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Thread: I don't rant often but....on occasion.....

  1. #1

    I don't rant often but....on occasion.....

    My oldest son and I needed a father/son outing so......I twisted his arm and he agreed to accompany me as my guest to Bristol, TN in March for both the Nextel and Sprint Cup races. I made a "tour" reservations and we are staying in Knoxville and traveling by bus each day. We also got a track tour on Sunday.

    Then I made airline reservations. The cost was $929 for both our tickets. These reservations were made in October.

    Yesterday Cheap Tickets called to say that my return flights had been cancelled.

    First problem. English was a secondary language for them. Now that is not a personal problem with me. My former employer GE from whom I retired has thousands of employees in that country and I have received 2 personal invitations to weddings in that country. But......when my wife explained "He's deaf and he can't understand what's being said on the telephone"....they didn't comprehend the situation. She even asked for a supervisor and he didn't understand.

    2nd problem. My original reservations had been canceled out of my "trips" record and a new one having me return a day later had been inserted. These people were trying to get us to agree with it. I told the wife to tell them "No". After a long discussion....they said it was the best they could do. My wife told them it wasn't acceptable. Now returning a day later is no problem for me...I am retired. So except for an additional room in a motel and meals for the son and I, it isn't a problem. My son, however, would have to take an additional day of vacation. BUT....I checked online. There were other flights that would have got me home on the original date but they wouldn't make those. We called the airline involved and they said the ticketing company would have to authorize making changes. Of course, more money was involved.

    Sadly for them, an email requesting a survey arrived about this time. Guess how that went?

    This afternoon I made different flight reservations using a different agency and airline company.

    As I type, my wife is on hold waiting to cancel the alternate reservations they made for me and establishing a refund.

    I really believe the ticketing agency and the airlines were trying to force me to change reservations at a higher price to get home on my original date.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 01-15-2012 at 01:00 AM.
    Ken
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  2. #2
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    Probably just one reason I hate travel... But good on your for doing a trip to bristol with your son. That sounds like an awesome trip...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  3. #3
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    I hear you Ken. Sounds like a variation of bait and switch doesn't it?
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
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    As an ex-airlines employee, I won't get into your current problem... you just don't need another cook stirring the stew.

    But I think the airlines industry is one in which the government regulations was a good thing. I lived through the original "de-regulation" era with a major carrier... personally I think it was a mistake. Airlines once had to file with the CAB 30 days in advance of changing rates, schedules and destinations... now they can change overnight... without notice... without regard to their customers... etc.... most of the major carriers that were around during the regulated era are now mostly bankrupt or gone altogether... The new flight by night carriers aren't serving the people and they certainly aren't making money... I think if they would set a rate and stick to it, people could plan, and the carriers could plan and make money and not have to always charge extra fees and such.....

    Sorry to hijack your post.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  5. #5
    Chuck....Deregulation was supposed to be better for everyone involved with the airlines industry....consumer and airlines. But I agree with you. Deregulation has not improved anything for either the airlines or the customer. The attempt of everyone to be competitive has led to a lower profit margin and placed customer satisfaction last in the list of considerations.

    My complaint here was ... there were other flights on my original date available. Why didn't they schedule me for one of those other flights?
    Ken
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  6. #6
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    Travel is really not a problem. Cheap travel is a problem. Back when I was on the road about 250 days a year I had it down to a science, who wouldn't? That was then, this is now. The few train-wrecks of a trip my thrifty-minded girlfriend has taken via Expedia and their ilk have always involved additional costs to get what you thought you were getting. It still ends up being cheaper than full fare but, always involves a much longer travel time that eats up the time I wanted to spend [insert your activity here]. Whether the hassle is worth the savings is something you have to decide for yourself. If you want to hear me get started on a rant, give me cheap service when I pay full price!!! When I go cheap or hunt a bargain, I expect bargain service, language barriers, weird hours and so forth. When I pay Nordstrom's prices and get Wal-Mart service, it ain't pretty ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Travel is really not a problem. Cheap travel is a problem. Back when I was on the road about 250 days a year I had it down to a science, who wouldn't? That was then, this is now. The few train-wrecks of a trip my thrifty-minded girlfriend has taken via Expedia and their ilk have always involved additional costs to get what you thought you were getting. It still ends up being cheaper than full fare but, always involves a much longer travel time that eats up the time I wanted to spend [insert your activity here]. Whether the hassle is worth the savings is something you have to decide for yourself. If you want to hear me get started on a rant, give me cheap service when I pay full price!!! When I go cheap or hunt a bargain, I expect bargain service, language barriers, weird hours and so forth. When I pay Nordstrom's prices and get Wal-Mart service, it ain't pretty ;-)
    I could not have said it better! I also traveled extensively, and still do occasionally, for work and I learned to buy seats directly with the airlines. Not always a guaranty that all problems are resolved quickly and painlessly, but easier than dealing with a middleman who has limited options when things go wrong. And this is not an airlines problem but a third party ticket agent party (Cheap Tickets, Expedia, etc.). And yes it really is ugly when you get Wal-Mart service after paying Nordstrom prices.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  8. #8
    Guys.....in this case according to Cheap Tickets and the airline....the airline is the one that caused the problem. The airline was perfectly happy to take my payment in October to help guarantee they'd have a full plane in March. They have had my money since October. Now over 3 months later, they suddenly decided that my reservation would no longer be honored. The same airline had other flights with available open seats on the same day. Of course those seats were at a higher price. I know, my wife talked with the airline but the reservationsagent at that airline said Cheap Tickets would have to authorize the changes and Cheap Tickets' agents were claiming there were no other seats available that day.

    I would suggest that regardless of whether a person pays bargain prices or full prices, once the airlines and or the agency accepts that money they have a limited responsibility to get that person to where they are going on the day they contracted.

    The result, I found tickets at a slightly higher price, $50, at another airlines for the same days. These were bought directly from a competing airline.

    If either Cheap Tickets or the airline had offered an alternative flight on the same day, I wouldn't have started this thread. The original airline and competitors had seats available on other flights.

    Guys....I traveled extensively in the first 6 years of my profession. In fact, I spent the first year on the road getting home 1 weekend a month. I finally got the opportunity to move back in with my family. But the next 4 years I still traveled more than most. More than once I have had airlines move me to another flight and give me 1st class seats because that was all that was available or in some cases in an effort to appease me for the inconvenience of being moved to another flight. It wasn't until I moved to Idaho that my business travel reduced. Any seats on another flight on any airline on the days I contracted with them would have satisfied me, provided it got me home that day.

    The foreign agents with secondary English skills? It's really not a problem except someone in management of the company with EXCELLENT English speaking skills needs to be available to take calls. There are certain cultural differences that make communications difficult too. I can only speak from my experience. Most of the people that GE used in this particular country had college degrees. GE would hire these people and put them in the "group" that answered the calls from field engineers like myself. After a year or two of experience they gained enough competence that they were often transferred to the "Customer" side/group and could take calls from customers but....there was always a manager that was available that could handle those situations with US Customers when it was necessary.

    As someone who worked professionally in customer service for 34 years, occasionally I had to explain to my manager why we lost money on an incident to try to satisfy a customer.

    Now neither Cheap Tickets nor the original airline will get any money from me on this trip and....I will try to avoid using either in future.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 01-15-2012 at 09:57 PM.
    Ken
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  9. #9
    BTW ...our daughter has worked for US Airways for 8 or 9 years now. As parents, my wife and I can fly incredibly cheaply Standby on US Airways and other airlines too. We do it periodically but on occasions like this, when my oldest son and I have dates that need to be met, we pay for tickets like anyone else.
    Ken
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    Guys.....in this case according to Cheap Tickets and the airline....the airline is the one that caused the problem. The airline was perfectly happy to take my payment in October to help guarantee they'd have a full plane in March. They have had my money since October. Now over 3 months later, they suddenly decided that my reservation would no longer be honored. The same airline had other flights with available open seats on the same day. Of course those seats were at a higher price. I know, my wife talked with the airline but the reservationsagent at that airline said Cheap Tickets would have to authorize the changes and Cheap Tickets' agents were claiming there were no other seats available that day.
    That is indeed messed up and well deserving of a good rant .
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

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