To follow up. It's been about an hour since the computers came back up in the terminal and I'm finally in my seat on the plane. About 3 hours after it was supposed to depart.
There were several canceled flights in my terminal and no other flights going out so people had to stay overnight. Most were very mad as American was not supplying food or hotel vouchers - all those people are coming out of pocket I guess.
I heard quite a few saying things like, "No wonder they are going out of business" and "I will never fly American again no matter what".
Yeah, they'll never fly American again no matter what...until it has the lowest price ticket for the time/destination they want.
Every airline seems to have been doing this for decades now, and it boggles my mind why they do this. Do they think that getting people "on board" is demonstrating "progress! breakthroughs! we're moving forward folks!" or something and it's supposed to make us suddenly happy?
I'd so much rather spend the extra 2 hours at the gate than crammed into a 737 for the same amount of time, especially when they decide that they can't turn on the AC (when I was little, we were stuck in a fully packed 747 for 4 hours with no AC. They opened the front and back doors b/c it was so unbearable in there...)
This is a perfect example of "be careful what you measure". Customers don't care when they leave, they care when they arrive, but, since the FAA measures on-time departures, that is what has been optimized for, to the detriment of customers.
1. I would be willing to bet the FAA measures this at the request of the airlines. Measuring arrival time has many variables they can't control, whereas departure, as defined, is mostly controlled by the airlines.
Boarded a flight recently and fell asleep at once after sitting down. Woke up three hours later, plane was descending. It was supposed to be a 1.5h flight. Oh well.
Why are they not subject to a class action lawsuit? The problems rather obviously seem to be American's fault.
Seems like some enterprising lawyer should buy a ticket, drive to the airport, go to the AA gates, and start handing out business cards to everyone in sight.
Uh, because it takes time to file those.
Also, I suspect, because they have binding arbitration and anti-class-action clauses in the fine print of ticket purchase agreements.
Read the fine print on your ticket. You're not promised perfection.
bad weather, acts of God, terrorist activities, war, strikes, "any shortage of labor, fuel or facilities” and “any event not reasonably foreseen, anticipated or predicted”
This could fall under "not reasonably foreseen" or maybe act of God for the very religious :).
You have to be a ticketed passenger to get _to_ the gates.
Problem is: the reservation system's down.
Lets assume that I know you are mad, possibly pissed. Possibly so pissed that you are going to move your business away to someone else. By saying "sorry for the inconvenience", I diffuse your feelings....make it sound like "I'm sure you preferred to get there earlier....but no biggie, right?"
By giving you a sincere, heartfelt apology I validate all those reasons of why you are pissed. Gives you justification for your further actions.
Regardless, I don't see why it even matters to AA in this case. Thanks to FAA/Local Airport they have de facto monopolies for certain routes, in reality they don't need to apologize at all. (god, I wish competition existed in air travel).
Sabre, meanwhile, said American’s system outage did not come from its own computer systems. Other airlines, including Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, use the reservation system and have not experienced any outages, said Nancy St. Pierre, a spokeswoman for Sabre."
> Apparently, no information about reservations and other travel plans was lost, and American said there were no serious disruptions of its 2,300 daily flights.
UPDATE, 1:43 P.M.: The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed the ground stop. “GROUNDSTOP IMPLEMENTED BY ATCSCC ON AMERICAN AIRLINES NATIONWIDE AND AMR AMERICAN EAGLE INTO DFW, LGA, AND ORD AT THE REQUEST OF AMERICAN OPS. STOP REQUESTED AS RESULT OF AAL SABRE SYSTEM FAILURE.”
I've had contact with many systems that have their cores running on IBM mainframes with peripheral systems running on .NET. I fear those.
If AA has relied on SABRE for so long, why would they want to replace it? Cost?
This only works when it is the airlines fault and not an issue with weather.
I wonder if there was a threat against the airline? Perhaps something enough to be credible but not so specific as to be pinpointable, and rather than cause widespread panic by saying "ground every AA flight until we sort it out" (which would freak people out beyond belief), someone figured out that pulling the plug on their mainframe for a few hours would have the same result without the panic. Just some pissed off passengers.
Or maybe I've just been watching too much Homeland. Sigh.
Old software + "wish I could say more" = conspiracy
With US-based carriers, expect low prices, inflating awards points/miles, and bottom-level service.
With non-US based carriers, expect higher prices, no awards programs, and excellent service.
This is my experience flying in N. America, Europe, and Asia.
Also, although I will avoid the EasyJets and Ryanairs as much as possible, for a direct flight the duration of a bus ride it doesn't really make that much difference.
| Personally my most consistent good service
| experiences have been with Air Canada.
I think AC has gotten better, at least on domestic flights, since they've had more competition.
Same thing regarding EasyJet comments, which is another "niche" airline. Try flying EasyJet from LAX to NRT, for example.
I've been badly screwed over by Leftouthansa many times, their response: "Nope, we don't care. We look forward to seeing you onboard." [After 2 support tickets, one to complain and then the other to report the unanswered first ticket after 2 months]
I have been treated well by KLM.
Cough...China Eastern Airlines...cough. And oh my god, Air China. You guys have nothing on inconveniences when compared to the good ole PRC.
FWIW, I'm not attack any of the ideas of SOLID here, just the idea that knowing of or not knowing of any specific brand of process marketing buzzspeak is a useful indication of anyone's skill.
Here's to hoping I don't ever end up where you are. Let's just let programmers do programming instead of brushing up on their MBA/"Six Sigma" style time wasting.
UPDATE: 3:02 P.M.: The Federal Aviation Administration has advised that American Airlines has extended its ground stop to at least 7 p.m.
Clarification: The issue is w/ our ability to access our res system & not w/ @SabreNews. We apologize to Sabre & customers for confusion.
This is the same company used by Virgin America, US Airways, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines
Should anyone be bored enough for a read, I actually think SABRE's history is sort of interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabre_(computer_system)
"Integration costs" can be allocated to supporting what the business actually needs, and in the long-term there will be a cost saving. I appreciate the reality is not so straightforward.
"If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline." -- Richard Branson
All in all, it's a tough industry. That said, you get a few new entrants every decade. Frontier ('94), Jetblue ('2001?), Virgin America (2007).
I'm sure one of them has tried being nicer to customers, but next time those customers went to buy a ticket they bought one on AA cause it was $10 cheaper or left 30 min later.
Someone did a focus group awhile back about all the nice things an airline could do. And everyone was really excited about all the niceties that were on offer.
But then they asked everyone to raise their hands and to pull them down once they were no longer willing to pay that much.
At around $30 extra, over half the people had put down their hands. At $50, all but one.
For whatever reason, people de facto hate paying trivial amounts extra even in exchange for significant improvements. That's why we end up with really shitty flight experiences.
EDIT: Corrected spelling
There's some areas in the higher end stuff, but right now JetBlue / Southwest are about as progressive as you get.
I read an interesting blurb somewhere recently (forget where, sorry) that pointed out that it doesn't actually take that much capital to start and run a (small) airline. You can lease a plane and start out serving only one route, and you've got yourself an airline. Of course, how much capital is "a lot" is relative... let's just say that I won't be starting an airline anytime soon. But still, apparently it's easier to break into that business that you might think, looking at it from the outside.
It's not like alot of smart people haven't' tried. The airline industry is littered with the corpses of failed companies.