Bits ‘n Pieces for August 9, 2012

Around the travel, points and deals world in one post:

  • United 4 Mile Hong Kong Award Ticket Glitch Update: CBS News New York says that United gave $200 credits to customers who had booked the 4 mile Hong Kong mistake award tickets. (“Last July, United mistakenly offered $40 flights to Hong Kong. It dealt with the problem by issuing $200 gift certificates to some customers.”) I didn’t get a credit, I haven’t heard of anyone else that did. I wonder whether it’s misreporting (as is common) or whether anyone out there reports receiving a goodwill gesture from the airline?

  • American Bankruptcy Update: American’s pilots rejected a new contract, which puts the airline back in the position of asking their bankruptcy judge to unilaterally impose new terms. Meanwhile, American’s mechanics approved an agreement. And flight attendants continue to vote on theirs through August 19. Perhaps inconvenient timing, the bankruptcy judge is scheduled to rule on rejecting unresolved labor agreements. One has to imagine that the ruling will be delayed until the flight attendants’ vote is completed.

  • Who Are You Gonna Believe, Me or Your Lying Eyes? This Scott Mayerowitz AP piece tells the surprising story about the data — “U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades” — an industry-wide 84% on-time percentage for domestic flights in the first half of the year, and only 3 bags per 1000 delayed or damaged. There’s been less snow, fewer thunderstorms, and fewer takeoffs and landings than before the Great Recession (though planes are also more full, so it takes longer to load and unload an aircraft). Scott’s piece has more of the reasons.

  • The is How to Handle a Mistake Fare Dan’s Deals reports that El Al is not only honoring a $400 New York or Boston to Tel Aviv roundtrip ticket, they are offering free cancellation and refund options (since they’d rather have the seats back) and the ability to upgrade to El Al non-stop flights for $75 (which will save their having to pay Swiss for travel on the US – Zurich segments). More options that if folks take them up on it, the airline is actually better off.

  • Link, Sync, Like, Love for Loot? American Express has a list of malls where $50 spend in August will get you a $10 statement credit. You can get the $10 once per card, and need to load the offer onto your card in advance.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. FYI…I bought a $50 gift card at Woodbury Commons yesterday. They chared a $2.95 convience charge. I got the notification from American Express that I will get the $10 credit but in reality it will only $7.05

  2. How do you know which card Amex has synced for you? I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere.

  3. @coleman, did you go to the shopping center in irvine, ca? That’s right by my house.

  4. I think ElAl handled their mistake fare with a lot of dignity and grace. …and respect for their customers. In their statement, they said they wanted to co it ue to provide excellent customer service to those who already fly their airline….and hope that those who are experiencing it for the first time will fly them again. A class act for sure.
    United could have done so much more. A voucher. A credit. Even offering to change out the flights for a United Business seat. United was obviously not interested in the customers at all. Oh, except thos who flew before the 21st.

  5. I just realized that United never refunded the price of my tickets. They just canceled the tickets to Hong Kong and kept the $63 for each of the two tickets. Maybe a DOT complaint isn’t so out of order after all.

  6. El-Al: Some reports in the media had quotes from El-Al blaming the mistake fares on an external software vendor. I wonder if they think they can sue or otherwise recover part of the loss from that vendor — this would certainly help with their decision to honor the fares…

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