Dear US Airways Customers,

singh4us

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Tuesday, Mar 6, 2007

Posted on Tue, Mar. 06, 2007
AIRLINE APOLOGIZES

It's all about the fares, fliers say

ANDREW SHAIN AND AMY BALDWIN

Despite alienating some fliers with another service meltdown, US Airways can expect passengers to stick with it, travel experts said Monday.

In an era of fierce fare competition and discount travel Web sites, most fliers are willing to put aside their anger if it leaves more money in their wallets.

Julius Bryant of Charlotte said he always goes with the cheapest fares, despite travel mishaps -- such as lost baggage twice when flying on US Airways to Montreal on business and a 41/2-hour wait Sunday when the airline's check-in kiosks failed at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

"It would take a lot for me to go with an airline with a higher fare," Bryant said.

That's good news for airlines struggling with their bottom lines but not-so-good news for passengers who want better customer service, experts said.

US Airways should have told passengers to arrive early at airports over the weekend in case problems developed in the reservation system switch, said Joe Brancatelli, editor of the online travel Web site JoeSentMe.com: "This was a no-brainer. They had a year and half to plan this."

Travel experts said they were surprised US Airways did not issue a widespread apology to fliers until Monday night. "A little bit of groveling does a bit of good," said Kenneth Button, a George Mason University professor who follows the airline industry.

US Airways offered refunds and waived ticket-change fees for flights Sunday and Monday. The airline extended the fee waivers through Wednesday.

US Airways sent a message that included an apology Monday to passengers who complained to the airline about missing flights and long delays when check-in kiosks at some airports went down. The kiosks failed when US Airways switched reservations computers to the system used by merger partner America West early Sunday. Not all were not running as of Monday night.

A statement from US Airways Chairman Doug Parker and President Scott Kirby posted on the company Web site Monday evening starts off praising the switchover but acknowledges it "has not been without its share of challenges."

"Worse still, some customers had their travel plans disrupted as a result, and this is not the kind of service we want to provide," the statement said. "Even though the disruption impacted a relatively small number of people, the fact is, if one person has a bad experience on our airline as a result of our conversion to one system, it is one too many. Although the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry, our team is working very hard to get the kiosks back up and functioning."

Charlotte's dominant airline is a little more than two years removed from mishandled bags for thousands of Christmastime passengers and less than a year removed with glitches on its Web site.

Other airlines have faced recent public-relation nightmares: American Airlines stranded passengers for hours aboard planes during a bout of bad weather over Christmas, and JetBlue did the same thing in the wake of a Valentine's Day snowstorm.

JetBlue set a new standard for apologies in issuing a new passenger bill of rights that promises vouchers for some late or canceled flights. "People will remember and respect that JetBlue stood up and said, `We screwed up and inconvenienced you, and we're sorry,' " said Diane Clarkson, who tracks the airline industry for Jupiter Research.

On the other hand, Clarkson said, passengers might not forgive US Airways if the airline does not make good: "That's the risk they are taking."

Another travel expert, Terry Trippler, said US Airways fliers should not expect a costly JetBlue-style apology from US Airways. Passengers are used to greater inconveniences when flying in exchange for lower fares, Trippler said. "We have all these kiosks so the airlines have fewer people," he said. "What was a luxury way to travel is now mass transit."

Fliers also will not give up on US Airways because fliers are committed to airlines' frequent-flier programs, Trippler said.

"They could slap you in the face when you board the plane and say, `Here's your 1,500 miles,' " he said, "and we'll say, `Do it again,' if we could get more miles."

http://www.charlotte.com/122/story/41352.html
 

OldGuyinPA

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Aug 20, 2002
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Spin Meister Doug....

He is way over his head. Thank god we didn't do Delta. Can you imagine who screwed up the US transporation system would be.

Keep spinning the fiasco Doug...It seem's to be in you nature.
 

LD3

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First off, every company has the IT department it deserves. If the executives in a company do not demand excellence from the IT department (or any other department for that matter), they won't get it.

This part of jim's post is all that needs to be said.

The exec's came out in the media and said on behalf of the 37000 people working for U, we are sorry...BULL....the IT department and whom ever they report to needs to be replaced..the front line people are taking a beating, they have no reason to be sorry..
 

HPearlyretiree

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Nov 6, 2002
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Nurembug?

Geez, what a load of chutzpah.

Hyperbole alert.

(if you don't like US, don't fly them, but I think you like whining and obsessing more)
 

btson

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Jan 26, 2007
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As someone who spent over 20 years in the IT field, starting as a programmer and ending as an independent consultant in Systems Planning and Strategic Planning, I have to jump in here.

First off, every company has the IT department it deserves. If the executives in a company do not demand excellence from the IT department (or any other department for that matter), they won't get it.

Obviously, this IT department does not have a rigorous Application Development and Testing protocol. This is usually the result of the executives of the company being unwilling to pay for the time and money that this type of development requires. The IT area is one in which you can take to the bank the old saying, "you get what you pay for."

You DO get what you pay for, unfortunately, much of that ISN'T in the hands of the executives. Isn't there anyone here who understands business management or even unionized business?

True, the buck stops with the executives, but if you think it's just a matter of an executive saying "Spend more money here, and less there" you are sadly mistaken.

As an IT professional, I can honestly blame this mess on IT. If it was too much for them to handle, the IT management needs to be held accountable. Everyone loves to point their finger at the upper management, when quite often, they have little to do with middle management operations.

Bob, I only come off hard on you because you seem to find great pleasure in bashing US Airways, yet have a website full of pictures of you and US Air employees. This is where I’m confused. If you really have been treated that badly by US Air so many times, why continue to go back? Anyone with any small amount of common sense would simply do business elsewhere, unless it wasn’t possible. If it’s your DM’s, you should honestly let them go, It’s not like you’re going to get to use them when and where you want to anyway.

I’ve had the same problems you say you have with US Air, with Delta. Guess what? My butt will not be sitting in any Delta Airplane for quite a long time.

Try being bumped from your flight because they closed the flight and stated you were late in checking in because the counter agent was too busy buying seats from another passenger. Then be told that it was Lufthansa’s fault and go deal with them. Try being up for 26 hours and having to stand in line for another two while Lufthansa’s agent fixed a problem that wasn’t hers to fix.

The whole problem with the technical crisis at US Air lies firmly in the lap of IT. After all, they must have been the one’s who claimed they would have NO problems. Do you honestly think Parker could fix the problem? No, because he isn’t the IT manager.


As far as bringing up Parkers DUI, I’m here to tell you and everyone else that it’s NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. That’s the problem with this country. It was on the news, therefore it’s my business. The media is this country has gotten completely out of hand. If they run out of real news, they find it or find something to convince us that it is news. Bah! Parker just happened to be filler on the 10 o’clock news and it spread to every news outlet in the US. If it made it on the news in any other country, I’d be surprised. Whoopee.

In Arizona, it doesn’t matter if you pass or fail the roadside tests. The officer can simply decide to administer the breathalyzer or to take blood and arrest based purely on that. Since Parker got a small fine and one day in Jail, I would say he was simply made an example of. Plan an simple. I’ve worked in law enforcement in Arizona, and know how it works and usually if there is an arrest of someone important, they WILL be made an example of. 9 times out of 10.

If my experience is worth anything, I can just about bet you that the people in the IT department who wrote the code are also the ones given the responsibility of final testing of the code--a fatal mistake. I never met a programmer--me included--who could see the errors in code he/she wrote.

Testing and final approval HAS to be done by those who will use that code and who will have to intervene if the code fails--the agents and the supervisors on the front line. I bet if the ticket counter agents had been testing that kiosk code, the bugs would have been found.

But, see. Taking agents away from their duties to do software testing costs money--not something that the new LCC executives appear willing to do.
 

jimcfs

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Aug 8, 2004
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First off, every company has the IT department it deserves. If the executives in a company do not demand excellence from the IT department (or any other department for that matter), they won't get it.

This part of jim's post is all that needs to be said.

The exec's came out in the media and said on behalf of the 37000 people working for U, we are sorry...BULL....the IT department and whom ever they report to needs to be replaced..the front line people are taking a beating, they have no reason to be sorry..

Let me add another comment to this, as one who teaches Computer Science...

No IT department ever directly makes money for a company. It is almost always an expense to the operation. So, when a company needs to cut expenses, where is often the first place it looks? IT. However, without solid IT, a company goes to pot. Sound familiar?

Tempe has given me two solid examples to use in my university courses that I teach.

I know we'll never find this out, but I'd love to know how much future business the web site rollout and the res migration has cost US in the long run.
 

Twicebaked

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May 22, 2003
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PHL and CLT are isolated stations? No offense to BGM and EWN but those would be isolated stations.

Sporadic outages would be limited not most of the time.

Thanks for applauding the front line employees they deserve it.

What happened to the 'resounding success' of the integration?

That is NOT what isolated means in that sentence.

He means isolated as in an "isolated probleem"...not being system wide.
 

BoeingBoy

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Nov 9, 2003
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He means isolated as in an "isolated probleem"...not being system wide.
I wonder how many East stations had working kiosks Sunday morning - not counting HP kiosks at stations that both East and West serve, of course.

That'd tell you how "isolated" the problem was. Unless you consider the entire East system as isolated, that is....

Jim
 

Dog Wonder

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Jan 1, 2004
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That is NOT what isolated means in that sentence.

He means isolated as in an "isolated probleem"...not being system wide.
'This is because the check-in kiosks at some isolated airports did not convert over smoothly'

It says 'isolated airports'. Not isolated problems.

Spinning spin will only make you dizzy.
 

CV580ETOPS

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Nov 9, 2006
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The fact of the matter is simply the IT staff wasn't up to challenge and failed miserably. To blame the Airline, or better yet, to blame the Executives is childish. Especially after they have admitted things didn’t go as planned and apologized!

I’ve worked on projects like this and can say they aren’t easy. Where US Airway’s IT went wrong was simply not enough planning and testing. What should have happened was several middle of the night tests for both kiosks and computer systems. That would have prevented this inconvenience.

Bob, once again, you have shown your disloyalty to your supposed Airline of Choice.

Why don’t you take your bad attitude elsewhere?


Can I get a big [AMENsize=3]from the congregation????



When you make the comments you do, you do nothing more than offend those employees you supposedly care for. What gives?

Just admit it. You HATE US Air, it’s Executives, and It’s employees. If you are that damned unhappy GO THE F*** AWAY. I’m sure there is some airline out there that need the likes of YOU.

How is it that you average 5.9 posts per day with 93% of them in the US Airways forum, yet you hate them so?
 
L

luvn737s

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And at least several other outstations, although apparently the loss of the kiosks didn't cause as big a problem as at the hubs.

Jim
Maybe I'm missing something here, but why should the kiosks at hubs be an enormous problem? For O&D passengers, yes because they have to check in, but it's not so much a "hub" issue as it is a large city (O&D traffic)issue. Passengers travelling through the hub don't require a kiosk.
 

BuffaloJoe

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Maybe I'm missing something here, but why should the kiosks at hubs be an enormous problem? For O&D passengers, yes because they have to check in, but it's not so much a "hub" issue as it is a large city (O&D traffic)issue. Passengers travelling through the hub don't require a kiosk.
In PHL, 65% of US travelers are O&D. Only 35% connect there.
 

BoeingBoy

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Maybe I'm missing something here, but why should the kiosks at hubs be an enormous problem? For O&D passengers, yes because they have to check in, but it's not so much a "hub" issue as it is a large city (O&D traffic)issue. Passengers travelling through the hub don't require a kiosk.
You're right - the large non-hub cities had more problems than the smaller non-hub cities. It's just that non-hub cities of all sizes tend not to have the waves of originating passengers that the hubs with their banks of flights have. In other words, when the influx of originating passengers started showing up for the first push at PHL & CLT, those stations immediately got so far behind that they never recovered. At the non-hub cities, the backup grew more slowly, although how much more slowly or if at all depended on the size of the operation in that city (moreso than the size of the city - i.e. MIA, large city with relatively small operation).

Jim
 

JMM

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folks, folks, folks -- why the outrage? Everyone even remotely involved with USAirways KNEW that IT would totally screw this up.....why is anyone shocked? I, for one, thought they would mess it up a lot more than they did. Maybe someone's head or heads will finally roll ... pax WRITE THOSE LETTERS! Because, they do not listen to us, the employees!