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In-flight Issue
COMPLAINT: US Airways Unfair and Cheap

 
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  #1  
Old Sep 11, 2010, 3:33 PM
cmar789 cmar789 is offline
 
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I paid for a first-class ticket that cost me $1,199.00 for air travel on August 1, 2010. This was my first ever first-class experience. My destination was to Buffalo, New York from Los Angeles, California. I encountered trouble on my connecting flight from Charlotte to Buffalo, New York. To my surprise, when I arrived in Charlotte, my connecting flight was cancelled. I had a wait of 3 hours before they booked me on another flight, AND THAT WAS IN COACH.

I purchased the expensive first-class ticket because I had a recent injury with my right leg, so I needed the extra foot space to fly comfortably to my destination. When I learned of my cancelled flight, I pleaded with approximately seven people to seat me in first class, since this is what I purchased. Each plea fell upon death ears. I let each person know of my leg injury, and yet I was told over and over that I had to fly in coach. I was still trying to get my first class seat when they were boarding the plane. When I told the flight attendant what had happened, she simply gave me a 1 800 number to call and get a refund. Instead of trying to put me on a flight with a first-class seat, I was only given one option—to fly in coach.

This flight took approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. I was very uncomfortable and suffered greatly with my leg while flying and all the while I was home on vacation, due to the limited foot space that was forced upon me.

I wrote the airlines and explained what had happened, and the airlines insisted that they would refund me a difference between a first-class seat and coach. In one exchange with the airlines, they said they would refund me air travel credit. I told them I wanted the full refund of one first-class seat; exactly of what I was deprived. I was forced to fly coach, and I surely should not have had to pay for something I did not purchase. Since I paid $1,199.00, I figured one seat should be valued at $299.00.

The airline refunded me a meager $52.69. They kept insisting on refunding me the DIFFERENCE between a coach and first-class seat. This is because they knew they would only have to refund me pennies. They held me responsible for their error. I am highly insulted and feel that I have been treated unjustly. Not only did they deprive me of my comfortable seating I paid for, they also caused me great discomfort during my vacation and lost hours.

No customer should be treated in such a fashion. I felt like a piece of trash that was totally disguarded. I feel that US Airways is not only unjust in their dealings but also unscrupulous. They should be held accountable for the punishment they afflicted upon me.

They make absurd amounts of money and only want to refund pennies when they are at fought.
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  #2  
Old Sep 11, 2010, 9:45 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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A refund between first and economy is all you should be afforded but I find it hard to believe the difference is only 52 bucks. I'd write a letter to the DOT and forward them all your correspondence with said airline and see if they can offer any help.

To back up a bit, if you wanted first class, you were entitled to it but if there wasn't a flight available in first, what other option would you have had?? None, really. But they should have refunded more than 52 bucks.
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  #3  
Old Sep 11, 2010, 9:47 PM
airplanegod airplanegod is offline
 
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I will admit that US Air acted VERY poorly in this situation. However, did you offer anything to the other first class passengers?
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  #4  
Old Sep 11, 2010, 10:09 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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When you booked first class, do you happen to know what the cost of a economy flight was for the same booking? To suggest that the difference is only $52, the airline must have compared the cost of a full price economy ticket against first class. That is a false comparison. They should have compared what the cost of an economy ticket, purchased at the time your bought your original ticket would have cost. That would have been considerably less and the difference in price would then have been much more. Reject their offer and consider Small Claims Court. However, bear in mind that you did travel first class in 3 out of 4 sectors.
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  #5  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 4:11 AM
cmar789 cmar789 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by airplanegod View Post
I will admit that US Air acted VERY poorly in this situation. However, did you offer anything to the other first class passengers?
What was I supposed to offer? More money? I think not. First of all, I should not had to involve any other passenger about my problem. It would not be fair to impose your personal problems on other passengers. Would you like to be the dispute handler for an airline you were on? This was the job of the airline. I paid THEM to take care of my flight arrangement--not any passenger.

Second, I'm sure when people are flying they are most likely only concerned about getting to their destination. I'm sure they don't want to be confronted about another passenger's problem. I would not.

Besides, it would be very wise not to get involved in something that is not your business.
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  #6  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 4:23 AM
cmar789 cmar789 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
When you booked first class, do you happen to know what the cost of a economy flight was for the same booking? To suggest that the difference is only $52, the airline must have compared the cost of a full price economy ticket against first class. That is a false comparison. They should have compared what the cost of an economy ticket, purchased at the time your bought your original ticket would have cost. That would have been considerably less and the difference in price would then have been much more. Reject their offer and consider Small Claims Court. However, bear in mind that you did travel first class in 3 out of 4 sectors.
Thank you for trying to be just. Unfortunately, when I booked first class, I was not thinking about economy anything since I was paying for first class. I was expecting everything first class. I thank you for agreeing and realizing that the $52 refund was an unjust comparison. I will bear in mind that I traveled 3 out of 4 sector, but let's not forget I expected to get what I paid for--4 out of 4 sectors. This is what I paid or and this is what I should have received. Let's not forget that I suffered physical hardship because of their 3 out of 4 sector accomodation.

I also should not have to go to small claims court or anyone else. Why don't they treat their customers right and do them accordingly when they have dropped the ball.

I have, though, already DOT and the Attorney General and their customer service. I'm only seeking to being treated rightly and fairly.

Sincerely
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  #7  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 4:37 AM
cmar789 cmar789 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by The_Judge View Post
A refund between first and economy is all you should be afforded but I find it hard to believe the difference is only 52 bucks. I'd write a letter to the DOT and forward them all your correspondence with said airline and see if they can offer any help.

To back up a bit, if you wanted first class, you were entitled to it but if there wasn't a flight available in first, what other option would you have had?? None, really. But they should have refunded more than 52 bucks.
The other alternative could have been to put me on another flight with a first-class seat. It's easy for someone to speak out on something when they are not the ones being inconvienced. However, I'm still trying to be a good guy here. I just don't want to be treated like a fool.

Respectfully
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  #8  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 1:32 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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I think you misunderstand me. First, I want to say I am with you 100%. You were wronged and then screwed on the refund. You should be getting the difference between what the first class seat was that you paid for and what the price of the economy seat you sat in was. And I can say almost for a certainty, it was more than 52 bucks.

Now to the part where where the misunderstanding was. My point was that there are a whole lot LESS seats in first class than in coach. I am just saying that there may not have been a seat in first available that day. With all the free upgrades that automatically happen for elite cardholders, it very well could be that there wasn't a first class seat to be had. Plus with some commuter carriers not even having a first class cabin, that will lessen the amount of seats even more. How many more flights were available that day and how many of those flights actually had a first class cabin? And if there were seats available in first, would you have been willing to take it, say, if it was the last flight of the day? Maybe you would have and that should have been offered, if available.

Again, please don't misunderstand me. You were entitled to a seat in first. But again, if it's not available, what were your options?? As I see it, slim. Economy with a refund for the difference or else waiting for an open seat in first which could result in an overnight.
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  #9  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 4:40 PM
airplanegod airplanegod is offline
 
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Originally Posted by cmar789 View Post
What was I supposed to offer? More money? I think not. First of all, I should not had to involve any other passenger about my problem. It would not be fair to impose your personal problems on other passengers. Would you like to be the dispute handler for an airline you were on? This was the job of the airline. I paid THEM to take care of my flight arrangement--not any passenger.

Second, I'm sure when people are flying they are most likely only concerned about getting to their destination. I'm sure they don't want to be confronted about another passenger's problem. I would not.

Besides, it would be very wise not to get involved in something that is not your business.

Yeah, I suppose your right. Best of luck to you.
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  #10  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 8:42 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Quote:
With all the free upgrades that automatically happen for elite cardholders, it very well could be that there wasn't a first class seat to be had
There are no circumstances in which it is legitimate to provide a "free upgrade" to anyone, if there is a paying passenger who has not been accommodated, no matter what their "status".
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  #11  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 10:08 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Here's the situation........24 hours before flight time, a computer program updgrades any eligible member of their mileage program who is in economy into first class on the flight they are scheduled. This would have happened LONG BEFORE our OP had flight problems. So when our poster missed their flight and was rebooked, there may not have been an open first class seat. As far as an airline is concerned, if you're booked in first, whether upgraded with your status or not, you are not removed due to an inconvenience to another passenger.

I'm not saying this was the case at all. Just that if the scenerio happened, you can't remove a passenger who has a confirmed seat in first, whether it was a free upgrade or not. And if you disagree with me, what would be your method of choosing which passenger you give the bad news to?
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
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  #12  
Old Sep 12, 2010, 10:30 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I would adopt the British Airways method. BA upgrades only at the gate, once all paying Club Class passengers are accommodated. This is common sense. An upgrade is a privilege.. BUT a paying customer has actually bought that service. Therefore, any delay pleasing the customer who is being upgraded will not adversely affect that customer, as long as they are upgraded ultimately. However, denying a service, that a customer has paid for is likely to alienate potential customers.. and alienating high value customers is just poor business.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 12:22 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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We can analogize your solution by then saying they should pull mileage customers off flights to accommodate paying passengers who had flight problems on previous flights. Yes?? No??
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 6:29 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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They would not be getting "pulled off" because the upgrading wouldn't occur until the paying passengers had been accommodated. If when the customer was in CLT, the customer services agents had gone through the potential passengers on the next flight and found all the seats booked by paying customers then I think there was no choice. However, if on the next flight there were 2 potential upgrades, then yes, the paying passenger should get the confirmed reservation and the planned upgrade should not be given out. In my suggested system, the passenger would not be disappointed, because they would not have known if they would be upgraded until they were at the gate waiting to board.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 6:51 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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What is the time cutoff for this system of yours??
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  #16  
Old Sep 13, 2010, 7:10 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Actually, it doesn't matter. This is a perk of the program. Free upgrades on domestic flights within the lower 48 if seats are available. At midnight the night before, or whatever time the airline designated, the computer program will auto upgrade any eligible program member and then waitlist the other members in order of status priority.

In your scenerio, you suggest that all these customer have this done at the gate. Let me give you a situation that I have dealt with first hand.

It's Monday morning in MSP. I am working a flight to LAX. As you can imagine, a Monday morning flight will have TONS, literally, of businessmen. I have seen numerous pages of waitlists of elite members waitlisted, not to mention the fact first is already full of upgraded people.

In your new system, I will now have to manually add people to the list and work that list at the appropriate time. So I have added 20 names to my list and the other 50 or 60 guys, I have told tough luck, I can't add you. I then call for boarding but have these 20 people wait because they may get first class later. Not only do they not board, a bunch of these other jokers don't board cuz they think they may get it too.

Now at 15 minutes before flight time, I can now release reserved seats for people that haven't shown up and start seating families together that were separated. Ok, that's done. Now I can work my first class list of 20 people and seat them. Ok, I seated 5 people and now have their coach seats that I can use for other families. The other 15 guys and other losers now can board, ****** off cuz they waited for nothing, and now don't have room to put their carryons onboard. Check some bags.

Now I can print my paperwork with the correct names of passengers in the correct seats to give to the flight attendant. Not to mention any problems the flight attendant may have that needs my attention.

Remember, this has to be done with 3 minutes to go before departure so I can close the door, pull the jetway then run back up and ensure my passenger and crew count along with child and infant count is correct before I send it all before departure time.

In short......your new system is ****e and the system in place now works just fine.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.

Last edited by The_Judge; Sep 13, 2010 at 7:13 AM.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 7:27 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Your system doesn;t work fine... paying passengers are denied a service they have paid for to allow someone to get a service they didn't pay for! How is that working.

In your scenario, loads of elites are disappointed anyway.. the difference in mine is 1 more is disappointed, in order to deliver the service another customer has actually paid for.
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  #18  
Old Sep 13, 2010, 7:46 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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And the difference in yours is that flight departure delays will rise significantly to appease a situation that is so rare that it was never an issue in my career. To change a whole system to a new one that doesn't work to benefit a HUGE minority makes no sense.

Have a good week.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
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  #19  
Old Sep 15, 2010, 4:12 AM
cmar789 cmar789 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
Your system doesn;t work fine... paying passengers are denied a service they have paid for to allow someone to get a service they didn't pay for! How is that working.

In your scenario, loads of elites are disappointed anyway.. the difference in mine is 1 more is disappointed, in order to deliver the service another customer has actually paid for.
I have to agree with you because the "system" any airlines establishes is because of their desire to boost their revenue and so they should be accountable. Therefore, they should establish a system that would always allow a cash-paying customer to always be considered first. If they can set up a system for perks, then they could set up a system for full-paying customers. The reason they allow all of these perks are, of course, for repeat customers. These customers maybe should have some sort of perks, but never at the expense of a full-paying customer. Unfortunately, it's never about the person but only about the dollar.

For those people who fly consistently would still flly if they wanted to get to their destination. Most of all, I believe if they knew that their "perks" were secondary to full-paying customers, they could not even complain for the fact that they could not deny that the full-paying customer should always be entitled to receive the service they paid for.

The debate between you and the Judge, brought back my recollection of my return flight from Buffalo. They overbooked the first flight and escorted a young lady off of the plane. Then one of the representatives left the plane for about 5 minutes and came back with a pad in her hand. The lady they escorted off of the plane returned with the representative. I heard the representative tell the flight attendant that this lady paid full fare and, therefore, she was the one they gave the seat to. Unfortunately, when it was me, they did not even take the time to do anything, although I was constantly telling them that I paid full fare for first class.

Two thumbs up for you. They should always do what is right instead of doing what brings money at whatever cost.
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