Sunday, March 16, 2014

Never fly US Airways! It's the WORST Airline!

This blog was started as a way to capture big ideas at the TED conference and grew into covering other ideas too. This post is the first time I've used this modest platform for a rant, but today, here it comes.

I set off for TED today full of anticipation. US Airways was able to utterly destroy that excitement and replace it with rage. I am resolved that this will be the LAST trip I will EVER book with US Airways. And I will arm wrestle any friend or relative who considers making such a reservation.

So what's the back story to this venom?

I had checked in yesterday for my flight from Phoenix to Vancouver, and received confirmation email telling me to be at the airport 45 minutes ahead of time. To be on the safe side, I turned up over 2 hours ahead of time. I was met with US Airways chaos. In front of the counter with 20 or more kiosks, the line snaked back and forth 5 deep with hundreds of people waiting. But that was not the end. The line then proceeded past the counters to the end of the airport departure area, where there were again line snakes 4 deep, then back through the length of the departure area again, with further snakes in every empty space by a door, until the line exited the airport completely. After standing in this line for almost an hour and a half, I reached the kiosk to check in within the original required time of 45 minutes, to be told that it was too late to check in for my flight. 

I was turned away to a long painfully slow line of people waiting to rebook flights. I was not allowed to rebook online to grab one of the few remaining seats on flights out of the airport tonight, and the phone number I was given to rebook under my original confirmation number issued a statement that they were not taking calls on that line.

Nobody at the airport had any information, and all the flights out of Phoenix quickly became totally booked, with all of tomorrow's flights showing they're not available either. At no time was any US Airways employee informative, helpful or apologetic. Their only skill seemed to be in planting more stanchions and rope barriers for the ever-growing lines. As far as I could see, in spite of hundreds of people missing their flights because of US Air's unpreparedness, flights were not being delayed to accommodate passengers who had, after all, arrived much earlier than suggested.

I was able to book, at my own expense, on Air Canada through Denver tomorrow morning at 5:43!! This was done through the quick action of my hero travel-agent daughter in Toronto, since the Air Canada site seemed to be experiencing problems and she was able to get through to them by phone for me. Perhaps overload from distressed US Air passengers?

To add insult to injury, I arrived home to a notification that US Airways had cancelled my return flight! I will miss part of TED because of US Air's incompetence. Now it may be that I'll never get back from TED!

I am livid, enraged, and any other word you can think of to describe this fiasco.

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