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Old 01-19-2018, 12:16 PM   #1
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Question How do you provide feedback to Airstream?

Having modified, replaced, added a few things to my new Airstream Interstate... I wanted future owners to not have to go through what I did. So I have been sending emails to Airstream via their Contact Us option in their website.

And I need to repeat it, thank you all for your suggestions. All the recommendations of things to improve (or gadgets to get) made our first trip a non-eventful trip when it came to what was needed to have a great stay. It was always a situation of "I need this because... Oh yeah, I got that here..." Down to the check list before departing... Being able to say, "yeah, that was easy" thanks to all the threads/posts I read before the trip. So thank you again!!

Back to the communication to Airstream

My recent email:

Quote:
Owner of a 2018 Airstream Interstate Lounge TB with delivery on Dec 16, 2017

First to vent: When we bought ours, we asked for 4x4 and Air Ride suspension. We were told that it was not possible. Now I see that you are providing both options and to top it off, you are also providing the E&P leveling system... argggghhhhhhh!!!! I wanted all those things.... okay, out of my system... moving on Maybe in a few years (when the new Sprinter comes out) we trade this in for one with everything we wanted.

Current problem: Magnetic switch on rear cabinet is acting up. Need a replacement magnetic switch to fix this. Light is not coming on unless I tap the heck out of the brown box.

Future suggestions:
  1. On the Tommy Bahama Lounge - just add the counter top extension. Just add it. I know you gave me the justification that because of the lights it was not included. I was glad you were able to sell me the counter top and I did the install... it works well with the lights, so just add it. There is no counter top space in the Lounge, that little bit of counter top is really needed.
  2. Add a light on the side where we have to do all the connections/hook ups (driver side). One just like what you have on the passenger side. LED patio light on the driver side that you turn on separately for when you have to deal with the hook ups or dumping in the middle of the night...
  3. Add a light at the top of the wood in the back doors area... when you have the trunk full of stuff, the side lights are useless in these situations. A light (similar to the patio light) at the top of the door jam (on the inside)... …on the wood panel above the screen...will light the area and the back perfectly even if the trunk is full.
  4. 12 volt power source in the trunk (inside back) for plugging an electric cooler. I added one in the wood panel that surrounds the water heater...
  5. Please change the BIM for a Blue Sea ACR and avoid the many issues owners are having with dead batteries.
  6. Please change solar controller for a Victron unit.
  7. Inverter should be a 2000 watts unit… some folks need their espresso machines to survive…would be nice to make my espresso without having to fire up the generator in the morning.
  8. Folding beds for the front seats (looking forward to seeing what you came up with)... I had to make a folding board to be able to sleep 4 (two teenagers) during our trip. Well, made one, making another one in a few weeks. For the first trip, three slept on the bed and one on the folding board with a memory foam pad (and these can be stored behind passenger seats when not in use).

I have a thread with all this and the modifications I have had to make to my 2018 Airstream Interstate to avoid some of the common complaints and issues other owners have gone through. Hope you have the time and take a quick look.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...173135-33.html

Very happy with our purchase. But those suggestions will make future owners be even more satisfied with your product.

Cheers!
Are there other methods for getting this information to them that is more effective? Or just keep sending them those messages?
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:07 PM   #2
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Alumapalooza

We are signed up for Alumapalooza this year. It is camping in the field behind the Airstream factory with water and 3A of AC. This will be my 5th or 6th time there over the last dozen years. There is enough power to run the fridge, TV, and lights. It is a lot of fun and AC is not really needed that time of year.

What is now Alumapalooza, started out as the "Airstream Homecoming."
When Airstream decided it was taking too much of their employees time, it was farmed out to Rich Luhrs, the owner of Airstream Life magazine.

At the rally, Airstream has two meetings; one for the men and one for the women, asking for owner input. They get quite different viewpoints from the two sexes. They are seriously looking for input, whether it be gripes or product suggestions. Several times, they have followed me out to my trailer with cameras to document some of the changes I have made. We have had feedback from them on product changes they made as a result of these meetings.

The recent plant expansion has taken up a portion of the camping field and this year, the rally will be smaller. I'm afraid it may go away if any more real estate is taken.
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:47 PM   #3
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Hi wachuko,

Congratulations on your new 2018 Interstate and we are sorry to learn about some of the issues you mentioned in your post.

Please feel free to contact our customer service and technical support team at*1 (877) 596-6111, option 2 if you need additional assistance.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirstreamInc View Post
Hi wachuko,

Congratulations on your new 2018 Interstate and we are sorry to learn about some of the issues you mentioned in your post.

Please feel free to contact our customer service and technical support team at*1 (877) 596-6111, option 2 if you need additional assistance.
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Nothing else at this moment. I replied to Jeremy M. Allen's email with the Serial number for the AI and my address. Your team is sending me the magnetic switch to replace it.

It was more of getting recommendations to your team for product improvements. I will continue to send those via email to the Contact Us option in your website.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
Nothing else at this moment. I replied to Jeremy M. Allen's email with the Serial number for the AI and my address. Your team is sending me the magnetic switch to replace it.

It was more of getting recommendations to your team for product improvements. I will continue to send those via email to the Contact Us option in your website.
wachuko, that works as well. Information shared here and other places online are also shared regularly with Airstream's product development and engineering teams.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:30 AM   #6
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The title of the thread is "How do you provide feedback to Airstream?"

I've generally perceived such communication to be limited to those with warranty-related claims, isn't it?

To say the same thing another way, if Airstream has a continuous improvement process where it takes and evaluates all suggestions from all comers, I haven't heard about it.

There are plenty of undesirable build practices that Airstream did with older Interstates that it is still doing today, about which we could communicate. But without a formal process in place, I think it would be falling on deaf ears.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:07 AM   #7
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My input for Airstream to consider would be more about construction flaws than suggested improvements. Both my 2014 and 2017 models had significant problems with the installation of the added fiberglass body parts which separated from the body leaving gaps between the body and the parts mounted around the wheel wells etc. Also, both units were delivered with broken plastic pieces on one or more of the seats where the seat belts exit. These type of flaws repeated in multiple units years apart makes it pretty clear that Airstream needs a serious effort to improve their quality control and delivery process.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:11 AM   #8
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I'm cross-posting a reply I made to this Class B Forum thread because it is so closely-related to this thread on Air Forums. Not all Air Forums members read that other forum.

Allegedly, a new Hymer owner authored a structured series of feedback emails to the manufacturer of his rig... a series of emails that drew a rather odd response from their corporate leader. If this is an accurate representation as published, then it's a good point of reference and learning opportunity for those who wish to communicate with their manufacturers. And it's a good example of how corporate should NOT communicate, if they know what's good for them.

Here's the link with my scraped comments below it.

https://sites.google.com/view/shoot-the-messenger

***

It appears to represent a classic culture clash. Those of us who work in health safety and environmental functional areas are trained to document, communicate, and resolve hazards in a very orderly and objective way. For the sake of argument, if I take those emails at face value assuming that the collection has not been cherry-picked for palatability, then the originator is not doing anything that wouldn't be fully expected of him/her in an industrial work setting.

But such a professional environment does tend to seem alien and disturbing to people who are not familiar with it. We live in a highly-dramatized click-bait society where non-statistically-based showboating and pot-banging (literally) is often the method used to gain attention and elevate concerns. Obviously these two approaches are diametrically opposed. People who are familiar with ONLY the showboating method are sometimes scandalized when they encounter a more formal approach, but I wouldn't expect manufacturing executives to be among that cohort.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:10 AM   #9
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Post

I will be sending another email to Airstream with comments and suggestions. If anyone is going to attend Alumapalooza and can take these to them as well... just to get some feedback, it would be great.

Here is my letter to them:

Hello Airstream team,

Owner of a 2018 Airstream Interstate Lounge TB with delivery on Dec 16, 2017

When the time comes (in a few years), would like to upgrade to the next Airstream Interstate with the new Mercedes Sprinter Chassis. Do you have an estimated time/year when this will be out?

Looking to make sure Airstream continues to improve and be ahead of the competition. This is a selfish interest in our part for when we trade in ours for the next version. We would love our next Class-B RV to also be an Airstream Interstate.

For our next Airstream Interstate (AI) we want:
  • • E&P leveling system.
  • • Air Ride (love it in our current one).
  • • Unsure of 4WD. Would love it for the additional clearance and bad weather handing, but read somewhere that the new Mercedes Sprinter will have the same ground clearance independent of drive system.
  • • An option of matte cabinet finish without having to buy the Tommy Bahamas version… Some additional feedback on this TB Edition (this is what we have now): Beach chairs are excessively big/bulky, so those stay home and replace with very compact units. Cooler is not electric, we replaced it with an ARB unit, so the TB cooler also stays at home… coffee mugs take up too much space, these also stay at home and replaced with smaller ones. Lack of the counter top extension (I had to add that afterwards).
  • • I want our next AI to have matte cabinet finish, but we do not care for the TB branding as part of the AI… we do not like glossy cabinets. This and the color of the seats are the only reason we picked the TB edition (we even liked the regular floor on the non-TB AIs). I suggest you have an option of matte cabinets and the same beige/tan seats to select from without having to opt for the TB Edition.

Also looking for the following improvements:
  • • Quiet Air Conditioner unit. Advanced RV now has this option. Dometic acquired that Australian company… so these should be now available to use in your next AI. Please get it as the standard A/C unit for the AI. Current unit is excessively loud!
  • • If you cannot find a quieter generator, please isolate it more efficiently from the coach. Noise and vibration levels when the generator is on, are too loud and vibration is very noticeable inside. Rubber isolators are needed to minimize transmitted vibration/resonance… and even with the muffler included in the 2018, this generator is loud!
  • • Elongated toilet. Please… men (we are just built differently) will thank you!! I believe that the model from Dometic is the 321 Series Low Profile Toilet
  • • More USB ports in front. From looking at videos, I understand this is addressed with the next generation Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
  • • Better freedom camping capabilities. Are Lithium batteries (or next generation energy storage) being consider? I had to add two additional batteries to my Airstream Interstate to allow it to keep up with the load… will Lithium become the default battery option in the next AI?
  • • Add a light on the side where we have to do all the connections/hook ups (driver side). One just like what you have on the passenger side. LED patio light on the driver side that you turn on separately for when you have to deal with the hook ups or dumping in the middle of the night...
  • • Add a light at the top of the wood panel in the back doors area... when you have the trunk full of stuff; the side lights are useless in these situations. A light (similar to the patio light) at the top of the rear door panel (on the inside)... …on the wood panel above the rear screen... will light the area and the back perfectly even if the trunk is full.
  • 12 volt power source in the trunk (inside back) for plugging an electric cooler. I added one in the wood panel that surrounds the water heater... again, this is to power an electric cooler or any other appliance stored in the trunk
  • • Please change the BIM for a Blue Sea ACR and avoid the many issues owners are having with dead batteries.
  • • Please change solar controller for a Victron unit with remote control pad and Bluetooth
  • • Inverter should be a 2000 watts unit… some folks need their espresso machines to survive…would be nice to make my espresso without having to fire up the generator in the morning.
  • • Why is the gas outlet not raised and behind a color matching lid on the rear side sill? This would increase clearance when backing into parking, and then relocate exhaust pipe of generator to avoid it being the next thing to hit something.
  • • On the two rear side seats, the covered piece on the side of the seat sticks up too much. When making the bed these two trim pieces makes it uncomfortable to sleep. These need to be lowered more to avoid them to stick beyond the top part of the bottom seat cushion.
  • • Have roof rails on the rear part of the roof. This would allow the option to use a small roof rack for storage. If additional solar panels are installed (as I did), the rack can be removed once we arrive at the location to enable all panels to help with recharging batteries…
  • • Something that I am not sure is the stove… a gas stove top vs an induction stove top allows for more battery available for other appliances…and less time an external charging source needed to replenish the batteries… but it would be a welcome addition to have an induction stove top if matched with Lithium batteries. That would leave the propane tank for heating and external cooking (and please, do not make the propane tank smaller!)
  • • The less time I have to spend on the side of the dumping area the better… so, please allow the controls (or a second set of controls) to be inside the AI. That way, if in the middle of the night, I see that the tank levels are high, I can dump black and gray tanks from the comfort of the inside of the AI.
  • • Same goes for the propane switch. Incorporate that inside as well to control the LP valve.
  • • Different/Better shower head that would allow fixing the hot/cold mixture independent of opening and closing the valve. Something that European RVs and homes have. This allows for efficient use of water.
  • • Bathroom door that opens flat against the wall next to it. This will also need a way to secure it open. While taking a bath, if the door is open, it is more comfortable to do so. Shower curtain would still prevent water from coming out, but the flexibility of not hitting the door will improve the experience of taking showers in the AI. The door opening flat to the other side would still allow a person to walk by without issues.
  • • Power operated side slide door (with manual override in case of malfunction). Weight of the door is an issue for people with less strength.
  • • Bathroom light switch. We should not have to go through a lengthy process of turning on the light when going to the bathroom at night… just wire a switch next to the bathroom for ease of access.
  • • Microwave with convection oven. More versatile option that what is currently provided in the 2018.
  • • Heated macerator pump. Tanks are heated for winter camping, but the macerator pump is not heated. You could end up with ice-free waste tanks with no way to dump them due to a frozen pump.
  • • Any improvements to simplify winterization process welcomed. Best option would be proper insulation and heating of all components so that winterization was not needed… but any improvements to existing process would be a welcomed one.
  • • Under chassis aluminum protection plates. I was surprised to see all the exposed pipes, wires, etc. under the chassis where any road debris can take out something…
  • • No real rear view mirror… just to see the kids/passengers in the back. I kept looking at the rear view mirror to see my kids when I talked to them, or to look at them to see what they were doing, and kept seeing the digital screen. Easily solved with one of those small mirrors that install under the review screen (I do love that review screen for the purpose intended).
  • • A/C vents, fed from front chassis A/C, to the rear when driving with passengers on a hot summer day.
  • • Solar port on the side. For connecting additional portable panels when the AI is under shade... long extension and portable solar panel can be located in open area to help with charging batteries.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:33 AM   #10
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Your list reminded me that there is a small move afoot to re-brand boondocking as "freedom camping". Some people seem to think it will be more enthusiastically embraced by manufacturers and customers alike if it has a politically-correct name, apparently.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:44 AM   #11
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Your list reminded me that there is a small move afoot to re-brand boondocking as "freedom camping". Some people seem to think it will be more enthusiastically embraced by manufacturers and customers alike if it has a politically-correct name, apparently.
I like the ring on that... freedom camping...

Seems like every so often there is a need to rename things...

Was able to update my post with that
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:46 AM   #12
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Just like Alumapalooza, Airstream gives several talks at the annual WBCCI International Rally. They also hold a mens and womens feed back sessions, where they take questions, and provide feedback. I have attended several, and I find that Airstream is open about known issues. And to me, the fact they continue to hold these feedback sessions, means they really want to improve the product and keep customers happy.



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Old 05-17-2018, 04:18 AM   #13
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"On the two rear side seats, the covered piece on the side of the seat sticks up too much. When making the bed these two trim pieces makes it uncomfortable to sleep. These need to be lowered more to avoid them to stick beyond the top part of the bottom seat cushion."

It was like sleeping on a lump for me.I had them cut down an inch or so ? New dense foam padding on top made a big differece.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
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"On the two rear side seats, the covered piece on the side of the seat sticks up too much. When making the bed these two trim pieces makes it uncomfortable to sleep. These need to be lowered more to avoid them to stick beyond the top part of the bottom seat cushion."

It was like sleeping on a lump for me.I had them cut down an inch or so ? New dense foam padding on top made a big differece.
Same feeling here... and that was with a cheap foam pad on top of it...

My plan is to remove them and make that same modification you did. Hoping it is an easy task.
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