Very Disappointed by US Airways Customer Service

 
Old Sep 13, 13, 2:42 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Programs: AA Exec Plat, United Silver, IHG Plat, HH Diamond, Marriott/SPG Plat, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 145
Very Disappointed by US Airways Customer Service

I am an US Airways Chairman (and AA Executive Platinum). I have flown over 130K miles this year. I have never once complained to US Airways customer service before this. This is the single worst flight I have taken this year (and probably in the past few years.)

I took a flight with a connection. The connecting leg experienced many problems:
1. 1+ hour boarding delay
2. sat 2+ hours on the tarmac, no snacks or drinks were given
3. finally, we were cleared for departure, but we needed to return to the gate to refuel, but the flight attendant promised we would leave in 5-10 minutes. But after 5-10 minutes, the completely full flight was cancelled.

I got on standby for the next flight, but experienced these issues:
4. a gate agent who could not/would not put me on standby, I just went to another agent
5. 2+ hour boarding delay

I landed over 6 hours late. A 4pm landing time became after 10pm.

The reason I took the flight was to go to the kick off for the Depeche Mode tour, an event I have been looking forward to for months. Needless to say, I missed the concert.

I wrote to US Airways voicing my displeasure. I was not expecting compensation, but their response was something to the effect of "since it's air traffic control, we are not going to offer anything."

The actual words: "Since this was not a situation that we could have prevented, I will be unable to offer you compensation, but I’m again sorry for the inconvenience it caused you."

This is well within their right. But it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. My brother is 1K with United and whenever he experiences a problem, United will give him a token as an apology. To me, this says they do not have good customer service at all. Moving forward, it makes me very weary of how US Airways would handle a real emergency. And for my family members with no status, I wonder how they would be treated.

Last edited by lifeisart; Sep 13, 13 at 2:47 pm
lifeisart is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 3:04 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Alexandria, VA - DCA
Programs: BA Silver, American Airlines, Marriott Gold LT, Hilton Diamond, IHG Plat
Posts: 4,982
You booked a flight (with a connection) with a scheduled arrival time of 4 PM to then attend an important event that evening?

Given the number miles you log each year you must understand that weather and/or ATC delays are elements of air travel out of your AND the airline's control?

And while I agree that US's canned response to your complaint was rather poorly worded, I'm wondering what you wanted them to say that would have satisfied you?

You stated you did not expect compensation with your complaint to US but then offered the example of your brother's UA experiences where he was given token compensation. Those examples run counter to each other. Did you want compensation but not ask for it? Or did you want compensation, didn't ask for it and now you are upset none was offered?
geo1005 is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 3:40 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Philly
Programs: US, CO, Marriott
Posts: 216
When its crazy out there, I never think the gate agents will help at all.

I step to a quiet corner and call the Chairman's line. They are always understanding, know what I am saying and, are able to help with no line or hassle.

Step away from the gate and pick up the cell!

Z
Zanotti is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 3:57 pm
  #4  
GAC
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 355
Originally Posted by lifeisart View Post
I missed the concert.
You should have sent them flowers and a thank you note.
GAC is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 4:37 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: MR/SPG LT Titanium, AA LT PLT, UA SLV, Avis PreferredPlus
Posts: 28,082
If you were on an active taxiway, I don't believe FA's are allowed to roam the cabin serving food and drinks, though I stand to be corrected. A bad GA is worthy of a complaint, though there are many, many stories here of "just find someone else" and would be a very minor compensation, if any. (and if it was PHL, you should be thankful it was only 2 attempts)

Do you think US delayed boarding, sat on the tarmac, and cancelled the flight just for fun? Just to make you late?

If weather was bad, flights weren't being released, and no one was flying, what did you expect US to do for you?

Lack of compensation for weather and ATC, all beyond their control, is pretty standard and, to me, acceptable.

I think you'll need to provide more facts and make a better case for this group of experienced flyers to agreed that you've been wronged/mis-treated and deserve compensation.
CPRich is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 5:06 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Programs: AA Exec Plat, United Silver, IHG Plat, HH Diamond, Marriott/SPG Plat, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 145
To respond to a few comments:

1. I did call the Chairman desk but they told me that they could not put me on standby for the next flight, only the gate agent can. US Airways did give me a guaranteed seat on the flight after, which was slated to arrive almost 11pm, which was too late.

2. The weather was bad, but the flight attendant told the whole cabin that we were going back to refuel and that we would leave in 5-10 minutes. Obviously, she was misinformed, but that made the trip worse.

3. I was not necessarily expecting compensation. I didn't ask for any. But the response was poor. I gave the example of United as an example of what other airlines do to make their customers feel a little more valuable.

To me, customer service is not about what is required/legally binding, but about empathizing with customers (and I am not a serial complainer, given how many miles I have flown with the airline and never complaining, and, of course, I have had multiple instances of bad flights), and trying to make them feel a little better about a bad situation. I understand many things were beyond their control, and in my letter to them, I stated that. A kinder response would have sufficed. This is why I am disappointed, because I do not feel like I was valuable enough to US Airways to warrant a real response from them.
lifeisart is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 6:14 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Programs: AA Executive Platinum, HH Diamond, National Executive
Posts: 1,738
Originally Posted by lifeisart View Post
To respond to a few comments:

1. I did call the Chairman desk but they told me that they could not put me on standby for the next flight, only the gate agent can. US Airways did give me a guaranteed seat on the flight after, which was slated to arrive almost 11pm, which was too late.

2. The weather was bad, but the flight attendant told the whole cabin that we were going back to refuel and that we would leave in 5-10 minutes. Obviously, she was misinformed, but that made the trip worse.

3. I was not necessarily expecting compensation. I didn't ask for any. But the response was poor. I gave the example of United as an example of what other airlines do to make their customers feel a little more valuable.

To me, customer service is not about what is required/legally binding, but about empathizing with customers (and I am not a serial complainer, given how many miles I have flown with the airline and never complaining, and, of course, I have had multiple instances of bad flights), and trying to make them feel a little better about a bad situation. I understand many things were beyond their control, and in my letter to them, I stated that. A kinder response would have sufficed. This is why I am disappointed, because I do not feel like I was valuable enough to US Airways to warrant a real response from them.
I'm not seeing a whole lot here. You had an FA that could have been misinformed and a GA that was probably overwhelmed and out of his/her element. Was the customer service really that poor or are you upset you missed a concert that you were cutting close anyways?
WiscAZ is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 7:47 pm
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,295
1. I disagree with OP's entire premise. He got exactly the response called for under the circumstances. It was polite, presumably factually accurate, apologized for the inconvenience and explained why US would not compensate OP or take responsibility for having done less than what it should have done in the circumstances. Anything more would be fawning and that's not good CS, it's fawning.

2. If the purpose of OP's trip was a specific event which it became evident he would miss, he need only have advised the GA that his had become a trip in vain, asked to be routed back to his origination and refunded his ticket. But, that's on OP for not asking.
Often1 is offline  
Old Sep 13, 13, 10:39 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: BOS
Programs: Marriott Titanium / LTG, HHonors Gold, JetBlue Mosaic, Nat'l Exec
Posts: 3,410
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
1. I disagree with OP's entire premise. He got exactly the response called for under the circumstances. It was polite, presumably factually accurate, apologized for the inconvenience and explained why US would not compensate OP or take responsibility for having done less than what it should have done in the circumstances. Anything more would be fawning and that's not good CS, it's fawning.
I think you are missing a nuance here: the OP's letter to US did not request compensation. US' response proactively denied him compensation he didn't ask for.

This is part of their form reply when they receive any complaint that they can write off as weather; I've gotten it too, under the same circumstances. In my case, I was primarily complaining about staff behavior. It's insulting.

I generally am satisfied with US, but whoever writes the scripts that they paste together, ransom-note style, in response to email complaints needs to be fired. That this kind of thing is standard practice when responding to CPs is absurd -- at the very least, I think it's reasonable to expect that a top tier elite's complaint should get a competently written, personal reply in response.
dtremit is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 3:11 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Programs: American Airlines Platinum, National Executive
Posts: 3,792
Wouldn't this situation have resulted in a "trip in vain" refund?

Or do you have to specifically ask for a "trip in vain" refund (and not other compensation), or are "trip in vain" refunds not available for certain types of delays?

I've been given a "trip in vain" refund, no questions asked, when delays on US caused me to miss the event that was the whole purpose of my trip.
ibrandsguest is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 6:47 am
  #11  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Travel Safety/Security & Texas, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: AUS / GRK
Programs: AA, HHonors, Hertz
Posts: 12,011
Originally Posted by lifeisart View Post
The reason I took the flight was to go to the kick off for the Depeche Mode tour, an event I have been looking forward to for months. Needless to say, I missed the concert.
Unless you were going to TLV back in May and waited months to come online to complain, you weren't going to the kickoff for Depeche Mode's latest tour
(even so, they kicked off in North America in DTW on 8/22, which is still a few weeks behind us. DTW is a DL hub with tons of nonstops; if I were going to a concert same day, I'd certainly book a nonstop)

If you look on the bright side, there's still plenty of dates left for the North American portion of their tour:
http://indscene.net/2013/08/22/depec...of-world-tour/
aztimm is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 7:45 am
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,295
Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
Wouldn't this situation have resulted in a "trip in vain" refund?

Or do you have to specifically ask for a "trip in vain" refund (and not other compensation), or are "trip in vain" refunds not available for certain types of delays?

I've been given a "trip in vain" refund, no questions asked, when delays on US caused me to miss the event that was the whole purpose of my trip.
As noted in my post, this is what OP should have sought when it became evident that the sole reason for his travel was overtaken by circumstances.

But, that's up to the passenger to seek. US has no way of knowing why an individual is traveling an whether a delay of 30 minutes or 30 hours renders his trip in vain.
Often1 is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 2:54 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 16,079
I was on a AA Eagle flight yesterday. We left the gate on time and there was no line up for take off. However, just before the plane reached the take off runway, the pilot broadcasted to the cabin saying ATC called them, they replied but due to communication mishap, ATC grounded the plane for 1 hour - in a "penalty box". The pilot used the word penalty box, I am not paraphrasing. He was vague and from the sound of his voice, I believe he wasn't entirely truthful. ATC doesn't just ground a flight randomly for no reason when the weather was perfect. My colleague who was on another AA Eagle flight departing 45 minutes later was on time. I suspect the pilot and his co-pilot were somehow distracted and failed to respond to the ATC on time, hence the penalty.

The point being while it was directed by the ATC, it was in fact result of pilot error.

Needless to say, many people missed their connecting flights, myself included.
Guava is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 3:05 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SYR
Programs: US/AA-Platinum, Hilton-Diamond, Marriott-Gold, AVIS-Presidents Club, National-Executive Elite
Posts: 2,751
Originally Posted by Guava View Post
The pilot used the word penalty box, I am not paraphrasing. He was vague and from the sound of his voice, I believe he wasn't entirely truthful.
The penalty box is a commonly used phrase. If you've flown a lot, you'll have heard it many times. Its an area near the runway that is out of the way of taxing planes.

I'm sure there's a more technical word for the space, but Penalty Box is a common phrase.
bkafrick is offline  
Old Sep 14, 13, 3:10 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,295
Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
The penalty box is a commonly used phrase. If you've flown a lot, you'll have heard it many times. Its an area near the runway that is out of the way of taxing planes.

I'm sure there's a more technical word for the space, but Penalty Box is a common phrase.
More importantly, there's no grand conspiracy to "get" OP. It's not a punishment for an aircraft to be held in the "penalty box", it's simply a place to hold aircraft awaiting clearance so that they don't get in the way of other aircraft which are in a position to depart.

The alternative to the "penalty box" was that before sophisticated modeling by ATC, OP's flight would have departed and would have then held somewhere around a fix near the destination. It would not have actually landed any earlier, but would have burned a whole lot more fuel.

This has zippo to do with AA and everything to do with ATC, which has everything to do with any number of natural phenomena, like the weather.
Often1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: