How I Got Screwed Over Royally by US Airways

With a recent travel experience of mine in mind, here’s a short list of things that I currently despise:

  • Birds (of all varieties – except turkeys, because those are delicious and Thanksgiving is very soon, and I voted last week – so I’m obviously a patriotic American)
  • US Airways (specifically, their nonexistent customer service skills)
  • Sketchy motels (and the plethora of STDs I may or may not have as a result of staying in one over the weekend)

Allow me to elaborate on the first two:

My flight down to Raleigh, North Carolina last Friday was cancelled because some asshole bird decided to fly into the plane’s engine earlier that morning.

Initially, the lady at the gate just said, “The plane has hit a bird, so the flight is cancelled.” She neglected to mention the whole engine thing, so I was of course imagining that a bird merely hit the windshield – which left me perplexed and made me go into a ridiculously unnecessary thirty-minute mental tangent exploring the concept of airplane windshield wipers and how they must really suck.

Then someone on Facebook told me it was probably a stuck-in-the-engine situation, and I proceeded to feel like an idiot.

I called US Airways’ cancellation line to find another flight, but was informed that there were no other US Airways flights to Raleigh that day. I almost started crying into the Bloody Mary that I had procured in the midst of all this drama – but then the lady on the phone was all like, “…let me check if we can book you on another airline for no additional charge,” and suddenly I believed in love again.

But then she was like, “Sorry, there are no flights at all,” and the tears resumed.

I re-booked for 6:30 a.m. the next day and was super depressed but quickly got over it with the help of my vodka/tear-filled beverage and Mariah Carey’s 1994 Christmas album (which I plan on listening to exclusively for the next forty or so days; don’t hate).

Moments later, my brother’s amazing girlfriend called me with the great news that she found an available one o’clock flight that day via Southwest Airlines!

Giddy as could be, I called back the US Airways number to let them know that they could cancel my 6:30 and book me on the same-day Southwest flight. But then my giddiness faded when the phone representative said, “Oh, I’m glad you were able to find a flight! But I can’t book that for you over the phone – you’ll have to go to the ticketing line and have them make the arrangements with Southwest at the actual airport.”

The original US Airways phone lady never mentioned this annoying caveat, but whatever, I thought, as long as my supposedly fat ass gets to Raleigh today.

I ran to the ticketing window and proceeded to overhear the guy in front of me get told that – for some unknown reason – they couldn’t put him on that same Southwest flight. I got all depressed again, but then my brother’s aforementioned lifesaving girlfriend booked the flight online herself and had the confirmation sent to my Blackberry e-mail.

When I finally got in front of the US Airways ticket lady, she immediately launched into the same “that flight’s not available” spiel that she had given my predecessor — and that’s when I melodramatically whipped out my smartphone and shoved my confirmation e-mail in her dream-shattering face while politely asking for a refund.

Then she was all like, “Well, we can’t reimburse you until you actually obtain your Southwest boarding pass and show it to us,” which actually made my day because of the implication that they’d need to see the cost of the Southwest ticket in writing so they could reimburse me as accurately as possible.

Then I hauled ass across the airport, waited in Southwest’s line, got my boarding pass, and hauled ass back to the US Airways woman, who was now facing a line of about eight people and actually told me to wait again.

When I finally showed my boarding pass to her, she didn’t even look at it and proceeded to refund me only for the cost of the original US Airways ticket – thereby rendering my whole ass-hauling boarding pass achievement totally unnecessary.

Then this exchange happened:

  • Me: What about the extra sixty dollars that I had to pay for the Southwest ticket?
  • US Airways Lady: We can only refund you for the cost of the original ticket you purchased with us.
  • Me: So, I get inconvenienced with a flight cancellation and I have to pay extra?
  • US Airways Lady: You are welcome to write US Airways a letter. Perhaps they’ll be able to compensate you in some way. Sorry. (In the least apologetic tone ever, mind you.)

What I actually responded with: Thank you for your help.

What I should have responded with: YOU SUCK, and so does the airline you work for. Y’all have been the opposite of helpful. If I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone checking flights from home and willingly booking me on last-minute replacement flights on a moment’s notice, then you would have delayed me an entire day for absolutely no reason. Furthermore, Y’ALL LIED TO ME about the availability of said replacement flight about three times. And to top it all off, you had me take a sixty dollar hit after all of this inconvenience. And your only peace offering is to tell me to write a letter about it?! No. I WILL NOT WASTE MY TIME WRITING YOU A LETTER.

…but I will waste my time writing you a strongly-worded, totally public blog post.

 

Comments

  1. The perfect revenge – a wonderfully well-written rant! Consider this my support of your condemnation and your probable future boycott of US Airways and stupid birds!

    • Thanks so much — the bird boycott has already begun; still waiting to see if US Airways does anything redeeming (unlikely) before writing them off completely!

  2. Fuck US Airways and fuck birds. (Am I allowed to say ‘fuck’ in a blog comment? It feels wrong, but I’m going with it). US Airways = US Scareways.

    Years ago I was flying US Airways from DC to Indianapolis. 10 minutes after take-off, they announced that there was a problem and we had to land. So we landed at a different airport than the one we took off from, and waited on the ground for about 2 hours before they told us to evacuate because the flight was canceled. They said to head on into the airport and someone would tell us what to do.

    No one told us what to do. All 40 of us from the flight just started wandering the airport as a mob, trying to find someone to tell us what to do. Nobody working at that airport had heard about this. Eventually someone loaded us all onto a bus for a very long ride back to the original airport, where I was put on a new flight that would leave about eight hours later. ( I could have DRIVEN home in that time).

    Anyway, too bad the bird didn’t get into the engine mid-flight. You could have landed the plane like Sully did and been famous.

    • 1. When it comes to US Airways, F-bombs are entirely appropriate, and quite necessary.

      2. THAT story totally puts mine to shame. They really suck!!!

  3. Flying is a gigantic hemorrhoid. But that is nothing compared to the fact that Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” is my Christmas season ring tone!!!

  4. G.E.N.I.U.S.!

    I bet you’ll see that a very public blog post is much more effective reputation wise than writing a dumb letter that they’d throw in the bin with a lame excuse. You go!

    Only ever flown with Alaska Airlines when I was over there which was great, but, the first time I flew after not having stepped into a plane for many years (I was heading for London in 2009), a big bird flew into the engine just when we took off. All was fine, I was chatting to my very-scared-of-flying-friend sitting right next to me, and suddenly she goes: “It smells like something is burning! Oh my God…” Only a few seconds later we all sensed it and when we were about to land, the staff came forward and said they’d received concerned notifications from the passengers and NO (!), there was no fire; just a big ass bird being fried by the engine and they’d choose not to go back down.

    Not. Fun.

    On the Alaska Airlines, one of the staff was so hung up about selling his beverage and as I sat there dozing off, he came over, bent down to my ear and said in an overly excited tune:

    “Would you like some BEVERAGE?”

    “Uh! Umm… No thanks.”

    “Are you sure? We have coffee, coke, water… Is there anything you would like?”

    “Not really. We’ll be landing soon…”

    “I’ll fix you a cup of coffee, okay? And maybe a of glass coke? Yes?”

    “Well… Okay?”

    “Excellent! Coming right up!”

    I hate flying, see? lol (Not scared of flying though.)

    Anyway, I’m babbling. Great to have you back in the world of blogging, BUT! How are things with Mr. Awesome Pants? Anxiously awaiting my wedding invitation ;)

    • Haha — I love that you had a bird-related situation as well! The beverage element of your story completely proves that so many people working for airlines are simply horrible at knowing what their customers actually want. What is their deal?!

      Awesome Guy is still in the picture, just trying not to jinx it with too many blog-mentions! BUT… I’m sure he’ll end up in another post very soon!

  5. Go Nick, go get them – I’m with Y’ALL the way dude. That said, can you ‘maybe’ emails US Airways the url (link) to this blog post as opposed to writing them a letter – so they can put up their apology and response – for us to have a laugh over it?

  6. One of my colleagues recently had a flight turn around shortly after takeoff because a bird did indeed smack into the windshield, making it go all crinkly but, presumably, not all shattery. Probably a Canada goose. Those birds are assholes.

    Oh, and by the way, kill your brother and marry his amazing girlfriend. It may go against everything you believe in but, trust me, totally worth it.

    • Haha – so I’m not crazy, and some plane windshields really DO suck! (The birds – definitely assholes.)

      And you raise a good point. Someone who is willing to be on last-minute-flight-booking standby is potentially as good as it gets.

  7. Yet another reason that we should be putting scientific funding towards flying cars. Also: we should bring back zeppelins. There was… an incident, but otherwise–have you seen the legroom on those things?!

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