USAirways: Despite What Our Schedule Says, We Haven't Actually Had That Flight In 5 Years

Reader Jon made the mistake of trusting the USAirways website to have an accurate schedule of their Boston to NY shuttle service. Whoops.

My company has a deal with USAir where we can go to the ticket counter in Boston and get discount tickets on the LaGuardia or Washington DC Shuttle. We’re not supposed to book ahead; just go to the counter and show our IDs and get the discount fare.

It’s Friday night last week, and it’s 7:30 at night. I’m trying to get to New York. I go online, type in “us airways shuttle schedule” and am shown to a page on usairways.com (screen shot attached). Seeing that there’s a 9:00 PM flight (the page indicates that flights are 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM hourly), I get in a cab and head to Logan Airport. [This 9:00 flight is to be the last Boston to NY flight of the night on any airline.]

When I arrive at 8:10 or so, the entire Shuttle ticketing counter is dark and there is a security gate pulled in front of it. I walk down the hall to the USAir main counter and a friendly but hapless fellow looks in his computer and tells me that the last Shuttle flight had left at 8:00. A supervisor joins him; both insist that my story about the phantom flight is either made up or a result of user error — I must have looked at LaGuardia to Boston, or on Sunday when there is a 9:00 flight, or whatever. With my handy iPhone, I show them the web page: Boston to LaGuardia, weekdays, 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM hourly. [Hey Apple, great commercial fodder there: use your iPhone to prove customer service agents wrong.]

They look up other flights, nothing. Offer a flight at 6:00 AM the next day, no thanks. I leave them as they tell me, “Sir, I know that our schedule indicates a 9:00 flight, but we haven’t had a flight past 8:00 for at least the past five years.”

In the end, I spent nearly $60 to get to and then from the airport. USAir would not give me a cab voucher, and the airport manager on duty, Cammy, was easily one of the rudest and least helpful airline types I’ve come across. I got to NY by Amtrak on a train that arrived late at 2:15 AM.

Remember when USAir began with “U”? The airline still sucked back then, but maybe it sucked just a little bit less.

Jon

It might be worth it to try escalating this complaint with US Airways, as your company has a (presumably) valuable business relationship with the airline. If nothing else, send your complaint to the Department of Transportation.

Comments

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  1. Are we sure this wasn’t some cached page? I’m always wary of search engine results, even if they point to the official website.

  2. qitaana says:

    I’d be willing to accept the cached page argument if the 9 pm flight had been discontinued in the last few days… but five years? No, USAir has just completely failed to update their page with accurate information.

  3. B says:

    @Ash78: Cached from 5 years ago?

  4. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    @Ash78:

    Agreed…you have to go through the official website, most likely using the Site Map, otherwise you may stumble across an old page.

  5. B says:

    link to the timetable on US Air’s website. Still lists 9:00 PM as the last flight. (8 PM on Sundays)
    [www.usairways.com]

  6. mythago says:

    Isn’t USAir in the ‘worst companies’ smackdown? If not, it should be. I had so many bad experiences with them that I now put DO NOT BOOK ON USAIR on all the travel requests I submit at work.

  7. sleze69 says:

    @B: Anyone want to organize a few trips to Boston airport at 8:10pm and ask them for trips to NY?

  8. madrigal says:

    @sleze69: I’d be down

  9. @B: The “five years” thing was just hearsay from that one peon, or so I thought.

    I’ve regularly found stuff at least a year old using google. But I’m also a little more cautious than the person in the story. Nonetheless, at least he had a train backup. That’s a nice luxury.

  10. kborer22 says:

    could have taken greyhound from south station to port authority, only $20, and at that time of night, probably onle a 3.5 hour trip…

  11. dmolavi says:

    here’s the page:
    [www.usairways.com]

    you can get to it via regular site navigation.

    however, the search for flights doesn’t reveal a 9PM flight:
    [themolavis.com]
    indeed 8PM is the last flight.

  12. B says:

    @Ash78: The page listing 9 PM is two clicks from US Air’s home page. I’m sure old pages can be stumbled onto from Google, but this wasn’t one.

  13. Yep, USAirways indeed sucks.

  14. rewind says:

    Rental car is now getting to be my preferred travel accomidation considering the path of the airlines…

  15. googethis says:

    The underlying theme to every airline counter adventure is the respect level (or lack thereof) of CSRs… I know “rudeness” is subjective but it’s pretty obviously when someone is blowing you off or speaking in a direspectful manner. i seriously think there is an airline version of POPCOPY (Chappele’s show reference) somewhere in every airline new hire orientation…

  16. josquin021 says:

    Hi, Jon the submitter here.

    . The page was indeed via Google, but it’s right near the top of the site’s navigation. Navigating there directly (Travel Tools | In the Air | US Airways Shuttle) gets me the same (now) laughably incorrect info.

    . When flying to non-Shuttle destinations, I always book an actual flight through a the real ticketing system, but for this one (a) our company policy is to do walk-up on the Shuttle, and (b) usairways.com ticketing is God-awful. (If memory serves, it works with Safari but not Firefox, or Firefox but not Safari, or Internet Explorer only, or not at all?)

    . I received an e-mail from USAir saying that they would escalate the issue with their webmaster. When I replied saying, essentially, “That’s nice for you, but where’s my cab money?”, they sent me a $50 travel voucher. Nice gesture, but of course first prize $25 on USAir, second prize $50 and all that.

  17. RokMartian says:

    Maybe it was really Central time :)

  18. DangerousDave says:

    I have just done a search for available flights from LGA to Boston on Friday. The page is built dynamically, so not caching, it shows the 9pm flight.

  19. SharkD says:

    @RokMartian: I think you mean the Atlantic time zone.

  20. grebby says:

    Looks like they fixed it.

  21. STrRedWolf says:

    I have US Air and United on a DO NOT BOOK A FLIGHT ON THEM list because of what happened last June. United doesn’t talk to US Air, and alot of United flights are really US Air flights… which get canceled, fake-rebooked, and dropped on the floor requiring heroics of the better attendant CSR’s.

    Needless to say, I also dropped Expedia as a booking agent for this fiasco.

  22. DeltaPurser says:

    Why the hell should they give you a voucher?!?!??!? Are you completely out of your mind? It didn’t occur to you to verify this information by trying to actually book a flight? Or to call and check on availability first?

    Take some responsibility here, will ‘ya?!

  23. Difdi says:

    How exactly would you get an out-dated cached page on a computer system (iphone) that didn’t exist at the time the page became out-dated?

  24. RandomZero says:

    @DeltaPurser: Shuttles aren’t exactly normal flights. Walk-0ups are very common, if not status quo.

    For the record, it’s not hearsay from a single agent. The flight in question should be US 2145; all the flight tracking searches I’ve done confirm its nonexistence.