AirTran Airways

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AirTran Communication W/ Parents Re: Unaccompanied Minors Needs Major Improvement
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Here is the letter (minus names and flight numbers) that I sent to the airline...

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 good-bye 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 e-mail 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 deboarded 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 2:25pm did not get its passengers off the ground until 7:55pm. 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.
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Old Timer on 07/28/2013:
A terrible chain of events gone terribly wrong. I would not trust AirTran to ship a box of rocks across the street, much less my child on a flight.
trmn8r on 07/28/2013:
You said that you waited until "departure", which is not true. Departure is the act of the plane taking off.

I believe the CSR was correct - at 3:55 you should have returned to the airport. You twice assumed that "boarding" or leaving the gate was departure.

On more than one occasion, you chose to leave your 8 year old to his own devices, instead of going back as his guardian. You say the "I should have been there," which is correct. My advice would be to send him escorted next time.
yoke on 07/28/2013:
Departing means actual in the air, not leaving the gate. AirTrans did the correct thing in not giving information over the phone. They were protecting your child. They had no idea you were really the mother. Anyone could call and say that.
trmn8r on 07/28/2013:
The AirTran Contract of Carriage states:
"Child drop off and pick up. The parent or guardian who brings an unaccompanied minor child to the departure airport will be required to remain at the departure gate until the flight is airborne."

It is clear that the guardian is to wait until the a/c is airborne, thus I do not agree that the policy requires major improvement.
Old Timer on 07/28/2013:
It's a shame how much time some people spend proving to the poor OP's how wrong they are, they can't read, they can't follow directions, the company is always right, the policies are in black and white, bla, bla, bla... Instead of just trying to show and ounce of compassion and support to someone that was scared half out of their mind over their child.

Who gives a rat's ass at this point? Bash the OP just to prove you can read some T and C? Sad, really sad. I would still never use AirTran, even if they do have well posted T and C's, they suck as an airline and could have done a much better job here. Instead of giving the consumer a bunch of crap like the OP's get around here, bend a little and help them out for Christ's sake!
Weedwhacked on 07/29/2013:
My 9 year old flew as an unaccompanied minor from Chicago to Atlanta and it was very clear that we were to stay at the gate until the plane was in the air. Even if you claim that no one "told" you about that rule its on their website for everyone to see. Airtran also has a service that sends text messages to your phone about the progress of the flight. I knew when my son left Chicago, my mother called me when he was in the air, and the text messages did the rest until he arrived in Atlanta where I was waiting for him. If you read all the rules and follow them, you wouldn't be getting losing your mind over the incident that happened.

Old timer, an "ounce of compassion" would only help to subsidize the lack of paying attention to detail that can make this episode happen all over again.
onlooker on 07/29/2013:
Why did your son not have a phone to contact you or grandparents in the event of any problems?
That may help in any future events.
Mom you tried your best, staying later in the airport, but some of your decisions were not really good - you should have gone back immediately. The days of smooth flying especially on time departures and arrivals are gone - some kind of flight tracker would have been helpful too.
You had a terrible time, and it was hard that the airline staff could not provide any comfort, next time you will have a chance to make different decisions. And hopefully your son and you will endure the flight process with less trauma.
olie on 07/30/2013:
YOU were distraught? YOU suffered grief and anguish? YOU were traumatized??

How did your son hold up?
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Pet Policy - Fictitious rules given & RUDE employees
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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 @ 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 carryon 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 b/c 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 can not 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. :0\

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…& @ the GATE no less!! I nearly missed my flight d/t this last minute…'Oh we can't allow 2 dogs in the same carrier crisis.' (FYI: I had been sitting @ 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!? :0| First…the claim by AirTran employee Stephanie Rutledge…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 wks 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. :0{

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 'Kim 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 comradery 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 Norman 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 insure 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! :0( 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 isles…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 crapped 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 @ 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 terroristic 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!! :0}

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 & RESECT both me & my dogs! BOO…BOO on you AirTran!!! :0{
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leet60 on 11/22/2012:
It does seem the policies were vague, and that your treatment was less than acceptable. I have found while flying that many times the pets allowed in cabin can be distracting and an annoyance to passengers. Whether due to the yelping in fear, being let out of the carrier by the owner, or the odors that often present themselves, I find it unfair to other passengers. Additionally, many people are allergic to pet hair/dander and this presents a problem for those passengers.

I own pets, and decline to travel with them. I put my pets in the care of a trusted friend or family member, or if needed a reputable kennel.
trmn8r on 11/22/2012:
It's perfectly reasonable IMO to require the carrier to be kept closed in the passenger cabin. Other passengers aren't interested in being exposed to dogs or cats. It may be like taking your child along to you, but not to those around you. I'm a dog owner.

It also seems reasonable to keep dogs physically separated to reduce the possibility of a disturbance.
Dakota1015 on 11/22/2012:
I am not at all bothered by someone carrying a small dog or two with them in the cabin. I feel better about that than thinking that some dogs may be traveling in the luggage compartment and relying on these uncaring airline employees for their safety.
What DID bother me was the women sitting next to me on a flight that decided to open her tray table, plop her toddler on the table, and proceeded to change his dirty, smelly diaper while I was eating breakfast in the next seat. I would have much preferred to have those two dogs next to me than that.
Helen on 06/24/2013:
Sorry to hear this sorry. Stressful. I think the key theme is that they seem to be working AGAINST you rather than trying to problem solve with you. I'll never fly AirTran again.
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Posted by on
On Aug. 1st, 2009 my mom and I were flying from Seattle WA to Baltimore, MD to catch our connector to Portland, ME. Our flight # FL0243 Gate A13 was scheduled for 10:30 am departure so we got to the Seattle airport @ 7:30 am. Upon arriving @ the airport we discovered our flight had been delayed to 12:30 pm. We had breakfast @ 9 and hung around. We then discovered they had changed our flight to leave @ 1:00 arriving in Baltimore for 8:52 pm with our connector flight FL0493 to leave @ 9:20 to Portland, ME. They told us that if we leave on time we should make our flight because it’s in the same concourse but different gate. We told them we needed a wheelchair because MY MOM IS HANDICAPPED. SHE IS GOING TO BE HAVING BACK SURGERY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS. They also told us they would call ahead and let them know that we are coming so they would wait for us.
The plane we were going to take came in and had to unload. There were 2 people on there that had to be taken off in a wheelchair therefore it took about 45 min. for them to unload. At this point we knew we were not going to make our connector to Portland, ME so we asked the supervisor (we think her name might have been Mandy) what they will do. She told us they would put us up in a hotel and we would get on the 11:51 am flight on Sunday the 2nd. She told us everything would be taken care of and not to worry. We boarded the plane and took off @ 2:00.
We arrived in Baltimore and were told to go to terminal B5 because that’s where customer service is. We inquired to the Manager on duty (is what he said he was) for a hotel room and we were told that there were no hotel rooms in Baltimore. He told us 2 other planes from Southwest had just canceled and that they took up all the hotel rooms. Again he told us there were no hotel rooms in the city of Baltimore. He didn’t attempt to call any. He then told us that Seattle shouldn’t have sent us there that they should have put us up there. We asked when we could get a flight out on Sunday and he said not until 4 pm. I told him several times my mom was handicapped and going to have back surgery and also had had 2 heart attacks and that we could not hang out in the airport until 4 pm the next day and that we had a medical condition and that I would get him Doctor’s records to prove it. He said there was nothing he could do. I asked him for someone higher than him to help us and he told us he was the manager and there wasn’t anyone higher than him around. I asked him to get us on another plane with another airline and he said he couldn’t do that. He could refund our money and we would have to figure out how we were going to get to Portland, ME. He said they didn’t have a contract with other airlines so he couldn’t get us on another plane with another airline.
There was a flight that was supposed to leave around 4 or 5 that day to Boston, MA but had been grounded for mechanical reasons and was scheduled to leave @ 12:00 am. The manager told us at first that there was one seat available. That meant one of us could have gotten on and the other stranded until 4:00 the next day. After about 20 or 30 min. they checked the flight and there were some openings because people had given up their seats. They booked us to leave @ 12:00.
We asked him if he could get us a hotel in Boston when we arrive @ 1:30 am on the 2nd. He made a phone call and was told there were no hotel rooms available in the city of Boston and that he could get us there but that was it. At that point we called my boyfriend who had been up since 5:30 am moving his parents all day and asked him to drive one way 1 ½ hours to come pick us up @ 1:00 am. He then used our gas which was a full tank in a GMC truck and had to pay a total of $9 in tolls from Rochester, NH to Boston, MA. It took us another 1 ½ hrs. to get home. We got home @ 3 am.
We asked the manager for compensation like free tickets and he said he couldn’t do that. He told us the only thing he could do was give us a voucher that was good for $10 towards food and a $25 credit towards another flight. We told him that was ridiculous and he said that’s all he could do. We walked away to get something to eat before we boarded the plane to learn that there were no food vendors open. There was a candy store that was closing but she let us get a drink and I had to pay $1.80 for it because she cannot collect food vouchers because she is a family owned store.
We were put in business class and we noticed there were 5 seats empty just in business class. Why were we told there were no seats available in the first place?
On Sunday afternoon the 2nd we had to drive in our truck and use our gas another 1 ½ hrs. one way to take my mom home to Maine and another 1 ½ hrs. home.
We were told by the flight attendant on the flight from Baltimore to Boston that he thought maybe the airtran people in Seattle were contracted by Frontier.
We ate @ 9 am and didn’t get anything to eat for lunch and dinner. We were served a snack and drink on both flights.
There were 26 adults that were traveling with children that were trying to get to Burlington, VT and the manager couldn’t get them on a plane until 9 pm on Aug. 2nd and there were no hotel rooms for them. They ended up hiring a bus driver for $2,500 which cost them all $100 each to travel @ 10 pm to Burlington which takes approximate 10 hours. All of us had not had any dinner at this point.
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Anonymous on 08/03/2009:
Seattle should not have sent you if there was a chance of you being stuck in Baltimore. No airlines "holds" or waits for late arriving customers. The Seattle supervisor just told you that so that Baltimore would have to deal with you. The manager at Baltimore was correct to say that you should have stayed in Seattle until the next day. Unfortunately, everyone seems to always want to pass the buck to the next person. Unfortunately again is that wheelchair passengers add to delays that could end up in missing connections.
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They Over Booked, Then Were Rude!
Posted by on
DULLES, VIRGINIA -- This is the complaint letter that I wrote to them. I am sure it will get me nowhere!!

I am writing you because of an incident that happened over the weekend with your branch at IAD. I had flown in to visit and help my daughter out because she was sick. Let me preface by saying I pay extra to fly in and out of IAD, instead of the other airports. On Saturday, I had booked a 6:50 am flight on Air Tran, which was to fly to ATL, then Hobby, We were up at 4am and at the airport by 5am. I went to the machine at the Air Tran terminal and put in my numbers to find that the machine would not take them. Then I waited 20 minutes to reach the counter where 2 people were working, but only one was helping the customers in line the other an older man was moving baggage. There I was told that the flight had been “over sold” and that I may not make it onto the flight. I was also told by the man that they “over sale” all the time. I had to dash off to the security where of course it takes forever to get through, and by the time I got to the gate I was told that I would be on standby for the next flight with no guarantee that I would be able to get on that one, and after that there was a probable 3pm flight. There were two guys there. They had low communication skills and were more than rude!! They told the passengers that they were late in arriving to the airport, and it was their own faults, for being late! We were held up at the counter at the entrance because you over sold tickets!! I was there right on time, The extremely rude man, the one who did most of the talking kept his name tag where it could not be read!! I was told that they could only over sale by no more than 3 people. It seems that they had over sold by 12.

I asked to get a seat on the Sunday flight and go back home with my family for the night, I didn’t want to sit at an airport alone possibly all day, as my family couldn’t sit with me, to wait on the flight. But the Sunday flights were “over sold” too!!

My daughter and son in law were furious about everything, frankly so am I. I paid full price, for a ticket, as well as the other people that were left waiting with me. When I should have been home at 10am I was home at 6pm. I had plans that day! I will never use Air Tran Airlines again. I will be going onto all consumer websites and posting this letter to you so that consumers are forewarned. I want some kind of compensation for this!! How does your employee think he has a right to talk down to your patrons like he did? I paid full price for my ticket not only did I end up not being on the flight, I had this man speak to me like a second class citizen! My daughter was so embarrassed about my treatment she is writing a complaint to IAD.

I demand some sort of compensation, I demand answers! If a football stadium with thousands of seats can sale and not over sale, how can an airline with less seats not get it right?

I am now posting the answer I received, letting us know that this was a non compensation complaint along with my answer.

Dear Ms. XXXX,
I am sorry to learn your recent trip with us was less than satisfactory. All of our Crew Members are instructed to professionally perform their responsibilities while providing the highest level of Caring Customer Service. This would include providing complete and accurate information. I have forwarded a copy of your comments to the appropriate department heads for review and corrective action.
We make every effort to process our customers as quickly as possible. However, with the new security directives of the Transportation Security Administration, the amount of time required for check-in has become significantly longer. Hence, the TSA has placed strict regulations for luggage screening.
Our policy regarding passenger and luggage check-in recommends passengers arrive at the airport 90 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight. Due to security requirements, passengers and their baggage will not be accepted at the ticket counter less than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight.
Additionally, all reservations are subject to cancellation without notice if the passenger is not present at the boarding gate at least ten minutes prior to original scheduled departure time of the flight. Our objective is to operate our flights in a safe, reliable and timely manner, which will allow our customers to reach their destinations as scheduled. Our policy for Ticket Counter and Gate Check-In ensures that objective.
Your continued support is important to us. I hope you will allow us an opportunity to serve you.
Amy Baker
Customer Relations Department
AirTran Airways

And my answer~

Could you please pass this along to Ms. Baker, as her answer does not fit the complaint totally.

My mother had no problems checking her luggage except for the fact that you only had one person at the counter and the machines were not working. Had you been up and running correctly, that would be a 5 minute process. Part of the hold up was waiting 20 minutes for this guy, who had an assistant who could have helped but didn't, to get to her there was a very short line, but he had to explain to each and every one that the flight was overbooked.

As far as the timely flight part of the statement, my mother was at the gate for 30 minutes when the plane took off, again in plenty of time.

What is the percentage that you are allowed to over book anyway?

As stated in the first letter, the original letter along with this answer will be posted on all of the major consumer websites, so that people are forewarned about your customer service and that you are not willing to compensate a customer that was not only delayed by overbooking but insulted by your staff member. As you will notice I have copied a lot of contacts into this email.

I know it is your job to save money for your company and compensate as little as possible, but with the combined situation of the overbooked flight, and having to sit in the airport alone for hours, and the obnoxiously rude employee that told your customers that it was their faults for being late, and even told them because of this he was going to let stand by passengers on first. Every one of them deserve compensation of some type.

I will make sure everyone I know, and everyone I speak with knows this story. I work with a nationwide company so that is a lot of people, and one of my best friends works for the corporate office of one of the major 3 TV networks.

I am very dissatisfied with the whole matter and how your company chose to handle it.

Kimberly Kiely

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bargod on 03/03/2008:
So how much money did you save? people use these fly by night "low cost" carriers to save a couple bucks, but pay for it in the end.
Crown Jules on 03/03/2008:
You didn't say what time it was when you arrived at the gate but the mere fact that you were still at the check-in counter only an hour and a half before departure tells me you were NOT "right on time." You need to be AT THE GATE two hours before your flight. Not at check-in, not in the security line but at the gate.

I also don't see how the employee at the gate was rude. If you think he was rude because he blamed passengers for being late, he wasn't rude, he was right.

Overbooking is commonplace anymore in the airline industry and while it may suck rocks, it's probably not going to stop anytime soon.
Hugh_Jorgen on 03/03/2008:
Unfortunately, all airlines have to overbook to some degree because people have a tendency to be "no shows". If you were there in time and got involuntarily bumped, then they owe you some type of compensation in addition to passage on the next available flight.
soccermom12h on 03/03/2008:
Crown, are you sure about that? I've always heard that you need to arrive AT THE AIRPORT two hours before a flight. Anyway, the OP was at there 1 hour and 50 minutes before the flight. Air Tran's website states "AirTran Airways recommends that passengers arrive at the airport 90 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight".

It goes on to say "Customers must present themselves at the flight departure gate no later than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight".

The OP absolutely was within the recommended guidelines, at least for airport arrival, and although they didn't mention the specific time they arrived at the gate, I'd be willing to bet that it was also within the 10 minutes that the website quotes.
Crown Jules on 03/03/2008:
soccermom, I honestly can't tell you exactly where I heard or read it, but I've always been under the assumption that you need to be at the gate much earlier than the time of departure. I assume that is because of how long it can take to go through check-in and security (especially the increased security since 9/11). On top of that, there are some larger airports where you have to walk forever and/or take shuttles to get to get to the gates.

However, I must admit I'm perpetually early anyway for nearly everything. I'd rather sit at the gate for two hours with a book or magazine than take any chances.
dan gordon on 03/03/2008:
I think the poster was OK, but the bigger airlines would put you on the next plane regardless of who. Certain lines like SW and probably ATA do not do that so when there is a screw up your stuck waiting for the next of their flights. I believe the OP does have some right for compensation or they should have asked for volunteers to accommodate the people that had a ticket for that flight.
soccermom12h on 03/04/2008:
I, too, am always very early when I fly. I just get too nervous that I may miss the plane (I'm also the type that is convinced on the entire drive to the airport that, surely, I must have forgotten SOMETHING - although I never actually have!). My point to all of this was just that the OP really should not have been bumped involuntarily if they followed the airlines rules.
Noneill on 03/04/2008:
AirTran is famous for overselling. What they will do is offer to give a $250 free pass to anyone who voluntarily gives up their seat and those who would have been bumped can take their seats. No volunteers, people get bumped. They will do what they can to get those unfortunate people onto another flight. It is key to check in AS EARLY as you possibly can. People who know this will usually check in the day before online. Those people rarely get bumped. I learned this on my last AirTran flight.
dan gordon on 03/04/2008:
I think the poster was OK, but the bigger airlines would put you on the next plane regardless of who. Certain lines like SW and probably ATA do not do that so when there is a screw up your stuck waiting for the next of their flights. I believe the OP does have some right for compensation or they should have asked for volunteers to accommodate the people that had a ticket for that flight.
Kimber K on 04/07/2008:
The point was, we were there per the times recommended by AirTran, And as far as the gentleman at the gate, I did not give a play by play of how he spoke to the passengers or the tone in which he spoke. I was on the phone with my mother while he was speaking to her. Just his tone was rude, he was speaking down to them, and I do want to report that the only thing that I agree with that AirTran has done in this situation is to put him on report, because basically as anyone in customer service of any type knows you are representing your company, and he didn't reflect on them too well.
MRM on 04/07/2008:
ATA is now out of business! Woohooo!
ghecko00 on 04/17/2008:
First of all, please know that ATA and AirTran airways are TWO DIFFERENT AIRLINES! ATA (American Trans Air) is out of business. AirTran Airways is currently #1 in the industry. As you were previously advised, it seems that you may not have been in compliance with the check-in times. Yes, often times flights are over-sold. AirTran keeps track of oversells so that it can be avoided in the future. It is of significant cost to oversell a flight; why would an airline continue to do this? When a flight is oversold with AirTran, considering you are at the ticket counter within posted guidelines, you will still be checked in whether or not you have a seat assignment. The airline will ASK for volunteers prior to any denied boarding. Denied boarding only happens at the gate. If you are denied boarding, you are given a denied boarding card which explains the issue and describes your compensation. So, if you are denied boarding and have no volunteered, you are NOT given stanby seats on the next flight. You would be confirmed and given compensation. This reply is not to scold you but as a passenger, you need to be fully informed!
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The Airtran Experience
Posted by on
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- Below is a letter I wrote to the Airtran customer service department. As of yet I have not received any acknowledgment that I even exist, let alone an apology.

After reading this everything should be clear:


To: Aitran Airways
RE: Flight 579 on August 17th, 2007. Newark to Atlanta.

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 "Diane" 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 Diane 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 Diane was shouting profanities and racial slurs to the customer; "....get your F***** black a** out of God D**** A******...." 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. Diane 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 Diane 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 Diane, 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 2:00pm 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 "Tracy or Stacy" 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.

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Hugh_Jorgen on 08/22/2007:
Sounds like you are the one that overreacted a bit. Not defending Diane's unprofessional outburst, but you have no idea what the passenger had said to her, do you? But based on this you decided the flight itself must be unsafe because the flight crew would be "stressed out". Then you decided to drive to Atlanta but when you couldn't get a cheap deal on a rental it was because of "corporate terrorism"? Sounds like you were looking for a reason not to fly with AirTran and you found one.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
You have every reason to be upset about this situation. A customer service agent should be trained to call in someone else (supervisor) when a bad situation escalates. There is never a reason to use profanity in front of children (or anyone in a public area). Thanks for the advice about Air Tran. I won't be flying them either. Good customer service is getting harder and harder to find in the airline industry.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
Hugh is right on. All the airlines suck this summer. They are overbooked, staff is overworked. Airports are busting at the seams. It's hot, thunder storms and hurricanes playing he11 with schedules. Air travel of days past is over, deal with it or stay home.
Hugh_Jorgen on 08/22/2007:
This bears repeating as it comes up in this review - most of today's low cost carriers (Southwest, AirTran, Spirit, Frontier, Alegiant) don't have interline agreements with other airlines. Back in the olden days if American bumped you from a flight you could walk the ticket over to United - they would honor it and get you on a United flight. No so anymore, so like the OP said, if you have the last flight of the day and it gets cancelled, be prepared to spend the night.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
Here is another reason that I drive to my vacation destinations instead of flying.

I would only fly for business trips and on company time/money.
RedJeepCwby on 08/22/2007:
You know "HUGH"

You sound like you might be a Republican.

I am a reasonable man. I understand the weather can cause delays and cancellations at airports. That doesn't bother me. It's annoying, but it's nobody's fault. It's how they treat a plane load of tired, arrgivated, an anxious passingers is where the rubber meets the road. Airline employees should be TRAINED on how to deal with these situations.

I don't CARE WHAT this man said to Diane. He could have asked her out on a date for all I care, but when she THREW his cellular phone at him and all but jumped the counter in an all out assult is not my idea of sympathetic customer service. She should have just immediately called security and have this man removed. Simple.

She lost her cool.....period. She lost it and made myself and the other passingers feel uneasy. The Rental cars were all gone, unless I wanted to pay for a Cadallic, they were gone.

You were not there, you did not experience what I did. You were not treated rudely, you did not see the horseplay of the two young people behind the ticket counter at 4:00am. You did not sleep on the floor of the Newark Airport. Your flight was not cancelled. You did not hear everyone on the phone you spoke to attempt to pass the buck and the blame to someone else.

Best to keep your mouth shut. If someone says "a penny for your thoughts" be prepared to give them a refund.

Hugh_Jorgen on 08/22/2007:
Wow! You sure put me in my place! Especially with that "you might be a republican" crack.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
Yeah Hugh... ROFL.... If you have a basic understanding of the Airline Industry... you might be a Republican. If you know how to read... you might be a Republican. If you care more about getting to your destination than grandstanding for a voided cause... you might be a Republican.

Admit Hugh... You're a Republican?!
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
Stew - very funny. I am also a fan of Jeff Foxworthy.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
By the way, I have flown Southwest frequently this year and have found that they have great customer service at the counters and the flight attendant's are usually very helpful and cheerful. When they have had delays, they go out of their way in-flight to make it up with free drinks--of your choosing--and plenty of apologies. I'll keep flying them even without the frills (which most airlines no longer have anyway). Further, I have not missed any connections and, in fact, my flights usually arrive on-time or even sooner. And, so far, no lost luggage. So, keep them in mind.
Anonymous on 08/22/2007:
I really like Southwest. The long flights are a bit of a drag with all the stops but at least we get to where were supposed to be going.
leopard on 08/25/2007:
I have a really, really hard time believing the gate agent said those things to the passengers. I think the OP might just be embellishing a bit for dramatic purposes. oh, and by the way, Guiliani in '08!!!
AmandaRSX on 10/27/2007:
Hugh is clearly a complete idiot. No matter what the man said to her, if you're in a customer service role, an outburst like that is not acceptable. She's representing the corporation and they will be liable for any damages that she causes. Hugh, you're a complete moron. It has nothing to do with being a republican. It has to do with you being a piece of trash. You should probably work at AirTran with the rest of your kind.
Anonymous on 10/27/2007:
Hugh is a long time respected member of M3C's. AmandaRSX looks like another one post wonder NIC by one of our more suspect members of M3C.
DigitalCommando on 10/27/2007:
leopard, sorry to break the news to you, but when guiliani's business dealings and his former associations all come to light as they shall during his upcoming subpoena to testify regarding his former business partner/and ex- NY police chief, his "game" will be over. You probably should start to consider an alternate choice, your going to need it.
Anonymous on 10/27/2007:
Guiliani is a piece of trash.
AmandaRSX on 10/27/2007:
Wow. Hahaha Wow... Longtime respected member of M3C's, I do apologize. I had no idea who I was dealing with. I thought he was just a moron, but a longtime respected member? How embarrassing.
AmandaRSX on 10/27/2007:
I will agree that the corporate terrorism was a bit much... But, defending the AirTran employee is laughable. Give them a call and try to reason with them yourself.
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I will never fly this airline again
Posted by on
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 Air Tran 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, Air Tran 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 Air Tran 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 Air Tran 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, Air Tran 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 Air Tran 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 Air Tran policy: any questions related to lost or stolen luggage or luggage left overnight had to be handled by an Air Tran 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 Air Tran again; no cheaper air fare is worth this aggravation.
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Weedwhacked on 07/15/2010:
When weather cancels or delays flights the FAA decides which flights are to be canceled. If you don't want to fly an airline that has weather delays or cancellations, don't fly anymore.
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AirTran Airways Business Class Review
Posted by on
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 on-line. 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 who's 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 underseat 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 piece 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 complemtary 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).
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Rude And Dismissive Treatment And Unfair Overcharge For Luggage
Posted by on
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- Air Tran Airways
9955 Air Tran Blvd
Orlando, FL 32827

Attention Bob Fornaro
President and CEO

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 Air Tran 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 Air Tran Airlines.

On March 22, 2008, we flew from Atlanta Ga. to Denver, Colorado with 22 other people. Our confirmation number was J4PCYF. We were the only two flying Air Tran Airlines. All the others in our party were glad that they had flown other airlines when they heard of our experience with Air Tran in Atlanta, Ga. Air Tran 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 on line 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 200lbs.

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 over sized 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 can not 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 Air Tran 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 Air Tran again and others in our party determined the same. The agent in Denver made us want to travel Air Tran 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 Air Tran? What is our recourse? Is the Atlanta airport staffed differently that 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 Air Tran Airlines lose our business by allowing the agents in Atlanta to be the standard?


Fred and Linda
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Anonymous on 04/01/2008:
Fred and Linda: You merely ran into some bullies. Thanks for the post. I have faith that the boor who mistreated you will end up getting their just desserts.
CrystalSword on 04/01/2008:
How are the bags measured? I want to make sure ours are not over sized!
dan gordon on 04/01/2008:
there are many posts that the airlines have eliminated all flexibility and they want to charge and collect $$. United was going to charge me $50 when I 9/10 of a pound over 50. Its pretty widespread. While I'm not flaming you your letter pretty well indicated you've bad mouthed them to everyone you know, you will never fly with them again etc, so what their incentive to send you $100?
Anonymous on 04/01/2008:
OK, there really needs to be a common sense law!!! You went inside after the outside attendant told you your bag was oversize, to a second attendant without compressing your own bag? I'm thinking common sense is not a strong character trait
FoggyOne on 04/02/2008:
measure length + width + depth. It doesn't work if you 'push down' to make the measurement work even if there is air inside the bag and it is common sense. What you do is use a strap or two on the outside of the bag to compress the bag as much as possible to make it under their maximum size requirements.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 04/02/2008:
Why didn't you compress your bag before you went over to the second attendant? The airports are extremely crowded and are trying to move people through as quickly as possible. While I don't agree with AirTrans treatment of you, some of your inconvenience could have been avoided if you would have taken the iniative to compress your bags yourself.
Anonymous on 04/02/2008:
Airlines measure bags by two guidelines: weight and size (length+width+height). Each airline sets their own guideline. It is the passengers responsibility to know the resctrictions before flying. It should be available on each airline's website, or by calling the airline directly. When you buy a ticket, you automatically agree to any restrictions and policies the airline has set into place.
clb34me on 04/04/2008:
The calibre of workers in each different city speaks volumes. Sorry for the treatment but perhaps, like the others suggested, a quick compression prior to the inside desk could've avoided the issue.
Kimber K on 04/07/2008:
My mother was also charged an oversized bag fee~~ but only on the flight out, the same bag went back without the fee!!! They are full of crap on this charge, I think it is an at will chage!!!
Izy on 07/09/2008:
I fully concur with your report. I have almost exactly the same experience. I travelled in May on AIRTRAN with my Samsonite upright. Eyeing its large size, the check-in clerk measured it to be exactly 61" and let it go. Two weeks ago I sent my daughter to camp on another AIRTRAN flight with this luggage, and this time they measured it to be over 62" and insisted on charging the oversize charge regardless of my protests. It is really a very bad experience. And I dread the same fiasco would happen again when she returns from camp this weekend! I vowed never to travel on AIRTRAN again and I intend to keep my promise.
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AirTran NOT Friendly to Family Needs
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I booked a flight for my entire family (including an infant) with AirTran. We have previously flown with Delta and United with the baby and they have allowed the stroller and playpen free of charge (which we were happy to find out). The playpen is a necessity as it allows the baby somewhere safe to sleep at our destination. Just before travel with AirTran I decided to review their policy regarding infant items. It turns out that they do not allow a playpen as free baggage, but they do allow a stroller and car seat. I would not be bringing a car seat (we will be renting one at the destination). So I contacted customer support through email to inquire about bringing the playpen instead of a car seat (the collapsed playpen is much smaller that a car seat- but 2 1/2 inches longer than carry on allows) and told them that other carriers allow playpens for no additional charge.

I received an email on a Saturday that stated their baggage pricing structure and stated I would have to pay $75 (each way) in additional costs, nothing more. When I called customer service the same day to address this email, I was told that the customer service department was closed on Saturdays. I did manage to speak with a customer service representative who seemed wholly annoyed with me. She asked if the playpen was over-sized (over 61" or over 50#). It is neither. When she started huffing, I asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor was slightly more agreeable but the complaint seemed to have hit a wall. I asked if my concern could be forwarded on to someone who could reconsider this policy as it made family travel much more costly and difficult. She halfheartedly agreed to forward it on. Ultimately, we have decided to buy a playpen at our destination as $45 (to buy a basic one) is cheaper than the hassle and cost of dealing with AirTran's policy.

Throughout the process I felt that AirTran was not interested in my concern and was reluctant to forward my complaint to the proper department. I will not choose to fly AirTran in the future and I will discourage those with infants from flying with AirTran.
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spiderman2 on 06/15/2013:
Airlines are charging for everything these days. I have traveled many times with infants and the only time I ever took a playpan (pack and play) was when we were driving. We borrowed or rented one at our destination. Much less hassle. It would have never occurred to me to basically pack a crib on an airplane.
John Nicholson on 06/15/2013:
AirTran has a policy and cannot make exceptions for you or anyone else. Period. Don't blame their customer service people. I suspect they were frustrated with you being argumentative and wanting special treatment for something they had no authority to make exceptions for. I also have traveled with children and infants. It would never had occurred to us to bring along a playpen. A stroller, yes, but a playpen? Get used to being charged for everything. The airlines are not making money and it is about time they started charging baggage fees, two seats for tubby people, etc.
Helen on 06/24/2013:
John, if you don't work for AirTran--you should. You'd fit right in! To the complaint, I say: Continue to fly the other airlines that accommodated you in the past. You have choices! I know I'll never fly AirTran again. Sub-par planes and service.
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Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
?, FLORIDA -- Oct. 2012, purchased a round trip ticket from Pensacola, Florida to Houston, Texas. I was going out to Houston to stay with a relative for two weeks who had suffered a stroke. First disappointment was when I checked into Air Tran. I was told my agent to put suitcase on scales. At 68 years of age and having had a double mastectomy 8 months prior, I could not lift the suitcase. The agent's attitude was apparent that he didn't like to assist me with the luggage. On booking my ticket on line I had paid extra ($6.00 ) to have a window seat. A week before I was to leave to come back to Pensacola, I called Air Tran's toll free number to request a window seat. I was told by the agent on the phone that she needed a credit card number to reserve a window seat, another $6.00. I gave her all the information from my debit credit card and was told I would receive an email with the confirmation within 48 hours. 48 hours later, I had not received the email. I called Air Tran and found out they had no record of my calling to reserve a window seat. This immediately sent up a red flag. When on line to my bank and found out their agent had gone on a shopping spree with my debit credit card and had purchased $1037.00 in merchandise.
Needless to say, this almost wiped my account out. I live on SS and was left with very little monies to make it back home. I had to arrange for a trip to Wells Fargo to cancel my card, and file a complaint. I had to make a police report in Houston and was told to make one back in Florida when I got home. I did receive my $1037.00 back from the bank and had requested my air fare ticket cost back from Air Tran for all the aggravation, but have had no response I would like to warm you to not give out any credit card information to anyone on the phone when requesting a seat with Air Tran. I am not sure they have gotten rid of the person who did this so beware. Linda Lewis
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