US Airways Complaint - US Air's failure as an airline
US Air lost another 2 customers. Our flight from Washington, D.C.'s National/Reagan Airport to Fresno via Phoenix was delayed for hours, causing us to miss our connection (a US Air flight) in Phoenix and to also miss the first day of our vacation. After waiting for a long time on line at the US Air Customer Service desk, we were given a voucher to stay at a hotel near the Phoenix airport that night, but the hotel said they clearly told US Air they were not accepting vouchers. The vouchers were worthless and US Air knew it when they gave them to us. Furthermore, the hotel had no available rooms.
We returned to the US Air service counter for assistance in locating a hotel with available rooms, but found it closed. US Air left its passengers stranded at the airport. This same scenario happened to other passengers, as well, they told us.
Another passenger on the flight said he read on the internet that this flight is delayed 60% of the time. The stewardess confirmed that it was usually late, and the reason was because the plane comes from Hawaii and not enough time is scheduled for turnaround. Day after day, this flight is chronically late, and the cause is known, but the problem is not corrected. Instead, passengers are given false information and are greatly inconvenienced.
US Air had scheduled us for a connecting flight in Phoenix that departed just 25 minutes after the flight from Washington was supposed to arrive, assuring us that would represent no problem as the gates were close together. US Air KNOWS the flight originating from DCA will likely not depart on time, and knows that 25 minutes is not enough time to get from one flight to the other if there is the smallest delay, yet schedules passengers this way, knowing they will miss their connections.
A US Air pilot told us there have been tremendous infrastructure difficulties since America West took over US Air two years ago. They have had 2 years to correct the problems, but have not succeeded, and the problems just seem to be worsening by the day.
On the return flight, the scenario was the same - a morning flight from Fresno that was supposed to meet a connecting flight in Phoenix was delayed for hours, causing the connecting flight to be missed or cancelled. The entire day was taken up waiting at the airport in a huge crowd of other inconvenienced passengers. We were not able to depart Phoenix until after midnight, and instead of a direct flight to Washington, which is what we booked, we were rounted through Las Vegas and made to wait in Las Vegas for yet another flight. We arrived only the following day in Washington. PASSENGERS WERE DEPRIVED OF SLEEP FOR AN ENTIRE NIGHT, arriving exhausted and once again, losing an entire day of work or vacation.
On the plane, there were no pillows and only a few blankets, which the stewardess asked passengers to share. Use your blanket to warm up and then give it to another passenger, she suggested, saying US Air does not provide enough blankets for each passenger to have their own. No meals were served on the 4 hour flight and no movies shown. We were told we should feel fortunate because we got the last 2 seats and other passengers were even more inconvenienced.
US Air tells passengers their flights are delayed or cancelled due to weather (so they don't have to pay for their hotels that night) or to mechanical problems, but no passenger we spoke to believed them because every flight, day after day, was delayed or cancelled and there was complete bedlam at all US Air departing gates. As a plane was supposedly about to board, passengers were told to go to another gate or that their plane had been switched or delayed or cancelled. Loud groans could be heard from a hundred inconvenienced passengers at a time.
This chronic chaos in every area will surely lead to safety problems. After we boarded, the pilot shut everything down, even turning out the lights, saying he had computer problems and had to do something with the circuit breakers before he could turn the plane on again and move forward. It does not make the passengers feel their flight will be a safe one.
At the US Air departure gates in Fresno, there were no staff members. Only when the hour for boarding arrived and still no representatives were there did another passenger tell us he had just come from the departure terminal and found out that our flight was delayed or cancelled. No announcement was made at the departure gate, so all passengers there were just left to wait and wonder what had happened and why their flight wasn't boarding. Their only other choice was to walk back through security to the departure area ticket counter, all the while worrying they might miss their flight. Only at the departures ticket counter - where there was a huge line - could they find out that the flight was delayed and cancelled and all seats on any plane out of that situation were already booked. The US Air representatives said they were so busy dealing with the cancellations and delays, they had no time to go to the departure gate to inform the passengers waiting there of their fate. Left stranded again.
While at the departure gate, I used the counter phone to call US Air. While speaking to a US Air ticket agent, two US Air employees walked passed, and told me I was not allowed to use the phone without permission. I answered that there had been no one there to ask permission from and explained that I was on the line with a US Air representative who was in the midst of answering my question. I asked if I could just listen to her answer. They just pressed the button to hang up the phone, saying they would help me instead, but did not. Then left without another word and without providing help of any kind.
Concerned in advance that our flight from Fresno might be delayed, we asked if we could change our ticket to depart from Los Angeles airport, thinking that at least from that airport, we would have a better chance of finding another departing flight without an overnight delay. The answer was no. US Air does not permit a passenger to change their ticket to depart from a different airport than the one they originally book, while US Air is free to re-route passengers to any airport they please.
If you want to live a nightmare for two days on your outbound flight and another nightmare for two more days on your return flight, and maybe risk your life along with losing your work and vacation time, then by all means choose US Air. If you expect to be treated with respect and decency, and to get what you pay for, choose another airline. US Air is having so many difficulties functioning, perhaps the FAA should put it out of its misery. Hopefully, enough disgusted passengers will write to the FAA asking them to do this. If US Air is incapable of running an airline properly, they should turn their routes over to an airline that can.