AirTran Airways Complaint - Missed Flight, Poor Customer Relations
Last Sunday I was to return to Flint from Fort Myers, Florida. I tried to use the on-line check in service the night before, but could not check in for my flight. I tried for several hours with no luck. I tried again the next morning with still no luck.
With my flight scheduled to depart at 6:30pm, I arrived at the airport at 4pm. The agent at the counter looked at me and said "I have bad news. There is no way that you are going to get home tonight". When I asked why, he explained that the plane coming from D. C. had mechanical problems and would not arrive until 9pm. That would mean I would miss my connecting flight in Atlanta, and it is the last flight for the day going from Atlanta to Flint. When I asked him what my alternatives were, he said that the only thing I could do was come back the next day to take the same flight. That meant a 24 hour delay. I told him that was unacceptable and that he needed to work out something else. The only other option was to take my delayed flight to Atlanta, spend the night there and fly home the next day.
They did offer to put me up for the night in Atlanta, but here is where they added insult to injury. When we boarded the plane to go to Atlanta, the pilot came on the intercom and announced that due to the missed flight situation everyone would receive a round trip ticket anywhere that Airtran flies. That announcement brought cheers from the passengers.
However, when I called the Customer Relations Dept to arrange for the ticket I was told that it would only be a one-way ticket. The person informed me that the pilot was not authorized to make awards as compensation. It seems to me that he is an employee of the airlines, so when he speaks he is speaking for the company.
What really is annoying is that they knew the plane was delayed and yet they couldn't send me an email at 2pm to tell me that. They let me check out of my room, turn in my rental car, get to the airport, and then tell me. In fact, when I finally got to the boarding gate at 4-45pm, they still had that flight posted as being on time and leaving at the scheduled time of 6:30pm. They did not update the delay on any of the airport signage until after 5:30pm.
This is a very poorly run airline that does not communicate to it's customers, or for that matter, it's employees. I will avoid flying them at all costs in the future.