NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Yesterday (Saturday, July 27th), I had quite a traumatic experience involving AirTran Airlines. I am still terribly upset by it. My son was flying as an unaccompanied minor out of LaGuardia to Akron/Canton. Gate B4. My son is 8 years old, and as you can imagine, this was already a bittersweet moment, to have to say goodbye to my only child as he departed to fly solo.
It is important to note here that I was told that I needed to stay until the plane left which I did. It departed right on time, 2:25pm. No, the plane was not in the air. I did not stay at the gate until the plane was in the air because it was not made clear to me by any of the staff at any point that this is what I was expected to do. Nor did I at any point receive an email or any written material that detailed the policies about exactly was expected of an escort to an unaccompanied minor. I was doing as I had been told - I stayed until the plane departed.
I went downstairs to the food court and was there for a full hour after the plane left the gate. It is my understanding that somewhere in that time, the plane had to return to the gate. I had my cell phone with me, and yet no one called me. I am aware that my cell phone number is in the computer system because I gave it over the phone to the reservation agent when I purchased the ticket for my son.
I was called by my mother-in-law from the Akron/Canton airport around 3:55, just as my husband and I were entering the Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan. We were told that his plane had de-boarded and that we should go back. We were preparing to do so, but knowing it would take us at least 30 minutes to get back at that point and another 15 to reach the gate, I decided to call AirTran for an update about my son's flight. I explained to them that he was an unaccompanied minor and I was his mother.
I was told his plane was scheduled to depart at 4:00. Since that was five minutes away, I was given the impression that the flight had already boarded and was about to leave, so my husband and I decided to not to go back based on that information. At 4:45, my mother-in-law called me and told me that his flight had been delayed further but that his flight was now scheduled to leave at 5:00. Now I'm starting to get really upset. I should have been there with him. But with his plane leaving at 5:00, there was really no point for me to make the 30-minute journey from Manhattan to LaGuardia as I would not get there until after the plane had left.
Again, no had called my cell phone or had left a message on my home phone. And I'm beginning to wonder why no one would call the child's parent in this type of situation. I'm only getting the information I am receiving because my child's grandparents are at the Akron/Canton airport where they are able to get immediate information.
At 5:30, I was sent a text by my mother-in-law that his plane was now leaving at 5:55. I began to feel myself starting to emotionally unravel, worried sick about my child, and started trying to find a way back to the airport. I arrived at Port Authority at 6:00 and waited for an Express Bus that was supposed to arrive in 10 minutes but had still not arrived 30 minutes later.
While waiting for the Express bus to show, my mother-in-law gave my husband and I a number to call. It was a 718 number so I can only assume I was going to be speaking with someone at LaGuardia. I was so grateful to finally have a chance to speak to someone who could tell me definitively what was going on.
The person on the other line kept telling us that we were supposed to be there and that they weren't allowed to give us any information - both extremely unhelpful things to say. I was very angry that the airline was not able to give the parents of an 8-year-old information about their child. We were immediately put on the defensive and tried to explain that we were there until the plane left the gate, were in the airport for another hour after that, and that no one had told us that we were supposed to stay until the plane was in the air. Nor had anybody tried to call us. The conversation was ultimately unproductive, extremely frustrating, and of no help whatsoever.
Because the Express Bus never showed, I hailed a cab around 6:40. I called AirTran while stuck in traffic in the cab. I was told that my son's plane had been cancelled and he was being placed on another flight set to leave at 7:55. Upon arriving at the airport at around 7:20, I was told that I would have to wait in line for a gate pass, so I did. And by the time I got to the gate at 7:40, his plane had already left the gate and was about to depart.
Upon arriving at the gate, the gate attendant started to berate and verbally abuse me for not coming back to the airport earlier. Already being quite emotional and angry about the events leading up to this moment, his tirade really blindsided me. He told me that I knew I wasn't supposed to leave, so I told him that I did stay until the plane left the gate and was never told that I had to stay until the plane was in the air.
I tried to explain the chain of events, defend my actions, and ask why no one had called me directly at any point, but he continued to tell me that I had abandoned my child, that he couldn't let my son go the bathroom, and even used foul language. And then he asked me why I hadn't yet thanked him for babysitting my son.
He wouldn't listen to how it went down on my end or answer my question as to why nobody ever called me. He refused to admit any responsibility whatsoever. I felt that he was attacking me as a mother after I had already spent 4 long hours being quite distraught about my son. Needless to say, the conversation was rather heated and I felt very much on the defensive. I then stayed until the plane took off.
My greatest complaint is how horrible the communication was on AirTran's end. It was never clear to us that we were supposed to stay until the plane "was in the air." The plane "leaving" and the plane "being in the air" are different enough to warrant clarity when giving instruction. This is not something we do often, and clear communication about the protocol would have been appreciated. Someone should have called my cell phone the moment it was discovered that I was not there. Perhaps I could have just come back upstairs from the food court.
And even if a child was not involved, there is that a plane that was supposed to leave at 2:25 pm did not get its passengers off the ground until 7:55 pm. Not to mention the 45-minute long line to check-in with the airline - all less than ideal situations when one is trying to fly somewhere. I also want to reiterate that after first hearing that my son's plane was delayed, I was constantly being told that the plane was only minutes from departing by the AirTran employees with whom I was communicating.
And then there's the gate agent at Gate B4 whose customer relation skills were abhorrent. I'm still very upset over the trauma I endured yesterday especially at the hands of the gate attendant. I could have been spared all the grief and anguish I experienced if someone had simply told me, "Please remain at the gate until the plane has lifted off. We will let you know when it is okay to leave the gate area."
I would also suggest that you make it part of the protocol regarding an unaccompanied minor to contact the parents should a problem arise by calling the phone numbers that were given to the reservation agent. Please look into this matter as I feel it deserves serious consideration.
OTTAWA, KANSAS -- Last year my SO and I took a wonderful vacation to Cancun and to try and save some money, we flew on AirTran. Getting there wasn't terrible but getting back... Worst experience with any airline I have ever had. On the day we were scheduled to go home, we get to the airport to find our flight delayed. I was a bit frustrated but I figure it's a minor setback. Since Hurricane Karen was nearby, I figure it's probably due to that and we just have to wait. We do go to the ticket counter for our gate to see if there is any info on our flight and we hear this, "I don't know." 2 hours go by and no plane. We ask again and we hear "I don't know." This process drags on for eight hours.
Eight hours with no explanation for why our plane is delayed for that long. All we hear from the ticket agent when we ask is "I don't know." We are told of what happened when the plane finally arrives and as we are boarding the plane. Apparently they were shorthanded and there were a few maintenance issues and that's why it took eight hours. I do understand that delays like this can happen, it's frustrating but it is understandable. However, failing to inform passengers of a delay that can take up to several hours to fix and leave them essentially stranded at the airport is extremely poor customer service and there is no excuse for it. None.
I was furious that they chose not to inform us of this and made us wait in the airport for hours on end. Why would you not inform passengers of problems like this??? If they were upfront about it and told us about the delay and kept us updated, then this wouldn't have been an issue. Keeping passengers out of the loop is an issue! Long story short, we managed to get back in the US but we didn't make it home until the next day. I am never flying with AirTran again and have told my friends and family to avoid that airline like the plague.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I booked flights for myself and spouse on Oct 20, 2013 from BWI to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - Airtran Flight 817; depart at 9:08 am on Sunday, Dec 22nd 2013; arrive Punta Cana at 1:52 pm, a four-hour flight, and returning on Dec 28th, 2013. I also purchased two advanced seating assignments for the round trip tickets.
AirTran called on Oct 31st, asking if we were willing to take a later flight on Dec. 22nd from BWI to Punta Cana, DR because AirTran sold us an overbooked original scheduled flight. They offered two flight options that were both incomparable and unacceptable because of the departure times, one leaving at 7:55 am from BWI connecting through Atlanta with a six hours layover, and arriving Punta Cana at 8:57 pm. I did not accept the offer to be put on any alternative incomparable flights.
AirTran called again on Dec. 19th, informed me that my flights have now changed leaving on Dec. 22 from BWI at 7:55 am, arriving Atlanta. When I stopped the caller (agent) and asked her why they are changing my flights, the agent's answer was that our original scheduled flight leaving BWI at 9:08 am is overbooked. I called AirTran and spoke a supervisor, ** (agent **), who offered a refund of two one-way tickets and fees for advanced seating assignments.
Because we were not given any alternative comparable flight choice and our trip is scheduled in two days, Dec. 22nd, we were forced to take FLT 133 - departed BWI on Dec. 22nd at 7:55 am, arrived Atlanta at 9:55 am, over 7 hours layover in Atlanta, departed at 5:40 pm, arrived in PUJ 10 pm! All day of our first day family holiday vacation wasted!
** informed us that the Involuntary Denied Boarding (IDB) Rule does not apply because we were involuntary removed (bumped) from our original flight 2 days prior to Dec. 22; subsequently AirTran avoiding DOT rule for IDB, which is legal business practice by AirTran! Overbooking flights is also legal business practice!
DOT defines involuntary bumping. AirTran has the right to involuntary bumped lucky passengers from any of their flights any time, except that we were involuntary bumped on Dec. 19, so rule does not apply to us in terms of 400% compensation; our flight was on Dec 22! What are our rights as customers and as consumers?! DOT is reviewing my case!
WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I was in business class full fare returning from my mother's funeral. I cut my finger pulling out their tray table. It was a small but deep cut. I asked for a Band-Aid and the attendant said she did not have one. I found that incredulous and asked again and she said she could not open the first aid kit because she would have to write a report. She gave me a wet paper towel and my finger bled for the next three hours until I landed and got a Band-Aid from a friend.
I wrote Air Tran twice and they did not respond so I filed a complaint with the FAA which was forwarded to Southwest. Months later, Southwest wrote me a very nice letter and offered me $100 towards my next flight. I found this a day late and a dollar short.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I changed a flight on June 24 over the phone and was told I could change the flight within 24 hours for free and by August 24 for a $75 charge. After August 24, there would be a $150 charge per ticket. I called today, August 20, and was told it had expired at midnight, August 19, so was charged the entire $150 per ticket. You may note that I was told now I have until June 23 to book a new flight, which makes sense that we were back on the 24th schedule. I can only think that I will go through this same conversation if I call on June 20.
All I have is the original ticket sent via email after the conversation, I did not record either call. Something should be done, I understand the charges. I don't understand how they can operate without refunding the remaining balance. They can keep $300 in service fees and I will not have flown a single mile.
I had planned a trip to San Diego to connect with some friends and take a drive out to Las Vegas for the week. Hotels were booked, as was a flight with AirTran that would have connected in Oregon on July 13th. I was leaving from LaGuardia airport in NYC at around noon, and due to a mere 90 minutes of rain, AirTran cancelled all flights leaving NY for that day while airlines such as Frontier, US Airways, and Jet Blue were still providing delayed service.
I had called AirTran to change my reservation to leave the next day on flight 369 to Atlanta, with a connecting flight to Las Vegas leaving at 7:50 pm (flight 772). Flight 369 arrived in NY two hours behind schedule, leaving at 6pm instead of the promised time of 3:52 pm. As this flight was landing in Atlanta, flight 772 to Las Vegas was taking off. The best that AirTran could do to appease the situation was to give me a standby ticket for the final flight to Las Vegas, flight 769 leaving at 10:25 pm.
I had taken the standby ticket, as I had little choice in the matter. I had asked the customer service representative what would happen with my luggage since it never made it to the intended flight, and the representative told me that the luggage would be checked into the standby flight whether I was on it or not. Meanwhile, flight 769 was already overbooked by five people, and the only way I could board was if six of the confirmed passengers failed to appear.
Before the boarding procedure began, two Air Tran reps were offering free round trips and a complimentary night at a nearby hotel to anyone willing to give up their seats. I had thought that I would make it onto the flight, but once five volunteers accepted the offer to cover the five overbooked seats, AirTran then withdrew the offer despite that more people were interested in taking it.
I then had to sit there and ask if all seats were taken, and they were. Air Tran was willing to wait for a plane arriving late from Ohio this evening, but they were not willing to wait an extra ten minutes for the flight I had been delayed on for two hours. There is a hotel in Las Vegas that is currently billing me for a room I am not using, and to add insult to injury, the hotel suggested by AirTran for me to spend the night was not complimentary; I am paying half price for this room.
Meanwhile, as I write this, my luggage is on a plane to Las Vegas while I am stuck here. Upon checking into the hotel recommended, I called the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to inquire about baggage that would need to be left overnight. The airport could not assist me, and the reason was because of yet another AirTran policy: any questions related to lost or stolen luggage or luggage left overnight had to be handled by an AirTran office, and their office hours had concluded for the day despite planes still in transit.
This costly nightmare has been going on for 36 hours at this point, and there is an alarming possibility that I will arrive in Las Vegas tomorrow morning to discover that my luggage was either lost or stolen. I will never fly with AirTran again; no cheaper airfare is worth this aggravation.
I've flown with AirTran Airways a number of times, in both coach and business class. I will review my experiences with business class, as there are many coach reviews, and few business class reviews. Overall, I do recommend business class as long as you know what to expect.
My experiences with business class has been mostly pleasant. Each time was an upgrade as I checked in online. The process is easy, and walks you through the steps with ease. Changing seats interface is a bit clumsy, though. You also get to declare how many bags one is going to check, I think with business class you get a 2-bag allowance with no fees. Checking in 24 hours online in advance gives the best chance of seat preference.
Business class gets priority baggage check and security queue. This alone is a great perk for those whose time is valuable, and the airport is busy. Service is prompt, and usually professional and courteous for business class travelers. I did have a few incidents where the attendant was a bit rude upon check-in, where they must've thought I was in the wrong line or something ("Sir, this line is for business class..."), although they did become courteous once they confirmed my status. The security queue is usually out of the individual airline's hands, but having priority through the queue is nice especially when there's time constraints.
Boarding is a bit odd, business class travelers do get priority boarding, although it hardly matters it seems. The attendants seem to rattle off each boarding zone after a few seconds which makes the zones seem redundant, and the boarding line just becomes a big herd. Though in all honesty, it's best for business class travelers to board close to last (especially if one has an aisle seat), since the cabin gets crowded as passengers pass through. Once seated, the flight attendant usually will offer a pre-flight drink. It is good that business class overhead storage is reserved, most of the time.
The seats are comfortable, and roomy (in comparison to coach). There isn't too much difference in the quality between the two main planes of Airtran - the Boeing 717 and the 737. I do think the 737 is generally nicer. It is a great step-up from coach in quality and comfort. Generally the cabin is clean (in comparison to coach), earlier flights are cleaner while later flights tend to have more trash and crumbs scattered about. The big perks here are leg room and elbow room. The under seat bag storage is a bit cramped, and business passengers in the first row have to keep bags in the overhead - there's no other storage, which can be inconvenient.
However, there's a lot more leg room in that row. The cabin can be a bit loud, though it's fairly easy to just drone out the noise, although it does make speaking to the flight attendants a bit more difficult than needed. There's XM radio, although I've never used it. There is a lavatory in the front, which is primarily for business class, as the flight attendants generally announce that the rear lavatories is for coach. However, the front one can be utilized by coach if the rear is occupied.
In-flight service really depends on the flight attendants, though you can expect a few complementary drinks and a couple snacks. The GO magazine has a list of the drinks available in back, I'd recommend using it to help facilitate service if one is unfamiliar with what's available. Asking the flight attendant can be hit or miss. Generally, the flight attendants are courteous, and friendly, to everyone in the cabin. I have been on flights were the flight attendants were selective in service, rude to some passengers, while going out of the way for other passengers. Some flight attendants were short-tempered, others had seemingly eternal patience.
I was, however, put off by a couple flight attendants that were rude towards my pregnant wife once (who had to use the bathroom plenty of times in-flight), and towards my young daughter (who was well-behaved, I'm thinking that flight attendant just didn't like children in business class). Overall though, the service is decent, as expected. It's also a nice perk to exit the plane first to head to baggage claim or one's next gate.
My gripes with AirTran isn't with business class per se, which is what this review is about, but about general service, which I will state briefly. I have issues with how they handle luggage, since each time at least one checked luggage item gets minor, usually repairable, damage (a small rip or tear usually, with nothing lost though). The gate attendants tend to be a bit rude, sometimes understandably though. I don't like that gate changes tend to go unannounced at certain airports. I really don't like the aggressive AirTran credit card hawkers, some of them are really unprofessional.
I do recommend business class as an upgrade option, it's worth its price for the peace of mind when traveling on time constraints for the baggage check and security queue alone in many instances (like at Washington Reagan National Airport). The extra comfort is decent, as is the complimentary snack and beverage. Depending on how one plays their cards, one can get this service fairly cheap too (like still significantly cheaper than full fare coach).
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- This is being sent to you in hopes you will review and have concerns for the airlines that you and others formed from a situation that most would have thought impossible. We were in Atlanta in the old days and have followed the growth of AirTran Airlines since its beginning. It does not take many experiences like ours to reach a broad number of customers. Had it not been for the agents in Denver, Colorado, we would have a totally negative mindset regarding AirTran Airlines.
On March 22, 2008, we flew from Atlanta GA to Denver, Colorado with 22 other people. Our confirmation number was **. We were the only two flying AirTran Airlines. All the others in our party were glad that they had flown other airlines when they heard of our experience with AirTran in Atlanta, GA. AirTran got a lot of bad press within our group and with others who stood in line with us at baggage check-in.
We had registered online saying that we would check two bags each for a total of 100 lbs per person for two adults, my wife and me. We, instead, brought one bag each to check in. The total of our combined baggage was less than 100 lbs. and we were allowed to have at total of 200 lbs. The curb side agent quickly measured our suitcases at 62.5 inches each and stated in a very matter of fact way that would cost us each $50. He seemed to not be interested in anything but NEXT CUSTOMER IN LINE. We asked to see a supervisor as the cases were not full and the top could have easily been compressed to comply with baggage size allowance.
A gentleman walked up but never spoke directly to us. He indicated to the person checking our bags in that we were to be charged that. He did not measure to confirm what was being said. We asked if there were someone else we could speak to and he said "You can go inside." By this time, he had left the agent where we were and walked away so this was said from a distance and without looking at us.
We thought that may be we just hit them at a busy time as we felt very dismissed when we asked them to re-measure our bags. We then went inside and the outside agent must have notified them as the person inside seemed to not even look at the bags before she informed us that we were oversized and she began to measure. Again, eye contact was poor and we felt talked at instead of with. Other bags larger were being loaded. She measures the bags at 62 inches and again, we made the same request that she press the air out of the top of the bag and measure. We had measured the bags at home and they complied with requirements.
She stated she would not and that would be $100 and we could pay by credit card or cash. Now, we were talking 1 inch by her careless and quick measure. She loudly informed us that there could be an "increased fuel usage" caused by our oversized luggage. Her mathematics made no sense to any of us standing there as we were still 100 + pounds less than what we were allowed to check in. We paid the penalty, as by now, we were running late. As we walked off the Air Tran agent stated loudly to the next customer that "some people cannot be pleased no matter how nice you are to them."
We had not raised our voices, not said anything rudely, just requested what we felt was reasonable. Our request, "Please press the top of the case down to fill in the unused area of the luggage and then measure the cases." If we had been rude or demanding, the agent in Atlanta making an open comment to those following us in line was still out of order, but we were neither. Other customers observed the interaction and stated how ridiculous to charge us $100 for a hurried measure of 1 inch. Other gentlemen commented to us that AirTran was not known for customer service and the agent's increased fuel calculations were ridiculous.
Others in our party, who were traveling other airlines, had larger bags and were shocked at the penalty we had been forced to pay. The luggage was measured by two or three in our party and were well within the requirements when measure accurately. On our way home, we brought the same bags, but simply pressed the air out of the top. The agent in Denver was so different. She processed them, smiled and wished us a good trip.
The agents in Atlanta caused us to plan to NEVER travel AirTran again and others in our party determined the same. The agent in Denver made us want to travel AirTran again. The charge was ridiculous and unnecessary, but the rudeness left a very negative impression with us and others. We are requesting the $50 penalty times 2 bags be returned. We are asking which agent and treatment best represents AirTran?
What is our recourse? Is the Atlanta airport staffed differently than the airport in Denver? We were well known to those 22 others traveling with us and they formed, along with us, a very negative mindset of your airline. Will AirTran Airlines lose our business by allowing the agents in Atlanta to be the standard?
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- My experience with AirTran has been a nightmare and that's being generous. I don't think I have ever seen a company with such poor customer service with so many mean spirited people in their employ.
My ordeal started when my flight home to Atlanta (flight 579) was delayed several hours due to weather. Now I understand that certain factors such as weather are not in anyone's control. I'm not angry with anyone because it rained, although I am puzzled how a 20-minute rain storm can cancel several flights and cause an 8-hour backlog in air traffic. I am angry, however, on the way your staff handled themselves as a result. A complete and total lack of professionalism and a text book demonstration of poor company training.
RE: Ticket agent "**" at gate A-10 at Newark Airport. There was a situation with another passenger who was obviously irate from the long day, lack of information and professionalism of your staff. What started out as a customer complaint turned into a shouting match and almost a fist fight between the ticket agent and the customer.
By no means am I suggesting the behavior of this man was acceptable; there was no pleasing him and he needed to be removed by Port Authority Police, but it was ** who made a bad situation worse. She lost her cool and could have at the very least contained the situation instead of causing it to escalate as far as it did. *Warning: Profane language to follow*
I heard screaming and when I and the rest of the people from gate 10 and surrounding gates turned our heads, ** was shouting profanities and racial slurs to the customer. "Get your ** black ** out of here you God **" were just a few of the things that came out of her trashy mouth. Of course this antagonized the man further and his cell phone was lying on the gate counter. ** grabbed his cell phone and threw it at him. He managed to catch it, then she reached across the counter and she actually took a swing at him. He called her a few "choice" words and by that time, Port Authority officers came and removed the man.
This entire episode went on in front of at least 100 people and about a dozen children. Nobody wanted to deal with ** after that. She created an unsafe, unsettling and uneasy feeling with the rest of us as we all talked about the incident. I decided I was going to report this to customer service at the ticket counter at main check in and see if I could get another flight on a different airline. When I explained what had happened to the two young people down there, they simply laughed it off as something funny. "Oh, that's just **, she's pregnant you know. Those hormones must be making her crazy."
I was shocked. I told them I didn't want to fly with AirTran that night, that I felt uneasy about what had happened. After all, if the ticket agents are stressed out, what's the flight crew going to be like after arriving almost 8 hours late? I was told that there was nothing they could do except give me a refund. Also, they told me that when flying AirTran it's always best to fly before 2:00 pm in case of cancellations because AirTran doesn't have any "agreements" with any other airlines so if one of the flight gets canceled, we are basically "SOL" and it could take up to 2 days to get back home.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I called customer service at your 800 number and I was placed on hold for so long that it ran my cell phone battery down. I decided that I was going to DRIVE to Atlanta and I took the airport train back to my rental car company only to find out that everyone else had the same idea I had and all the affordable cars were gone. It was then that I realized that I was being held hostage by AirTran and I had no choice and there was NOTHING in my control. "Corporate terrorism" is the phrase I'm going to coin for this. Can you imagine how frustrating that can be to someone?
I decided to keep my mouth shut until I got home. I felt afraid that if I complained too much, then I would be "singled out' and treated badly in retaliation. This morning (Saturday, August 18th), I called the 800 number and spoke with a woman "**" or "**" to tell her about what had happened.
She was short and rude with me on the phone. When I told her I wanted to bring something to her attention about flight 579 out of Newark the previous night, she all but refused to help me without my confirmation number. Then when I started to tell her about what happened, she instantly took the side of the airline and defended it. "What do you want me to do about it? I'm a reservation specialist, I wasn't there so I can't help you. If you have a complaint, you'll have to visit our website."
I am utterly disgusted with your airline. I honestly don't see how you can continue to operate by treating people like this. Is this the AirTran way of doing things? Is this the norm? This was a business trip for me so all the travel arrangements were made by my company. I am sending a copy of this complaint to them and I am going to strongly suggest that we no longer do business with AirTran again. There is no excuse for what happened to us. My job depends on good customer service and if I behaved the way you did to one of my customers, I would be terminated on the spot without any questions asked.
They say when a customer has a good experience with a business, they might tell one, possibly two other people but when they are treated badly, they will tell ten. I promise you I will tell my ten, maybe even 20.
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA -- 11-19-2012 - Boo on you…AirTran. The pet policies on AirTran are atrocious!! FYI: I have already spoken w/ your customer service representative on Monday…day of flight…for 30 min. I haven't received any response yet. I'll see how long after Thanksgiving it takes for a response…if at all.
What's even more interesting is that Southwest's pet policy is: "Southwest Airlines accepts small vaccinated domestic cats & dogs. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, as indicated below & are subject to a $75 pet fare each way/pet carrier. The pet carrier counts as either a carry-on item or a personal item." "Southwest Airlines allows only one pet carrier/ticketed passenger." "The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs & must be of the same species/carrier." "The cat or dog must be completely inside the pet carrier & be able to stand up & move around the carrier with ease."
This finding is particularly interesting as AirTran is NOW owned by Southwest & I followed SW's pet policy to a 'T'!! Also the pet carrier I was required to purchase was nearly 1/2 the size of my carrier…& provided poor Mister Charlie far less room than Bailey Sue had in the carrier I already had. He certainly was NOT able to stand up & move around the carrier with ease…as it was quite evident when I witnessed the top of the bag bulging when he stood up. Supposedly the policies have recently changed… However the policy stated on AirTran's own website does not reflect the 'new' changes.
My problem on Monday: While flying home for Thanksgiving, as I was waiting to board w/ my 2 precious small Maltese dogs… A 'NEW' policy was presented verbally that only 1 dog/carrier was allowed. This creates quite a problem because in order to do this, it requires an extra carrier & according to the 'NEW' policy, would require an extra person. As it now states… "Airfare for a pet is $75 one-way & is non-refundable. Six (6) pets are allowed with a limit of one (1) pet/paying customer traveling on the same flight." And THAT'S where 'they' got me!!!
Nowhere did it state that 2 dogs cannot be in the same carrier nor does the current policy even have a weight restriction. But as soon as 'they' NOW noticed the '1 pet/paying passenger' policy… The issue was now 'that'…& not '2 dogs in the same carrier' issue.
See…I am a single young woman who has flown multiple times w/ dogs on AirTran & other companies & have NEVER received this kind of mistreatment & humiliation…& at the GATE, no less!! I nearly missed my flight due to this last minute… "Oh we can't allow 2 dogs in the same carrier" crisis. (FYI: I had been sitting at the gate since 9:30 am & flight did not leave till 11:08 am.) This pet carrier crisis wasn't brought to my attention until the flight was about to board!?
First, the claim by AirTran employee ** was that only a mother & her pup could fly in the same carrier. Knowing that the 'current' policy did not state this, I replied w/ "This IS her son. She's 5 & he's 2." To which her response was: "The pups must be of the same litter & under 8 weeks old." That's when I required this 'new' policy be shown in WRITING. As her worried eyes skimmed the current printed policy, I could tell that it obviously did NOT have her statement in it. I even had to go so far as to bring it up on my iPad to prove to her that the policy she was holding (that I currently have in my possession) was the SAME one on the internet.
Then & only then did she latch on to the new '1 pet/flying customer' policy. And as I said previously…THAT'S where they had me! I was told I must purchase a 2nd carrier & pay an additional $75 pet fee. Their solution ONLY created more problems for me cause NOW I had 3 carry-ons & oh yeah, 2 dogs in 2 separate carriers but only 1 paying passenger.
If it hadn't been for 2 lovely angels placed in my path Monday, I would still be in Tampa Airport stranded w/ no way of getting back home to either of the 2. First, the issue was I needed to pay for an additional pet fee & carrier which easily totaled over $100. I had only a small amount of $$ on me & they would not even speak to my mother over the phone who was trying to do anything at this point to get me home. They wouldn't even attempt to manually type in the same CC # that I used to purchase my ticket, original pet fee, & checked luggage fee. They wanted the physical card now.
That's when the 1st angel walked into my life in the form of "** from DC." She ended up paying w/ her own CC & would not even give me her address to repay her OR to even send a thank you! She must have noticed my shirt I was wearing & told me, "It's fine, I ran the half marathon w/ you yesterday." It was like a breeze of fresh camaraderie had entered my solo circle of it's ME against ALL of 'YOU' mentality. In a clash of irony, the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg had brought 2 first-time race runners together in this time of crisis. Of course that's where AirTran employees had to shortly dash my hope w/ yet another one of their problems.
I still needed a 2nd paying passenger for the 2nd dog. That's when my 2nd angel entered my life in the form of "passenger last name ** in row 30." She volunteered to take 1 dog during the flight & that's the info she gave me as she boarded the plane in case I was also allowed to board. Of course AirTran employees went so far as to look the info on the other passenger to ensure its accuracy. And THEN, & ONLY THEN, was I able to board my flight for my quick 2-hr flight back home. Boy! It sure seemed like they were doing more to prevent me from getting on that plane than helping me to board.
I wish that's where my troubles w/ AirTran stopped but NO! I was either treated rudely or snubbed by the gentleman supervisor attendant & 2 female flight attendants. Before we took off, as the gentleman was walking the aisles, I requested his attention. It felt as if he was purposely avoiding me w/ his back turned so I called for his attention w/ 'Sir.' Then you would have thought another CRISIS happened. He turned around & in a very rude, harsh tone barked, "WHAT'S HE DOING OUT?!?!"
I looked down at my feet to see the most adorable, sweetest little head had popped out of the small cramped carrier I was required to purchase that was nearly 1/2 the size of my carrier. It was Mister Charlie, my mischievous little guy, that was only trying to get some air out from under the seat. He also was flying for the 1st time solo & was more anxious as they made me separate him from his mommy 3 rows up. I replied that he wasn't out, he had just 'popped' his head out.
I was then lectured as to how the carrier was to remain closed at all times! Even though the pet policy only states: "The pet must remain in the carrier & under the seat for the duration of the flight." Mister was NEVER out of the carrier OR out from under the seat. Nowhere does it mention that the carrier must be zipped up completely OR that the dog's nose or head can't be 'popped' out for air. How does AirTran expect animals to get ANY water during the flight w/ this factitious statement that was being enforced. He also made it a point to mention "…cause I've already spoken to the pilot & he knows if there's ANY problems with you…"
Not sure what would have happened cause that's where he ended his threat. I was & STILL AM insulted that he felt he had to report me to the pilot like I was a possible terrorist threat!! All due to the INCONSISTENT, INACCURATE pet policies that need some major revamping & ENFORCED PROPERLY!!! How in the world does AirTran expect anyone traveling solo to fly w/ 2 small dogs weighing roughly 10 lbs combined?!?! Well according to AirTran's 'new' pet policy, they can't EVER! Even if I chose to EVER support AirTran w/ my $$ again, I couldn't as the 'new' policy stands.
I obviously wish I had never had this undue stress put upon me but if it had not been for AirTran's inconsistent & rude treatment, I would have never been able to experience the wonderful, generous, kindness of 2 totally complete strangers!! If I had the financial resources & personal connections, I would LOVE to start my own airline for animals, particularly canines. This airline would NOT make you pay $150 for 2 dogs one-way & then make you shove them under hot seats in a much smaller carrier than the one you already had.
INSTEAD, it would cater to humans & canines equally allowing carriers, or even better yet, dog car seats to be placed securely fastened in the seat right next to you!! Your dog could be attended to properly, given adequate food & especially WATER! NOT thrown under a hot seat after paying more than most humans on the plane did for their one-way ticket. In this day in age, I have a choice as to the companies I support w/ my $$. I most certainly WILL support the companies who value & RESPECT both me & my dogs! BOO BOO on you AirTran!!!