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United737522
06-16-2008, 03:15 AM
As a pilot, I am tired of the media and 'travel experts' blasting the airlines for doing what it takes to stay afloat. These articles do nothing but worry/enrage/anger Joe Traveler, make him less likely to fly and hurt the bottom line. People are going to lose their jobs because airlines are bleeding money. I could very well be included in those job losses. So I hope you can see why I take this personally. Especially when the articles are flame bait.

Your article is inaccurate and exaggerates the facts. This is not the first time you have done this either.

Let's start from the most recent article posted today. I quote,American even admitted as much in a recent announcement, saying customer service was its lowest priority that would be taken care of later. (http://www.tripso.com/today/american-scrambles-to-collect-baggage-fees-plans-customer-service-later/)

Following the link brings us to a previous article, by you. I quote from the bottom of that article, the portion you were referring to, Finally, Dupont, quoted in an MSNBC.com article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24989894/) puts everything into perspective and clearly illuminates how American Airlines feels about the importance of customer service and their passengers’ needs,
“If this is the wave of the future, you’re going to have to ensure that the compartments meet the needs of our customers,” He said. “That will probably be on our to-do list.”


Ok. So tracing back further to the original article, we see how out-of-context you took that quote.

From the NBC article,

DuPont said American might ask airplane manufacturers to put bigger bins in future planes.

"If this is the wave of the future, you're going to have to ensure that the compartments meet the needs of our customers," He said. "That will probably be on our to-do list."


Hmmmm... don't see a thing about customer service in there. It appears he is talking about bigger overhead bins 'being on the to-do list.' So please, tell me, where did American even admit as much in a recent announcement, saying customer service was its lowest priority that would be taken care of later.[/URL]

Seems to me they said NOT A THING about customer service being its lowest priority and it would be taken care of later. That is a flat out lie on your part. Talk about taking something completely out of context to make your biased article.... :mad:

Moving on... From the recent article: These actions will have immediate repercussions for summer travelers. They include:
• Slowing down check-in at kiosks.
• Slowing down check-in at curbside.
• Slowing down check-in at counters.
• Slowing down boarding at the gates.
• Slowing down TSA security inspections.
• Creating battles between passengers for overhead space.
• Creating ill will between passengers and flight attendants.


Ok, 1... 2... 3... ok we get it. It will slow down check in.

4. Keep in mind I commute at least 2 flights a week. I have had plenty of observation. I see maybe 20 people a flight who don't have roll-a-boards. Carry-on limits are the same. These 20 or so people will always exist because they are the light travelers who don't check and carry a backpack or something. Boarding is not going to change.

5. 90% of people have maxed out their carry-on limits before all of this. Again, not going to change much.

6 and 7... see 4 and 5.

The Transportation Department needs to take a stand now. It needs to put a series of emergency regulations into place to force airlines to reveal the full cost of a flight in their online listings and all advertisements.

Hmmm... gee, let us apply that logic to everything. I go on a cruise. Once I am the ship, I end up buying alcohol, some extra food, casinos, etc. I hate all that nickel and diming. I guess the cruise company should have advertised that in their ad. Right? Or maybe they should raise their fares and make that stuff free? But wait... why should I have to pay for that stuff if I am not going to use it? Get my point?

Now, with luggage charged separately, we will probably need a separate contract to deal with luggage after the first series of lawsuits over lost luggage. FAA rules apply to the contract of carriage. The Interstate Commerce Commission deals with air freight, I believe. This is far more than only a new fee. The legal ramifications will be developing as we move forward, or backwards depending on your point of view.

I could not have said it better than the comment at the bottom of that article:

you might learn that the Interstate Commerce Commission was dissolved in 1995, and never had jurisdiction over air freight. Further, the fact that an airline charges for something doesn’t take it out of the contract of carriage - ever hear of fees for overweight bags, which have always been around, or for unusual items, like surfboards?

Moving on...

Meanwhile, United Airlines, with a straight face, announced that it is[URL="http://consumerist.com/tag/united-airlines/?i=5015849&t=united-airlines-to-charge-15-for--first-checked-bag"] simply giving customers what they desire most (http://www.tripso.com/today/american-scrambles-to-collect-baggage-fees-plans-customer-service-later/). I realize that many of us are appalled at this $15 first-checked-luggage charge. However, United must have strong (and secret) customer service surveys that tell them this is what their customers are demanding.

Oh, once again, it seems we are taking quotes and making things up. Let's go back to the original article...

"With record-breaking fuel prices, we must pursue new revenue opportunities, while continuing to offer competitive fares, by tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for," John Tague, UAL's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

If you actually thoughtfully read it, you would see what he was saying. They are pursuing new revenue opportunities. They are starting with what people are most willing to pay for, bags. Passengers' values are a factor on what to charge on.

That is no where near your interpretation that he said that their customers are demanding baggage fees. That's just you trying to flame bait the public.

I could go on.

I know you are angry, or just like throwing fuel on the fire. That is no reason to write such biased material that contains false info on such a reputable site.

weblet
06-16-2008, 06:38 AM
Welcome, UA737. I'm sure there will be interesting conversation going on here...

jfrenaye
06-16-2008, 06:45 AM
I will take those odds Weblet!

Loonbeam
06-16-2008, 09:00 AM
Actually, I agree with many of his (or her?) points in general. The airlines have a lot to answer for, but I can't deny that it's been the consumers demand for lower and lower prices that is the key driver here..

One point I do disagree with ( Hmmm... gee, let us apply that logic to everything. I go on a cruise. Once I am the ship, I end up buying alcohol, some extra food, casinos, etc. I hate all that nickel and diming. I guess the cruise company should have advertised that in their ad. Right? Or maybe they should raise their fares and make that stuff free? But wait... why should I have to pay for that stuff if I am not going to use it? Get my point? )

There are two key differences here. One, on a cruise, for all of those, I have other options that ARE included in the price. If I don't want the extra food? - Buffet. Don't wanna gamble? - See a show. Alcohol - Soda? So in the case of a cruise, everything else is optional. In addition, every single one of those potential costs was CLEARLY laid out on the cruise lines website in the appropriate section when I went to book.

I am off to Disney in October. Based on our plans, I need to carry 9 days worth of stuff, some gifts, a suit for dinner, etc. It would be a violation of the laws of physics for me to get that in an acceptable size carryon (we won't deal with the whole size monitoring issue for now). In this case, I will be checking a bag. I went on the USAir website right now and looked up the price of the flight. No where in the booking process is there any prominent note of a first bag fee. Same if I compare via Orbitz, etc.
So, let us assume that USAir is $5 less than NW for those dates, and I book the flight. If I don't follow the news, UNTIL I get to the airport, I have no idea my overall cost is $10 more, AND I do not have another option from my checked luggage at that time.

That's where I have an issue, its a matter of disclosure and, well, sneakiness. For me, $15 is no big deal, but if my in-laws were to travel with all 5 kids, that's $75 each way.

As I have posted otherwheres in the forum, my bigger issue with this is its a knee-jerk reaction with no planning. By all confirmed accounts, the software at most of these airlines is not even close to be ready to handle charges like this, desk and gate agents are receiving conflicting instructions, the concept of gate checks being free will cause a nightmare at security as people try to avoid the fee (and this is already being posted as a recommended technique on many destination travel forums) and the inequity of application (full fare? Frequent flyer? etc) are recipes for disaster without a well vetted implementation plan. There's no evidence of that, in fact to the contrary as USAir announced these changes with a, what, 5 day range between announce and engage?.

THAT, the lack of systematic planning and seeming concern for anything but revenue however, proves Charles overall point. The airlines do not give a damn right now about the customer, only the dollar. And that, in the long run, will do a lot more to harm the industry than any article.

jfrenaye
06-17-2008, 08:34 AM
United---what suggestions (as an insider) can you offer. I tend to agree with you more than disagree and it does suck for all employees.

But seriously, what do you feel needs to be done.

the dark knight
06-17-2008, 10:29 AM
United,
While I can feel some compassion for the plight of employees like yourself, due to the stupidity and poor decisionmaking of your employers and I can understand your frustration, your anger is (mostly) misplaced here if you are directing such at travel agents and the media.
The airlines have no one but themselves to blame for the poor planning, overconfidence, arrogance, and underestimating of their competition (low cost carriers) in the last 10-20 years.
The airlines have blamed travel agents, the government, the economy, the media and even the traveling public for their troubles. Everyone except themselves. The media will say what they are going to say based on the information they have. From where did the media get (most of) their information? The airline, of course. The airlines made their own beds a long time ago. Now they must lie in it, no matter how uncomfortable it gets.

vacationagent
06-25-2008, 03:35 PM
United737, Welcome and congratulations for getting all that off your chest. I must say though that, unlike Jfrenaye, I do not agree with most of what you've posted here.

Airline management has been over-bloated and self-congratulatory for years. When an airline CEO can make a $7M BONUS while his company is in bankruptcy, the system is seriously broken. The travel media and travel experts have nothing to do with that. When an airline CEO can make a $7M bonus while forcing rank and file into wage cuts and lay offs, something is wrong. If the airline management would be investing in cost averaging their jet fuel contracts instead of paying upper level management outrageous salaries/bonuses/benefits, maybe their stock wouldn't be in the toilet.

Re airline customer service - It doesn't exist over and above safety - not an insignificant thing, mind you. But comfort or a pleasant experience doesn't exist unless the passenger is in first class. The airlines have configured and reconfigured airplanes until a normal sized adult is uncomfortable in the coach cabin - a small woman or a large child, no problem. But any larger and you're feeling the pinch.

And then there's the phenomenon of "regional jets". They are more economical to operate, that is true. But comfort? No. And now every legacy carrier (UA included) is using them in more and more markets on longer and longer routes. They are approximately as comfortable as a bleacher seat and twice as noisy.

Ned
06-25-2008, 06:57 PM
VA, I've got to disagree with you about the comfort and use of regional jets by the airlines.

US Air is using ERJs for most of their flights to both Houston and Dallas from PHL. Those are 3.5hr to 4hr flights.:mad:

Flying to Houston on one of those flights is like sitting for four hours on a bed of nails next to the Space Shuttle launch pad at takeoff. Sorry to contradict you, but it's much less comfortable than sitting in a bleacher seat, and much noisier.

I've been flying Continental over the last couple of years, out of EWR to Texas, which flies full sized planes there, to get away from US Air's ERJs, but they have been raising their prices much, much, much more quickly than US Air. So, I've been thinking of purchasing those ear protectors NASA engineers wear when they're outside during a shuttle takeoff, and taking one of those seats they sell at Magellan's, to make an economy seat comfortable, except that those ERJ seats are so small it might not fit, but ...;)

...And then there's the phenomenon of "regional jets". They are more economical to operate, that is true. But comfort? No. And now every legacy carrier (UA included) is using them in more and more markets on longer and longer routes. They are approximately as comfortable as a bleacher seat and twice as noisy.

vacationagent
06-26-2008, 10:08 AM
Flying to Houston on one of those flights is like sitting for four hours on a bed of nails next to the Space Shuttle launch pad at takeoff. Sorry to contradict you, but it's much less comfortable than sitting in a bleacher seat, and much noisier.



The only positive thing I said about regional jets is that they are more economical to operate. I agree that they are extremely uncomfortable and noisy. You haven't contradicted me at all. I think they are horrible and have resulted in even more discomfort for the passenger than before.

Ned
06-26-2008, 11:14 AM
I guess my humor wasn't clear enough. My intent was to only emphasis and agree with you. I was saying, if anything, it's even worse.



The only positive thing I said about regional jets is that they are more economical to operate. I agree that they are extremely uncomfortable and noisy. You haven't contradicted me at all. I think they are horrible and have resulted in even more discomfort for the passenger than before.

JBM
06-26-2008, 02:43 PM
RJs are not necessarily more economical to operate. In some respects (cost per passenger), they are more expensive to operate than narrow-body jets, but on many routes they just can't justify use of an A318 or 737 because of the actual cost of the aircraft, fuel, etc.

Older RJs are definitely uncomfortable, even for short flights, so I feel Ned's pain. On the other hand, Bombardier's newer CRJs (700 and 900) and most definitely Embraer's E-170 and E-190s come pretty close to a narrow-body for comfort. In fact, if you fly United Express with the E-170 and get a seat in the Economy Plus section (especially the soft-bulkhead row), you'll be amazed at how comfortable it really can be.

Ned
06-26-2008, 03:40 PM
Here's a little table to help us compare planes.

--------------------------------------------------------
Plane___|Seat Pitch|Seat Width|Cabin Height|Noise Level|
--------------------------------------------------------
ERJ 145_|___ 31"___|___17.3"__|_____6'_____|____TL*____|
--------------------------------------------------------
ERJ 170_|___ 31"___|__ 18.25"_|_____6'7"___|____TL*____|
--------------------------------------------------------
ERJ 190_|___ 31"**_|__18.25"**|_____6'7"___|____OK_____|
--------------------------------------------------------
A319____|___ 31"**_|__18"**___|_____7'3"___|____OK_____|
--------------------------------------------------------

* TL = Too Loud!
** Economy Seating

JBM I agree that once you move up to the ERJ 170/190 or the CRJ 700/900 the seats themselves are fine, but you do feel more cramped due to the shorter height of the cabin compared to the A319, and the available distance between the top of the seat and the bottom of the overhead bin. In fact, the seats on the A319 are a little narrower than the ERJ/CRJ models we're discussing.

With regard to noise, I agree that the ERJ 190 and the CRJ 900 are as quiet as the A319. On the other hand, I still find the ERJ 170 and the CRJ 700 far too noisy.

RJs are not necessarily more economical to operate. In some respects (cost per passenger), they are more expensive to operate than narrow-body jets, but on many routes they just can't justify use of an A318 or 737 because of the actual cost of the aircraft, fuel, etc.

Older RJs are definitely uncomfortable, even for short flights, so I feel Ned's pain. On the other hand, Bombardier's newer CRJs (700 and 900) and most definitely Embraer's E-170 and E-190s come pretty close to a narrow-body for comfort. In fact, if you fly United Express with the E-170 and get a seat in the Economy Plus section (especially the soft-bulkhead row), you'll be amazed at how comfortable it really can be.

vacationagent
06-26-2008, 05:03 PM
I guess my humor wasn't clear enough. My intent was to only emphasis and agree with you. I was saying, if anything, it's even worse.
Gotcha...now I understand. :) And you're right - it's worse!

vacationagent
06-26-2008, 05:08 PM
RJs are not necessarily more economical to operate. In some respects (cost per passenger), they are more expensive to operate than narrow-body jets, but on many routes they just can't justify use of an A318 or 737 because of the actual cost of the aircraft, fuel, etc.


A full RJ vs a 1/2 full 737...fewer pax, fewer flight attendants, less senior crew members...this means "more economical to operate" even if the aircraft is not as fuel efficient.