AirTran Airways Complaint - Stuck on plane total 5 hours in a DC snowstorm
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I am writing to complain about Flight 716 on January 17th, 2008, nonstop from Dulles to Orlando leaving at 11:32am. My son, my fiancee, and I were on that flight. It is by far the worst flight I have ever taken in my life.It was my fiancee'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 9:00am in the Washington area and the flight was supposed to leave at 11:32am. Some airlines were already delaying flights. But not Airtran. The plane got to the terminal late, at 11:48am. 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 fiancee, 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 runaway 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, were 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 were 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!
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