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Old July 1st, 2003, 08:58 PM
Chris Mitchell
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Default Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

Just a FYI to future Airtran customers who might be enticed to give up their seats in return for 'compensation' You won't get the truth from Airtran til it is too late..so here's my story.........will post if I get any response from airtran.

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.
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
Wags
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

I know your pain, because this happened to my husband and I with Northwest Airlines. In January 2003 and again in February 2003, we gave up our seats and selected the roundtrip tickets, but had the option to take either roundtrip tickets OR $300 each in travel vouchers. In March we attempted to book the four rountrip tickets. After hours on the telephone with Northwest customer service representative we couldn't find any destination that fit into our timeframe, so I wrote a letter to Northwest asking to exchange the rountrip travel vouchers for the $300 travel vouchers. Of course I got a letter back saying they couldn't do this.

In order to use the roundtrip vouchers we had to begin our trips one year from the date of issue, so we made a list of acceptable airports and destinations and then I called Northwest customer service and gave them this information and I informed her of the airports in our area (all within five hour drive) and our top two destinations -- Cancun and Jamaica. We had to be very flexible with our dates and we have to drive to Chicago O'Hare (about 3 1/2 hrs) for one trip and to St. Louis (about 5 hrs) for the other, but we got the trips booked. For both destinations we had to stay 8 nights instead of 7 nights and leave in the middle of the week, but everything worked on in the end. So keep trying and good luck!
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked fligh

3 friends and I gave up our seats on an overbooked Continental flight to Cancun. In return, we were given first class seats on the next flight (75 minutes later), and a $400 travel voucher. The only problem with the travel vouchers was you couldn't put them towards a 'package' (we had been told we could), they could only be used for airfare up to $400. In other words, if you booked a flight that was only $250, you lost the balance. Still, flying first class to Cancun was good enough, and we used our vouchers to fly to Las Vegas for free last year. So, sometimes it does work out okay, I guess it just depends on the airline, their policies, and your flexibility.

Cheers,
MaryC
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Old July 7th, 2003, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

Back in the days of Eastern airlines I was commuting weekly from Philadelphia to Atlanta for about 18 months. I would book a return flight on Friday at 2:00 p.m. The airplane started in Miami, stopped in Atlanta, stopped in Philly, and finished in Boston. Now that's a pretty heavily travelled route.

Every single Friday it was oversold. I'd walk up to the agent and he would hand me a voucher for a free ticket, every week. If there was room on the 4:00 flight I would take it, if not I got a voucher for taking a bump on that one too. If there were seats available on the 6:00 flight I would take that one, if not I would get a voucher for that one too and then get on a Delta 6:15 flight which honored Eastern's ticket. Eastern was flying a DC-9 (a very small plane for that much traffic) and maybe that's why they folded.

I once was holding 34 free tickets. Back in those days you didn't have to show an I.D. to board a plane so I would have the ticket filled out with only my first initial and last name. I would send them to relatives with the same last name who would use them to come visit us.

We did make it to Hawaii a couple of times but like another posted, we had certain dates we had to fly and going west was like Tues. through Thurs. and coming east was like Mon. through Wed. or something. They made it very difficult to use them but you could use them if you were flexible.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old July 7th, 2003, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

This is common practice for all airlines and they are covered by placing these rules on the back of the certificate. It isn't just AirTran by any means. A free flight for leaving a couple hours later is still a good deal.
Jim

PS We once gave up our very good reserved seats together up front on American when they asked. They then said they weren't needed after the flight was loaded and we were placed on the flight in separate seats in poor locations with NO compensation. The two that got the free vouchers came after us but they also happened to be a couple very pretty young ladies and the ticket agent was a young man. Guess why they got the vouchers.

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Old July 10th, 2003, 12:35 PM
Chris Mitchell
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Default Re: Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked fligh

Followup!!!
just to let you know that I just received a phone call from Airtran and they have apologized for their lack ot providing information about restrictions on compensation tickets..and they will now be allowing us to use our tickets WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS as we had hoped....
Yahoo... a corporation that responds and does the correct thing!

according to the customer relations manager that I spoke with, is it customary at Airtran that a passenger be given written information at the time they volunteer their seats for overbooking... since this was not given to us they are going to honor the tickets without restrictions.....
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Old July 11th, 2003, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

Fantastic, boy did you luck out!
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Old July 11th, 2003, 10:55 AM
Myles
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

Customer service is one of the differences between AirTran, JetBlue,Southwest and America West as compared to the big boys. The big boys grew too big for their pants and forgot how they reached the top of the heap. Maybe that has something to do with why the AirTrans, etc. of the world are operating in the black and the big boys are operating in the red. Good Luck.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Air Tran deceptive compensation for overbooked flights

My nephew is a captain for Air Tran, and he keeps me up to date on what is happening with the Co. I am also retired from a major carrier, however I now own stock in Air Tran. They are experiencing growth, profitability and customers enjoy superior customer service. Watch out SOUTHWEST!
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