Check-in / Boarding Experienced problems during check-in or boarding?

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Old Apr 7, 2008, 9:46 PM
KimberK KimberK is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1
Thumbs down AirTran Airways: Overbooked, Rude, and refuses to compensate.

Rather than type things over and over I am going to cut and paste. The first letter here is a complaint letter that I wrote on behalf of my mother, who flew from TX to VA while I was sick to assist me. The second is a letter from AirTran, basically telling me the employee would be repramanded but there will be no compensation, because they are allowed to over book by a certain percentage dependent on the size of the plane. and the third letter is my response back to them, that I have posted on every website I can, as well as sent out to all of my email contacts who are passing it along to all of their contacts. I filed as well with the Better Business Bureau, just so it will be recorded.

This is the complaint letter that I wrote to them. I am sure it will get me nowhere!!

I am writing you because of an incident that happened over the weekend with your branch at IAD. I had flown in to visit and help my daughter out because she was sick. Let me preface by saying I pay extra to fly in and out of IAD, instead of the other airports.

On Saturday, I had booked a 6:50 am flight on Air Tran, which was to fly to ATL, then Hobby, We were up at 4am and at the airport by 5am. I went to the machine at the Air Tran terminal and put in my numbers to find that the machine would not take them. Then I waited 20 minutes to reach the counter where 2 people were working, but only one was helping the customers in line the other an older man was moving baggage. There I was told that the flight had been “over sold” and that I may not make it onto the flight. I was also told by the man that they “over sale” all the time. I had to dash off to the security where of course it takes forever to get through, and by the time I got to the gate I was told that I would be on standby for the next flight with no guarantee that I would be able to get on that one, and after that there was a probable 3pm flight. There were two guys there. They had low communication skills and were more than rude!! They told the passengers that they were late in arriving to the airport, and it was their own faults, for being late! We were held up at the counter at the entrance because you over sold tickets!! I was there right on time, The extremely rude man, the one who did most of the talking kept his name tag where it could not be read!! I was told that they could only over sale by no more than 3 people. It seems that they had over sold by 12.

I asked to get a seat on the Sunday flight and go back home with my family for the night, I didn’t want to sit at an airport alone possibly all day, as my family couldn’t sit with me, to wait on the flight. But the Sunday flights were “over sold” too!!

My daughter and son in law were furious about everything, frankly so am I. I paid full price, for a ticket, as well as the other people that were left waiting with me. When I should have been home at 10am I was home at 6pm. I had plans that day! I will never use Air Tran Airlines again. I will be going onto all consumer websites and posting this letter to you so that consumers are forewarned. I want some kind of compensation for this!! How does your employee think he has a right to talk down to your patrons like he did? I paid full price for my ticket not only did I end up not being on the flight, I had this man speak to me like a second class citizen! My daughter was so embarrassed about my treatment she is writing a complaint to IAD.

I demand some sort of compensation, I demand answers! If a football stadium with thousands of seats can sale and not over sale, how can an airline with less seats not get it right?

I am now posting the answer I received, letting us know that this was a non compensation complaint along with my answer.

Dear Ms. XXXX,
I am sorry to learn your recent trip with us was less than satisfactory. All of our Crew Members are instructed to professionally perform their responsibilities while providing the highest level of Caring Customer Service. This would include providing complete and accurate information. I have forwarded a copy of your comments to the appropriate department heads for review and corrective action.
We make every effort to process our customers as quickly as possible. However, with the new security directives of the Transportation Security Administration, the amount of time required for check-in has become significantly longer. Hence, the TSA has placed strict regulations for luggage screening.
Our policy regarding passenger and luggage check-in recommends passengers arrive at the airport 90 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight. Due to security requirements, passengers and their baggage will not be accepted at the ticket counter less than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of their flight.
Additionally, all reservations are subject to cancellation without notice if the passenger is not present at the boarding gate at least ten minutes prior to original scheduled departure time of the flight. Our objective is to operate our flights in a safe, reliable and timely manner, which will allow our customers to reach their destinations as scheduled. Our policy for Ticket Counter and Gate Check-In ensures that objective.
Your continued support is important to us. I hope you will allow us an opportunity to serve you.
Amy Baker
Customer Relations Department
AirTran Airways

And my answer~

Could you please pass this along to Ms. Baker, as her answer does not fit the complaint totally.

My mother had no problems checking her luggage except for the fact that you only had one person at the counter and the machines were not working. Had you been up and running correctly, that would be a 5 minute process. Part of the hold up was waiting 20 minutes for this guy, who had an assistant who could have helped but didn't, to get to her there was a very short line, but he had to explain to each and every one that the flight was overbooked.

As far as the timely flight part of the statement, my mother was at the gate for 30 minutes when the plane took off, again in plenty of time.

What is the percentage that you are allowed to over book anyway?

As stated in the first letter, the original letter along with this answer will be posted on all of the major consumer websites, so that people are forewarned about your customer service and that you are not willing to compensate a customer that was not only delayed by overbooking but insulted by your staff member. As you will notice I have copied a lot of contacts into this email.

I know it is your job to save money for your company and compensate as little as possible, but with the combined situation of the overbooked flight, and having to sit in the airport alone for hours, and the obnoxiously rude employee that told your customers that it was their faults for being late, and even told them because of this he was going to let stand by passengers on first. Every one of them deserve compensation of some type.

I will make sure everyone I know, and everyone I speak with knows this story. I work with a nationwide company so that is a lot of people, and one of my best friends works for the corporate office of one of the major 3 TV networks.

I am very dissatisfied with the whole matter and how your company chose to handle it.

Kimberly XXXX
Old Mar 16, 2010, 8:27 PM
Jack2278 Jack2278 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7

I had similar problems with Air Tran. I was denied a boarding pass via the internet. I arrived 1 hour and 20 minutes before flight time and was told my seat was gone, the flight was overbooked and I was out of luck for the next 3 days. No mentions of any compensation. I called customer relations and I was told that it is company policy to overbook by 3-6 seats. They just were not very nice. Traveling families with small children were stuck in the airport. Never again with Air Tran
Old Mar 16, 2010, 9:19 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

You both need to file with the DOT.. there is a link in the Quick Links..

I have posted the rules in an earlier post.. particularly emphasise their failure to provide you with written denied boarding rules..
Old Mar 16, 2010, 10:04 PM
Cicero Cicero is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 54

If you were late for your flight, it's not for the airline to compensate you. DOT is not going to be able to assist you.
Old Mar 16, 2010, 11:13 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Flight at 6.50am and arrived at airport at 5.00am. That is not late
Old Mar 17, 2010, 1:17 PM
Jack2278 Jack2278 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Angry airtran


I will do just that. As a matter of fact, when I called Air Tran customer service, the first work out of their mouth was that I must have been late and the last one to check in. I don't think 1 hr and 20 minutes prior is late. They are reselling confirmed seats as a matter of company policy. Under normal circumstances, no one knows. When flights back up due to weather or holoidays or spring break, you can and probably will get involuntarily bumped.

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