AirTran Airways Complaint - "Air Maybe"
AIR TRAN definitely has cheap air fares. But that’s probably the only thing definite about AIR TRAN. Here are some points you might want to consider before booking a flight:
Only buy an AIR TRAN ticket if you’re not in a hurry to get there. You stand a good chance of getting bumped from your flight. People regularly miss weddings, business engagements, and other one-time events or have their vacations shortened because they can’t get on flights for which they have tickets and even boarding passes.
They keep the fares low by making sure every seat is filled, and the way they do that is by overbooking – by a lot. As a result, you can be in the check-in line when they announce that they can’t take anyone else, or they can’t take any more bags. The ticket in your hand isn’t worth much then.
When this happens to you, you may be blamed for being late, or some other excuse. The AIR TRAN staff has had to develop a repertoire of means to deflect blame onto customers for the overbooking.
What happens then is they offer you a stand-by seat on another overbooked flight – but your chances are even worse there, since you’re not actually booked for that flight – unless you want to pay a $60 fee for a ‘confirmed’ seat, which is only possible if they haven’t overbooked that flight too. And this has to be done on-line, not at the counter – a way of making you go away and leave them alone.
It sometimes happens that there are seats left but no more room in the baggage hold. Would you like to board without your luggage?
On-line check-in: It seems handy to be able to choose seats and print your boarding passes at home the day before your flight. Only try this, however, if you have no bags to check. If you have bags you will have to stand in line like everyone else, and run the risk that you won’t get on, boarding passes or not.
Baggage claim delays: AIR TRAN skimps on staff and on the fees they pay to airports to use baggage carousels and gates. Typically the baggage from all AIR TRAN flights goes into just one baggage carousel, making for dire congestion, and it takes a long time to off-load the baggage and get it to you. Hopefully you don’t need to be anywhere.
Considering all this, you may want to pay a little more to fly with a reliable airline.