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canadianpylon
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Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:23 am

So, I'm sitting here in YEG, just arriving from YWG on Air Canada Jazz. My dad was connecting to YYC on the 18:00 flight, but I was connecting on the 19:30. As I get off the airplane, I walk up to Gate agent and ask if I can be switched to the 18:00 with my dad.

The gate agent, looks at my ticket and says 'That's a Tango fare... You'll have to pay $150 + tax to do that. And the flight is full.' $150?!?!!? I could have bought a seperate ticket, last night, for $139!!!! Anyways, I say forget it.

A few minutes later my dad boards, and I wait by the gate to see if there are any empty seats...Sure enough, there are 3 that don't show up. I can hear the gate agent talking down to the plane, saying there are 40 on board. I ask one more time, 'I can take one of those seats and free up my seat on the 19:30...'

'Not unless you want to pay $150!' she responds. She promptly closes the flight and walks away!

I know that this is following the policy and the procedure, but isn't this a little too strict? You basically let the plane go with empty seats, knowing there was atleast 1 person (me) who would've taken one of them.

I guess it would hurt too much to think outside of the box....

*sigh* Now I get to walk around YEG for an hour and go supper. Not the worst fate in the world, but still, annoying...
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
ac033
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:43 am

I am sorry but you read the rules before you decide to fly with AC they clearly states if you want to change your flight you paid 150...   
 
Gemuser
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:46 am

Quoting ac033 (Reply 1):
I am sorry but you read the rules before you decide to fly with AC they clearly states if you want to change your flight you paid 150...

What you say is true, of course, BUT AC missed a chance to get good PR with a paying pax, at no cost to them. Seems a silly decision by AC.

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Whiteguy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:48 am

If you wanted to get on the earlier flight then you should have booked it! No sympathy!
 
wjcandee
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:56 am

Just write them a letter, phrasing it nicely and succinctly. And put it in the mail. Can't hurt, and will accomplish more than posting on here.
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:58 am

Why not ask them to put you on standby. I managed to do that on AC out of YHZ. Caught a 0730 flight instead of an 1130 flight and managed to avoid a massive snowstorm.
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ac033
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:03 am

Quoting gemuser (Reply 2):

What you say is true, of course, BUT AC missed a chance to get good PR with a paying pax, at no cost to them. Seems a silly decision by AC.

That is good idea... but despite how much passengers they handle everyday, if everybody comes in early and decide to make a change like this........ what is the point of reservation and booking
 
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canadianpylon
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:06 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 5):
Why not ask them to put you on standby. I managed to do that on AC out of YHZ. Caught a 0730 flight instead of an 1130 flight and managed to avoid a massive snowstorm.

That is what I asked, and she laughed and said that the Tango Fare was $150 change fee...

The problem I have is that I do this all the time with other airlines. I've heard that airlines seats are like fruit at the market. Once the plane leaves, it's like throwing out all of the rotten fruit, cuz you can't sell it anymore. If it's empty, and somebody can take it....why not give it to them. Help me help you.

The way I always see it is I get off ,my flight, freeing up that seat to be potentially resold... Oh well.

I guess Air Canada doesn't have 'employee empowerment' environment like WJ... Could thing I fly home on WJ on Monday...
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
Whiteguy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:08 am

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 5):

Why not ask them to put you on standby. I managed to do that on AC out of YHZ. Caught a 0730 flight instead of an 1130 flight and managed to avoid a massive snowstorm.


It's because of the snowstorm that you were able to standby or it was your type of fare.

Quoting gemuser (Reply 2):
What you say is true, of course, BUT AC missed a chance to get good PR with a paying pax, at no cost to them. Seems a silly decision by AC.

No it was a good decision to stick to their fare rules & policies. How many times a day do you think people try to do this knowing that the fare they booked doesn't allow it.

Everyone wants to fly for nothing yet enjoy the perks of a full fare!
 
Viscount724
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:14 am

Even AC's higher Tango Plus fare doesn't permit same day airport standby on an earlier flight (except on Rapidair routes YYZ-YUL and YYZ-YOW where they're probably doing it to match Porter who permit it from YTZ (except not on their lowest most restrictive fare).
 
Whiteguy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:17 am

Quoting canadianpylon (Reply 7):
I guess Air Canada doesn't have 'employee empowerment' environment like WJ... Could thing I fly home on WJ on Monday...

Try it on them, you pay a change fee to!

Quoting canadianpylon (Reply 7):
The problem I have is that I do this all the time with other airlines. I've heard that airlines seats are like fruit at the market. Once the plane leaves, it's like throwing out all of the rotten fruit, cuz you can't sell it anymore. If it's empty, and somebody can take it....why not give it to them. Help me help you.

The way I always see it is I get off ,my flight, freeing up that seat to be potentially resold... Oh well.

Then go fly those other airlines, you bought the ticket, you agreed to the terms & conditions, you knew you could't change flights, don't complained about it after the fact!
 
OP3000
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:24 am

Quoting canadianpylon (Reply 7):

The problem I have is that I do this all the time with other airlines. I've heard that airlines seats are like fruit at the market. Once the plane leaves, it's like throwing out all of the rotten fruit, cuz you can't sell it anymore. If it's empty, and somebody can take it....why not give it to them. Help me help you.

Same day standby policy is critical for a lot of business travelers too. Like the OP said it does not cost the airline anything but makes the passenger be able to work around his/her schedule based on last-minute circumstances. Which is what happened in this case - it's not like he booked this reservation trying to game the system.

AA (whose service I loathe in other respects) strikes the right balance in terms of standby policy - it allows its elite passengers (often the business-oriented ones) to standby for free, and regular passengers can do so for $25 IIRC. That's a win-win IMO - the passenger can get a more convenient schedule and the airline can profit from it (probably more so with volume than charging $150 where only a helpless person or a fool would pay that).

[Edited 2011-02-19 18:28:33]
 
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yyz717
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:33 am

I'm glad this gate agent followed the proper rules for the cheap (ie. Tango) fare, despite pressure from a passenger. The sometimes maddening murky rules of revenue management fall apart unless they are followed strictly.

Cudos to that gate agent!
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Gemuser
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:39 am

Quoting ac033 (Reply 6):

That is good idea... but despite how much passengers they handle everyday, if everybody comes in early and decide to make a change like this........ what is the point of reservation and booking

If they ONLY do it when there is no cost to the airline, what's the problem? QF/DJ do it all the time, I've even had AZ do it.

Quoting yyz717 (Reply 12):
I'm glad this gate agent followed the proper rules for the cheap (ie. Tango) fare, despite pressure from a passenger. The sometimes maddening murky rules of revenue management fall apart unless they are followed strictly.

You're kidding! If the seats are vacant at time of departure, why not use it and gain some good will? Give the staff on the ground some authority to impress the customers. Of course management have to keep it under control at a higher level, but giving the workers authority is a proven management technique.

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jgw787
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:19 am

You get what you pay for...
 
TLG
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:27 am

On December 31, 2010 when connecting at ORD on UA I did exactly what the OP tried to do; no problem! I took an otherwise empty seat on an earlier flight, therefore freeing up my seat on the later flight. The only cost to UA was the new boarding pass. Makes perfect sense to me!

-TLG
 
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canadianpylon
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:40 am

Quoting jgw787 (Reply 14):
You get what you pay for...

Obviously... But think of it in a different light. 5 minutes you have 10 empty seats that are about to expire. You can do nothing with them, but let them fly away for nothing...

If one were to put people from a later flight on these seats, the have the potential to sell a full fare sale on the later flight... If it doesn't sell (or allow an employee to go home, etc...), you've just given away something that brings in zero revenue for something that didn't bring in revenue. Break-even at worst...AC win at best.

It seems so much like hiding behind the rules... Such government-type thinking...
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
Whiteguy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 am

Reread your original post and you stated the agent said the "flight was full". How could you get on the earlier flight anyway?

You then said you heard her talking to the flight and it had 10 open seats. How do you know she was talking about the same flight? Agents working Jazz flights are usually working more than one at the same time. If it was the same flight the seats may have been misconnects and by putting you on may have delayed the flight. It's easier to just close it up and send it. Better to have 1 annoyed passenger than 40!

What about checked baggage? Did you have any? If you got on the earlier flight then your not traveling with your bags. That's a no no!

I'd still like to know why you didn't just connect to the earlier flight in the first place when you made the reservation?
 
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canadianpylon
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:34 am

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 17):
Reread your original post and you stated the agent said the "flight was full". How could you get on the earlier flight anyway?

It was, when I checked in YWG with the gate agent. When I got to YEG, just before they closed the flight, there was 40 on board. It was a Dash 8-300, which seats 50, so there were a number of no-shows.

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 17):
You then said you heard her talking to the flight and it had 10 open seats. How do you know she was talking about the same flight? Agents working Jazz flights are usually working more than one at the same time. If it was the same flight the seats may have been misconnects and by putting you on may have delayed the flight. It's easier vto just close it up and send it. Better to have 1 annoyed passenger than 40!

It was the only flight loading at the time... YQU had already left, YWG was delayed for mech. Also, my dad, who was on the flight confirmed that there were 'a good number' of empty seats.

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 17):
I'd still like to know why you didn't just connect to the earlier flight in the first place when you made the reservation?

I didn't make the reservation. My dad did, and I was trying to fix it.
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
blueflyer
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:25 am

In my opinion, if you compare to most other carriers, AC goes out of its way to make sure passengers understand the various fees and features associated with each type of fare. If being able to change flight the same day without a fee is important, buy a Latitude fare. If it isn't important, buy a cheaper Tango or Tango Plus fare and either pay the fee or stick to your original plan...

Quoting canadianpylon (Reply 16):
If one were to put people from a later flight on these seats, the have the potential to sell a full fare sale on the later flight...
On paper, you're correct, but I'm going to go on a limb and suggest the yield management people have figured that for all the times when your scenario would take place in the real world, they still make more money sticking to the rules...


[Edited 2011-02-19 23:28:58]
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aklrno
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:55 am

This is a classic case of airline stupidity probably due to the failure to give front line employees the ability to solve problems
or an incentive system gone bad.

I can understand that if the fare structure has a change penalty then you have to enforce it to make it work. Right off I see the change penalty mostly as a way to make your best customers hate you. But even if that's what they want to do, at the moment the flight is about to leave the equation changes. The change fee is about reservations and the airlines ability to maximize yield. At the end of boarding there is nothing more to be gained by flying empty seats. As someone pointed out, there is still a chance to sell seats on the later flight. A small one, but a nearly 100% profit one.

I had two experiences last month where airlines did much better.

I was booked on the late NZ LAX-AKL flight in business class. Some family members decided to fly with me, but they booked the flight that left 45 minutes earlier. I wanted to join them, but when I asked 2 months in advance the early flight was almost sold out. The change would have cost me a $1500. I told the family to hang out at the airport until I caught up.
I checked in at LAX 1 hour before the early flight and explained my problem. NZ said they did have one empty business seat, so they gave it to me. Cost them nothing. Made me like them a lot.

Later that month I was flying LAX-RNO on WN. I was booked non-stop. There was an earlier connecting flight but I'd rather wait for the non-stop. Due to WX, the incoming aircraft for my flight was delayed 90 minutes. Now the connecting flight looked good. I was already at the airport, so I called WN reservations and explained my problem. The agent put me on hold for 5 minutes, then told me she was checking with a supervisor. Their published policy is that changes are free if the delay is greater then 2 hours, but they gave the change for free anyway. Made me like WN even more.

I've had plenty of not so nice experiences on other airlines. I avoid them. I am a very good customer for those airlines I like.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:42 pm

Quoting aklrno (Reply 20):
This is a classic case of airline stupidity probably due to the failure to give front line employees the ability to solve problems
or an incentive system gone bad.


One of the things Air Canada is continually trying to achieve is Consistency of Service. This case is a prime example.

What would happen if this agent did allow him on the flight, against the "rules". Great PR for an occasional traveler. Then the following week he asks again, only this time he is refused. He is mad! Why? Not because this agent is following the rules, but because the agent last week didn't ... only he doesn't see it that way.

Then, you get into the "well my neighbour's daughter's best friend was allowed to change flights last year ... why not me?"

The only way to avoid this, is to stick to the rules. Yes there are exceptions, and the agent does have the power to exercise those exceptions. And when it occurs, often they are asked to explain why they went outside the "rules", as everyone has an interest in keeping the product consistent.

Believe it or not, that is one of the (few) complaints I often hear about WestJet. Is that you never know if your flying experience that day will be a good one or a bad one, as their service varies from experience to experience.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
lhr380
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:19 pm

So your annoyed because you wanted AC to go against the ticket rules you agreed to when you brought your ticket and they said no.

No sympathy im afraid...
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hamad
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:13 pm

in 2007 when i was premier with united airlines i had a connecting flight in DEN. i visited family in IAD, arrived at around 5 in the eveining, and accross my arrival gate a TED flight was about to depart to phoenix, i went to the agent and i said "I have a connecting flight o phoenix in two hours, is it possible to get on this one?" he asked me if i had any checked luggage, i said only my carry on as i was in DC for three days. he looked at the computer and said "I can get you going" and he told me if i had checked any bags he wouldn't be able to do it. i just didn't feel like staying at the airport for two hours just like that..
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Skydrol
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:41 pm

Quoting aklrno (Reply 20):
NZ said they did have one empty business seat, so they gave it to me. Cost them nothing. Made me like them a lot.

Their published policy is that changes are free if the delay is greater then 2 hours, but they gave the change for free anyway. Made me like WN even more.

I've had plenty of not so nice experiences on other airlines. I avoid them. I am a very good customer for those airlines I like.

Customer PR... something bean counters (as Neil pointed out) will spend the rest of their lives never understanding.




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longhauler
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:36 am

Quoting Skydrol (Reply 24):
Customer PR... something bean counters (as Neil pointed out) will spend the rest of their lives never understanding.


Think of it another way ... what if YOU had paid extra for a fare that allows more flexibility? How would you feel if someone who had not paid that higher fare were granted the same privilege? That would be bad PR on the other side of the fence. Note that Air Canada, Westjet and even Porter have a range of Economy fares ... the main difference? The flexibility of walking up to an agent and standing by for an earlier flight for no extra charge.

The OP above thought that at departure, the seat was empty anyway, and as a result he may as well take it ... it's worthless at that point, right? Well no. By having that seat empty, the airline is maintaining the value of that seat, and maintaining the value of paying a higher fare for the privilege of sitting in it when circumstance arises. Otherwise, how can an airline justify charging more for changing a flight for no charge, if anyone can do it anyway?

It is like an empty Business Class seat at departure. Is it worthless at that point? If it was, then anyone in Economy should have the right to upgrade themselve's for free. But by not allowing that to happen, the airline is maintaining the value of that Business Class seat, and the concept that if you want the privilege, you must pay for it.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
aklrno
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:19 am

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 25):

Think of it another way ... what if YOU had paid extra for a fare that allows more flexibility? How would you feel if someone who had not paid that higher fare were granted the same privilege? That would be bad PR on the other side of the fence. Note that Air Canada, Westjet and even Porter have a range of Economy fares ... the main difference? The flexibility of walking up to an agent and standing by for an earlier flight for no extra charge.

I think you miss the point about reservations. I knew that I couldn't reserve that empty seat 2 months earlier without paying a lot of money. I chose not to. I couldn't have gotten the free change even a day before. I tried. But 1 hour before the flight they gave it to me. The extra fee is for certainty. I would have flown either way. At the last minute you may as well just be nice and give it away. I know that whenever I fly there may be someone sitting next to me who paid less. That's just the way it is.

I have been thinking about another business where they love to give the customers freebies, or something that appears free. Casinos. Most casinos have at least one very high end restaurant, one that seems to be far too pretentious and over-priced. Its not there just to attract people who will pay too much for dinner. Its there so that they can give freebies (Comps in casino terminology) to players who think they are getting much more than they actually are. A free dinner in a $100 dollar a meal restaurant seems much more generous than one in a $30 a meal place, even if the meal is identical. That they actually get a few people to really pay cash is a bonus. Airlines play much the same game. Giving me a free seat change that appears to be worth $1500 extra when in fact it costs nothing is a great scheme. They should do it whenever they can. And the next time I pay cash it is on their airline.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:49 am

Quoting aklrno (Reply 26):
Airlines play much the same game. Giving me a free seat change that appears to be worth $1500 extra when in fact it costs nothing is a great scheme. They should do it whenever they can. And the next time I pay cash it is on their airline.


Actually, they do it all the time.

Almost every flight I fly, Weight and Balance is adjusted at the last minute as several "Super Elites" are upgraded from Economy to Business. This is not on exchange for vouchers, just a matter of business just before the flight closes, as the agents look to see how many SE's we have aboard, and if they can be accommodated up front. As you say, this is a part of doing business and keeping the high end Customers happy ... just like the casino!

But also, just like the casino, it isn't really "free". That Super Elite passenger "earned" that right, as he/she flies almost as much as I do!
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Gemuser
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:26 am

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 21):
One of the things Air Canada is continually trying to achieve is Consistency of Service. This case is a prime example.

What would happen if this agent did allow him on the flight, against the "rules". Great PR for an occasional traveler. Then the following week he asks again, only this time he is refused. He is mad! Why? Not because this agent is following the rules, but because the agent last week didn't ... only he doesn't see it that way.

Then rewrite the rules! If consistancy is so important to you, then rewrite it appropriatly, so that you ALWAYS comply with a customers request, IF it costs the company little or nothing. That's apparently how QF & DJ work it.

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canadianpylon
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:35 am

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 25):
Think of it another way ... what if YOU had paid extra for a fare that allows more flexibility?

That has to be taken with a grain of salt. If there was a list of pax waiting to do it, then status, ticket fare, and everything else should be taken into consideration. Want to see it in action, try doing a standby on any flight out of YYZ on friday afternoon/evening on AC.

Something else I jsut thought of... Flight A leaves at 18:00, flight B at 19:30. Pax Y for flight B wants to get on flight A, but is denied. Flight A leaves with atleast 1 empty seat. Flight B starts to fill up, and soon is full. Some pax show up with last minute tix, and now Flight B has bump/comp someone. In this situatiion, wouldn't it have just been easier to put pax on flight A?

I say this, because my flight out of YEG that night was very full, and I have been flights that have bumped pax (and been bumped for compensation myself....) That seems like an expensive decision, for a consistency of service.

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 21):
One of the things Air Canada is continually trying to achieve is Consistency of Service. This case is a prime example.

What if the service isn't that great? It'll be consistency 'meh', I guess....
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
Whiteguy
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:06 am

Quoting canadianpylon (Reply 29):
Something else I jsut thought of... Flight A leaves at 18:00, flight B at 19:30. Pax Y for flight B wants to get on flight A, but is denied. Flight A leaves with atleast 1 empty seat. Flight B starts to fill up, and soon is full. Some pax show up with last minute tix, and now Flight B has bump/comp someone. In this situatiion, wouldn't it have just been easier to put pax on flight A?

And if that was the situation then some pax would have been allowed to go on the earlier flight. Fact is that wasn't the situation!
 
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longhauler
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:28 pm

Quoting gemuser (Reply 28):
Then rewrite the rules! If consistancy is so important to you, then rewrite it appropriatly, so that you ALWAYS comply with a customers request, IF it costs the company little or nothing. That's apparently how QF & DJ work it.


Not important to me ... important to Air Canada.

But with regard to your statement, you feel therefore an airline should give an Economy passenger a First Class seat at departure. The seat is empty, it wouldn't cost the airline anything, and the passenger really really really wants that First Class seat, so the airline should give it to them?

Is that really how QF and DJ work it?
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
PI4EVER
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:52 pm

I believe gemuser and I were trained in the same school of Customer Service - the Customer isn't always right, but should always be a winner.
I suspect AC has a culture of either having staff adhere to policy and rules to the letter, or left to the discretion of station management/staff to interpret. It appears to be a company-wide policy or culture which is fine if that is how the airline chooses to do business, or treat it customers.
I was trained in that "customer winner" environment. Sure the fare rules and policies did change over the years, but at the point an airplane is ready to go, the staff at the airport were empowered to take the interest of the customer, AND the airline to heart and make a logical and "winning" decision. No, we didn't take $99 coach tickets and upgrade them to F for a transcon to LAX, but we charged employees with adapting rules so that "in the interest of customer service" the agent or management staff had support in whatever decision they made. I worked in Consumer Affairs for over 3 years, and would have challenged a station decision to not board a passenger, with open seats on a flight at departure time that resulted in a complaint. We believed in "A butt in every seat and a smile in every window" and provided station personnel the flexibility to make customer friendly decisions before the door closed. If you generally provide your front-line employees the ability to make customer service-oriented decisions they don't use it to abuse any policy or try to "get away with something".
This same environment of customer service and empowerment has been applied to my work in the hospitality business and managing a travel agency. It is not unique to an airline operation. There however has to be that culture that your employee is empowered to "win friends and influence people" without retribution, with training and policies on how to be flexible. Can you win us business by a room upgrade? Use a coupon we already have and upgrade a customers cruise ship cabin as a surprise? Make a personal recommendation to win a sale?
I won't take sides in this debate on AC. I don't believe the agent had any intent beyond simply adhering to the rules to make sure there would never be a debate on their decision. It likely means there is little flexibility to make a logical and supported decision based on circumstances relative to the current situation. It doesn't have anything to do with what goes on in YYZ on a Friday night with an oversold flight to YUL, but the culture and philosophy you adapt to what is occurring right now.
I believe it takes as much energy to piss off a customer as it does to WOW one so consider which battle you want to fight.
Thomas
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
User avatar
longhauler
Posts: 5038
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:27 pm

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 32):
I won't take sides in this debate on AC. I don't believe the agent had any intent beyond simply adhering to the rules to make sure there would never be a debate on their decision. It likely means there is little flexibility to make a logical and supported decision based on circumstances relative to the current situation. It doesn't have anything to do with what goes on in YYZ on a Friday night with an oversold flight to YUL, but the culture and philosophy you adapt to what is occurring right now.


I do agree, and that is normally what happens, an empty seat rarely goes empty if it can be filled. But looking at your YYZ-YUL route for example, consider:

Cheapest Tango fare is $69.00. Advance purchase, no changes allowed.
Tango Plus fare is $199.00. More perks included, but still no changes allowed.
Latitude fare is $509.00. Changes allowed!

Look at the difference. Likely some passengers did pay for that privilege of changing flights. So in some cases, if you want to change flights, it is just cheaper to buy a whole new ticket, and looking at the OPs case, it appears that is what was offered.

Also, worthy of note ....

Business Class Restricted $399.00 No changes allowed.
Business Class Flexible $700.00 Changes allowed.

So you see, the privilege of changing one's flight is actually deemed to be more expensive that flying in Business Class.

As I said above, the problem is consistency. If it is allowed once, the passenger will expect it again. That is hard to manage in most cases. Also, I have been told that some businessmen will buy a "no change" ticket outbound on a trip, but "flexible" ticket for the return, as those Road Warriors see value in that privilege.

Now, high mileage frequent fliers ... all bets are off, normally they will be accommodated, free of charge when they can be. Even in J.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Gemuser
Posts: 4402
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RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:37 am

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 31):
But with regard to your statement, you feel therefore an airline should give an Economy passenger a First Class seat at departure. The seat is empty, it wouldn't cost the airline anything, and the passenger really really really wants that First Class seat, so the airline should give it to them?

Is that really how QF and DJ work it?

I never said anything about upgrading, in fact I didn't even think about it, because that does cost the company something. I was referring to a pax holding a Y ticket and an empty Y seat. Yes QF & DJ do work it that way, Y on later flight to Y on earlier flight. (And I assume C to C & F to F, but I don't travel in that area). I've just been told by a colleague that JQ will do it too, although I don't know how consistently they apply it.

Gemuser
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User avatar
canadianpylon
Topic Author
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 10:18 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:25 am

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 32):
I suspect AC has a culture of either having staff adhere to policy and rules to the letter, or left to the discretion of station management/staff to interpret. It appears to be a company-wide policy or culture which is fine if that is how the airline chooses to do business, or treat it customers.

I agree...

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 32):
I was trained in that "customer winner" environment.

Many organizations, including government organizations, are being taught this mentality.

I do appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks.
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
OP3000
Posts: 343
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:22 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 19):
If being able to change flight the same day without a fee is important, buy a Latitude fare. If it isn't important, buy a cheaper Tango or Tango Plus fare and either pay the fee or stick to your original plan...
Quoting aklrno (Reply 20):
Their published policy is that changes are free if the delay is greater then 2 hours, but they gave the change for free anyway. Made me like WN even more.
Quoting LongHauler (Reply 25):
Think of it another way ... what if YOU had paid extra for a fare that allows more flexibility? How would you feel if someone who had not paid that higher fare were granted the same privilege? That would be bad PR on the other side of the fence.

Most people who buy a flexible fare are more concerned with having to change the travel date or the entire itinerary. They are not going to be as petty-minded as AC wants to be about some guy at the gate trying to board the next earlier flight off of a connection.

It seems like a lot of folks associated to AC are a bit too concerned with distinguishing their name-coded fares (ie. "tango") than about maintaining customer loyalty (even when it does not cost anything).
 
AR385
Posts: 6756
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:44 am

Quoting ac033 (Reply 1):
am sorry but you read the rules before you decide to fly with AC they clearly states if you want to change your flight you paid 150...
Quoting whiteguy (Reply 8):
No it was a good decision to stick to their fare rules & policies. How many times a day do you think people try to do this knowing that the fare they booked doesn't allow it.

His father was taking that flight. There were seats available in both flights. Any experienced gate agent I know would have given him the seat for free. Plus, if the father is a frequent flyer with certain stature (conjecture yes, but let´s assume) he will remember that little detail., that the nice AC agent let his son share the flight for free. AND those are the DETAILS that make the difference from a world class airline to your averga one.

Of course, the situation is dynamic. If there had been 20 other people trying to do the same, then of course adherence to the rule is the road to follow, but as I understood the situation from the OP this was not the case.

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 11):
Same day standby policy is critical for a lot of business travelers too. Like the OP said it does not cost the airline anything but makes the passenger be able to work around his/her schedule based on last-minute circumstances. Which is what happened in this case - it's not like he booked this reservation trying to game the system.

Exactly. And that wins many points with the important travellers. The ability to get home on a Friday after working the whole week 2 hrs. before you expected to? Priceless.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 20):
This is a classic case of airline stupidity probably due to the failure to give front line employees the ability to solve problems
or an incentive system gone bad.

Knowing AC, I think it´s the case of a disgruntled AC employee who was out to screw someone. I don´t think it´s systemwide

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 21):
The only way to avoid this, is to stick to the rules. Yes there are exceptions, and the agent does have the power to exercise those exceptions. And when it occurs, often they are asked to explain why they went outside the "rules", as everyone has an interest in keeping the product consistent.

In World Class organizations like AC IF this is done, the employee will be commended for having the logic and the balls to go outside the rules to satisgy a customer. And no, I am not talking about upgrading a backpacker in Y to F.

Every single time I have tried something similar as the OP´s I´ve gotten it.

1. I was flying ORD-IAH-MTY on CO with a connection on IAH. The plane inbound was late so I obviously was going to miss my connection in IAH and the flight to MTY. That was the last flight out. So I approached the gate agent and told him. he clicked away on the computer, made one call and he then sent me on my way on AA. This was in 2002

2. I flew LAB VVI-MIA connecting on MIA to IAH with CO. When the agent saw the ticket in order to give me the oardng pass, she said, oh, I see you flew C with LAB, let me see if I can give you F to IAH. She did, and I was not even Bronze elite. This was in 2001

3. This december, I needed to spend $500 USD for an upgrade from C to F on LH 498 FRA-MEX. I went to the agent and asked if there was a way coud get the upgrade withouth spending the money. She smiled and said, well you are in luck, C is overbooked and we have two seats left in F, and she upgraded me to F for free. Guess which ailine will I reccommend and fly ´till the day I die to Europe?

The truth is consistency is overrated and agents like the OP described only damage the reputation of an airline and make it look cold and unfriendly.

Plus, it also never hurts to ask.
 
lhr380
Posts: 2453
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:39 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:51 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 37):
There were seats available in both flights. Any experienced gate agent I know would have given him the seat for free.

You sure about that! If they came to ask me, I would have looked at the fare, advsd any change fee aplicable on the fare and of course the difference in fare if the same booking class was available. Im not being cruel, im not being mean, im following the terms and conditions of the ticket. Certain situations dictate changes free of charge,Good will reasons, flights busy, weather etc. But on a normal day and someone wanting to move just for the sake of getting home early and no other reason, then fare rules it is!!

Quoting AR385 (Reply 37):
that the nice AC agent let his son share the flight for free.

And next time the customer will go up and ask, be told no as per the fare rules and come out with the line "They did it for me last time" Its a thing called consistency that people need to look at! I had a guy yesterday ask to change, and he started out with the "They let me do it on xyz airline" Knowing of course they don't, I just ignored the comment and repeated what he needed to do if he wanted the earlier flight. I was not being rude, I was being consistent. I was doing my job, a job I love. He did not like being told no so walked off.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 632
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:42 pm

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 38):
Certain situations dictate changes free of charge,Good will reasons,

Bingo! You not only contradict yourself but are inconsistent in handling the situation. Clearly a goodwill gesture to let this passenger accompany his father, on an earlier flight, with ten (10) empty seats. If time permits try to assign seats near or together to issue a new boarding pass, otherwise advise "sit in any empty seat, hopefully near your father." As you are thanked profusely by satisfied passenger, smile and respond "I appreciate your business. Thank You both for flying with us."
I rest my case.
A good read even in these days of advanced technology and enforcement of rules and regulations because we quote them and you accept them is the philosophy of service outlined in Jan Carlzon's book "Moments of Truth" and his creation of the "Putting People First" training programs.
Thomas
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
AR385
Posts: 6756
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:07 pm

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 38):
Im not being cruel, im not being mean, im following the terms and conditions of the ticket.

No, you are not mean, neither cruel. Just a gate agent showing no criteria and no concept of flexibility. The typical airline employee that exists in every airline which makes the public tell bad stories.

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 38):
I had a guy yesterday ask to change, and he started out with the "They let me do it on xyz airline"

Were the circumstances the same? There´s not much to go with what you are telling.
 
Whiteguy
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 6:11 am

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:34 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 37):
Knowing AC, I think it´s the case of a disgruntled AC employee who was out to screw someone. I don´t think it´s systemwide

No, this is a case of an employee knowing that management keeps track of this sort of stuff and would be hauled into office for not following the rules!

Quoting AR385 (Reply 37):
Every single time I have tried something similar as the OP´s I´ve gotten it.

Of the three examples you gave not one of them is similar to this situation! One was a misconnection, one was an over sell situation and the other was because your previous flight was a higher booking.


I asked earlier whether the OP had baggage or not? If you had bags they have to travel with you. You cannot travel on an earlier flight and your bags on a later flight!
 
AR385
Posts: 6756
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:43 pm

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 41):
No, this is a case of an employee knowing that management keeps track of this sort of stuff and would be hauled into office for not following the rules!

And airlines that do that, that are hard and unflexible and pointlessly make you spend money like the OP´s case are the ones that don´t last over time. Airlines that take criteria and common sense away from their employees and "haul" them into the office for taking a customer friendly decision are the ones with the surly, robotic ones you want to stay away from. In the long run, it hurts them.

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 41):
Of the three examples you gave not one of them is similar to this situation! One was a misconnection, one was an over sell situation and the other was because your previous flight was a higher booking.

So you are saying that in those situations agents are authorized to make changes? but not in the OP´s example. I got you. How strange.

In example 3 that same morning as soon as I arrived in FRA from EZE, CO told me I needed to fork over $500 USD for the F seat, because the original booking had been with C. They never mentioned talking to an LH agent until on my own volition I went to LH. AND, the LH agent mentioned the USD $500 too, and remarked, smiling, that she was giving it to me for free. I´m sure there were dozens of C passengers wiling to pay up. MAybe I was the only one who asked, or was there at the right time. After all, it was 20 mins. before departure and they "liberated" seats? I don´t know that much about ops, but what´s "coming from a higher booking" got to do with it? Or is this the one you referr to as an "oversell" And I doubt she was fired or reprimanded.

Example 2 was "just because you just got off from C I´ll give you the courtesy of continuing on domestic F" Again was this the "overbooking" or coming from a "higher fare", in both cases from an airline they didn´t have even a baggage interline agreement at the time. Again, I doubt that she was fired or reprimanded.

I´ll buy that example 1 was a misconnection and per the rules.

But those are just three examples I´ve mentioned. I can give you dozens where agents have been flexible and applied "good will" when I´ve needed it. On AM it didn´t matter 8at least 4 years ago) which fare or reservation you had. On a Friday, you got on the flight that was leaving when you got to the airport, wether it was 2pm and your booking at 9pm.
 
Lucky727
Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2003 10:27 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:15 pm

Two years ago, I was on an Aeroplan reward ticket flying LAX-YVR-YYZ, and at check-in at LAX, the agent offered to put me on the direct YYZ flight, without me even asking. I remember it took a lot (5 to 10 mins?) of typing into her computer - perhaps there were several 'overrides' she had to go through.

I was very grateful, as Aeroplan wouldn't allow me to book on the direct flight, (or the limited number of award seats on it had been sold already). I was very surprised to find the flight was completely full, so there must have been one single empty seat, which I got. It cut my travel time from 9 to 4 hours, which I was also very grateful for.

The moral of the story? The rules may not allow such changes, but occasionally someone can bend them, and when that happens, it's nice...but don't expect it, just be grateful when it does...

I'm curious to see what'll happen when I'm on FLL-YUL-YYZ in a couple of weeks...

L727
··· [·] oooooooo [·] oooo oo ooooo [·] ooooooooooooooooooo [·]
 
User avatar
canadianpylon
Topic Author
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 10:18 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:24 pm

Quoting Lucky727 (Reply 43):
Two years ago, I was on an Aeroplan reward ticket flying LAX-YVR-YYZ, and at check-in at LAX, the agent offered to put me on the direct YYZ flight, without me even asking

I think the most important part of this anecdote is the 'Two years ago', because I had a similar experience about 3 years ago. I was flying from YDF(Deer Lake, Newfoundland) to YWG via YHZ and YYZ. The flight from YHZ-YYZ, arrived about 15 minutes early, to the point where my whole family (4 of us) could have made an earlier connecting flight from YYZ-YWG. The gate agent booked all 4 of us on the earlier flight, and our conenction time in YYZ went from almost 2+ hours to 15 minutes. Again, though, that was 3+ years ago.
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
Whiteguy
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 6:11 am

RE: Annoyed With AC

Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:05 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 42):
So you are saying that in those situations agents are authorized to make changes? but not in the OP´s example. I got you. How strange.

Yes they are, they are legitimate reasons to move a pax to a different flight I.e. Misconnects, weather delays....

Walking up and asking to get on an earlier flight because your Dad is on it, is not.....

We can go round and round about this all day but the original situation remains the same, the earlier flight was full so Canadianpylon couldn't travel on it anyway. For what ever reason, the flight had open seats at departure time. They are not going to move someone over to it if your already booked to travel on the next flight and take a delay. By taking a delay you run the chance of more misconnects and pissed of pax because the flight was delayed for one person. On top of that, as I've said before, you cannot travel without your bag. To look for it, get it to the flight and load it takes time and would delay the flight even more.
 
OP3000
Posts: 343
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:15 pm

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 45):
By taking a delay you run the chance of more misconnects and pissed of pax because the flight was delayed for one person. On top of that, as I've said before, you cannot travel without your bag.

Who said it would have involved a delay? And was he traveling with a bag - AFAIK he never said he was.

It is interesting to see the perspective that gate agents develop over time, but unfortunately it shows how organizations lose touch with their real objective - no, not getting smiles from customers - but being more profitable. And one of the most critical parts of that is retaining clientele, who tend to run away from excessive and ridiculous punitive measures.
 
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canadianpylon
Topic Author
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu May 01, 2003 10:18 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:58 pm

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 46):
Who said it would have involved a delay? And was he traveling with a bag - AFAIK he never said he was.

I had my carry on, so I could have just walked on to the plane.

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 45):
To look for it, get it to the flight and load it takes time and would delay the flight even more.

Hence why I don't check baggage, and in this case, didn't. I apologize for not making that clear in the thread start...
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.
 
lhr380
Posts: 2453
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:39 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:15 pm

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 39):
Clearly a goodwill gesture to let this passenger accompany his father, on an earlier flight

Why did they book different flights? Don't blame the agent, she/he followed the rules and the customer did not like the answer they got so complained! They had the chance to book on the same flight but did not.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 40):
Just a gate agent showing no criteria and no concept of flexibility.

Thanks. I do enjoy my job. I follow the rules of the ticket. Please tell me why i should change free because someone finished work earlier or wants to travel with a friend of family member that booked themselves on an earlier flight. You tell me why I should not charge as per the rules of the ticket THEY purchased with rules THEY agreed to "Just because" its "nice" to do. That makes a mockery of the system!!

Quoting AR385 (Reply 40):
Were the circumstances the same? There´s not much to go with what you are telling.

God knows, he walked off. People make this comment with the hope that they might get a change done free. Wont work.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 39):
You not only contradict yourself but are inconsistent in handling the situation. Clearly a goodwill gesture to let this passenger accompany his father, on an earlier flight,

I class goodwill as someone desperate to get home because of an emergency, bad weather, major delay on a flight, busy flights later but empty earlier. Not someone wanting to get home earlier just "because". Each situation is different.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
Gemuser
Posts: 4402
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:07 pm

RE: Annoyed With AC

Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:59 am

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 48):
I follow the rules of the ticket. Please tell me why i should change free because someone finished work earlier or wants to travel with a friend of family member that booked themselves on an earlier flight. You tell me why I should not charge as per the rules of the ticket THEY purchased with rules THEY agreed to "Just because" its "nice" to do. That makes a mockery of the system!!

Because you would gain your company GOODWILL with a paying customer at NO cost to your company. Why is this so hard to understand? If it was going to cost the airline money, then that is a different matter, but a no cost, last minute change, what is the problem? (Apart from the "RULES"!)

Gemuser
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