AirTran Forgets To Tell Your Disabled Mom That Her Tickets Are Standby

Kym’s disabled mother was going to move in with her a few weeks ago. She purchased tickets for her mother and four nieces to fly to Kym’s city from a major hub airport about two hours away from their town. Instead of getting on their flight, the family ended up stuck in the airport for six hours, then had to hire a car service to drive them back home. What happened? Garden-variety airline delay? No, Kym writes: AAA sold her sister standby tickets without letting her know. The stress of the experience has affected Kym’s mother so much that she still hasn’t been able to make the flight.

2 Weeks ago I sent my mother and sister money to purchase plane tickets to fly from [redacted] to [redacted] to move in with me. We looked around and discovered tickets were $106 each if they flew from [redacted], which is 2 Hours away and booked through AAA Office where my elderly disabled mother is a member. Buying out of the local airport took the price to $436.00. So we went with [airport]. We informed AAA and Air Tran that one of the ticket holders was in a wheel chair and disabled and would be cared for by her teenage grand daughters.

Come moving day my mother and 4 nieces and nephews were sent to the airport via car service. My sister and her husband stayed behind to close the house and finish off all the details. We called up Air Tran and were told our mother and kids were checked in and were in the waiting room 30 Minutes before the flight. We relaxed and started tracking the plane, and getting ready to receive them on our end. Come time to pick them up and they are not at the airport.

We begin calling anyone and everyone we can think of and find out my mother and the kids are still in [redacted]! Furthermore the airline staff wheeled my mother in to the corner and promised to help her as soon as they had a break! That break did not arrive for over 6 Hours. By the time my niece bullied her way to a phone and called her mom, Her mom had already had the home phone disconnected and missed the call on her cell phone.

They finally got a hold of us a few hours later; right after we found out they were still in [redacted]. We sent my Mom with the hired car service at 6am. Another hired car service brought them home at 2am the next morning. My mother was so stressed out she had to be examined for a stroke. It has been two weeks and she still has not been cleared to fly again because those 20 hellish hours damn near killed her.

In the End, AAA sold my sister STAND BY TICKETS, with out even telling her that’s what they were, and Air Tran overbooked the flight. Our family is out $350 in car service fees and so upset over our mother we do not even know what to do or who to approach to make this right. AAA already refunded the initial tickets, which was a total of $530.00.

I would love advice on what to do about getting the $350 in car service fees covered if nothing else.

Comments

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  1. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Why does the title blame AirTran? Didn’t the mis-communication happen between the OP’s mother and AAA?

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing. AirTrans would have no clue that she didn’t know she had standby tickets…

      • RandomHookup says:

        But shouldn’t they have reminded the passengers when they checked in?

        “You’re on standby for this flight and we expect to clear the standby list by 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Please stay in the gate area as we will call you as soon as seats are available.”

        • infecto says:

          Well considering the teenagers and the mom checked themselves in, AirTran could have very well said they were on standby.

          • RandomHookup says:

            Where do you see that they checked themselves in (I assume meaning self check in and not talking to a gate agent)?

            At a minimum, AirTran has an obligation to call out to all standby passengers for a flight to let them know the status of their seats, especially after a flight departs. It’s pretty standard practice.

            • GTI2.0 says:

              No, it’s not. They call you out if you clear. If you don’t, it’s on you to go to customer service to find out the next flight you can get on.

              • RandomHookup says:

                Well, in my years of flying, they at least let all standby passengers know when the flight is full (keeps them from hanging out in the gate or clogging up the service desk). That’s basic customer service to me. Now, something screwy was happening here, but I would think an airline should notice 5 paying customers who need some help.

            • Minze says:

              Maybe it’s just my common sense kicking in, but after the flight departed I think it was pretty clear what their status was for that flight. As soon as the flight departed without them they should have asked for an update, especially since they didn’t know they were on standby.

              If I think I have a valid paid ticket for a flight and the doors close I’ll be raising a stink saying “hey, you forgot me”. If I see the plane take off without me that stink will fill up the while terminal.

              AAA was at fault here for not clearly identifying what they were selling. If this were anything else I would say the OP shared the blame, but for someone who isn’t an experienced traveler, the whole flying experience can be confusing.

        • nosense22 says:

          That would have been polite, but it’s the passenger’s responsibility to understand they have standby tickets.

          Maybe you can fully blame AAA, but why AirTran (not that I like AT in any way shape or form)?

          • RandomHookup says:

            I think it goes beyond polite — it’s customer service. You have 5 customers – 4 teens and a woman in a wheelchair – on standby with paid for tickets. You at least need to provide them basic information and support. I’m a veteran traveler and I expect at least information about how I can get to my destination.

  2. infecto says:

    Articles like these make me remember why this site lacks any journalism standards. Sounds like there was a problem between AAA and the OP. Why is Airtran to be blamed? Do you expect them to babysit your mother?

    • nosense22 says:

      Agree, but it’s a blog, not the WSJ or NYT.

      • TheFinalBoomer says:

        So they shouldn’t be held to any journalistic standards? If they want to be the Enquirer online, they should just go all out. Wait, they basically are…never mind.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        A blog that is partnered with Consumer Reports, a legitimate magazine, and a blog that is asking for money to support it’s work. It’s not some blog out of some person’s basement, it’s a business. If it wants to be treated as such it should hold itself to the same standards it expects the businesses it writes about to follow.

    • twonewfs says:

      I TOLD myself I was going to stop checking Consumerist! But habits dies hard, and I clicked this morning. This ‘article’ finally solidified my resolve – good-bye, Consumerist. Aren’t you all in the list of editors/contributors embarrassed?

      If I see any buzz that there have been radical changes for the better, I’ll be back. Until then…

    • LadyTL says:

      You and all the other complainers of this site about it’s “journalistic quality” either need to stop complaining about it or go somewhere else. No one is forcing you to read these articles or even visit the site. Start your own news site if you want to try and impose article rules on someone.

      • TheFinalBoomer says:

        The problem with your argument is that people come to this site looking for information that is useful. The information provided here (and in MANY other articles) is less than useful, it is misleading and wrong.

        My problem is that they purport to be something they increasingly are not, an entity that provides consumers with valuable information. They used to be different, a different kind of site people could actually use, now they just spew whatever gets people to click.

        • mechteach1 says:

          Agreed (and yet I still come here). Most of the useful information I get from the site now comes from the comments sections. There is a lot of junk (blame the OP, etc.) posted in the comments, but the knowledgeable reader base of the Consumerist still comes through most of the time.

      • ssaoi says:

        So the Blog that that is critical of corporations is above critical feedback?

        Hell, I think Airtran is about as culpable in this situation as the car service.

      • theduckay says:

        So, according to your opinion, people shouldn’t complain about absolutely anything. They should just stop using the service. I shouldn’t be complaining about my cable, I should just discontinue it. I shouldn’t be complaining about my air travel because I could just not fly. I shouldn’t be complaining about a specific store because I could just shop somewhere else. I shouldn’t be complaining about facebook because I could just delete my account. Your comment basically contradicts one of the main things this site is actually about (complaining about poor service), so I’m pretty sure people have a right to complain about this website itself if they feel the headlines or articles are of poor journalistic quality. Thats how improvements are made. No company or website that has a large amount of visitors should be above criticism.

        • SabreDC says:

          Agreed. Not only is this site about consumerism, but we are consumers of this site’s content. This site should be held to the same standards as any company featured within.

      • ndonahue says:

        It’s pretty easy for a casual reader to see that the headline for this article is off. Simply substitute AAA for AirTran and you’ve got the same story much more accurately reported.

        If it turns out that the editorial team thought “AAA is so nice, and AirTran is an easy mark, so let’s skewer AirTran”, then we can start discussing journalism standards, otherwise, just chalk this up to a quick post without review — something blogs are pretty well known for…

      • aloria says:

        Yeah, how unheard of for people to complain about The Consumerist’s inability to provide the service they advertise (informative blog posts) on a site whose focus is complaining about companies’ inability to provide the services they advertise.

        I mean, it’s practically meta.

  3. sirwired says:

    Standby tickets? I didn’t know those still existed!

    • FatLynn says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty confused about that part.

    • FatLynn says:

      Everything I can find about Airtran standby tickets says you purchase them same-day with a student ID.

      • pot_roast says:

        Yeah, AirTran U tickets. That is the ONLY way to purchase a standby ticket, and they have to be purchased in person at the counter, and you cannot check any bags. This all sounds really fishy.

        I have no idea what AAA managed to find. And what waiting room? Where was this waiting room? Did they show up 30 minutes before the flight? Kym says she ‘called Air Tran’ but doesn’t say WHO she talked to. A customer service line? They’re not going to be able to do anything about a single passenger at an airport only 30 minutes before a flight.

        I have the feeling that they actually showed up too late, missed the cut off time, and were given the option to standby on the next flight and that’s where we get ‘standby tickets’ from.

        • NoFriggingWay says:

          It was the last flight of the day BTW, Next flight out was 16 hours away the next day. And yes they showed up on time.

          I just love how some people skip over reading a article then make comments based on assumption.

          Also I have nothing to do with the Headline that is all Consumerist. I’m very clear that we purchased AT Tickets from AAA

  4. Skellbasher says:

    The OP’s family purchased standby tickets from AAA, not Airtran. AAA has refunded them the cost of the tickets, probably a nice gesture since I’m guessing they didn’t have to.

    Now they’re bitching about wanting a refund for car service? For what? Why? AAA refunded their money. AirTran did nothing wrong. Maybe next time the sister can DRIVE HER OWN MOTHER to the airport, and not pay someone else to do it. I won’t even get into the claim that the experience ‘almost killed’ this woman. If she was really that sick, she shouldn’t be flying.

    Laura, this title should be changed if you have an journalistic integrity. AirTran did absolutely nothing wrong here, and it’s completely wrong to insinuate it.

    • pop top says:

      “Maybe next time the sister can DRIVE HER OWN MOTHER to the airport, and not pay someone else to do it.”

      To be fair, if her mother is very disabled she probably has a very intricate wheelchair setup that would not fit in a normal car (if it could even be broken down, which most large wheelchairs can’t be), and she has to be taken by a special transportation service for handicapped people.

      • Skellbasher says:

        Disabled doesn’t necessarily mean wheelchair bound.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Except for this part: “We informed AAA and Air Tran that one of the ticket holders was in a wheel chair and disabled and would be cared for by her teenage grand daughters.”

          • kalaratri says:

            Doesn’t mean she’s in a wheelchair all the time. My mom got a wheelchair at the airport when she requested assistance and all she had was a jammed toe.

            • pop top says:

              Why are you trying to make an exception here? Does it matter if she uses it every day or not? She is disabled and they were informed she would be using a wheelchair.

              • kalaratri says:

                “To be fair, if her mother is very disabled she probably has a very intricate wheelchair setup that would not fit in a normal car (if it could even be broken down, which most large wheelchairs can’t be), and she has to be taken by a special transportation service for handicapped people.”

                If she normally got around with a walker or cane, she could be using a smaller wheelchair (such as the kind they use at the airport), which would mean she wouldn’t necessarily need special accommodations on the ride to and from the airport. Or the wheelchair could have been provided by the airport, meaning it wasn’t in the car at all.

        • pop top says:

          I know that, but in this specific instance it does. Maybe you should RTFA. :D

        • sniega says:

          No one is wheelchair bound, unless they are tied to the wheelchair and having some kinky sex game. What is wrong with saying wheelchair user?

      • Yentaleh says:

        I’m an incomplete quad, I use a manual rigid frame chair (Quickie Q7 14lbs tops!) I can travel in any car, as for this daughter’s mother, I am interested in where this happened, because there are disabled car rentals in almost every state (and in Canada) where you can rent a wheelchair accessible van for less than 350$ (I usually go with one of these and its around 110-130$ a day) There are also handicap availabe taxi cabs and accessible bus service. (Door to Door) A car service would indicate a limo or a high end SUV. If this is indeed what she ordered for her dear old mum, then no she doesn’t deserve a refund. There are other more reasonable ways to get around. So its a standby ticket, I’m sure that the family would’ve gotten on the plane eventually. If its this stressful then you go find another airline, I’m not buying this story one bit. (And I agree with everyone that this person is blaming the wrong airline here……what an idiot!)

        • NoFriggingWay says:

          We priced everything from Taxi’s to Limo’s to find the cheapest option. The Cheapest option was a Lincoln Town Car for $150. We saw no reason to pay $350 to rent a Wheel Chair accessible van when we believed we had Regular Coach tickets.

          According to triple AAA Its Air Trans Fault. Air Tran blames AAA. I don’t really care who’s fault it is. The End results were the same.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      So, how should the woman get to her other daughter’s house that she is moving into? If she is sick enough that this experience bothered her I doubt a long car ride would be great for her either.

      • Skellbasher says:

        If you read the letter, there was a daughter locally.

        Quote:

        “Come moving day my mother and 4 nieces and nephews were sent to the airport via car service. => My sister and her husband stayed behind to close the house and finish off all the details.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      AAA is responsible because they misrepresented what they were selling, and the purchaser incurred additional costs because of it.

      But I will agree the title should be AAA not Airtran. AAA is the responsible party here.

    • NoFriggingWay says:

      Please try slowing down and reading what was written.
      I will condense it for you as I’m the OP.
      We called AAA and asked did they offer discounts on Airfare. They said they did. We told then we wanted to purchase the 5 tickets on such and such day and gave the applicable information.
      AAA Sold us the tickets. They did not tell us they were stand by tickets.

      As for my sister Driving my mother to the Airport. She would have done so had they owned a car.

      Neither AAA or Air Tran told us these were Stand By Tickets. Had we known we WOULD NOT HAVE BOUGHT THEM!!!

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      Stolp trolling you douchebag.She explained why they used a car service and had AAA not sold them standy-by tickets they wouldn’t have needed return car service fare. And yes sickly elderly folks with disabilities can have their disabilities and illnesses exacerbated by stress.

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      Stolp trolling you douchebag.She explained why they used a car service and had AAA not sold them standy-by tickets they wouldn’t have needed return car service fare. And yes sickly elderly folks with disabilities can have their disabilities and illnesses exacerbated by stress.

  5. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Holy [redacted] [name]!

  6. dealbreaker says:

    I think the real failure is leaving the mother in the care of teenage daughters. Clearly they were not old enough to have their own cell phone between any of them or negotiate with the gate agent on their mothers behalf to get standby for the next flight, which any sensible adult would have tried to do. While they would be waiting a couple of hours, ultimately they would have gotten to their end destination, instead of sending everyone home after a long day at the airport because they didnt know how to handle the situation appropriately.

    • theduckay says:

      Yea slightly off topic, but I’m kind of surprised the teenagers didn’t have cell phones (or even the mother for that matter). Aren’t they starting to get cell phones at like 7 years old these days? haha. Its also strange to me that it took several hours to get a hold of anyone. According to the story, they didn’t even get to a phone until six hours later (wha!?) and then were only able to reach the OP “a few hours” after that. How many cell phone calls can someone miss? This family seems to need some better direct ways of communicating. Doesn’t really have to do with their issue, but I definitely found it odd.

    • Michaela says:

      I wouldn’t say the error depends on the age of the kids. My sister and I flew independently across the world (Australia to US) and talked our way through a crisis in LAX when we were just 15 and 14 (and no, we did not have cell phones yet).

      The issue is that the mother was left in the care of 4 people who were in no way assertive enough to figure out the whole situation, understand it completely, and achieve the best solution possible. Instead, they waited for 6 hours, and seemed to completely forget that many strangers at the airport are willing to lend their cell phones to stranded people.

    • Mcshonky says:

      Not every family wants their kids to have phones or can afford phones.
      Maybe someone who reads ‘ist or travels frequently would be up on what to do but not people who travel once a year for vacation.
      Or maybe they are just not assertive people and when told something will be done they expect the person to live up to their word.

  7. dealbreaker says:

    I think the real failure is leaving the mother in the care of teenage daughters. Clearly they were not old enough to have their own cell phone between any of them or negotiate with the gate agent on their mothers behalf to get standby for the next flight, which any sensible adult would have tried to do. While they would be waiting a couple of hours, ultimately they would have gotten to their end destination, instead of sending everyone home after a long day at the airport because they didnt know how to handle the situation appropriately.

  8. soxfantoo says:

    Who writes these headlines??

    The OP identified AAA as the cause of the problem…and yet the headline blames AirTran.. …very sloppy

    • c!tizen says:

      I don’t think it’s AAA or AirTran, I think the fact that they tried to fly from [redacted] to [redacted] created a wormhole in time and space. No one at Consumerist can help here, we need Doc Brown to fix this mess. Quickly… back to the future!

    • sleze69 says:

      Clearly Phil is logging in as someone else again.

      PLEASE CHANGE THE HEADLINE!

  9. chgoeditor says:

    Not to mention: AAA never should have sold Mom the standby tickets anyway, and only should have sold them to the nieces if they were between the ages of 18-22. From http://www.airtran.com/low-fares/find_low_fares.aspx:

    Know your options. If you are 18 to 22 years old, you can take advantage of our special AirTran U Standby Program. For $69 – $99 one-way, you can fly standby to any of our domestic destinations.(Taxes and fees extra; restrictions apply.)

    • FatLynn says:

      Don’t you have to buy those same-day at the airport? I am really not clear on what happened here. Were they sold standby tickets, or did they buy the cheapest tickets and get bumped from the flight?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Are you saying that AirTran doesn’t sell traditional standby tickets for a flight?

      • FatLynn says:

        Do they? I honestly don’t know, but a quick google only turns up the student kind.

      • chgoeditor says:

        I saw no mention of other standby tickets fares on AirTran’s website, and standby airfares are really a thing of the past. I was shocked to read that even AT offers them, because I can’t think of another airline that does (and I’m a frequent flier on a variety of airlines).

        • jessjj347 says:

          You can also get standby tickets if someone in your immediate family works for the airline and has the benefit of giving free flights to the family, but that is also not the case here.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Looks about right then, though I haven’t even thought about standby for anything other than catching an earlier flight in years.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        I’d be extremely surprised if they do. They pretty much don’t exist anymore.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’m actually wondering if the OP doesn’t understand the difference between overbooking and stand by.

          “In the End, AAA sold my sister STAND BY TICKETS, with out even telling her that’s what they were, and Air Tran overbooked the flight.”

          If they really were stand by tickets, then it wouldn’t matter if the flight was overbooked or at normal capacity. Is it possible the OP doesn’t realize that anyone can be bumped from a flight, regardless of ticket type and it’s essentially just luck of the draw?

          • FatLynn says:

            It’s not luck of the draw. If you buy the cheapest ticket available, you are more likely to get bumped.

          • NeverLetMeDown says:

            I bet you’re right about the OP not understanding flying standby vs. getting bumped and being standby on the next flight. My guess is that they got bumped, possibly because they got there late.

  10. DanRydell says:

    I’m sure it’s not at all possible that this was the sister’s fault and not AAA’s or AirTran’s. Curious – how many of these people had flown before?

  11. Bkhuna says:

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    • dealbreaker says:

      the mother was sent with “teenage nieces” clearly too young to have cell phones. She was accompanied, but not with anyone mature enough to handle the situation appropriately… that part I agree, however, 2 hour airplane ride does not equal the same in car ride duration so thats not a realistic expecation to say she should have picked her up. 45 min NYC-BUF is the equivalent to 8 hours in a car for example

    • jeffile says:

      Please type in English as some of us have problems understanding fourteen years old.

  12. FatLynn says:

    I am really not clear on what kind of tickets they were sold, but delays and bumps are a fact of air travel*, and if a passenger is so ill that they can not handle something of that sort, it’s probably best to find alternate transportation.

    *I’m not saying that this is something we should lie down and accept, but for the time being, it is the situation.

    • kobresia says:

      I think you’re on-target here.

      It’s a simple reality that being disabled is typically associated with higher costs than being able-bodied. Health care costs more, but even other “little” things cost more due to accommodations required. If that includes paying full-price for a ticket to reduce the likelihood of being bumped, then that’s what it costs. There are also air ambulances; again, not inexpensive, but if that’s what you need, something less isn’t going to suffice.

      This might just be a case where you don’t go with the cheapest ticket you can find, and maybe someone besides the elderly lady should’ve double-checked everything if it’s so critical to have it go smoothly. I’m not saying she’s senile, just that everyone misses a little detail that makes a world of difference sometimes. I’d say this whole debacle is unfortunately on the OP for just expecting a best-case scenario, being cheap, leaving some teens in charge. Dealing with air travel often leaves adults in their primes in tears, how could sending an elderly lady and some kids to fend for themselves not end badly?

      • NoFriggingWay says:

        My mother is the not the one who Purchased the Tickets. My Sister and I did. Once again we were not told we were purchasing Stand by tickets. We believed we were purchasing regular Coach Tickets.

  13. backinpgh says:

    If anyone is going to be hounded for a refund of the car service fees, it’s AAA. Considering they already refunded their money for the tickets, I doubt they are going to reopen the case at this point; they already accepted their offer. The time for additional compensation is over. They should have argued that with AAA at the beginning. Ridiculous situation, yes, but not AirTran’s fault.

    The only things I can say Airtran could have done is either let the lady know that she’s likely not getting on this flight so she could have gone home sooner, assisted the teenagers in contacting their parents so they could get home sooner, or pleaded with some ablebodied passengers to bump themselves so these people could have gotten on the plane. All these things would have been courteous, but we all know airline employees are never courteous.

  14. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    “In the End, AAA sold my sister STAND BY TICKETS, with out even telling her that’s what they were, and Air Tran overbooked the flight.”

    Is it possible the OP doesn’t quite understand what happened? If they were sold stand by tickets, it wouldn’t matter if the flight was overbooked or booked appropriately — either way, they aren’t getting on the flight. It’s also unclear if AirTran even sells stand by tickets, except for same day booking intended for college-age people.

    • Preppy6917 says:

      Right. I’ve traveled standyby a number of times on AirTran, and they DO NOT give you a boarding pass unless they can confirm a seat for you. Otherwise, all you receive are security documents so that you can get to the gate area. Then, once you’re in the gate area, they’ll either issue you a boarding pass or ask you to wait.

  15. cowperthwait says:

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter. Sorry to pile on, but I agree with the others that this story’s headline is misleading and unfair to AirTran.

    I don’t have a dog in the fight — it sounds like a horrible day for mom & grandkids, yet I also bet there is more to the story than was written… — but it would be more responsible to amend the hed to cite AAA.

  16. NeverLetMeDown says:

    I get the feeling that there was either some sort of miscommunication between the OP and AAA, or AAA really screwed this up. As others have said, Air Tran doesn’t even SELL standby tickets for which an elderly woman would be eligible.

  17. Brunette Bookworm says:

    Ugh, people! Seriously, yes the headline is misleading but how is this the OP’s fault? Or her family’s? Maybe they don’t have a lot of money and that’s why the daughter’s didn’t have a cell phone. Not everyone in the world does. Why are we blaming the person for trying to do something to save money? If the flight cost was that different it’s likely the difference between a regional airport and a larger one – at least that’s how it works near me.

    Since we can’t see what cities the flight was between maybe it was a distance that would make a drive difficult for someone in a wheelchair. If it was on that would take an able-bodied person a couple days to make, how in the world would that be better on a disabled person than a few hour flight? And dropping the mother off wouldn’t help since you can’t get to a gate if you aren’t flying anymore so the OP’s sister still wouldn’t have known they couldn’t get on the flight.

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sue AAA in small claims court. Yes, this is appropriate. Try to seek a solution with them as well, but good luck with that happening. They are responsible for all costs incurred due to their mistake.

  19. wetrat says:

    Wow, Consumerist. Hard to tell where to even start. The OP has written a very very confusing account of what happened, and it’s not clear she even understands what happened. As others have mentioned, the events described could not have possibly happened, because AirTran does not sell standby tickets except same-day to college students in the airport.

    The article should read: disabled person misses flight, not quite sure why, then we couldn’t contact her because she didn’t pick up her cell phone. Now we simultaneously blame AAA and AirTran for not figuring out that she had missed the flight, even though it’s still unclear why she missed the flight.

    • mobiuschic42 says:

      I think the article is made more confusing because of all the [redacted], but I think you’ve read it wrong.
      It’s more like: Disabled person and her 4 grandchildren are denied boarding on an AirTran flight – possibly due to misconduct by AAA who sold them the tickets. AirTran was unhelpful, and the woman was unable to get in contact with her daughter when she tried to call after many hours of trying to get help from AirTran.

  20. newdogoldtricks says:

    If you’re looking to ship a person in a wheelchair and opt for the cheapest means possible, maybe you’re not the right choice to be the caregiver.
    So by trying to get the best deal possible, she’s showing that she may not be the right caregiver for her mother?

    Would it have killed the OP to fly to where Moms home at and drive her back in a rented vehicle that could have accommodated her and her wheelchair.
    It would be more expensive. You don’t know how far the journey from Mom’s home to OP’s home is. The article says that it was a 2 hr trip to the airport from Mom’s home, not from Mom’s home to the OP’s.

    Who’s supposed to magically appear to handle your mom in case there’s some type of emergency with the airplane? It’s not the flight attendants job to spend a disproportionate amount of their time and effort to the detriment of the other passengers.
    “We informed AAA and Air Tran that one of the ticket holders was in a wheel chair and disabled and would be cared for by her teenage grand daughters.”

    Why didn’t you just have your Mom put in a crate with some holes in it and a few pieces of lettuce and ship her via Fedex. You really could have saved a couple of dollars then.
    The entire tone of your post is so wrong. Not everyone has tons of money to throw around. Sometimes you have to do as well as you can with limited resources. The OP is not a horrible person just because she tried to get the cheapest tickets possible. Jesus.

  21. profmonster says:

    Agree that title is misleading. Agree that AAA should refund cost of flight + cost of car service. But I also think that even though AirTran didn’t make the mess (AAA did), AirTran should not have left a lady in a wheelchair for 6 hours in a corner. Some representative of AirTran should have helped the lady find a seat on another flight. Depositing a paying passenger (standby or not) into a corner, pending someone’s break (!!), is not acceptable behavior.

  22. Captain Walker says:

    So the family didn’t get on the plane, and didn’t call the folks who were meeting them to tell them so, just sat there and stewed? And the airline staff wheeled mom into a corner and the teenaged granddaughters couldn’t move her? I don’t buy it.

  23. NoFriggingWay says:

    OP Here

    Air Tran themselves does not sell Stand By Tickets. But Apparently AAA Does. When we called AAA to find out what Happened a Supervisor told us we were sold stand by tickets by mistake. They said part of the Problem was AT severely overbooked the flight and that their systems did not sync up correctly.

    They Placed my sister on hold and when they came back on the line they told her that they had refunded the tickets and asked did we want to rebook with them. My Sister told them no and hung up.

    While I will be the First to Admit that sending our mother with my Nieces and Nephews was not the best option, it was essentially our only option. My sister no longer has a car, and with no other family Locally we did everything we could to to try and get out family here to me as safely and cheaply as possible. We even asked their Pastor could he see if one of the members would drive them. No one volunteered.

    Part of what affected my mothers health is that she only uses the Wheel Chair for Transport. While at home she uses a Lift Recliner to be more comfortable. Sitting in a wheelchair she is not accustomed to for A full day, then adding on the stress is what pushed her over the edge.

    We thought of Renting a Minivan to get them out here but Discovered it is $1400 for a one way rental from PA To Kansas city.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      THanks for all the details. You confirmed what I thought, the distance to drive is huge compared to the time it takes to fly. Hope your mom gets better and is able to get to you soon.

  24. quieterhue says:

    I don’t understand why they were at the airport for so long. They left at 6 am, arrived at the airport at 8 am. It says they were checked in 30 minutes before the flight, so if they took 30 minutes to check in, the flight is at 9.

    So the original flight is at 9ish, maybe 9:30. So by 9:30 they would’ve found out the flight was standby and told they could not get on. So did they sit at the airport and wait for another flight? If they got back home at 2 am, that means they left the airport at midnight. What happened for the 15 hours they were at the airport? So they had some trouble getting a hold of people at home, but I don’t see how they could be sitting at the airport for 15 hours just for that reason. They must have tried to get on another flight and were unsuccessful.

    Unfortunately, the teenagers probably did not have credit cards, and I can see how this would be a problem if the next flight out was more expensive than the previous one and there was no standby room available. But still, I don’t understand how they sat at the airport for so long.

  25. nakkypoo says:

    I do believe this is the last time I’ll be visiting consumerist. The reporting here is beyond sloppy. Headlines are intentionally malicious. No serious news or consumer agency should be voting on “worst company in america” or “worst television commercial.” This helps no one, all it does is incite people to drive up hits. AirTran is not to blame and the woman’s disability is unrelated. The headline should have been “AAA Sells woman stand-by tickets without informing her” or something to that effect.

    I thought the site was bad enough when it was run by Gawker, but it’s a real mess now. Sorry Laura, but Gawker did right in getting rid of you. I only hope Consumer Union wakes up and does the same. With your sensationalism and sometimes outright lies I’m sure you’ll have a successful career as a politician or Fox News anchor.

    And I’m sure this post will be “disemvoweled” because Consumerist can dish out criticism, but can’t take it.

    It’s been fun, Consumerist, but I must now bid you adieu. Bookmark deleted.