PanAm747
Topic Author
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Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:04 am

First of all, this is NOT a swipe at Delta or any other airline. This situation could happen to any international passenger.

Here's what happened: a friend of mine travels quite frequently on business SAN-ATL-CDG or STR. He has not had a problem until his last trip, while trying to check in.

If you have never been to SAN, it is a delightful little facility but it can get VERY chaotic when multiple airlines located close to each other are checking multiple flights to multiple destinations.

While waiting in line, the very limited number of Delta counter agents were processing other passengers. One agent was trying to find a supervisor to deal with an excess bagagge problem, while another agent was actually in the process of drawing up a ticket for someone flying on another day!!. Because of these two problems, the line was moving VERY slowly. Also to point out, there were NO agents monitoring the line making sure nobody was missing their flight.

And there is where the problem happened. When my friend FINALLY got to an agent, they told him, "sorry, you're out of luck - you missed the check-in by one minute, and it's not our fault".

Now, in Delta's defense, the agent did try and re-route him. The agent phoned...and typed...and "hemmed"...and "hawed"...and said after a long period of time, "aha!! I have you re-routed via JFK...whoops!! Sorry...you've missed that one by one minute as well!! TSA won't let you on".

My friend came back the next day (as there was no other way to get him to Paris that day) and had no problem. Question: What should a person do when the check-in personnel are taking too long with other matters and a person is going to miss their flight? And even though the Delta agents said, "that's not our problem - you should have been here earlier!!", as a frequent international flyer, should he request any compensation from Delta?

I know UA is quite good in the mornings at SAN with agents monitoring the crowds, making sure United passengers that can't read their tickets (and are actually flying Express) are directed to the Commuter terminal, and that those who are in line for a flight that leaves before others get priority check-in. Is this standard procedure for other airlines at busy airports?
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HPLASOps
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:11 am

That's just bad customer service, period. The 30/45/60 minute check in cutoff is not sacred, rather, merely an advisory to try to maintain consistency. When there are a couple of bad customers screwing up the flow of the line, it should be up to the airline to recognize that, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure the best results for everyone. Since they failed to pull the non-priorty passengers to the side and out of line, the airline should have accomodated those pax that were "late" because of this. Shame on the DL SAN agents in this scenario.
"Just because I know how to get off a freeway doesn't mean I know how to get back on!" - Retard Joe
 
lincoln
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:27 am

It's poor customer service on the part of DL (and the BS about "TSA won't let you on" is icing on the cake -- in my experience the TSA agents couldn't care less about the time of your flight) but in the end it is the passenger's responsibility to allow adaquate time for check-in.

Domestic Rule 135(C)(1) "Reservations and seat assignments are subject to cancellation for any passenger who fails to check-in and make themselves available for passenger boarding at the departure gate at least fifteen (15) minutes prior to the scheduled departure of the domestic flight on which
the reservation was made. [...] Failure to do so will subject the entire itinerary to cancellation."

Domestic Rule 135(C)(3) "Passenger Responsibility Passengers must arrive at the airport sufficiently in advance of a flight departure time (generally, not less than 2 hours) to permit completion of government requirements, security
procedures, and departure processing..." (the remainder of this rule is virturally identical to International Rule 60(F)(3))

International Rule 60(F)(3) "Passengers must arrive at the airport sufficiently in advance of a flight departure time to permit completion of government formality and departure procedures. Departures will not be delayed for passengers who are either improperly documented, or are not ready to travel at the time of scheduled departure. Carrier is not liable to the passenger for lost or expense to due passenger’s failure to comply with this provision."

At least he didn't have the "pleasure" of using godforsaken "Delta Direct" -- the only thing worse than the DL agents at SAN...slightly better, though, than the DL supervisor who screamed at me at CVG, and not as disappointing as being told "Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive".

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
COERJ145
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check

Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:36 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 2):
At least he didn't have the "pleasure" of using godforsaken "Delta Direct" -- the only thing worse than the DL agents at SAN...

What's even worse is UA's Indian(no offense to any Indian A-net members) Res center. Why UA, DL and US can't raise fares and have customer service in the US like NW, CO or AA is beyond me.

[Edited 2006-10-10 03:37:24]
 
ADXMatt
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:27 pm

Quoting PanAm747 (Thread starter):
"sorry, you're out of luck - you missed the check-in by one minute, and it's not our fault".

The International leg is ATL-CDG and the pax is in SAN....
How could the pax have missed the APIS deadline?

With the line moving slowly she couldn't get a supervisors approval to do a late bag check? where is the going the extra mile.
 
Jelle
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:38 pm

I am not sure whether or not it is possible in SAN but what you described is exactly one of the reasons to check in on-line and try to travel with carry on luggage only. The latter is now more difficult with all the new post London regulations on carry on luggage but if it is possible it does save a lot of time.
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:15 am

Doesn't Delta have kiosks in San Diego? Why did your friend need an agent? I fly UA almost exclusively and almost never need to see an agent. Unless you are flying to a country that requires a visa, you can use UA's kiosks for international check in, too.

I agree with the observation about UA's morning check in at SAN. It's usually very, very busy, but it's organized. I've been there when a few flights were cancelled and the lines were phenomenal, but it was very organized. They have an agent at the back of the line making sure customers are where they are supposed to be and aren't missing flights. Most people they move to the kiosk line, where they have a agent move among the kiosks helping customers who need it and moving the line along. Only problem cases...overweight bags, animals, ticket issues, international travel requiring a visa, etc. are put in a line to see an agent.
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ikramerica
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:26 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Thread starter):
And there is where the problem happened. When my friend FINALLY got to an agent, they told him, "sorry, you're out of luck - you missed the check-in by one minute, and it's not our fault".

Now, in Delta's defense, the agent did try and re-route him. The agent phoned...and typed...and "hemmed"...and "hawed"...and said after a long period of time, "aha!! I have you re-routed via JFK...whoops!! Sorry...you've missed that one by one minute as well!! TSA won't let you on".

All of that is bull. It's not the pax fault (assuming he really did get there in plenty of time for departure). I've seen this hold up the whole line at DL before. I've found their stations to be understaffed, and their attitude to be devil may care. I really don't get where others on this board give them such high praise. In all my DL experiences (and they are many), I've never felt they gave a shit about their passengers and if they get to their destinations. They care only about their own operations and their own person (the CSRs especially). It's like they don't want to be bothered with those pesky customers. I've found attitude this at check-in, on board, in the Crown Room, etc.

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 6):
Why did your friend need an agent?

When flying internationally, I know many people want to check in with a person. Frankly, DL's poor CSR staffing is to blame here. Not the passenger.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:34 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 7):
When flying internationally, I know many people want to check in with a person.

I wonder why? It's completely unneccessary. At UA, they politely make you use the kiosks for international check in, whether you want to or not. Once you've done it, you realize how easy it is....especially with the newer kiosks that have passport readers.....and you'll never want to see an agent.
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kl662
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:12 am

I fly out of SAN quite a bit, and CO (just down the counter from DL) has been quite accommodating when I arrive a little late.

Week before last, I had a screw-up with my scheduled taxi, and arrived at the check-in counter about 25 minutes before my departure to EWR. I had checked-in online, but didn't have a boarding pass (no printer handy). The kiosk refused me, of course, but one of the agents took a look, asked me if I was checking baggage ("Not if I throw away my toothpaste!"), printed my boarding pass, and called the gate to let them know I was coming. Made it into my seat with time to spare...  Smile

As far as I can tell, TSA couldn't care less if you're within some cutoff period for your flight. You're basically at the mercy of the check-in agent.

(I've had AA refuse me one or two minutes within the 45 min cutoff at ORD; fortunately, it was a refundable ticket, and I simply said "Thanks, but I think I'll head over to UA.")
 
Bridogger6
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:01 am

The reason many airlines have check-in cut off times, is due to bag issues. If your bag doesn't make a flight, the airline will not be responsible for paying to have a bag delivered to you on the other end... the check in cut off times are mostly there in respect to those checking in who are checking bags... the times are guidelines yes, but they are also strictly followed in general. If the cut off time is 30 minutes prior to the flight departing, and you show up 29 minutes prior, sorry but you're too late. I see it happen every day, and it kind of sucks... but why are you showing up and giving yourself JUST enough time to begin with? Not smart planning on your part, and because of that, that airline will not be responsible for getting your bags to your flight in time. The moral is, just give youself a little extra time when traveling to make sure there are no problems... airline travel is rarely seamless.
 
PanAm747
Topic Author
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:34 am

Quote:
If the cut off time is 30 minutes prior to the flight departing, and you show up 29 minutes prior, sorry but you're too late.

Quite acceptable. But we're talking about the airline personnel causing the pax to miss the check-in by one minute, not the pax.

Quote:
but why are you showing up and giving yourself JUST enough time to begin with? Not smart planning on your part, and because of that, that airline will not be responsible for getting your bags to your flight in time. The moral is, just give youself a little extra time when traveling to make sure there are no problems.

As stated, this is a seasoned traveller who has never had this situation occur before. If you arrived at the airport with sufficient time only to find one "future passenger" occupying all the agents' time, and that made you late, wouldn't you be mad?
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
lincoln
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:55 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 11):
As stated, this is a seasoned traveller who has never had this situation occur before. If you arrived at the airport with sufficient time only to find one "future passenger" occupying all the agents' time, and that made you late, wouldn't you be mad?

Not really...the customer did get there before the people behind him did, didn't he? Why should he be penalized for planning ahead (i.e. showing up at the airport with plenty of time to take care of business as opposed to waiting until right before his flight)?

To look at it from a different angle, if I were that customer and had taken time out of my schedule, and waited in line only to get to the counter and be told either

A) "Oh, this person behind you didn't allow enough time to take care of business, so step aside, we're going to deal with him first."
or
B) "Oh, even though your a customer, you aren't important enough for us to help now, since you're flying some time down the road, step aside, and we'll help you when we feel like it"

I would be PISSED. In either of those cases the airline employee is telling me, essentially, that my time is less valuable than that of other passengers.

This doesn't excuse the aparently poor customer service by not letting him check in "one minute" after the cutoff, but the implication that the airline should have kicked other customers aside rather than the passenger arriving earlier is...

Lincoln

(Note that if there were separate lines for "Check-in" and "Other Stuff", I would be perfectly happy to wait in the "Other Stuff" line until an agent could assist me; none of the airlines or airports I deal with frequently have lines for anything but check-in (including elite/first/business/self check-in)
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:33 am

Dear PanAm747, the following is 99% sure to be the truth:

Your friend had a ticket for an overbooked flight and the plane was already full. By insisting that he was one minute late Delta saved the compensation.

If there had been a vacant seat on the plane, then Delta would have been very happy to pass your friend instead of going through all the hazzle of re-routing.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
United777atGU
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RE: Missing Int'l Flight-Pax/Agents Delaying Check-In

Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:02 am

There are so many factors that contribute to check-in cut-off times. However, problems such as this one can be solved if airlines today, in particular legacy carriers, ceased trying to make their employees do the same job with less manpower (provided that you friend was in fact at the airport at the airlines' suggested time). Such is the case with your friend, PanAm747, at SAN with Delta, and such is the case with UA at IAD / Dulles, and most likely at other places in the US. I think that as customers, most people do realize that they have to get to the airport at a certain time in order to check-in, or make a flight. That's a given. But it definitely is unfortunate when, as the passenger, you know, the customer service agent knows, and the whole wide world knows that you can still make the flight, but because of these cut-off rules, you can't even try. For example, at Dulles, the cut-off times 45 minutes for domestic (and international check-in??). The reason is that the time it takes for the bag to make it from the check-in counter, to the TSA screening machine, to the bag cart alone can be upwards of 15 minutes. God forbid if TSA machines break down at Dulles (all too common) or the baggage belt/system breaks down (also all too common). Then the bag has no shot of making the flight. However, if things are going smoothy, and if you have dedicated employees who do their job, the bag can make it. I have been able to make bags to the gate (at Dulles mind you) when the bag arrives downstairs 10 mintues before departure and the bag is there with 1 minute left before departure. Thus, the passenger can make his flight. OH, but there is another condition: he can make the flight IF he can fight his way through security AND if he still has time to get to the gate. And at Dulles, its near impossible to make it through security during the megabank as there are probably hundreds and hundreds--no, thousands of people filtering in between 1500 and 1730. Oh, yea: we've got to remember that there has to be a good number of TSA lanes open in order to make it through security ANYWAY!! (Nothing against TSA). There are so many things that everyone must take into account. If you know your airport, though, then this should not a problem, obviously, since you know how long it can take to get through security, and you know how long it takes to get from the security to the gate. Well, I could go on forever, but I guess I'll cut it short by saying that it should be left up to the passenger to decide whether he wants to try to make the flight as long as he is advised that it will be a challenge and that his bags could end up being left behind even if he does make his flight. He can't try to make it with 20 minutes of course. That's unrealistic, c'mon...Employees and frequent travelers know their airport. They can help determine / determine for themselves how much time is needed.
(Hope I didn't run my mouth too much...)
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