airtran deceptive compensation practices

Jul 1st, 2003, 11:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 10
airtran deceptive compensation practices

Just a FYI to future airtran passengers who might want to volunteer their seats for 'compensation' wish we had known this ahead of time. Will post any response from airtran if I get one.
Chris Mitchell

I want to make a complaint about the deceptive compensation practices of airtran. We had tickets to fly home from Atlanta to Baltimore the Saturday before Easter. This flight was over booked so the gate agent asked for volunteers.. we were told we would get 2 round trip tickets per seat anywhere on airtran to use within a year in return for giving up the 4 seats we had on the flight. The gate agents were too busy to give any more information and requested that we wait til after our scheduled flight had left to get the paperwork and details of the compensation. After our flight left, they did rebook us on a flight 2 1/2 hrs later and we got these little cards with our reservation number on it and a phone number to call to make reservations for the 'certificate' flights.. on the back we discovered the 'fine print' that stated these flights were subject to black out dates and also capacity controls. I have attempted to book flights on these 'certificates' on several occasions.. the dates we would like to fly are always either within the black out dates or not available yet to certificate customers. I object to the deceptive information about getting 2 round trip tickets on airtran and not knowing how LIMITED these tickets would be until AFTER we had given up our seats and the plane had left. Airtran should give passengers some written policy information at the time they volunteer to give up their seats that explains FULLY the limitations of these 'free' tickets. I believed when I gave up the seats to airtran that I would be treated fairly and that the stated compensation of 2 round trip tickets per passenger would be when I would like to fly within the year time frame. Airtran had no problem taking my 'holiday' flights but now will not allow me to be able to fly on their certificates for any holiday. The customer represenative that I spoke to said that this was their policy and she would address my concerns with 'higher ups' who do not take phone calls. This was our first flying experience with airtran and we had been pleased with the flights and overall experience. This deceptive take your seats and then we will tell you the 'fine print' could be easily communicated by some written policy information at the time the passenger gives up their seat. I think airtran should provide what we were lead to believe we would be getting.. 2 round trip tickets anywhere that air tran flies within a year... no restrictions. You cannot stand behind a policy that is only communicated AFTER you have the seats from a passenger. The right thing to do is to allow us to book the reservations we have certificates for without restrictions and revise your communication to let people know exactly what they are getting when they are allowing airtran to overbook flights and get their seats voluntarily in return.
cmitch9999 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The CondeNast Magazine has a section called 'The Ombudsman".You can see it online and read the articles but I dont think the online version tells you where to submit your story.But you can get the address out of the magazine itself.Submit it.You never know.The cases they accept usually result in a fair solution for the complainant.Sorry to see it happened to you and I wholeheartedly agree.....Good Luck..
BeachBoi is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 12:46 PM
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I don't think that a deceptive practice.

I am sure you would have been told there are restrictions had you asked ..USAirways told me when I gave up seats. Sure, it kinda stinks, but even with restrictions, I considered the r/t voucher DAMN good compensation for 3 hours of my time. You assumed too much, and you know the saying about that word.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 04:39 PM
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I did try to get information out of the gate agents..all they said was that we had a year to use them--they said they were too busy to do anything about the 'certificates' until after the plane was out of the airport... they could easily have a written paper with their POLICY outlined in detail... full disclosure..I don't think that was unreasonable for me to expect. Other airlines give a dollar amount of 'reward' in this circumstance..would be a better alternative than useless certificates that are so limited that I may never come up with an acceptable schedule. It is not the time involved but the deception on the part of airtran that could have been clearly communicated and should have been.
Chris Mitchell
cmitch9999 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Chris, did you also receive any sort of refund, or just the apparently worthless vouchers? Since you were rebooked on a flight over 2 hours later it would seem that you would be entitled to compensation. Check out
Seamus is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 06:05 PM
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No compensation... we thought we were being given a good deal with the 'free' tickets... Didn't get back to BWI airport til almost midnight.... it would have been worth it IF we could find some flights that air tran would allow us to use...probably the north pole in Dec (sorry wrong.. black outs are Dec 18-Jan 4th..and their rep argued they only blacked out a few days per month!!) I feel so cheated.
Chris Mitchell
cmitch9999 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2003, 04:00 AM
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Airtrain isn't the only airline that does this. The "free tickets" for Northwest, for example, come in "W" class -- the same very limited fare class that minimum level award FF seats come from. I've taken them and made them work, but $$$ off is definitely a better deal because in addition to the challenge that it can sometimes be to find empty seats, that problem is compounded when you want to find multiple empty award class seats on the same flights. Another issue: there is no FF credit on those flights. Still, I think with a little patience and persistence you can get a good value in exchange for the time and hassle you invested to get them. The less flexibility a person has with making travel plans, the more likely it is that the vouchers could end up expiring worthless.
Flyboy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2003, 06:49 AM
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I can understand the restrictions with frequent flier tickets..they truly are a 'bonus' but airtran did get something from us ahead of time..I am more angry with their lack of communication about what we were going to have in REAL compensation... Airtran just doesn't get it that they need to give full disclosure to passengers BEFORE they take their seats . The revenue management dept. of Airtran determines when a 'certificate' seat becomes available.. Blackout dates (before any capacity controls) are Dec 18- Jan 4th.for just that holiday travel time... I see this as being told one thing and getting something completly different.. DECEPTION>>. Chris Mitchell
cmitch9999 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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Just wanted to follow up that I have heard from Airtran via phone and the customer service manager I spoke with apologized for the not providing accurate information about compensation certificates when we volunteered. Air tran is going to allow us to book our tickets without restrictions..

Hooray, a company that responds and does the right thing!!!!!!!
Chris Mitchell
cmitch9999 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 06:51 PM
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Congratulations and thanks for sharing the info. Happy Contrails!
Flyboy is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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i'll keep this short...

a friend and i volunteered to get off a TWA flight to JFK from puerto rico a few years ago, and were promised 2 round trip tickets each. we asked the gate agent if the tickets were transferrable (so we could take our husbands somewhere) and what the time limit was. she told us that they were transferrable and that we had to book the seats by one year later, but could travel after the one year mark (as long as the seats were booked). she also informed us that american would honor the certificates after they took over TWA. with those questions answered, we took the tickets and waited until the next day to fly home.

when i went to use the certificates on american, i was told that they were not transferrable and that travel had to be completed by the one year date. the "non transferrable" part was actually written on the front of the original certificate (which we received AFTER our flight left the airport)! i was so mad, the gate agent actually deceived me (intentionally or not) and american refused to do anything about it because it was TWA's mistake.

i still try to avoid american because of this. i saved those tickets for a specific trip and ended up having to throw them out.

fiasco is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2003, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 240
Oh, yeah!

I've accumulated a whack of points on Air Canada. Try getting any meaningful tickets out of them... If you don't book 6 months in advance, you're outta luck - unless we're talking Australia in Jannuary, when you have to book a year early or more.

Points that are virtually unredeemable are unredeemable. It's flase economy to use the fine print to defeat the intent of an offer, not to mention truly deceptive practice.
MD is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 08:57 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
I, too, am having the same problem using my compensation certificates from AirTran that Chris described. I voluntarily surrendered my two seats on an overbooked flight, as the ticket agent told us that we could use them for any number of destinations. Only after the rush to fill the plane (and the door was closed), were we later told that there were blackout dates. Okay. But there appears not to be blackout dates--enitre weeks months maybe) are blacked out and NO SEATs are made avilable in advance to book a flight.

I am trying to book a flight from Dayton to San Francisco. But there are no seats on any flight, either way, that can be booked a month or more in advance of a flight! They have no seats avialable for any flight that is 3 or more weeks off! That's not a blackout. That makes it near impossible to use the tickets, as you can't plan a trip. Who can use tickets only if dates/flights are made available at the last minute. No one can plan a trip under such restrictions--extreme restrictions which were not specified when we were asked to yield our two tickets on the overbooked flight.

Can anything be done? I had a good experience with AirTran, but this we-won't-let-you-use-your-tickets-to-book-anything-in-advance system is not reasonable--and was not specified when we turned in our tickets.

Myron_Levine is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Myron you have resurrected/hijacked a VERY old 2003 post.

Might make a new one of my very own for best response

Personally never could make my Airtran FF miles work well

good fares though eventually let my CC FF miles with them go.

Still lots of availabilty problems. working well for me these days better FF mile deals

for me like 40000 FF miles RT Europe off of 2 credit cards

for my wife and myself recently.

So good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 188
I've learned that the "free" tickets for volunteering to give up your seat are essentially worthless mostly for the various reasons described above. I will never volunteer to give up my seat for anything except actual cash; no checks or vouchers.
Been there, done that, won't do it again.
RonDace is offline  

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