US Airways Flight 723: UNKNOWN

In our current culture of fear, it’s no surprise people get worried when loved ones fly. After all, there are breast-feeding mothers with bottled water in them all over our nation’s airports. Not to mention Bonnie Tyler.

So it’s perhaps understandable when Erica, waiting for her husband’s US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Las Vegas, started getting jittery when it was three hours late and he still didn’t phone. Her fears weren’t soothed when she went to check the status on the US Airways site, which told her that while his plane had departed 3 minutes earlier than anticipated, it’s current status was UNKNOWN. Visions of the charred remains of an immolated loved one drifting like snowflakes through sky filled her mind.

Of course, it wasn’t unknown at all… the plane was sitting delayed on the tarmac.

Erica’s email, after the jump.

I’ve been reading your site for a few months and now I need a channel for my rage. My husband flew on a US Airways flight today and he was supposed to land at 1:15PM, my time zone. Air travel being what it is these days, he promised to call when he landed. Well, about 2PM, I started to worry. I hit the US Air website. It said that the flight had taken off 3 minutes before it was scheduled to and had landed exactly on time, although the status was “UNKNOWN”. For the next hour that “UNKNOWN” label, as I refreshed and refreshed, worried me more and more. I’m picturing all sorts of horrible things. Still no call from husband. I start planning my life as a single mother, when finally at 3:20PM, I got a call from him, saying he was finally on the ground. I asked how that could be since he’d taken off on time. He told me that the plane did not leave on time, and that it was about 11AM before they took off.

My beef is with US Air and their misinformation. Call me a worry wart, but if the correct information was on their website, I would not have worried half as much. If the website correctly told me that they had taken off late, I would have expected a later arrival and a later phone call. If the data was old – maybe they only post the info every few hours or something – it still does not excuse the INCORRECT information. And don’t tell me to call US Air. The whole reason the website is there is so that I don’t have to call, and US Air does not have to pay staff to sit on their butts and answer questions like when my husband’s plan has landed. What excuse is there for misleading info? Are they trying to confound the terrorists? They sure confused me. My family regularly relies on airline website information when going to pick up family members at the airport… I guess we can trash that idea. It still bugs me… why have an informative website, and put wrong information on it???…