View Full Version : Customer Service Rose W at US Airways Philadelphia

Nov 22, 2011, 8:38 AM
Just found this forum and not amazed by the frustration and poor treatment received by many here. This is my exact email I just sent US Airways. Awaiting a response:

Dear US Airways, I had a very disturbing experience at the US Airways customer service counter in the terminal on 11/14/2011 after leg 1 one of my flight. Rose W, a supervisor, truly was the rudest person I have ever encountered at US Airways and I would like to explain. I was traveling from LAX > PHL on 11/14. Sitting in row 30, I had no expectation that the food cart would run out of all meals. Though I could have purchased a meal at LAX prior to boarding, I had my carry on luggage and was in a hurry, planning to buy my meal on board. I went to discuss the lack of food for purchase with US Airways customer service when I got to PHL.

The first customer service representative whose name I do not remember gave the following excuses in a curt and dismissive manner - #1 the food on our planes is not very good, most people just bring their own food. #2 - we have a sign at the gate telling people that we may run out of food (I am paraphrasing, but she claimed there was some sort of sign at the gate I should have read), #3 - she explained away the lack of food for me by comparing to herself - when she went to Jamaica the same thing happened to her (like that really is relevant to my situation).

Finally I asked for a supervisor, and Rose W came out of the back room. She right away explained that it is an outside company so that Us Airways has no control of the food as well as that there is not enough space on the cart for meals for everyone (really?). I mentioned that I have been a US Airways Dividend Miles for years. She responded by saying then I should have known they run out of food!! Very rude comment of course. I then explained that I have not traveled a lot recently on US Air, and that my company has charged close to a million miles on the Us Airways Mastercard this year. What she said next is a quote and I am not exaggerating at all. She said "If you have a million dollars, why don't you buy your own airplane?" I actually at that point realized she was not someone who should be in customer service, let alone a supervisor. I told her I would be quoting her on that. She then said "are you threatening me?" I told her, not at all, but that I would be sharing her comment with quite a few people, thanked her, and left the area. I actually recounted this story on 2 of my next US Airways flight segments (PHL - Munich, and Frankfurt - PHL on the return flight). Comments I got from US Airways flight attendants - "we call the US Airways employees in Philadelphia 'the mafia', and also "we are afraid of them actually".

So, will you taken this complaint seriously? Will any action be taken against Rose W? I own an Internet company and have employees who all make it their #1 mission to provide amazing customer service with a great and helpful attitude. We have problems sometimes, we fall short, have difficult customers, etc. I simply have instilled a culture of helpfulness and going above and beyond to make customers happy. I simply cannot fathom why US Airways would have employees like this in customer service who are so arrogant and condescending, and down right rude to someone like myself. I never cussed, never raised my voice, and did not make a scene. Please respond to me in detail about this situation. It is more than not having the food, it is how I was treated that is the issue. You can look up my mileage # to see how much I charge on this card over the last 6 years. Not that it makes a difference on the treatment, but I believe it is a few million dollars. Thank you, (my name and phone # here)

Nov 22, 2011, 8:51 AM
The attitude of airline staff is incredible...but the truth is, the airlines don't care. They have created a hostile atmosphere between staff and customer, taking a stance in which every complaint is seen as an attempt to "get something for nothing". A simple apology, taking the details and advising you that they will address the issue with the station manager or supplier would have been a perfectly adequate response. Instead, you got two sarcastic and hostile employees and I doubt that you will get anything more than a "cookie cutter" response. Pathetic.

Nov 22, 2011, 8:55 AM
Thanks Jim. I really get that things happen, but it seems that their is a system wide morale issue there. Most of the pilots and flight attendants are fairly nice, but seem overall exasperated and more than happy to commiserate with us passengers. I loved how one of the flight attendants I spoke to also mentioned that they have been complaining for years that they do not stock enough meals for the passengers who want to buy them. Also mentioned the US Airways CEO is the highest paid in the industry (I did not verify). I usually fly Virgin America in the US and love them, and have actually never filed any sort of complaint before too.

Nov 22, 2011, 12:57 PM
Don't get your hopes up about a resolution to this issue. Chances are that management will not even address the incident with the employees involved and IF they do it will be dismissed simply as a "disgruntled passenger" complaint.

Nov 22, 2011, 2:52 PM
As you pointed out, this letter to US Airways has nothing to do with running out of food on a flight. It happens—right? It is a much larger issue about the attitude at a major airport.

Supervisors are supposed to resolve issues immediately at an airport.
Rose W. indicated that two people were at fault: You and a third-party vendor.
… And you’re supposed to walk away satisfied with that response?

In my eyes, you deserve a phone call apology from Rose and evidence that the station manager is addressing his/her staff to be more customer service-oriented. I have my fingers crossed that you will get more than just a canned apology letter from Customer Relations.

Keep us posted on their response.

Nov 23, 2011, 5:54 PM
Thanks. I will be sure to keep everyone posted here. No word yet from USAW.

Nov 30, 2011, 7:40 PM
Seems fairly routine and a lot of boilerplate, but here it is:

Dear Mr. XXXXX:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We appreciate it when customers take the time to share their concerns.

I am sorry that your experience with our Philadelphia supervisor was unsatisfactory. Contrary to the behavior you witnessed, our airport representatives are trained to be sensitive and attentive to the needs and concerns of our customers. Given your description, this employee’s actions were not reflective of our commitment to providing quality customer care. Feedback such as yours affords us the opportunity to learn where and how we can improve our service not only to meet our customers’ expectations, but to exceed them.

It is disappointing to know our employees failed to provide the level of service you and we expected. This matter will be reviewed with the Philadelphia Manager so the issues can be addressed internally.

The US Airways Marketplace™ meal service is operated by an independent contractor who bases the amount of food supplied to US Airways on previous records of supply and demand. These amounts can vary greatly, and I apologize that the demand exceeded supply on your flight. Passengers are always welcome to bring their own food selections onboard if they wish.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to address your concerns. We realize you have a choice when flying and we thank you for choosing US Airways.


Karl Hiller
Representative, Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office

Case: US___________________

Nov 30, 2011, 8:46 PM
Not even a gesture of a few miles and very boilerplate. They will soon merge with AA rumour has it.... these monolithic giants are not known for their good customer service, so sadly things may get worse.

Dec 27, 2011, 7:58 AM
Unfortunately, when you purchase an airline ticket you are not entitled to a meal for purchase in coach. The contract of carriage makes no stipulations for inflight meals. Rose was merely being truthful, not rude or condescending. The food in Us Air is not very good, and indeed they do sell out. It's happened to me, and many other travelers, and according to your account it even happened to Rose. Accordingly, many people do purchase something at the airport and bring it on board. As a Dividend Frequent Flier I'm sure you are savvy enough to notice this phenomenon. It's not specific to Us Air, but United, Delta, and American likewise experience this situation. What would you have done if you were flying on Southwest, where there are no meals? Complain to a baggage handler and demand recompense? Moreover, what could Rose have done on the ground in Philadelphia after the plane landed. The flight was over, meals that were available by the independent contractor for sale were already sold. Why did you address this issue to a ground supervisor who has nothing to do with inflight catering? Why not raise hell to the pilots about it? With all do respect, if you want a guaranteed meal, either buy one in advance, or purchase a first class ticket. Ground supervisors have enough on their plate.

Dec 27, 2011, 8:54 AM
chris colombo,
Your reply illustrates perfectly how many airline employees completely "miss the target" when dealing with customer complaints, either because they are too stupid to understand or are burned out and don't care. I don't know if you are an airline employee or ex employee but you have the mindset perfectly. This complaint is not about being "entitled" to a meal in coach. It is about the attitude, rudeness and lack of customer service by Rose W.

The arrogance of your suggestion that Rose W was merely being truthful is breathtaking. Feedback from customers provides an opportunity for any servcie provider to improve their service. She could have replied as follows:

"I am sorry you were disappointed with the food service on the flight. We contract out this service, but I will file a report of your concerns and perhaps this will help us to meet the your needs in future. Thanks for drawing this to our attention".

How hard can that be? That would be the kind of response you would get in any other industry. Instead, Stupid Rose alienates a regular customer and engages in an argument. These huge airlines, which dominate local markets should be broken up.

Dec 27, 2011, 4:03 PM
I'm not sure where you are coming from, but no I am not an airline employee. Are you? I repeat, Rose provided the customer with a truthful answer, the food is not very good, and they do run out. I commend Rose for her honesty. Had the employee stated what you asked, what would have been accomplished? Absolutely nothing. The quality of food would not improve, and US Air would still run out of it. Moreover, calling employees "stupid," for something which they have no control over is the height of arrogant. Again, why not contact a pilot, a baggage handler, or a fueler? They have about as much say or control over the situation as Rose. If the customer wants to change the situation so the vendor supplies enough food for everyone, then the customer should have contacted customer service. Better yet, the customer could contact the vendor directly. In this situation, however, it sounds like the customer just wanted to vent. He arbitrarily found the first person on the ground after the fact, who has no control over the situation, and let loose. He ignored the fact that Rose gave a truthful and honest response, which she should have been praised for. Sorry, but the customer has no right to a meal, has not right to treat an employee who has nothing to do with the situation so arrogantly, and you have no right to call me or anyone else "stupid." Sounds like you are the one that missed the mark with this one.

Dec 27, 2011, 4:23 PM
When an airline employee is disingenuous, people get upset. When an airline employee tells the truth, people go insane and call them "stupid." If you don't want to hear the truth, don't ask the question. Moreover, if your house is burning down (no food), don't call the plumber (ground staff). Blaming someone for not getting something you are not entitled to is the height of arrogance.

If you fly on Southwest meals are not available for purchase on any flight. By your own logic, you would ostensibly get off the plane, grab the first customer service representative, blame him/her, then cite their name in a letter to the CEO of the company, and call them an epithet. To avoid future problems, know what you are buying before you buy it. If you require a meal, grab something at the airport, buy a first class ticket (not on Southwest), or bring something from home. Calling employees names due to your error only makes you look foolish.

If you still feel the situation is unfair, contact the appropriate department, in this case the food vendor. Let them know that they could have sold even more food had more been available. Vendors listen to money, but do not respond to name calling. Filing a complaint about Rose (WHO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SITUATION), may have inflated your ego, but accomplishes nothing. In short, if you want your overpriced sandwich follow the above. If you want to vent, then kick something when you get home. Enough said.