Tuesday September 13, 2005

Useless Air, at your surface

[Posting has been slow lately due to various medical and circumstantial reasons. Meanwhile, please accept this latest rant by Steve Klotz, who might consider sharing what this has to do with Miami.]

You gotta fly from Miami to Philadelphia. You just do, okay? So you visit USAir.com to see your options. You figure, a quick look at a city’s major carrier is a good place to start. Right?

You fool.

Key in the days and preferred times of your departure and return, then press Enter. A lovely selection of flights appears (in no discernible order), complete with time of departure and return, number of stops (if any), and that ever-useful code that tells you what kind of aircraft. Incredibly, what does not appear is the flight number and the ticket price. You can obtain this valuable information (and more) by clicking on a little Information icon. But if there are 25 flight options, you’ll need to do this 25 times.

Soooo, go back to the home page and specify that you want to inquire by price. Re-enter your cities of departure and return, and your choice of dates. Again, you get a list by price…...but—deja vu!—you do NOT get flight numbers or times! You can open the next screen and get this information one flight at a time, as before.

This is so broken. Who designed this? Albanians? FEMA? Screw this crap. USAir has been a Mickey Mouse operation for decades, ever since they changed their name from Allegheny Airlines (the mountain range into which they were fond of crashing their passenger jets). Over the years I’ve fought with these sour bastards over missing luggage, misprinted tickets, late arrivals, slow service, food poisoning, articles stolen from baggage, and more. Their flight attendants and service personnel are the nastiest, least helpful, and overtly hostile to passengers since Air Uganda staffed its craft with cannibals. In fact, years before 911, I sent them a note complaining that “On USAir, the terrorists are the stewardesses” (they did not respond). Who’s surprised they can’t operate their own goddam website?

So next time I try CheapFlights.com, and ironically, the best flight is USAir. Reluctantly, I book it, then just for shits and giggles I go to USAir.com and look for the flight. Glory Oskie, It’s not there! I send an e-mail on their own cumbersome pain-in-the-ass response form (which comes back undeliverable the first two times), asking USAir how I can confirm the flight, seats, receipt, print a boarding pass, etc. when the flight doesn’t come up on their own website. Six days later I get an inadequate response packed with apologies but short on data. (I was told my seat assignment was a strapado in the aircraft’s underbelly, along with the non-perishable baggage.) And they won’t give me a receipt. They don’t address the issue of the flight not appearing on their own website.
USAir has filed for bankruptcy twice and is not expected to survive a third. Meanwhile, Air Uganda is doing fine. If you fly, request the vegetarian meal (aui@airugandaintl.com).

[See all Articles by Steve]

comments powered by Disqus
  1. Christian Calzadillas    Tue Sep 13, 02:12 PM #  

    It seems to me that the Chinese Proverb, “Fool me once
    Shame on you
    Fool me twice
    Shame on me.” might apply here.

  2. SCHWINNCOLL    Wed Sep 14, 09:46 AM #  

    Just remember…

    Mowhawk = Slow Hank
    Allegany = Agony
    USAir = US Fail

    All the same airline just different names that they have called themselves. Those of us who have to fly to small hometowns are screwed over because USAir is the only one that flies into these one horse towns. I am with Mr Klotz on this one. If I dont fly USAir then I have to fly into a larger city and rent a car and drive for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Not something I want to do after flying all day. The last time we flew USAir we almost didnt make it into PHilly due to a hurricane last year. Then we had the first time flier that had beer and 2 muscle relaxers for lunch. Needless to say, all my daughter could say, was “He is Puuuukkkiiikinnnn” yep right there in the middle of the isle.

    Good Ole USAir, hey, the good thing was the puker got us priority landing in Philly!

  3. Anne Orexic    Wed Sep 14, 10:44 AM #  

    Puking in the airplane gets you priority landing? Why didn’t I think of that years ago? Thanks for the tip!

  4. Steve Klotz    Wed Oct 12, 02:25 PM #  

    Update: responding to a barrage of pissed-off emails demanding an explanation for my shitty treatment, USAir sent me a “travel voucher” worth $100 on my next USAir purchase. It corporately apologized for my “inconvenience” and hopes it has the pleasure of serving me again soon.

    (I didn’t actually know that corporations could “hope,” but that’s another issue for another rant.)

    Anyway, I composed another email, patiently reminding Useless Air that I hadn’t asked for a rebate or a refund; what I wanted was an explanation. I want to know who fucked up and why. I want the reason that USAir won’t take my suggestions to resolve a problem it caused when the airline fucks me over, but will pay money afterwards by way of apology. I want to know why USAir hires human beings to answer the phones when it would be less costly and equally effective to train parrots to recite, “That’s Not Our Policy” in response to customers’ questions. Oh, and did I mention that the “travel voucher” is “non-transferable?” Which, because (a) I will never fly USAir again, and (b) it’s too stiff to wipe my ass with, it’s completely worthless?

    Stay tuned.

  5. Sean    Wed Oct 12, 05:18 PM #  

    You’re tilting at windmills, lad. And you’re communicating, if you want to call it that, with a computer. Putting it out here on a blog for the world to see helps you feel better; doubt if it hurts them a tiny jot. See if they’ll let you donate the voucher somehow. And fly AirTran. Or Southwest. I’d even suggest driving, but not at $3.25/gallon.