US Airways - Quality Evaluation

Old Dec 6, 03, 12:02 pm
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Join Date: May 2001
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US Airways - Quality Evaluation

Judging from various comments throughout the last weeks, I know that a couple of fellow Flyertalkers jumped on the bandwagon and flew US Airways in the last weeks to take advantage of the "Double Mileage" promo LH and US offered for flights until Dec. 31

Since my flights were more or less disappointing, I would like ro read some more comments about US Airways, especially in comparison to the other northamerican option, United.

Will start with my short review of a recent FRA-PHL RT in C and domestic F, upgraded with DS 0077 „Transatlatic Space available“ vouchers:

Check In:
Even the agents admit that they are understaffed and that is indeed the case at all stations I had to use, especially at DCA and PHL.
In PHL two agents were working two priority lines, one for Corporate customers, one for F class and Dividend Miles elite customers.Since I was working on a ticket change that took 45 minutes, I witnessed quite some interesting situations.Several guys complained about the wait, which was about 20-30 minutes for quite some time around 3 p.m on a Wednesday, too long for a premium line.

Quite some chaos in FRA as well, including a clueless agent working the Envoy Class counter, who had no idea how to process my upgrade.

Lounges:
Don`t know, which club they use at FRA right now, got a voucher for arrival service at the Cathay Lounge, however US uses Terminal 1 right now (C 6 and 8 on my day of departure) and the Cathay lounge should be in T2 , as far as I know.
Was not able to use the RCC with a SEN card and US ticket, since US is not a * member, had to walk to the next Sen lounge, the way back includes an extra security check right before the RCC, very inconvenient right now, especially caused I have read the RCC has been renovated lately.

AT PHL they have a very nice club between the B and C pier, nice views, very light and spacious, however the food selection was quite limited to cookies, yoghurt and some strange nut mix.Full bar service is available though.

The central club at PIT is old and opens at 5.30 a.m., considering that the first flights leave at 6, maybe a little bit too late.Nice selection of publications, but same limited food options, at least some bagels or muffins should be available for a quick cont. breakfast.

Envoy Class on the A 330:

The 330 has 42 seats in C, 30 in the front cabin and 12 in the second section, the first row has the old F class seats.Pitch is far superior to LH and slightly superior to UA, same is true for the IFE.Row 6 ( bulkhead ) should be avoided at all costs, seat is nowhere near 60`.

Unfortunately I had the same movie and music selection in November on the way to the US as well as in December on the way back.
Highly subjective, but nobody can beat KLM when it comes to the music selection anyway, so the on demand features were a nice improvement to LH`s early 1990`s IFE on most planes.

The seat is solid, recline is somehow limited, but because of that you can get out of the window seats easily, even if the seat in front of you is fully reclined.

They offer three main entrees and one appetizer, the appetizer out of Frankfurt was very delicious, out of PIT it was nothing to write home about, warm rolls were offered including LH`s Laugenbrot selection out of Frankfurt.
Main dish options were fish, beef or chicken both times, no vegetarian selection on both flights.Quality was good, as well as the presentation of the entree, quality on par with LH.

No selection for dessert as well, cheese out of FRA and a platter with grapes, cheese and a fruit pastry out of PIT.

The second meal was probadly inferior to what most airlines offer as the pre departure snack in Y, a sandwich and a small danish to PIT and a croissant and fruit on the eastbound flight as breakfast. LH`s second meal service on most transatlantic flight is also nothing to write home about, although one has to mention, that it is far superior to US.

Nevertheless one has to give US credit for offering a solid Snack station, one in the forward galley and one in front of L2.Cape Cod chips, Snyder of Hanover pretzels and several chocolate bars available.Snack selection on LH varies wildly, if you are unlucky everything is gone after a few hours, if you are lucky they offer sandwiches and fruit cake.

Service was actually non existent on the way back from PIT, had my first beverage 70 minutes after take off, FA`s could not care less, for example never got a table cloth for dinner.

They chatted in the galleys and that`s it.

US offers an On Arrival lounge service for Envoy class pax at all european airports, don`t think that one could use the LH Biz lounges, if arriving on a C class ticket with no connecting flight, but I am not really sure...

Domestic First Class:
According to the recent OAG flight guide, US offers real food on domestic flights, if the flight is longer than 1300 miles only.They use plastic cups, but offer the same snacks as on transatlantic flights, more than enough and comparable with the competition on short US domestic flights in F, also true for the seat and pitch on the 737 and 757.On longer domestic routes the F class service should be improved asap to offer some * alliance quality.


After 8 segments one thing is for sure, US Airways is saving money and it shows, charging $ 5 for headsets on transatlantic flights in Y is charter quality.
While pitch and IFE is superior to LH, the meal service is vastly inferior, the breakfast in C just terrible.
The whole airline seems to be unorganised and it shows as well, lines are too long, nobody knows exactly what is going on and if there is a rule, if it should be enforced or not.

For example, I tried to connect at PIT arriving at 4.40 leaving to FRA at 5.20.Agent said NO, supervisor said Maybe, chief supervisor said NO , took them 30 minutes to find out.BTW, a minimum connection time of 60 minutes for international flights at a relatively small hub like PIT leaves room for improvement...

From a quality standpoint US is not on par with LH or UA, had quite some problems, still waiting for the call back from a reservation supervisor in Germany dating back to mid November.

I always felt kind of lost, don`t think that LH SEN gives you any extra treatment, had some real problems at PHL with unfriendly agents, who did know anything and could not care less, which seems to be the general attitude of too many employees.




[This message has been edited by Threy (edited Dec 06, 2003).]
Threy is offline  
Old Dec 6, 03, 1:00 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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I have flown US Airways several times on US domestic flights and had my first transatlantic experience recently (week of thanksgiving), flying FRA-PHL and PIT-FRA, both in the A330. All my US Airways flights have been in coach, so I am only going to compare the coach classes of LH, US and UA.

IMHO, from a quality and service standpoint US is better than UA and has advantages and disadvantages compared to LH. My reasons are:

- I always found the US personnel (ground and air) very friendly, helpful and customer oriented. I missed connections on several occasions and the rebooking went smooth and painless. On one occasion (before the LH-US partnership was in place) I missed my LH BOS-FRA connection because the US flight was delyed. Although my LH flight was on a different ticket and so US wasn't obliged to rebook me, the gate agent spend one hour on the phone to find another LH flight (it was a busy weekend, so I ended up flying EWR-FRA) for me. US Airways never lost my luggage and there was never a problem with boarding passes for connecting LH flights
- I experienced quite some poor service from UA, unfriendly and ignorant agents, never able to check me in on connecting LH flights, once even refusing to check through my luggage (SYR-IAD on UA, IAD-FRA on LH). United lost my luggage a couple of times (well, the luggage thing is probably bad coincidence)
- I found the seats and the seat pitch of the US A330 (front cabin) better than UA, whereas IMHO the LH coach seats are the worst. US Airways seems to have the best IFE on the A330 (although I agree that the movie and music selection was the same in November and December), compared to UA and LH. The food on US was ok but I think that UA and LH serve better food. On US, alcoholic drinks and headsets cost US$5 and I agree this is like flying a charter airline, but for me, the seats in coach class are the most important criteria for chosing a transatlantic flight, therefore US wins my comparison (well, from what I have heard, the US B767 don't have the IFE and the seat pitch of the US A330).
- I found the US Airways club in PHL (Concourse F) and PIT (Councourse C) quite nice and the lady at the desk asked me if I haven't been there before and since I wasn't, explained the features and facilities to me. Nice gesture. By the way,
I was able to use the RCC in FRA with my US ticket and my LH SEN Card, seems that the UA people are not clear about the rules. Nevertheless, the RCC matron rolled her eyes when she saw my LH SEN Card...

So that's my personal opinion and, Threy, I am sorry to hear that you were treated badly by US Airways, I usually made a different experience.
bluejay is offline  
Old Dec 6, 03, 3:20 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
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I have done US and UA recently two weeks apart, and UA wins no doubt in my opinion. I have been flying the 767 and the 330 on US and the 777 on UA, all in coach.

Seating lets UA win over all airlines I have flown Europe-US. I had row 17 on the 777 both ways, and for the first time I have slept 90% of flight time on my return feeling really refreshed after arriving. US seating was OK on the 767 with a spare seat between wife and myself, but the inseat-video box took away too much of my legroom on the A330. Also the seats on the 777 were much wider than on both the 767 and the 330.

US food was VERY sparse and not really well prepared. UA had a more appealing food-presentation, and also significant larger portions. However LH is still better in that respect, and the sparkling wine LH serves is better than the one on UA. No idea what US serves, but 5$ per drink is just ridiculous (as is the charge for headsets).

IFE is +/- non-existent on LH, so the US 330 and the UA flights are lightyears ahead in that respect while the US 767 is even worse than LH. However there is no inflight-map available on US, which is very important for me. UA's movie selection is much better than US' in my opinion, and much more attractive and newer. Even on IAD-LHR there were several movies with German language. However the Passport-System on the A330 is really cool letting you start and stop a movie at your choice.

LH is no choice for me in Eco because of the cramped seating in Eco and the lack of IFE. US was bearable, but is only an alternative if the price is MUCH lower than my preferred choice, which currently is UA.

Their 777 offer just what I desire in terms of comfort and entertainment. Food is not that good on UA, but that is something I can get over easily by bringing my own stuff.

So my personal sequence transatlantic for coach is:

1. UA
2. US
3. LH

Greetings - Dirk
djohannw is offline  

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