U.S. Airways' "Commitment To Excellence" Has Nothing To Do With Your Customer Service Problem

Many of us are continually finding ourselves trapped in Byzantine mazes of bad customer service, where we keep ending up in the same dead-ends with the same undesirable options. And if you dare question the company about its public declarations of quality service and the like, you’re likely to be told that such claims don’t apply to your situation.

Just ask photographer, author and blogger and Scott Kelby, who recently detailed his ongoing ordeal with U.S. Airways over something that should be incredibly easy to resolve — frequent flier miles.

Scott was recently notified by U.S. Airways that his 81,000 accrues miles were about to expire because he hadn’t flown with the carrier since 2008. Problem was, he had flown with them — twice — and he could prove it.

So I called US Airways, referenced my two missing flights from 2009, and asked if they would reinstate my miles. They said a resounding “No!” The customer service rep said I hadn’t supplied my Dividend Miles number when booking the trips, so those US Airways flights (even though they can see on my account that I took them), don’t count, and they’re keeping my miles.

A travel agent actually books my flights, and they apparently didn’t give US Airways my number. Well, I asked “couldn’t we just add those in now? You see them right there on your computer?”The less than helpful US Air Customer Service rep told me that they couldn’t just add my number now, because it’s outside their time limit to do so. I would have had to catch the mistake last year…

I mentioned to her that in each issue of US Airways in-flight magazine is a letter from Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman and CEO, and I had remembered reading his letter on one of my US Airways flights where he talked about his customer service group’s “Commitment to excellence,” and about creating a truly great airline, and I asked her if this was an example of that commitment to US Airways customers he was talking about? She paused, then told me (I am not making this up), his letter had nothing to do with my situation.

The customer service rep kept leading down the same path to the same three options for reinstating his miles: 1) Pay $300; 2) Get a U.S. Airways Visa card; 3) Pay for a first-class ticket on the airline.

He chose option #4: Taking his business elsewhere:

My company flies literally hundreds of people around the world all year long. We fly over 100 staff and instructors just to our two Photoshop World conferences alone, plus we fly an entire team to our 80+ seminars around the world each year, plus all the conferences, workshops, and events we hold and/or attend each year. How many of those do you think we’ll be booking on US Airways going forward?

How US Airways Just Lost Yet Another Customer [ScottKelby.com]