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US Airways - Once again, the most difficult airline to put up with

By Andrew Pollack on 11/09/2008 at 03:36 PM EST

On business, particularly flying to Lotusphere or other conferences I always to try book airlines that I've got confidence in and with as few stops as possible. Each connection you have to make reduces the likelihood of getting to your destination on time. US Airways has a track record with me that's just abysmal. I knew I was asking for trouble when booked this flight, but with the prices it really was the only way to go.

Flying to Phoenix with my oldest daughter for a wedding, we were scheduled to fly out of Manchester, NH to Philly, then on to Phoenix. We checked in with plenty of time to spare and the ticket agent confirmed that all was on time. 15 minutes later at the gate, they announced our flight to Philly would be delayed, and that anyone with connections earlier than 6:10 should rebook. Our connection was at 6:05.

There was only a single US Airways gate agent in the Machester airport and a line started forming quickly. I had Ari stand in that line, but since I'd been down this road before I took an alternative route. I stepped to the side and called directly to US Air's reservation line, huffed and puffed a bit, and got to a supervisor. After some prodding, he was able to offer me a flight out of Boston that would be non-stop to Phoenix. The catch was, it was at 4:20pm. Since it was nearly 3pm already, I couldn't see making that -- but the Boston flight had also been delayed and was now scheduled for 5:05. Tight, but possible. We took it.

Back downstairs to the ticket counter, I had Ari wait while they got the bag back while I went to the National counter and got a car one-way to Boston for $17. If I'd driven to Boston in my car, we'd have landed at Manchester coming home and had to go to Boston to get it late at night. It also would have cost 26 dollars a day to park my car in Boston instead of 8 at Manchester.

We left Manchester at 3pm on a Friday with the goal of getting to the center of Boston, then out through the tunnel to the airport without hitting traffic. That means risking a 4pm drive through Boston center. I think I used up a lot of positive karma, but we got through in exactly 1 hour from airport to airport. We checked in, and of course being late and in a hurry triggered the most complete possible security check you can have that doesn't require the removing of clothing. In the end, however, we got good seats on a direct flight that landed -- get this -- 90 minutes earlier than we would have had we gone via the original routing.

Go figure.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: US Airways - Once again, the most difficult airline to put up withBy Bruce Perry on 11/10/2008 at 07:19 AM EST
No time for details now, but

US Airways Philly = hideous delays

very frequently
re: US Airways - Once again, the most difficult airline to put up withBy Danny Lawrence on 11/11/2008 at 10:58 AM EST
Back when I travelled a lot I had an airport club membership for the airline(s)
that I flew on most of the time. While they are a "nice to have" thing most of
the time, in situations like the one you describe they become a godsend. One
time we were flying Northwest and a winter storm crossed the nation, playing
havoc with a lot of the nation. Our flight going into MSP was delayed so we
missed our connection to LAS The agent at the gate was only willing to
guarantee us a seat on our "original" flight the next day in spite of the fact
that there was a flight leaving in about 2 hours or so and another one early
the next morning. I went into the club lounge and the attendants there told me
that the next flight was showing a lot of "no-shows" (probably other folks
impacted by the weather). She said she'd keep an eye on the flight for us, and
30 mins before the flight (when all the no-show" reservations were released)
booked us onto it).

Since then I've discovered Priority Pass, which will allow you into many
different lounges for a fee, also if you want to pony up for an AmEx Platinum
Card you can do similar things. But since I don't travel that much anymore I
don't use them.

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