Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

How AirTran (and probably other airlines) weasel out of situations

How AirTran (and probably other airlines) weasel out of situations

Sep 2nd, 2009, 03:48 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
How AirTran (and probably other airlines) weasel out of situations

My husband, daughter, son-in-law and I flew to Phoenix from Pittsburgh on AirTran, with a connection in Atlanta. Unfortunately, we traveled the day that the guy tried to take a fake bomb into LaGuardia, so air traffic was disrupted in several airports, including Pittsburgh (where we sat on the tarmac for about 40 minutes past the departure time). We arrived in Atlanta at 9:20 a.m., only minutes before our connecting flight to Phoenix and we didn't make it to the gate on time. The agent infomed us that they would put the four of us on standby for a 9 p.m. flight, but when I asked, admitted that flight was already oversold by five seats (right - as if there was much chance the four of us were going to get on that flight....). The best they could gurantee was that we could definitely fly out of Atlanta two days later. (NOT a way to begin a nice vacation....)

We headed over to the customer relations desk, where I spoke with the agent about alternative flights from Atlanta to Phoenix that departed earlier than any of the suggested options. We already knew there were 10 seats on a Delta flight and four on a USAir. The agent said that Delta wasn't a partner, but USAir was, but since the delay was not AirTran's fault due to mechanical failure or what-have-you, they were under no requirement to get us on another airline without a cost being involved. Turns out the USAir flight would have cost us $200 each, so we weren't exactly in love with that idea!

I've never been one to blame the person who is not making the rules, so I kept talking to her politely about alternatives, was there anything else she could do for us, etc., and she finally came up with us leaving that afternoon for Denver and then buying seats on a Frontier flight from Denver to Phoenix, at a cost of $80 per person. It seemed as if it was the best we were going to do, so we went for it and ended up in Phoenix 12 hours after we were originally meant to arrive.

My husband and son-in-law, in particular, kept going on about how they were never going to fly AirTran again, but it seems to me that we probably wouldn't have had any better luck had we been flying any of the other airlines. While I understand that quite a number of people had their flights and plans disrupted that day, it just seems a shame that the response we got is probably typical anymore. And what's the point of having "partners" if they are only used in VERY limited circumstances?
twina49 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
When my AT flight was late leaving MKE, so I knew I wouldn't make my connection in ATL, they refused to put me on the DL flight that would have allowed me to make that connection. AT told me that they don't have arrangements with ANY other airlines, so I was stuck with AT. Instead of getting to PBI at 10PM, I got to FLL at 1AM; AT did provide a van to where I was staying.
abram is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
And again I ask "how much did you pay for these tickets"?

The reason AirTran doesn't have "interline arrangements" with Delta is to keep costs down. They aren't going to write you over,because it's then full fare and.....I read these posts with "never going to fly" knowing that in most cases when the next trip comes around what's REALLY going to drive the decison is "cost" and if AirTran or whomever is $10 cheaper then off we go.

Now personally I would have stayed on the standby list before taking arrangement B in the OPs case. Remember your flight was not the ONLY disrupted travel that day.

The "partners" only get AirTran a discount on the price. It's still probably going to cost them MORE to write you over then you paid. Fare class counts in these situations. If you spent $500 you have a better shot then if you spent $99. Just economics.
CarolA is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 06:03 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
CarolA - The tickets weren't a lot cheaper than Southwest's non-stop. And remember, I wasn't the one who said they would never fly AirTran again - it was members of my family.

I'm curious why you wouldn't have taken Plan B, rather than the standby.
twina49 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 06:44 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 300
And what would Southwest have done for you? Sing you a little song or tell you a nice joke? You pick these airlines and play by their rules.
EricH is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 04:48 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
Based on some of the recent responses to posts (not just this one and not only the posts created by me), is there some kind of nasty/smartass bug going around on Fodors?
twina49 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:35 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
A partnership between airlines doesn't mean that Airline A automatically writes its passengers over to Airline B in the event of any and all disruptions in travel. If it were a mechanical issue on AirTran's part, possibly. But something like this that is out of the airline's control? It's under no obligation to do that.

It's frustrating, to be sure, and no fun to have it happen to you. I hope the rest of your vacation was enjoyable.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:14 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
Jeff - thanks for your reply, and yes, the rest of the vacation was very enjoyable!
twina49 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:50 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
I would have at least tried the standby because on days when there are travel disruptions... lots of folks are effected. While the flight shows "oversold" I have cleared lots on "full" or "oversold" because those other folks were affected by the same thing as you and didn't get to ATL in time.

But your decison may have been right for you. However, I think it's important to realize that in this day and age "partners" mean nothing. AIrlines aren't making any money. They can't afford to "write" the ticket over to their partner. The "partner" doesn't take the $100 you paid, but the "contracted amount" which is often much more then you paid. At one point AA's standard "fee" when moving us to another airline I was told was around $200 to $300 per passenger. (This was several years ago during thier 'strike' when they tried HARD to convince us that 'yes the FAs are going to cross the line and work this flight' And then at the time of departure would admit defeat, send the plane with just the pilots on to someplace to try and find a crew and start the re-ticketing on another airline.)
CarolA is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 07:43 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
Carol - I wonder why the airlines indicate partners, then? Also, I think if it had only been my husband and me on the flight, we probably would have taken a chance on the standby status as well. But with four of us, it seemed more likely that some of us could have gone while the rest would have remained behind. AirTran also suggested standby for the next morning, but it, too, was oversold. For us it was worth the extra $80 per person to go with the option we used.
twina49 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:24 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I think you did the right thing given the situation, twina. It did cost an extra $320 that you weren't planning on spending. That's the bad part. But you missed just 12 hours of your vacation, and you all arrived at the same time. And you had a great time. That's the best part.

There are varying degrees of "partnership" between airlines. Some share frequent-flyer programs. Some codeshare, meaning that another airline flies the route for it. Most, but not all, can transfer luggage on a multi-airline itinerary. I've always been under the impression that the low-cost carriers like AirTran and Southwest don't partner with anybody as a way of keeping costs down.

Does any money actually change hands when Airline A writes a passenger over to Airline B? I always figured it was kept track of, knowing that Airline B will need to do the same with Airline A sometime. In the grand scheme of things, it must even out. But is Airline A actually forking over money for the cost of a last-minute walk-up fare to Airline B? Once again, I assume AirTran and Southwest, to keep costs down, don't partner and don't have such agreements.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:42 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,158
Jeff, that's how I assumed the partnership worked - one day an AirTran customer needs to be put on a USAir flight, the next day the situation may be reversed. Ideally, it should all even out in the end. Too bad it doesn't actually seem to happen that way.
twina49 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:58 PM.