WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I am writing to complain about Flight 716 on January 17th, 2008, nonstop from Dulles to Orlando leaving at 11:32 am. My son, my fiance, and I were on that flight. It is by far the worst flight I have ever taken in my life. It was my fiance's first time on a plane, and needless to say he couldn't believe how bad his first flight turned out to be. It started to snow heavily at 9:00 am in the Washington area and the flight was supposed to leave at 11:32 am. Some airlines were already delaying flights. But not AirTran.
The plane got to the terminal late, at 11:48 am. Obviously the weather was a problem. Yet for some strange reason, AirTran decided to board the plane, and have us sit in the plane for three hours and ten minutes. Why make the foolish decision to board the plane in the middle of a snowstorm if you were not 100% sure that you could take off? The air circulation on the plane was awful. There was no fresh air circulating because the plane shut down, and it was disgusting. He tried to turn the plane back on once or twice more, for a few minutes each time, but it was so disgusting, and cramped and nasty in there, you felt like you were going to go crazy.
My fiance, my son and I were sitting in a cramped plane with knee pains and back pains along with other frustrated, starving, confused passengers wondering why were we sitting on a plane that was not taking off! People took turns walking up and down the aisles smacking into each other just to stretch out their bodies.
To make matters worse, the pilot decided to insult our intelligence by getting on the PA system every 20 minutes with BS excuses as to why we could not take off, which included, the weather, the plane had to be de-iced, the tower is not letting us go, the runaway needs to be cleaned, the plane needed to be “pulled” off the runway but some machine… excuse after excuse after excuse. He knew damn well we could not take off, so why was it necessary to keep us on a plane for three hours and ten minutes? We were not offered water/juices or appropriate snacks nor food vouchers.
Somebody asked about getting off the plane, but the stewardess said we'd miss our flight if we got off the plane - turning us into fearful prisoners. We were only given soda which is absolutely unconscionable, and after three hours and ten minutes, we were told we could go back to the gate to go eat something and were told to come back in twenty minutes.
Why twenty minutes? Because after twenty minutes they foolishly boarded the plane again, and had us sit on the damn plane again for one hour and a half with more excuses how the plane had to be de-iced AGAIN, how there was now a maintenance issue (with no clarification offered) that needed to be resolved, the plane needed to be refueled, how the tower had still not told us we could leave. All he kept saying was “we are ready to leave but this, we are ready to leave but that”. Total crap. WE WERE NOT READY TO LEAVE!
By now, we were beginning to think there was something wrong with the plane and that you they used the weather as an excuse, considering the fact that in the total five hours we were sitting on the plane, there was no fresh circulating air and other planes around us were taking off, but not us! We finally took off an additional confinement of an hour and a half later after the most horrendous experience with an airline that we have ever experienced.
Why did they keep us on the plane so long instead of allowing us to just wait at the gate? Why didn't they offer us food vouchers if they found it absolutely necessary to keep us on the plane that long? Why didn't they offer us travel on a later flight? I believe they owe every passenger on that plane a written apology and compensation for the unconscionable and unethical way they treated us. The weather is no excuse for keeping people on a plane for 5 hours! We arrived at Florida practically running out of that plane, completely miserable, major body aches, starving, stressed - this is how we began our vacation.
We would have been ten times better off if they had just used some brain cells and never allowed us to board, and just let us stay at the gate/terminal with access to clean bathrooms and food and comfortable chairs, and television/news access until they were 100% sure they could take off, or offered us travel on a later flight. Why would they board a plane and make people sit on the plane for a total of 5 hours in a snowstorm if they know the weather is not suitable for flying and if they had a clue that they would be delayed that long? I for one, cannot imagine flying with them again. Beware!
My experience with AirTran on March 12, 2010 closely resembles others posted here. My husband and I were flying from Columbus Ohio to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to get on a cruise ship that was leaving the next day (evening of Saturday March 13). We had scheduled our flight out for late afternoon (5 PM) and booked a room in Ft. Lauderdale so we would not miss our cruise. When we checked in for our flight at 3:30 PM, the ticket agent was unpleasant and complained about working. She also did not tell us the flight was already delayed 4+ hours. We learned that upon arriving at the gate.
There was one gate agent who assured me we would make our connection in Atlanta, and then told me he was off duty for the day and grateful he would not have to put up with the hassle delays created. When the next agent arrived, I stood in a very long line to again inquire about connections and advise him we were heading to a cruise so if we were NOT going to get to Florida tonight, please let me know so we could find other options. This type of dialogue continued throughout the evening until approximately 9:30 PM when they cancelled the flight.
By that time, all of the other flights from Columbus to Florida had either departed or were sold out. What was particularly frustrating was that they kept telling us the delays were due to weather and we kept pointing out that other airlines traveling the same routes were operating with modest delays. In retrospect, we should have recognized that they were lying to us and found an alternative. We missed our ship and had to cancel the cruise. None of the AirTran staff was even sympathetic to our plight, and at times, they were downright rude. When they cancelled the flight, they gave us an alternative itinerary that did not get us to Ft. Lauderdale until Monday.
This airline may be OK if you are just looking for a weekend jaunt and getting there late or not at all is not important, but I would NEVER depend on them for a critical arrival date. They are insensitive to their customers' needs and ill equipped to handle even the slightest weather delays. It was an expensive lesson for us, and one I hope you do not have to experience.
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 6:30 pm, I arrived at the airport at 4 pm. 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 9 pm. 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 2 pm 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 4:45 pm, they still had that flight posted as being on time and leaving at the scheduled time of 6:30 pm. They did not update the delay on any of the airport signage until after 5:30 pm. This is a very poorly run airline that does not communicate to its customers, or for that matter, its employees. I will avoid flying them at all costs in the future.
I was on a flight from Boston to Atlanta. AirTran had overbooked the flight and announced that anyone who would volunteer to give their seat up would receive a free round trip from AirTran. Great for me; I had flexible plans. I gave up my seat, got a voucher, sat around the airport for an extra 8 or so hours.
Fast forward 9 months. I'm trying to redeem the voucher for another Boston-Atlanta round trip (typically <$200 value). AirTran refuses to honor my voucher because they say "There's no record of you receiving a voucher." Their records show that I was booked for the earlier flight, got a boarding pass, surrendered the boarding pass, got a boarding pass for a later flight and took the later flight. But they simply will not accept that they gave me a voucher. After 2 hours on the phone with them, they finally offer to let me redeem my voucher for a free one-way trip.
This is just outright fraud, outright lying on the part of AirTran. And their phone agents want to yell at me when I tell them about it. If I ever fly AirTran again, and they try to offer vouchers for people to give up their seats, I will tell every living soul in my vicinity how AirTran issues these vouchers and then refuses, quite abruptly, to honor them.
And then, you have to wonder about AirTran's overall integrity. You trust airlines to do small things right, and big things right. Small things would be: give you good pretzels, be at least pleasant when they talk to you, not abuse your checked-in bags. Big things would be: keep the planes in good working order, not let terrorists on the plane, and ***HONOR THEIR WORD AND THE WRITTEN DOCUMENTS THEY ISSUE***.
In my opinion, once they've demonstrated that they are not able or willing to fulfill any of their major obligations, then it seems like you'd have to worry about how well they fulfill the rest. In other words, if AirTran is going to be this cavalier about reneging on bedrock issues of solvency, I absolutely cannot trust them to safely maintain a fleet of planes.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- So by now, everyone knows that many airlines are charging baggage fees for checked baggage. My daughter recently flew on AirTran with 2 suitcases. We paid $15 for the first and $25 for the 2nd online at time of check-in. Upon check-in at the airport, we were told that although they were both under the allowed weight, one of the suitcases would be considered "OVER-SIZED" because it was over 62 linear inches; it supposedly measured 63" (H+ W +L)..... Although I measured it at less than 62". It is a standard full size suitcase which I have flown with at least 30 times on various airlines....without any problems...including 2 days later on another major carrier.
The problem is that they stand the suitcase up against the edge of the scale and then measure from the wall of the scale all the way around to the other wall. This measurement process adds AT LEAST 3-4 inches to any suitcase meaning it is ALWAYS measures too big. I pointed all this out to the supervisor and customer service managers etc.....to no avail. In fact they were rude and condescending. I was told that this is the process that they are taught for measuring.... No doubt the most beneficial to Air Tran and the most disadvantageous to consumers.
We finally paid a $39 penalty for being "oversize." NOT A GOOD WAY FOR AIRTRAN TO BUILD A CUSTOMER BASE. SO A WARNING TO ALL: They are essentially MISLEADING customers in order to collect extra baggage fees. In addition, there is NO explanation of exactly how the measurement will be done in advance. Most normal people would assume that you would measure the three dimensions of a suitcase and simply add them together! IF YOU PLAN TO FLY AIRTRAN AGAIN, BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT EXACTLY HOW YOU MEASURE YOUR SUITCASE.... It really isn't as simple as you think!
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 AirTran 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 AirTran." Of course the AirTran 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 overweight fees."
Upon checking in at the Orlando Airport for our return flight to Minneapolis 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 AirTran 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 AirTran 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 AirTran before booking your next flight.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- May 15, 2008 - We were to fly from Ft. Myers to Atlanta to connect to Phila. We left Ft. Myers at 5:5PM and were told we would be at the gate before our scheduled 7:40PM arrival time. At 8:00PM we were still circling Atlanta. We had to divert to Columbus, GA as we're running out of fuel. We got to Columbus. No fuel available. We sat in the plane until 10:00PM (2 hours) waiting for a fuel truck. We were fueled by 10:30. We were then told the plane had a mechanical problem and we could not get back to Atlanta. They secured 3 buses from ALABAMA to take us to Atlanta. The buses arrived after midnight. Atlanta is 95 miles away. 40 miles into the bus trip, the bus broke down.
We waited on the side of the road in Georgia at 2:00 AM for a replacement bus. The bus showed up at 3:00 AM. We were told an "official" from AirTran would meet us upon our arrival. We got to the airport at 4:00 AM. NO ONE from AirTran was there to meet us. We found the ticket counter. The ticket reps were amazingly rude and inconsiderate. We waited 4 more hours in the airport for a connecting flight to Philadelphia. We were told our luggage from the canceled flight would be sent to the new flight.
We touched down 45 minutes late in Philadelphia (14 hours after the original flight was to arrive). To no one surprise, the luggage did not arrive. AirTran does not have a luggage tracking system, so they could not tell me where my bag was but promised it would arrive today. Today is just about over, still no bags. AirTran never offered us food, water, or any type of apology for their behavior and incredibly poor decision making. More to follow as this saga continues to unfold.
OTTAWA, KANSAS -- Last year my SO and I took a wonderful vacation to Cancun and to try and save some money, we flew on AirTran. Getting there wasn't terrible but getting back... Worst experience with any airline I have ever had. On the day we were scheduled to go home, we get to the airport to find our flight delayed. I was a bit frustrated but I figure it's a minor setback. Since Hurricane Karen was nearby, I figure it's probably due to that and we just have to wait. We do go to the ticket counter for our gate to see if there is any info on our flight and we hear this, "I don't know." 2 hours go by and no plane. We ask again and we hear "I don't know." This process drags on for eight hours.
Eight hours with no explanation for why our plane is delayed for that long. All we hear from the ticket agent when we ask is "I don't know." We are told of what happened when the plane finally arrives and as we are boarding the plane. Apparently they were shorthanded and there were a few maintenance issues and that's why it took eight hours. I do understand that delays like this can happen, it's frustrating but it is understandable. However, failing to inform passengers of a delay that can take up to several hours to fix and leave them essentially stranded at the airport is extremely poor customer service and there is no excuse for it. None.
I was furious that they chose not to inform us of this and made us wait in the airport for hours on end. Why would you not inform passengers of problems like this??? If they were upfront about it and told us about the delay and kept us updated, then this wouldn't have been an issue. Keeping passengers out of the loop is an issue! Long story short, we managed to get back in the US but we didn't make it home until the next day. I am never flying with AirTran again and have told my friends and family to avoid that airline like the plague.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I booked flights for myself and spouse on Oct 20, 2013 from BWI to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - Airtran Flight 817; depart at 9:08 am on Sunday, Dec 22nd 2013; arrive Punta Cana at 1:52 pm, a four-hour flight, and returning on Dec 28th, 2013. I also purchased two advanced seating assignments for the round trip tickets.
AirTran called on Oct 31st, asking if we were willing to take a later flight on Dec. 22nd from BWI to Punta Cana, DR because AirTran sold us an overbooked original scheduled flight. They offered two flight options that were both incomparable and unacceptable because of the departure times, one leaving at 7:55 am from BWI connecting through Atlanta with a six hours layover, and arriving Punta Cana at 8:57 pm. I did not accept the offer to be put on any alternative incomparable flights.
AirTran called again on Dec. 19th, informed me that my flights have now changed leaving on Dec. 22 from BWI at 7:55 am, arriving Atlanta. When I stopped the caller (agent) and asked her why they are changing my flights, the agent's answer was that our original scheduled flight leaving BWI at 9:08 am is overbooked. I called AirTran and spoke a supervisor, ** (agent **), who offered a refund of two one-way tickets and fees for advanced seating assignments.
Because we were not given any alternative comparable flight choice and our trip is scheduled in two days, Dec. 22nd, we were forced to take FLT 133 - departed BWI on Dec. 22nd at 7:55 am, arrived Atlanta at 9:55 am, over 7 hours layover in Atlanta, departed at 5:40 pm, arrived in PUJ 10 pm! All day of our first day family holiday vacation wasted!
** informed us that the Involuntary Denied Boarding (IDB) Rule does not apply because we were involuntary removed (bumped) from our original flight 2 days prior to Dec. 22; subsequently AirTran avoiding DOT rule for IDB, which is legal business practice by AirTran! Overbooking flights is also legal business practice!
DOT defines involuntary bumping. AirTran has the right to involuntary bumped lucky passengers from any of their flights any time, except that we were involuntary bumped on Dec. 19, so rule does not apply to us in terms of 400% compensation; our flight was on Dec 22! What are our rights as customers and as consumers?! DOT is reviewing my case!
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 than 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.