US Airways Complaint - The worst airline I've flown
I've been flying a long time and airline travel has been going downhill since deregulation. An avid traveler for work and pleasure, flying is regularly the worst part of any trip -- something to be endured rather than enjoyed.
Yesterday, 7 of us were travelling back from Providenciales where we enjoyed several days in the sun and the wedding of a great couple. We were scheduled to fly out of Provo at 3:15 pm, and connect in Charlotte for a 7:25 pm flight to Minneapolis -- a comfortable 1.5 hour layover to clear customs). Our Provo outbound flight was delayed because of mechanical problems with the inbound aircraft. when they got to Provo they found out that the island had no fuel so they didn't have enough fuel to get the 757 back to Charlotte (who flies to a destination island expecting to refuel without verifying the availability?).
We finally board and the pilot tells us we need to go to Ft. Lauderdale to refuel before continuing on to Charlotte. The pilot spoke as though it was information that we clearly should have gotten from the ground crew, which of course we hadn't. This will add 30 minutes to our flight time, seriously jeopardizing our connection time as well the connection time of everyone else on the airplane. The flight attendants then get on the PA system to tell all of us that it simply is not possible for them to have any information on connections.
Adding to the confidence in this entire flight crew, the pilot then comes on the PA to tell us we're about to leave a location other than "Providenciales". The murmuring among the passengers that the pilot doesn't even "know where the hell he is" was audible.
The flight to Ft. Laudredale is uneventful. The refueling goes well but takes about 15 minutes longer than had been promised. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale it is still "not possible to have any information on the status of connections".
As we approach Charlotte there's essentially no chance that our connection will be made, but hope comes when the pilot tells us that other planes have been circling because of some rain that occurred earlier, but we're cleared to proceed to land. Those of us sitting by the window had no difficulty identifying that we circled 6 times before landing an hour later. Who do they think they're kidding?
Baggage and immigrations performed brilliantly in Charlotte. We cleared both of them in less than 30 minutes. The same can't be said for US Airways staff in Charlotte. They're probably good people, inadequately trained who know that their company has hung them out to dry. What a thankless job.
Luckily, because we cleared baggage and immigation quickly, we were one of the first to get to the ticket counter to figure out how we were going to get home.
A totally clueless ticketing agent was what we got. It's now about 9:15 pm. We're in Charlotte. We pretty much know we're not getting home this night. When this has happened to me on other airlines, the rebooking has been done by the time I got off the plane. The gate agent has been able to tell me what's happening. With US Airways in Charlotte, the fact that we had missed our connection from their own flight was a surprise to them.
For the next 2 hours, the groom who was trying to do a quick roundtrip (and get back to his honeymoon) to ensure his kids got home safely, spent coaching the ticket agent, her supervisor, and his supervisor how to do their jobs.
Their first plan was to book the party of 7 onto 5 different US Airways return flights (with futher connections) the next day despite the fact that there were 3 minor travelers and one more than 85. When the groom suggested they check for availability on other airlines, the reaction was that they couldn't because all the other ticket counters were closed. He then suggested they call the 800 numbers for the other airlines which are open 24 hrs. The response was that they didn't know those numbers. So he spent the next 10 minutes calling 411 from his cell phone to get numbers for several other airlines with service from Charlotte to Minneapolis.
After messing up the itineraries in the computer so badly that they had to resort to paper coupons, we ended up being booked onto American Airlines leaving Charlotte at 7:45 the next morning. And the rest of the trip on American went flawlessly.
The groom's return flight to Provo on US Airways to continue his honeymoom was originally scheduled out of Minneapolis for the next morning. Since US Airways knew that wasn't going to happen they brilliantly rescheduled it for 2 days later.
He's booked a flight on another airline for this evening at an additional cost to him of $1500. He'll only lose an additional half day of his honeymoon. We're all praying for he and his bride that they'll be able to get back to Minneapolis in a week on the US Airways flight they booked months ago. He is desperately trying to rebook the return from the honeymoon on a different airline.
This complaint isn't about circumstances that happen. They happen. It's all about doing the right thing for your customer. None of this was about money.
US Airways is a lousy airline. They have lousy procedures. They have lousy training. Charlotte is a hub where you'd expect to have the best trained employees. I can't even blame it on the merger with America West. AW was a decent airline. They make the citizens of Charlotte look BAD. And this is all in comparison to a number of other airlines including Northwest (the primary airline of this gold elite status reviewer) which doesn't always get great reviews.
The best thing we can do is put US Airways out of our misery. There are at least 7 of us (and anyone we can get the message to) that will NEVER fly them again.
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