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Frustrated with Air Tran--but would any other airline be any better?

Frustrated with Air Tran--but would any other airline be any better?

Jan 15th, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,218
Frustrated with Air Tran--but would any other airline be any better?

In August, we booked a non-stop flight Milwaukee to Denver 11:50AM-1:30PM for tomorrow to meet up with a ski club arriving from Chicago 20 minutes after us--perfect; we'd just wait a little while for them. A couple of months ago, AT changed our flight so that they'd have to wait 20 minutes for us--I don't like making others wait, but the trip leader was very understanding.

An hour ago, AT called us to say they'd cancelled our flight. They offered us a 7:57PM-9:27PM NS or 5:40AM-11:18AM, with less than an hour to connect in Atlanta. That's 2,000 miles out of the way, we have to get up in the middle of the night, I worry that we'll miss our connection, and we have to wait 2+ hours in Denver. AT absolutely refused to put us on any of three NS flights from MKE to DEN--they were all earlier than we'd like, but at least they were NS. I spoke to a supervisor, but he wouldn't let me speak to his supervisor.

AT would refund the $83.10pp we paid for our tickets, but we'd have to spend several hundred dollars more to book a different flight. We took the morning flights, and the supervisor told me that he had the authority to put us in business class seats, but he refused to do that.

abram is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,410
Since you posted this on 1/15 I take it you're already enroute to Denver one way or another.

Did AirTran refuse to put you on an earlier AirTran flight NS MKE to DEN, or did you want them to put you on a different airline. Don't expect the latter. Not gonna happen.

Flight schedules happen all the time, on every airline. With many fewer people flying compared to several years ago the airlines are constantly reevaluate profit/loss on their routes, and have cut a lot of service everywhere. There's no profit in flying empty planes.

It's unlike an airline to cancel a flights 14hrs in advance due to profit reasons. This sounds more like a last minute operational change due to crew or equipment location or some other hiccup.

Since MKE to DEN isn't a hotbed of non-stop flights I suspect your options are limited.

Whenever I need to be someplace at a specific time I make sure I give myself plenty of margin for error. We read all the time here on Fodors about people trying to catch an expensive cruise with minutes to spare, and bad weather delays a flight. $&#$ happens.

On second thought, given that this was a 14hr in advance cancellation I'm surprised AT wouldn't put you on Frontier - maybe that's something they just don't do.
J62 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,274
I don't think Air Tran was being unreasonable. It offered you 2 alternatives that would get you to your destination on the same day.

Back in Nov 09 my nonstop AA flight BOS-LAX was cancelled about 90 minutes prior to departure. I was already enroute to the airport. I was put on a connecting flight via ORD. Instead of my original exit row seat with extra legroom, I sat in middle seats. I arrived in LAX several hours later than originally scheduled. I was actually quite pleased with this - at least AA got me to my destination on the same day.

Flight cancellations happen, and of course when it happens to you, it's unpleasant. But I am okay with it as long as they get me there within a reasonable time frame. These days, if I have something important to attend, I make sure I schedule in enough cushion time just in case of situations like this. On my Nov trip, I flew to LA solely to attend a concert recital, and I made sure I was due to arrive the day before the concert. I would never expect any upgrades or expect them to put me on a different airline IF they have alternative flights to get me to my destination on the same day.
yk is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,619
I do not know if another airline would be better, I just know Air Tran did this to me, too.

I specifically chose a nonstop flight from Portland, ME, to Florida because of a family member's flying issues. A month or so before the flight, it was cancelled.

I had to switch to a nonstop from BOS, pay an increase in the fare, and pay to take the bus to get to the airport.

A nonstop on Air Tran? Don't hold your breath.
scotlib is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,369
My DH is at this very moment on a NS Boston-Orlando. Hope it does not decide to stop someplace.
gail is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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It's amazing that we've all become so tolerant of airlines problems that we don't even expect to get where we're going on time! The airlines have sure trained us well.

I still do not think that the options were reasonable, and the corker was when the supervisor told me he could upgrade me, but wouldn't.

I cancelled the tickets, paid a lot to fly non-stop on another airline. We had to wait for three hours for our group, but friends in Denver met us for lunch, and the time flew by.
abram is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,369
IMO, what has happened is that we all expect to fly cheap - and airlines have done what they must do to give us that - nothing more than a seat. Air Tran is considered a budget airline - so once again, you get what you pay for.

I would gladly pay 10-20% more per ticket - along with everyone else on the plane - if that would allow airlines to return to level of service from years ago. Airlines weasel around that by charging for bags, premium seats, etc. People must want to travel packed like sardines with no food and carry on bags more appropriate for refugees than travelers - or else someone would do things differently.
gail is offline  
Jan 19th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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gail, I agree--I'd be willing to pay more to get more.

I didn't pick AT for the price, but for the schedule--my mistake.
abram is offline  
Jan 19th, 2010, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Never never buy your ticket that far in advance if what's important is schedule and not price.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 377
Sorry to hear of your predicament, but, as some others have pointed out, schedule changes are becoming more and more common -- on all carriers. Did AirTran have space on the 3 NS flights they refused to put you on? If so, then I think it was poor customer service on their part not to give you one of those flights.

Also, J62 alludes to, LCCs like AirTran, Southwest, Jet Blue, etc. do not interline with other carriers. For example, had your ticket been on Delta, they probably would have booked you on United, Continental, or one of the other "legacy" carriers. This is something I consider when purchasing a ticket.

yk, I was a bit taken aback by your comments. If you walked into a restaurant, ordered a steak and was served fish instead, would you be "pleased?"
LT is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Posts: 8,218
AT just told me that their two flights were my only options. In the past, they have told me that they will not put passengers on another airline. Wehn we checked in for our United flight, the employee told me that AT has, many times, put passengers on UA.
abram is offline  
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