Thursday, May 26, 2011

The worst airline in America: USAirways

My darling brother bought first-class tickets for my son and me so we could go visit him. First class! A personal first. Sadly, they were on the despicable US Airways. And even more sadly, they were connecting flights.

First flight: 45 minutes late. We get to Philadelphia and run and barely get on our connecting flight on time.

Second flight: it is announced to the seat-belted passengers that there is a very minor maintenance issue and we will be delayed a very few minutes. This lie gets repeated until we have been sitting in our seats on the tarmac for TWO HOURS.

Yesterday, coming home:

First flight: As of ten minutes before the flight, the departure board lists the flight as on time. However, the plane is absent. Gate attendant announces: "There is a slight delay in the plane's arrival, however, we will arrive at our destination on time and everybody will make their connections."

By the time we leave, we are an hour late. We arrive in Charlotte ten minutes before the second flight is supposed to take off. However, by the time we de-plane, the second flight has taken off ON TIME despite the fact that probably twenty (or more) of its passengers were in the airport just minutes away. So everybody missed that connection. And in fact everybody on our airplane missed their connections.

Nobody apologized. And because they deemed this an "air traffic problem," "no amenities are provided" was the smug answer at the US Airways service desk. Not even meal vouchers. Can't they hire people who can at least pretend to care that they've made a royal mess of your day(s)?

Middle of the night, Charlotte airport. They say cheerily, "but we have wait-listed you on the 10:40 pm flight to RDU." How cynical can they be? There were more than thirty people on that waiting list!

They offered a flight out this morning, when my son had to be at work. They did not offer any other alternatives and again, no apologies. The only person who seemed sympathetic was the nice young woman who was washing the bathroom sinks.

We called an amazingly generous friend who came to PICK US UP 2.5 hours away from home. We were in bed by 2 am. Feeling totally abandoned by an uncaring system.

The last time I flew, the flight to RDU from JFK was cancelled at the last minute, with no options offered until the next afternoon. I spent the night on the airport linoleum floor with many other stranded would-be passengers, listening to the floor zambonis rumbling around to the loathesome strains of the LOUD 24-hour Justin Bieber soundtrack.

Is it part of the airlines' ethos now that they don't even apologize? Are they so stingy that when they strand their (first-tie) first class passengers they don't even spare a few shekels for meal vouchers? I hate air travel.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Cap'n Sylvia Sharkbait said...

What a nightmare! How disappointing to have to deal with such snotty people. I've done a fair amount of air travel and, while there are still some kind souls working for the airlines, most seem to have a condescending and demeaning attitude. The part about the connecting flight not waiting is especially stupid. Fly the Friendly Skies...NOT.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

So sorry that your brother's generous gesture turned out so badly. Flying anywhere seems to have become a nightmare. What's the answer??? Maybe we need to rebuild our train system. I don't like to fly and haven't flown very much, but now I just dread the thought. We just drove to Florida. I think we made the right decision even though gas was btw. $3.69 and $3.79. We came and went as we wanted to and weren't at the mercy of the unfriendly skies.

At 12:59 AM, Blogger Craig said...

I guess you haven't flown American Eagle? My flight from Seattle to Milwaukee got shanghaied to Dallas for an overnight stay in an airport hotel where the only guests were stranded travelers. I think the mechanical problems were directly tied to the hotel's bookkeeping. They did give me vouchers that covered half the cost of the hotel and half the cost of the meal at the hotel. And I was in the first row on the flight to Dallas so I guess it was technically first class. I finished their bottle of some sparkly cider they were calling champagne while I sat on the tarmac in Seattle long enough to miss my connection in Dallas to Milwaukee. And I had a charming seatmate, a woman who had sold her mother's consulting business with Delta for $20 million. Her flight from Maui had no problem connecting with her flight to Dallas. She advised me to request an upgrade on my voucher for a newer and more upscale airport hotel.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger doris. said...

Been there, suffered that, and I know the feeling. I hate flying anymore. We try to avoid USAir at all costs, if possible.

So much for the Airline Pasengers' Bill of Rights, eh? (google it)
Can you file a complaint with BBB online? Complain to everyone you can think of.

Airlines not apologizing or acting remorseful is the far worse crime, IMO.

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

You were in first class... you should have been pounding the free drinks while sitting on the tarmac. The rest of the trip wouldn't have been any better, but you wouldn't have cared about it as much. :)

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to that. Hands down, US Airways is the worst airline ever! They are masters of the hidden fee - when I booked a flight online, I thought I had to choose a seat, and the only seats available were so-called "Choice" seats which cost extra. Only after calling Customer Service for an unrelated issue (system hung after I clicked to pay) did I learn that I really didn't have to choose a seat.

Also, the US Airways is very uncaring, and seem to delight in all the extra fees and charges they are able to pile on. This is the last time ever I will fly US Airways, period.


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