US Airways Makes My Family's Travel Experience Far From Friendly

Jeremy already had a lot on his hands, traveling with four children and three car seats. But he didn’t expect that US Airways would make his family’s trip even more of an ordeal than towing around all the luggage and kids through an airport was in the first place.

He wrote in to Consumerist to share a copy of a letter he sent to the airline, detailing their unsettling experience.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Yesterday I experienced a fairly stressful day mostly due to traveling with my wife and four small children so close to the holidays. We would rather not have done so, but sadly, my move orders were only authorized recently and we got what we got. None of that is your fault of course, but there were two instances that added to our stress that I thought you should know about.

First was when we checked in and discovered that your policy is to allow only one checked car seat per adult. We have four children and three still require a car seat and therefore, we had to pay for our third ca rseat. While it is your option to charge for whatever you wish, we were stunned by this policy and it left us with a bad taste in our mouths.

In less than a few hours later during our connecting flight to Seattle from Philadelphia, the gate agent for our 7:30 a.m. flight instructed us that I could not pull the carry-ons for my family and that I’d have to distribute them around so that it didn’t look like I was trying to carry on more than I should. I was floored. I thought maybe she didn’t really mean it so when I grabbed the bag’s handle again, she very rudely said “Sir there is a REASON that I told you to do it that way.”

In the end, I had to make my oldest drag the bag down until we were able to round the first corner. I am still very upset by this ridiculous action.

Pertaining to the car seat fees, if we’d at least had some warning of the fee ahead of time, it may have been different, but we never expected to be penalized for having a larger than average family. I would like to ask that you consider providing a courtesy refund as a matter of customer service. Pertaining to the gate agent in Philadelphia, I would rest far easier knowing that you were to look into the matter and make sure that others aren’t similarly treated. I thank you for your time and attention.

One might respond that perhaps parents could pack their kids’ belongings in their own carry-ons if the child is too young to tow their own luggage. But with four kids and two adults, that can add up to a lot for two carry-ons. And if you’re already paying to check a car seat, the idea of being forced to check bags because it would look bad to carry a kid’s bag down the gangway is not an ideal one.

Jeremy adds that so far, he’s received a generic response email saying that they have higher standards and would look into the issue, though the fee schedule is correct. He wanted to let other readers know, as the experience has made him reconsider flying US Airways in the future.