• Report: #663188

Complaint Review: Hawaiian Airlines

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  • Submitted: Wed, November 17, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, June 06, 2011

  • Reported By: Sheila — Mesa Arizona USA
Hawaiian Airlines
Honolulu, Hawaii United States of America

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles Hawaiian Airlines canceled upgrade behind my back reversing HawaiianMiles transaction Honolulu, Hawaii

*Author of original report: big difference between management and onboard service

*Consumer Comment: I agree

*Author of original report: Karl, please read the report before leaving comments

*Consumer Comment: My Assumptions Aren't Wrong

*Consumer Suggestion: Airline Miles aren't Worth Much

*Author of original report: What is the problem ?

*Consumer Comment: Obviously First Class Was Full

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In October 2010 I purchased two tickets, one for myself,  another one for my fiancee.  When I  called  HA  asking them for 2 upgrades using my  "Hawaiian Miles"  I  was  told  "there is only one upgrade for Hawaiian Miles available"   so  I  upgraded  my  fiancees  flight from Honolulu to Phoenix  and  printed  out  her  reservation.   However  I  was  told   "You can get another upgrade if you pay cash".    It  was  clearly  showing  "First"  instead  of  "Coach".  However,  there was  no  seat  assignment.  I  called  several  times  to  inquire why  the reservation was  not  showing  a  seat  and  I  was  told  that  there  are always  4  seats  that  Hawaiian Airlines  keeps without assigning them to a  passenger  but  I  was  told  that  I  would not have to worry -  a  First  Class  passenger would  not  get  bumped  for not  having a  seat assignment.

When we  arrived at  the airport  and  checked in  we  were given two  boarding passes  for  Coach  and  I  showed  what  I had  printed  out.  The  answer  was  "What you printed out does not have any meaning,  what  matters is  what  we  have in our  system and it is not showing that  she  has  a  seat  in First.   I  asked for a  supervisor and  she  came back  with  a  complete  printout  of  their system records  showing  that a  manager  canceled  the upgrade  that  had been  given to her  previously  and  returned  the Miles to my  Hawaiian Miles  Account.

This  happened behind my back without my knowledge  or  approval.  What  I believe is  that  a  manager needed the seat for himself for for one  of  his family members  (probably  Hawaiian Airlines employees don't  travel in Coach).  Another possibility  is  that  they preferred  to  sell  this  seat  for  cash  ($ 600.- one way)

What  I  have  learned  from this  experience is  that  Hawaiian Miles  are  worthless,  this  company  treats  you  like  you own  some kind  of   toy money  and  even if  your  reservation  is  clearly showing the upgrade  they  can  cancel it  at  any  time without  informing you.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/17/2010 03:48 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hawaiian-Airlines/Honolulu-Hawaii-/Hawaiian-Airlines-HawaiianMiles-Hawaiian-Airlines-canceled-upgrade-behind-my-back-reversi-663188. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
3Author 4Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

big difference between management and onboard service

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

You  are  right,  Karl -   the  service  onboard  is  probably  better  than  on  other  US  airlines.  Some  flight  attendants  are  really  nice  and  try  their  best  to  make  the  customer  happy.

On  the  other  side  the  management  try  their  best  to piss  the   happy  customer  off  forever  even  if  it  is  one  of  their  "Elite status  customers"  like  me  ("Pualani  Gold").  
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#2 Consumer Comment

I agree

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

I did read the report and I agree that you have a reason to be upset. We will never know why a reservation confirmation that clearly stated "First" was cancelled by a manager and the airline obviously won't tell you the name of the manager. I'm sure that First became full though and it would be interesting to know just how many seats were filled with upgrades. The refusal of the airline to assign a seat however would bother me.

I doubt seriously that Hawaiian or any other airline holds out as many as 4 seats in First for upgrade passengers but that is just supposition.

I've always liked Hawaiian for its customer service, in flight amenities and general friendliness. I have Hawaiian Miles but it is probably stupid because we only fly to Hawaii every couple of years. I guess judging from your experience that Hawaiian is getting to be like all the rest of the airlines.

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#3 Author of original report

Karl, please read the report before leaving comments

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

Karl, I am under the impression that you did not read the report: this was about an upgrade, not the initial reservation. We both had valid, confirmed reservations and one segment was upgraded after I called HA. When I printed the reservation out after having requested the upgrade it was clearly showing "First" for the segment HNL - PHX. At no point in time I was told "this is a standby upgrade ...

if we find a cashpayer we will kick your fiancee back into economy". I have never seen something like that and several supervisors were totally confused about what happened. A supervisor at the HNL airport printed out the complete booking records and she was only able to explain to us that a manager had reversed the upgrade. She did not mention anything like "Sorry, your upgrade was reversed because it was only conditional ..."

Any reputable airline would have disclosed their actions, especially at the point were the upgrade was reversed. Hawaiian Airlines had our email addresses and the manager could at least have informed us about what he did. Obviously he did not even leave a note for other airline employees in the records that's why we are under the impression that he needed the First Class seat for his brother in law or his baseball buddy. A note like "Upgrade reversal because seat was needed for employee family member" would not look that good, so probably he just preferred not to leave any explanations at all.

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#4 Consumer Comment

My Assumptions Aren't Wrong

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

I've been flying for more than 50 years and I discovered early on that if you don't have a specific seat assignment you aren't guaranteed to go on the flight regardless of what some clerk tells you on the phone. Probably First was sold out when you made the reservation and the airline hoped that everybodywouldn't show up. If First was light when you called you probably would have gotten a specific seat number.

It may not be called "standby" but what it means when you are told that a seat will be assigned at the airportis that the flight was oversold andyour ability to get on that flight depends on how many people who have assigned seats don't show up. The airline will tell you not to worry -that you are guaranteed to be on that flight -but when the flight is full you will be apologized to and will recieve a "free" ticket plus a seat on the next flight -perhaps even an upgrade.

Of course your "free" ticket is capacity controlled which means that it will never be available for use. In the case of the Honolulu-Phoenix flight the next flight is the next day so you were lucky that coach was available. ALWAYS get an assigned seat number when flying or take another airline that can give you one if you MUST fly on a certain day. Don't believe what some clerk tells you on the phone.

I'd like to see a response from Hawaiian concerning the "4 seats always held" in First. If Hawaiian can sell a seat they will just like everybody else. When I recieve the "your seat will be assigned at the airport" bullshit I pick another flight where I can get an assigned seat -a real seat -22A, 4B etc.

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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Airline Miles aren't Worth Much

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

All of the airlines seem to make it as difficult as possible to use FF miles. I once spent 2 hours on the phone with American trying to use miles for a trip to Hawaii. Nothing available on any flight or any connection from March to October (I gave up then). Back in the '80's I didn't have much problem getting a seat but now it is really hit and miss. I'm sure that a seat is available on the 10 PM flight from Detroit to Chicago but forget about any tourist destinations. Sorry you had a problem but Hawaiian was probably full in First and you got put into coach. You are lucky coach wasn't full. At least you got to travel alongside your fiancee (I hope).

As a result I don't bother with FF miles anymore except for Southwest which according to a poll lets you use the free flight 97% of the time. As I recall some airlines were as little as 17%. If you ever decide to give up a seat ALWAYS take the $200 or $300 rebate for your next trip. NEVER take a "free" flight coupon.  You will never get to use it. Your flight will always be non-available.

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#6 Author of original report

What is the problem ?

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

Your  assumptions are  wrong:  there  was  nothing  like  a  "Standby  upgrade"  and  I  never heard  about  such a  thing.  I  called  them  several  times  to get a  seat  assignment  and  the answer  was  "we  always  keep  four  seats  without  assigning them but don't  worry,  your  fiancee  will  be  sitting in First Class."  Even  when we  talked to  the supervisor at  the  check in  she was  completely  confused  about what  happened.   She  had  a  printout  of  several  pages,  showing the complete  records and  there  was  nothing  that  would  confirm your  allegation that  the upgrade was only  "conditional"  or  a  "standby  upgrade".  Obviously  you are  smarter  than  this  supervisor  or  even  the  person  who  was  responsible  for  the  reversal.

Obviously  Hawaiian Miles  are  only  worth something if  a  passenger  wants  to purchase  them for cash.   Whenever I  try  to  use them  I  get  the  same  answer:  "Sorry,  nothing  available..."    Hawaiian Airlines  has  control  over  the  "availability"  and  obviously  they  are  not  interested in  converting them into  something beneficial for the passenger  as  long  as  they  can  get  cash  for the seats.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Obviously First Class Was Full

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

The airline doesn't have to issue an upgrade if they have enough paid passengers to occupy the seats. They should have told you that without a specific seat assignment your financee was essentially standby in First. They refunded your points so what is the problem?
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