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US AIRWAYS ripped us off and left us stranded

 
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Old Jun 20, 2011, 4:31 PM
MamieT MamieT is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I paid for two round-trips on the US Airways website for a trip encompassing Thursday to Friday, June 9 – 10, 2011, between St. Louis and Philly (total $590.80), to witness the young woman we had mentored graduate from high school. Another meeting came up: we needed to move our outbound flight a day ahead to accommodate it. The US Airways website allowed this change at the additional cost of $720. Rather than pay this exorbitant price, we bought two new one-way tickets for $339.80 (also on a US Airways flight booked through United’s website). So far, we have spent $930.60.

We received check-in notices ahead of time for all three legs of the flight--the two going to Philly and the one returning to St. Louis. Surprisingly, upon arriving at PHL for our return flight, the US Airways 'customer service' manager informed our return flight reservation had been cancelled because we hadn't shown up for our original Thursday flight. (Remember: we had paid his airline and additional $320 to leave a day earlier). He told us that--in order to get home on the flight that we had already paid for--we had to now PURCHASE THE SAME TICKETS AGAIN PLUS PAY ADDITIONAL MONEY in change fees to get our paid-for tickets back. At this point, we had already paid for three legs of a journey, and were being asked to pay for a fourth plus additional fees and charges--we were quoted about $450-500 in additional ticket fees plus a firm $300 in change fees. (As an aside: the reason for paying a change fee for something we allegedly no longer owned was never quite explained. One of those things you go back later and say "I wish I had asked.") Money spent so far: $930.60, with no prospect of a return flight. Total outlay if we were to get home: $1700. US Airways was essentially holding us hostage for an additional $750 - $800 just to be able to use the TICKETS WE HAD ALREADY PURCHASED IN FULL.

All we wanted was to use the seats we had already paid for on a 1000-mile flight that would or wouldn't take off with us on board. It would have been no skin off the tail (forgive the pun) of US Airways to honor our reservation. We were faced with the prospect of being stranded in Philadelphia without a way to get home.

Instead, we bought one-way tickets from Southwest. It cost us $600 (now our trip total is up to $1,570)—steep, but still less than the additional money US Airways demanded in order to use our paid-for tickets. The folks at Southwest were understanding and accommodating (Quote: “Other airlines do that. We don’t”).

Maybe what US Airways does is legal; maybe it isn't. I do think this: if our airline travel is this bad all over the country, then I guess Al Qaeda has already won and I should simply shut up and quit travelling. US Airways appears to be on a flight to the bottom of the financial barrel, and it seems intent on making the rest of the country suffer along with it.
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