeds.
 
Adam T.
Posts: 796
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 7:01 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 10:19 am

About a month ago my Grandma called my mom crying saying she was in the hospital and that the doctors were saying that they might have to perform open heart surgery on her in a couple of days. My mom told me to find her a flight from CLT to IAH.
I called all the majors up....U.S. Airways, Continental, United, Delta, Northwest, and AA.
I gotta tell you.....the lady at AA was so sweet, she kept saying that she hoped everything would be okay and was able to find a fare of about $350.00...not bad for a flight that would be leaving in under 24 hours. My Mom would have flown from CLT to ORD and then to IAH.
Well......it turned out she didn't need to go...the doctors told my Grandmother later on that it was not as bad as they thought and that they would not need to perform open heart surgery. But next time something like that does happen....AA will be the first one I call. If i'm not mistaken the ticket would have been VERY flexible, and could be refunded.
Adam
 
flyingbronco05
Posts: 3484
Joined: Fri May 10, 2002 11:43 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 10:23 am

Good job AA and how is your friend? I hope all is ok.
Never Trust Your Fuel Gauge
 
heavymetal
Posts: 4442
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:37 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 11:00 am

All is well, thanks for asking. Literally one of those stories where the only part of the car that was left was the driver's side. Fate was kind.

 
DCA-ROCguy
Posts: 3890
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: ThAAnks AA

Tue Aug 06, 2002 11:33 am

Good to hear that AA has changed its way of handling medical/ bereavement travel arrangements. In 1991, when our family had to book ROC-ORD for a funeral, AA would not give us bereavement fares, and United would. That started my parents on using United for over 10 years (what were we saying about good business sense?)

Jim
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)