|By PR Newswire||
|April 26, 2007 11:45 AM EDT||
TEMPE, Ariz., April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- US Airways today announced a series of customer service initiatives designed to improve reliability and meet its customers' needs. The initiatives include a major increase in airport staffing, improved re-accommodation capabilities, state-of-the-art kiosk technology and other product enhancements.
Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, "The people of US Airways are dedicated to meeting our customers' needs. We did not do that in the first quarter of 2007 and are taking the necessary steps to improve our performance. Most of our reliability issues were related to a difficult reservations system migration and that project is now back on track. That issue did highlight some other areas of service improvement opportunity, including increasing airport staffing, improving our customer re-accommodation process during non-routine operations, and improving the product offering for some of our most loyal and frequent customers."
Increased Airport Staffing
US Airways has already begun an aggressive hiring plan to place more than 1,000 new team members in positions at airports throughout its system this summer. In addition to filling open slots, these new employees will allow the airline to get ahead of normal summer attrition cycles as well as create new customer service centers in the airline's Eastern region.
Improved Customer Re-Accommodation
Approximately 80 of the airline's new positions will create POC (Passenger Operations Control) centers at the airline's Philadelphia and Charlotte hubs and at Boston and Washington National similar to what currently exists in the airline's Phoenix hub. POC centers monitor all inbound hub flight activity and identify customers who are on flights that for whatever reason, (weather, air traffic congestion, etc.), might miss their connecting flights. These travel professionals interact closely with the airline's System Support Center to rebook passengers who may misconnect even before the inbound flight lands.
The POC team prepares everything the customer needs, such as gate information and a new boarding pass on US Airways' next flight or, when applicable, flight information for an alternative on another carrier. The POC staff also prepares meal vouchers and hotel accommodations if there are no other flight choices that day. The best part about this program is POC personnel take the whole re-accommodation package to the gate and meet the inbound flight. Once there, they hand the customer their new flight information as they deplane the aircraft.
Improved Kiosk Technology
Since moving to one reservations system in early March, self-service kiosks in many of the airline's eastern region cities have not operated with acceptable reliability standards. US Airways has begun a replacement plan that will bring in 600 new state-of-the-art machines. The first deliveries will arrive in late May.
Flexibility for Loyal Road Warriors
Vice President, Sales and Marketing Travis Christ said, "In addition to customer feedback we've received since our merger, we also recently surveyed thousands of our Dividend Miles members. Our Preferred frequent flyers have told us they want more flexibility and more importantly, they want that flexibility without feeling nickel and dimed every time their travel plans change."
The airline has already begun programming and training for a new policy that will waive the $25 standby fee at the airport for Preferred Dividend Miles members. Lead times for programming and training are not lengthy and the airline anticipates this program will be up and running no later than June.
On Board the Plane
Beginning as early as June and continuing throughout the fall, US Airways will make a series of upgrades to its in-flight experience focusing specifically on its transcontinental and transatlantic flights. Christ continued, "Flight attendants and customers have provided helpful input on our current product offering and have suggested ways we can enhance the in-flight experience, including upgraded meals and an improved wine selection."
Among the enhancements: First and Envoy Class (Domestic and Transatlantic) * Enhance the quality of meal and snack options as well as wine offerings * Add glassware and silverware on First Class meal flights * Modify in-flight service procedures to enhance our customer's overall experience Coach and Economy Class (Domestic and Transatlantic) * Buy on Board (Coach Class) -- improve the food quality, expand the product offering and increase the number of meals stocked on each flight * Test premium beverages for sale such as wines by the glass * Improve the quality and modify the complimentary meals in Economy Class on transatlantic flights Boeing 757 Transatlantic Cabin Upgrade
The airline is also improving cabin amenities on all Boeing 757s dedicated to its transatlantic flights. These fleet improvements will be on the line beginning in May and include:
* Envoy Class * Fully-electric seats with "new look" fabric, adjustable headrests, 160 degree recline, 60" pitch and 110 volt adapter free AC power * New personal video and audio entertainment devices with on-demand entertainment options Boeing 767 Fleet Cabin Upgrade
As previously announced, the airline continues its $20 million capital improvement plan to upgrade its 767 fleet. Although the overhaul won't be complete until the first quarter 2008, improvements will include:
* Envoy Class * New near lie-flat seats with "new look" seat fabric, drop-down armrests, 110 volt adapter free AC power, oversized tray tables, privacy dividers and built-in water bottle storage * New personal video and audio entertainment devices with on-demand entertainment options * Refreshed cabin interior with "new look" sidewalls and dividers, in addition to new overhead bin doors, lavatories and carpet for a clean, modern appearance * Economy Class * New digital media file servers for better in-flight video and audio entertainment quality combined with new LCD flat screens * New leather seating * Refreshed cabin interior with "new look" sidewalls and dividers, in addition to new overhead bin doors, lavatories and carpet for a clean, modern appearance
US Airways is the fifth largest domestic airline employing more than 35,000 aviation professionals worldwide. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express operate approximately 3,800 flights per day and serve more than 230 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The new US Airways -- the product of a merger between America West and US Airways in September 2005 -- is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers our customers 16,000 daily flights to 855 destinations in 155 countries worldwide. This press release and additional information on US Airways can be found at http://www.usairways.com/. (LCCG)
CONTACT: US Airways Media Relations, +1-480-693-5729
Web site: http://www.usairways.com/
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