US Airways Complaint - Stuck in Charlotte
We were flying home from San Juan PR to Philadelphia on Dec 19th. Philadelphia was expected to get 2 feet of snow which started early in the day. Our flight was scheduled to leave SJ at 1:45 pm and arrive at Philadelphia around 5:45 pm. Because the weather forecasters were predicting blizzard conditions, we thought our flight would be canceled. No such luck....we left SJ at 2:30 pm. The Capt kept us informed and told us that Phila was allowing planes inbound and that we may have to be in a "hold" depending on conditions. As we approached Phila, the Capt actually told us that conditions were improving and that they temporarily had closed the runways so that they could be plowed. She assured us we had enough fuel to hold for about an hour. About 45 minutes into the "hold" she then told us the airport was closed and we would have to go to an "alternate" airport. That was when the nightmare really started. They turned us around and flew us one hour and 10 minutes south to Charlotte. We couldn't understand this - why not go to Newark (they only had about 3 inches at the time). But...no....let's go NC b/c Charlotte is US Airways' hub. They told us our luggage would be at carousel B so we proceeded to baggage claim where we waited one hour for our luggage which never came. We then found out from another passenger that we were not getting our luggage. He was told by a representative that the Federal Gov't would not allow it b/c Charlotte was not our final destination. The line for service to book another flight the next day was 4 hours long. We had to find a hotel (not an easy task since all US Air flights were diverted to Charlote). We called the 1-800 number for US Air when we got to the hotel and the wait was "119 minutes". We finally (after being disconnected twice) got to speak to a representative and we were booked on a flight the next day at 2pm. We arrived at the airport at 11:30 am and the lines were unbelievable. Since we never got our luggage, we had no bags to check (lucky for us) and we already had our boarding passes. We only had to wait an hour to go thru security. Charlotte airport was not equipped to deal with all the crowds of people. They had 2 lanes for security check through. As soon as we arrived at the gate, we noticed our flight was now changed to 3:46 pm. Great. It only went down hill from there. 4:00....4:30.....5:00....5:30....We were told that Philly would not release our flight b/c of the backlog of airplanes, the amount of snow and the inability to clear snow from the gates. We finally boarded the plane around 5:45 pm and were informed we had a 6:04 take off. Then the Capt told us we were still not cleared for take off and wasn't sure we would be and would have to wait until 7:00 pm. At 7:00 pm we were told it was still definite we would be taking off. Then, all of a sudden, they started the safety video and told us to put our trays up and seats upright. We pulled away from the gate. Everyone clapped. Then the engines stopped. The Capt then told us "they needed the gate". So there we sat on the tarmac. how much more torture?? Couldn't they have told us we were just moving away from the gate?? Everyone thought we were taking off. Then he told us we would have another update at 8:00 pm. Still not sure we would get clearance. They let us watch movies (how generous). Then, we got word at 8:30 that we were taking off. We landed in Phila about 1 hour later. Had to wait 20 minutes to pull up to a gate. We were told our luggage would be at Carousel B. We never saw our luggage. However, the carousels were loaded with luggage from previous flights. There was luggage all over the place - abandoned. The line to report a claim was about a 2-hour wait. There were 2 US Air personnel to take claims - can you imagine? We decided to end our torture and left the airport without the luggage. My husband went back the next day and had no wait. The most upsetting thing aside from the wait, was the irresponsibility of the airline to make the decision to take off from SJ in the first place. They did not care how they inconvenienced people. They were going to get that plane in the air no matter what. I think they knew all along they were going to bring the plane in to Charlotte. How inconvenient to the passengers. I will NEVER fly US Air again, nor will I fly out of Philadelphia. They are no way equipped to deal with chaos!!!