AirTran Airways / unacceptable business practices
I recently took my daughter to NYC for a week and was booked on AirTrans for the return flight on Thursday August 23, 2007. We were suppose to depart LGA at 4:59 pm. The flight was delayed for a couple hours due to weather which was irritating but understandable. The rest of the trip was not! We circled Atlanta for over an hour and was finally diverted to Augusta. When we landed in Augusta the flight attendant told us we could depart if we wanted to but that wasn't true. Her comments and major concern was that she was suppose to be home in Jacksonville by then. We stayed in Augusta out on the flight line for a couple hours and finally went back to Atlanta. After sitting for over another hour or more we finally deplaned about midnight (4 1/2 hours late) and were told to see the customer representative about connecting flights. The AirTrans flight attendant had the audacity to tell us she hoped we had a nice flight and have a nice day - I have to wonder what flight she was on? AirTrans had ONE customer rep with hundreds of people in line. According to the pilot there were 82 planes delayed - at a minimum of 100 people per plane that's 8,200 people with one AirTrans rep and one Delta rep on duty in the whole airport. A TSA agent told us there was another AirTrans customer service office in the baggage area so we went down there. After standing in that line for two hours and finally getting in the door, the AirTrans rep there told us she couldn't rebook flights - we had to go back to the other rep or wait until the ticket counter opened at 4:30 am. It would have been so easy for her to announce that information to everyone standing in line before they waited to get to the counter. So, I tried to go back to the other customer service rep only to be told by the TSA agent (Note: this was the SAME TSA agent that told me to go to baggage) that I couldn't get in because my boarding pass was for 8:10 pm and it was 1:00 am so it wasn't valid. I asked her if she had a clue what she was doing? She was the person that directed me to baggage - she'd been working all night and certainly should have known that none of the flights were coming in or going out. So I sat on the marble floor for three and a half hours waiting for the AirTrans ticket counter to open. It was a long night - nothing was open, not event the bathrooms. The only people around were the maintenance crew. The seats were all full, the marble floor was cold and hard - we were in hell in Atlanta. When theAirTrans ticket counter did open I was offered a flight the next day going to Ohio. I was traveling from NY to Las Vegas and was being offered to go to Ohio where the odds of a flight landing were minimal since Ohio, Chicago, Wisconsin were all flooded with more storms on the way. I was told that I couldn't get a refund because I refused to wait another 30 hours in the airport for a flight to somewhere I didn't want to go. When I told her I didn't want to go back where I came from but West she handed me a phone number for an air charter company and walked away. I bought two more tickets on another airlines and finally made it home 36 hours after I left NYC. I travel alot and understand delays due to weather, mechanics and circumstances out of your control. But AirTrans should have had control of their service standards and staff. They didn't and it was totally unacceptable. Typically when you're delayed like this when you get off a plane there is a customer service rep with information that you have already been rebooked on a new flight. AirTrans had two flights going to Las Vegas that morning and were oversold - I should have been rescheduled on that flight before I ever left NY. AirTrans put me in the air knowing that I wouldn't make Atlanta, knowing that I would not make my connecting flight and you did NOTHING. Their staff was rude, unconcerned and the worst I've ever dealt with. The fact that a flight that should have taken 6 hours took 36 is horrendous. It is unbelievable to me that the person running the AirTrans Atlanta office would not call in additional staffing to help people, that they don't have a Crisis Communication plan in effect, that they don't train their staff for service nor require them to have one ounce of logic or empathy for their guests. My inconvenience was not even acknowledged - I don't get a refund or a credit - I'm just out of luck! I can't understand how you can still be in business after reading all the complaints online about them but I do know that I will make sure that I let people know their business practices in every way possible and look forward to the day when AirTrans is one of the airlines that didn't make it. Air travel has gotten terrible under the guise of Homeland Security and unfortunately most people accept what should be unacceptable - AirTrans takes advantage of that beyond normal practices. The only thing that kept me from going over the counter that morning was the threat of going to jail and the fact that I was in such pain from the trip.
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