United Airlines used to compensate passengers with ‘Skykits’ or “Please Accept Our Apology” card when something went wrong, like a broken reading light or broken arm rest. In 2011 the airline imposed a limit of 6 customer service compensations every 6 months because the airline was so messed up apologizing was getting very expensive.
In 2015 United launched a new compensation program with staff given discretion on when to distribute the vouchers. The values at that time were,
- Premium passengers and 1K and Global Services members: up to $125
- Platinum and Gold elites: $50 to $100.
- Other passengers: Up to $50.
United has tweaked the program several times, and is now testing giving out miles instead of travel vouchers.
According to a memo, @united is testing a new compensation scheme for customers who have bad experiences. Rather than giving vouchers — which can be worth $75 or more — the airline only will offer miles. This smacks of cost-cutting. What do you think? Will customers accept it? pic.twitter.com/NwSpphwzbx
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) February 14, 2020
American Airlines gives out miles via their iSolve tool, and has admonished flight attendants not to give out so much compensation. They’re also telling agents to be careful not to give out iSolve compensation to passengers on Canada itineraries who face delays, cancellations, or misconnects – because it fails to meet the requirements of Canada Air Passenger Protection Regulations.
American Airlines is obligated to comply with the Canadian APPR for flights to and from Canada, including itineraries that contain a Canada segment.
- Refrain from using iSolve to compensate Canadian APPR customers
- Direct customers to aa.com/CanadaPassengers for any compensation requests
A future enhancement in iSolve will prevent any compensation from being provided in iSolve for cancelled, delayed or misconnected flights within our control and a Canadian segment is included in the itinerary
Presumably United faces the same challenges with its compensation program – passengers may not know it but if they’re flying to or from Canada they’re entitled better treatment than if they’re flying within the U.S.