Lastest Headlines from

The News

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Have a Complaint? - Share it with Us

If you have an airline complaint that you would like to share with the world, please visit's Online Complaint Form where your complaint (edited for content and without personal identifying information) will be reviewed and either published here or forwarded to the appropriate organization.

Carry on Advice | Prohibited Items | Fear of Flying
Baggage Advice | Top 10 baggage tips

18 November 2009

A Reminder that Some Delays Are an Inconveniece to More than Just the Passenger

This complaint, sent in by Andrew, is a reminder that airline delays can cause serious inconveniences to many more people than just the ones on the airplane.

Date: 8 November 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC
Airline: USAir Express (Air Wisconsin) Flight 3741, ATL to PHL

Dear USAirways:

I am writing this letter from (a hotel) in Charlotte, North Carolina, where it had been no part of my travel plans to find myself tonight. I am writing to protest and complain about the treatment I have received today from your airline.

Yes, it was a good thing for your contractor, Air Wisconsin operating as USAirExpress, flight 3741, to have a pilot who set the plane down safely for an unscheduled stop in Greenville-Spartansburg not long after leaving Atlanta at 10:51AM on our way to Philadelphia (see flight data from FlightAware). After that, your company’s performance was poor.

The USAirways staff at that location first informed us (after an hour or so on the ground) that our flight had been canceled and that new equipment was being sought. That would have been within the range of acceptable airline responsibility. It was quite a bit less acceptable to hear (after another hour or so) that instead, we would be taken by bus to Charlotte. We did not leave Greenville-Spartanburg until well after 2PM, now already 3 hours after leaving Atlanta. I was not offered and did not receive a meal voucher in Greenville-Spartanburg.

After traffic delays, we arrived at Charlotte at around 4:20PM and I stood in line for over an hour and twenty minutes before any USAirways staff attempted to deal with my situation. We were told by staff there that no efforts at all had been made by anyone during our trip to find us alternative routing and that they would need to start from scratch. That waiting line did not move at all for a long time; a few of the more vociferous passengers seemed to get some attention, and some of them seemed to get onto new outbound flights. By the time I reached a podium, close to 5:40PM, I was told that there were no remaining seats on any flights from Charlotte to anywhere that could connect to Philadelphia flights for tonight.

Between around 1PM, when it was known that no replacement aircraft was coming to Greenville-Spartansburg, and 4:20PM when we arrived in Charlotte, it should have been perfectly possible for USAirways to place every one of us on new flights to our expected destinations. It is a complete failure of responsibility to your passengers that this did not occur.

Although I am alive and well, and our plane did not crash, I am in a hotel room in a strange city instead of being home in my own bed. I got $15 worth of meal vouchers that covered part of my dinner here at the hotel. I will also have incurred another day’s parking charges at the Philadelphia airport, for which I consider USAirways to be responsible. And even on the earliest available flight, I will not be able to get to work at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center in time to begin seeing patients on schedule. In addition to inconveniencing me, USAirways will be responsible for delaying needed care for our returning combat veterans seeking mental health treatment.

Please consider me a very dissatisfied customer. The accommodations and vouchers received so far may begin to meet your statutory requirements but they come nowhere near addressing the breach in relationship and responsibility that your company has inflicted today. As a Philadelphia-based traveler, it is not easy to avoid USAirways, but you have given me every reason to try very hard to do so. Responds

As we have said before for previous delay complaints, US airlines are not required to offer any compensation whatsoever for passenger delays on domestic flights. That said, a reasonable airline would make reasonable accommodations for passengers who face more than a minor delay. In this case, getting passengers to their destination on the same day, would likely be acceptable to an overnight stay in a strange city, even if all costs were covered by the carrier.

Suggested Passenger Actions
When faced with a significant delay or a diversion, if the airline is dragging its feet or otherwise does not seem capable of quickly getting you on an alternative flight, one action you can take is to call the airline's reservations department to see what you can arrange. If you can work something on the phone, then all you may have to do is get a boarding pass.

If your airline can't arrange a flight, you may want to contact another airline that is serving that airport (either at the airport or by phone) to see if they have an alternative available. Your airline may not reimburse you for doing this, but if time is critical, the money you spend to get to your destination sooner may be worth it.

You should also contact the airline's customer service department with details of the service shortcomings, and a very specific request for compensation. For details on what kinds of information should be in a request for compensation, visit the How to Complain About Your Airline page.

Photos: BMRR and Xeni

No comments:

Post a Comment