United States - 85034
In March of 2009 I decided to fly the newly popular US Airways, or 'Sully Air' as I renamed after Cpt. Sullenberger's fantastic emergency landing into the Hudson. I departed from JFK in NY and flew to Phoenix to visit my sister. When I landed in Phoenix and arrived at her house, I unpacked my baggage, where I had mistakenly packed my digital camera and gps unit. When I looked inside my luggage I noticed that my camera, packed inside its carrying case, and my gps were missing. However, I did still have my battery charger for my camera and gps mount.
As soon as I realized these items were missing, I contacted US Airways and explained my situation, at first the agent on the other end was confused wondering at first if I lost my baggage, if my bag was delayed or if my bag was stolen. After multiple attempts of clearing up the situation, I was finally transferred to the Baggage Claim Dept., which of course was closed. The funny thing was that US Airways is based out of Arizona, but they operate on EST Office Hours. Nonetheless, I was forced to go to sleep feeling very screwed and unsettled that I was unable to at least start a path to a resolution.
The next morning, I was able to start off my vacation with a friendly phone call to US Airways Baggage Dept., again I had to go through the entire process of explaining my story and get to the point of the fact that no, my bag is not missing, no my bag was not stolen, I finally blurted out 'A US Airways Employee stole contents from my baggage !', the response: 'So you are a US Airways Employee ?'. After finally making the agent understand my situation, he informed me that US Airways does NOT have a 'Form' for Stolen Contents, Only Stolen or Missing Baggage or Delayed Baggage. I then asked him what I should do, so he decided that I should fill out a report for stolen baggage, evidently that should be sufficient. After giving the agent all my info, about five times, he gave me a case file # and said someone would be in contact within 14-21 business days. I was enraged by the response time, so I asked to speak with the customer service dept, guess what ? They don't have a phone number for the Customer Service Dept., I guess this happens all the time. The agent informed me that the only way I could contact customer service was by mail, fax or email, so after I hung up with the agent, I filled out a Customer Service Complaint via email, their response time was slightly better, estimated 3-4 days.
After realizing I was not going to get anywhere soon, I went out to the local Wal-Mart and purchased another digital camera for our vacation, as we really wanted to capture the beauty of Arizona's landscape. When I returned home, about 7 days later, I still had heard nothing back from US Airways, so I decided to give them a call again, I got in touch with the Baggage Claim Dept. and was promptly informed that they had no record of any claim on file with them. Shocking !!! After debating with the agent for awhile, she then informed me that their 'Baggage Claim Escalation Dept.' may have my file, but like the Customer Service Dept., they don't have a phone number either, lol. I was told they would be in contact with me the next day, its been 10 days, still no word.
In conclusion, I was given the traditional run-around by one of America's most respected domestic airline, no answers, no responsibility. The worst part of all was not the financial loss, not the run-around, but that the fact that my girlfriend had not had a chance to upload the recent photos of our niece and nephew's birthdays and christmas, which cannot be replaced with any amount of money. To add insult to injury, it just feels like crap to know that an American company has no responsibility and no care for how they treat their customers. We pay for their services and expect at the least for them to transport us to our destination and hope that we get their on-time with our baggage. Understandably we incur delays and sometimes lost baggage, but to have an airline employee opening your personal belongings and taking out items of yours feels so disgusting. I hope that filing this complaint will have at least opened our eyes a little more to know that we need to hold these corporations responsible, this type of freedom and cowboy operating standards is what lands these companies in trouble and then they look to us to bail them out.
I understand I should not have packed my camera and gps in my checked luggage, so please don't comment on my stupidity, only comment of Larceny by US Airways. Anyone who has had a similar situation with this company and is looking for payback, let's file a class action suit, and see if that gets any attention.
I tried to use my free round trip (25, 000 miles) that was promised me when I signed on for the US Airways credit card. I read and re-read their brochure and there were no restrictions listed for the redemption of the miles for the free round trip ticket. HOWEVER, when I went on line to make reservations for a wedding 10 weeks away, I was told there were no seats available and I would have to fly out 3 days earlier! I was told by reservations that they had limited seat availability for the dividend miles redemption and nothing was left so I could not use my miles. I was furious since there is NO mention of any restrictions at all. Essentially, US Airways wants to tell ME when I should take my trip. I will NEVER use this airline again - they are horrible to deal with, expensive, and have awful customer service. I was ripped off and misrepresented.
I made a complaint to US Airways Baggage Resolution department about my things being stolen by one of their employees and was basically told they are not liable because they decided they are not. I was on a flight on January 7th from Detroit to Providence. My flight connected in Philadelphia . My first flight was an express flight and we were told we had to give our carry ons directly to the baggage handlers to put inside the storage compartment in the plane. The planes are small and cannot hold all the carry ons inside. It is the only time the bag was out of my sight. In the front pocket of my backpack I had my portable external hard drive and a wireless mouse. When I started to unpack the next day the only thing in the pocket was a package of peanuts, and the pocket was zipped when I got my bag so it did not fall out. I e-mailed the airline immediately and have yet to receive a reply, so I am already unimpressed with the customer service. I called eventually and was told to handle it through the mail with Baggage Resolution. I was forced to give my carry on, a bag intended to stay with a customer, to the baggage person. I was not offered anything so they are not concerned with keeping customers, and I am a frequent flyer. I not only lost my personal items in this situation but I can never recover the things on my hard drive. I sent them receipts of the items and it is clear what happened so they know the items exist and were not lost. I was offered nothing abd basically told too bad so I take that to mean the airline encourages their employees to steal by not caring about these situations. I have no doubt that there was no investigation as to who was working that day and no kind of disciplinary action took place. I do not understand what makes the airline think they can type up a limitation of liability statement. They are liable because it is their problem if their employees are stealing, not mine. So it is their responsibility. U.S. Airways does not have the right to not accept liability when they either lose someones baggage or have employees who are stealing from customers. I did not sign anything agreeing to this disclaimer so I do not see how it can be valid. It is despicable to treat customers this way regardless and I will no longer fly with this airline, and neither will my family. I was offered anything, not even a ticket which costs just about nothing to the airline. So there is no concern about losing customers.
My boyfriend and I are long-distance due to our respective job situations. We try to see each other at least twice a month. US Airways is one of very few airlines that flies to and from Yuma, AZ from Denver. We are therefore frequent flyers.
On one occasion my boyfriend's flight was delayed for so long that by the time he would have reached Denver he would have had to get right back on his returning flight. At that point we felt that delays happen and we continued to fly US Airways.
Some time after that incident I was scheduled to fly out of Denver at 6:30 p.m. My connecting flight out of Phoenix was scheduled to depart at 9:30. My Denver flight was delayed 40 minutes. Once the plane arrived US Airways was unable to get the gate to work. They spent 30 minutes trying to get the gate to work rather than moving the airplane over 10 feet to an empty gate (stationed literally not more than 5 feet away from our scheduled gate). They finally ended up moving to the neighboring gate after 40 minutes. The customer services check in representative was rude and abrupt. When I asked her whether I would miss my connecting flight she raised her voice and stated she had already talked with me and that I needed to go sit down. Well, I did miss my connecting flight. US Air couldn't offer any alternatives except for possibly a flight out of Phoenix at 6pm the following night but no promises. They offered to shuttle me to Yuma. I was assured that my baggage woul
d be on the first flight out of Phoenix the following morning. After a 3.5 hour drive to Yuma and very little sleep I woke up and called US Airways in Yuma. I explained my situation and asked them to help me find my baggage. The first rep was rude and treated me like a child--she told me there was nothing she could do for me. Her manager was even ruder. He interrupted me, told me that delays are to be expected espeically in this economy. When I asked him for the baggage claim number for US Air in Phoenix he hung up on me and then unplugged the phone from the wall. How do I know he did this? Because when I re-dialed I got a message saying "this number has been disconnected." My luggage didn't arrive until 10:00 that night (Saturday). I was to leave Sunday afternoon.
Just recently my boyfriend was scheduled to come to Denver from Yuma. His flight from Yuma to Phoenix was fine. At Phoenix they boarded him, he arrived at his seat and found another person sitting there. It turned out that the airline had issued two tickets for the same seat and had overbooked the flight. They told him there was nothing they could do for him: they could not fly him back to Yuma nor could they assure him a spot on another flight out to Denver that day/night. He was stranded. He waited at the airport for nearly 10 hours only to be told he was out of luck. He paid for this ticket and was told only that this happens quite a bit.
In all of our dealings with US Airways the customer service has been horrifying. Representatives of this airline are rude and unapologetic. Delays go unexplained and questions go unaswered. Rather, the representatives behaved as if we owed them something after they had messed up.
I understand that delays happen. This, however, is a habitual problem with this airline. It is a pattern rather than a scattering of isolated incidents. When dealing with this airline expect either not to arrive at your destination, a delay, lost baggage, rude customer service, and representatives who simply do not care.
Damage Resulting = As a result of all of these problems we have lost hundreds of dollars. US Airways is uncaring and unapologetic. I spent quite a bit of money buying items that I had packed in my bag, which the airline lost. To avoid this airline we have to fly into Phoenix and shuttle or drive to Yuma--a 3 hour drive. This should give you an indication as to how far we will ago to avoid US Airways.
Time, however, has been our biggest loss. US Airways simply does not care about this aspect of the situation. What they cannot understand is that people's lives and situations depend on their competence and efficiency. My boyfriend and I have so little time together as it is. US Airways has cost us such valuable time together. I understand that there is likely no legal recourse for this type of loss. My goal is only to get the word out about US Airways.
I obtained an airline ticket from Tuscon, AZ to Oakland, CA round trip with US Airways throught my credit card rewards program.
I missed the first flight and called to reschedule the trip about 4 hours after the flight left.
I was told by US Airways that I would have to pay $150 to change my ticket and $179 for the fair difference for a total of $329. The cost to book a new ticket was less than $300 on US Airways on the internet.
I then asked to just let me use the return as it was originally scheduled and I was told I had to pay the $150 to schedule my return as it had been cancelled.
This is what really seems to be an unfair business practice, Not letting a person keep the return flight even though the plane has a lot of seats vacant and the ticket was paid for.
The original ticket became worthless.
This company made out like a bandit.
I hope njo one flys with this kind of airline. B etter to go with Southwest. They don't act this way
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I am in receipt of your letter dated July 15, 2008 indicating that USAirways is unable to compensate my fiancÃ© and I for the costs that we incurred during our horrible vacation that we booked through USAirways.
As mentioned in my earlier email, this is unacceptable and I am seeking and requesting USAirways to re-open this file and compensate us for this horrific nightmare of was supposed to be a vacation. Your company has purported false information both through your website and telephone customer service department.
For those of you that are reading this for the first time I will give you a brief summary of what we experienced with your USAirways Vacation Package:
The below is the original email that was sent to your company back in May of 2008:
I am writing this letter to express to you the utter disgust and unacceptable conditions that myself and my fiancÃ© incurred during a vacation to Punta Cana that we recently booked through USAirways. My fiancÃ© and I sacrificed to save every penny for over 1 year to be able to go away on a vacation with one another as our 1 year anniversary only to experience the worst nightmare of our entire lives!!!
When we arrived to our destination (Punta Cana) we had to wait 1 Â½ hours for the USAirways driver to transport us to the Barvaro Caribe Resort. Once at the resort we were shocked by the run down conditions of the property that we just paid $2325.40 in advance for, the staff at the resort were disrespectful and were not friendly whatsoever. When we tried to check they could not find our reservation in the archaic system and had us sit on the couch for another 1 Â½ hours until they finally found a room for us. During this time no one offered us a welcome drink or a friendly smile.
Once we entered into our room at the Bararo Caribe we were appalled by the stench of the must and mildew that hit us in the entranceway. We called down to the front desk to see if they could move us to another room and each time we called they hung up on us, this occurred 4s each time saying they did not speak English. To make matters worse, our room was located at the very edge of the resort closest to the local marketplace that was lined by a fence and guards that were drinking beer!(If you forwarded this to the resort and they overlooked this line please bring to their attention, this is not acceptable for the safety of their guests) We felt very unsafe at that resort, so we finally made the journey to the front lobby to ask for a room change, I will never forget the receptionist a the front desk, her name was Wanda -- she looked at us and did not take care of us for at least 20 minutes at which time she snickered and said there was nothing that she could do, by this time it was late in the evening and we were exhausted from the long days travel.
The worst is yet to come we changed our clothes and went to take a shower to only be greeted by a large roach in the bathtub! The roach wasn't even the worst of this experience the sheets on the bed were visibly dirty and smelly and the room was not fit for a pig to sleep in.
The next morning we once again went to the front desk to explain to the concierge the living conditions that we were exposed to and that we wanted either a new room or to leave the resort, they said that we could certainly leave the resort and go to the Bavaro Palace which they said was a 5 star resort. They would not upgrade us free of charge; they said that we would have to pay an additional fee for each day that we were upgraded to! We could NOT believe they had the audacity to think they could charge us for this when the living conditions at their resort were deplorable! We argued with the management staff and of course got no where and had no alternative but to pay the 13, 222.40 pesos or ($390.01 US) to have piece of mind to sleep at night without bugs and hopefully with guards that were not drinking beer and were actually doing their jobs!!
Once we arrived at the Palace we thought we were going to be just fine, once again they instructed us to sit on the couch because they could not find us in their system. The wait time for this was over 2 HOURS! I went up to the desk a few times only to be told that the Caribe was supposed to give us specific paperwork to bring over to the Palace, I told them that Wanda said that we did not need anything. The complete disconnect with the staff was embarrassing and horrible to have to even endure. We finally got our room which again was horrible and not much better than the Caribe. We both walked into the hotel room and began to cry and just wanted to take the first flight out to the extent that I tried to call the airline and again was not able to find an English speaking person. We spent the night at the Palace and were bite up all over our body, the bites were horrible and I had no Benedryl for us to take, when I went to the gift shop it was closed and the management staff was not able to accommodate us in anyway, they were just as rude as the Caribe staff.
I can go on and on about the horrible experience we encountered through USAirways vacation package department and the recommendations that the USAirways customer service staff advised us when booking this package. I finally went online to Expedia.com and looked up the best star rating hotel in Punta Cana which was the Paradisus Palma Real Resort, of course it was completely booked, but fortunately I was able to get us reservations for the last 2 days of our vacation. The cost was incredible but we for our own sanity we had to get out of this god forsaken resort and away from these rude people. This has got to be the most horrible experience of my entire life and I am prepared to take the steps necessary to never allow this to happen to another USAirways member again!
You need to read this letter and make changes at this resort immediately or take it off of your recommended package resorts, it is only dragging your name in the mud and leaving USAirways members with horrible experiences let alone health issues. *And most importantly you are false advertising a resort that does not meet yourstated customer first satisfaction guidelines.
As a result of the deplorable hotel conditions at the Barvaro Resorts we had to incur a significant expense for a vacation that we were so very much looking forward to after a year of being with one another. The additional monies to leave your recommended resort and check into a hotel outside of your property because we were concerned for our health and well being is listed below.
The purpose of this letter is to first express to you the complete disappointment and disgust in the false advertisement that your company purported on your website. I am requesting a refund of this trip that cost us 3x as much as my budget ever allowed for and what has now put us in debit because of mis-advertisement of this package through USAiways. Please see list of costs below that we incurred because of this horrible experience. Something needs to be done by your company to compensate us for this horrible USAirways Nightmare.
$2325.40 initial cost of vacation
$300.00 upgrade fee to First Class ($150 pp)
$390.01 upgrade fee to the Palace resort
$940.00 (2nights for 2 people)
After reading this letter, I am sure that you can agree that the purported statements on your website stating Customers Firs is not reflective of your service.
In addition, your company states that you have a team of experts with first-hand knowledge - *see below.
A team of sales experts with over 300 years combined experience and first-hand knowledge of our destinations and properties to help you build the perfect vacation. Our friendly, knowledgeable sales experts know our destinations inside and out and can make rock-solid recommendations for the right vacation for your taste and budget, including group travel arrangements. And they're available for you seven days a week, so you can book when it's most convenient for you at [protected].
How can you advertise on your website that your team of sales experts have first-hand knowledge of your properties? If that is the case then why on earth would you ever have them sell a vacation package with the Caribe? You should send these folks there for a QA of the property each year to determine if these places are safe, clean and acceptable for your members. I am telling youfirst hand that this particular resort lacks all of the qualities your customer service staff and website falsely advertised.
After reading your response to my request I am very disappointed that you have the audacity to tell me that you forwarded this complaint to the Guest Services Manager at the Bavaro Resorts and that they are declining a compensation, first and foremost this complaint is with USAirways and your false representations of a resort that your website and customer service staff falsely advertised. This complaint should not be taken lightly with your vacations group and I would highly suggest that you continue to press this issue and review the file in regards to a compensation agreement that is satisfactory to both of us.
I am a very dissatisfied customer and will continue to seek assistance until a resolution has been agreed upon and is favorable to both of us. I certainly understand that your company is being very particular in responding to these types of inquiries but I can assure you that our vacation was a nightmare and the conditions were unacceptable.
I just wanted to share this that I went through with US Airways - I hope that you will please share this with others - Please send it to your sales managers, corporate travel people, Kiwanis Clubs, alumni groups, church officials etc..we need to get this word out. Ok I just need to vent my son is going back to Iraq for a 2nd time next month
When our Strykers ( Strykers 1-25 from Ft Wainwright AK) were in CA training they were told that they would be able to fly out on the 3rd from Vegas. So my son had his ticket to fly out on US Airways that day. Well they got done sooner and were told that they would be taken to the airport on the 1st. Matt called the airlines to see if he would be able to change his ticket for a reasonable cost. He was told it would be $37.00 which he could pay at the airport. Well when he got to the airport he was 1st told that was wrong but it was only going to be $97.00 because they would wave the changing fee. But then they said no they had to charge him the $150.00 fee plus the $97.00. Needless to say of course he wanted to come home early and not sit in the airport for two days so he paid it. He explained the whole thing to them and showed them his military ID so they new he was Army. The kicker is that his buddy decided to travel in his uniform (Matt having been in it for the month was ready to be in "normal clothes" so was not in uniform) Well they did not charge him anything extra to change his ticket.
So being Mom - he gave me all the information and I wrote them a letter explaining everything and this is there reply--
Dear Mrs. Quinter:
Thank you for contacting Customer Relations at US Airways. We appreciate you
contacting us regarding the change fee. On behalf of US Airways, we appreciate
Matthew's service to protect and defend our country.
Non-refundable tickets present the most economical fares. However, they are
also one of the more restrictive tickets. These restrictions make it possible to
continue to offer low priced sale fares in addition to deeply discounted air
If our customers are unable to travel as originally scheduled and have
contacted us prior to their day of departure, US Airways does offer the
flexibility of using the ticket at a later date. Tickets will retain their
monetary value for one year from the date of issue.
A reissue fee of $150.00 will be assessed along with any applicable fare
difference at the time of reissue. If the new fare for travel is less than the
unused credit, there is no residual value.
Please note: Some times Military fares are higher than the normal fare because
the ticket goes from a non-refundable to a fully refundable and in some markets
there is no military discount.
We regret the circumstances that necessitated the change in your son's
travel plans. Please fax in your son's military orders for further review
and we will forward to our Refund Department for consideration of the $150.00
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. We appreciate
and value your business and look forward to serving you on a future US Airways
Fax number [protected], please refer to file 2611896B
US Airways Customer Relations
Well being that this was scheduled leave there are no orders to fax them - I wrote and told him that and this was his reply
Dear Ms. Quinter:
Thank you for your recent correspondence to Customer Relations at US Airways. We apologize that our former attempts to resolve this issue were not to your satisfaction. As customer satisfaction is our main focus, we want to be sure the decisions we make are based on research, facts, policies and procedures, along with customer perceptions. We are very concerned about any breakdown in service that disrupts or detracts from the enjoyable travel experience all of our customers have a right to expect.
Again, please accept our apology for your inconvenience. We sincerely hope you will give US Airways another chance to earn back your business.
US Airways Customer Relations
Needless to say I just wrote them and told him that there is no way we will be flying with them ever because there are lots of choices out there that are fair to our military. I know that this is a long email but wanted you to see there words. Makes me mad that they are basically saying that they should pay the higher price so "if" or "when" they have to change it they can - Do they not realize that these young men and women do not live on high incomes.
Ok I am off the soap box for now and thanks for letting me vent There are good airlines out there that will work with the Military - like American and Delta
Proud Army MOM
My mother flew into New York from England yesterday. From there, she was to take a US Airways flight to Indianapolis, arriving at 7:30 pm. Her flight was cancelled due to "weather", which must have meant a future forecast, because at the time there were no issues in either NY or Indy. They changed her to a flight to Pittsburgh instead. She was bumped from that flight (fortunately, because those passengers sat on the tarmac for 2 1/2 hours before having to return to the terminal). She was given the option of flying to Charlotte and spending the night in that airport, or spending the night in LaGuardia, before taking another flight to Indy this morning. Hotels were not an option. She was booked for the flight this morning. In the meantime, I had called customer service to see if I could get her into a hotel -- she had just traveled internationally, she is a pensioner, she has a lot of cash on her because of traveling internationally. Anyway, they had no record of her in their system other than the cancelled flight. Nor could they get me in touch with the desk at LaGuardia. I got on the US Airways website to see if I could fare better with the Live Help. You type in all your information there and submit it, only to be told that there are no agents available. My mom called this morning to say that she and about 400 people spent the night at LaGuardia, and that her flight to Indy this morning has also been delayed by about two hours. I live an hour from Indy, and I'm hesitant to leave on time because I fear I'll be spending the entire day waiting in the airport. I can see how US Airways gets away with not paying for anything -- because all you have to do is blame it on weather and you're off the hook.
This is a copy of a letter sent to the CEO of the Tucson airport after a US Airway's supervisor falsely accused me of threatening her:
Ms. Bonnie Allin
Tucson Airport Authority
7005 S. Plumer
Tucson, AZ 85756
Dear Ms. Allin:
This is a long letter, but before dismissing it you may want to go to your computer, go to this link (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/10/04/airport.death/), and watch Carol Anne Gotbaum, a lone woman, being tackled by several policemen at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on September 28, 2007. This woman died while in police custody at Sky Harbor Airport. This is the image and story that my friends, from San Francisco to New York, have of Phoenix Sky Harbor. Then, take the time to read my somewhat lengthy narrative about my experience at Tucson International Airport (TIA).
Yesterday, Saturday, August 9, 2008, a US Air employee, Wendy, tried to use the TAA police force to punish me for expressing a legitimate grievance. My domestic partner, Timothy Taylor, was flying back to Wichita, KS, to visit his brother who is terminally ill with a malignant brain tumor. Like most working people, Tim had only a few days to see his brother and this time was valuable. Unlike most people, Tim has severe, adult-acquired hearing loss which is partially alleviated by a cochlear implant. However, his hearing is not good enough to negotiate difficult situations or to hear announcements made over loudspeakers in areas of high ambient noise like airport terminals.
Tim had a seating assignment from Tucson to Phoenix on US Airways, but could not get a seating assignment online from Phoenix to Wichita the evening before his flight. We suspected the flight was oversold. We drove to the airport early to obtain a seating assignment and I spoke with the US Airways staff as Tim has a communication disability. He frequently misapprehends what has been said to him, especially if the context is unusual or uncommon.
At the US Airways ticket counter, Jessica informed us that Tim could not get a seating assignment in Tucson; rather he would have to fly to Phoenix to get his seating assignment. I asked why this was so, and Jessica replied that the flight might be oversold. There was not offer to reschedule the flight from Tucson, and the implication was he had to fly to Phoenix and take his chances or lose his ticket. This was accompanied by a disparaging remark about the ticket being purchased through Priceline.com.
I told Jessica that Tim would not be able to hear announcements regarding flight status and possible standby arrangements. Still, Jessica did not have the authority to obtain Tim a seating assignment, so I asked to speak with her supervisor, Wendy, who supposedly had the authority to assign Tim a seat. Jessica made the first call to Wendy a 3:10 PM. After a second call and waiting 20 minutes I told Tim to catch his flight and text message me if things went wrong. Only then did Jessica think to write up a notice of disability to alert Phoenix US Airways staff of Tim’s communication difficulties.
Since I had already waited twenty minutes I asked Jessica to place a third call to Wendy, and Wendy arrived a 3:35 PM spoiling for a fight. Without giving a blow by blow description, our interaction resulted in my fleeing the airport with Wendy chasing me down. The TAA police officers who determined that I had done nothing wrong, Officers Losada and Summer, sent me on my way shaken and disillusioned.
Late yesterday afternoon, when safely in my own home out of TAA police jurisdiction, I called the TAA police at 5:40 PM to inquire whether Wendy had committed assault. I was told an officer would call me back. At 6:24 PM, I called back and was put through to Corporal Neil Brown. We discussed whether Wendy’s actions had risen to the level of assault, and he took down my statement and assigned a case number A08080110.
I called the airport police again on Sunday morning, August 10, 2008. I talked with Sergeant Furgeson (sp?) Sgt. Furgeson explained that airline and rental companies involving the TAA police force in disputes was common at TIA, and it was often unwarranted. Further some airline employees were frequent callers for police assistance in situations that do not warrant police involvement. (The TAA police were, on the whole, balanced and professional. They were surprisingly forthcoming, but I know how to chat people up.)
Sgt. Furgeson characterized the incident involving Wendy from US Airways and me as a misunderstanding, perhaps a situation that got out of control. I think she believes that to be true. However, that is not my analysis or my perception.
My perception is that Wendy, the US Airway supervisor, was angry that I had the audacity to ask to see her. That I had the temerity to have her subordinates call her three times. She was fuming because I had the endurance to wait twenty-five minutes and not walk away angry and impatient. She was furious and determined to act punitively, even if that action required deception and false accusation. Why do I come to this conclusion? There are several reasons.
She did not go to the staff side of the counter; rather she walked up to me on the passenger side of the counter and stood uncomfortably close to me. Could she address my problem without the use of a computer terminal? Her demeanor was hostile and aggressive. Wendy’s statement that “she didn’t like my attitude” was both condescending and irrelevant. This statement was meant to provoke. When I told her that if my partner were to be stranded in Phoenix I would write letters of complaint with her as the primary focus, she cynically chose to characterize this as a threat.
When she asked me, “are you threatening me, ” I knew this was a thinly veiled attempt to construe this as a threatening situation: it was a set-up.
When I replied, “I am not threatening you physically, I am threatening to write letters, ” I was purposefully dispelling the notion of physical threat. Perhaps if I had been more quick witted I would have said that I was informing her of the consequences of her poor customer relations. In any case, it was clear that there was no physical threat.
However, Wendy, unable to accept that I would not fall into her trap, decided to act as if I had: she screamed for the police, and because she was so threatened (I am being facetious) she followed me without police escort outside the building and several hundred yards down the sidewalk toward the street while I repeatedly told her that I was walking away and I wanted her to leave me alone. In between screaming for help she spokes less audible remarks of “getting me.” Her actions were deliberate, cynical, and calculating.
When threatened, I and most people try to distance themselves from the person who is threatening. Wendy’s choice to follow me, hounding me down the sidewalk towards traffic, was not the choice of a threatened person. It was the choice of a disgruntled, angry person who wanted to cause me harm. My question is why did she feel the airport police (or security) would back her up?
What is the institutional culture of the TIA and how did this contribute to her libelous accusations? Again, Sgt. Furgeson told me that this type of incident, airline and rental car company employees calling the police to resolve customer conflict is common and that seldom does the dispute rise to the level of criminal threat. Further, Sgt. Furgeson told me that some employees routinely call security to resolve what should be resolved with good customer relations.
If this is routine, apparently there is no repercussions for those employed at the airport that make hyperbolic accusation and use airport police as de facto goons. Has airport security replaced the railroad goons of the 19th and 20th centuries? Are airports, including the usually friendly Tucson airport, virtual police states where legal and legitimate disputes are resolved with the threat of police force? This kind of behavior would not shock me in Newark, but it shocks me in Tucson.
After speaking with Corporal Brown and Sergeant I now know that the TAA police force are not goons, but how would I know that while being pursued by a harpy like Wendy who was screaming for them to do what? arrest me for threatening to write letters of complaint. How was I to know that I would not be shackled to a bench like Carol Anne Gotbaum who died in the custody police at Phoenix Sky Harbor in September on September 28, 2007.
When faced with apparent misuse of authority and poor institutional culture, I often find it useful to follow the revenue stream. Your website contains the following statement:
TAA does not receive any local tax dollars. Operations are funded through revenues from parking, space rentals, land leases, fuel sales, airline landing fees, and concessions. Capital improvements such as runway and terminal construction are funded through state and federal grants.
If airline landing fees and concessions such as car rentals are major sources of revenue, do these financial interest either directly or indirectly affect the use of TAA’s police or security forces? Is it in TAA’s financial interest not to upset their sources of revenue by instating repercussions for companies whose employees use TAA police to intimidate passengers and customers? Is this why company employees feel free to use TAA’s police to resolve disputes that should be resolved by good customer relations? How well does this serve the economic interest of greater Tucson?
I realize the TAA police do not feel that they are threatening, but when TIA patrons are faced with police with badges, weapons, and handcuffs, most are intimated and, to some degree, threatened.
The current issue of The Economist features articles about Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the headline is: Speaking the truth to power. If you are the power at TAA, I must speak the truth to you. Using police force to intimidate TIA’s customers is wrong. Unless there are repercussions for airline and rental car company employees who de facto use the TAA police as a force of intimidation to quiet customers who are voicing grievances, the TAA is tacitly condoning this behavior. This is the United States of America, and we have the right to state our grievances. In a perfect world these grievances would be reasonable and legitimate, but that is not a requirement. Acting within the law is a requirement.
Unfortunately, my experience at TIA is probably indicative of more widespread deterioration of service in the airline industry. I travel relatively often and I usually fly coach: I see how employees treat the least of travelers. I have seen hints of disgruntled airline employees using the threats of police intervention to quell the dissatisfied of those suffering through delayed, overbooked, and cancelled flights. I’ve had a TSA security agent bark at me like a drill sergeant during a random search at Logan International Airport while I was being a model of cooperation. This bad behavior, or power run amuck, is done in the name of security. How does this make us more secure? I like Tucson. I think of it as a special place to live, but after this experience I feel I might as well be living in any major city in the USA.
The events of September 11, 2001 are a great tragedy. The cynical use of the threat of terrorism to instill compliance and fear in the traveling public cheapens the lives lost and the bravery of those who responded. It is shameful. If TAA is passively complicit in promoting this, TAA is responsible. TAA is as responsible as Wendy who cynically made false accusations and as responsible as US Air who promoted an irrational and vengeful employee like Wendy to a position of authority.
On April 20th, 2008 I had a direct flight from Cleveland, OH to Phoenix, AZ - I had to check a suitcase, so I also checked my backpack. After safely wrapping and burying my laptop in my bag, I headed for the airport, where I checked my bags at the curbside kiosk, then i proceeded to my gate. Flight was the same as usual. I landed in Phoenix, my sister met me at the curb, I put my backs in the bag of her SUV, and we headed to her house. As soon as we got to our destination, approx. 30 minutes after I landed, I went to retrieve my laptop and of course it was gone, so was the power supply and the cord that was at the very bottom of my bag and the towel that I wrapped my laptop in. I immediately called US Airways at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, the lady was EXTREMELY RUDE. She refused to put a supervisor on the phone, told me I could NOT file a claim for 24 hours. I was extremely upset, as this laptop had and I mean HAD a ton of pictures from the previous two years, mostly of my now deceased dad. I called US Airways again, the next morning, they told me I couldn't file a claim at all, because they do not cover damage to electronics. I explained to this person, it wasn't damaged it was STOLEN!!! If it was damaged I would just suck it up and assume fault, because I packed it. but it wasn't damaged someone went into my bag, went through my personal items STOLE my laptop and proceeded to dig through my bag to get the power supply and the power cord. For the next three weeks I made countless calls to these people, I filed a claim anyways, which took them nearly three weeks to deny. Apparently, if you have any item that takes batteries or has a power cord, anyone at the airline or TSA can steal your stuff and you are just screwed.
A special note to the thief that stole my stuff - thanks you low down dirty &^%$#()( thie[censored] You stole more than a simple laptop that you probably stole for pennies on the dollar. You stole all of my pictures of my Dad.. He died July 6, 2006 and I had uploaded tons of pictures of him, that I can never replace, you make me sick. Just remember karma is a SOB and what goes around comes around.
I was stopped by two gentleman in the Charlotte, NC airport while walking to a connection flight. I was offered a free round trip ticket (and assured that this was not a scam) for just opening a US Airways MC account and accepting a subscrition to Time Magazine, which I could cancel after the trial period. I received the card and a bill with the yearly fee already assessed. I was able to cancel the subscription as promised through Time, Inc. -- but was assessed a late fee by Mastercard because the charge for the subscription was not paid "on time". It had been cancelled. I never received the certificate/voucher for a free round trip ticket In other words, I have had two charges on this credit card for no services or product to show for it. I have not been able to get past a recording to discuss this with anyone at US Airways MC phone numbers.
Here is the letter I sent to US Airways following my flight on June 19, 2008 (LA to Las Vegas). A short trip with a lot of abuse crammed into it so the letter is a bit long since I describe it all. The reply I received was prompt, but very short and didn't address any of my concerns. I only heard back from one of the six departments I sent it to. Would you put up with this?
June 23, 2008
Vice President, InFlight Services
US Airways Corporate Headquarters
111 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281
Dear Ms. Shamblin,
I am writing to bring to your attention some disturbing events that I witnessed on a recent US Airways flight involving the reprehensible behavior of a flight attendant the likes of which I have never before encountered. The flight was #628 on June 19, 2008 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas departing at 9:40am. The flight attendant’s name is George Bird (sp?). Mr. Bird was beyond rude; barking curt commands at passengers, making snide comments, referring to one passenger as a “dog”, and in general being threatening and bullying to everyone. I would ask you to contemplate whether the scenes I am about to describe are acceptable at US Airways.
I had a quick same-day turnaround trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Thursday, June 19, 2008 to make a presentation at a conference. Boarding of flight 628 appeared to proceed on schedule, and the flight seemed to be on time. There were three flight attendants on the plane – two women and Mr. Bird. I was seated in 11C and the flight was nearly full. However, about the time that we were scheduled to depart or “push back” from the gate, several additional passengers (assumably stand-by passengers) were allowed to board. Since they did not have seats assigned at the gate, these passengers had to find whatever was available. Most of these passengers were attempting to find seats without any assistance from the flight attendants. Here, Mr. Bird began his loud and rude treatment, snapping at a family of 4-6 passengers travelling together that they had no hope of sitting together and forcefully pointing out several available single seats. As the family located seats and settled in, it became apparent that the gate agent(s) had sent more passengers to the plane than there were actual available seats. A young woman was asked to leave the plane after already having taken a seat that seemed to be assigned to another passenger. And, a man who was part of the large family group also was without a seat. In the confusion, the flight was now several minutes late.
The man without a seat was looking for a place in the overhead compartments to stow a carry-on bag and proceeded to walk through the plane looking for space. Mr. Bird began to yell at the man not to come towards the back of the plane, assuming that the man was still looking for a seat and shouting that it was “all full” and “don’t follow me”. The man was standing in the aisle a few rows in front of me and looked very surprised at being addressed this way. He took a tentative step and lifted the bag up towards an open overhead compartment near him that had space. At this point, Mr. Bird shouted at the man, “Stop! Stay! Stay!” with his hand in the man’s face. The
man stared at Mr. Bird, utterly bewildered by his actions. Mr. Bird turned away from the baffled man and walked up the aisle towards me, muttering, “Just like a dog”. I heard passengers nearby gasp and say “what?” I found his comment appalling and incredulous, and I’m sure my face showed it as he walked by.
At this point, another flight attendant made an announcement requesting a single volunteer to give up their seat so that the man could accompany his family on the flight. Her appeal indicated that the volunteer would be “guaranteed to their final destination today”, but no other incentive was mentioned. A young man seated just behind me in 12A raised his hand. One of the two female flight attendants came over to speak to him. He explained that if they could indeed guarantee his arrival at his final destination that day he would be glad to give up his seat. When asked, he told the flight attendant that his final destination was Dallas and he was only making a connection in Las Vegas. The female flight attendant said that actually she didn’t think they could make any guarantees beyond getting him to Las Vegas. Before the volunteer could weigh this information, Mr. Bird yelled from the front of the plane, “We have a volunteer?! Who is it?!” The young man, still conversing with the other flight attendant raised his hand. Mr. Bird stomped over and shouted, “Let’s go then! Get up!” He made a jerking motion with his thumb and started to reach over to the young man as though he were going to physically remove him from the 12A window seat. At this motion, the young man said that he didn’t need to be “manhandled” and that he had “already had a drill sergeant and didn’t need another one.” Rather than adjust his tone or reply more calmly, Mr. Bird said, “Settle down, Soldier!” and started to repeatedly address the young man as “Soldier”. Mr. Bird asked if he was going to give up his seat and the young man responded that since the other flight attendant indicated he was not guaranteed his connection to Dallas that he could not volunteer. Mr. Bird snapped, “You’re not going to make your connection. You’ve already missed it.” When the young man said something to the effect that he had been trying to help and Mr. Bird should calm down, Mr. Bird came back and leaning over the seats to get into the young man’s face asked in a threatening manner if he wanted “to stay on this plane”. A young woman sitting next to me in 11B had heard enough. Addressing Mr. Bird, she asked, “Are you really going to throw this guy off the plane with all of these witnesses that have seen you harassing him?” There were several “yeah’s” from the surrounding passengers and Mr. Bird stalked away.
During all of this, the third flight attendant made an announcement that a volunteer who gave up their seat would now receive a free round-trip ticket. Another man was trying to volunteer, but the scene with Mr. Bird and the young man in 12A prevented him from alerting the other flight attendants in time. Meanwhile, the man without a seat who was trying to stay with his family had seen enough, taken his bag, and gotten off the plane alone. The female flight attendants asked the second volunteer to return to his seat explaining that it was too late, the man had left the plane, we were late and they had already closed the doors. While the other flight attendants were attempting to go through the safety presentation, Mr. Bird stomped up and down the length of the plane saying “It’s just a bus to Reno, people! Let’s get it moving!” When the young man in 12A again indicated that he should calm down, Mr. Bird told him to “Let it go, Soldier!” The young man responded that he would be making a complaint about Mr. Bird’s behavior. Mr. Bird returned to row 12 shouting, “I don’t like your attitude! You’re off this plane!” and stormed to the front of the plane. The other flight attendants ignored Mr. Bird and made no attempts to remove the young man. Ultimately, he was not removed from the flight. The other flight attendants seemed genuinely uncomfortable and embarrassed, although not surprised by Mr. Bird’s rude and harassing behavior. They continued the pre-flight safety presentation and were courteous and respectful, although clearly disrupted by their colleague’s bizarre behavior.
While taxiing to the runway before takeoff, Mr. Bird came through the plane once more on his way to the back. He leaned across me, and said rather sarcastically to the young woman in 11B who had stood up to him, “Love your hair!” The young woman was African-American and had her long, pink hair in a ponytail. My seatmates in 11A and 11B, and myself asked each other, “What is wrong with this guy?” The young woman in 11B found it rather creepy to be accosted in such a way. She told me she flew often and had never seen a flight attendant behave like this. In fact, she had just seen a news story about how upset and dissatisfied airline passengers are with the way they are treated. She had not believed the story, but now Mr. Bird was giving her personal evidence of the trend. Our flight was now so disrupted that they did not even attempt beverage service during the trip to Las Vegas.
However, Mr. Bird was not done yet. While we were in the air, he hurried by rows 11 and 12 and unceremoniously threw a piece of paper into the lap of my seatmate in 11B. We both had on headphones and were reading. She stared for a stunned moment at the scrap of paper that included the heading “Your Actions May Have Violated Federal Law”. Mr. Bird came back very briefly to say that she ought to read it. There were several items in a bulleted list, but Mr. Bird had helpfully underlined the bulleted item “Threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a flight crew member (FAA 121.580)”. I was completely astonished and the young woman next to me thought for a moment that she was going to be arrested for standing up for another passenger. Mr. Bird should have been apologizing, instead he felt the need to further threaten and harass the passengers who had done nothing but insist on being treated humanely. We landed in Las Vegas without further incident and I was immeasurably relieved to get off that plane. I believe the young woman sitting next to me in 11B was continuing as a “through” passenger on the same aircraft/flight to Pittsburgh and I hope that she did not have to suffer additional harassment from Mr. Bird along the way. Although we arrived late, I had a few hours to compose myself before giving my presentation at the conference. My flight back to Los Angeles on US Airways that evening was also late, but the flight was somewhat empty and thankfully uneventful.
These events are disturbing for several reasons. Firstly, that Mr. Bird believes the FAA regulations that protect him from “threatening, intimidating, and interfering” behavior actually give him the power to be threatening and intimidating to the passengers. I am aware that the flight attendants, as stewards of our safety, must have authority to direct passengers and we must comply with reasonable requests and instructions to insure the safety and security of air travel. However, I am absolutely certain that the regulation is not intended to give flight attendants the right to bully and harass those in their temporary care, and randomly threaten to throw anyone off the plane according to their own whims.
Secondly, as a steward of our safety, Mr. Bird should be using his authority as a flight attendant to diffuse situations, not escalate them. As a passenger, we look to our flight attendants to maintain order, provide clarity, and resolve issues or disputes respectfully and calmly. People have enough anxiety about flying without ugly scenes and nasty behavior on the plane. I certainly did not expect to see such behavior from a member of the crew! There are passengers on each flight with varying levels of travel experience – they may fly frequently, occasionally, or not at all. Not everyone knows or understands the changing policies surrounding air travel. Passengers must trust the flight attendants and other personnel to inform and guide them. Mr. Bird went out of his way to destroy any trust that would be needed in order to follow critical instructions in the event of an emergency. I would not have had any confidence in Mr. Bird to lead me to safety had there been any kind of emergency.
Thirdly, that the corporate culture and training of US Airways tolerates this kind of behavior. His coworkers’ reactions indicated that this was not the first time they had seen this type of behavior from Mr. Bird. Mr. Bird actually treated the passengers as though we were cattle or sheep to be rounded up and herded. He directly referred to another human being as a “dog” and it was clear he thought the man was stupid. His behavior was absolutely outrageous. There was no effort on his part to be even remotely civil or polite. It seems clear that Mr. Bird is not suited for a customer service position. I regret that I did not immediately notify the captain of the flight about the abuse we were subjected to from this “flight crew member”.
Given the current economic difficulties facing the airline industry, I would expect US Airways to strive to distinguish themselves by providing superior customer service. Particularly since several airlines have recently gone out of business and the remaining carriers are struggling to maintain any semblance of profitability. Today there are fewer flights at much higher fares with additional fees for food, amenities, and even checked baggage now. At US Airways, it seems that passengers cannot even expect to be treated with kindness and respect. Consumers still have many options for travel and a pleasant experience, now more than ever, will make all the difference in their choice. I work at a university with more than 18, 000 employees; many of whom travel often for university business. I will be recommending to our in-house travel agency that booking on US Airways be avoided. And, for my personal travel needs, US Airways will be at the bottom of the list.
Thank you for your time.
cc: Doug Parker, Chairman & CEO
Scott Kirby, President
Donna Paladini, Vice President, Airport Customer Service
Kerry Hester, Vice President, Reservations and Customer Service Planning
Customer Relations Department
During a US Airways Flight on July 1, 2008 from Portland to Phoenix, the flight was late coming in and late departing. No big deal there. I was in seat 11B (safety exit row), and a lady behind me had a baby about 10 or 11 months old. Shortly after takeoff, the baby filled its diaper to capacity, and everyone in the nearby rows was gagging from the smell. The mother left the child in the diaper and the kid was going crazy. I leaned back against my seat and this smelly child grabbed the top of my head and pulled my hair. Mom pulled him back, but she couldn't make him sit down (would you want to sit down in all that crap?) and while she held him, he continued to kick my seat back. Then the screaming started and added more to the kicking. The smell was overbearing and the flight attendants said nothing. Finally, the young mother asked if there were changing tables in the restrooms of the plane and she was told "No" - the attendants could have helped her in some way (to help us) but they didn't. About 45 minutes later (the captain had told us we would have a longer flight due to weather and diverting off course to avoid it), the mother decided to change the kid's diaper in her seat. Oh, what fun that was.
The flight attendants did not ask her to control her child, they did not help her to find a more suitable place where she could change her baby that wouldn't kill the rest of us, and they never checked on anybody (like me) after the kid yanked the hair out of my head twice. I spent a little over two hours sitting pretty far forward in my seat between two other very irate people.
The attendants did not do anything about the smell either, which made at least one person very sick.
Oh, and speaking of sick. When the guy next to me first got on the plane and reached for a magazine in the seat pocket in front of him, out fell a used barf bag that nobody had thrown away. Isn't that a bit of a health hazard??
I don't think I'll be using US Airways again any time soon. Zero customer service or assistance when you need it. And that was a $400.00 ticket.
I will never again fly this god-forsaken airline! The nightmare began last year when a friend and I were scheduled to go to Greece. My friend got sick on the way to the airport and we had to reschedule. Our tickets were reissued for two days later. She was still ill, so we had to bail on the entire trip. We called US Airlines. The rep told us that we could purchase new tickets using this flight as a credit for a year from the date of reissue.
When I called a few months later to make a reservation using my credit, I was told that I would have to buy a ticket close to the cost of my ticket because I would not be credited the amount over the cost (which was not what I was told previously).
I had the opportunity to go to Greece the following summer. I called to cash in my ticket and they tried to tell me that I was too late to use it because the ticket expired, citing my initial purchase date rather than the reissue date. After a strenuous argument, they gave in, but quoted me a price $300 greater than my friend (who made her reservations 15 minutes before I called). I tried to argue this, but they said that that was the fare quoted in their computer. Liars -- especially since I called later that evening and they quoted me the price my friend got!
So, off we went to Greece. The trip over was surprisingly fine. The trip back was a nightmare. We arrived at the airport well before the closing of the flight only to be told that the flight was overloaded and due to FAA regulations, we were getting bumped. Never mind that we were confirmed passengers on the flight. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, they had a hard time getting us out of Athens and had to put us on a Continental flight (the only good part of the trip) into Newark. From there, the rep claimed that the only way for us to reach our final destination was to *somehow* get through customs and find transportation to LaGuardia in TWO HOURS. When I asked the rep how exactly we could do that, she said that if we wanted to get home, we would have to do that (which is impossible).
She did, however, offer us each $600 for the inconvenience and was going to issue us a draft right there. However, they were "out of drafts" and that our money would be sent by US Airways.
We got into Newark on time (thank you Continental), however, by the time we got through passport control and customs, we would get to LaGuardia (in a cab at our expense) in time to see the plane fly over our heads.
We called US Airways from the taxi line and when they looked at the computer, they "realized" that we could get a flight out of Newark and make a connection to our final destination. We specifically asked if this was a possibility in Athens, but were told it wasn't. So, we had to then RUN through the airport, deal with the fact that they kept "losing" my friend's reservation, go through security (again), recheck our luggage (which they charged us extra for), and made our flight with 10 minutes to spare.
When we got home I called US Airways a few days later to issue a complaint about the way we were treated. I was told that there was "no customer service line" and that I would have to send my complaint via email.
I did and receive a rude response from the rep saying that while they were sorry for the experience, they did not have to do anything because a) we did make it home and b) they don't reimburse for FAA cancelled reservations.
I sent off another email indicating that the crux of the refund was not due to the bumped flight but the fact that they were booking us on a flight that they KNEW we could not make. And what about the fact that the woman was ready to write a check then and there?
I was blown off yet again and decided to call back. I was told several times that there was no customer relations line. Then they told me that they would transfer me. They transferred me to a fax line. I called back and finally got a number out of them.
After 45 minutes on hold, I spoke to a very nice human who was going to send my complaint "up to exec."
Needless to say, I have not received a response. I won't hold my breath, but I WILL be calling again.
If your plans call for air travel. DO NOT fly US Scareways!
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