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Posts Tagged ‘airlines’

Freedom Of The Seas Is A Wonderful Vacation!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 21, 2013


ImageMy wife and I sailed recently on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Of The Seas on a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise. This was the first of the Freedom Class Ships that Royal Caribbean built. This class of ship is a Voyager style layout only longer. So the fact that the ship is longer gives it more room to add more “Stuff”. On this ship Royal Caribbean added the Flow Rider on the rear of the ship. The flow Rider is a water ride that lets you surf in place as water shoots up an incline. This proves to be very challenging but lots of fun! The also added a boxing ring. Why they added a boxing ring is beyond me, but I guess there are some people that will use it. During our cruise, I did not see anyone in the Boxing Ring.

The food in the main dining room was very good. They now have regular 1st and 2nd set seating plus “Anytime Dining”. With the regular dining, you are assigned a table and a time to eat. With Anytime Dining, you can eat anytime between 630PM to 9PM but, you have to make reservations for a time and you do not have the same people at your table for the week. I really like to have a large table with the same people all week as that’s what cruising is all about. I have met many good life long friends on cruise ships over the years and most of them were out table mates at dinner.

Royal Caribbean has also put a Large Video Screen out by the pool area. It was a nice addition and added to the fun of the pool area. There is a lot to like about this ship. They have a great crew and a wonderful attitude.

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Art Auctions at Sea, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Haiti, islands, luggage, Oasis of the Seas, restaurant, royal caribbean, ships, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

United Airlines Fails in Customer Service……

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 10, 2012


A United Airlines 737 At The Gate

United Airlines new 737 at Gate

I flew on United Airlines on June 8, 2012 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and then on to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Needless to say it was the trip that would make anyone scream!!! The letter below is to the CEO of United Airlines Jeff Smisek. I have mailed this letter to him and I will let you know what his response is.

Enjoy, as you just can’t make up a story like this one……

June 8, 2012

Mr. Jeff Smisek
CEO United Airlines, Inc.
77 West Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601

Dear Mr. Smisek,

I am a very frustrated customer. I am currently sitting in the Los Angeles airport waiting for the next flight to Chicago because I missed my connection due to no fault of my own. I have started this letter in Los Angeles at LAX airport and will finish it at home in Chicago.

Here is my story. I was booked on United 968 from Las Vegas to Chicago at 11:35PM. My reservation number is MY7XMZ. I was in Las Vegas on business and I finished very early, so I decided to catch an earlier flight home so I could sleep in my own bed instead of sleeping on the plane. So I used the United app on my iPhone and I paid $75 to change my current later flight 968 to flight 197 at 4:10PM to LAX connecting to flight 704 at 6:01PM in LA to Chicago. This would get me home just before midnight and I could have a good nights sleep in my own bed.

This is where the nightmare begins. I arrive at the Las Vegas Airport at 2PM. This is plenty of time to get through security and get to the gate area. I arrived at the gate area at about 2:25PM and I sat down in the gate area to wait for the flight. At 3:30PM I noticed that the aircraft had not arrived, so I started to become concerned. The aircraft arrived about 10 minutes later and we began to board at 4PM. I walked up the gate agent and said to her, “I have a VERY tight connection, do you think I should get on the Plane?” She looked up the connecting flight and told me, Oh, you will make it. I asked if my connecting flight was in the same terminal as my arriving flight from Las Vegas. She said, “Yes it is, don’t worry you will make it!” So I proceeded to board.

I entered the aircraft and I told the flight attendant that I had a VERY, VERY TIGHT CONNECTION, and asked if she could help me out getting off the plane when we landed? She said to me, and I quote “Oh it doesn’t work that way, when we land everybody stands up in the Aisle.” That was not what I expected to hear, in fact I was taken back by her statement. What happened to a little customer service? All I wanted was to be able to be the first one off the plane so I could maybe have a chance, slim as it was, of making my connection. I was taken back by the flight attendant, I said to here “OK” and I proceeded to  find my seat in the rear of the aircraft.  We sat at the gate. And sat, and sat and when it got to be 4:35PM and we were still at the gate I pushed the call button. A flight attendant came to my row and asked what the problem was. I told her that I had a very tight connection and now I know I will miss my flight. I asked if I could get off the plane and have an agent rebook me on another flight out of Las Vegas. The look I received from this flight attendant was that of “How dare you ask to get off the plane.” What the flight attendant proceeded to do was scold me for getting on the plane in the first place and that if I wanted to get off the plane that I would inconvenience this full airplane of people as they would have to match every bag to every passenger. Now I did not have any checked luggage. I had my small carry-on and my computer. So I was about to say forget it to the attendant when she says to me, I will just have to talk to the Captain  and she walked to the front of the aircraft.

It is now 4:40PM and we start to push back. The flight attend comes back to me after we have pushed back and stopped and announces to me. “The Captain has stopped the plane for you.” I looked at her and I said, “FORGET IT! I AM NOT MAKING THIS PLANE GO BACK TO THE GATE.” I felt two feet tall after she scolded me. She went back up the front of the plane and we proceeded to taxi to the runway. The passengers around me consoled me and said, that was not very nice of that fight attendant to do that to you.

We were in the air at about 5:05PM. The captain came over the speaker system and said our flight time was about 45 minutes. So I looked at my watch and figured that if I could get off the flight and run I could make the flight with about 2 minutes to spare. We landed and taxied to the gate area and stopped short of the gate waiting for an aircraft to clear the taxi way. So now I am really concerned. We get to the gate area and I can see that my connecting flight is still at the gate and they were loading the last of the bags. I say to myself, well that flight is not in the same terminal, it was in the next terminal and I don’t know if I could make a mad dash for the plane once I got off. Well, we stopped at the gate and everyone popped up and left me in the rear of the aircraft. Did the flight attendant say “We have a passenger that needs to make a tight connection, please let him out first.” NO, I stood in the Aisle for 14 minutes as everyone took their time to get off the plane. When I did eventually get off the plane, I looked out the terminal window across to the other terminal and saw the jetway was pulled away from the plane. I asked the gate agent to call over to Gate 83. She did and told me the plane is ready to push back. I was furious! I just paid $75 to miss my plane. And no one at United seemed to give a dam. The gate agent said, “Walk over to the customer service desk and get rebooked.” No, “I am really sorry you missed your connection.” Just go get your flight rebooked across the hallway.

This is the worst customer service I have seen in a long time. And I watched you on the in flight TV screen saying “I wish I could greet each and everyone of you and personally shake your hand and thank you for flying United.” Well your company failed me big time. Here is what I would have done if I worked for United. I would have never let me board the plane in the first place and I would have rebooked me on another flight from Las Vegas or let me off the plane first and have one of the golf carts at LAX waiting for me to take me over to gate 83 and call over to flight 704 and tell them I was on the way. I guess what really upset me was that no one cared, no one gave a dam. The only one that had any sympathy for me was the really nice agent at the customer service desk that rebooked my flight. She was the only one that cared, but after what I went through, it was little consolation.

I was rebooked on United Flight 1451 at 7:30PM. I returned to Gate 70 to wait for my new flight to Chicago. I boarded Flight 1451 at 705PM. I was thinking of telling the flight attendant on this new flight when I boarded, “Can You please be nice to me because the last crew didn’t treat me very well.” Well, that went out the window when I saw the flight attendant crew on this Chicago flight was the exact same crew that was on the Las Vegas – LA flight that treated me like dirt. I have to tell you that when I saw the same crew again, the anxiety I experienced on my first flight returned. So I decided to just go to my seat and avoid all contact with the flight attendants during this flight.

Some people want to just complain and not tell you what they want you to do. Well, that’s not me. Here is what I want you to do. I want my $75 refunded to me by way of a credit to my credit card for $75. I had not flown United in a while because I have been flying Southwest. Why do I fly Southwest? Because they know how to treat their customers and they really do give a dam about all of there customers and the “Get It!” I decided to try United again and thought that the merger with Continental would change the airline for the better as I have always liked flying Continental. Boy was I wrong! You have a long road to travel before your service is back to just good. If you want to know what knock you socks off customer service is, look at Zappos. They also have it all right. They know how to treat their customers.

I hope to hear from you soon. And I really hope that you, Mr. Smisek will read and respond to this letter. I hope that you do, it would prove to me that you really meant what you said in your pre-flight announcement. And you really care about everyone of your passengers.

In closing, you have a lot of work to do to bring your airline back. Just remember, ”It’s all about the CUSTOMER!” If you give your customers great customer service then even when things go wrong, your customer will tell you that you went that extra mile for them to make it right! And they will be your customers for life. Let’s see if you can make that happen. For your sake, I hope you can.

 

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, economy, first class, Las Vegas, luggage, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When A Good Air Fare Deal is Not A Good Deal

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 16, 2012


Southern California

Out of the Window of a Southwest 737 over Southern California

You see an ad for low low airfares. You log on to the Airline web site and find that the deal you saw advertised is not what you thought. It happens more then you want to admit. So how do you really get a low fare that really is a good value? You need to do your homework and compare fares on different airlines. Bing fare search engine is a great place to start. It will give you the lowest fares to your destination on multiple airlines, but if you want to compare the results to Southwest, you will need to go on to the Southwest web site as Southwest only lists their fares on their own web site.

Remember when you compare your fares you have to take into account the “Extra Fees” imposed by the airlines. These extra fees include checked bags, on board meals, pre reserved seats and so on. Airlines make millions of dollars every year on these fees. What once was included with your ticket is no an “EXTRA” cost item. One of the few airlines that does not charge for bags or food on their aircraft is Southwest. So before you book your ticket, add up all the “Extras” and then make your decission. You will save time and money in the long run.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Credit Cards, luggage, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Delta Orders 100 New Boeing 737-900ER Aircraft

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 3, 2011


New Delta 737-900ER

The New Delta 737-900ER

Delta Airlines announced on August 25, 2011 that it had ordered 100 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft from Chicago Based Boeing Corporation. These aircraft will be for delivery between 2013 and 2018. These aircraft will replace older planes in the Delta fleet.

The order will enable Delta to add 100 fuel-efficient, state-of-the-art 180 seat aircraft to its world wide fleet, replacing on a capacity-neutral basis older technology aircraft that will be retired from the fleet. The new Boeing 737’s will have a range of 3,200 nautical miles and will be able to operate on any domestic route offered by Delta.

The new 737-900ER will be Delta’s first aircraft to feature Boeing’s new “Sky Interior,” which offers expanded carry-on luggage space, a roomier, more airy cabin and an LED lighting system that provides different color schemes, such as a soft blue sky and a relaxing pallet of sunset colors throughout the aircraft.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, Coach, first class, news, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean Updates Crown & Anchor Loyalty Program

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 28, 2011


Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor

Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor at Labadee

On January 21, 2011, Royal Caribbean updated and enhanced it cruise Loyalty program. The program called the Crown & Anchor Society gives frequent cruisers the ability to earn point and special benefits on current and future cruises.

The old program counted how many past cruises you sailed on to figure your benefits. The new program now counts how many days you sail. So if you are on a 3 night cruise, you will receive 3 points. If you are on a 10 night cruise, you will receive 10 points. So you now are rewarded based on the number of days you have sailed with Royal Caribbean and not just the number of cruises. Now if you purchase a suite, you get double the points. So if you sail in a suite for 10 nights, you receive 20 points. So you now have an incentive to book a suite as you double your point total on that cruise.

The new program also added two new levels of recognition. Under the old program the levels were Gold, Platinum, Diamond & Diamond Plus. The new program adds the Emerald Level and the Pinnacle Club Level. So the new program is now Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The number of points needed for each level is as follows

Gold – 3 points   Platinum – 30 points  Emerald – 55 points  Diamond – 80 points  Diamond Plus – 175 points  Pinnacle Club – 700 points

Under the Pinnacle Club they have added a free 7 night cruise when you reach a certain level. This is a great incentive to sail with Royal Caribbean as often as possible.

I am looking forward to checking out the new Crown & Anchor program on my next cruise which is coming up quickly. I will let you know how it was when I return.

Check out the program here http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cas/benefitsLoggedout.do;jsessionid=00009y8VJBAow9ZtIhLR3VFmCjo:15lbbpnkd

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Haiti, islands, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Delta Now Running Chicago New York Shuttle

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 11, 2010


Delta Regional Jet

Delta Regional Jet on Runway

Delta Airlines launched new shuttle service from Chicago O’Hare to New York’s LaGuardia airport on June 14. The shuttle service offers 11 daily roundtrips linking Chicago and New York City. The flights depart LaGuardia on the hour between 7AM and 8PM. The Chicago flights depart at 5 minutes after the hour. The new service is operated by Delta’s regional partner Shuttle America using regional jet aircraft.

Posted in airlines, luggage, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

That’s The Spirit – Screw Your Customers with Carryon Fees!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 29, 2010


Sprit Airlines Aircraft

Sprit Airlines, The All Fee Airline!

Ok, so the airlines started the whole fee deal with charging for food on the airplanes. Then they decided to charge to check a bag. But now one airline has crossed the line. Spirit Airlines has decided that to many people are bringing carry on luggage onto the plane. So to punish these passengers, they are going to charge them up to $45 to carry on a bag. That’s right, you heard me $45 to carry on a bag. What are they smoking over at the Spirit executive offices?

Spirit Airlines really does not understand that they caused the problem of to much carry on luggage in the first place.  This is how it happened. More then a year ago, Spirit decided that checked luggage was costing the airline too much money. So they decided to start charging to check a bag. The first bag would cost $25 to check and $25 for the 2nd bag. So passengers decided to carry on their luggage rather than pay the $25 to check it. Now Spirit feels that too many people are carrying on their bags. HELLO!!!  Are you idiot’s or just plain stupid Spirit! Have you ever heard of “Cause and Effect?”  You caused the passengers to carry on their luggage by charging them $25 to check it. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out Einstein!

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that executives from American, Delta, Jet Blue, United and US Airways called to assure him that they would not follow Spirit’s lead in adopting the new carryon  charges. “we have begun to put the brakes on runaway and out-of-control airline fees,” Schumer said.

Schumer and 11 other senators have introduced legislation called the Block Airlines’ Gratuitous Fees Act (or BAG Fees Act), which would subject any fees charged for carry on baggage to the excise tax imposed on fares. A similar bill was introduced in the House.

Good for the Senators! Thanks for taking the bull by the horn. The airlines deserves what it gets!

I will tell you that I will not be flying Spirit anytime in the near future. Any airline that wants to charge me gratuitous fees will not get my business period!

Let me know how you feel about the subject.

Posted in airlines, luggage, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southwest Vacations Hassle

Posted by thetraveldoctor on March 9, 2010


Al and Lil at Universal Studios New Years Day 2010

Al and Lil at Universal Studios New Years Day 2010

Just returned from a very cold trip to Orlando Florida. My wife and I took a Southwest Vacations package to Orlando at the Doubletree Universal. I love to fly Southwest Airlines as their crew, planes and gate areas are the best in the business.

I decided to use Southwest Vacations because the package of Hotel, Car and Flight were much less expensive then booking each component separately. I knew that something was not right when I tried to lookup my flight to put my rapid reward number in the record and the Southwest website told me it could not find my reservation. Now to be fair to Southwest Airlines, Southwest Vacations is run by the Mark Travel Corp, which owns Funjet Vacations and a number of other airline tour companies. The big problem is that Southwest Vacations issues paper tickets. I cannot tell you the last time I used a paper ticket on a domestic flight. Paper tickets are a hassle and they can be lost or stolen. Well, what Southwest Vacations does not tell you is that you cannot check in on line ahead of time, you can only get a “Security Document” that will get you through the security checkpoint, but you still have to stand in line to get a boarding pass. Plus, you cannot get this Security Document on the Southwest Airlines website, you have to go to the Southwest Vacations website, which is a completely different website. So once I figured this out, I tried to check in, as the website said, “Check in Online” which is really not correct. After jumping through a number of hoops, I was able to print out the “Security Documents”. It was a real hassle at Midway Airport in Chicago, but we got to the gate and I was able to stand in line and get a real boarding pass. The disaster was on the return trip.

It’s January 3, 2010 at 500AM. My wife and I had a 735AM Southwest flight from Orlando to Chicago Midway. I could not check in on line at my Orlando hotel because as you read earlier in this store, you can’t do that with paper tickets. We walk into the front door of the Orlando airport and look over at the Southwest Check In. To our surprise, there is a line that looks to be at least an hour and a half. Now we had only carry on luggage, so I asked the Southwest agent if we had to stand in line, she told me “know, just go to the self serve kiosk and check in. Well, you guessed it, it would not let me check in. So I ask the Southwest agent for help. She came over to the kiosk and tried 3 times to check us in. It just would not work. She said to me, “Why don’t you go out to the skycap and let him check you in.” I said “That is a great idea, thank you!” So I went outside to the skycap station. Well, there was a line there too, albeit a much shorter line (15 min instead of 1.5 hours) and the skycap then checked me in and we were on our way to the gate. Getting to the gate was a whole other story, as Orlando shut down the screening area for about 45 minutes but I will not bore you with the details. We did get home on our scheduled flight. I still love Southwest, but the vacation division has to allow the issue of etickets so passengers don’t run into the kind of problems we had.

Thinking of a cruise? Read my blog post on the new Oasis of The Seas at http://thetraveldoctor.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/oasis-of-the-seas-makes-some-last-minute-changes/

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Hotels, luggage, news, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Bogus Currency Conversion Fee on Bank of America CC

Posted by thetraveldoctor on February 17, 2009


 

Just Waiting for That International Flight

Just Waiting for That International Flight

You think that you have seen everything and then your friend gets hit with a bogus credit card charge for purchasing an Air Canada ticket in the United States. Here is what happened.

My friend purchased a ticket from a travel agent in the Chicago area. The Ticket was purchased  from Chicago to Rome round trip on Air Canada with a connection in Toronto. The ticket was purchased in the United States in US dollars. Now you should know that it is against the law to purchase an international ticket in the United States in a foreign currency, so the ticket must be purchased in US Dollars. My friend used his Bank of America Visa card to purchase the ticket. When the Bank of America Visa statement arrived, there was a 3% currency conversion fee for the ticket which amounted to over $80. Now how do you charge a currency conversion fee for a ticket that was purchased in US dollars? That’s right, you can’t but Bank of America did because they can and there is nothing you can do about it because they tell you it is a fee that cannot be disputed.

We talked with Air Canada and they agreed that the ticket was purchased in US dollars in the US and there was never any currency to convert. We called Bank of America back and they insisted that they were right that there was a currency conversion (yeah right) and that the fee could not be disputed. My friend asked Bank of America for proof. They said they would send proof. I can’t wait to see what they sent. The travel agent has proof that there was never any currency conversion, Air Canada has proof there was never any currency conversion, but Bank of America, they have proof. This is the biggest scam I have seen in the travel industry in years. I cannot imagine how much money is taken in by charging this fee on Air Canada tickets.

If anyone out there has had this happen to them, please reply to this blog. This has got to end and my friend will not let it go.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Banks, Business Class, Credit Cards, economy, futures, Government, investments, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

What Airlines Are Charging Extra For Today

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 5, 2008


 

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

O'Hare Airport on a typical day

Here is a rundown of what airlines are charging extra for. They have raised their fares and now they charge you extra for more and more things that use to be free.

US Airways  Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Soft drinks on Board, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

United Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Northwest Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, and headsets.

Continental Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag, 2nd Checked Bag, and headsets.

Delta Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

American Airlines Charges extra for: 1st Checked Bag and 2nd Checked Bag.

JetBlue Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag, Advanced “Prime” Seats, Pollows & Blankets and Headsets.

AirTran Charges extra for:  2nd Checked Bag, and Advanced “Prime” Seats.

Frontier Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag.

Alaska Airlines Charges extra for: 2nd Checked Bag. 

US Airways wins the award for the most additional fees charged. I guess that is why in 2007 US Airways was ranked dead last as the worst airline for customer service by consumer reports.

Also in 2007, the Today/Zagat Airline Survey rated US Airways as the worst airline overall in the United States, ranking it 10/30 for comfort, 5/30 for food, 10/30 for service, and 15/30 for its online reservations system. On August 1, 2008, US Airways ceased providing their passengers with free drinks, including water. Passengers must now purchase bottled water or soda for $2 US, or $1 US for coffee and tea.

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, bags, Business Class, Coach, disabilities, economy, first class, Las Vegas, luggage, Med, news, pillows, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »