Advantage Flight Solutions

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Karlene
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Advantage Flight Solutions

Post by Karlene » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:14 pm

Don't count on these people to live up to their contract to get you off the playa. Their reason for canceling flights out on Sunday was "mechanical problems" Conveniently, their contract provides no refund to customers in case of "mechanical problems". Therefore they can give any explanations to a passenger and it must be accepted. Even though they have other planes in their fleet, our people were left to be driven to Reno, a 5 hour trip, thereby missing their Reno connection. No offers of compensation were made except a ride in the same exodus everyone else was taking without having paid for a flight. While the exodus is as much fun as anything else on the playa, when one has paid for a flight, one should receive a flight or compensation.

Don't book with them, they do NOT provide good eservice

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:48 pm

I ran a UNICOM shift on Wednesday when Advantage was bringing it a lot of people, and dealing with charter bookings from the BRC terminal.

While I don't have any other contact, experience or concern with them, I did observe that they seemed to be pretty intent on customer service. They were running operations into and out of BRC all week. Not sure what happened on Sunday, but that sounds like a real drag. If there was a screw up or some other clusterfuck, it wasn't because they're anti-burner or were deliberately trying to screw you, so I don't know what was going on.

They pretty much have a charter monopoly, though. There's almost nobody else in the area who can legally charter an on-demand flight to Black Rock City that is currently doing so. Did you pay them in advance?
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Karlene
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Post by Karlene » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:58 pm

No, she paid in advance. I don't think they're anti Burner at all. I think however they could compensate her in some way. When she got to Reno the hotel to spend the night was almost 200. then they had to rent a car, another 200. to drive over to the coast, then they hit a deer on the road an now have to pay, probably for repairs to a rental car. The least they can do is refund her the price of the flight which they did not deliver. So on top of the 200. she paid them, it cost her another 800. to get home because of this canceled flight. There are planes that can be leased, or rented, just as with a car. It's not really any complicated procedure. I feel that if they wanted to get their customes to Reno, there are plenty of ways they could have other than packing them in a van and driving them.

If United Airlines pulled this, which they often do out of our small airport, at least they compensate you.

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Post by DoriumLux » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:59 pm

Karlene wrote:No, she paid in advance. I don't think they're anti Burner at all. I think however they could compensate her in some way. When she got to Reno the hotel to spend the night was almost 200. then they had to rent a car, another 200. to drive over to the coast, then they hit a deer on the road an now have to pay, probably for repairs to a rental car. The least they can do is refund her the price of the flight which they did not deliver. So on top of the 200. she paid them, it cost her another 800. to get home because of this canceled flight. There are planes that can be leased, or rented, just as with a car. It's not really any complicated procedure. I feel that if they wanted to get their customes to Reno, there are plenty of ways they could have other than packing them in a van and driving them.

If United Airlines pulled this, which they often do out of our small airport, at least they compensate you.
Uh, five hours? It's a two hour drive going pretty darn slow...

That's too bad though...

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ever been in exodus?

Post by Otisserie » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:45 pm

DoriumLux wrote: Uh, five hours? It's a two hour drive going pretty darn slow...

That's too bad though...
Apparently you've never been in Exodus on Sunday.
Took us 6 hours with the traffic accident on 447.
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Re: ever been in exodus?

Post by DoriumLux » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:41 pm

Otisserie wrote:
DoriumLux wrote: Uh, five hours? It's a two hour drive going pretty darn slow...

That's too bad though...
Apparently you've never been in Exodus on Sunday.
Took us 6 hours with the traffic accident on 447.
Nope, in the nine years I've went. I've only had to wait an hour at most. I must be blessed.

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Post by Karlene » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:32 am

An hour? When did you leave? Thursday at midnight? Last year, 2007, it took us 8 hours from our camp at 4:30 and Landfill to Reno, almost 6 hours to get off the playa on Monday. Still a good deal, lot's of parties in the line. No complaints there.

But back to the bad airline service. They could have chartered a helicopter, or at least put them up in a hotel as other airlines do when they leave you high and dry. Maybe BM LLC nees to look at allowing another charter service to compete for the right to ferry people to the Playa. Advantage has a monopoly and can therefore renig on any service they coose to, and still pocket the cash.

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Twilight
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Post by Twilight » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:26 pm

Karlene:

I need to correct some of your misunderstandings here. If you want to trash a company providing services to Burners publicly on this forum, you might want to do some research first.

My parents were supposed to be on an Advantage charter Sunday morning I arranged for them, and they ended up on ground transportation. The situation was unfortunate, but it could have been much worse; they could have been stranded.

I've now spoken to most of the Advantage people involved in this situation. After missing several flights on Saturday because the BRC airport was closed by bad weather, their aircraft was taken out of service Sunday by a broken magneto. By FAA regulations, the aircraft could not be flown, and nobody wants to fly in a broken aircraft, right?

Advantage is NOT a monopoly. Neither Burning Man LLC nor Black Rock City LLC has any arrangements with any air charter company. Any air charter service can fly to BRC. Three other charter companies flew to BRC this year, without backup aircraft. Very few air charter companies fly to BRC--the airport can (and does) close on a moment's notice, insurance requirements are high, and few want to operate on an uncontrolled dirt strip on the desert.

Advantage is an independent, Burner-owned, Burner-operated FAA Part 135 charter service--not an airline--that has been safely flying people to and from the playa for four years on over 200 flights.

Air charter companies are not scheduled airlines like United or Southwest, and while they are regulated by the FAA, they do not operate under the same rules. In this case, the Advantage contracts specified that in the event of a mechanical, at their option, they could provide substitute transportation off the playa, which Advantage did in rented vehicles. If charter passengers showed up for a flight and refused to take the alternative transport Advantage provided, they received a full refund.

By that same contract, Advantage could have refunded their charter passengers and not offered them any way off the playa. They didn't. When the aircraft went out of service, Advantage rented vehicles that operated around the clock Sunday and Monday to get people back to Reno. They got every passenger who opted for their alternative transport off the playa.

Passengers who showed up for their flights and took the rental vehicles are being refunded the difference between their charter flight cost and Advantage's cost to operate the rental vehicles.

Advantage had no other aircraft on its FAA registry that was insured to land on the playa. Adding another aircraft required FAA registration which is a two week process, and $24,000 in insurance. No FAA Part 135 carrier can avoid that paperwork, nor can it avoid insurance, even on short notice. You stated that it's not a complicated procedure; it isn't, it just takes time and money, which could not happen on that Sunday.

Finally, if you are flying on United, and your United flight is delayed for whatever reason, and you miss your connection to Southwest, United has no obligation to compensate you in any way, shape, or form. No air charter company has any obligation to connect any scheduled air carrier flights.

I understand from your complaint that you weren't a passenger affected by this. If Advantage isn't already in communication with the passenger(s) you know, I strongly suggest that they get in contact with Advantage.

Bummer about your friends hitting the deer!

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Post by Karlene » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:28 pm

Sounds good and defensive of Advantage, but the fact still is, that they cancelled the flight, drove them 5 hours in a vehicle, dropped them off at the hotel with no offer of any further help, and has not contacted my people with any offer of a refund of any sort. Easy for you to say, unless you are the two women whose flight was cancelled, connection was missed, and forced to rent a car and drive over two mountain ranges, assassinating a deer on the way. The LEAST they could have done is assisted them with a room when they finally reached Reno at 11 at night, missing their connection by 4 hours. They didn't even do the least, it was like, so sorry, where can I drop you?

Like I said, bad service.......

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Twilight
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Post by Twilight » Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:19 pm

Laugh! Great entertainment, Karlene!

Nobody is arguing that Advantage cancelled the flight. That was bad. But would you rather have your friends fly in a broken aircraft? Would you rather they not have brought them to Reno? For my money, I'd rather my parents went by car, even if it took them longer.

And even though you state they didn't ask where your friends could be dropped off, you also state that they dropped them off at a hotel, rather than the airport. Bet your friends asked to be dropped off at the hotel, right?

Now let's see...

Did Advantage "force" them to rent the car for the drive? If they missed a connection, couldn't they have bought a ticket on an airline or Amtrak?

Did Advantage create the two mountain ranges they had to drive over, just to provide bad customer service?

Did Advantage "force" them to "assassinate" the deer?

Burning Man used to be--and for most of us, still is--all about radical self reliance. Participants get stranded every year at BRC by broken buses, cars, and other aircraft, who then had to find some way to get home, and they took it as part of the experience, just as my folks did. Heck, one of the other passengers that Sunday just shrugged and chalked it up to the way the playa works.

Karlene, if you really want to keep bitching and whining and spewing negative energy all over everywhere about something that didn't even happen to you, I feel very sorry for you. I come to (and work at) Burning Man for a great experience, just as I come to e-playa for the same. I come expecting people to do the best they can, in great conditions or in absolute white-outs. I don't come to the event expecting that everyone else takes care of my every need, or to listen to people whine and spew lies and rumors about what happened to others. If that's your expectation, try Disneyland next time.

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Post by Karlene » Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:38 pm

No, that is not the way the "playa" works. I know the way the playa works. That's the way Advantage Airlines works. Sure they drove them off the playa, what else were they going to do , hitch hike? They were pretty much captive to this business. A white out is one thing, you hunker down and wait, an airline that sells you a ticket, and then drives you out with no compensation is another thing totally. Nobody is whining here, this is strictly a customer versus supplier of services.

This has nothing to do with anything on the playa, we are all long time and very experienced burners. It seems your feel that your opinion on this gives you the right to insult me and my motives.

Advantage failed to live up to it's contracts, and then offered them a less than ideal solution which they had to accept having no other option. I understand totally that they had airplane trouble. Airplanes have mechanical trouble. But that's THEIR problem, not OUR problem. Their response was less than satisfactory. That is OUR right as a consumer to object to BAD SERVICE. No playa problem included. The playa was great, everything was great. Except Advantage failed to make good on it's contract with it's passengers. Now, we all take a lot in stride out there. That doesn't mean, however that, we cannot speak up about bad service from a vendor.

By the way, my people have contacted Advantage Air several times and have received no response.

Why so hostile?

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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:15 pm

Two words: travel insurance.
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Post by ibdave » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:27 pm

Karlene wrote:
Why so hostile?
Karlene, you looking in a Mirror??? :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Post by Karlene » Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:40 am

"spewing hate" pretty dramatic verbage. Have a feeling this person might be connected with the airline, either that or a first year drama student....

By the way, no word from Advantage yet.

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Re: Advantage Flight Solutions

Post by shaun » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:05 am

Karlene wrote:Don't count on these people to live up to their contract to get you off the playa. Their reason for canceling flights out on Sunday was "mechanical problems" Conveniently, their contract provides no refund to customers in case of "mechanical problems". Therefore they can give any explanations to a passenger and it must be accepted. Even though they have other planes in their fleet, our people were left to be driven to Reno, a 5 hour trip, thereby missing their Reno connection. No offers of compensation were made except a ride in the same exodus everyone else was taking without having paid for a flight. While the exodus is as much fun as anything else on the playa, when one has paid for a flight, one should receive a flight or compensation.

Don't book with them, they do NOT provide good eservice

I read the entire thread and then re-read this. This opening note is a gross mis-characterization of the contractual agreement between the parties. A self described experienced burner who cannot recognize the difficulties of the playa for flight missed the "radical self-reliance" part of the deal somewhere along the line. The "I want compensation for my inconvenience" angle reeks of bloated self importance. Advantage held up their end, Quit whining and wagging you finger. Perhaps cabo next year? But then you might get held up at that god awful little air strip that they fly jumbo jets in and out of and you will need to rail against the Mexican government demanding remuneration and and demand an overall upgrade of the country. Hmmm, Cabo is out.... Mayby Palm Springs?

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Post by Karlene » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:22 am

Yeah all you "more burner than thou people" have all the answers. Agree with my take on things or get off the playa. This was not dust storm inconvenience, this was not traffic jam inconvenience. I'd put inconveniences I've had on the playa up against anybody, believe me, true horror stories.

This was bad service from a commercial provider of services to the playa, not on the playa. When one has received inferior service for a service contracted and paid for, one has the right to seek some sort of acknowledgement of that fact from the offending vendor. Because it's the Burning Man fesitval does not negate that. How quick you are to say see it my way or get out.

As for radical self reliance, I came there the first two times I went, by myself as a 55 year old woman. I know about radical self reliance.

By the way, still no communication of any sort from Advantage.

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Post by shaun » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:38 am

Karlene wrote:Yeah all you "more burner than thou people" have all the answers. Agree with my take on things or get off the playa. This was not dust storm inconvenience, this was not traffic jam inconvenience. I'd put inconveniences I've had on the playa up against anybody, believe me, true horror stories.

This was bad service from a commercial provider of services to the playa, not on the playa. When one has received inferior service for a service contracted and paid for, one has the right to seek some sort of acknowledgement of that fact from the offending vendor. Because it's the Burning Man fesitval does not negate that. How quick you are to say see it my way or get out.

As for radical self reliance, I came there the first two times I went, by myself as a 55 year old woman. I know about radical self reliance.

By the way, still no communication of any sort from Advantage.

Your opening note is still a gross mis-characterization of the contractual agreement between the parties.

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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:19 am

The way I run my own business, I take very good care of my customers. If they are inconvenienced by something on my end, be it my own mistake or my equipment going own, I try to go above and beyond to make it up to them. However, “Above and Beyondâ€
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Post by ZaphodBurner » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:22 am

Karlene wrote: she paid them, it cost her another 800. to get home because of this canceled flight. There are planes that can be leased, or rented, just as with a car. It's not really any complicated procedure.
As a commercial pilot and advanced ground instructor, I can tell you that it's actually an exceptionally complicated procedure to lease or rent a spare airplane for charter/on-demand operations if yours are down, particularly on short notice and especially into soft-field operations. Specifically you would need to refer to 14 CFR parts 135 and 121. -One- obstacle, assuming they called Joe's Part 135 FBO down the flight line and tried to hand over the charter, would be the likelihood that Joe's aircraft are not insured or configured for off-runway operations. For example, if they have wheel fairings (pants) they'd probably have to remove them for that flight. That sort of operation takes time and money.

I'm actually a little surprised the took payment in advance, but by and large if they offered an alternate means of transportation such as by van, their obligation is fulfilled. The airline method would be to refund your money and leave you stranded.

-c
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Post by Karlene » Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:30 pm

Exactly, that's all I'm saying. Say for instance, BMIR goes all day in our camp and a lot of people's camps. When they first decided to cancel all flights, why didn't they just simply send someone over to BMIR to make an announcement to the city, so people booked late in the afternoon might be able to make other arrangements to get an alternative way out, earlier in the day, and therefore make their connection. A simple thing, a good service thing. Had we known earlier, we could have driven them out to Reno. Even if just a few people had heard the announcement, they could have made other arrangements. That's good business, that's pro-active in dealing with your clients. In any city when the airport essentially closes, public service announcements are made. Don't wait until a half hour before the flight is supposed to leave and and then tell your clients, in a rather cavalier way "You're not flying anywhere today, you're being driven out". By the time they got to Reno, at almost 11 at night, there were no more flights out for their connection. I agree, a little voucher action, some coupons or something, anything to make the bump less bumpy. Some show of concern for the state these people might be left in. It's not unreasonable. These two women were essentially stranded in Reno at 11 at night with no hotel reservations, no luggage, no nothing. The van just dropped them, drove off and good luck.

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Post by Karlene » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:27 pm

Advantage Update:

My people received a letter today from Advantage Airways, apologizing for the situation, explaining the mechanical problem, and saying they will take all suggestions for better service in the future under study.

They are also going to mail all cancelled passengers a check for the cost of the ticket minus the amount of cost to drive them off the playa.

My people are satisfied, I'm satisfied.

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It's the American Way......

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Post by shaun » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:43 pm

Karlene wrote:Advantage Update:

My people received a letter today from Advantage Airways, apologizing for the situation, explaining the mechanical problem, and saying they will take all suggestions for better service in the future under study.

They are also going to mail all cancelled passengers a check for the cost of the ticket minus the amount of cost to drive them off the playa.

My people are satisfied, I'm satisfied.

Cathy Consumer Advocate never gives up and never gives in.

It's the American Way......


Good for you! You and yours are satisfied. Is Advantage is O.K. now? Did they simply do the right thing all along or did they capitulate to your "consumer advocacy"?

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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:38 pm

Karlene wrote:Advantage Update:

My people received a letter today from Advantage Airways, apologizing for the situation, explaining the mechanical problem, and saying they will take all suggestions for better service in the future under study.

They are also going to mail all cancelled passengers a check for the cost of the ticket minus the amount of cost to drive them off the playa.
Now that sounds like a more than fair and admirable way of doing business. Kudos to them.
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Post by Karlene » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:15 am

I think they did the right thing on their own accord. But it never hurts to give business a little nudge now and then, just to keep them on the straight and narrow. That's the real world. Burning Man is a big money affair now to lots of businesses in that area, and when money becomes involved, in the amount it is now, there will be abuses, such as they guys stealing the gas caps in Empire and selling shredded tires. BM is evolving into a real city with real world issues, as otherworldly as it is out there. I've noticed a new element of people out there in the last few years, people who come totally unprepared and demand that everyone else take care of them. I think the theme for next year, Evolve, is right on target. Burning Man is growing up and has grown up issues to deal with, that's not a bad thing, or a good, thing, it's just a real thing.

One thing interesting out of this whole affair is how many names I got called on line, and I had no idea Burners could be so nasty and intolerant. It was suggested that I go to Disneyland and Palm Springs and Cabo. In other words, if your experience is different than mine, perhaps you don't belong here. It was an interesting experiment. But the solution is satisfactory to all involved, I'm still cleaning playa dust out of my equipment, and planning for next year.

Look us up between 4:30 and 5:00 on the outermost street. Camp FUA. Best damn champagne on the playa.

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Post by shaun » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:15 am

Karlene wrote:I think they did the right thing on their own accord. .

Big of you to say. Your thread and opening note were and remain a gross misrepresentation of the contractual agreement between the parties, and as it turns out, was an unfair characterization of the people that run Advantage. So I suggested you go to Cabo and that you reek of self importance. If you can dish it out perhaps a little taking it is in order?

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Post by Karlene » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:24 am

Like I said, really nasty people.

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Post by shaun » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:42 am

Likewise, I'm sure.

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Post by Karlene » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:52 am

You're taking this so personally, like I am insulting you as a person or something. Either you're connected with Advantage, you need to go back on your meds, or you need to get some kind of life other than prowling around Eplaya looking for people you can vehemently disagree with.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:59 pm

Can we stop with the "take your meds" comments, please.
Really disrespectful. And long past funny.
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Post by Karlene » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:03 am

Well if it quacks like a duck......

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