tommy767
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:10 pm

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...situation-unbelievable-agents.html

"

Quote:
I was on the flight 90 debacle yesterday at LAX; in my million+ miles with the airline, this was the first one where I was thisclose to calling 911 due to the situation getting out of hand.

Flight 90 is a 757-300 LAX-EWR that continues onto Tel Aviv on new metal in EWR. Inbound equipment was about 3 hours late due to mechanical issues...and after a few more hours of mechanical issues on the ground, they decided to ground the plane...and after an hour after that, they decided to use a 757-200 that was parked at LAX to run the flight. Total delay of about 6 hours. Throughout the process, there was a total lack of information or help from any agents (or on the phone with the Premiere hotline) and they handled the downgraded equipment absolutely horribly.



Pretty frightening stuff. Apparently on Sunday UA 90 (LAX-EWR-TLV) got downgraded from a 753 to a 752 and caused a wave of passenger upheaval. The thread starter said he was "bumped" from a first class seat (full fare tix) to completely losing his seat and being told "there are other people that need to be seated up front." In addition to this, verbal fights between PMCO gate agents and customers were occuring blaming the merger on the customers (!!!) If you read the thread you will be shocked to read that a PMCO gate agent told an old man "Want to take this outside" as well as several of them dropping numerous F-bombs towards customers. Completely unnacceptable for the new United.

My big question: How do these PMCO gate agents get away with this? Had this been EWR I'm pretty sure there would have been some black eyes involved.

[Edited 2012-03-20 14:49:08 by srbmod]
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
cbphoto
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:26 pm

That just sounds horrible. I can say with my recent travel experiences with United that everyone from the pilots and flight attendants down to the gate agents and customer service reps. are extremely frustrated with the way the integration of the reservation systems and such have been going. I am sure a lot of the frustration the agents had were building up over the past few weeks and this flight just so happened to be the one they exploded on. On that note however, it was still way out of line and extremely unprofessional of them.

I suggest you write a serious letter to United detailing your entire experience with the situation so it does not happen again.
ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming
 
codc10
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:36 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):

My big question: How do these PMCO gate agents get away with this? Had this been EWR I'm pretty sure there would have been some black eyes involved.

No doubt. The OP on FlyerTalk has been contacted by several CS managers and higher-ups from Chicago to determine what exactly happened in this situation. To take nothing away from the fact that it was a disastrous customer service nightmare and clearly grounds for employee discipline up to and including dismissal (see Fly To Win handbook), it seems that this was caused by some inexperienced gate agents dealing with a difficult irrops situation with very, very little support from supervisors.

As it stands, each customer involved in this debacle will be offered generous compensation for their trouble, but even then it is likely to be insufficient to make up for the deplorable treatment they received from the staff and tremendous inconvenience they were subject to.

The situation will be thoroughly investigated. My inclination is that the station manager will be reprimanded, the agents directly involved will receive remedial training and probably will be reassigned, and the middle-level supervisors responsible for these gates will have their rear-ends on the line. Of course, I am not purporting to have any inside information on this matter, just a familiarity with the procedures involved when something like this happens.
 
codc10
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Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:42 pm

Furthermore, I'm glad you cross-posted this here, TOMMY767. This story demands greater media attention as the situation on the ground at CO/UA airports is reaching a boiling point. The C-suite in the Windy City needs to refocus on customer service as these integration-related difficulties are rampant. Employee morale is as low as I have ever seen on both sides of the house and virtually anyone's once-favorable outlook on this merger has, at best, dimmed.

Meanwhile, the Pollyanna Squad (led by Jeff Smisek) is running around to the media and investors trumpeting how well the merger has gone. From a financial standpoint, yes, things are good, but when your best customers are furious and the company's public image is taking a brutal beating because of serious operational issues, rest assured those results will not continue in perpetuity.
 
tommy767
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:45 pm

Quoting cbphoto (Reply 1):
are extremely frustrated with the way the integration of the reservation systems and such have been going. I

Yeah PMUA employees do not like SHARES at all. Quite frankly I don't blame them. The training period to learn it was incredibly fast and now they are having issues.

Quoting cbphoto (Reply 1):
I suggest you write a serious letter to United detailing your entire experience with the situation so it does not happen again.

This wasn't me. I read this on flyertalk and thought this needs to be mentioned on a.net.

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 2):
The situation will be thoroughly investigated. My inclination is that the station manager will be reprimanded, the agents directly involved will receive remedial training and probably will be reassigned, and the middle-level supervisors responsible for these gates will have their rear-ends on the line. Of course, I am not purporting to have any inside information on this matter, just a familiarity with the procedures involved when something like this happens.

Did this get any media coverage? If it did I'm sure it would be a little different of a response time from upper mgmt.

My question is had this been a PMUA LAX staff I think things would have been different:

1. Getting the proper replacement aircraft to show up for the 753 (and not 7 hours later.) Either another 753, a PMUA 757, or a domestic 763 to deal with the overbookings. The fact that the other flight to EWR that was boarding at the same time (likely a 738) shows that UA really needs to consider flying round the clock 757s or larger on LAX-EWR. Seems like most of the flights are overbooked.

2. Proper compensation. No secret on this forum that CO tried to low ball passenger during their IRROPS (case in point EWR) and while CO FF's sucked up and deal, I don't think that PMUA flyers will accept this same kind of treatment. PMUA gate agents gave out vouchures like drunken sailors. For a passenger being involved in this, 25K miles or $500 United Dollars doesn't do it.

3. Rebookings. Why did they tell the pax that they had to wait? What about the other 9 hubs that they could have routed passenger through to get home. Seems like this PMCO staff just didn't care.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
BC77008
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:56 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
This wasn't me. I read this on flyertalk and thought this needs to be mentioned on a.net.

Why do you feel that way?
"He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought 'Well isn't this nice...'"
 
apodino
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:59 pm

I flew through ORD the other day trying to fly to ATW. The agents I came across were the crabbiest UA agents I have ever encountered. I was travelling on a simple ZED fare. Well here is what happened. In order to use a ZED fare to list on UA, you have to go online as the airport agents aren't allowed to list, and if you call UA, you will be charged for listing. Naturally of course, the flight was full. Now it gets interesting. They don't even roll over the standby lists anymore, and furthermore, although the agent did relist me for a later flight, she said in the future when I don't get on a standby flight, I have to relist just to catch the next one.

So I go back the next day, and the kiosk won't let me check in just because I have a paper ticket. All we need is a boarding pass, nothing more. So of course the UA agent puts me in a line with a bunch of revenue passengers who were all having problems with their itinerary. It was a disaster and UA didn't have enough agents dealing with this, and the agents that were were very rude. Eventually I said screw it and rented a car (from MDW because ORD was sold out) to drive the 3 hours.

This is an even bigger mess than US/HP was, and that wasn't no bed of roses either. UA has rushed everything about this merger, and the result is that PMUA pilots still aren't comfortable with new procedures, and now the CS angle. It is a mess.
 
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ramprat74
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:00 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
Yeah PMUA employees do not like SHARES at all. Quite frankly I don't blame them. The training period to learn it was incredibly fast and now they are having issues.

When you go from doing point and click on one page of Apollo, to using six pages on Shares for the same action. This makes your job difficult. I know they had to use Shares because of the cost. The IT department needs to upgrade Shares right away.

On the ramp side. The CO bags tags are garbage compared to the UA ones. The UA ones were light years ahead of the CO ones. Larger font, easy to read, destinations and customer names on spur tags. We are having a hard time with them.
 
codc10
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:00 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):

1. Getting the proper replacement aircraft to show up for the 753 (and not 7 hours later.) Either another 753, a PMUA 757, or a domestic 763 to deal with the overbookings. The fact that the other flight to EWR that was boarding at the same time (likely a 738) shows that UA really needs to consider flying round the clock 757s or larger on LAX-EWR. Seems like most of the flights are overbooked.

The operational realities of running an airline sort of preclude this. As far as overbooking flights, that wasn't the issue here, in general, no-show rates are quite predictable. The flight became a Class A oversale because a 757-300 (216 seats) was swapped for a 757-200 (169 seats).

Unfortunately, in this era of reducing capacity in the face of increasing demand, there is very little room for errors of this magnitude.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):

2. Proper compensation. No secret on this forum that CO tried to low ball passenger during their IRROPS (case in point EWR) and while CO FF's sucked up and deal, I don't think that PMUA flyers will accept this same kind of treatment. PMUA gate agents gave out vouchures like drunken sailors. For a passenger being involved in this, 25K miles or $500 United Dollars doesn't do it.

Those numbers nearly match PMUA compensation amounts for a top-tier member after a 6h delay. I was involved in a 5h weather delay a few months ago as a local 1K pax and was offered similar compensation ($400/15k). However, given the circumstances, I agree that the offer is insufficient.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
3. Rebookings. Why did they tell the pax that they had to wait? What about the other 9 hubs that they could have routed passenger through to get home. Seems like this PMCO staff just didn't care.

I suspect the passengers were told to wait because the agents were swamped, frustrated, unable to cope with the situation and were not adequately supported by their supervisors.

As for routing passengers elsewhere, it is a near-certainty that alternative flights were full or close to it. As I mentioned, in this era of 85%+ systemwide load factors, there's not a lot of slack built into the system to absorb these kind of events. Further, it is unlikely that the agents were willing to "think out of the box" to find solutions for their customers (OAL, route via other UAL hubs, JFK, etc.) due to their exasperation and, frankly, panicked state.
 
rampart
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:04 pm

Interesting that another commenter on flyertalk said a similar procedure was used that same day in SFO:

Quote:
"There are going to be about 100 passengers who cannot be on this flight. If the BP scanner rejects your BP, you have to get out of the way and will not be on the flight."

This seems like it was a policy or procedure adopted by at least a couple of stations.

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 5):
Why do you feel that way?

Probably because it's helpful to know? Customers (like me) might like to anticipate potential problems and avoid them?  

-Rampart
 
BC77008
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting rampart (Reply 9):
Probably because it's helpful to know? Customers (like me) might like to anticipate potential problems and avoid them?

Yeah, I can see that. But these problems seem to surface at all airlines in one form or another.
"He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought 'Well isn't this nice...'"
 
sulley
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:16 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 6):
I flew through ORD the other day trying to fly to ATW. The agents I came across were the crabbiest UA agents I have ever encountered. I was travelling on a simple ZED fare. Well here is what happened. In order to use a ZED fare to list on UA, you have to go online as the airport agents aren't allowed to list, and if you call UA, you will be charged for listing. Naturally of course, the flight was full. Now it gets interesting. They don't even roll over the standby lists anymore, and furthermore, although the agent did relist me for a later flight, she said in the future when I don't get on a standby flight, I have to relist just to catch the next one.

Standby lists do roll over.

Some PMUA agents apparently either do not know how to do it or don't want to do it.

The great majority of PMUA agents want to learn and serve the customer the best that they can with SHARES, but there is a vocal minority out there who refuse to learn the system and are blaming everything on the merger. This needs to be addressed. Now.
In thrust we trust!
 
apodino
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:25 pm

Quoting Sulley (Reply 12):
Standby lists do roll over.

That's the way I thought it was always done. But apparently they don't roll over to the next day, which kind of makes sense, but doesn't at the same time.

Quoting Sulley (Reply 12):
The great majority of PMUA agents want to learn and serve the customer the best that they can with SHARES, but there is a vocal minority out there who refuse to learn the system and are blaming everything on the merger. This needs to be addressed. Now.

  

Back when UA was using Apollo, most agents worked with an overlay called FastAir, and I have heard of this being used on other reservations systems as well. You wonder if UA could have adopted FastAir to work with Shares. I remember during the US/HP merger, US set up QIK to work with Sabre prior to the cutover, which gave agents plenty of experince with the new interface. WIth Shares, US is using the QIK interface, which I actually find to be very user friendly as you don't have to remember a bunch of cryptic commands. UA seems to be using native shares though instead of a GUI interface which is common at a lot of airlines, and this seems to be contributing to the problem.
 
tommy767
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:26 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 5):
Why do you feel that way?

You think this situation is at all acceptable? I feel that not enough of UA merger intergation problems have been spelled out on this forum. It's been dead silent as of late.

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 8):
I suspect the passengers were told to wait because the agents were swamped, frustrated, unable to cope with the situation and were not adequately supported by their supervisors.

I guess. I wonder, could passengers have been proactive and went to a service counter outside of gates 60-64 for rebookings?
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
sulley
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:34 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 13):
That's the way I thought it was always done. But apparently they don't roll over to the next day, which kind of makes sense, but doesn't at the same time.

They do roll over to the next day - I know this first hand (CO peep here).

Sorry for the bad service you received as a passrider.

Quoting apodino (Reply 13):
Back when UA was using Apollo, most agents worked with an overlay called FastAir, and I have heard of this being used on other reservations systems as well. You wonder if UA could have adopted FastAir to work with Shares. I remember during the US/HP merger, US set up QIK to work with Sabre prior to the cutover, which gave agents plenty of experince with the new interface. WIth Shares, US is using the QIK interface, which I actually find to be very user friendly as you don't have to remember a bunch of cryptic commands. UA seems to be using native shares though instead of a GUI interface which is common at a lot of airlines, and this seems to be contributing to the problem.

They tried porting FastAir over to SHARES and wasted almost a year doing it. That's why the new GUI for SHARES is so delayed.
In thrust we trust!
 
hiflyer
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:55 pm

Don't know any specifics on this...do know that there are a long list of issues with the old CRS from CO being used as well as long phone waits.
 
shufflemoomin
Posts: 409
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:01 pm

Didn't anyone get video of this incident? It seems everything is captured on video these days. Video of which employees acted like this and documentary evidence that they did should be more than enough for them to lose their jobs over this. I'm sure there's plenty of people in this economy happy to take their jobs and do it properly.
 
ikramerica
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:05 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 14):
I guess. I wonder, could passengers have been proactive and went to a service counter outside of gates 60-64 for rebookings?

Depends on your ticket type, but surely this angry full fare F high elite pax could have done so. He could have tried to move to two of the other flights that would have left in the mean time, or on a connection through IAH.

But my guess is that his claim that they weren't told anything contributed to this.

As for this being a CO agent problem, well my experience at LAX is CO nor UA agents tell you squat about delays. Not sure why?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
BC77008
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:23 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 14):

You think this situation is at all acceptable? I feel that not enough of UA merger intergation problems have been spelled out on this forum. It's been dead silent as of late.

No need to get defensive. It was only a question. I guess the merger process is going smoother than you'd like to believe!
"He waited his whole damn life to take that flight. And as the plane crashed down he thought 'Well isn't this nice...'"
 
hiflyer
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:26 pm

Looks like may have been a pmco deal...753 to 752 both pmco metal. Believe UA is still split on who works which metal at most stations including LAX so may have been pmco gate personnel and mgt and no pmiua involvement. The pmco folks have been going thru a lot with the merger I've been told

Oh yeah...think it was saturday the 18th...seems to match with flight aware showing both the 17th and 19th ontime and not showing the 18th at all.....  scratchchin 

[Edited 2012-03-20 12:32:25]
 
gigneil
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:28 pm

Quoting Sulley (Reply 12):
The great majority of PMUA agents want to learn and serve the customer the best that they can with SHARES, but there is a vocal minority out there who refuse to learn the system and are blaming everything on the merger.

Those people should be terminated, immediately. There's no room for this crap in today's economy. Many people would enjoy the opportunity to do their job, and would do a better one at it.

NS
 
tommy767
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:29 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 19):

I wasn't getting defensive. I think we just don't hear about this kind of customer treatment on a regular basis on a.net. I mean fights between PMCO employees and customers? That's kind of crazy.

Quoting hiflyer (Reply 20):

Looks like may have been a pmco deal...753 to 752 both pmco metal. Believe UA is still split on who works which metal at most stations including LAX so may have been pmco gate personnel and mgt and no pmiua involvement. The pmco folks have been going thru a lot with the merger I've been told......

It was all PMCO.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:33 pm

Quoting hiflyer (Reply 20):
The pmco folks have been going thru a lot with the merger I've been told......

Please provide some examples, I'd be interested. In general, all of their processes and procedures have been employed.

NS
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:55 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 23):

Exactly. It's the PMUA employees that have to suck it up and new learn procedures.

Seems like PMCO employees are more ticket about the loss of their airline name -- which really doesn't make sense since they kept so much of CO at UA.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
sulley
Posts: 389
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:56 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 21):
Those people should be terminated, immediately. There's no room for this crap in today's economy. Many people would enjoy the opportunity to do their job, and would do a better one at it.

NS

Instead of learning the system (which I admit is temporarily challenging until the GUI comes online), they're trying to force the union to get FastAir back...  

It's not happening, no matter how much they kick and scream.

Sad days for all.



[Edited 2012-03-20 13:02:33]
In thrust we trust!
 
deltaflyertoo
Posts: 1479
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:59 pm

Subbing a 757-200 for a 757-300 or any smaller for a larger plane is not unheard of. I feel your pain, it drives me crazy when these things happen (as they do) and the airline will hold ground as long as possible to get more for less (i.e. not st8 up being ready to organize a good comp system). You would think after all these years as soon as that goes down they would just throw white flag, tell the biz pax there is 1k comp and even go up to $600 for the economy and go from there as SOON as they get word the sub is coming.

I've been through this before w/ airlines where in the end, you get what you want, but, not after all the kicking and screaming first not to mention anxiety for the gate agents. I remember one time having an AA flight cancel on mechanical. LATER on after I flipped I learned other airlines would honor the ticket. But AA didn't tell us that then and were trying to put people up in hotels and blah blah blah. Its crazy. I could tell the agents were seasoned and knew but working on corporate orders not to give in unless absolutely neccesary.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:07 pm

Quoting Sulley (Reply 25):
Instead of learning the system (which I admit is temporarily challenging until the GUI comes online), they're trying to force the union to try to get FastAir back...  

Sad days for all.

Which is so ridiculous. In any other profession, new systems come along, you learn them or quit/get fired. Not all changes are the for the best, either. Sometimes it's a matter of cost. Like this change. Thats life in the tech enabled world.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
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UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:19 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 27):

The problem with this incident is how these are not PMUA employees, they are PMCO employees. They already know SHARES but the gate agents threw a temper tantrum and dropped F bombs at customers.

PMUA employees had a very limited window to learn SHARES. I don't think it's right to say "learn it or get fired."
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
style
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:40 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
How do these PMCO gate agents get away with this?
Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
My question is had this been a PMUA LAX staff I think things would have been different
Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
Seems like this PMCO staff just didn't care
Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 22):
I mean fights between PMCO employees and customers? That's kind of crazy.
Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 22):
It was all PMCO.
Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
In addition to this, verbal fights between PMCO gate agents and customers were occuring blaming the merger on the customers (!!!)
Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
If you read the thread you will be shocked to read that a PMCO gate agent told an old man "Want to take this outside" as well as several of them dropping numerous F-bombs towards customers.


Thanks TOMMY767, I think we get your point.

Quite frankly I always take stories I read on FlyerTalk with a grain of salt considering how some only like to tell their side of it without stating all the facts.

I don't think customers should ever be treated poorly and if in fact agents were in the wrong then they should be disciplined and spoken to. Management should have been on top of this before it became a problem, not just letting the agents sink in it.

Either way, I have been on 2 flight downgrades in the past few years and the first time I was bumped onto the next flight
while the second time I didn't get bumped. Both times I remember it wasn't a pleasant experience at all, for the customers or the agents. What I do remember is how stressful the situation was for the agents and how many customers were personally taking it out on them with foul language and sreaming matches. The customer is always right (well almost always) but try putting yourself in someone elses shoes for once...
 
UALFAson
Posts: 768
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 18):
well my experience at LAX is CO nor UA agents tell you squat about delays. Not sure why?

After 8 years of flying PMUA out of LAX, most of them as a Premier, I have to completely agree with you on this. The moment your flight gets tagged "delayed" the information flow just stops and you are on your own.

Supervisors were no help. On multiple occassions I saw them standing off to the side just watching and making no effort to get involved. I almost made a scene one time by publicly calling out 2 female supervisors who refused to help one overwhelmed gate agent after 3 or 4 SFO flights were cancelled and delayed due to morning fog but didn't want to get arrested by the TSA or wind up on a watch list.

I am SHOCKED that this was not PMUA staff at LAX.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
hiflyer
Posts: 1271
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:38 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:39 pm

Sulley...you must be reading FB again...grin. Fastair was a screen scraping program for Apollo. Buhbye. AMR went to HP and signed a deal (Nov 2010) for what AMR calls Jetstream which is the new HP developed product overall name Agilaire. UA announced a month later it was also transitioning to HP Shares for short term and looking at Agilaire. After that it has been crickets from HP AMR and UA. UA transitioning to Shares has been rated a large step backwards in technology for the airport/Res side of the system and false claims of cheaper because they own it...CO did not own it. So ikramerica...it is not that simple and in a tech enabled world going this far backwards and removing tools from your staff is not a good move....short or long term.....and for UALFAson....I am sure the PMUA agents appreciate your kind words of support at the end of the post......
 
mm320cap
Posts: 165
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:35 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:05 pm

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 27):
Which is so ridiculous. In any other profession, new systems come along, you learn them or quit/get fired. Not all changes are the for the best, either. Sometimes it's a matter of cost. Like this change. Thats life in the tech enabled world.

In fairness, this is not other industries. When people travel, they are stressed out, and frequently behave quite badly. Add in issues like weather, the need for mechanical soundness, and some EXTREMELY heavy loads going into Spring Break, and it gets even more difficult. Many of our agents are in the later years of their careers and have been using the same system for decades. From what I understand talking to our folks, SHARES is NOT intuitive, and much more complex and disjointed than what they are used to.

When our procedures started changing rapidly and dramatically on the flight deck, many a-netters went out of their way to accuse the pilots of playing Union politics. Of course, these people are armchair quarterbacks, who have zero responsibility for getting our paying customers to their destinations safely, so their opinions should be given the appropriate credibility. Our gate agents are now going through the same experience... rushed into HUGE changes breaking knowledge and habit patterns that have been engrained for decades. Regardless of what our management team and the a-netters say, trouble is a given in these circumstances. It's been a very tough couple of weeks for our entire team, and I know they are getting overwhelmed. Under the BEST of circumstances, being a CSR can be a very VERY tough job. Now? I'm not surprised that you are seeing some folks reaching their breaking point. While I've seen CSR's from almost every airline act unprofessionally, I've been involved with some situations where airline passengers behave so poorly that it almost defies belief... thus adding to everyone's stress.

I stand by the assertion that I made when our flight procedures changed so dramatically... our management has rushed the operational aspects of this merger for some reason. There is a consequence to that, and we are seeing it play out in the system. They were warned, and they ignored those warnings. But somehow, I'm guessing they still got the maximum bonus, so everything's all good... right?
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:30 pm

Quoting mm320cap (Reply 32):
In fairness, this is not other industries.

Excuses. I'm not saying it isn't hard or trouble free, I was responding to the vocal union minority that is trying to force away the change. And how will that help? So that the CO staff has to learn a new system? How does that help?

Anyway, you don't think other industries have pressures both internal and external? And unlike airlines, if you offer bad customer service in other businesses, people will yelp it and others actually listen to those reviews. For some reason, airlines get a pass on this, as no matter how bad the service is or how bad a screw up the transition period is, if the price is good, people still still use that service in the future.

And I do believe this problem is union based to some degree because unions are so territorial, that even within a merged company it's us v them, no mixing of staff, etc. Well, if some of the staff knows the system better than others, isn't it smarter to mix them together rather than having whole teams of experienced staff and whole teams of inexperienced?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
irelayer
Posts: 929
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:34 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:41 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Thread starter):
Had this been EWR I'm pretty sure there would have been some black eyes involved.

I don't understand? Are you implying that people at EWR are somehow more violent?

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 24):
Seems like PMCO employees are more ticket about the loss of their airline name -- which really doesn't make sense since they kept so much of CO at UA.

Employees are really that invested in a name? I thought it was just us aviation fanatics that got overly sentimental about that sort of stuff.

-IR
 
andrew50
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:16 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:51 pm

There has been some tense situations at IAH over the past week also. United blamed it on heavy passenger traffic because of spring break, right! I took my last flight on United/CO in February, from now on I'll be on Southwest!

http://blog.chron.com/newswatch/2012...-crowds-delays-at-united-terminal/
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:04 pm

Quoting andrew50 (Reply 35):
There has been some tense situations at IAH over the past week also. United blamed it on heavy passenger traffic because of spring break, right! I took my last flight on United/CO in February, from now on I'll be on Southwest!

Why would there be merger related tense situations at IAH? They experienced few systems changes and their agents are well versed in using SHARES.

NS
 
hiflyer
Posts: 1271
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:38 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:30 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 36):
their agents are well versed in using SHARES.

Hear that SHARES was a rocky system with sporadic fails prior to the cutover...the larger database that SHARES has to drive has stretched out all the resources making SHARES that more unstable. Lipstick on a pig is the quote I remember. This industry takes a human up to a quite hostile environment and brings him/her back down safely in a multimillion dollar tube held together by a million nuts and bolt.....pax want everything just smooth and hunkydory before they board. Does not excuse the LAX deal....might understand it somewhat....but there are folks in all business to handle these situations before they spin out...or should I say MANAGE. If the workforces are this stressed then perhaps a look further up the food chain may be in order?
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1486
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:51 pm

I flew UA MSP-DEN-BUR on March 3 (the morning after the transition), and was very glad my flights were only delayed about an hour.

A UA agent at one of the airports I flew through said she is warning all her friends to avoid UA for the next 1 to 2 months, because she thinks a USAirways style computer meltdown is bound to happen sooner or later.

Quoting mm320cap (Reply 32):
It's been a very tough couple of weeks for our entire team, and I know they are getting overwhelmed. Under the BEST of circumstances, being a CSR can be a very VERY tough job. Now? I'm not surprised that you are seeing some folks reaching their breaking point. While I've seen CSR's from almost every airline act unprofessionally, I've been involved with some situations where airline passengers behave so poorly that it almost defies belief... thus adding to everyone's stress.

When I travel, I always keep in mind:

1. Every airline has its good days and its bad days. Problems can arise due to weather, system issues, or just because several employees are in a crabby mood.

2. 99% of the time, if you smile, and ask for help politely, airline employees will do everything they can to help you. Conversely, if you lose your temper and / or use inappropriate language, you will only get the bare minimum of help.

Several times over the last 1 1/2 years, Delta has switched me from one flight to another, or moved me from window seats to middle seats, against my wishes. Every time this has happened, when I've called Delta res, I've kept my anger under control, and have said to the agent "I'm having a problem, and I'd really appreciate it if you could help me". Every time I've needed help, the agents have gone the extra mile to assist me, even if it meant they had to violate Delta procedures to do so.

I've taken down the names of the agents who have helped me, and have sent letters to Delta HR that have praised their outstanding service, without saying they broke the rules to help me, so the agents will know that their assistance is appreciated.
Seaholm Maples are #1!
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12427
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:48 pm

One problem of airlines in recent years due to self check-in and other 'efficiency' moves to reduces labor costs has been the reduction of those on staff to levels so that you don't have reserves when you have a computer problem or a mechanical or weather delay. That means things can get out of control very quickly and on occasions you can have disastrous customer service and angry staff as happened with this flight.
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:07 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 38):
When I travel, I always keep in mind:

When I travel I keep it even simpler:

I don't expect miracles. I know sheeet happens. Just 1. communicate and 2. treat each customer like an individual.

In other words, don't keep us in the dark and expect us to be happy about it, and don't yell at me because the customer before me was a jerk to you. It wasn't me, and we are not all the same, but if you treat us as if we are hostile before we even say one word to you, it becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 39):
One problem of airlines in recent years due to self check-in and other 'efficiency' moves to reduces labor costs has been the reduction of those on staff to levels so that you don't have reserves when you have a computer problem or a mechanical or weather delay. That means things can get out of control very quickly and on occasions you can have disastrous customer service and angry staff as happened with this flight.

That's probably a valid point. Makes you wonder how many people will attack the machines at the DL self-boarding gates when something goes wrong?  
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
chopchop767
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:16 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:18 am

Fortunately, my travels haven't taken me through LAX in quite some time. I've only connected there from the Far East on a handful of occasions. When we connected from NRT, I remember it being a complete mess. Frankly, SFO's facilities are far nicer. In that regard, LAX was less than desirable routing even before the merger. Still, this story a

That being said, last week, I flew from MUC to IAD to SEA. I was a little disappointed that the old J seats were the configuration, but frankly the connection experience, customer service wise in IAD was fantastic. The gate agent rechecked my bag even though the flight to SEA was departing in 20 minutes. The flight ended up taking a mechanical for about an hour and half. With the extra time on the ground, I used the United Club and the agents were very helpful; actually calling the gate for me to check the latest status.

Thus, especially when connecting, IAD beats EWR and ORD for me, hands down.
this year: nap, lgw, fra, dub, fco, add, jib, muc, iad, sea, dca, bos, cdg, ist, bah, prg, ord, hsv, cmn
 
joeljack
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:38 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:21 am

How is compensation determined? I was on a UAX DEN-OMA 6 hr delay because of first mechanical, then pilots, then flight attendants just a few weeks ago and no compensation here. BTW I'm a Premier Exec...(Gold I guess it's called now)
 
AA777
Posts: 2358
Joined: Thu May 20, 1999 7:07 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:09 am

Just another example - of many - across all the airlines, of how flying in the United States is truly a joke. I don't see any reason why people are foolish enough to think their "status" really gets them anything. Clearly it did nothing for this man. "Status" might get you things when everything is running smoothly and flights arent extremely packed. But when sh*t hits the fan, there is no service or courtesy. I just accept it and move on with my life. I refuse to become one of the psycho passengers who gets this mad. What are you gonna do? I think the only way to get what you want... is to charter a private jet.  

-AA777

[Edited 2012-03-20 18:09:54]
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13772
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:18 am

Quoting AA777 (Reply 43):
Just another example - of many - across all the airlines, of how flying in the United States is truly a joke. I don't see any reason why people are foolish enough to think their "status" really gets them anything. Clearly it did nothing for this man.

That's assuming he's telling the truth.

But I agree, I've given up on status. Silver is meaningless, and I don't travel for work so getting to Gold is not possible, so it is liberating not to worry about which airline you fly due to status. But I do tend to fly UA because of Y+, even if I have to pay for it now.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
termbewr
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:19 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:29 am

Quoting AA777 (Reply 43):

{I think the only way to get what you want... is to charter a private jet.}

I work in the private jet industry and can tell you first hand that if a plane has a mechanical problem, it is not uncommon for our clients to take 4-6 hour delays. If you have 12 people scheduled on a Gulfstream IV and your best recovery option is a 10 passenger Challenger 604 with less range, you have a big problem!!! I sympathize with the UA gate agents in LAX. It is difficult being yelled at and insulted by passengers who do not have a complete understanding of what is occuring. Even when you do your best, the average passenger isn't interested in listening. They just want what they want and don't care about much else.
 
tpaewr
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat May 19, 2001 9:01 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:04 am

Not to excuse the meltdown, but for CO it is more than just the name lost. CO has always been non-union and most voted 'no' . But the greater numbers on the UA side sees all of CO sucked into the toxic world of union politics. This came only days after PSS. Huge numbers of CO staff are so demoralized by it all they are looking to retire or find new work.

I am worried the gulf in culture will take years to bridge, if ever.


It would have been better to run them as 'wholly owned' like the way CO and CS were prior.
 
chopchop767
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:16 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:30 am

Quoting AA777 (Reply 43):
I don't see any reason why people are foolish enough to think their "status" really gets them anything. Clearly it did nothing for this man.

Great point! I have Premier Gold with UA and I believe reap more benefits from that status in Europe where Star Gold actually gets you lounge access even when flying in Y. In the US, you get a separate check in line and a Economy Plus seat at time of ticket purchase and a possible shot at an upgrade. Ultimately though, while the lounge access, Y +, and luggage allowances are a nice perk, during irregular ops, unless you GS, it's best to just sit back, relax and wait it out.

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 44):
Silver is meaningless,

Sad, but true. I was really surprised to see UA do away with Y + seating at time of ticketing for Star Silver.
this year: nap, lgw, fra, dub, fco, add, jib, muc, iad, sea, dca, bos, cdg, ist, bah, prg, ord, hsv, cmn
 
IADLHR
Posts: 612
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:25 pm

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:49 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 38):
A UA agent at one of the airports I flew through said she is warning all her friends to avoid UA for the next 1 to 2 months, because she thinks a USAirways style computer meltdown is bound to happen sooner or later.

Exactly. Two months down the road puts it perilously close to Memorial Day weekend and the start of the peak travel season.

Since the combined UA/CO mileage programs have put me 35K miles short of one million. There will be no problem, for me, getting to the one million level. However, to keep my life simpler, for the time being, I have avoided UA/CO travel at all costs just for reasons that have been mentioned. Much of the travel is F and the way they have been treating F pax is apaalling, to put it in aristocratic language.

I am thinking of not traveling UA until Christmas. I am hoping that by that time, things will have improved. If not ny wife and I dont have to fly UA to get to London. We shall see what we shall see.

[Edited 2012-03-20 19:51:31]
 
ULMFlyer
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:39 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:57 am

From the Flyertalk OP:

Quote:
"we would rather let someone who hasn't experienced united before a chance to fly in the BusinessFirst cabin than you" was the line I was fed, even though Ive been a CO top tiered elite for 20 years and was on a full first class ticket.

I don't even know what to say if this is true. I guess whoever came up with this brilliant plan simply needs to go (and I find it hard to believe it was the gate agents).

I've recently had my worst flying experience (thanks to both a GA and FA), while on a $10k BusinessFirst ticket and being a PPL (now GS) on CO. Details are not important in this thread, but the awesome agents at the Prez Club South at IAH who had to fix the mess for me were equally appalled when I explained what had happened. I could not believe the way I was being treated on PMCO metal with an IAH-based PMCO crew. So, I guess I can believe the OP's description of what happened.

BTW, I've had some PMCO agents go way out of their way to help me in the past and that's what made me give CO my business. But it seems that every time I'm at a United Club these days, there's a customer calling Smisek some not nice names while on the phone with an Elite Desk (or whatever it's called these days) agent.
Let's go Pens!
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 2240
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

UA LAX Gate Agent 'meltdown' Flight 90 LAX-EWR

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:04 am

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 44):
That's assuming he's telling the truth.

But I agree, I've given up on status. Silver is meaningless, and I don't travel for work so getting to Gold is not possible, so it is liberating not to worry about which airline you fly due to status. But I do tend to fly UA because of Y+, even if I have to pay for it now.

This is where I am at now. I am Silver now but I am not bothering attempting to renew it. It is liberating getting to try other carriers that often have far superior products to UA.