Etihad Refusing to Honor First Class Mistake Fare and Southwest Testing New Boarding Process

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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. The Etihad customer whose paid tickets were unilaterally downgraded from first to business class for the India-departing tickets could take up the matter in India’s very slowly moving court system and see how it goes. Indian judges seem to be on average more consumer friendly than our US federal judges, and the “mistake” claim would only go so far with at least some of those judges. And the Indian federal judges are more impartial, objective, and consumer-friendly in the aggregate than Emirati judges.

    The linked article is from a UAE source, and in the UAE it’s dangerous to be critical of the government and the emirs’ interests — no less so as the UAE condones torture and was de facto complicit in trying to kill and bury revelations of the Saudi government’s murder of Adnan Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. And also let’s not forget that the UAE has debtors’ prisons — actually regular, awful prisons — for those with unpaid or underpaid bills in the eyes of Emiratis. And those prisons are no less applicable when those bills/purchases are disputed and being pursued by Emiratis against foreigners. The purchaser of the disputed EY first class tickets, as a resident in and traveller to/from/via the UAE, is lucky that he’s not being subjected to “Lock ‘em up” and “rough ‘em up” UAE-style “justice” for this kind of thing.

  2. Can’t wait till passengers entering from the front and rear on SW meet at the exit row simultaneously and duke it out over who gets the seats

  3. At AA, we are considering the same approach as SW, but charging $15 to use the front door rather than tarmac and back door. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    PS, SW is a cattle car.

  4. Hey “Dug” Parker… what about AA continuing to improve the experience of Exec Plats before and after the flight?

    In the same spirit of decreasing EVIPs, decreasing earned miles, increasing required spend, you could have them push the ramps back and forth, and of course push start the planes instead of using a GPU. That is a fitness benefit from AA… AND you could save at least a few EQM’s that way!

  5. @GUWonder The issue is he was not downgraded. My understanding is the F itinerary was ticketed in J. Sure, he has false advertising claim but that’s about it. He paid a J price for a J ticket. Would have a much stronger case if the ticket was “correctly” issued in F. I agree Etihad should honor the advertised class of service but it’s an uphill battle.

  6. gary, thank god for your sensible tipping advice.

    a big middle finger to anyone who argues for tipping more (i.e. anybody who is trying to be generous with MY money)

  7. @Gary – On the tipping front, your linked post starts with “I hate tipping”, so it just seems obvious that a fair number of people disagree. We all have our pet peeves. I guess that yours are just more public, given your occupation.

  8. @ Jason – If you avoid establishments that add mandatory gratuity charges, why should you care what others have to say about tipping? Unless you feel pressured to offer bigger tips, then it’s just your awareness of looking cheap. Sorry, folks, but you can’t have it both ways.

  9. I’m amused by the fact pattern in that tipping article where the “cheapskate” is only tipping 20% before tax. Sigh.

    Obviously, it is in the interest of those who work as waiters to suggest that 20% tips are “normal” and expected. But they are not. Nobody else in the world tips like this. In the example given in the article, a $100 restaurant meal should come with a $22 tip. If the waiter serves only 3 customers an hour, that’s $66. That’s an absurdly generous wage for a semi-skilled job.

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