FFOCUS (Frequent Flyers Organized and Concerned about Unacceptable Service) Mission Statement

FFOCUS creates a path for open dialogue that identifies solutions to the problems faced by today’s travelers, and advocates on behalf of the traveling public to improve the travel experience for all.

Adopted March 2009 by the FFOCUS Policy Committee

Welcome to FFOCUS!

As a founding member and Chairman Emeritus of Frequent Flyers Organized & Concerned about Unacceptable Service or FFOCUS, allow me to be the first to welcome you to our web site. On behalf of the entire membership, we hope you'll visit often and join us in our efforts to become a voice for all airline customers. As you navigate the site you will find helpful hints on how to reach out to airlines effectively when confronted with poor service. We also have a Customer Advocate assigned to most carriers in the United States. If you decide to join us we have a very lively and fun bulletin board forum full of useful information to those who travel. We encourage you to register for our forums, and participate in the various airline- and travel-related discussions. Thanks for dropping by, we hope to see you often either as a visitor or member.

Warmest regards,

Robert Johnson, Chairman Emeritus, FFOCUS.org

Checks Ordered For GenX Engines

Bloomberg - U.S. airlines using General Electric  GEnx jet engines will be required to inspect their planes for signs of the type of flaws that led to a July explosion, the FAA said.  Read More>

NextGen Progress

Bloomberg - A $2.4 billion replacement of U.S. air-traffic control computers that’s been plagued by delays and cost overruns will be completed within its revised budget and 2014 deadline, said Michael Huerta, acting chief of the FAA.  Read More>

GoGo in Canada

Chicago Tribune - Canadian regulators have cleared in-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo to build out its network in the country, a move that will allow the Itasca-based company's airline customers to offer service on flights between the U.S. and Canada.  Read More>

FAA May Loosen Electronics Rules

The Hill - Airline passengers may one day not have to turn off their portable electronic devices after the cabin doors of their airplanes are closed, depending on the outcome of a new Federal Aviation Administration study.  Read More>

Gate Shuffle Coming To SEA

Seattle Times - Passengers flying out of Sea-Tac Airport will find their airlines playing a game of musical chairs starting next year...  Read More>

Australia Against EU Emissions Rule

Aviation Week - The EU emissions trading system (ETS) is facing a fresh challenge, this time from Australia­—an unexpected move by a country that also considers cap-and-trade systems a viable option to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions.  Read More>

Taxes/Fees On Air Travel

Consumer Travel - “There are a few industries — and their customers — that pay more than their fair share: alcohol, tobacco, gambling and airlines,” says Nicholas Calio, president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America. “Yes, airlines.”  Read More>

Concern About Washington Airport Authority

The Hill - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and elected officials from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., said Tuesday that the authority that oversees the capital region's airports is in dire need of reform.  Read More>

FAA Not Concerned About NextGen

NPR - But a number of computer security experts are concerned that the cornerstone of NextGen is insecure and vulnerable to hackers.  Read More>

Airbus Explains Latest A350 Delay

WSJ - So Airbus’s A350 has been delayed by up to three months because of of recent production problems.  Read More>

Is the answer for AA in bankrupcy to merge with US?

From the Top---Measuring Loyalty by Revenue??? It's Not the Only Metric....Wake Up UA/CO

Nine years ago next week, B Ben Baldanza tried to shake up the Dividend Miles Program at US Airways by making a game changing announcement: Unless you were traveling on a full fare ticket, your miles would no longer count toward elite status. He actually said. "Someone who flies alot is not necessarily loyal if he always buys the lowest price tickets when he flies. That's not necessarily the type of loyalty we want to reward. We want to reward those people who pay a premium for the services we offer."

The attempt to change the rules of DM, and in particular, the quote above really got under my skin--and the skin of 6 other elite flyers at US. We organized on Flyertalk and began a grass roots effort to let US Airways and B Ben Baldanza in particular, know that from a customer perspective this would not stand. This movement gave birth to what became known as the "Cockroaches", and within 10 days, US rescinded this proposed change, and we moved on to become FFOCUS.

There is a very strong rumor coming out of Chicago that UA/CO is considering similar changes to Mileage Plus for the 2012 calendar year, and it is being as warmly received by FF's as US--if even less so. We think that UA/CO is going down a slippery slope with these proposed changes, and we hope they will take the time to listen to the voice of the customer before announcing the details of the new Mileage Plus.

Below is my post on Flyertalk from yesterday....as Yogi Berra says, could this be "Deja Vu All Over Again"????

 

We have always advocated that it is better to reward customers who pay more than to penalize those who don't. Mileage bonuses, instant upgrades and other rewards for purchasing higher fares should continue in earnest if their goal is to encourage more spend.

The current rumored changes, while they will certainly weed out some unprofitable customers, will also likely catch some unintended targets in the process. In many cases, corporate travelers are required by company policy to purchase the lowest available fare in a market...and in some cases regardless of airline....but those who CHOOSE to stay with UA but MUST choose the lowest available fare by policy will be penalized by this alleged new program.

New information tools are making it easier for airlines to identify individual travel patterns, which could yield them the ability to balance frequency with revenue when determining elite qualification standards. To rely on either or exclusively at this point will ultimately prove to be a mistake--either for them or for us.

As my colleague SS255 has indicated, our organization was started over a plan alarmingly similar to this one....we can only hope that UA will listen to those of us who can and will speak up, and work together on something which works for everyone.

I am sure our friends at UA/CO will get an earful at the upcoming Star MegaDo 3 when participants meet in Chicago--but don't leave it to them--let UA/CO know how you feel NOW. What we are hearing is that if they in fact go down this path, they may see a significant exodus of customers.....let's help them prevent that if at all possible.

Happy Flying

Art

From the Chairman 7 24 11 - Rambling Thoughts and Questions

I found myself  booking another trip on US the other night, primarily because my wife is traveling out of ISP the same time I am, and I need to be in CLT for Wednesday morning. This will also be my first visit through PHL in about 4 and a half years--so looking forward to seeing some old friends, if any are left.

As I booked my seats, however, as expected, they won't give exit row seats to Star Golds, but all that was left on 2 of the flights were Choice Seats...so in order to get a pre-reserved seat, I got charged. It just doesn't seem right--I thought if there were NO other seats, they can't charge for them. Have any of YOU had a similar experience? If you change to exits at the airport or within the 24 hour window do they still KEEP your money? Oh wait--that's a stupid question.....

Also we hear tell that US and AA (among others) is now keeping the ticket taxes collected but which cannot be paid to the FAA....in addition to showing some alignment with AA (read Airbus order, charging elites for Choice Seats etc.), does this portend future similarities which could mean a UCT (those on the old USAviation.com would know what that is - Unique Corporate Transaction)? 

Finally there is a big brouhaha brewing over the recent ad placed by USAPA in USA Today concerning an incident where a captain refused to accept an aircraft due to a mechanical issue and was escorted off the airplane. The company swiftly issued a disclaimer  vehemently denying the facts of the incident. The problem is that the strength and volume of their denial actually has the opposite effect and gives credence to the original claim. While we won't get involved in this issue with regard to labor/management disputes, all I will say is that if any evidence can be found indicating that the issues with the aircraft DID exist, and that a subsequent crew ALSO refused to fly the aircraft overseas due to this issue, then further action needs to be taken from a regulatory point of view. 

This should not be made into an internal political issue, but the traveling public has the right to know how safe US really is.....and Doug Parker's article in the recent magazine touting the safety of US makes the situation even MORE suspicious....... One thing you have to remember is that PERCEPTION IS REALITY to most people....so if something APPEARS to be awry and the opposing side gets over-defensive, then there is probably SOME truth to it......

Fly safe my friends.......

Best,

Art

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