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Don't give up your seat on overbooked flights for a voucher.
Posted by Mike272727 on 06/13/2009
My wife received 2 vouchers from Airtran to sit out 10 hours due to an overbooked flight. She checked the blackout dates and found that she would be able to book a trip that she wanted to make that did not fall on the blackout dates. She received the vouchers in June of last year. She planned to use the tickets this coming December and she called in March of this year to book the flight. She was told to call back in April. She called back in April and was told to once again wait a month and call back. She called back in May and was once again told to wait a month. She asked to talk with a manager because the vouchers expired in the month she was told to call back in. The manager apologized for not being able to book the flight and that she was going to extend the expiration date so that my wife could book the following month and was assured they would be able to book the flight at that point. My wife just called back today (June 13) and was told that there were no voucher seats available for the dates she wanted but she could purchase them. I find this to be a very unscrupulous trade practice considering my wife was kind enough to vacate her seat and wait 10 hours due to an overbooked flight. Poor customer service or just plain fraud?

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Posted by Ben There on 2009-06-13:
Free tickets are similar to frequent flier tickets. There are only a few seats available on each flight, and it can be almost impossible to use them around holidays. Many frequent fliers know to take the dollar off option if offered instead of the free flight as you can use the dollar off for most flights.

That said, free tickets can be had but you have to be pretty flexible with your dates.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-06-13:
Yeah, what Ben said. Sometimes airlines open up free seats last minute if revenue seats aren't selling. Also, it's hard to find free seats if you're picking a popular flight route, such as New York, Chicago, LA, etc. Free seats may be available on less popular destinations. Fargo, ND anyone?
Posted by dalles on 2009-06-21:
What a ripoff. When I was in Atlanta I heard they overbooked 20 seats and if you gave up your seat you could fly roundtrip to anywhere AirTran flies to. Practically no "customers" gave up their seats. Good call on their part. I will never fly on AirTran again!
Posted by Ben There on 2009-06-21:
Lots of airlines oversell flights, and most of the time there still end up being enough seats. I was trying to standby on an earlier flight out of Miami one time - the agent told me that the flight was oversold by at least 20 passengers and yet I still got on it because at least 20 something people did not show up for the flight they had a ticket on.
Posted by rob on 2011-12-07:
airtran is very bad with free seats for giving up your seat they tell you when you can fly they thought instead of the free flights to give me a 100.00 air voucher round trip i was like you cant do anything w that vouchers work better w excect dollar amount so you can flu
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Missed Flight, Poor Customer Relations
Posted by Commlender on 02/05/2010
Last Sunday I was to return to Flint from Fort Myers, Florida. I tried to use the on-line check in service the night before, but could not check in for my flight. I tried for several hours with no luck. I tried again the next morning with still no luck.

With my flight scheduled to depart at 6:30pm, I arrived at the airport at 4pm. The agent at the counter looked at me and said "I have bad news. There is no way that you are going to get home tonight". When I asked why, he explained that the plane coming from D. C. had mechanical problems and would not arrive until 9pm. That would mean I would miss my connecting flight in Atlanta, and it is the last flight for the day going from Atlanta to Flint. When I asked him what my alternatives were, he said that the only thing I could do was come back the next day to take the same flight. That meant a 24 hour delay. I told him that was unacceptable and that he needed to work out something else. The only other option was to take my delayed flight to Atlanta, spend the night there and fly home the next day.

They did offer to put me up for the night in Atlanta, but here is where they added insult to injury. When we boarded the plane to go to Atlanta, the pilot came on the intercom and announced that due to the missed flight situation everyone would receive a round trip ticket anywhere that Airtran flies. That announcement brought cheers from the passengers.

However, when I called the Customer Relations Dept to arrange for the ticket I was told that it would only be a one-way ticket. The person informed me that the pilot was not authorized to make awards as compensation. It seems to me that he is an employee of the airlines, so when he speaks he is speaking for the company.

What really is annoying is that they knew the plane was delayed and yet they couldn't send me an email at 2pm to tell me that. They let me check out of my room, turn in my rental car, get to the airport, and then tell me. In fact, when I finally got to the boarding gate at 4-45pm, they still had that flight posted as being on time and leaving at the scheduled time of 6:30pm. They did not update the delay on any of the airport signage until after 5:30pm.

This is a very poorly run airline that does not communicate to it's customers, or for that matter, it's employees. I will avoid flying them at all costs in the future.
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Posted by goduke on 2010-02-05:
It's possible (perhaps) that they were still playing musical airplanes late into the afternoon to see if they could find a subsitute plane (it does happen). Still, sounds like a pretty frustrating situation.
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Charged additional fees
Posted by Beebs on 05/15/2009
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA -- On April 25, 2009 my family and I had flights booked through Expedia for flights from Minneapolis, MN to Orlando, Florida. Our flights booked on March 30th 2009 showed our entire round trip at about $200 per person. Upon check in at Minneapolis gates we were told by Air Tran employee, that there was still $485 outstanding bill on our flights. We argued that the flights were paid for and we were told that we would not be able to board until we paid the outstanding balance.
We did not have time to argue for we had cruise we were going on and could not take the chance of missing our flight and therefore missing the cruise. I called Expedia right away and the representative told me "They have been doing this a lot lately. Just fax us your paperwork when you get back to Minneapolis and we will contact Air Tran." Of course the Air Tran Rep we spoke to blames Expedia for booking the flights incorrectly which I disagree with for I have an itemized receipt which shows our flights were paid in full.
Also, when we were checking in at Minneapolis, we were told "Your bag is nice. Just make sure you don't over pack it or you'll be charged over-weight fees."

Upon checking in at the Orlando Airport for our return flight to Minnapolis May 4th, the ticketing person, did not even greet us or make eye contact. She took out her tape measure and went to work at measuring our bags. She told us that "yes" the same "nice bag" is now not overweight but "oversized." She was the most unpleasant person to deal with and charged us extra $39 "oversize" bag fee. She left us standing at the check-in counter for 30 minutes, because of the argument I had with her and we almost missed our flight.

I still have not heard from Expedia regarding our refund. I will continue to pursue this matter with the BBB if Expedia does not respond by the end of the day May 15 2009. I just wanted to let the public know that the customer service with Air Tran is the worst I have ever experience and they are making it their business to rip off other hard working people. They don't accept responsibility for their actions and it's always the customer's fault or problem. I will NEVER fly Air Tran again. I have been sharing my experiences with their company representatives/employees with my co-workers, family and friends and anyone else who will listen. Please take the time to read all the similar complaints against Air Tran before booking your next flight.
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Posted by rudybjr on 2009-05-18:
These types of problems are caused by not buying directly from the airline. Expedia is most likely the culprit. Sure they can send you a receipt showing that you gave THEM the money for your tickets, but that receipt is useless to the airline personnel. Expedia has to show the airline a properly issued ticket to show it was confirmed. If its not, then Expedia didn't give the airline the whole amount.
Posted by getoverit on 2010-08-27:
I can empathize with two parts of this story.

First, Air Tran is unreasonable about strictly enforcing their baggage size and weight policies. They whip out those tape measures and a bag that is designed and built to conform to standard flight dimensions can too easily be over-sized if it's just the least bit full.

Secondly, I've encountered several of their Ticketing Agents who are curt and unaccommodating to the point of being rude and almost hostile. They could just as easily enforce all their nickle-and-dime while being just normally civil. It's more than one or two agents.
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
The Flight attendants made me feel like I was an inconvenience to them
Posted by Raschwittay on 10/25/2012
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN -- Let me just say that I am a very frequent flier for Airtran, as well as my two young children. 2 years old and 9 months as a matter of fact. Every single time, and I mean EVERY time I board a flight with my two children I am greeted with sighs and pushiness from the Flight Attendants! I am always treated like I am such an imposition to them and was even asked to turn down my childs leappad2 and told to make him use headphones because it was disrupting her and her friend (another flight attendant) who chose to sit directly behind me when the two rows ahead and behind me were empty. The plane is loud enough where no one else could hear it let alone even my child. I understand that it is frustrating to deal with children all day long. Believe me, I know. But it is your job to be kind and patient. I was disgusted.

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Posted by bob932304 on 2012-10-25:
I hate being in a confined space, like an airliner, and have someone watching a video with the volume on their headphones turned up so loud I can hear it. Playing anything that makes sounds without using headphones is an annoyance to many people. I guess call me a Grinch.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-10-26:
If the headphones were loud enough to be heard in a noisy airplane, they may have been louder than necessary and annoying to others nearby. There really shouldn't be a reason for anyone in a row in front or in back to have to listen to that. I don't believe it has to do with the fact that they are children - headphone noise is headphone noise.
Posted by Anna Molly on 2012-10-26:
OP said "was even asked to turn down my childs leappad2 and told to make him use headphones because it was disrupting her and her friend"

So, the child wasn't originally using headphones, at all, when the flight attendants "told" the mother to have her child use them.

Posted by DebtorBasher on 2012-10-26:
*Waving To Anna Molly*
Posted by Katie on 2012-10-26:
Just because your child is playing on a leappad 2, doesn't mean everyone needs to hear the child playing on it. Think back to when you were a single childless woman on a plane. Maybe you are trying to relax, nap, whatever then all of sudden you hear a screeech of a baby and a childrens song blaring. Is that not annoying? On a side note, why the hell would you not expect signs and glares when you are on a plane with a 2 year old and a 9 month old?
Posted by Anna Molly on 2012-10-26:
Hiya DB!
Posted by onlooker on 2012-10-26:
It is NOT their job to be kind and patient and friendly - they are there to make sure that all passengers are taken care of, safe and not disturbing other passengers.
Teach your 2 year old to use headphones, and the noise issue may go away. pretty soon he will be able to do it on his own.
You are right flying with young children you do get the extra arched eyebrow, the groan and the rolled eyes...it seems like you do your best to limit problems, and that is commendable. I do hope your next flights go well and you do not get the same feeling of pressure.
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-10-26:
When you're going to be using an electronic device around other people, the polite thing to do is to wear headphones. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Would you want to hear someone else's game or music?
Posted by Ben There on 2012-10-27:
Maybe the flight attendant asked you to have your kid start using headphones at the request of other passengers. I know I have been on several flights with kids playing games or watching movies without headsets and several other passengers got upset and spoke with the crew.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
AirTran WILL leave you behind, and WILL kick you off a flight when they screw up
Posted by Dustin491 on 10/05/2012
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- AirTran WILL leave you behind, and WILL kick you off a flight due to the incompetence of the people they hire. Let me explain: I took a flight out from Boston, ended up in the TSA security line for 45 minutes before I got completely through, and that included having to cut 3/4ths of the line when I realized I was cutting it pretty close to departure time. Showed up at the gate 3 minutes late; they left without me. They NEVER paged me, they NEVER sent someone to see if I was stuck in security. They also departed BEFORE their departure time (I screenshot the flight information at the end of the night from my phone as proof). Their staff had no interest in helping me upon realizing my flight left without me, and were genuinely uninterested in my situation. They offered no help, and basically told me, "too bad". They wouldn't even look at me when they talked to me - they were typing fast away at their computers. I left a BBB complaint about the incident and they are one of only two companies I've had to leave a complaint about that had no interest in making things right. They dismissed all my grievances to the matter and blamed me, under a guise of "we shut the doors 10 minutes before departure, as it's important that we get our passengers in the air as soon as we can and prevent delays." Let me now explain to you how this is a complete farce. On the day of my rescheduled flights, on my connecting flight a flight attendant managed to get her seat wet from rain (I've flown plenty where it's rained and never heard of this happening). After we pulled out from the gate, we sit for a couple minutes and we hear the captain announce the aforementioned issue, and that they'd have to pull back in so they got "replace the seat". I think to myself, "Replace the seat? Why don't they just put plastic trash bags over it, or towels or something?" What they ended up meaning by that is that they were going to get an AirTran representative to board the plane and tell, not ask - but tell, a coach passenger they had to deboard the plane and be put on stand by. Then they told, not ask - told, a first class passenger they had to move back to the now empty coach seat. And the now vacant first class seat is where the flight attendant ended up sitting for the flight. If you make a complaint against them, they WILL lie about the details, and do what they can to not own up to their own mistakes. They claimed in their response to my BBB complaint that they confirmed that they did page me - lies - I listened intently out of worry that I was starting to cut it close and it never happened. Heard plenty of other airlines paging other passengers to other flights. I rejected their response, made a rebuttal, they then reiterated what they said the first time for the most part, and closed the case out with no consequence. Don't make the same mistake I did by flying with these guys. They gave me a bad experience the first time I flew with them 4 years ago, gave them another chance because the flight was that much cheaper, and I regret it. I lost more money in the day of work I lost in comparison to what I saved choosing them to fly with. Also keep in mind Southwest Airlines owns AirTran, so you may want to consider skipping them as well. You're a number to them. Well, this number is taking his business elsewhere. In fact I just booked a flight for next week and skipped over them despite seeing they had a cheaper flight in to where I was going. Not worth the risk.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-10-05:
How far ahead of flight time did you arrive at the airport? Was this a domestic or international flight? These are critical details.

A long wait at the TSA checkpoint in and of itself is not the airline's problem, and should not result in the airline looking to see where you are. On the other hand, if there was a 1 hour delay checking in at the counter with the airline, they should delay the flight to allow passengers to make their way to the gate.

The minimum time to get through security alone for domestic flights is 30 minutes, and the maximum is an hour, depending on airport.
Posted by CowboyFan on 2012-10-05:
Planes must have their door closed prior to departure so weight, fuel, and other issues can be calculated. That is one reason that one must arrived at the gate 15 to 30 minutes prior to departure time. No one is going to come get you, if you fail to show. The departure time is ideally leaving the ground, not shutting the door. If you arrive after the door shut, any airline will leave you.

The wet seat was a safety issue, which is why the plane reopened the door. Someone had to get off. The flight attendant may have had to be at that destination in order to have a full crew to fly her plane, so the airlines made a passenger get off.
Posted by Buddy01 on 2012-10-05:
Departure time does not mean you have until that time to board.
Posted by CUontheFlipSide on 2012-10-05:
It is pretty clearly posted at Logan Int'l that you should arrive two hours before flight time for domestic flights, and 3 hours for international. Most times you breeze through the security and have time to read a newspaper at the gate, then again there are times like this when you need that time to get to your flight. There are many variables that can cause security lines to back up, and none of them have anything to do with the airline.
Posted by Susan on 2012-10-05:
You missed your flight because you didn't arrive at the airport allowing enough time for security screening.
Posted by Josh on 2012-10-07:
Having to arrive several hours before your flight is the norm now. Having someone paged over the
Intercom is a nice customer feature, but the airlines through default probably assume that the passengers are full grown functional adults who have a basic understanding of time management and airline constraints (specially, since you mention that you have flown x times before). As far as being a a number, yes you were one of thousands of customers for that day and one of the hundred thousands for the year. Sorry to say, you are not 'that' special to most outside your personal
acquaintances circle.
Posted by Mike in FL on 2012-10-09:
As others have stated, this falls squarely on your head and nobody else's. YOU THE PASSENGER are supposed to take into account the time needed to get through security to get to YOUR flight on time. The airline is also beholden to those other passengers to get them to their destinations on time as well. Is it fair for YOU to cause another passenger to miss THEIR connecting flight at another airport? No, it's not.
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Double charged
Posted by Scott.rymer85 on 01/01/2012
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I had booked a flight from Charlotte North Carolina to Columbus Ohio witch a lay over in Atlanta. When I arrived at the airport to check in at the Airtran counter, I was asked by if I would like to upgrade to Business class for $49.00, I said no thank you until she told me my bag fee was going to be ($49.00)I then accepted the upgrade to business class for the $49.00. I gave my credit card and I was then given a receipt for the $49.00. Well when the wife was balancing the checkbook and Airtran had charged me $49.00 (2 separate charges). I called Airtran and I was told that it was for the connecting flight. I was never informed that the upgrade was for each flight and they will not refund my money. The only reason I accepted the upgrade was because of the overweight bag fee ($49.00) and she told me if I upgraded for the $49.00 that business class bag was free. So if they are telling me the additional $49.00 upgrade was for the lay over flight, would they or do they charge the bag fee for the same layover?
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Totally Missed my flight & AirTran put me on next flight no fees
Posted by Nancythayer196931 on 11/30/2011
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I booked two separate flights for my husband and myself. I was leaving to fly from Orlando to Pittsburgh on 11/18 and he was leaving the day before Thanksgiving. I must have looked at his itinerary the day before I left and thought I was departing at 11:30 A.M. Well, I got up really early and went to do some stuff with my husband before he dropped me off. Got to the airport about 9:15 A.M. and the baggage handler informed me that I missed my flight which left at 9:15 A.M. I panicked but he quickly went inside to the AirTran desk and came back out and told me they were going to put me on the 11:30 A.M. flight and "NO CHARGE". The outcome would have been different if it was the day before Thanksgiving flight. Never have done that in all the times I have been flying!!!

Thank you AirTran. I also owe a the baggage handler for his great attitude and willingness to help the customer!!
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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-11-30:
Wow that's great customer service. Most airlines would have made you pay at least a change fee. I hope you got the agent's name and let their supervisor know how great they are.
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Our Airtran return flight was cancelled and noon told us!
Posted by Rready12 on 11/15/2011
PORTLAND, MAINE -- In August, 2011 I booked round trip business class travel for our 20th anniversary. We were scheduled to travel in December, 2011. I was recently on the Airtran site looking at options of departing a day earlier and when I put in the return date we were booked for I kept gettin a message that said "There are no flights available for that day, they may be full, or unavailable."
I assumed they must be full, so when I called Air Tran to change our departure to a day earlier I happened to mention it to the agent and asked if the flight was full? She asked me to hold the line, when she came back she informed me that due to a schedule change ( for which I had not received any info from AirTran) my connecting flight out of Baltimore was going to leave before my flight from MBJ arrived.
There is only one Air Tran Flight a day, so now anyone traveling from Montego Bay to connect in either Baltimore or Atlanta has no way to get home? Is this legal? I was offered no alternative from Air Tran, only that I could cancel and lucky for me my business class tickets were refundable. I contacted their customer service department via email and was offered a $50 travel voucher towards future travel on Air Tran to "restore my confidence in them." Really?!
I am now forced to rebook on another carrier and my departure date is now less than 30 days away. Availability is limited and fare prices are sky high and I have no option but to book them.

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Posted by azspots on 2011-11-15:
THEY changed the schedule. THEY need to find you alternate transportation. It isn't like weather where they won't do anything, this is their doing. Demand they reassign your ticket to another airline.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-11-15:
I don't think Airtran has any responsibility here in finding you an alternative, or for your inconvenience.

Look at page 15 of the CoC:

This is what air travel has come to, unfortunately. Limited flights and cancellations.
Posted by Ryan84 on 2011-11-16:
A lot of airlines change schedules without notifying the passengers. I am flying on Dec 4th on Jetblue and I booked a flight that leaves at 8:15am. I checked my itinerary 2 months ago and that flight now leaves at 7:10am. I never got an e-mail and still have not even though I left it on file. Luckily I am not the type of person who arrives at the airport 45 minutes before my flight, so I still would have made it, but I wonder how many people won't make the flight?
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Bad news
Posted by Kmkane444 on 09/29/2011
10 different stories from 10 different reservation agents.
Claim they have notes from previous discussions but clearly they cannot read.
Hopefully, the fact that Southwest Airlines has bought them out will improve their service and their planes. The first time I flew them from Houston to Atlanta I was scared that was the end for me as there was an old toothbrush holder in the bathroom the plane was so old.
Rudeness times a thousand; misconceptions all the way around.
Goodbye Airtran and good riddance. You're extremely fortunate Southwest bought you guys.
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Posted by Ben There on 2011-09-30:
AirTran might not be much, but they don't have planes older than a decade. Delta, American, Southwest and United on the other hand have some planes that are much older.
Posted by saj80 on 2011-09-30:
I have flown AirTran, and my experience was wonderful. Clean airplane, friendly crew, great service.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-09-30:
It may have been good for you, saj, but that is obviously not the same service that this person had. Every persons experience isn't the same.
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Never again
Posted by Cnonanimo on 08/26/2011
AirTran airways is one of the worst airlines I have ever booked with. On my flight to San Francisco from La Guardia, via Milwaukee, on August 19, 2011, our plane taxied for 3 hrs (max allowed by law) before returning to the gate due to weather conditions in Milwaukee, which after deplaning for 30 min, was ultimately cancelled. In those 3 hours, they couldn’t figure out how to reroute the plane that the storm eventually approached the NY metropolitan area. I proceeded to rebook my flight for the following Tuesday, according to the AirTran agent, the only flight available was from LGA to SFO via Atlanta with a 7-HOUR LAYOVER. In the days between my cancelled Friday flight and my new reservation on Tuesday, I called the airlines daily to find out if I can get an earlier flight Tuesday morning with a shorter connection. The agent I spoke to on Sunday, who was very helpful, said I can attempt to fly standby early Tuesday morning and advised me to be at the airport an hour before the departing flight (LGA to SFO via Milwaukee). I called AirTran again Monday to see if any flights had opened up, and if I could fly standby. This time the agent said NO, all the flights were sold out. He sounded irritated with me, and didn’t even advise me to try to fly standby, nor did he even disclose to me any of the departing flights to SFO—just a flat out NO. He didn’t care and wasn’t interested in helping me in anyway. Well, I followed the advice of the first agent I spoke to on the phone and showed up early at the airport in hopes I could score a standby flight. When I inquired at the front ticketing desk at LGA, the AirTran agent said, “NO, I cannot put you on the standby flight to Milwaukee” (in contrast to what the first agent told me on the phone) because the reservation or connecting flight MUST BE identical; so instead, she puts me on later connecting standby flight to Atlanta. Well, I decided to see another agent, but this time at the gate. He was super helpful and put me on standby for the next flight to SFO, which happened to be the connecting flight to Milwaukee. By this time, I realize how inconsistent AirTran is with customer service and rules regarding flight reservations. And it’s absolutely frustrating. I get on the Milwaukee flight and personally thank the agent that helped me, and when I finally get to Milwaukee, and I think that after this whole ordeal I can finally make it home to San Francisco, our plane again is taxing on the runaway, this time a failure of the weather radar. Of course, the captain says “it takes a few minutes to replace then we’ll be on our way”. 5 minutes later he states, the antenna failed and will take 2 hours to fix. AREN’T AIRLINES SUPPOSED TO DO MAINTENANCE CHECKS BEFORE DEPARTURE??? I finally make it so SFO with no problems afterward. With all said and done, the most pleasant aspect of AirTran is the stewardesses who were consistently friendly on each flight; however, it is not enough to choose AirTran again for my future travels.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-27:
The problem flying an LCC such as AirTran is when IRROPS (irregular operations) occur you can get stuck for days - esp since aircraft fly >80% full today. Legacy carriers (Delta, American, US Airways, United) have extensive networks and if required, endorse you to a competitor. LGA has a "perimeter rule" which does not allow flights over 1500 miles, thus no non stops to SFO exist. In this case it was false economy to try to save a few dollars when EWR, JFK both offer N/S to SFO on DL, AA, UA.
As far as maintenance checks, things break when they break. You can flip a light switch a 3 times in a day for years and one day, on the 3rd flip it could quit working.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-08-27:
Who else but Bete Noir would know about the perimeter rule?

The three flip rule I AM familiar with. Excellent reply.
Posted by thelmalue on 2011-08-29:
I really don't think your complaint is about Airtran but their customer service. Flights get cancelled, sometimes making a horrible trip, but the airline's staff can make that inconvenience a tad bit better by being friendly and helpful. You should talk with their complaint line and tell them that although you can maybe understand the weather delays (because they cannot control that), the maintenance problems, or the silly perimeter rule; you can't excuse the terrible customer service by some of the staff, and that is ultimately the major factor in your decision to never fly Airtran again.
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