In-flight Issues Did you experience any problems during an US Airways flight?

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  #1  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 1:47 AM
Texas Jacks Texas Jacks is offline
 
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Location: San Marcos TX
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Default 2 flights with mechanical problems....

December 19th 2009: My 2 children (14 and 16) flying as unaccompanied minors from ONT (California) to AUS (Texas) with a stop in PHX (Arizona) to change planes.
My kids arrive in PHX and change planes as scheduled, plane takes off and has to make an emergency landing due to "the WINDSHIELD CRACKED upon pressurizing". there is not another plane at this time (10:30pm) to put passengers on so they set up everyone in a hotel.
Well 2 teenagers, under 18 with no credit card can NOT be put in a hotel so US Airways keeps them on the FLOOR of the office overnight until the next flight at 10am !! over 18 hours in airport!

(return flight) December 30th 2009: SAT(San Antonio) to PHX to ONT.
plane takes off SAT and must make an emergency landing due to "The WHEEL BROKE upon take off"!!?? they had to circle SAT for an hour to lighten fuel load then make emergency landing. No available flights out til the following day.
the next day flight was delayed for 45 minutes due to "mechanical problems".

Never again using US Airways. Obviously they do NOT maintain their air planes!!!
This was a HORRIBLE stressful situation for me and my kids.
  #2  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 1:55 AM
Texas Jacks Texas Jacks is offline
 
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note:: US AIRWAYS gave us "flight certificates" that we used for the kids return flight. After complaining about 2nd flights problems I was told "Well Ma'am these tickets were comped so no other compensation will be given"
  #3  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 2:28 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Mechanical failures happen and thank goodness your kids and no one else was hurt, I hope. We could go into the debate about preventative maintenace and if that would have helped but the real issue, it seems to me that you are trying to get accross, is the way the kids were handled.

Absolutely without question, US Air dropped the ball. This is not an easy situation to handle with minors being stranded at a midpoint but the proper procedure would have been to put them in a hotel with an airline rep in the room next door with instruction to the kids to stay in the room and not answer the door to anyone without proper identification (a password or other type of way to identify the airline employee). This happened when I worked in MSP and I stayed in the room next door to the minor missing his flight to Amsterdam.

As far as the excuse given in your second post by US Air...that's a bunch of hot air from them. Doesn't matter what the price of the tickets were, the passengers were inconvenienced and are entitled to the same compensation given to anyone else if such was given. I would keep on that. Let us know the results and good luck!
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  #4  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 2:56 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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I'm not sure why a hotel wasn't arranged for them. I found this on the US Airways website:

Quote:
Young adults
  • Upon request, service will be provided by US Airways for young adults ages 15 through 17. The Unaccompanied Minor Request for Carriage form must be completed, and the unaccompanied minor fee applies.
  • In the event of a delay or cancellation, US Airways personnel will assist the young adult by making alternate travel arrangements. In the event that flights are unavailable until the following day, we can arrange for overnight accommodations at a hotel.
Note this policy only applies to "young adults" ages 15-17 who have been designated as unaccompanied minors and the UM fee has been paid. (Ages 15-17 can travel without UM status and are treated like any other passenger even when cancellations/re-bookings are concerned.) There is no mention of hotel accommodations for UMs aged 5-14 years old. This may be why US Airways opted for them to remain at the airport as their UM policies for ages 5-14 only applies to non-stop flights. It may be that UMs on connecting flights are booked "at your own risk."

I'm not sure which hotels US Airways uses in Phoenix for displaced passengers but most hotels near the airport are decent and safe. There are only two or three which come to mind (a Best Western, Comfort Inn and EconoLodge) which I've never stayed in (I live in Phoenix) but look a bit "sketchy" from the outside and are not in the best neighborhood. Knowing how cheap US Airways is the would most likely have wound up in pedestrian accommodations to say the least but I would still write a letter or e-mail to customer service and demand an explanation of why the only option was for them to "camp out" in an office at the airport all night.

As for your concerns about the equipment malfunctions believe it or not cracked windshields happen more often than you'd think. It's not a huge deal and the only reason they had to declare an emergency is because it's FAA mandated. They were never in any danger.

As for your description of "The WHEEL BROKE upon take off" are you sure the wheel actually came off? My guess is that it was most likely just an issue with a tire. This is another fairly common occurrence and again your kids were in no danger.
  #5  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 8:38 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Phx,
The wheel broke upon take off doesn't suggest the wheel came off. It simply says that there was a fault and the wheel was broken.

US Airways ought to have a policy which addresses how this will be handled. Keeping the children in the office at the airport was a money saving measure. This allowed the airline to provide supervision without having to pay extra staff to "babysit" the kids at a hotel.

This may have been the best or only solution. At the minimum, the airline should have a policy of calling the parents and agreeing the most suitable solution. If the parents were unhappy with the kids on the floor of an office, then the airline should have paid for a hotel.
  #6  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 5:35 PM
Texas Jacks Texas Jacks is offline
 
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Default reply....

US Airways told me that they could not be put into a hotel, due to the fact that "you need to be over 18 and have a credit card to put a deposit on the room to get a hotel room" (seems US AIRWAYS should be the one doing this) then I was told by their 'escort' that regulations state they 'may not leave the airport as they are under 18 and US AIRWAYS is reliable'.
But my kids and another 17 yr old girl (on her way to NY-windsheild cracked on her plane as well) were all 3 in the office of US Airways overnight. They gave them 3 airline pillows and 3 blankets on a hard tile floor. none of them slept all night.

They said the "Wheel broke upon take off" never said it 'fell off', either way they did what they had to do by doing an emergency landing.

but what are the chances of all these flights having mechanical problems to the same kids? within 2 weeks? luckily they are still young enough and don't have the fears an adult would have with these problems. They were more annoyed with the hours and hours of waiting in the airports then anything.

I still feel the airline should compensate something more then "Flight certificates"
  #7  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 6:54 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Jacks View Post
US Airways told me that they could not be put into a hotel, due to the fact that "you need to be over 18 and have a credit card to put a deposit on the room to get a hotel room" (seems US AIRWAYS should be the one doing this) then I was told by their 'escort' that regulations state they 'may not leave the airport as they are under 18 and US AIRWAYS is reliable'.
I can understand, to an extent, their position on liability. We live in a litigious society and you can't really blame them for "covering their *****" especially when minors are concerned. Something could happen which is completely out of their control but they would still be sued handsomely for it. Suppose the hotel shuttle van taking them to/from the hotel is involved in an accident or there's a fire in the hotel during the night.

If US Airways does, as a matter of policy, keep stranded unaccompanied minors at the airport they should, at the very least, have more comfortable bedding. An AeroBed inflatable mattress is about $75 at Costco and real linens and pillows aren't very expensive either. To have several on hand wouldn't cost the airline very much and would make things much more comfortable for the kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Jacks View Post
But my kids and another 17 yr old girl (on her way to NY-windsheild cracked on her plane as well) were all 3 in the office of US Airways overnight. They gave them 3 airline pillows and 3 blankets on a hard tile floor. none of them slept all night.
If US Airways does, as a matter of policy, keep stranded unaccompanied minors at the airport they should, at the very least, have more comfortable bedding. An AeroBed inflatable mattress is about $75 at Costco and real linens and pillows aren't very expensive either. To have several on hand wouldn't cost the airline very much and would make things much more comfortable for the kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Jacks View Post
but what are the chances of all these flights having mechanical problems to the same kids? within 2 weeks? luckily they are still young enough and don't have the fears an adult would have with these problems. They were more annoyed with the hours and hours of waiting in the airports then anything.

I still feel the airline should compensate something more then "Flight certificates"
Were the certificates in an amount that would cover a future round-trip to the same destination? If so then that's probably all you should expect. If not I would try for more but would focus more on the lack of proper sleeping accommodations than the mechanical issues that stranded them. It may indeed be that the hotels that US Airways contracts with do not allow minors to stay by themselves (another liability issue) but they should have a better contingency plan for unaccompanied minors when things go wrong.
  #8  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 7:06 PM
Texas Jacks Texas Jacks is offline
 
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yes I agree they should have been given some kind of 'bed'. they really took advantage of the fact that they were all kids and not really 'complaining'.

the flight certificates they gave us on the first flight were for the amount of the first trips without taxes and fees and good for 1 year.
  #9  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 7:46 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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If I may make a suggestion Continental serves both Ontario and Austin with a connection in Houston. Checking some random dates over the next few months their fares were almost always less than US Airways by as much as $60 per person for a round-trip ticket. I believe the unaccompanied minor fee is the same. Continental has a dedicated lounge for unaccompanied minors where they escort the kids during layovers or long delays. There's TV, games, books, refreshments and their own restroom and it's only for minors traveling alone. There is always an escort available who will take them to buy snacks or meals at an airport concession. If your kids don't travel with a cellphone they also allow phone calls and will give you the direct number to the UM lounge to contact with any questions or concerns.

I also know for a fact that Continental will put them up in a hotel, supervised at all times, if their connecting flight(s) are cancelled even due to weather. The last time I was stranded at IAH there were UMs who missed the same flight as I did. They took us to the same hotel where they house employees who are in Houston for training. (Continental may even own that hotel but I'm not 100% sure on that fact.)
  #10  
Old Jan 2, 2010, 8:26 PM
Texas Jacks Texas Jacks is offline
 
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wow thank you PHXFlyer! I have been looking at other airlines, a few won't let them travel alone if they have to change planes and some have outrageous 'unaccompanied minor' fees.

This summer, when the kids come out for vacation, I am definitely trying another airline!
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