I am writing to report the exhausting and stressful experience I have endured while traveling with US Airways. The problems began on Monday, July 20, 2009 when my flight was delayed from Phoenix to Philadelphia. The delay was apparently caused by the closing of a runway at the airport in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this caused me and my husband to miss our connecting flight to Frankfurt, Germany.
My husband and I literally ran to the gate when we landed, reaching it at exactly the departure time for the flight. We were informed that the flight had left the gate. After going to the customer service desk, we learned that approximately 20 others had also missed this flight due to delayed flights from other cities. We were informed by the customer service representative that the plane had departed 4 minutes before the scheduled time. At that time, we were told that we would be booked for a flight to Frankfurt on the following morning. This meant that we would lose an entire day of our vacation. US Airways offered to give a hardship letter for a hotel stay but no vouchers. During that time, we would have no access to our luggage. Our other option was to fly stand by to London and connect to a flight in Frankfurt.
Fortunately, we were provided with seats on the flight to London at the absolute last minute. The desk agent was very rude and barked, "Are you coming? Are you ready?" We were following right behind her at the time.
At Heathrow, we were then transferred to a Lufthansa flight. I must say US Airways could take their cue from this carrier. The employees were helpful and assisted us in obtaining seats together on the flight to Frankfurt.
Though we arrived in Frankfurt without incident, our luggage did not. We filed a report with Lufthansa. The employee indicated that she had no tracking information for it and provided us with a German number to call. They also provided us with a two toiletry kits that contained t-shirts, toothpaste, and deodorant. This was somewhat helpful, but we credit Lufthansa as it was their staff that assisted us.
Our situation was complicated by the fact that we were traveling to Cologne that day and had a hotel reservation. At the same time, our cell phones did not work. We paid to make a six minute call, at which time we were told there was no information about the location of our luggage. We were informed that it would be delivered to Amsterdam, our next stop. In addition, we were unable to purchase clothing because shops close at 7 pm. We arrived in Cologne well after that.
The following morning, July 22, 2009, we checked again to determine the location of our luggage while still in Cologne. We learned that it had arrived in Frankfurt and was being transported to our bed and breakfast 50 kilometers outside of Amsterdam. We went into Amsterdam feeling certain that our luggage would be waiting for us at the bed and breakfast when we arrived later.
When we arrived around 8 pm, the luggage was nowhere to be found. At that point, we paid 15 euros to be placed on hold and finally learn that there was no information about our luggage. We received a number for luggage claim at the Schipol Airport outside of Amsterdam. We were not able to reach anyone. By this time, we were extremely frustrated.
The following morning, we contacted the luggage claim. We learned that our luggage was at the airport, but they could not deliver it because we had to fill out a customs form. The representative kept insisting that we could fax the form to her. We were staying at a small bed and breakfast with no fax machine. Exasperated, we indicated that we would pick the luggage up at the airport. We finally received our luggage after three days.
It would have been useful if we had been informed that this was an option at an earlier time, as we had been in Amsterdam the previous day. We were also never informed that we had to fill out a customs form. It seems that this is something we could have done in advance. Not to mention, we paid nearly 50 euros for phone calls.
After the hassle, the vacation was lovely until the return trip. Upon returning, out flight was once again delayed due a mechanical issue. Luckily, our layover in Philadelphia was 5 hours; however, others were not as lucky. There were announcements made that they would make arrangements for the passengers to travel on other flights because they knew the plane was coming in late. I find this significant. It tells me that the they knew our initial flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia was delayed, and they knew how many people they were leaving behind. I do not understand why they chose to leave early on the flight to Frankfurt.
That being said, there was another shocking incident on the plane. At some point, one of the flight attendants appeared to grow very frustrated by the fact that some older passengers were inquiring about their connections. She seemed short with people.
Soon she was standing in the aisle arguing with a woman three seats across from us. She kept saying that she was not rude. Her demeanor was very aggressive and confrontational. They woman that she was confronting was with her teenage son and elderly mother. From what I gathered, the flight attendant had told her rudely that she needed to use a forward lavatory. At some point the woman stated that this flight attendant was rude. The flight attendant apparently felt compelled to confront this woman and cause a scene.
The woman repeatedly stated that she was sorry and asked the flight attendant to leave her alone. The flight attendant was unrelenting, and the woman appeared very upset. The teenage boy told the flight attendant to leave his mother alone, and the flight attendant asked, "Are you threatening me?" He wasn't. The woman again pleaded with the flight attendant to leave her alone.
I find this particularly abhorrent, because the woman could do nothing. Passengers are afraid to intervene or say anything for fear that they will be arrested or removed from a flight. I have never seen anything like this.
Upon return to Phoenix, we attempted to contact a customer service number only to find that it does not work. This number was provided by the representatives in Philadelphia. This is unbelievable.
Until this point, my husband and I had been very happy with US Airways. We preferred this carrier to others. Now we are going to go out of our way to avoid using this carrier. I do not expect to receive any response from the airline.