AirTran Airways is one of the worst airlines I have ever booked with. On my flight to San Francisco from LaGuardia via Oregon on August 19, 2011, our plane taxied for 3 hrs (max allowed by law) before returning to the gate due to weather conditions in Oregon, 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 re-book 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 Oregon). 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 any way. 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 Oregon. 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 Oregon flight and personally thank the agent that helped me, and when I finally get to Oregon, 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.
I normally fly with Delta to Atlanta but this time my husband and I decided to try AirTran because of the flight schedule. NEVER AGAIN WILL I FLY AIRTRAN. Checked in from San Francisco Int'l airport. As the 2 agents saw me rolling my big luggage, they ask if I was checking in my luggage. I thought to myself are they blind because my luggage is big - is it not obvious?
As I place my luggage on the scale, I handed my boarding pass and ID to the male agent so he starts to process my luggage when the female agent says "It's close to the cutoff time, we cannot promise your luggage will be in the same flight with you. You might have to check it on the next flight which arrives the next day." As I rush to get the luggage check in, I ask the female agent if she can just call downstairs to make sure my luggage gets in the same flight. She answered "No we can't do that but if she hurry up, it might still make it."
Then she places the tag for the luggage and proceeds to measure my luggage taking more time instead of putting my luggage on the conveyor to send it downstairs to the cargo area. She then tagged - placed a tag that reads 61 inches. Worried the entire flight that my luggage will not be there, I was relieve to find it on the baggage claim area. On the way to Atlanta, I had already picked my seat and I know it was seat 21. I handed my boarding pass to the agent at the door and he then tells me to remember seat 21D because he will take my boarding pass.
As I enter the plane, he then tells the flight attendant to tell me that I'm not on 21D but 23D. So I proceed to 23D and someone was already seated. A flight attendant checks her list and finds out that my seat was 21D and took me back to row 21 and someone was also seated in my seat. She then tells that passenger to move to his original seat on 21B but another passenger was also assigned to that seat.
On the return flight from Atlanta, when they measured my luggage, it measured at 64 inches. I ask them they must have a smaller measuring tape because that luggage came from San Francisco and they had tagged it at 61 inches. To make the long story short, I had to pay $49.00 for over-sized luggage. We boarded on time for our 8:45 pm flight.
As we settled in our seats, the pilot announces that there was a small radar problem and that it will take about 10 mins or so. 30 mins pass and the pilot announces that now we need to refuel and that will take another 10 minutes or so because we have to wait for the fuel tank. 1 hr later, more passenger was walking in and looking for seats and was told to just find an open seat. It turns out that AirTran had held the flight to wait for the delayed Orlando flight which carried passengers on their way to San Francisco.
NEVER AGAIN WILL I FLY WITH AIRTRAN.... YOUR CEO or COO SHOULD TRY FLYING WITH YOUR AIRLINE SO THEY KNOW HOW YOUR COMPANY TREAT THEIR PASSENGERS.
I was on a flight last month from JAX to ATL. Everything was going smoothly and just seemed to be clicking. After about 30 minutes of sitting on the plane, we were informed that the plane had some mechanical issues that required us to get off while it was tended to. I thought to myself, "Okay, no problem. This kind of things happen all the time." About 4 hrs later, the "high-speed" personnel working for AirTran finally got the plane operational again. Because it took so long, it backed up a lot of other flights and I somehow ended up getting knocked off the manifest. After another 40 minutes of fighting for the seat that I paid for, I was well on my way to ATL (so I thought).
As soon as I got to the door of the aircraft, I realized I was being followed by a plump fellow that looked like he was wearing a shirt that I would've worn for my 5th grade class pictures. He insisted in broken English that I check my bag, a bag that was worth well over $1,500. I was told that it was to be checked because in the 40 minutes I spent battling with him over MY ticket, the plane filled up with other disgruntled passengers along with their baggage. All I could do was laugh at the situation that I found myself in to keep from drop kicking the incompetent employee down the terminal.
I handed my bag over and knew that nothing else could go wrong. My day had already gotten as bad as it could get. WRONG!!! The boneheads inevitably "lost" my bag. Because I wasn't planning on checking my bag, I had my keys to my vehicle in one of the pockets. WHOOPS!!! Guess that one was on me, right? I figured that this airline was no different than all the others and I would receive my "lost" bag within a couple of days, at most. Wrong again. Here I am, over a month later just getting my bag back.
To put the icing on the cake, everything seemed to be intact and safely in my possession again. After a couple minutes of digging around in every pocket and corner of my bag, I discovered that my $150 external hard drive was "missing." Funny how that happens, isn't it? Oh yeah. Remember the key to the vehicle I told you about? I had to get another made after staying the night in JAX on my way back home, because locksmiths don't usually cut keys at 11:45 pm. It ended up costing me a solid $300 to get the key made due to all these fancy-smancy chips they're putting in keys these days.
Thank you AirTran. You cost me a unacceptable amount of money for my less than ridiculous trip. Oh well. You live and you learn, and I've learned to never travel with AirTran,Airways again and that typing up these nice, informative customer reviews is very therapeutic. I hope it has informed you. Don't make the same mistake I did. GO AIRTRAN!!!
VIRGINIA -- I read the posting about the AirTran passengers that had two golf bags, and I commiserate. This is our own encounter:
I was guiding my 75-year-old mom and 70-year-old aunt (walking with a collapsible cane) through their airport check-in for a domestic flight. They are going on their second city on their 2-month vacation that started with a flight from abroad three weeks ago. Think of a 75-year-old mother wanting to visit all her children one by one before she settled down on a more slow-paced life abroad.
Well, for this domestic trip, my mom still packed her 61-inch standard sized luggage (good for both domestic and international flights). We weighed it and measured it at home. It all checked fine. If you are letting two 70-something ladies to fly on their own, you try to get things in order for them as best as you could. Looks like I failed.
At the AirTran check-in counter, my aunt's small checked-in luggage weighed around 34 lbs. Fine. When my mom's luggage was weighed, it came out at 58 lbs, 8 lbs overweight. Of course, I was surprised the weighing I did at home was inaccurate. But, knowing there is an easy solution, I did not think twice kneeling down the airport floor as I did the transferring of about 8 lbs from my mom's luggage to my aunt's much lighter luggage. I did not think to just pay the $39 excess baggage. As I labored on the airport floor digging through luggage, of course, the two 70-something ladies tried to help me.
So there were all three of us looking pathetic stooped on the airport floor. At that point, I felt guilty and thought I should just have paid the $39 and not subject them to that. But I was already doing it, so we just went ahead and proceeded with the luggage transfer of about 8 lbs When we were done, we thought that was the end of it, so we approached the baggage check-in again to re-check in them again. The weights checked out fine. BUT THEN, the ticket agent said, "NOW I will measure the size." It did not even register to me as something to worry about.
We just removed 10 lbs from the large luggage, so it should be really squeezed to its within-limit measurements more than it was before we took stuff out of it. The check-in agent, per his measurement, now says it was 64 inches. If you see a long line of people behind you, wouldn't you be forced to relent, out of courtesy and common sense, to just pay the darn thing? At that point, I felt that I had my hands held up and I was being robbed, asked to turn over the money.
I was starting to get really assertive at this point. A baggage boy approached my bag sitting on the weigh scale and put his hands or arms around it and looked at me motioning something like, "I don't think it is over-sized." So I told the check-in agent something like, "He said it's not over-sized. It looks like the baggage boy has more sense or good judgment than you." The check-in agent responded, "He's just a baggage boy."
Before I go on further, I don't even know how to describe the whole "nonsensical, money-grubbing vs customer service, check-in robbery" episode. If I knew, I should have just paid the $25 for a second checked-in luggage and have my 75-year-old mom check in whatever she had to hand carry or slug across the airport. Does AirTran really think so poorly of its passengers as rascals who think they can slip through two extra inches, real or imagined? Do we just cower and hand in our payments and be done with it? Then fine, but at least allow me to claim that that morning, I was the victim of a holdup.
My daughter and I flew on AirTran Flight 105 from Dallas to Atlanta, then Flight 78 from Atlanta to Washington DC on July 12, 2009 at 5:30 AM. When I arrived in DC, my baggage did not. Here is a list of my complaints in order.
I had to pay for my bags, which I was unaware I had to do until I got to the airport. I haven't flown in 3 years. According to your website and what was posted at the airport, I should have paid $15 for my daughter's bag and $39 for mine (my bag was oversize). I was charged $69. Your website does not state that I would have to pay two charges. The $15 was added to $39. It states oversize bag charge is $39 not $54.
At the DC airport baggage office, the lady took my information along with about 10 other people whose bags did not make it on the plane change in Atlanta. She stated the bags should arrive on the 5:30 PM flight. I stated we had to drive 2 hours to my sister's house where we were staying. She asked for the address and phone number contacts and said several times the bags would be delivered even after I reminded her we were in Georgetown, Delaware (2 hours away). She told me to call back after 5:30 to check on my bags.
I called at 5:45 PM and spoke to a new agent who said my bags were there but when he read the address back to me to verify, he said “Delaware! We can't deliver there! That's too far!” Now why didn't the first agent say they would not deliver. We could have stayed in DC and returned at 5:30 PM. It would have been an inconvenience but that would have been better than not having my bags until Tuesday at 4:00 PM. I had medication that I needed and my daughter needed her retainer. We had to go buy clothes for 2 days.
Over the next 3 hours, I spoke to several baggage agents and I even offered to drive an HOUR toward the airport to the outskirts of DC and meet someone to get my bags but no one would help except to say, our bags would be sent FedEx and would arrive on Tuesday. I can't possibly tell you how mad and disappointed I was with AirTran's service and customer service. First vacation and first time to visit my sick mom in 3 years. All of the inconvenience and loss of medication and money spent and time spent talking to inconsiderate and sometimes rude agents has turned me against AirTran.
One more thing, since I am an honest person. I arrived late at DFW because of my job (I work at night). Because the plane was already boarding, the check-in person stated if I wanted my bag at all (her words), I would have to sign a waiver saying I would not hold AirTran responsible. "WE CAN'T GUARANTEE YOUR BAGS WILL MAKE IT ON THE PLANE IN DALLAS" (again her words). Our bags made it on the plane in Dallas, it just didn't make it from the Dallas flight to the DC flight in Atlanta, not because of me but because AirTran arrived late in Atlanta so YOUR PEOPLE didn't get my bags (plus the other people's) transferred.
Even though the fault was yours, your agent threw the waiver in my face several times. Now you can say what you want but the waiver should only have applied to our bags getting on the plane in DALLAS. That's what I was told I was signing it for (because I was late at Dallas), not if you lost or mishandled my luggage somewhere along the way. This is just a corporation loophole for your mistake but then shifting the blame to the customer. This was all handled wrong and in most cases, by inconsiderate and often rude people that only wanted me to just go away. Just another reason why I now DESPISE AIRTRAN.
Based on my experience with uncaring and uninterested and mostly rude service people at AirTran, I don't believe I will find any satisfaction in sending this letter, but I felt I had to write it anyway. I will send this to everyone I can at AirTran.
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 at 7:30 am. Upon arriving at the airport, we discovered our flight had been delayed to 12:30 pm. We had breakfast at 9 and hung around. We then discovered they had changed our flight to leave at 1:00 arriving in Baltimore for 8:52 pm with our connector flight FL0493 to leave at 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 ** 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 at 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 at 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 at 12:00.
We asked him if he could get us a hotel in Boston when we arrive at 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 1/2 hours to come pick us up at 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 1/2 hrs. to get home. We got home at 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 1/2 hrs. one way to take my mom home to Maine and another 1 1/2 hrs. home.
SIDE NOTES: 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 at 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 at 10 pm to Burlington which takes approximate 10 hours. All of us had not had any dinner at this point.
AIRtran Please see further information below, Have you been able to follow up?
Thank you for contacting AirTran Airways. As I previously advised, the complaint has been filed on your behalf. However, it will be handled internally, and any corrective action that is taken is not shared with the public. Therefore, you will not hear back with any updates on your complaint. I am sorry for any disappointment my response may cause.
Thank you for contacting AirTran Airways. Have a nice day.
Customer Relations Department
C****, After you have checked and verified that what I have stated is the case please email me with a resolution. And I do agree that this item did not pertain to the safety of the aircraft although it did pertain to the safety of your passengers, As I read your response I feel that Airtran or its employees did not or do not care above a minimum amount about my condition or the Dangerous condition I was placed in on this flight. I am truly disheartened by the Quote F A A regulations. If your flight attendant would have just taken the time to investigate the situation we would not be having this discussion. Thank you for your quick response I look forward to hearing further from Airtran or yourself. Have a Great day.
In a message dated info@mail. airtran.com writes:
I am sorry to learn of your disappointment with AirTran Airways, however, we thank you for allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns.
AirTran Airways considers the safety of our valued customers and crew members as our top priority. There are many checks and balances performed by our maintenance crews, our cockpit crews as well as the airlines' operations control to prevent flight irregularities. However normal use can affect the function of any mechanical device.
In compliance with F. A.A. regulation, some maintenance issues are considered Air Worthy, meaning safe to fly with as the item does not pertain to the safety of flight or the aircraft operation. In this case, our maintenance department would make the needed adjustment as soon as possible and within a specified amount of time. Nevertheless, your comments have been forwarded for review.
All AirTran Airways aircraft are equipped with first aid kits. There certainly should have been a bandage available for you upon your request. This information has also been forwarded to make sure the aircraft is fully stocked with the appropriate safety equipment.
Your continued support is important to us. We hope to have an opportunity in the future to better serve you and regain your confidence in our airline.
Customer Relations Department
COMMENTS First, I would like to say that my Family and I almost always fly Airtran. And my wife insists that we try to fly your airline first, also I have been a A+ member for several years. (*********) I recently flew with Airtran on J*** @*** Flight ** from LAX to BWI seat ** D. When we where seated on the plane I noticed that something had stuck me in the leg and when I checked my leg I noticed it was scratched/cut, I felt down under my seat and found a piece of metal sticking out from the bottom of the seat. since we where in flight I notified the flight attendant and asked if I could have 2 bandages one for my leg and another to put over this piece of metal sticking out under the seat. He said he would check, he came back and said that they had no bandages on the plane and that I should try to be careful and he would have the seat AT&T! ended to when we landed in Maryland. During the 4.5 hours I cut my leg several more times. It was impossible not to. Since I did not know what action to follow I contacted my Doctor and he said that I had a tetanus (sp) booster when I was in John Hopkins for my Chemo therapy 2 years earlier and to watch the cuts and see if they begin to become infected. He also told me to use a good antibiotic cream with the bandage. Currently I seam to be fine. It is very disheartening that this did not seam to mater and it was quite unsettling to me as I waited and checked my leg for an infection. I am concerned that someone could be seriously injured by this broken piece of metal and that the plane had no bandages. Please contact me Thank you,
I had never flown with AirTran before this flight, and will never fly with them again. The airline has a policy that prohibits more than one child being held on the laps of adults occupying the same row. This policy exists because there are only 4 oxygen masks on each row, and in the event of an emergency, there would not be enough for each passenger. I completely understand and appreciate this policy. However....
My mother and I booked a non-stop flight from Atlanta to San Francisco a month in advance. We were traveling with my two children (22 months and 8 months), who, because they were under two years old, could sit in our laps, saving us the cost of extra seats. AirTran has a policy that there must be at least one adult per child under two, which we understood, and in order to help each other with the babies during the flight, we paid an extra fee to reserve our seats ahead of time (since AirTran typically assigns seats at check in).
I called the airline several days before our flight to let them know that we were going to be traveling with two children under two. She said there was no need for me to call, that they would take care of things at check in. No mention of their policy.
At check in, we informed the lady helping us that we each had a baby who would be sitting on our laps. We showed her their birth certificates, she entered them into the system, and wrote the age of one baby on each of our boarding passes, which also showed our adjacent seat assignments. She asked if we had any car seats with us, and we told her no. She said we were good to go. No mention of their policy.
At the boarding gate, an employee stopped my mother and me (each of us holding a child), inquired about the age of the children (we offered to show him the birth certificates), at which time we pointed out that each child's age was written on the tickets (by your check-in employee). Our boarding passes, which he scrutinized, specified our adjacent seat numbers. No mention of their policy.
At the beginning of the flight, a male attendant stopped next to our row and asked if I had a baby in my lap, as she was nursing the baby and he could see only the baby's feet. I told him I did. My mother was sitting next to me with my 22-month old on my lap. No mistaking that there were two children on the same row. No mention of their policy. The children were on our laps, in plain view, the whole time. We had already been served drinks at least once. Another flight attendant looked directly at us to get our drink orders. Again, no mention of their policy.
About an hour into the flight, my mother asked an attendant to take her used cup. The attendant turned to let her know that she wasn't collecting trash at that time, and when she saw us holding the babies, she asked, "Have you had both babies with you the whole time?" We couldn't figure out why she was asking us that. My mother said, "Yes, we have." The attendant pointed at my son and asked, "Where was he before?" "On her lap," I said, pointing to my mother. "And where was she?" the attendant asked, pointing to my daughter. "In my lap," I replied.
"You can't have two lap babies on the same row," the attendant responded. This time we really were speechless. We just stared at her, completely at a loss. She repeated herself again, more loudly. I said, "No one told us that." She asked us whether no one had said anything at check in, and we said no. The attendant repeated a third time that we weren't allowed to have both babies on our laps in the same row. At this point, the attendant still had not told us WHY the children couldn't be on the same row, just that AirTran policy prohibited it.
The passenger next to me mistakenly thought the policy was because two children together might be noisy or disruptive, and tried to defend us by saying that he had been a teacher for 40 years and was used to being around children. At this, the attendant raised her voice and said "Sir, I don't care what you did for a living, all I'm saying is that these babies cannot sit in these seats." Still at a loss as to what we were supposed to do about the situation 35,000 feet in the air, the attendant FINALLY told us the reason for the policy. My mother told her she would be glad to move if she could find someone to change seats with her.
The man next to my mother stated that he was comfortable where he was and didn't feel like moving, and the flight attendant told him not to be rude to her, she was just doing her job. She also informed him that babies can't sit in aisle seats, so she turned to the woman sitting in the middle seat of the adjacent row and asked her to switch with my mother, saying that she was trying to keep my mother and me as close as possible. Someone across the aisle kindly agreed to do this. The remaining 4 hours of the flight were miserable for us because of this unnecessary treatment by the flight attendant.
Here's what the flight attendant should have POLITELY said to us, and what I hope she'll say if this happens to other passengers in the future: “I'm really sorry, but it seems the airline failed to mention that we have a
safety regulation that doesn't allow more than one child to sit on an adult's lap in the same row. This is because there are only 4 oxygen masks available in the event of an emergency, and right now there are 5 people in your row. I don't like to inconvenience you, but I'm going to have to ask around to see if someone can change seats with you. Do you have any questions for me?”
Instead, the flight attendant made my mother and me feel like criminals, never once expressed regret or concern that we had not been informed of the policy, or that we were being inconvenienced in any way. As a matter of fact, she offered the man next to my mother a refund for his ticket because he expressed exasperation with the whole incident! Outrageous!
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I recently flew from National Airport in Washington, DC to Denver, Colorado. Upon arriving at the terminal in DC I went to check in my two bags, a ski bag and one piece of rolling luggage. I was first told you did not accept ski bags, but I had read on your website before purchasing my ticket that you did in fact accept ski bags. So after waiting for a long period of time to see a supervisor I was told he could refund my ticket price and I would have to buy a ticket on another airline, which was a completely unacceptable solution as I was scheduled to be in Denver that day and a ticket purchased on such short notice would be exorbitantly priced.
After finally agreeing to check my bag with only five minutes left to board the flight, the supervising agent charged me over $200.00 to check my bags which I had no choice but to pay or miss my flight. As a result of this I ended up purchasing a return ticket on Southwest airlines one way for only $99.00 and they charged nothing for me to check my two bags. In addition to the baggage charges, the agent was nothing short of rude and really seemed to have no concern for me getting on the flight.
I am writing to you to let you know this type of treatment is what has caused many of us to travel less frequently or only on airlines such as Southwest who do not rape their customers. I find it amazing that certain airlines have seen fit to penalize their customers to make up for their own poor planning and business practices. As this was my first time flying AirTran I was hoping for a better experience, but having been charged nearly the price of the ticket in luggage charges, I do not anticipate flying with your airline again.
With the economy in its current state I would think it would be unwise to lose the customers who still desire to travel. I have several friends who resist flying at all, as it has become such a hassle and less than pleasurable experience. Anything you can do to reimburse my excessive luggage charges would go a long way in motivating me to try your airline again.
My opinion based upon experiences with AirTran: AirTran provides fairly low-priced air travel and was even on-time during most of my flights. Checking even 1 bag will cost you $15 more than what you're told the cost of the trip will be. If you want to talk with an AirTran representative when making your reservation, it will cost you another $15, and if you change your reservation after you make it, even if it is for a more expensive flight, it will cost you another $75 in addition to the extra ticket cost.
One experience with AirTran on 3/28/09 makes me suspect that AirTran representatives were, and continued to be less than truthful with their passengers, and I've learned that anytime someone is less than truthful, the buyer must beware. You be the judge: Flight 934 on 3/28/09 was scheduled for departure from Atlanta at 6:24 PM. All passengers were allowed to board the aircraft at approximately 7:35PM. After about ten minutes, the captain announced over the speakers that he had just been informed that the aircraft was down for maintenance, and that we must leave the aircraft.
He told us that there was another plane already "here" and that should walk to another gate to board it. When we arrived at the other gate, we discovered that the replacement plane was not there, and had not even landed. We were told by a gate agent that it was about to land. After waiting for about an additional hour, we were told by a gate agent that the replacement plane had run low on fuel while waiting to land, and was re-directed to another city for refueling, but that we should continue to wait for it to arrive in Atlanta.
Approximately one-half hour later, all passengers were told by a gate agent that the flight had been cancelled due to weather, and that the passengers were automatically booked on the next AirTran flight in the morning. We were referred to Atlanta hotels for overnight accommodations, at our cost, with no meal allowance or other compensation. I called AirTran "Customer Relations" on 4/07/09 and asked that they at least reimburse me for the cost of the hotel.
I was then informed that although maintenance personnel did board the plane that the passengers had originally boarded at 7:35 PM, it was "never down for maintenance", but instead was always cleared for flight. The "Customer Relations" representative insisted that the flight was cancelled due to weather, and that is why there was no compensation to the passengers. I asked the "Customer Relations" representative what time the passengers boarded the plane that had the maintenance issue, and she indicated that it was at about 7:35 PM. She also admitted that all of the passengers were required to leave the plane within a few minutes of boarding.
I then asked her what time the flight had been cancelled "due to weather", and she indicated that it was at about 9:10 PM. I asked her to explain why the passengers were made to wait for about one and one-half hours for another plane if the original plane was "never down for maintenance" but rather cleared for flight, and she continually brought up the weather conditions as the reason. I discovered that Delta Airlines did fly from Atlanta to my destination very shortly thereafter. I did note that some other airlines were cancelling flights due to weather.
When I got to my Atlanta hotel, I noticed guests using Delta vouchers to pay for rooms and meals. However, there was no compensation from AirTran. If you choose to fly AirTran, beware of the inconveniences and additional expenses that you may incur, and of AirTran's hardline approach to blaming mother nature for what may actually be their fault.