When Ryan showed up at the airport for his flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis, he realized he was very early and that he could possibly make a flight that left sooner than the one he’d been booked on.
So he went to the US Airways ticket counter to see if that was doable. The agent said yes, but there was a $75 fee for making the change. Ryan agreed to the charge, took his ticket and headed off to the gate… only to find that the agent had booked him on a later flight, and not the earlier one he’d requested.
“The gate agent apologized but said there was nothing she could do and added me to a long standby list,” he tells Consumerist.
Ryan couldn’t get on as a standby passenger, so he had to wait around for the later flight.
“A lie or misinformation from the ticket agent cost me hours and I had the pleasure of paying for the experience,” he says.
Things only got worse when Ryan tried to lodge a complaint with US Airways. He found that the only way to file a complaint with the airline’s customer relations is to fill out a form and then hope you get a response.
Three days after telling his story to the US Airways website, he finally received a generic e-mail that didn’t address his complaint. The message also failed to provide any way for him to reply with his concerns.
So he asked the US Airways Twitter account, which only told him to re-submit his complaint to the airline’s customer service e-mail address.
“I did that and waited for another three days for any type of response,” says Ryan. “[Yesterday morning], I received a call but I missed it. On my voice mail was a message stating that were trying to reach me but distinctly said there was no way to return the call and to wait for another call back.”
The airline did call him back a few hours later, but as soon as he picked up the phone, the connection was lost.
Shortly thereafter, he received the following e-mail that, like the communication he’d received earlier from the airline, ignores the part where the ticketing agent made a mistake that cost Ryan $75:
Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We appreciate it when customers take the time to share their concerns.
I tried to get in touch with you today at 10:45 am, Arizona Time and left you a voicemail.
We do not offer voluntary flight changes free of charge. If you are traveling within the continental United States, Mexico or the Caribbean and wish to take an earlier flight, our airport agents will confirm the change for a $75 charge, for identical routings within six hours.
Typically, changes made to a non-refundable ticket through our Reservations Department require a $150 change fee along with any possible difference in fare. The Move Up program reduces that fee to $75. We’re unable to refund the move up fee as you traveled on the earlier flight.
As we are always interested in the opinions of our passengers, your comments and concerns have been documented and will be shared in a written report to our executive management team. This report is a detailed record of all passengers’ concerns regarding our policies and procedures. I am confident your comments will receive thoughtful evaluation.
We know you have many choices when it comes to traveling. Thank you for choosing US Airways.
We’re going to contact US Airways about this story. Hopefully we’ll have better luck than Ryan, but our first attempt at contacting the company’s media line resulted in the phone ringing for three minutes with no one picking up, not even an automated voice mail.