I fly quite a bit for business each month. Granted in a perfect world I would find deals on direct flights going back east, but usually I have to make a connecting flight. Nine times out of ten, I will look at the amount of Layover time to gauge whether or not I was going to book the flight OR maybe my layover is in Houston and I want to sling down some oysters at Pappadeaux.
This time I had my assistant book my flight and she took for granted there would be enough time to make a connecting flight. Why should we even have to look at that? You would think the airline would allow for enough time to go from on side of the terminal to the other.
So I flew to LGA via Charlotte on January 15th and all was well. However for my return flight home on the 17th…
Thu, Jan 17 894 LGA/NEW YORK, NY
To Be Determined CLT/CHARLOTTE, NC 07:12 PM
Thu, Jan 17 383 CLT/CHARLOTTE, NC
Airbus A320 LAS/LAS VEGAS, NV 09:51 PM
Just for grins, even if the flight was on time…Plane lands at 7:12…I am in the back of the aircraft and I do not get off the aircraft for 15 minutes…the connecting flight is in a different gate wing…another 10 minutes…I get to the next gate, if I am lucky right before the doors close. Just does not seem like enough time.
I went to the gate at LGA to find out if I could upgrade my seat and I was told by the ticket clerk that the flight coming into LGA was going to be a bit late and that I should go see the AS Air assistance counter because I was not going to make my connecting flight.
I asked about getting me on another flight so that I could make my way home to Las Vegas and there were two options. Fly Jet Blue at my own expense because Jet Blue does not take US Air vouchers and file for a reimbursement. Or somehow get to JFK on my own dime to maybe catch a flight home. I did find a direct flight on Delta via JFK where I had enough time to catch it but US Airways was not willing to provide transportation.
So my next option was to stay the night at the Marriott across the street from LGA which I was OK with, but at my expense? Are you kidding me?
$300 later, I got up at 4am to catch a 4:30 shuttle to catch a 6am flight through Philly. I got back to Vegas around 10AM and went to the office. Falling asleep at my desk, I suddenly realized I had gotten up at 1AM Pacific Time and my day was pretty much gone. So, I was out $300 and essentially missed, what was to be productive day at the office.
I filed a complaint with Customer Service at AS Airways to get some form of compensation and received the following response:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Customer Relations at US Airways. I appreciate this opportunity to address your concern in regard to your recent travel with US.
I’m sorry your US Airways flight to Charlotte was delayed. Air Traffic delays can be the result of weather or congestion at your destination or origin city, or weather enroute. These delays are similar to freeway congestion where an earlier situation can cause delays long after the initial incident has been cleared.
When these kinds of issues occur Air Traffic Control will decrease the number of take-offs and landings which they believe can be safely allowed. This can cause backups in flight schedules for the remainder of the day. Although it may appear as though flights of another airline are unaffected, this is because other flights have been held back or cancelled to free up the airport space and help control traffic. In these types of situations, ATC determines the flow of traffic.
I realize it was disappointing for you, especially due the extenuating circumstances regarding your wife. Please be assured we try our best to re-accommodate to an alternate flight which provides the minimum possible delay. However, because this was due to Air Traffic Control this would have affected all airline carriers. Since this was not a situation that we could have prevented, I will be unable to offer you compensation, but I’m again sorry for the inconvenience it caused you.
CJ, your business is important to us. We feel confident that US Airways can continue to meet your future travel needs.
Lead Representative, Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office
So, per the Bold statement above, because this was due to Air Traffic Control, the burden is not on the airlines to provide any logistics for the trouble. Nice way out. Poor customer service. Not flying again with US Airways unless that is my only option. The experience earns a “US Airways Grinch” graphic.
So, what are my options at this point.
1) File a class action lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) for gross mismanagement of flight schedules.
2) Leave at least 2 hours between connecting flights.
3) Tell the world through a blog not to fly US Airways due to the lack of accommodation of it clients.
Update February 4, 2013
I tried to get in touch with you today at 9:30am and 12:00pm Arizona Time and left you a voicemail each time.
I apologize for your dissatisfaction with our response. I apologize that you were not reacommodated on a flight from JFK when the flight from LaGuardia was delayed. There are a lot of factors that the airport agents need to take into consideration, such as how long it would take you to get to JFK and if there was availability on those flights. I know this doesn’t change the situation that you experienced, however; I wanted to let you know what went into consideration for our actions at the airport.
Mr. Hays, feedback such as yours affords us the opportunity to learn where and how we can improve our service not only to meet our customers’ expectations, but to exceed those expectations. Given the privilege of serving you again on US Airways, we look forward to providing you with a more satisfying travel experience.
Representative, Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office
Note – So basically they were calling me to explain why their hands were tied. While I can appreciate their staff reaching out, I still don’t have my “warm fuzzy” back with US Airways.
Update February 7, 2013
Thank you for your most recent email Customer Relations and for speaking with me today. We appreciate it when customers take the time to share their concerns.
Based on what you’ve said to me on the phone our agent didn’t handle the situation with the quality customer care we expect. I apologize and understand your frustration. I’ve shared your feedback with our leadership team to help improve our service and ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Our office not only responds to the needs and comments from our customers, but also shares those comments with the appropriate management teams. This method has proven very successful; in fact, many of our current policies, procedures, and positive changes are a direct result of customer feedback.
We value your business and are working hard to earn your continued patronage. We hope you will give us the opportunity to do so.
Representative Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office
OK, so I will give to them for calling me, but I still disagree over their procedures, scheduling connecting flights too close together and not throwing me a bone. Come on, you go to a restaurant and the food sucks, you get a free meal. There is a reason why businesses comp clients and that is to blow them away with letting the clients know how much they care about your business.
I still think it has everything to do with the merger. What does US Airways care? They are being purchased by American Airlines.