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3:28 pm
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I fail to understand AirTran's method of "charging" the customer for a cancellation. The majority of airlines charge the "penalty" - a rebooking fee of anywhere from $75 to $100 per - at the time of rebooking, whereas AirTran wants it's money up front.

I had to cancel my husband's ticket to Florida - a ticket that was originally priced at $215.00 excluding taxes, etc. Because we hoped he'd be able to make the second leg of the trip, I originally cancelled only the outbound leg. AirTran charged $75.00 for that "change" reducing the value of the ticket price.

When it was determined that my husband would not make the second (return) leg, I called a day in advance to cancel the flight. AirTran again charged $75.00 to cancel the flight.

So, a ticket that I originally paid $255.80 for is now worth a whopping $76.40 ... AirTran has quite the scam going on!

I'm sure that airlines can set their penalties and fees however they want ... perhaps it's time forthe Government to step in to ensure that the customer is getting a fair shake in transportation!

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May 11, 2011 9:05 pm

I booked a flight on line with the big corporate, sucker 'em, their just numbers airline. Their website, (no doubt written by outsourced developers), made an error I noticed when I checked the confirmation email just a little later. I called them about it and the customer service was 'it's your fault' all the way and insisted there would be a $75 charge to change the flight. Like AT&T, I will never, never, never deal with these people again. Anyway this company can squeeze extra money from you, they will. That's called bloodsucking. That's called 'oops we made a mistake but you can pay for it.' Listen to their BS about changing a flight on the phone if you don't believe me.

Jul 08, 2008 4:23 am

I had the first and worst experience of flying when I took airtran. All their flights were over booked. The flight to ATL from where I had to catch a connecting flight got delayed cus the crew wanted to be well rested ( I was taking a red eye and the PA system mentioned that the crew were onboard well rested). So I could not get the connecting flight and since their flights were overbooked, I had to stay in ATL for a whole day. They never paid any compensation and their costumer service was pathetic to say the least. I met several people in the same situation and some in the airport for more than 2 days. Things I will do to avoid flying airtran include volunteering on a manned mission to the end of the universe.

Mar 12, 2010 6:50 pm

We understand that weather related conditions do impact departure/arrival times and ultimately cannot be controlled by your airline. However, we do not understand why the following occurred on March 12, 2017:
1. Gate Agent made an announcement that he was too busy to load the plane and he should have loaded us 15 minutes prior to his announcement. His words and I quote, “There was too much going on at the counter.”
2. Slightly after this announcement he opened the plane to board. While sitting on the plane for over 15 minutes the co-captain announced that the pilot had not arrived. We have now sat on the plane for over 30 minutes, while we wait for a captain. I DO NOT understand why you would load the plane if the captain was not present. Furthermore, we are unable to leave the plane and come back on after the pilot arrives.

The above is unacceptable on many levels and we WILL NOT fly AirTran ever again, as your airline is not concerned with their passengers and is only concerned with the bottom line.

Furthermore, you will continue to lose market share and your customer base as you continue to focus on the bottom line and not on the customer. You’re airline has not only ruined my evening, but my perception of your company, which I will share with my colleagues, family, and friends; which I will encourage to use other airlines when they travel.

I’m already anticipating a boilerplate response to this letter and have also sent a copy to the FAA.

Nov 18, 2011 4:28 pm

I booked a flight on from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Orlando, Florida. I recieved a confirmation number and a ticket reference number via the website acknowledging the reservation and via e-mail.

I then purchased another ticket for another person using a different credit card and received a confirmation for that as well. However, the confirmation number that showed up was the same as the confirmation number for the first flight. I immediately contacted Airtran about this dilemna. Although an email confirmation for the first flight was sent to me, Airtran said they could not find the reservation under the first name. They then told me to fax the information I was sent via e-mail to them, and I did. I asked that they see the quoted price for the passenger and acknowledge that the ticket was purchased. They recieved the fax, saw the e-mail that Airtran sent, and still have refused to acknowledge the fare.

One supervisor in particular was rude, unhelpful, and demeaning. Dee insisted on irrational logic as to why the fare was not recognized and refused to help the matter.

I would appreciate a simple acknowledgement of the price of the first ticket for the first passenger. The difference is $52. Although it may not mean a lot to Airtran, to a student it is a necessity.

I am not asking a lot out of the company and would wish for better out of a leading airlines.

Jul 16, 2008 1:21 am

Airtran Airways is the worst airline I have ever flown.

After being treated rudely because we arrived 4 minutes after their cut off time for checking baggage (which we were never informed of), and after not receiving any answer at all as to why they would not take our bags, we asked to speak to a manager.

The "Station Manager" at San Francisco Airport came out to tell my mother and I that she would, "Rather give us a refund than deal with *** like us."

Customer service did not care at all that we had been verbally abused, made no attempt to help us or reconcile anything. We were issued a refund, and I will never fly their airline again.

Apr 19, 2010 10:28 am

The selling point to flying Air Tran was that you can earn a 'free' flight every 8 flights. True, but the rewards flights are restricted to those only worth about $60 and always leaving in the wee hours. So, if you want to fly from Detroit to Toledo on a Monday morning at 4:00am, this program will work just fine, or you can drive the hour and save your nerves. No longer an Air Tran fan. The customer non-service 800 number are staff with folks, although clearly in the US, act like they are doing you a big favor by answering the phone and like a defense attorney when you ask them how your points can be used. Vague answers like 'dates that are not blacked out' are the only answers you can get. Not good answers like, 'you can travel on this day at this time.'

Aug 29, 2008 5:24 am

This is the letter I wrote to Airtran after my last flight they finally offered a $50 voucher, which as of now has not been received.

To Whom It May Concern:

I emailed the following letter to you weeks ago. Because I have gotten no response, I am following up by sending the letter to you. All I can really say at this point is your customer service as a company in general is lacking, not only do you “over sale” but your people are rude to the customers. You don’t answer consumer concerns. I have no intention of ever using your services again; furthermore, I plan to tell everyone I know about this experience. By the way, did you know, statistics have shown a satisfied customer tells at least 3 people but an unsatisfied customer tells at least 10? Word of mouth is wonderful, don’t you think?

I am writing you because of an incident that happened over the weekend with your branch at IAD. I had flown in to visit and help my daughter out because she was sick. Let me preface by saying I pay extra to fly in and out of IAD, instead of the other airports. On Saturday, I had booked a 6:50 am flight on Air Tran, which was to fly to ATL, then Hobby, We were up at 4am and at the airport by 5am. I went to the machine at the Air Tran terminal and put in my numbers to find that the machine would not take them. Then I waited 20 minutes to reach the counter where 2 people were working, but only one was helping the customers in line the other an older man was moving baggage. There I was told that the flight had been “over sold” and that I may not make it onto the flight. I was also told by the man that they “over sale” all the time. I had to dash off to the security where of course it takes forever to get through, and by the time I got to the gate I was told that I would be on standby for the next flight with no guarantee that I would be able to get on that one, and after that there was a probable 3pm flight. There were two guys there. They had low communication skills and were more than rude! They told the passengers that they were late in arriving to the airport, and it was their own faults, for being late! We were held up at the counter at the entrance because you over sold tickets! I was there right on time, The extremely rude man, the one who did most of the talking kept his name tag where it could not be read! I was told that they could only over sale by no more than 3 people. It seems that they had over sold by 12.

I asked to get a seat on the Sunday flight and go back home with my family for the night, I didn’t want to sit at an airport alone possibly all day, as my family couldn’t sit with me, to wait on the flight. But the Sunday flights were “over sold” too!

My daughter and son in law were furious about everything, frankly so am I. I paid full price, for a ticket, as well as the other people that were left waiting with me. When I should have been home at 10am I was home at 6pm. I had plans that day! I will never use Air Tran Airlines again. I will be going onto all consumer websites and posting this letter to you so that consumers are forewarned. I want some kind of compensation for this! How does your employee think he has a right to talk down to your patrons like he did? I paid full price for my ticket not only did I end up not being on the flight, I had some (sorry for the expression) *** speak to me like a second class citizen! My daughter was so embarrassed about my treatment she is writing a complaint to IAD.

I demand some sort of compensation, I demand answers! If a football stadium with thousands of seats can sale and not over sale, how can an airline with less seats not get it right?

Aug 28, 2007 12:00 am

Airtran Airlines

I had the worst travel experience in my life at Philadelphia Airport July 30th & 31st due to a supervisor who would only give me her first name: "Aleia."

I was returning home after a very pleasant flight on Air Tran Flight 756 departing Fort Lauderdale on July 26.

On July 30th I was scheduled to leave on flight 758 and was late due to a series of problems, (traffic, car rental return, etc.) I arrived at the Air Tran ticket line approximately 45 minutes prior to departure. The line was very backed up and I realized the probability of me making my flight was slim. I was correct. When I got to the counter, the agent, James Brophy, was very nice. He told me he was a new employee in training and told me I was too late and the best he could do was get me on a standby for the next flight. I told him I understood and he asked Aleia (who said she was his supervisor and training him) how to proceed. Aleia came over and immediately reprimanded me and told me I was late. I told her I knew that and explained due to several reasons, including the long Air Tran line, that all I wanted was some guidance how to proceed. She took my luggage and put a tag on it, put in on the conveyor belt and put me on standby for a flight to Atlanta connecting to another flight to Fort Lauderdale. I did not get on that flight (#331 nor the next one, #333.) I went down to the ticket counter and spoke to James Brophy again. He and another agent, Bill Fisher, were very sympathetic and tried to help me. I asked if they knew of another airline that was flying to Fort Lauderdale. At this point, Aleia came over again and wanted to know "what my problem was?" I asked her for her last name because I was not comfortable dealing with her. She would not tell me her last name and said, "if I did not step away from the counter she would call security, and have me arrested." I replied that I am a very reasonable man and did not understand her over-reaction. She repeated the above statement again. I walked away, frightened of her aggressive behavior due to security issues in today's post 9/11 world. Her threat was uncalled for and irresponsible. I called the customer service department and spoke to a supervisor named Debbie during this day of travel mishaps. She told me she was putting my incident in the notes associated with my flight problems.

I was at the airport for over 8 hours and had to finally call a friend in Philadelphia to let me sleep on the sofa overnight. I called customer service again to get a flight the following day and was told that I had to pay an extra $132.00 to be put on a guaranteed flight. I was told I could travel on standby for no extra charge. I explained I had to be in Fort Lauderdale guaranteed.

They charged me the $132.00. The flight #758 I returned on the next day was half empty and I feel the extra charge is unreasonable. I also believe the threat I received from Aleia was ridiculous and terrible training to be giving a new employee. I am 57 years old, have flown all over the world, have worked in non-profit health care all my life and feel like I was not treated the way any human being should be wrongly threatened anywhere, any time, any place.

Feb 24, 2009 5:58 am

On Sunday, December 28, 2017 I arrived at Orlando International Airport on time to check-in for my 8:39 AM flight to Philadelphia. I was then notified that I was late to check-in to the flight as the flight was rescheduled to 8:05 AM. I informed the manager at the ticket counter that I never received the email and I check my email daily. She then began to argue and raise her voice to me.

Although, the flight was not full she would not provide confirmed seats or accommodate for Airtran Airways mistake. The Manager put us on standby for the next flight which departed Orlando International at 11:45 AM and would arrive in Philadelphia at 2:06 PM (Flight 624).

To my dismay, this has been a disappointing experience with Airtran Airways as I fly with your airline often. I fly many other airlines and when there is a schedule change they call and ensure they speak to me and confirm I know there is a change in the flight schedule. Your staff was rude and unaccommodating for Airtran Airways mistake. I had to wait in the airport for an additional 3 hours and was now charged an extra day of parking in the amount of $8.25. I was not informed of a schedule change and did not receive what I originally paid for and would like a refund or compensation. I was also informed by your staff that Airtran continually overbooks flights and has to bump passengers. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact myself.

Jul 18, 2008 7:28 am

When we arrived at the Airtran Airways podium 41 minutes before the departure of our flight we were informed they would not take our checked luggage. They did not tell us why, we had never even heard of this policy before in any airline, and since the price of a ticket includes the checking of one bag, I naturally asked to speak to a manager.

I was told this was not possible.

I told them it was not possible that they would not check our bags, as it was part of the contract between ourselves and the Airtran Airways instated when I purchased a ticket.

After 10 minutes of asking to speak to a manager, one finally came out and said--- and I QUOTE, "I will give you a refund because I would rather give you a refund than deal with B*[email protected]#es like you."

I could go on, the ordeal lasted about 4 hours (during which time the manager who verbally abused us made a point of smiling smugly at us often- nothing is going to happen to her), but I think it is sufficient to say that my relationship with Airtran Airways was FOREVER concluded with my refund.

Because of this, my plans to see my brand new baby nephew will be considerably postponed, as I do not know when I will be able to take time off of work again.

They made no real apologies, made no attempt to even explain their policy, no attempt to make us aware of the policy before we arrived, no attempt to help us out or offer feasible solutions, no attempt to make restitution for their verbal abuse, no attempt to treat either of us like human beings- let alone paying customers. Instead, they made it very apparent that they thought we were worth no more than dirt.

I filed a complaint with the company, which I am fairly sure is as much of joke as the "manager" I spoke with. These are the other places I filed complaints. IF YOU HAVE COMPLAINTS, PLEASE USE THESE RESOURCES:

* The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the US government:

* The Better Business Bureau (will contact the company and ask for resolution):

* (compiles complaints for possible class-action lawsuits):

No business has EVER made me feel so helpless and degraded.

I eagerly await the day Airtran Airways goes out of business- though I am sure no one will even notice.

Jul 24, 2008 4:05 am

Last month (May 2017) I have had the worst airline experience I have ever had with Airtran. I was incorrectly charged for an oversized bag and Airtran seems to be unwilling to do anything helpful. If you are flying Airtran, beware, they look to charge you extra even if your baggage does not warrant it. Below is a copy of the correspondence I have had with Amy Baker in their customer service department about refunding the money for the oversized baggage fee. This will by my last time flying with Airtran.

"On Thursday, 5/29/08, I flew Air Tran for the first time in several years from Philadelphia to Orlando. In the past I have flown Air Tran multiple times, all with good experiences. This is why my boyfriend and I chose to drive down to Philadelphia instead of flying out of Newark, which is much closer to us. Upon arriving at the ticket counter in Philadelphia, we were greeted by a ticket agent who looked as if she would rather be anywhere than behind the counter. The first word out of her mouth was not a cheery hello, instead it was a rude, condescending comment of, "That bag is oversized." I was completely shocked. First of all the bag was behind my boyfriend and I, and was not very visible to her, and second, she hadn't even asked if we were checking it in the first place. When I finally did get a chance to put my bag up on the scale, this woman did an extremely quick measurement of the bag, not even bothering to tell me what the measurements were. She then just said, "It's oversized. It's going to cost you $29.99." Of course, I argued this. I have traveled on Air Tran, and many other airlines with this bag and have never had any problem before. The piece of luggage in question is a standard size Samsonite rolling suitcase. No other airline has even asked to measure my suitcase before, my last flight being less than three months ago. As I tried to argue my case to this woman, she became very loud, causing a scene that embarrassed my boyfriend and I tremendously. I finally demanded to see her supervisor. She called over another ticket agent, who I guess was her supervisor, but she certainly didn't act like any kind of manager or supervisor I've ever seen. This woman who looked to be in her late 40's, just looked at me and said, "Oversized is oversized, you'll have to pay", and then she walked away. I was completely shocked. She didn't even offer to remeasure my bag, and there certainly was no apology for how my boyfriend and I were being treated. At this point, we were running out of time to get to our flight. My boyfriend is on crutches and I didn't want to rush him through a busy airport. I finally just handed this woman my boyfriend's credit card and said to just charge the fee. I figured that she would just quickly add the fee and we could be on her way, but I was wrong yet again. This woman took ! her time entering in the credit card information, typing it in manually instead of swiping the card. When I advised her that we had a flight to catch, she simply said, without looking up, "That's not my problem, you should have gotten here earlier." I did not say anything further to this woman, as I knew she would just continue to give me smart answers back and no real assistance. On our return trip we arrived at the ticket counter in Orlando, which was very busy. When we explained that our flight was leaving in about an hour they extended the courtesy of allowing us to check in right away. It was actually the shift supervisor who checked in our bag. He did measure it, but he did it very carefully and then told me that my bag was fine. Needless to say there was much more inside the suitcase on the return trip. I do not see how my bag could have shrunk any, seeing as it is a hard suitcase, and upon returning home we measured the dimensions of length, width and height which added up to 60 inches. I would expect at a minimum, the fee charged to my boyfriends credit card be refunded, but since your company claims to have great customer service, I hope you will extend more to us than just the refund we deserve, as we were embarrassed for about 30 minutes by this rude woman. If you choose not to do anything, we will be taking this matter up with our credit card company, and will never fly Air Tran again as we live closer to Newark, and it is much easier to fly Jet Blue, as they offer exceptional customer service."

"Dear Ms. XXX,

I am sorry to learn your experience with AirTran Airways was less than satisfactory. All of our Crew Members are instructed to professionally perform their responsibilities while providing the highest level of Caring Customer Service. There is simply no excuse for the manner in which our ticket agent behaved toward you and your boyfriend. I have forwarded a copy of your comments to the appropriate department head for review and corrective action.

The maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 61 inches (length + width + height). Oversize baggage with dimensions from 62 to 70 inches will be accepted, subject to an oversize baggage charge of $29.00. Baggage measuring between 71 and 80 inches will be subject to a fee of $69. Baggage over 80 inches in dimension (with the exception of some sporting equipment) will not be accepted.

In an effort to provide consistent service to our customers and in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulation, our agents are instructed to verify the size and weight of checked luggage. Our company instruction includes the correct procedure for bag measurement and fee assessment.

While I sincerely regret any inconvenience this matter caused you, please understand that the baggage fee was applicable. Therefore, I must respectfully decline your request for reimbursement. I apologize for any disappointment this response may cause you.

Your continued support is important to us. We hope to have an opportunity in the future to serve you again and regain your confidence in our airline.


Amy Baker

Customer Relations Department

AirTran Airways"

"Ms Baker,

After reading your reply, I am more than convinced that I will never fly with your company again and I will make sure to let everyone that I know hear about the way that your company does business. It is very obvious that this issue will not be resolved by AirTran's customer service department so I will be taking the matter up with my credit card company. I doubt they will give me the same run around that you have.

According to your baggage policy, " The maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 61 inches (length + width + height). Oversize baggage with dimensions from 62 to 70 inches will be accepted, subject to an oversize baggage charge of $29.00. Baggage measuring between 71 and 80 inches will be subject to a fee of $69. Baggage over 80 inches in dimension (with the exception of some sporting equipment) will not be accepted.", my bag should not have been subject to a fee as it is at the size of 60 inches (length + width + height).

I want to thank you very much for obviously not taking the time to carefully read my prior email. AirTran's lack of care towards their customers has truly shocked me. I would have expected a phone call at least, but instead I received a standard form letter. Your pilot summed up AirTran's customer service best when he said, "Thank you for flying AirTran where we love your money." I guess now that you have our money, you don't need to provide any level of customer service.

From now on, I will be spending the extra money to fly on JetBlue. You should really take a lesson on customer service from them. I hope you will take the time to actually read this email and take the correct steps to resolve this problem, but I won't hold my breath."

"Dear Ms. Choromanski,

I am sorry that you are disappointed with my response, please understand that this department corresponds with customers by e-mail only. Please know I did read your email and also reviewed the comments in your record. Your bag clearly states it measured at 63 inches.

I am sorry to hear that you will not be flying AirTran in the future. I hope that we can have an opportunity to better serve you so that we can prove our commitment to you.

Jul 21, 2009 8:02 pm

Story - Nightmare Puppy flight on AirTran. I always thought the safest way to get a new puppy home from another state was to fly him home under the seat in a carrier so you can feed, water or comfort him on the way home. Boy was I wrong! This past Thursday I flew from Denver to Charlotte to pick up a very special puppy( His Daddy was a Mastiff Westminster winner) and fly him back home to Conifer under the seat with me. I flew Airtran for the first time and followed all their pet polices on their website. I was in shock and very frightened when they removed me from the flight from Atlanta to Denver. They told me it was because I was causing a disturbance because my puppy was crying on my first leg flight. BUT!, the flight attendants refused to let me comfort him. I was not even allowed to put my finger in his carrier so he knew he wasn't alone. AirTran stranded me at the Atlanta airport at close to midnight with instructions to call my vet, get the puppy sedated and then they would rebook me on another flight the next day. When I asked what I was supposed to do for the night they gave me a voucher for a discount at a hotel and a general reservation phone number. The hotel cost me over $100 for the night. In my frazzled state to leave the plane with my puppy I had left my glasses and small bag of dog food on the plane. There I was visually impaired and unable to read the phone number or dial a number on my cell phone which was running low on batteries at a strange city with barely any money left. I was also without my next day's thyroid medicine. They refused to help me and were extremely rude just like the flight attendants. I am a 49 year old small woman who was struggling to carry the puppy around. I also made it clear they were requiring me to do the impossible by getting a sedative in Atlanta from a vet in Colorado within 10 hours who would not prescribe a sedative for an 8 week old puppy because of danger to the health of the puppy. The customer service manager didn't care, she just repeated that this is what I had to do. Luckily I was finally able to hit the right phone contact button for my husband who found a hotel and another flight on Delta the next day. It was a horrifying experience struggling to carry my puppy around an airport I didn't know to try to find the shuttle to the hotel with no food or water for the puppy. We finally made it and the flight the next day with Delta was wonderful. They were all helpful and friendly. I have no affiliation with either airline. I don't understand how an airline can get away with putting someone and their puppy in an unsafe and stranded position like this with no help. They also refuse to refund any of my money for the flights. They have listed that I removed the puppy from his carrier which is a blatant lie! I only let his head partially out to give him water and food until they demanded very rudely that I was not even allowed to put my finger in the carrier to calm him from my touch. As difficult as it was I kept calm with them the entire time and never acted inappropriately. I have photos of our new puppy, "Optimus Prime" when we finally arrived home in Conifer thanks to Delta. I have also have a recent picture of me completing Ride the Rockies with another of my dogs so you can see I am a Colorado Mom with 2 beautiful children attending CU Boulder.

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Jul 04, 2008 2:57 am

Somebody in aitran needs to be fired! I booked to single flight at Airtran, I never flew with them and will never again. The 1 flight was booked for September 20 White Plains to San Francisco. 3 weeks later I receive a confirmation schedule by email that it was changed to September 20 with another schedule, that's fine but the rental car reservation has to be re rescheduled... the second change was worse. I booked for October 1st San Diego to White Plains and I receive it has been re-scheduled to October 2nd. That’s unacceptable rude. When you call customer service they say that it s company policy and that they can change your schedule anytime. So that one I cancelled and re booked on another airline with a big financial lost but that's life... I just want other people knows that Aitran play with the people schedule and looks like somebody is having lot of fun doing that. That's a shame for the industry and the guy doing the schedule should be fired immediately before he brings Airtran to the bankrupt. On my side it's done, they will not see me anymore.

Jan 06, 2009 8:44 pm

Airtran is EXTORTING customers at the airport with phony baggage measurements to make phony profits.

I just flew Airtran over Christmas from Phoenix to Atlanta. The Airtran employees at Phoenix were professional and friendly. They measured by bag at 59 inches and there was no "Oversize charge". On my return, the Airtran employees in Atlanta (every single one) was rude, apathetic and completely unaccomodating.

The airtran employee "robot" at baggage check measured my bag (which was smaller this time with no presents to return) and told me it was over and i had to pay $40. I knew she was lying and told her I wasn't going to pay because my bag wasn't over the required size 61". She told me I'd have to wait to talk to her manager. I waited for 5 minutes and couldn't wait any longer as I was already late. I paid the $40.

On picking up my bag, I complained to Airtran in Phoenix and had them measure my bag...once again at 59 inches. They said there was nothing I could do except contact customer service once I returned home.

I contacted Lori Hill with customer service at Airtran in Atlanta who was very unhelpful. She corresponded via "cut and copy" responses and hadn't even read my full complaint. She has since stopped responding to my inquiries and refuses to let me talk to her supervisor. VERY RUDE. I've since talked to others that have had this same thing happen. Airtran is EXTORTING customers at the airport with phony baggage measurements to make phony profits.

Sep 09, 2008 8:21 am

This is the letter I sent to AirTran:

Dear Corporate Complaint Resolution Officer:

I am writing to complain about an incident that happened while checking in for a return flight from BWI to Boston Logan Airport on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 2, 2017.

My wife and I had checked in online several hours before our flight was scheduled to depart and indicated that we'd each have one bag to check. We arrived at the AirTran ticketing counter 90 minutes before our flight. Upon arrival, we proceeded to the self-service kiosk and entered our confirmation numbers. We each received our boarding passes, and patiently waited five, then ten minutes for someone to check our bags for us. Finally, when the female agent behind the counter continued her personal conversation with her friend after ten minutes, we and another traveler, whom we did not know, asked if she could check our bags for us. Instead, she told us that we'd have to take the bags to another agent. We both proceeded to the area she indicated. Three separate agents never even made eye contact with us and continued their personal conversations. So, we went back to the original agent. She again told us we'd have to go to the other agents. When we returned there was now a line of five people in front of us. (The line was not surprising since apparently 90% of AirTran employees' work days at BWI are dedicated to personal conversations. On the plus side, I did get some rather JUICY details about one of their dates, so we can always cherish that.)

At this point I was extremely frustrated and went BACK to the original kiosk to complain about the service we'd been getting. It was at this moment in time when my wife and I were delighted to have had our lives on this Earth cross path with someone who we will never forget. Unfortunately, it was for all of the wrong reasons.

Bruce, one of your lovely Customer Service Officials who you so proudly tout as being specially trained and available at all of your locations, began a course of events that cost you two customers for life.

Let me briefly interject that I am a well-seasoned traveler. My line of work in national, non-profit management requires me to fly frequently. I just recently moved to Boston from the Baltimore area where I was a member of Southwest's Rapid Rewards program and earned countless free flights. So, you can imagine my wide-eyed hopefulness when I realized that a low-cost carrier, AirTran, flew out of Boston to many of the places I need to go. But, I digress.

Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. After explaining the series of customer service failures we'd just experienced, Bruce's first comment was to chastise us that after we check into a kiosk we should never leave. (Nevermind that we were told to leave the kiosk three times from AirTran's own personal Dear Abby.) He then begrudgingly decided to check our bags for us without uttering one word of apology for what we'd been through.

Our first bag was a small duffel bag, no problems. But, Bruce was determined to make sure to lose us as customers. Bag two is placed on the scale. Bruce places an evil smirk on his face as he looks to the scale in maniacal anticipation of our bag being overweight but, alas, it wasn't. Bruce's smirk fades. But wait! Bruce isn't done yet. There is still a way to seek retribution. Perhaps the bag is, wait for it... OVERSIZED!

A brief pause here once again. The bag in question has been used in flights on AirTran and other carriers no less than 50 times, including our originating flight from Boston to BWI.

Back to Bruce. Bruce interrupts two different counter agents from their important work as gossip mongers to ask for a tape measure. Then, with lightning speed, Bruce measures two dimensions of the bag, the height and width (not depth). He then, somehow with only taking two measurements, determines that the bag is 63 inches. Finally, Bruce has us in his clutches. A $29 fee is imminent.

After telling Bruce that we had no problems checking the bag when flying from Boston, he indicated that the counter agent in Boston wasn't doing their job and pressed AirTran's cardboard baggage policy stand into my wife's face. Bruce may have thought that being a condescending blowhard works with women in his own personal life, but not my wife. He is lucky that she didn't find another place in Bruce's body to put the tape measure where he wouldn't lose it again.

At this point, I knew there was no arguing with Bruce the Bully. I paid the $29 on my credit card and we boarded the plane. Now that I've had a chance to examine the bag, I realize that it isn't even oversized. It is 28' tall, 21" wide, and 11" deep. In other words, 60".

I have disputed the charge with my credit card company. I insist that my $29 be refunded as well as a letter of apology from Bruce the Bully's supervisor. Unfortunately, I had booked two flights with AirTran before this incident occurred. Unless I receive the refund and the letter, as well as much improved customer service on my next two flights, you can rest assured they will be our last flights ever with AirTran.

I have cc'd the Washington Post's Coming and Going section as well as the travel editor and reporter for the Boston Globe. Since there must be hundreds of other disgruntled AirTran customers, I hope that they will remember this letter when dozens of others arrive.

Jan 22, 2007 12:00 am

My family and I were booked on flight 678 Orlando to White Plains on January 15 (8:25am scheduled departure). We got to the check in counter 45 minutes before the flight and were told by one of the AirTran employees that the flight was closed.

He directed us to a counter where we were supposed to rebook our flight. We protested that we should be able to check in for our flight since we were there before the Orlando minimum check-in time (=40 minutes) but the employee refused. We were told by him that the security line alone was 40 minutes long. After we waited in line we were offered standby tickes for a flight leaving at 5:15pm. After we left the counter we passed by the security line and guess what? There was no line! At that time there was still 20 minutes until the scheduled departure of the flight and we could have made it to the gate without problems. Needless to say, the flight at 5:15pm was fully booked so that we had to wait a full day to get home. Since we had been at the airport prior to the minimum check-in time the irresponsible behavior of AirTran's employees led to a denied boarding situation. At the time of our arrival and after denial of boarding we were NOT presented with a written statement as indicated in their contract of carriage. Since AirTran did not provide acceptable "alternate transportation" as also described in detail in their contract of carriage (we were supposed to arrive at our destination within 1 hour of orignial arrival) we are entitled to a payment equal to twice the sum of the face values of our itinerary. Of course AirTran is not answering my e-mails. I hope enough people will start to boycott this airline so that they come to their senses!

Jan 05, 2009 10:43 am

I'm not much of a complainer and don't have an issue paying overweight/oversize fees when they are warranted but my AirTran experience really bothered me. If there's a link to other AirTran baggage complaints I believe the agent I had in Ohio moved from Philadelphia and "helped" me as well.

I flew to Dayton from Baltimore on Dec. 30, 2017 with no issues. Flying home my suitcase suddenly became oversized. Typical Samsonite rolling suitcase. The limit is 61 inches and somehow the bag that has flown for the past 10 years with zero additional fees is oversized. She measured it at 62 inches and it was the fastest measuring I've ever witnessed. It wasn't stuffed to capacity and the opening flap is soft. I was packed for a five day trip and didn't buy stuff to drag home with me. I'm not one of the idiots who shows up with the biggest bags money can buy and proceed to argue. I'm a seasoned traveler and know how to pack well.

Of course no supervisor is readily available and the 45 minutes waiting to check my bag was getting me closer and closer to the time I need to be at the gate. It gets better because someone had an IDENTICAL bag on the conveyor at baggage claim in Baltimore and was on the same flight. When I asked if he paid an oversize fee he responded, "Why would I do that? This bag isn't oversized."

What was AirTrans' response to my call this morning? It had to be taken care of at the departing airport. There is no refund. Imagine the no-customer service rep repeating this over and over. The fee is no longer $29, it's $39. AirTrans just lost an entire extended family over one ticket agent being rude and taking her bad day out on the customers...the people who ultimately pay her. I hope that $39 was worth the thousands we spent on flights during 2017 alone. She showed me paying a little or a lot more on another airline is worth it to get great customer service and no additional fees when the whim strikes.

Hopefully they pool the money from their bogus bag fees to either pay better reps more or get the ones they have some type of training.

Here's a copy of the email I sent earlier:

I returned home on flight 459 from Dayton to Baltimore yesterday and I am not pleased with your airline. The delay of the flight didn't bother me at all. I understand that weather, mechanical issues or things of that nature can and will delay flights. My problem was my baggage.

Since I travel often I am aware of weight and size restrictions. I used the same suitcase to fly to Dayton as well as return but suddenly on the return flight the bag was too large and needed an additional 39.00 fee to be sent as oversized luggage. I didn't think the representative was speaking to me initially but with the person at the next scale. My suitcase is a standard Samsonite suitcase bought from a department store years ago and it weighed under the 50 lb. limit.

This suitcase has traveled around the world but my confusion set in because it did not exceed the weight limit, was not packed so it was bulky (it was a 5 day trip) and I had just flown on Airtran with the same bag a few days prior with no issue. Perhaps if it were a new suitcase that I had never used to fly but that isn't the case.

I asked that it be measured again and again as well as showing me what she was talking about. I told her I just flew to Dayton on Airtran with the same bag the previous Tuesday. The bag had gone on Delta, Southwest and even the commuter flights that are pretty small and had never been sacked with an additional $39 fee for it's size.

Since a supervisor wasn't immediately available and I was quickly eating into the hour I spend at the gate before a flight I had to let the bag go with it's newly accessed over-size label.

After calling your 800 number I learned my only other option was to wait in the ticketing line again, request a supervisor at the counter, have my bag removed from wherever it heads off to and let them remeasure. I may have failed to add that while this was going on the agent's fellow employees were trying to get her to either go on break or leave for the day by telling her they'd take over and she was supposed to have left 10 minutes ago, then 15 minutes ago, then 20 minutes ago. One even watched her measure and said it's fine but my agent felt otherwise. If I were a rude, loud, vulgar customer I'd accept that my mouth earned that $39 fee. I got ripped off. Your agent knew my option to miss my flight after waiting at least 45 minutes to check a bag even though I had my boarding pass and had paid the luggage fee online was not a chance people would take.

Since this issue couldn't be resolved at Dayton and the $39 fee I was slapped with by your agent who shouldn't have been working but seemed to have fun playing her game, here I am. I want my $39 returned. I don't fly with overweight bags, I don't have some type of special luggage that exceeds size limits, I don't arrive at the airport and blame the agent for the line, I don't get upset because a flight is delayed. Perhaps more supervisors are needed in Dayton or retraining/reassignment for the woman who "helped" me.

I was almost to the point of letting this go until my luggage came out at the baggage claim. Can you imagine what I thought when the bag next to mine on the conveyor was identical? The red scarf tied to mine and the baggage tag easily identified it. Of course I had to ask the gentleman who picked up the bag if he was charged an additional fee for the size of his bag. There was not an additional fee for him to fly from the same airport with the same bag. There also wasn't a fee for the hockey bag that was simply huge. I commented I was glad that wasn't mine because the bag was almost as big as me when I saw it at Dayton.

Maybe I look too nice. Maybe I should have become irate like the other passengers who had issues at the gate. Maybe I shouldn't have been the calm person when dealing with a rude, nasty ticket counter agent.

My extended family and I started using your airline because the flights were less expensive than the ones we usually take. My mother even has the same set of luggage that she received as a gift from me and used the large suitcase when she flew here the week before Thanksgiving as well and the day after Christmas. Her name is XXXXX XXXXX from Dayton to BWI if you need to look it up and she was not charged a fee either.

Legitimate fees don't bother me but a rude ticket counter agent with funny measuring skills bothers me. Her lame excuse that no other airline or Airtran agent did their job for the past 10 years I've flown with the suitcase is garbage. I work too hard to pay illegitimate fees. I fly too often with the same luggage to know when a fee is not accurate. I want my $39 returned to me. The fee was not warranted and your agent took advantage of the lines, lack of a supervisor, the predicament she placed me in and her position. I do not like to be nickel and dimed. I appreciate the quick attention your company is going to use to resolve this matter. The $39 fee can be credited to either credit card that was used or a paper check can be delivered to the address above.

Thank you,

My name and info!

Mar 21, 2011 8:09 am

I was on A flight from Orlando to Boston flight 1020. on March 16th 2017. when the person at the check in name was Frankie told us that our bag was two inches to big. i told him that i already took it on a airtran flight from Boston to Orlando and it wasn't to big. He told us we had to tie it down. he made us look like fools in front of everyone. he was very rude to my wife who is six months preg. i said to him airtran is the same company in Boston and Oralndo. then they need to do the same everywhere not be different. this guy was a real jerk. I will never ever fly airtran again. By the way they are Value jet. they are the worst airline in the USA. People like Frankie should not be working in a place like Orlando. people go there for vacation to rest. He makes people more stressed out and ruin there vacations.

Apr 27, 2010 1:30 pm

I flew AirTran for the first time this week. NEVER AGAIN!

I had the same problem with the AirTran staff in Atlanta! If anyone from AirTran reads these complaints, they should really look into Atlanta, it seems to be a huge problem!

Flew from Boston to Atlanta, staff was very friendly. One of our bags was slightly over weight, the attendant asked if we wanted to transfer some items to another lighter bag so we didn't have to pay the upcharge.

However, Atlanta to Boston, the bag was a little overweight. Instead of suggesting that we remove something, she wanted to charge us the $49 fee. I said, no let me remove some items, and the attendant got really agrivated! Then she takes out her tape measure and says our bag is 62 inches. It wasn't too big in Boston! I've flown with this same piece of luggage for years and never had a problem on any other airline. It cost me $15+$49.5=$64.50 just for this bag to go from Atlanta to Boston! I can fly Southwest one way from Providence to Orlando with up to two bags for $49 (that's my fee, not the bag's fee)! The bag fee alone on this flight was more than that! What a rip off!

We tried talking to the supervisor and the manager, and they would not budge. So we had to pay the fee.

Oct 13, 2009 4:33 pm

We agree that Airtran uses phony measures and weights. We were nailed at Orlando for an oversized and overweight bag. Neither was true. But like so many other customers Airtran has "suckered" we would have been late or lost our flight had we waited to complain to some imaginary "manager". To make matters worse, when we arrived at our destination, our baggage was destroyed by their cro-magnon baggage handlers. We did not get any restitution for our damaged baggage, nor did Airtran agree that they did any damage.
There will be no need for us to ever consider Airtran again for any flights to anywhere regardless of price.

Here's the scoreboard ladies and genlemen:
AIRTRAN...scratch ... See above.
DELTA...scratch ... Can't believe a word they say.
CONTINENTAL...scratch ... They can't seem to find a way out of ANY airport!
NORTHEAST... scratch ...Hopeless screwed up schedules. Might as well use a dart.

We WILL be returning to JETBLUE!

Oct 06, 2009 1:04 am

This is just taking the money of innocent citizens who have to cancel because of circumstances beyond their control and adding that up to the bonus of their CEOs.

Sep 27, 2009 5:37 pm

i wholey agree with this complaint! i am a student not earning a great salary..
im so mad that they charged this much money, its such a rip off for a local flight, i wish there was a way i could get a refund or complain to someone, i tried to over the phone, but i think that those people dont care much either. i now officially hate airtans.

Jul 26, 2009 11:54 pm

I am sorry you had such a bad experience. But you said you followed all of their instructions. I have flown this airline a few times with my dog because their pet fee isn't that bad. Anyway, that little green tag that they give you clearly states that the carrier must remain closed the entire time the animal is onboard. I love my dog, too but the truth is some people are severely allergic to animals. They have to stay in the carrier, even if they cry. I don't think the flight attendants should have been rude about it. But they are people too, which means that sometimes they are jerks. I am sure it gets beyond annoying to have to tell people all day long to keep their pets in the carriers, which is something that they agreed to do before coming onboard the plane anyway...

Jul 10, 2009 11:20 am

For anyone to sayAir Tran is great! Is because they have yet had a problem: it will come and you will see that Air Tran staff will treat you like crap!
These emplyees are rude and disrespectful. The reason why is Air Tran does not take there complaints there employees are getting alway with it...Air Tran staff are extremely rude and unprofessional. My family and i Where traveling on a Friday from Tampa to Atlanta to Ill. Alanta airport had some storms which close them down and delayed our flight in Tampa. Hours later we made it to Atlanta, the walked seem like a mile to get to our concourse to connect; we where told flight left 10 mins ago! They knew Tampa flight was coming...Hold the Flight! My husband and I are passive people but the mouth on this lady and her body facial movements where so disrepectful. What A Night! Superivisor was worse! We have 2 children... spend the night on the floor hoping to get a flight in the morning. We where told maybe Sat night or Sunday they can get us out. Meanwhile my husband mother was very ill waiting on us to arrive. As I looked around me it was horrible... young people stranded, mothers with children, older poeple confused, least confort this people sit them down offer complementary drinks. One young lady needed a phone to call her parents, DENIED! My husband and other passengers where trying to help others...Unbelievable! My son who was excited to fly tells me he doesn't want to do this ever again...this was aNightmare! I feel mentally sicken by this incident. For a breif moment, I tought of those poor people in the storm that hit New Orleans...Well my family and I tried an early flight leaving at 930 on standby Sat morninng, thankfully we got on...mind you we would told maybe the late Sat flight we can get on...NIGHTMARE!

Jul 07, 2009 4:17 pm

Same thing happened to me! Over-weight and over-sized on the trip down and nothing on the way home?!? Certainly I could, and did, control the weight, but what do you do about the size? Same as you, I traveled with it numerous times and have never had a problem. I think it's safe to reason that 99% of travelers return from their destination with the same luggage, don't you think? I don't get it...$93 on the way down, yet only $15 on the way home? I spoke to a rep via AirTran's customer service number, but it didn't sound promising. Not that I wanted to get charged $93 again, but so much for company consistency!

Jun 23, 2009 3:07 pm

I totally agree with you. Airtran messed up my sister's last name on my flight. They gave her my maiden name and my married name and then said I did it. When I contacted customer service they agreed that as a courtesy to me they would charge me only $75...ONLY $75. The flight was only $69. I asked them to correct it, not change it. I called corporate and they laughed at me in my face. I have used them for years but never again. I am with you all the way.

Apr 15, 2009 7:32 pm

This company is a scam the trip insurance is fraudulent!


I flew from indpls to orlando in the end of January. The flight was fine there and on the way back from orlando the check in lady, if you can call her that! She was mad she had to help us then make change for one of us. She proceded to measuse every bag out of anger and charged us for oversized luggage of which had been flying airtran airways for 6 years! It was her way of retribution for having to do her job and must have set her off we just couldnt use the kiosk and had to bother her.

Oct 16, 2008 7:18 pm

I just got back from a hellish trip on AirTran. 'Wait till you see my post! I think you 'll empatize as I did with yours. Thank you for so-concisely writing up your story.

IMHO, ALL AIRTRAN CUSTOMER STAFF must go for ettiquete training before AirTran is allowed to fly again.

[email protected]

Oct 16, 2008 2:53 pm

Last week was my first time flying AirTran and it is my last. My flight was 30 minutes late getting out of Washington DC, and having only 50 minutes to transit in Atlanta, I missed my connecting flight to Seattle. Prior to departing from Washington DC, I asked if it is possible for me to connect in such a short period of time, and the AirTran employee said yes and if not they would take care of me in Atlanta. Sure enough, my flight was late, and AirTran gave me a discount on a hotel room, the discounted hotel room was 63 dollars.

AirTran claims no responsiblity for late flight, if their lateness is due to "air traffic control" they do not need to compensate you for the hotel room...this is simply not right.

If possible, I would not take a gamble with this airline, pay a little more and ride on a airline that values your business.

Oct 09, 2008 12:26 pm

I had a similar experience with AirTran in Atlanta on October, 2 2017 with my wife's bag that she has been using on many airlines without a problam for several years. They were not as rude as what you experienced, but were unwilling to bend on their judgement that the bag was too large. While they stated the limit was 61 inches and that her bag was 63 they was a sign on their counter that said 62 or less. I showed them that you could even get a 61 measurement on her bag which is a soft fabric bag when it was laying on it's side. With it being so subjective and the fact we were unaware of the rule and had used the bag before I stressed to the manager that it was poor customer service to charge me the now $39 charge and lose me as a customer than to let it go. I made the point that I could have 2 50 lb. bags under62 inches and pay only $25 dollars for the extra bag if I wanted to game their system. The lack of logic in their pricing policy was lost on her and she chose to charge me the $39 knowing she would lose me and others for life, as a customer.

It seems obvious to me that there has been some training, coaching or even incentives for their reps to charge this fee if they can get away with it.

I also made the point that AirTran and other airlines were getting it so wrong by nickel and diming their customers and continuously changing the rules and rates. We know they are hurting from high fuel prices and need to increase revenue, so why not just raise prices of the tickets slightly rather than make customers jump through hoops trying not to get "burned" by thier ever changing rules and restrictions.

Aug 10, 2008 1:38 pm


"Passenger check-in information

Ticket Counter Check-In Requirements
AirTran Airways recommends that passengers arrive at the airport 120 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight. Due to security requirements, passengers and their baggage will not be accepted at the ticket counter less than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight.

Gate Check-In Requirements

Customers must present themselves at the flight departure gate no later than ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight. Failure to comply will cause the customer to lose their reservation and, if so, they will not be eligible for denied boarding compensation."

Aug 07, 2008 11:54 pm

I'd guess since AirTran carries 25 million passengers a year, somebody would probably notice. Story doesn't make sense, as the airline recently made #1 in the airline quality review survey.

Long story short. You showed up late, Grandma, and they didn't want to accept you for an oversold flight. Plan ahead next time, MARY.

Jul 12, 2008 4:58 pm

I used Airtran for the first time. I normally use Southwest. I purchased 3 tickets to Phoenix from La Guardia for my daughter, son-in-law, & grandchild. My daughter & granddaughter arrived 2 weeks prior than my son-in law, her flight times & flight numbers were changed a couple of times before she left and her last flight was delayed a couple of hours. She was suppose to get into Phonix @10:00 but arrived around midnight. I thought it was an inconvenience, but I was not happy about waiting for 3 hours at the airport, but I quickly got over it. My son-in-law arrived a couple of weeks later, his flight was another story: He was suppose to depart from NY on 7-10-08 @3:49, so he arrived at La Guardia airport 2 hours early, and everything seemed ok, until 15 minutes b4 boarding, it was announced that the flight was cancelled. Airtran set up replacement flight for the next day @6:00am, so he spent $50 r/t to go back to his apartment. He returned at 3:00am the following morning, again everything looked ok, until the last minute - Cancelled again! Finally he was rescheduled for 3:49pm. That flight was delayed by 1.5 hours, so he had 15 minutes to catch the last connecting flight to Phoenix from Atlanta. He had to travel from Terminal C to D. He said he ran as fast as he could. When he got there, the door was closed but the plane was still there. The attendant denied him boarding. So he smashed his ticket up against the glass and tried to get the pilots attention, and it worked! The pilot saw him and let him on the plane. Also, in the meantime, my daughter and I were both calling Airtran trying to get info, almost every customer service person we talked to was rude and indiffernet. My son-in-law said the same. I had to apologize to my daughter and son-in-law for the tickets I got for them. I will NEVER use Airtran again. They are a chaotic operation at best and rude to their customers.

Jul 07, 2008 10:25 pm

Yes you were treated unfairly. But, being a 57 year old man who claims to be responsible and to have traveled a lot, I would think you know better than to put first and last names and the cities that these people live in into a blog that can be viewed all over the world. Airtran can sue you for slander; if this is seen by the right eyes, it will happen. Just trust me on that...

Mar 31, 2008 8:20 am

My girlfriend and I have flown Airtran a few times and have had nothing but problems. After the last time we used them in Nov 2017 we agreed we would not fly with them again. My girlfriend wanted to fly up to NC to be with me for my birthday and the best fare from FL to NC was on Delta to NC and Airtran back to FL. We arrived for her return flight in Charlotte one hour before her scheduled departure and checked in. The customer service rep that was at the counter said her "flight was delayed and all Airtran flights were delayed so she would not miss her connection in Atlanta". She boarded her plane in Charlotte and they sat on the taxiway for over an hour. The delay reported by the pilot was "bad weather in Atlanta". I looked at the online weather radar and could see no weather within 1, 500 miles of Atlanta. She missed her connection in Atlanta and had a choice of sleeping in the airport and waiting for the first flight out in the morning or flying to another airport 75 miles from her final destination where her vehicle was in long term parking. By the time she arrived she was forced to take a taxi to her car costing $150.
We will never fly Airtran again and I urge everyone not to use them either. They are always late, poor customer service, and liars. I have written to them more than once and never recieved a reply. They obviouly don't care for thier customers.

Mar 26, 2008 7:31 pm

I have previously posted elsewhere about a trip I took 6 mo. ago on Airtran. I purchased a ticket for my son and myself for travel from SEA to ROC. My son and I do not share the same last name.

He was unable to make the trip. I had booked two seats on my credit card, one in each of our names, a window and center, assuming that we could swap if either became uncomfortable in the center seat.

When I arrived at the airport, two hours early, I informed the ticket agent that he would not be accompanying me. She asked if I would be willing to sit in an emergency exit seat, and I responded that I would simply use both seats that I paid for.
Checked a bag, all okay.

Boarded the plane to find out they had resold the window seat. It was explained that, because my complete name wasn't on the reservation for that seat, nevermind that this was for a minor child of mine, and that both seats were paid for at the same time, by me, on a single credit card; this seat was theirs to sell again.

Flew from Seattle to Atlanta, 5+ hours in the center seat, fuming. And let's be clear about AirTran seats, the same cramped seating arrangement they use for commuter hauls in the Northeast apply to cross-country flights.

They offered to put me in Business Class from Atlanta to Rochester, until the paying customer showed up late for that seat. (By the way, business class customers don't get shut out if they are late to the airport.)

Then my assumption is that they paid someone in worthless AirTran script to be fool enough to give up their middle seat for a flight that I had two seats paid for.

Arrived in Rochester, NY, late, too late to drive to my final destination. (My parents 50th wedding anniversay the following day.)

Luggage never made it. Had to take a motel close to the airport, at my expense, such that I had clothes to wear for the occasion. Thankfully, the bag arrived the next morning; although in unusable condition for further travel. I got a worthless $50 voucher I will never redeem.

My brother has flown this airline with no incident up and down the east coast, stick to that. Apparently, their growth is far in excess of their ability.

Mark Johnson

Apr 16, 2007 8:27 am

AirTran is the worst flying experience I've ever had in my life. No business or company has ever treated me with more disrespect, rudeness, and bull crap than AirTran. If they were to go out of business and all of the people who worked for them,including the pilots (for supporting the airline), lost their jobs and ended up begging for food on the streets, I’d not be sad. I’d throw a party and invite all of my friends so that we could all rejoice. I got up at 3:30 a.m. so my friend could drive me from Naples to Tampa for my 8 a.m. flight. We arrived at the check-in terminal about 7:10, give or take. I would appear on the security tape. I waited in line maybe five minutes until a little lady in a blue shirt with an Indian-sounding accent started yelling for people with an 8 a.m. flight to come up. “Anyone who has an 8 a.m. flight?” she questioned. Hands went up all over the place. Some of us didn’t know what the heck was going on. We were all plenty early; what was up?

“Come up,” she said, “or you will miss your eight o’clock flight.” We went up, and five seconds later as we reached the check-in agent, we were told the flight was closed. I looked at my Palm Zire 31 time, and it was 7:23 a.m., 37 minutes before the plane was to take off.

Why were we called to come up if they knew we wouldn’t be let on the plane? I asked a customer service lady (who was in a red shirt) this question, and she didn’t know. I told her to ask the lady who was yelling to give me the reason I was denied boarding, and she gave me this: She wasn’t calling for people to check in, she said. She was calling for people to come up and see what could be done about them missing their flights, she said. Funny how that wasn’t actually what she said, but she certainly was able to make it up quickly to avoid getting in trouble.

I asked her to write down her answer so I would have a record of it, but she refused. Then I asked her what her name was.

“What do you need that for?” she asked and refused to give me her name.

People were turned away from their flights left and right, and as I went through the runaround with the customer service lady in the red shirt, the one in the blue shirt, who had called the people to the front of the line, was explaining why she made her stupid decision. I was the last person in line, she said. She had proof of it, she said. What proof, I didn’t know, but if she meant the security camera, then the airline would also have proof that I was in line prior to when the sign said I had to be.

And what her proof mattered anyhow, I didn’t know. What mattered was I paid $250 for a flight that I arrived plenty early for and was just denied boarding on. That’s what mattered, but this is a good opportunity to point out that nobody I talked to who worked for AirTran saw it that way. They saw it as the customer’s fault, and it was just too dang bad for the customer. Their customer service department didn’t provide me any customer service.

I was told I could check in for the 8:10 flight but they couldn’t check my bag. Then what was I supposed to do with it? Leave it in an elevator? Throw my luggage in the garbage? Give my luggage to a stranger to keep? Have it shipped home? I really want AirTran’s answer to what someone is supposed to do with their luggage if they’re asked to take a flight but their luggage can’t be checked anywhere.

One of the customer “disservice” ladies called the supervisor, who came out of a closed door behind the check-in terminal. His name was Mark, but I couldn’t read the last name. My eyes were too big with anger and adrenaline was clouding my thought. I’d never been more furious with a company in my entire life.

Mark gave me AirTran’s version of great customer service by first telling me that there were no open flights until Tuesday. I had gotten up at 3 a.m. to catch an 8 a.m. flight, came face to face with a girl at the check-in counter 37 minutes before departure, was denied boarding, and now AirTrash was telling me that I couldn’t leave Tampa until Tuesday, two days later. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that right around the same time he was telling me this, the plane I was supposed to be on was probably sitting still.

Then Mark got a great idea. He punched a bunch of keys on his keyboard, and told me he’d be right back. He went in the door, stayed for a while then came out. There was a 3:42 p.m. flight out of Sarasota International that he could get me on.

“Can you make it down there?” he asked.

What the hell is someone supposed to say? What was I supposed to do, walk? Pay $200 for a cab? Hitch a ride? Sleep in the airport until Tuesday and see if maybe they could pull a flight out of their butts then? I said I could probably make it.

So he booked me for that flight and waived the fee. I was so fed up with him and everyone else at AirTran that I was ready to barf. I felt it churning in my stomach and I almost gagged.

I went to a pay phone and called my friend and told him the situation. He asked me twice if I was serious. I said twice that I was. I asked him to pick me up. He said he was already about an hour away, but he could do it.

So he came and we rode all the way to Sarasota, which in itself is just ridiculous to even think about. I mean I’d gotten up at 3:30 a.m. to catch this stupid 8 a.m. flight, arrived at the check-in 37 minutes early, and here I am in my friend’s car again traveling to Sarasota an hour away for a flight that would take off seven hours later. That’s a whole day wasted. Air Tran cared not. It was daily routine. They stranded me and left me without any help whatsoever. I was out of their face. That’s all they cared about.

When I got to Sarasota, I immediately went to the business class or customer service line, which was empty, and waited about five minutes before I finally talked to Dale Szczech. He had a bunch of complicated information on his badge, but his name tag said “Customer Service.” I told him briefly of my ordeal, and he didn’t care at all. “You missed your flight,” he said more than once. That was obvious.

I asked him some questions and his answer for all of them was something like this: “Every day is different in air travel.”

What the hell kind of excuse was that for anything? Even if anyone of the countless lies AirTran told me was true, what excuse was there to treat me like a piece of crap?

I asked Dale if I could at least get a discount, and he said he wasn’t authorized to do that, that nobody in the entire airport was authorized to do it. I told him I didn’t believe that. If the customer service department isn’t authorized to give customer service, who the hell is? Somebody on a phone in India? The president? The janitor? I told him to write down what he said about not being able to give me a discount and sign it. “I’m not signing anything. I’m not signing anything,” he said, throwing his hands up.

He said the best he could do was put me on standby for an earlier flight.

“I can put you on standby, but you won’t get on,” he said. What the hell choice did I have? He gave me my boarding pass and said I was confirmed for the late flight for sure.

Dale could only talk to me a couple of minutes before he pulled himself away and said he was done with me. He actually threw his hands up and said “I’m done with you, sir. There’s nothing I can do.”

What the hell right did he have to throw his hands up and say he was done with one of his paying customers? I wasn’t done. I still had a flight to catch in seven hours because AirTran denied me boarding on the first one even though I was 37 minutes early. I wasn’t done. But Dale was done. He threw up his hands and said the words.

I lingered at the desk. Twice he looked me and said he was done as he was rushing around and commanding customers about. When he finally came back, he said again he was done.

“Can I at least check my bag? Is that possible?” I asked.

If I hadn’t lingered there, he would have never once thought that he forgot to check my luggage for the flight he’d just booked me on. He never even asked if I had luggage. And even if he did, he forgot.

He also said he didn’t know “what happened in Tampa,” even after I explained it to him. He said I was lucky they were “gracious enough” to waive the transfer fee for my late flight (there should be no transfer fee, according to the DOT). I guess I was lucky. But unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to get on board the flight I’d originally paid for. It seems you need a lot of luck to travel with AirTran. Paying for your flight and arriving on time isn’t enough. You have to be “lucky.” Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll actually meet a real human being with a heart on AirTran’s staff.

It took me about 10 minutes to travel from that desk, through security, and to my gate. Maybe 15 minutes, but certainly not 37, which is the reason I was denied boarding on my first flight. I know that’s the reason because I asked one of the gate girls at Sarasota to look it up for me. Sure enough, Mark at Tampa had entered a reason for my transfer. The girl at the gate refused to print out the screen, of course, saying it wasn’t possible, but she did read what it said. It said something to the effect of I had checked in online and I was stuck in a long line, and they didn’t think I’d make the flight, so the only way I could get to Chicago was to transfer to Sarasota, so they did the transfer and waived the fee.

They didn’t think I’d make the flight. Did they let me try?

I attempted to get on the 11:15 a.m. flight from Sarasota, which I was on standby for, but of course they were booked all the way to the moon, and the President of the United States couldn’t have booked his way on that one.

The next several hours were spent at a phone booth, where at least I could plug in my laptop. I didn’t spend any money at the airport, besides a long distance call. I was so fed up with flying, the airport itself and AirTran could eat me for all I cared.

I started typing what would become this letter, and I also wrote (with a pen I swiped from the AirTrash customer service desk) a sign on the back of a folder I used to keep my travel info. The sign said: “I’m sitting here because AirTran SUCKS! They back stabbed me out of a flight I was on time and paid big money for.” You might be surprised how many people stopped to read it.

“Here I am with a sign and a run around built on the most massive foundation of B.S. I have ever experienced,” I typed.

“AirTran could have easily avoided having an angry customer with a sign warning people about their crappy ‘customer service’ if they only would have provided some customer service right away. If they would have simply offered a discount for my flight like I asked and more than deserved, I wouldn't have to sit outside their terminal with an ‘AirTran SUCKS’ sign. But they choose path of evil, taking every chance they could to deny me a simple discount. Air Tran's ‘free’ transfer was their version of the most graceful gesture in the universe. Of course, they didn't offer me any transportation to the other airport either. ‘Are you going to be able to get down there?’ they asked. Who would be able to get to Sarasota?

“Good thing I had a friend who could pick me up, otherwise AirTran would have left me stranded, and they wouldn't have cared one bit. AirTran did nothing for me, offered no help whatsoever,” I typed.

Can you imagine this? Have you ever been to a business where you weren't completely satisfied, and they did cartwheels in order to make you happy and regain your trust? You probably have, and those are the best businesses. They are honorable. If you go to Burger King and they screw up your order, don’t they fix it for free, maybe give you a replacement sandwich on the house? If a casino screws something up, don’t they comp you? Of course they do.

Not AirTran. There I was at the airport, so angry and so fed up with AirTran that I sat at the phone booth with an “AirTran SUCKS” sign.

Nobody from AirTran offered help. Every new person I talked to said things like “I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do. I tried everything. I'm not authorized. I don't know what happened. I'm done with you, sir. I'm done with this. I have to go help these other customers.”

The other customers didn't need any help! I needed a discount for being jerked around. I needed to get on an 8 a.m. flight that I was on time and paid big money for. Instead I was denied, denied my own flight.

Every negative review I’ve read about AirTran is 100 percent accurate, and I appreciate everyone who is courageous enough to step up and tell others how horrible AirTran is. If anybody, especially at AirTran, wants to prove me wrong, they can give me a cash refund for my flight.

I wasted seven hours of my life waiting for that late flight. I took another pair of complimentary ear buds, even though I already had one. I took my complimentary beverages, and I took the /SkyMall/ magazine. But I didn’t take any satisfaction with my experience with AirTran. It was horrible.

I remember one of the AirTran staff members at the gate in Sarasota thought he was really great because he was the first one to come up with a cheer for the airline. I watched him do it twice (once on the early flight that there were no openings for), and at the end of each one he would say “My mother is proud of me.”

He went through the cheer for my flight.

“Give me an A,” he yelled, forming his arms into the A pattern, like in “YMCA.”

“Give me an ‘I’,” he yelled, the passengers yelling ‘I’ back, as I stared out the window, broken and in grief from AirTran’s hurtful treatment.

“Give me an R. Give me a T. Give me an R. Give me an A. Give me an N. What does that spell?”


--P.S. By the way, when I got to Midway Airport, I discovered that AirTrash wrecked the crap out of my luggage. I showed the guy the damaged tag and plastic parts, and no matter what I showed him, he said AirTran wouldn’t cover anything protruding from the bag. When I showed him the edge of the bag, which is the metal rim that holds the bag together and is part of the very bag itself, he hesitated a bit then said nothing that protruded from the bag is covered. No airline would cover it, he said.

Then I asked “What about this big rip?” showing him the bottom of the bag.

“Um, that I can get you a $50 travel voucher for,” he said, as if I’d ever fly with AirTran again.

The rip was from a previous trip, but it felt a little better just to rip AirTran back for the utter crap they put me through.

Jan 29, 2007 6:02 am

I have flown with Airtran several times and have nothing but praise for courteous, timely and price smart flights.

Too often, we only let companies know what we think of their service is when we have a complaint.

However, what prompted me to get in touch was a News Report earlier this evening. I tuned in a little late, but what I understand happened is a family was asked to deplane because their 3 year old was having a whopper of a tantrum. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I also heard the parents had been offered air tickets they declined because they were never flying with Airtran again. Makes ME want to choose Airtran again in the future, just based on the fact these particular parents won't be aboard with their out of control daughter. Instead of being embarrassed because of their poor parenting skills, they have been interviewed because of this incident.

Again, thank you Airtran, and to the person who made the judgment call to ask these hands off parents to deplane. You have my vote and my business.


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