US Airways Cancels Your Flight, Treats You "Like Dirt"

We’re adding to our collection of complaints about US Airways and Philadelphia International Airport. If we collect them all, we may win a set of steak knives!

David and Sarah write (to US Airways):

September 25th, 2007

US Airways

Attention: Customer Relations

4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.

Phoenix, AZ 85034

To Whom It May Concern:

We are writing to inform you of a thoroughly unpleasant experience we had with your airline.

On July 29, 2007, we were flying back to Connecticut from a vacation to the Bahamas. We flew from Nassau to Philadelphia on flight 1487, and were supposed to get a connecting flight from Philadelphia to Hartford, flight 4097.

First, our flight out of Nassau was delayed. We were told it would be delayed by only half an hour. A half hour came and went, and they still weren’t calling anyone to board the plane. We didn’t start boarding until 45 minutes had passed and by the time we took off, we were already an hour late.

When we arrived in Philadelphia at around 5:45 pm EST, we found out our flight to Hartford had been canceled. We then had to stand in a customer service line for 2 hours. When we finally got to an attendant, she told us we couldn’t get another flight until 2 pm the next day. At this point it was 8 pm. We had expected to be arriving in Hartford at 8:15 pm EST, and had family members there waiting for us.

Your staff made no offer to put us in a hotel for the night. We decided that, rather than stay over, we would rent a car and drive home. We asked to have our ticket to Hartford refunded so we could use the money toward a rental car. The attendant said they couldn’t refund our ticket, and that we’d have to call a number to get a refund, which could then take 6+ weeks, (which we still have yet to receive, 8 weeks after making the request.)

We went downstairs to get the bag we checked. Here’s where the customer service was really horrible. The baggage attendant told us that, although our bag was sitting in a room in the airport, we could not collect it. We would have to wait for our bag to arrive in Hartford, and then drive to Hartford, over an hour from our home in Connecticut, and pick up our bag there.

The attendant demonstrated a poor attitude through the whole experience, and was unwilling to give us any aid in collecting our bag. The least we would expect is some common courtesy. She even said at one point, “It’s not my job to get your bag — it’s my job to sit at this desk.”

We understand that airlines do not control the weather, but customer service is something you can control. In this experience, we found it to be sorely lacking. We would hope that this is not how you would want your company represented.

[As a side note, we found the service in Hartford to be much better. The US Airways staff were both helpful and courteous to us, after we drove all the way back to the Hartford airport the following day to retrieve the one checked bag that the Philadelphia attendant refused to give us – an extra 130 miles round trip]

We are not wealthy travelers, but two hard-working people who saved for a long time to go on this vacation. We had a choice among many airlines and chose U.S. Airways. However, we will definitely think twice about choosing U.S. Airways on our next vacation, since this last vacation, an otherwise wonderful experience prior to the journey home, ended on a sour note due to your company’s horrible customer service. Being inconvenienced by a canceled flight is one thing, but being treated like dirt on top of it was really uncalled for.

We are requesting that you reimburse us for the car we had to rent for our 4 hour journey home from Philadelphia. Attached are the details of our flights, a copy of our tickets, the car rental receipt, and the receipt for gas from the trip home. We feel this is a reasonable request, as our other choice was to stay overnight in a costly hotel. We would expect that you would want to leave your customers happy rather than disgusted with your services.

Sincerely yours,

David & Sarah

Encs.

cc: Richard Blumenthal, Esq., Attorney General, State of CT

Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Dept of Transportation

Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Dept of Transportation

The Consumerist, http://www.consumerist.com

This is an excellent example of a well-written and to the point complaint letter. It’s a great idea to file your complaint, as they did, with the DOT for inclusion in the monthly report.. It also goes without saying that Richard Blumenthal is a good guy to cc. It’s too bad we all can’t live in Connecticut.

(Photo:meghannmarco)