Recently, I was fortunate enough to venture off to the west coast of the good ‘ol US of A. After some last-minute researching and logistical work, I uncovered a fair deal to San Francisco through US Airways, starting from Washington Reagan to Philadelphia International and onto San Francisco.
Traveling and me, well, we have an interesting history. Missed flights, lost tickets, freak snow storms, changed ticket fees, wrong dates, lost luggage, hurricanes, etc. So I wasn’t surprised when I reached the ticket counter and discovered the payment did not go through.
Translation: no payment, no seat, no ticket. Even resubmitting payment didn’t guarantee me a seat. I received confirmation and seat assignments via email, but all of these promises seemed to be taken away.
After speaking with the ticket counter man, using phones to contact automated machines, and freak-outs all around, I resubmitted payment. I then charmed the ticket counter man with a sweet story. So taken was he, he upgraded me to first class–free!
However, I never did see first class. We boarded the plane on time. We had our luggage stowed on time. We were ready to go, but one problem came up. Paperwork. Some bureaucratic bull prevented us from leaving until it was almost an hour late! The folks at the terminal were to bring the paperwork but wouldn’t (we had to take a bus to board our plane). Miscommunication, the pilot got out to yell, the flight attendant didn’t update us, and by the time we got to Philly, most of us would not stand a chance to make our flight.
The hand luggage stored below the plane took an unnecessarily long time. A fight broke out between an employee and a crazed, woman traveller. I ran to my connecting bus to the terminal. Onboard was an irate Irish woman demanding the bus stop. I ran to my gate, but unfortunately, my flight had left 5 minutes early, not even giving me a chance to make it even though they are supposed to wait for 5 minutes post-departure time.
Customer Service wouldn’t help me. I stood there while a vacant representative just stared, then, as if seeing me for the first time after 5 minutes, ushered me forward. She was a waste of space. She left in the middle of helping me to speak with someone about non-work-related material, came back, and refused to assist in a hotel or reimbursement.
“Go to the website. Complain to the website.” Honestly, just replace those useless, miserable, bitter people with computers so we can go to the website. According to the woman, all the hotels in Philly were sold out and I could sleep in the airport. Nevermind, the former pilot she said would have to pay to use the US Airways lounge and then could sleep in the airport. Class.
I cried and cried, all the way into the Philly Airport Marriott. There I reached the counter where 2 men were working. Everything was sold out, but within a 10 second span, something opened up, and I got it! For $240. Ugh, but I wanted a bed, shower and a glass of wine. US Airways only will help you with $90 of a hotel, regardless if its their fault. They seem to think that where there is a major airport they fly to, hotels are cheaper than $90. Not to mention extra food and drink you need to buy, lost reservations at destinations and time that cannot be given back. All for paperwork? Is paper essential to flying other than for a paper airplane?
I’m contesting and we will see what happens. I’m sad I didn’t get to fly first class, but I’m more sad I lost my money. The Customer Service woman said, “Why didn’t you just fly direct?” Is she insensitive and stupid? Cost plays a role in travel decisions, and it’s cheaper not to fly direct.
Anyway, this is why the air industry has a hard time keeping itself in the air, and another reason why US Airways blows.