AirTrain: Tiny Bathrooms, Big Cancellations

Josh C writes:

Recently, I flew Airtran to get to a family gathering. Normally I like them; their rates are low and upgrades are cheap. But I had two problems that I want to warn your readers about:

1. The new 737s that Airtran is advertising? The bathroom is smaller than your average toilet stall in a department store or restaurant. They used to be about the same size; now they’re about half. I don’t think even Lara Flynn Boyle could sit down to do her business in one of these closets.

Let alone cut enough lines to keep her awake through the in-flight movie. Hey-o!

Enjoy the real badness of Josh’s ATA no carrier after the jump.

2. My flight back to Atlanta was cancelled, and Airtran did a poor job of notifying me. Details:

I tried to use to print boarding passes and select seats. I kept getting kicked out. So I figured, the hell with it, I’ll just call them and take care of it. I called their 800 number (very short wait time, I might add) and the Airtran rep gave me the seats I wanted. Satisfied, I went to the airport the next day and got up to the baggage check counter.

Where I was told that my flight was cancelled — no reason given in the computer — and I would be put on one of three other flights to Atlanta, two leaving around the same time as my original flight and one leaving an hour later, free of charge. Having just ridden on their 737s, I wasn’t thrilled with that model of jet, so I asked for the flight that used a 717 (the 2×3 design). The ticket agent found the flight and discovered that our seats, 15A and 15C (my wife was with me), were already taken on the new flight. So he offered me 3D and 3F — the last row in business class — without any upcharge. We agreed, and he said we should bring our boarding passes to the gate agent, who would print up new ones.

The gate agent discovered that those seats had already been taken. He tried to get on the phone to his supervisor, who was very hard to find, and eventually we discovered that the ticket agent had offered us business-class seats that had already been taken by other transferred passengers from my original cancelled flight. AND we found out that the Airtran phone rep had put us in 15A and 15C on the flight we’d been switched to automatically — without being told about this — which is why they looked like they’d already been sold to another passenger when he looked them up in his computer.

In the end, we sat in 15A and 15C. The people who got 3D and 3F needed those seats more than we did — a handicapped man who could not walk, along with his wife. So no real harm was done, except to frazzle the gate agent. He did a great job of trying to track down what was going on and explain the situation, once it was explained to him.

The ticket agent? I’m never standing in HIS line again. And I remember his name, too.