What This 1 Customer Is Seeing

GadgetFreak

Advanced
Aug 28, 2002
188
0
NY Metro Area
www.usaviation.com
I havent posted here, or even read any threads here for quite some time but something happened yesterday that made me want to check here to see if there was any info about it. I havent found any yet, but decided to describe what happened as well as some comments on how this type of thing is potentially impacting the company.

Ive been a US1 for maybe 4 years now. Also a UA 1K for that time. Im pretty close to reaching US1 this year at this point. I had a several trips from NY to DC upcoming and decided to book virtually all of them on Amtrak because it is so much more pleasant. Then after some thought about getting the miles plus the extra time involved I decided to return the train tickets and get US shuttle tickets. Yesterday I am returning from DCA to LGA and get to the airport at maybe 1:45 or 1:50 having a reservation on the 3:00. US tells people 20-30 minutes checkin to gate on the shuttle so I have plenty of time I think. I get inside and it is a complete zoo. It takes me almost 35 minutes to checkin, and this is the shuttle. There were so many people no one was even sure what they were in line for of it there were separate lines for the kiosks. No one was telling anyone what to do. Total free for all. Fortunately the passengers were able to provide order themselves. I finally get to the checkin and ask if I can make the 3:00 at about 2:25. Response is basically not the slightest chance. I spent the next 90 minutes in the security line and got to the gate as they were closing the door on the 4:00 but I made it.

Last Friday (10/17) it was bad but not this bad. Last Friday it only took a few minutes to check-in but the security lines were long (probably 45 minutes). But last Friday they had a special line for people close to their flight time. This time they said no special line. If you dont make it you miss your flight. Since US posts to arrive an hour before your flight at DCA on their web page (20 minutes for shuttle) you can imagine a lot of people missing their flights since the combined waits for check in and security were at around twice that.

I want to to just voice support for what I have read employees posting here about the impact the changes management is making has on the customer and their experience with flying. There is no way it should take 35 minutes to check in for the shuttle. Someone in management should have made that not happen. As to security, Im less clear as to how much impact management can have (special lines, etc). But if they dont do anything a lot of people are going to not fly or not fly as much. A group of 4 walk up shuttle passengers behind me looked at the line for about 5 minutes, then headed to get a cab to to to the train station. Im sure they werent alone.

The only thing that keeps me on US are the interactions, help and service from front line staff. Most notably, the people at the CP line are the best there are. But that can only go so far ultimately. I flew AA from LGA-STL in first (Im a AA Plat also) this past week and had a nice steak for dinner. US FC is far, far below AA or UA in quality and getting worse. I flew Envoy to LGW early last year and I thought it was nicer than other business class products I have flown (UA and All Nippon by comparison). I flew 3 round trip envoys late this summer to CDG and LGW and was shocked at how far it had deteriorated. These cuts in service and the lines at the airport (and good heavens as a CP I know I get a much better experience than most US flyers) are really reducing the reasons why people would fly US dramatically. Fares are a whole different story. I had to book NY to LAX a while back and US was $1900 MORE for a connecting flight than AA was for a non-stop on about the same times. The only way I could get close in fares (although US was still twice as much) was with some crazy routing that would take about 14 hours. So Im on AA needless to say. After I bought that ticket, AA changed their fares and was selling first class on the non-stop for less than US was for coach on a connecting flight. Someone at headquarters really needs to wake up and get out more. I cant even fathom how they can let these things happen. I hope they do something soon. Im running out of patience and Im afraid Im not alone. When I start getting better onboard amenities, faster checkin, etc on AA for a lot less money, well, I may be crazy but Im not stupid. I hope someone steps up and starts fixing this before it is too late.
 

tadjr

Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
3,511
100
TPA
www.airlineforums.com
I cant comment on the rest of the issues in your post, but do remember seeing yesterday in the landing and info section at work that "Due to TSA personnel issues at DCA, advise customers 2 hours for check in".
I know TSA has had problems in the past, but not sure what happened in DCA to cause a 2 hour checkin notice to be flagged. The last time I flew thru DCA (about 2 months ago) it took all of 5 minutes to get thru.
Also regarding the special line issue. Up until a month ago we only had 3 screening lanes in Airside F at TPA (now up to 4). On the nights when BA was leaving there was the burden of about 300 extra customers (777) having to clear. TSA did not add personnel on these nights and would not let the airlines pull customers who were near flight time to the front of the line. Needless to say, those who didnt allow 45 mins to an hour JUST TO CLEAR SECURITY missed their flights. Since then they have added another lane and our manager was able to work out an agreement with the manager of the airside to pull customers to the front, but TSA is in charge of security lanes and if they say no, then tough luck. Thats the attitude I've seen from most of my dealings with them. I do not know why they didnt allow a late lane since its not like you were excluding these customers from screening, it was just "You cant do that and thats final".... :(
 

FlyingHippie

Senior
Jan 27, 2003
283
0
Gadget Freak, we feel your pain. In regards to the service issues you are correct. I am embarrased by what I see. Prior to Mr. Siegel becoming CEO we had a CEO (Wolf not well liked either) who took enormous pride in the product and upgraded it to new levels. Looking back, we should have been more appreciative of those efforts. Mr. Siegel on the other hand has shown little or no interest in investing to upgrade the product. He has stripped it down to the bare bones and its never looked worse. He's turned US Airways into a cut rate discount product, charging full prices. It's not working!!! Dave Siegel and his flunkies may be good at numbers but the totally s&ck at running the day to day operations of this company. They have turned out to be the worse, inept, flunky managers of all time.
 

Doc

Veteran
Jul 15, 2003
783
4
www.usaviation.com
You should be writing this letter to Dave him self although I don't think he will listin but if you tittle the email US1 flyer maybe it will get to him it is the same in Boston the shuttle used to be a great product stealing market share all the time but there seems to be lack of under standing by this management of what it takes in the order of front line employees staffed correctly and happy which they just don't understand. I have added his email... give it to all your US1 buddies just keep sending email's over and over US1's used to have some pull maybe your voice will be heard.

Dave_Siegel@usairways.com
 

jimntx

Veteran
Jun 28, 2003
11,216
3,296
Dallas, TX
www.usaviation.com
To: GadgetFreak,
After reading your post twice, I'm wondering why you ever leave the airport. Good lord, man, when was the last time you spent a night at home. What about just taking a collapsible camp bed with you and you can stay on the secure side forever. :lol:

As much as I like to fly, I'd open a vein long before I got to your mileage--with 3 airlines no less. We of the airline industry, salute you.