The Nth Best Thing We Have Ever Posted: An Open Letter to US Airways

Meet David Kerry of the Catalogue of Ships podcast.

The latest episode of the podcast starts with US Airways losing his bag and sending it to a port of call hundreds of miles away from his destination. It continues with the bag remaining MIA for 13 days, during which time David is reduced to transvestitism by the wearing of his landlady’s clothes. A flight back home via US Airways is delayed, during which time US Airways stubbornly refuse to give another traveler their names, to report their poor service. When she takes a photograph of them to document US Airways poor service, the US Airways employees leap over the counter and chase her across the airport in the aims of beating her down and stealing her cellphone. David is incapable of making the delayed flight back home, and a US Airways employee takes pity on him when he breaks down into “uncontrollable sobbing.” He is routed to a local Ramadan hotel to sleep off the night… but, surprise! The manager there will not accept his airline voucher, and US Airways will not call to correct the situation.

Oh, but it’s better than that sparse description, involving hundreds of unanswered phone calls to US Airways customer service, dozens of hours spent pleading with unmoved and calloused US Airways representatives and weeks of utterly appalling customer service at the hands of two of the nation’s biggest travel companies.

That’s it. We quit. Outside of the CSR of a major American company storming into your parents’ house and kicking your mother down a flight of stairs, we will never, ever, ever be able to post a customer service experience this bad again.

An Open Letter to US Airways [Catalogue of Ships]

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  1. homerjay says:

    When will the airlines ever learn… This could have just as easily been ANY major carrier.

  2. homerjay says:

    When will the airlines ever learn? This could have just as easily been ANY major carrier.

  3. DeeJayQueue says:

    At this point they’re just like big oil. They do what they want and charge what they want because they know we have to take it up the asshole.
    What are you gonna do? Are you gonna swim across the ocean to get to europe? Is cross country business going to come to a screeching hault because we refuse to fly on just about every airline because they all suck gorilla butt? No, that won’t happen. The nation’s economy is too entwined with fast interstate and international commerce to have a Real choice in the airline wars. It’s just a battle of who sucks the least, and who uses the most lube or at least offers a reach around.

  4. It’s not like big oil at all. Well, at least not in the way you’re arguing it, DJQ.

    Big Oil screws the public because their thoroughly vertically integrated–from the oil fields to your gas tank, oil companies run the show, with the only real competition between companies being which can claim the better fields and which can keep its overhead lowest.

    Airlines, since deregulation, are forced to be far more competitive, to the legacy carriers’ detriment. Pan Am didn’t survive deregulation; neither did TWA. They, like the older carriers still around, are saddled with outdated hub-and-spoke routes, aging planes, expensive union contracts, and overpriced gasoline. Customer service quickly gets overlooked, not because the airlines are morally bankrupt but, you know, actually bankrupt.

    Newer carriers, like JetBlue, which avoid all those problems except the cost of gas, are showing the an airline can turn a profit while reclaiming some customer service standards. As Consumerist shows, JetBlue’s service is far from perfect–but it’s nothing like the thoroughgoing failure of an old carrier like US Airways.

  5. homerjay says:

    You really thing $29 one way to Baltimore is what they want to charge?

  6. He says:

    There is a huge difference between Ramadan and Ramada.

    Kudos to this guy for not punching anybody though. It would have been defensible, but when the whole system is f’ed only punching one or two people won’t do anything except get you on the local news.

  7. DeeJayQueue says:

    the airlines and big oil are similar because they both fuck the consumers simply because they can.
    Why is gas so expensive? Because we’ll pay it.
    Why is airline service so shitty? Because we’ll deal with it.

    We can’t not drive and we can’t not fly, so we have to put up with whatever they want to give us.

  8. datruesurfer says:

    We have delt with US Airways before, but nothing even comes close to that. The airlines have hit a new low.

  9. Pelagius says:

    Deregulation, deschmegulation. Once the US government starts forcing
    these airlines to compete, rather than bailing them out time and again,
    then we may see some real benefits from the market. What we have now is
    a number of airlines in limbo, with employees watching their pensions
    gutted and paychecks cut. The smart ones are getting the hell out (e.g.
    recent report on number of furloughed pilots who aren’t answering
    recall notices), the rest stick it out sullenly, stuck between angry
    passengers and a corporation that doesn’t have either the will or the
    resources to treat its customers right.

    But hey, now that US Airways is hiring a bunch of teenagers to man
    customer service centers at pissant wages, I’m sure this will all get
    sorted out!

  10. econdave says:

    “There is a huge difference between Ramadan and Ramada.”

    In a Ramadan Hotel, the restaurant is closed from sunrise to sunset.

    I’ll be here all week folks!