Things That Tick Me Off: US AIRWAYS

Once again, U.S. airlines remain the most common source for outrageous acts and policies that populate this category on the blog — reserved for the irritations and insults of daily life. Today’s subject is USAIR. I am in New Orleans for a speech trying to get home. Travelers to the Northeast have been instructed to call USAIR on their flights in light of Hurricane Sandy. However, I have literally tried for ten hours to try to reach a live USAIR representative. Instead, you are forced to go through various steps before the line is cut off with a message that you should call back later. It may be the worst level of customer support I have ever witnessed by a major airline.

I have spoken with others who have had better luck with other airlines but USAIR appears to have virtually shutdown customer support from accounts from others encountering the same problem. I have tried on both Saturday and Sunday to reach anyone at USAIR, which has clearly decided not to add sufficient personnel to handle the weather situation. You cannot even stay on hold for USAIR. The airline just cut off the line. I have previously complained about USAIR which is widely ridiculed for such low levels of service. However, this situation is truly unbelievable.

However, what again concerns me is the consistent and growing lack of customer support or even concern by airlines. It seems to be an industry that is plummeting in the level of accommodation or responsibility shown to its customers who are treated as a captive audience.

UPDATE:  ultimately, US Air cancelled all of the flights today despite the fact that conditions in D.C. were quite mild today according to friends in the area.  It seems the airlines were primarily concerned about the location of the planes as opposed to the immediate weather.  I was literally on the telephone nearly non-stop for four hours before I spoke to a human being at US Air.  The person that I spoke to said that they had so few people that they had hundreds just on hold — and those were the lucky ones who did not get disconnected.  The question is the lack of staffing shown by the airline.  Once I was on the line, I was told that if the airline sent me to a different city that was nearer to D.C., US Air would charge for the new ticket since it was not in the immediate vicinity of Reagan National.  It was a complete and utter mess.  We will likely drive back to D.C. in the morning and we would have driven earlier except for the messages from US Air to speak with an agent on a new flight (a process that took some many hours and resulted in an assurance that the airline could not fly us to Washington until Tuesday — subject to further cancellations).  I do not blame US Air for the weather or even the cancellations.  It is the lack of customer support shown by the airline in every possible way today.

53 thoughts on “Things That Tick Me Off: US AIRWAYS”

  1. hello!,I love your writing so so much! proportion we keep
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  2. For those interested in traveling and the storm.
    This shows how dependable the trains are. Explanations?

    “The storm was also impacting travel by air, train, and bus. In addition to the MBTA shutdown this afternoon, Amtrak canceled Northeast Corridor service at 7 p.m. Sunday. It announced today that it was canceling all service south from Boston to Raleigh, N.C., and from the East Coast to Chicago, New Orleans, and Florida through Tuesday. At Logan International Airport, 900 flights were canceled, or about 90 percent of those scheduled.

    Now is it the storm or WTF with this nation? Where is the postman, through whatever. And we are a modern nation?

  3. My motto at work was always “Never ask for permission.”

    Only once I did, because they forced me to do so. I got a budget of 200 KSEKs. Spent 1,5 million. The greatest show the CEO had ever seen, he said.

  4. Even worse, Bruce. If you have a problem and you go to the government to provide the help it’s supposed to provide to solve the problem, it gets MUCH WORSE.

  5. From what I’ve seen if you leave it up to government to fix a problem, the problem usually gets worse.

  6. With the figures which Frankly offered above, there is an obvious answer. They are lying about there results, someone is siphoning off the profits, or there are costs not seen by us, the complainers.

    The figure given earlier about 100 profit on a full flight to the West Coast is ridiculous, as a business model.. Headwinds would leave them with a large deficit on that flight.

    Cautions on sociallistic solutions. It did not work in the three participating Scandinavian countries.
    Firet run by a savvy businessman, and then by bureaucrats, the palace they built for the expanding “management” was soon taken away and they sit in a hovel, counting the days until the next personnel cut.

    Many studies and books have been written about the airline business. So any links? Where lies the problem(s)?

  7. With rising gas prices, fuel efficiency in vehicles has become more important than ever. While many hybrid cars offer fuel efficiency ratings over 40 mpg, only a select few reach 61 mpg. Cars with over 60 mpg fuel efficiency are some of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market, including models by Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen.

  8. My wife is in Hawaii right now on vacation. I am not with her. Reason: I simply will not fly. Not afraid, simply unwilling to endure the misery perpetrated by TSA and by the airline industry.

  9. A modest proposal. Socialize means of publc transportation. Take the profit motive out of it and let their service be subject to public wrath. Of course it’s Jonathan Swift I’m thinking of………………Or am I?

  10. Regarding the storm. A bit of advice:

    If you receive an evacuation order and ignore it, write your Social Security Number on yourself in permanent marker so rescue crews can identify your body if they find it.

  11. OS,

    You hit the nail on the head…..customer service is a thing of the past for American travelers…. Now take virgin air or basically any Saudi airline…’s a totally different story…..

  12. USAir—I’ve been trying to avoid them for years although my few recent experiences were less bad than say Delta. In general, airlines are canceling flights going into DC and other east coast hubs. Stuck in the OBX—should have left days ago.

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