US Airways Complaint - Cancellations for Weather vs. Air Carrier's Convenience to Avoid Reimbursing Passengers
REAGAN NATIONAL, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- Hello,
On January 13, 2008, I was scheduled to fly from Washington Reagan National to Burlington, Vermont on US Air Flight 3226, leaving at 9:10 pm. On that date, a snowstorm passed through the Phila/NYC/Boston area; the storm did not affect the Burlington airport approach conditions or the runways, which were dry at the time of our scheduled departure with no change until the following afternoon. I have a record of the weather to that effect. The planes flying this route are usually smaller jets, but they rolled a larger plane to the gate and eventually boarded us at 10:45 pm and shut the cabin door, only to announce at about 11:20 that the flight was cancelled due to “weather”. One surly customer service person met the offloaded passengers and proved to everyone as she plodded through each passenger’s sad story that she was far more inconvenienced than we were. I left found accommodations at a nearby hotel, called my wife to advise her of the situation and confirm the weather conditions and forecast and made my reservations for the next day’s flight.
The next day, a US Air employee (we have his name and number) advised a few of us that our flight the night before had been cancelled because the larger plane was needed elsewhere in the system the following morning.
Later that week, I applied for a reimbursement of expenses (about $220) for the hotel room and one meal. The e-mailed response from “customer relations” on January 16 was that “…Deteriorated weather conditions made flying to Burlington an impossibility. It became apparent an improvement in this situation was not going to happen…the flight was cancelled for safety reasons.” Actually, the approach and field conditions at BTV on January 14, when I finally did arrive on a smaller, fully-loaded US Air Flt 3226, were considerably worse – low ceiling, limited visibility, wet runways and taxiways.
My loss was $220 and a day’s work, but that must be multiplied by the number of souls on the January 13 flight. US Air prevaricated itself out of a considerable amount of cash solely for its own convenience.
As I read the various complaints written in blogs and on other websites, I am convinced as are many others that US Air and others predictably violates its “Customer Service Plan”, (http://www.usairways.com/awa/content/
aboutus/customersfirst/customerserviceplan.aspx) which it claims is the “Customers First” plan, “a joint effort of the airline industry, the US Congress, and the US Department of Transportation”, pertaining to cancellations due to weather vs. administrative/logistical considerations.