The Policy Board of FFOCUS would like to wish each and every member a Happy, Healthy and Joyous Holiday Season, and we wish you safe travels during the upcoming year.
WASHINGTON — On his third day at snowbound Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Gordon Frazer was running out of time and options. Sunday's flight home to Atlanta was canceled, just as it had been Friday and Saturday. The short, two-hour trip on any normal day had been transformed into a 72-hour, frozen nightmare. Read More
GENEVA — Airlines are trying to shrug off a financially-plagued decade by promising passengers more low fares as well as a seamless, paperless and even "contact-less" travel experience, industry executives said. Read More
The Transportation Department responds to tarmac horror stories by ordering airlines to let passengers stuck in stranded airplanes to deplane after three hours. Read More
In its second interim report on the May 31 loss of the Air France A330-200 over the Atlantic, France's BEA issued its first safety recommendations and concluded that "In the absence of any data from the flight recorders, the main parts of the airplane and any witness testimony on the flight, the precise circumstances of the accident, and therefore its causes, have still not been determined." Read More
Plans by Australia's government to scrap some foreign-ownership rules for Qantas Airways Ltd will give the carrier more clout to raise capital and play a bigger role in the consolidation of a global industry that has bled cash and jobs in a vicious downturn. Read More
Pilots say a good landing is one you can walk away from. Airline shareholders who hung on while their shares scraped along this summer probably feel the same way. Read More
The monster storm that barreled up the East Coast, burying airports from Washington to New York to Philadelphia in record snowfall Saturday, continued its march north Sunday, threatening more flight delays and cancellations in New England. Read More
FFOCUS is deeply concerned about the recent instances of passengers having to face long delays on board airliners. While the airline industry attempted to deal with the issue by putting policies in place which would protect passengers from future occurrences, it is apparent such safeguards are not enough.
Since it appears that the industry cannot adequately provide for customers' rights when lengthy ground delays take place on board, we are inclined to support a "Passengers' Bill of Rights", which is being proposed by some local members of Congress. It is clear that something must be done...and NOW.
If you're flying on US Airways today or in the near future, be sure to bring plenty of cash. Today marks the first day of US Airways' new beverage purchase program. Under this program, US Airways is charging for all beverages served on their aircraft, including water. Reports are coming in from all across the country today of thirsty, confused passengers finding themselves trapped on flights totally unprepared for what some suggest essentially amounts to a shakedown. As has become the norm, US Airways has placed the burden of enacting these hostile policy changes solely on their front-line employees without any consideration for the precarious position this puts them in.
The very concept of this beverage sale program, in general, is flawed. The potential revenue generated from this program is a drop in the bucket compared to the salaries and bonuses paid to the US Airways executive team, who despite rampant mismanagement, continue to be rewarded for their failures. The price of fuel is taking its toll on everyone, from the bottom up. The struggle and hardship must be shared at all levels. The management of US Airways continues to shoulder little burden of these fuel prices and chooses to penalize their customers for their own failures. This is wrong.
Called a "Business Model Transformation" by US Airways management, the most recent changes involve US Airways cutting the most basic services from their flights while holding fares at levels at or above the competition, none of which, thus far, has stepped forward to match those changes. This blatant value disparity gives the traveling public little reason to choose US Airways for their air travel needs.
Where we stand
Water is necessary for sustaining human life. At minimum, FFOCUS believes US Airways, and all air carriers, should be required to provide unlimited amounts of water to its passengers upon demand. Reduced humidity levels and high altitudes cause strain on the human body that requires replenishment of vital fluids. The level of humidity and the altitude to which the cabin is pressurized are the responsibility of the airline. As such, these conditions must be effectively dealt with by providing free hydration along with a ticket purchase. We acknowledge and accept that soft drinks, coffee, tea, juices and alcoholic beverages are things that anyone can do without. If US Airways chooses to charge for those items, that is their right. We don't like it, but we can accept it. We cannot accept that US Airways intends to subject its passengers to atmospheric conditions that cause dehydration and then refuses to provide subsistence for relieving those conditions.
With the drink purchase program's arrival and the eve of drastic changes to the Dividend Miles program upon us, we encourage you to make your voice heard.
What you can do
FFOCUS ACTION ALERT!
The following links and telephone numbers can be helpful in encouraging US Airways to reverse these changes. We encourage everyone to make use of these resources.
Make your voice heard!
SaveDividendMiles.com - Organized by Randy Peterson of FlyerTalk and InsideFlyer in protest of Dividend Miles program changes, to go into effect August 6, 2008. Be sure to sign the petition.
US Airways Customer Relations - Contact US Airways and make your voice heard. Please note that US Airways Customer Relations only communicates via e-mail and postal mail. Customer relations via telephone is no longer offered, however you may call (866) 523-5333, select option 3, and receive information.
Customers, employees pay for everything, US pays nothing
FFOCUS ACTION ALERT!
Friday, June 13, 2008 MYSTIC ISLAND, NJ - Yesterday, US Airways announced drastic changes to their operation. Labeled as a "Business Model Transformation" by the airline, these changes affect virtually every segment of aviation: frequent flyers, business travelers, leisure travelers and employees. All involved will feel the blistering sting of change except, of course, the leadership of the lowest ranked airline in the US in customer service (source: US DOT). While other executives have agreed to forego all or a portion of their salary during these troubled times, President Scott Kirby and Doug Parker are pouring over their spreadsheets pondering who to terminate, lay off, or transfer out of a job while continuing to be rewarded for their failed leadership. We at FFOCUS find this to be intolerable, especially in consideration of the customer service atrocities that our members and the general public have endured at the hands of this executive team.
It is not in the best interest of the shareholders of US Airways' to have its inept management team continue to drive away more and more of its traditional high-yield, short-haul business travelers. Failure to fairly and considerately address the needs of their best customers will, in our opinion, lead to the ultimate demise of US Airways.
As a result of the recent actions announced by the management team at US Airways, it is with great sadness and reluctance that we ask our membership and all who fly US Airways to please direct their business elsewhere.
We urge anyone who has to fly US Airways to report poor customer service and operational flight issues promptly to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) . For our message to be heard, US Airways must remain at the bottom of the rankings and we, as customers, can keep them there.
To our friends who are US Airways employees, we encourage you to join together, be active in your unions, and encourage customers to contact the DOT with their grievances. Together, we stand with you in this struggle.
Finally, to all FFOCUS members, be vocal. Join FlyerTalk and be an active blogger when you can. Talk to other frequent flyers in your travels. Let it be known how you feel. Be loud. Be long-winded. Let everyone know the truth about US Airways. FFOCUS remains an active, tireless, grassroots advocate of positive change in the airline industry. With an interest in the well-being of the consumer, we stand ready to assist industry leaders in dealing with the evolving business conditions of today's airline industry.
FFOCUS Policy Committee
FFOCUS Responds to the Delta/Northwest Merger Proposal
Mystic Island, NJ - There is no doubt that the airline industry is fundamentally changing. Recently announced bankruptcies and several outright cessations of operation have been notable news items. The industry is being shaken to its core by inefficient business practices, needless backend processes and, of course, skyrocketing fuel prices. Without question, something must change to ensure the long-term viability of air travel as a regular form of transportation.
The recently announced merger of Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines along with the seemingly imminent tie-up of Continental and United has left us wondering where the airline passenger will stand in a consolidated airline industry. Recent action by the federal government to increase involuntary denied boarding (IDB) compensation from $400 to $800 is a promising step in protecting airline passengers from customer service breakdowns encountered while travelling.
With a sizable majority of our members having endured (and continuing to endure) the still-incomplete 2005 merger of America West Airlines and US Airways and the customer service lapses that followed, we are deeply interested in the protections to consumers being offered by the management of Northwest and Delta and the effect it will have on our growing membership. A healthy airline industry is one that is financially sound and able to provide at least a reasonable, competitive level of customer service.
We will reserve judgment until all of the facts are presented, but the official position of FFOCUS is one of cautious optimism. Our confidence in the management of Delta and Northwest is strong, based on the overwhelming support we received from them in placing our members into their frequent flyer ranks during the undeniably chaotic 2006-2007 period of the US Airways/America West merger as well as the generally favorable opinions we've received from passengers and employees alike.
We challenge Delta and Northwest to take the necessary steps to ensure that, should it be approved, the merger will result in a new airline that sets higher standards of customer service, reaches new heights in customer satisfaction, and preserves the most fundamental qualities an airline should possess: Safety, Reliability, and Consistency. From our Policy Committee to our greater than 1,000 members, FFOCUS stands willing to work with them in providing input from a customer perspective on the proposed merger and will provide any insight, information, or assistance they may need in taking care of their customers through what will certainly be a very complex merger.