hoya
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US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:19 am

US had a service meltdown today in the morning at DCA. A few flights were cancelled (including mine, flight 3367 to ORD, cancelled due to a flight attendant not showing up), and chaos ensued for a few hours. The gate agents told us to go back to ticketing to get rebooked. Of course, no one told us in which line to get into, so we all got into the first one we saw. There were no US employees directing us where to go either. The result was that the check-in line got huge. Turned out, as we were getting to the counters, that we were in the wrong line. Also, because the line got huge, many people missed their flights (wait was over 2.5 hours to check-in). We all finally got into the correct line, but it grew huge as well due to the cancellations and the people who missed their flights. Tempers flared, police had to come to calm things down. One US Airways employee was extremely rude, telling one person to either shut up or go to jail.

All in all, I waited nearly 5 hours to finally get to an agent to help me, though not much. I had a day trip to ORD, and only flights open were either late at night or next day. Because I had to cancel my ticket(no point in flying to ORD anymore), I wasn't entitled to any travel vouchers. The ticket counter agent was real nice, but the overall experience made me, and others, dislike US Airways. When I left around 11:30am, the rebooking line was still huge (reaching the UA counters), though the check-in line normalized and was short.

Does something like this happen at DCA often for US Airways? Is it a staffing issue, or was it just a freak thing? Many people were angry at the airline, and I'm sure many swore not to fly US again. Also, how often do flight attendants not show up for flights? I overheard the gate agent talking with some supervisor that at least 3 or 4 FA's did not show, hence the cancellations.

[Edited 2006-04-09 18:21:18]
Hoya Saxa!!
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:30 am

Quoting Hoya (Thread starter):
All in all, I waited nearly 5 hours to finally get to an agent to help me, t

Never wait in line. Call their 800# fpr rebooking.

Res Agnts can do the same thing as the counter agents when it comes to rebooking....as long as your ticket doesn't need to be reissued.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
hoya
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:40 am

I did call and tried to get rebooked. I needed to be in Chicago by 1pm, and they had nothing on any airline, even out of IAD and BWI. Everything was booked solid. The res agent on the phone told me to wait in line to get my vouchers and other compensation. I waited in line, but since I had to cancel my itinerary (was going to fly back from ORD to DCA tonight, so no point in having the reservation anymore), I was told I wasn't entitled to anything due to me cancelling my itinerary. Instead, the person at the counter told me to write a complaint letter.

I forgot to add earlier that the flight attendant who did not show for my flight was a new hire, straight out of training. I overheard this when the gate agent was talking with some other US Airways employee. What a great way to start off at a new job, eh?
Hoya Saxa!!
 
RIHNOSAUR
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Mornin

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:42 am

Quoting Hoya (Thread starter):
I wasn't entitled to any travel vouchers. The ticket counter agent was real nice

I am sorry to hear that. That totally sucks, I would be very mad at US airways myself too. Personally I would write a letter/e-mail and complain, they should try to get you something to make up for that inconvenience.
I think that if they value you as a customer they will try to give some sort of voucher or something.
A Friend of mine who calls them "USELESS AIR" flew them from Charlotte to Frankfurt and had a horrible experience, he wrote them an e-mail and they gave him some vouchers.

Any how, hope it works out.

 crossfingers 
particles and waves are the same thing, but who knows what that thing is...
 
supa7E7
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:20 am

Quoting Hoya (Reply 2):
I forgot to add earlier that the flight attendant who did not show for my flight was a new hire, straight out of training. I overheard this when the gate agent was talking with some other US Airways employee. What a great way to start off at a new job, eh?

Ahem... Republic i presume....



Sounds like your experience could have been helped by (1) improved signage including 1-800 number and (2) someplace to go besides the check-in line... such as agents assisting with rebooking inside terminal. Sending 3 planeloads of cxl pax to the check-in line is a tactical mistake that has predictable results... chaos, missed flights, meltdown. The DCA shift manager on duty made a big mistake, it sounds like, sending 250ish people to the check-in line.
"Who's to say spaceships aren't fine art?" - Phil Lesh
 
steeler83
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:50 am

Did this F/A just decide not to show up at the last minute, or did she call in off? If that were me (the F/A) I would have alerted someone immediately well in advance of my absence so that someone could fill in for me. What the hell is it with people just deciding not to show up for work at US? last year employees called in sick by the score and bags piled up, and people were singing the Baggage Claim Blues... Now it's this... What next???

I have nothing against US, but why in the hell do these employees do this. This is no way of selling the airline to the public... And, I just had the strangest case of deja vu just now...
Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
 
ouboy79
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:15 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 5):
I have nothing against US, but why in the hell do these employees do this. This is no way of selling the airline to the public... And, I just had the strangest case of deja vu just now...

From what it looks like...it wasn't a US employee. I mean, when was the last time US has a new hire FA? LOL The benefits of outsourcing flying to outside outfits, they screw up and US gets the bad rep.
 
AirCop
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:29 am

One flight canceled (by a regional no less) is not a meltdown for US Airways.
 
hoya
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:33 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 5):
Did this F/A just decide not to show up at the last minute, or did she call in off?

When I overheard the gate agent talking with a US Airways manager (guy was wearing a suit), she said that they had tried to reach the FA. The flight crew also tried, but there was no response. She definitely did not call in. I'm guessing that the new FA overslept or just forgot about her assignment.

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 4):
Ahem... Republic i presume....

Yes, it was Republic. I was hoping to get my first ride in an EMB-170. In this case, I would've flown on one of the Star Alliance painted EMB-170s.
Hoya Saxa!!
 
FlagshipAZ
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:37 am

Sounds like a typical US Airways day to me. (j/k)  Wink
And to think that "US Airways" was the name chosen to keep after merging with America West. Geez...
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
 
wjcandee
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:40 am

Did you call ATA? They run 4 flights per day DCA-MDW, including 2 that would have fit your schedule, and it looks like they had room today.
 
Azul320
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:47 am

When are they ever going to get it together?
Excuse me, while I kiss the sky
 
dartland
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:47 am

Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 9):
Sounds like a typical US Airways day to me. (j/k)
And to think that "US Airways" was the name chosen to keep after merging with America West. Geez...

Except, as stated above, it was Republic, NOT US. And, in case you want to bash Republic -- feel free, but remember that them (or their sister airlines) provide service for DL, UA, US, AND AA.

Things like this happen all over --- As a Gold Preferred Member of US, I find them to be a pretty good airline. I know I wasn't there, but these airline bashing comments because 1 person tells of 1 problem at 1 station 1 morning are simply uncalled for.
 
Azul320
Posts: 257
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 3:50 am

That's no excuse. Do you think customers really care about Republic? No! They just want to get from A to B on the US ticket they bought. Stop telling people that pathetic excuse, and work on rebooking them politely.
Excuse me, while I kiss the sky
 
loggat
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:00 am

Where's SOAC to tell us this never would have happened if MidAtlantic had operated the flight? (j/k)
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
worldtraveler
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:01 am

not to belittle US or the experience you had but other airlines do handled irregular options differently. If your Delta/Delta connection flight cancels in a city in which DL has gate readers at the boarding gate, customers only need to scan the boarding card from their cancelled flight at any gate reader that is not being actively used to board a flight. They have similar machines at their service desks. The new itinerary will be printed and I believe vouchers will be issued as well. It's by far the slickest system I've seen in the industry. And Delta also has a dedicated group of res agents that specifically are the support system for the airport. They can do anything a ticket agent can do including issue tickets on other airlines, all from a remote res office. The customer just has to pick up the tickets from the agent at the counter that will collect any necessary documentation.

It would be nice if all airlines offered services like this but I can assure you the lines at DL counters are much, much shorter even on bad weather days.
 
hoosiercfi
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Mornin

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:02 am

Typical US. I remember when I was stuck in PHL for 5 hours due to a PHL-BWI delayed flight. It just happened that there was an earlier PHL-BWI flight that was also delayed. When I tried getting on this flight, I was told that they could put me on it, but they would not put my bags on the earlier flight. Time wasn't the issue, as the flight wasn't leaving for another hour. They just didn't want to spend the time finding the bags. This was after flying SYD-LAX-PHL, all in First or Business class on US and QF (on a US ticket). Other airlines have yanked my bags when I am in coach. I wrote the letter to their customer service department, and got the standard letter, and some travel vouchers. Their customer service is what kills them, plain and simple.
 
hoya
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:27 am

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
Except, as stated above, it was Republic, NOT US. And, in case you want to bash Republic -- feel free, but remember that them (or their sister airlines) provide service for DL, UA, US, AND AA.

Flight cancellations happen all the time. Yes, it was Republic that operated the flight. It was a Republic FA that did not show. My negative experience today is due to the abysmal customer service US provided. For a few hours in the morning today, there was chaos in front of US Airways' ticket counters. US employees were yelling at us, telling us that they can't help us. I do not see how Republic plays into this part specifically. It is US that provides the customer service for Republic flights under the US Express banner, and that was lacking today.
Hoya Saxa!!
 
IADLHR
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:37 am

Also, in this case, being quite familiar with DCA, the affected passengers had to exit security and re-enter security, which means more lines, after they got reticketed etc. etc. US does not have any customer service counters behind security to deal with these stranded passengers. What a mess!!!!!1
 
HPRamper
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:45 am

Quoting Hoya (Thread starter):
Also, how often do flight attendants not show up for flights? I overheard the gate agent talking with some supervisor that at least 3 or 4 FA's did not show, hence the cancellations.

It's not a hugely common thing, but when it does happen, chaos often ensues as flights are either heavily delayed or outright cancelled. It has happened here with QX, I've heard stories recently of fully booked flights being cancelled because an FA doesn't show.

Quoting FlagshipAZ (Reply 9):
And to think that "US Airways" was the name chosen to keep after merging with America West. Geez...

Familiarity over reputation I suppose.

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
Except, as stated above, it was Republic, NOT US.

Too bad that to the flying consumer, it's all the same. Our situation out west is the same, but with Mesa.

Quoting Hoya (Reply 17):
US employees were yelling at us, telling us that they can't help us. I do not see how Republic plays into this part specifically. It is US that provides the customer service for Republic flights under the US Express banner, and that was lacking today.

I can understand their frustration, but there's generally no reason to yell at someone unless they are either threatening or holding up the entire process. I've seen passengers rudely interjecting when a ticket agent is trying to assist the next person in line, and that is totally unnecessary. I'm under the impression that the agents were probably pissed at the FA(s?) and the situation as a whole. Someone will likely lose their new job after this one.
 
goodmanr
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:49 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Mornin

Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:03 am

Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 15):



Quoting IADLHR (Reply 18):
US does not have any customer service counters behind security to deal with these stranded passengers

There actually is a customer service counter at the end of the pier, but sometimes there is nobody there.
USAirways - Chairmans Gold
 
JBLUA320
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:08 am

This seems out of character for USAirways, which I feel has been moving in a positive direction service-wise recently. I'd also write a letter, highlight your disappointment and frustration and see what they throw at you. I'd expect better from USAirways -- this is a freak occurrance.

JBLU
 
PSA727
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:11 am

You call that a meltdown?
Try waiting in a long NW DTW main ticket counter line
at 11pm trying to get rebooked because Northwest decided
to cancel 2 full 747 flights to AMS that evening.
And they were cancelled after their scheduled departure times.
Plus, we were rebooked on flights basically leaving the same time
the following evening.
Yes, we did get meal vouchers, but how many airport concessions
do you think were open at that time?

I understand the reason for the ORD cancellation, but why were
the other 2 flights cancelled? Missing F/A? Bad weather at the
destination? MX issue?
If only your flight was cancelled, I don't think that in itself would
have streched-out the ticket counter lines that much.

As for keeping the USAirways name instead of the America West name
in light of these so-called customer service issues in the past with
US East, do you remember how sh**ty HP was in the 90s?
If not, then you've proven the point that the general public's memory
is not so great, and doesn't go that far back.
But let's go down Memory Lane anyway...

Bad on-time performance.
Bad mis-handled luggage ratio.
Remember the unaccompanied minor that ended up at a
destination far away from the one he was suppose to fly to?
And why did HP stop accepting pets to fly in the cargo hold?

The name "USAirways" encompasses more than "America West" does.
Why call an airline America West when none of its flights to Europe
or the Carribean originate in that region of America?

And on a side note, many "unfrequent" travelers think that America
West is a division of American Airlines. I've heard it spoken myself.
fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
 
vega
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:57 am

PSA727 excellent post. I agree completely. It's difficult to understand how the "meltdown" as described could alone be attributed to a cancelled 70 passenger ERJ flight.
We are but a moment in this vast Universe and when gone we will never have existed.
 
luv2fly
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:18 am

This is what happens when you outsource everything and your name is on the line.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
hoya
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:54 am

Quoting Vega (Reply 23):
PSA727 excellent post. I agree completely. It's difficult to understand how the "meltdown" as described could alone be attributed to a cancelled 70 passenger ERJ flight.

It was more than just one flight. It is my understanding that at least 2 or 3 flights were cancelled, as FA's were missing for other flights as well, not just mine. I find Supa7E7's response the best explanation for what happened. If US told us, the cancelled-flights pax, where to go specificially, i.e. not into the check-in line, only we would've been affected. Instead, the arrival into the check-in lines of approx. 200-250 people caused the lines to get huge. People had to wait 2-3 hours to check-in, which caused them to miss their flights, causing even more people to be unhappy. The attitude and service of the US employees was horrible. To those that missed their flights, they put the blame on the passengers. The group of guys waiting behind me in the line got to the airport 2 hours early. They tried using the kiosk to check-in, didn't work, and missed their flight because it took them 2.5 hours to get to the ticket counter. A US Airways employee yelled at them, saying they should've been at the airport 4 hours early!

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 4):
Sounds like your experience could have been helped by (1) improved signage including 1-800 number and (2) someplace to go besides the check-in line... such as agents assisting with rebooking inside terminal. Sending 3 planeloads of cxl pax to the check-in line is a tactical mistake that has predictable results... chaos, missed flights, meltdown. The DCA shift manager on duty made a big mistake, it sounds like, sending 250ish people to the check-in line.
Hoya Saxa!!
 
ATWZW170
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:17 am

I don't think US Airways has out sourced any more than any other airline. The issue is that US needs tighter control over their express carriers and thin them out. Hold them accountable for the way they operate. Something like this is totally unacceptable. Controlable delays and cxlnd flights, they should have to answer for this. Now, weather, ATC, ground stops.....that is totally different. They should have called in a reserve - found someone! DCA-ORD is a highly competitive route, with both UA and AA having MANY more flights.
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
wjcandee
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:37 am

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 22):
And on a side note, many "unfrequent" travelers think that America
West is a division of American Airlines. I've heard it spoken myself.

And someone told me the other day that Song was owned by Spirit, and that she wouldn't fly them for that reason. (Which is stupid in itself.) I told her Song was owned and operated by Delta. "That's not true. They may say that, but it's really owned by Spirit." I'm not kidding. An actual college-educated grown woman said this to me and refused to believe that it wasn't somehow secretly true.

This just goes to show the kind of crap people hear and will believe about aviation (and brands in general, I guess).

Moreover, all that "We'll never fly Airline X again" stuff really doesn't matter. USAirways will pick up the folks that swore never to fly United again, and visa versa, until everyone forgets and just flies who has the most convenient flight and cheapest seat, unless they're flying on their company's money, at which point they'll fly whichever carrier they have the most miles on.
 
jsposaune
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 12:20 pm

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:26 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 27):
Moreover, all that "We'll never fly Airline X again" stuff really doesn't matter. USAirways will pick up the folks that swore never to fly United again, and visa versa

Well said...I'm sure that all the people that have said "I'm never flying airline X again!" have at some point said "I'm never flying airline W again!", and will, at some point say "I'm never flying airline Y again!"

Pretty soon you run out of letters!

Similarly, I love the people when, while number 35 in line for departure at LGA, say something like "I hate US Airways...we always sit on the taxiway forever here!!"
There are no stupid questions....only stupid people!!!
 
ejmmsu
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:27 am

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 26):
I don't think US Airways has out sourced any more than any other airline.

Lets see.... Mesa, Republic, Chatauqua, Air Wisconsin, Colgan, Trans States, PSA, Piedmont.

Thats EIGHT regional carriers. This side of United, who has more?

AA Eagle and Trans-States, and whoever runs their carribian ATR's.

NW Pinnacle and Mesaba

DL Chautauqua, ASA, Skywest, Comair, Freedom

CO Expressjet Commutair Colgan

Looks to me like that statement just really isn't true.

Much like UA, I believe that US mainline is relatively good. However, much like UA, the sheer number of regional carriers hurts them.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"
 
User avatar
usxguy
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:29 am

A friend of mine works for Piedmont in DCA. Said that Republic cancelled a number of flights in the morning... and swapped out crews as they saw fit. Even the critical DCA-MCO plane left over an hour late, which caused a domino effect all day long as it is the SOLE plane flying between EYW/FLL, and normally 100% full on a sunday.

Republic is living up to their name of their IATA code, RW... for Replacement Workers.

And to defend SOAC, if this were MidAtlantic, it never would have happened. MDA crews are very VERY professional and proud of their company as a whole. They've been thru so much and do what they can to make it all work, including working up to the last day as many have done, only to be replaced by Republic flight attendants fresh out of the GED class. I had the opportunity to work with a Republic FA on his IOE, and it was a nightmare from our perspective on the ground. The guy even opened up the door on his own.... (which all FA's know is a big NO NO.. 1st thing they teach you).

There are some awesome crews at Republic, but they're quickly being diluted by newhires or moving on to other airlines (I know of one FA who got hired by America West/USAir and decided to just stay in PHX and not report back to duty, because this person was so sick of Republic).

[Edited 2006-04-10 02:32:37]
xx
 
HPRamper
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:32 am

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 24):
This is what happens when you outsource everything and your name is on the line.

What was being outsourced here, other than the express flying?

Quoting Hoya (Reply 25):
FA's were missing for other flights as well, not just mine.

I wonder...could they have been commuter FAs booked on a single flight that was cancelled?

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 26):
The issue is that US needs tighter control over their express carriers and thin them out.

Or maybe cull the herd and only pick oh, say, five or six express carriers to do the flying  boggled 
 
ajiggity3
Posts: 51
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:36 am

All of this sounds just like a normal day at an American airport. I opened this thread planning to read some sort of catastophe. A couple cancelled flights is not a big deal especially taking into account the weather situation that has been plagueing the SE and Eastern US for the last couple of days.
 
luv2fly
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RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:54 am

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 31):
What was being outsourced here, other than the express flying?

Outsourcing to the lowest bidder, you get what you pay for, or should I say what you do not pay for.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:59 am

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 26):
I don't think US Airways has out sourced any more than any other airline. The issue is that US needs tighter control over their express carriers and thin them out. Hold them accountable for the way they operate.

They outsource infinitely more than Southwest where customer service and flight operations are concerned inasmuch as WN outsources zero, nada, zilch in these areas -- unless one stretches the definition of outsourcing to count the WN/TZ code-share as such.

As for any meaningful accountability on the part of the rent-an-airline vendors for the quality of the custmer service they provide on behalf of their bedpartners... dream on. The people who manage the US* regionals are held accountable for one thing only -- and they know it well: to remain the cheapest whores for US (and other legacies) to hire or they're outta' here.

[Edited 2006-04-10 03:02:44]
 
halls120
Posts: 8724
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:24 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:09 am

Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 21):
This seems out of character for USAirways, which I feel has been moving in a positive direction service-wise recently. I'd also write a letter, highlight your disappointment and frustration and see what they throw at you. I'd expect better from USAirways -- this is a freak occurrance.

Not at DCA. One of my neighbors is a CSR at DCA, and he has frequently complained to me about the lack of staff on hand to deal with problems. As long as the flights are leaving as scheduled, and the self service kiosks are working, no problem. Throw in a couple hundred passengers that need to be rescheduled, and the system breaks down.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
luv2fly
Posts: 11056
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:14 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 34):
As for any meaningful accountability on the part of the rent-an-airline vendors for the quality of the custmer service they provide on behalf of their bedpartners... dream on. The people who manage the US* regionals are held accountable for one thing only -- and they know it well: to remain the cheapest whores for US (and other legacies) to hire or they're outta' here.

Even though the flights are out sourced to the general public that plane says US and to them that is who is flying them.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5154
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:17 am

Quoting Ejmmsu (Reply 29):
Thats EIGHT regional carriers. This side of United, who has more?

I think that a fair analysis would be based upon a percentage of flights, mainline versus "outsourced", recognizing, of course, that most cities that are "outsourced" wouldn't be served by mainline in any event, absent special circumstances.

Quoting Ajiggity3 (Reply 32):
I opened this thread planning to read some sort of catastophe. A couple cancelled flights is not a big deal especially taking into account the weather situation

I think that it's a matter of when it's YOUR flight, then it's a "meltdown". Frankly, it amazes me that the system works as efficiently and inexpensively as it does. Plane comes from Europe to JFK, flies me to ATL, goes on to South America. At ATL, I switch to a 757 to JAX, that's come in from say Seattle. Maintenance items that were identified in Moscow are fixed in New York or Atlanta. Airline employees that boarded in Eastern Europe switch with employees who commuted from Connecticut to JFK by car, or farther by air, to hook up with this plane before the plane goes to South America. All basically on time. How cool is that? And on DL, at least, if there's a schedule change, I walk to a scanner, swipe my boarding pass, and BOOP! it spits me out the replacement on the changed flight without me ever having to stand in a line. (Not that all carriers do this, but all carriers COULD do this, and it's the kind of money-saving little extra for the airline that makes a big difference when things go sideways on the ops side.) With regard to the majors that I have used, CO and DL seem to have the most responsive, reliable web sites; AA seems to be in the middle with some wierd front-end programming that I find AAnnoying; UA and US are behind the curve in a big way in terms of speed, convenience, display and features.

Quoting Jsposaune (Reply 28):
Similarly, I love the people when, while number 35 in line for departure at LGA, say something like "I hate US Airways...we always sit on the taxiway forever here!!"

Agreed. But don't try to explain it to them. I've had people explain to me that because AA has so many gates at DFW, it gets "priority" on takeoffs and landings. Really? Then why are there 15 silver MD80s lined up over there in the "penalty box"?

Or the drunk people sitting behind me on a DL Shuttle 727 from Boston several years ago who screamed "We're going to die!!" when we did a go-around at LGA because the captain saw that ARFF equipment was exiting the firehouse headed for another runway and he didn't feel like taking a chance that it would stop at the boundary of the runway on which we were landing. When we got back in the pattern (and the drunk people calmed down), the captain came on to explain, and these folks said, "I'm never flying Delta again." I of course was thinking that the captain's judgment might earn a check mark in the "I should fly these guys next time" column, but that's just me.

Quoting Hoya (Reply 2):
I did call and tried to get rebooked. I needed to be in Chicago by 1pm, and they had nothing on any airline

I'm not sure who "they" is in this scenario, but if it's US, then you might have been happier if you had done a little independent research. I still don't have an answer about whether anyone tried checking ATA from DCA-MDW, which had two morning flights that would have arrived in time to meet your deadline. Sometimes, working your own phone and being a little creative can work. I once got caught in a blizzard at ORD that caused many cancelled flights and mobs at all the ticket counters. Working the phones, I found that now-defunct Kiwi had a flight from MDW leaving in ten minutes that had seats, but a little more research revealed that the inbound leg was running two hours late. I booked a seat and went outside. I figured that traffic might be backed up on the expressways, so I took the much-longer CTA rail route into downtown and then out to MDW. I will admit to thinking "Air Florida" as the Kiwi captain (who was ex-Eastern and had lots of snow on top himself) ordered two de-icings before our by-then-pretty-full 727 took off in what had to be near-minimums for a completely uneventful flight for EWR, leaving the chaos in Chicago behind. That was pretty hard-core of me, but it really wasn't that stressful, as I actually enjoy trying to figure out if there's a way to make the trip happen. If there isn't, I just take the position that if the captain doesn't want to fly today, I sure don't, and I chalk it up to experience rather than a "meltdown".
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:39 am

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 4):
Sounds like your experience could have been helped by (1) improved signage including 1-800 number and (2) someplace to go besides the check-in line...

You know... A month or two ago when the severe weather was affecting New York airports and CO was diverting some stuff (including inbound international flights) to CLE... I didn't make it to the airport myself, but the local news media showed shots of the CO ticket counters with special lines for inconvenienced pax, and all of the pax interviewed spoke very highly of CO for their handling. (I was quite suprised, especially with the "If it bleeds it leads" mentality of electronic journalism, that there wasn't at least one person screaming about how horrible they were being treated and they were never flying CO again and...)

Even more of a reson why I like CO.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ContnlEliteCMH
Posts: 1376
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:19 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:49 am

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 37):
Working the phones, I found that now-defunct Kiwi had a flight from MDW leaving in ten minutes that had seats, but a little more research revealed that the inbound leg was running two hours late. I booked a seat and went outside. I figured that traffic might be backed up on the expressways, so I took the much-longer CTA rail route into downtown and then out to MDW. I will admit to thinking "Air Florida" as the Kiwi captain (who was ex-Eastern and had lots of snow on top himself) ordered two de-icings before our by-then-pretty-full 727 took off in what had to be near-minimums for a completely uneventful flight for EWR, leaving the chaos in Chicago behind. That was pretty hard-core of me, but it really wasn't that stressful, as I actually enjoy trying to figure out if there's a way to make the trip happen. If there isn't, I just take the position that if the captain doesn't want to fly today, I sure don't, and I chalk it up to experience rather than a "meltdown".

Good story. I had a similar experience on December 23, 2004. Ohio was under a solid sheet of ice, and my ATL-CMH (via CLE) was moved to 24 hours later. Nope. That won't work for me. CO was kind enough to take $100 of my hard-earned dollars even though they delayed me by a whole day, but that's part of the agreement, so I couldn't complain.

So I started scheming. Who... who... Independence Air! Those guys are *never* full! I logged on to their website, and sure enough, they had plenty of seats available ATL-CMH via IAD. I packed my stuff and rushed to the airport. There I proceeded to check-in, where (surprise!) there were no other customers at the Flyi counter.

The pleasant lady behind the counter starts clacking away on the keyboard. After a couple minutes, she explains. "We're delayed by two hours out of ATL, so you'll miss your connection. I'm trying to rebook you." I said, "Ma'am, what do you figure the chances are that my flight to CMH *isn't* also delayed at least two hours?" She thought for a moment and said, "You're probably right." I said, "I feel like gambling. Let's just go forward with the ticket as-is and if I have a problem at IAD, I'll try to fix it there. Worst case is I spend the night and get out the next morning."

I got to IAD and sure enough, my flight to CMH was delayed a little longer than my flight ATL-IAD. Worked like a charm. I got home about four hours late, but I got home. The next day, my wife slept loudly while I drove 175 miles in 5.5 hours, a trip that normally takes 2:40. C'est la vie.

The point is that I've figured out how to game the system a little. Sometimes, if I know a CO flight I'm on is in trouble, I'll print out the CO, NW, and DL schedules and take them with me to the airport. I've found that my ability to request specific flight numbers really helps at the gate when I have to be rebooked.
Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
 
HPRamper
Posts: 4595
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 4:22 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:25 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 34):
They outsource infinitely more than Southwest where customer service and flight operations are concerned inasmuch as WN outsources zero, nada, zilch in these areas

Mainly since Southwest doesn't have any express carriers. I suppose you don't need them when you serve a limited number of markets.
That basically leaves the res lines and some maintenance, I believe US Airways uses a company in San Salvador that does excellent heavy maintenance work. The res centers have been a problem, everyone knows this, and under pressure from the public and DP, the centers are being brought back in-house and in-country (thank god).
 
BOS2LAF
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:21 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:41 am

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
Things like this happen all over --- As a Gold Preferred Member of US, I find them to be a pretty good airline. I know I wasn't there, but these airline bashing comments because 1 person tells of 1 problem at 1 station 1 morning are simply uncalled for.

Well, thats because US will do absolutely anything for their preferred members. If youre not preferred, you get a proverbial great big "Screw you" from them.

I was flying DCA-BOS on the last shuttle of the evening, and they held the flight for 20 min for 2 late connecting Chairman's gold members.

A month later, my flight from IND was late arriving, and they couldnt hold my MHT connection for 10 minutes when there were nearly 12 people connecting to MHT from my flight.

20 minutes... 2 people vs. 10 minutes... 12 people

And then they tried telling me it was a weather delay so they wouldnt give me a hotel room, which was bull$hit, it was a crew delay. Once I asked to see the contract of carriage though, she was singing a different tune. The thing was, this lady was the only CSA that wasnt giving out vouchers... The other two guys on duty were comping people. Figure that one out.

Oh well, I still got a $175 voucher for writing a long letter. And I only paid $156 for the ticket  devil 
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5154
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:41 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 39):
The point is that I've figured out how to game the system a little. Sometimes, if I know a CO flight I'm on is in trouble, I'll print out the CO, NW, and DL schedules and take them with me to the airport. I've found that my ability to request specific flight numbers really helps at the gate when I have to be rebooked.

Good story in your reply. And good point above. I don't think that most folks trying to help would intentionally brush us off, but if you can help them zero in on an opportunity, it makes it easier for them to help. And you didn't say it, but I could tell from the tone of your post that you were polite and nice to everyone, which goes a LONG way. (When did people outside of the South stop saying "Sir" and "Ma'am", anyway?) I'm still regularly amazed at how people think that if they yell, they get better service, that politeness is a sign of weakness. It's exactly the opposite. How many times has someone given me a great seat, or a seat upfront, or some free beverages or whatever, just because I have been so nice. They'll say, "How come YOU're so calm/nice/polite/sweet?" while they're working on the thing, and then they'll smile conspiratorially and lock eyes as they hand me the 2B seat or the exit row or the earlier flight or whatever, sometimes putting their finger to their lips in a silent "shhhh" and sometimes winking, but I always smile back, wink, and depart without tipping off the schmucks crowding around me, knowing that I have received a nice (and usually undeserved) reward just for acting like my parents taught me/showed me by example a long time ago.
 
flyboyaz
Posts: 2077
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 11:32 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:43 am

Sounds like a bad day to me...though I wouldn't really call it a service meltdown. Unfortunately when it hits the fan big time, usually there isn't enough staffing to handle the amount of customers that you need to deal with at once. Lines can seem to last forever! A while back UA cancelled a 737 to DEN...about half the plane went to the ticket counter where there was 1, yes that's right, 1 agent working....I went in line to pull some people out to get on our flights...it was crazy.
Catch a ride on a smile!
 
afay1
Posts: 1206
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:37 pm

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:46 am

I was recently in a situation at DCA where I was speaking to a US res agent on the phone who was arguing with the US Shuttle agent about who was right and who was wrong. I had a print-out from the USair website that the guy at DCA claimed was a mistake and the res agent claimed was (duh) absolutely true. I ended up having to go through a number of supervisors before the huge banner on their website (which specifically dealt with DCA Shuttle ops in bad weather) was honored. When it works, it works really well, when it doesn't, boy does it not.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 5154
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:50 am

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 40):
I believe US Airways uses a company in San Salvador that does excellent heavy maintenance work

JetBlue uses them, too. It's AeroMan, TACA's MRO center. Great article on it here: http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/ch...om_story.jsp?id=news/om0105tac.xml
 
ckfred
Posts: 4712
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:45 pm

Quoting Hoya (Thread starter):
Because I had to cancel my ticket(no point in flying to ORD anymore), I wasn't entitled to any travel vouchers.

Back in February, my wife flew ORD-CVG for business on American Eagle. On the day of her return, American called her to tell her that her return flight, the last of the day, had been cancelled, due to bad weather at ORD. There was no space on AA, UA, or DL earlier in the day, so she was booked on the first Eagle flight the next day.

After that, she decided to keep the rental car and drive home. I called AA that evening and was told that since AA had cancelled the flight, it would credit her Amex card.

So, I would try calling US, since it was very likely that the flight that they could have booked you would have gotten in around the time that you would have departed ORD.

Was US going to rebook your return at the same time, or did the agent not realize that you were doing a day trip to Chicago? It's one thing if you were going for a meeting that could have been rescheduled. But, if you were going for an event that couldn't have been rescheduled, such as a wedding or a funeral, then what would have been the point of going to Chicago?

You might also remind the person at US that it isn't the only carrier out of the Washington area. If you travel a lot to Chicago, UA and AA both fly out of DCA, BWI, and IAD, while WN flies BWI-MDW.
 
SonOfACaptain
Posts: 1695
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 5:36 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:49 pm

I will tell you exactly what happened. A.) Republic is short of F/A's, so when there is a no-show, the flight is a no-go. B.) Some of they young Republic F/A's just don't care, and if they don't feel like flying that day, they won't show. Republic won't fire them because they are already short-handed.

Also, US was not the ones cancelling flights. Republic was, so I would appreciate if everybody would stop saying US, since the two are seperate airlines. Feel free to blame the agents though.

Quoting Hoya (Thread starter):
One US Airways employee was extremely rude, telling one person to either shut up or go to jail.

And where the customers on their best bahavior? Apparently not if the cops had to be called in. I am not saying blame shouldn't be placed on the agents, but this situation was frustating for them too.

Quoting Ouboy79 (Reply 6):
The benefits of outsourcing flying to outside outfits, they screw up and US gets the bad rep

Story of every regional airline, unfortunately.

Quoting Azul320 (Reply 11):
When are they ever going to get it together?

Because of this one day, do you not think they have improved? You are wrong by blue friend.

Quoting Loggat (Reply 14):
Where's SOAC to tell us this never would have happened if MidAtlantic had operated the flight? (j/k)

You might have been joking, but that is exactly what I am going to tell you. USXguy pretty much nailed it. I just want to add a few things.

First of all, on MDA, this flight would not have been cancelled because they would have called in a reserve, because unlike RW, they had enough RW.

Secondly, on MDA, the F/A would had shown up, or at least called. They were furloughed mainline F/A's and are professional F/A's. They don't just not show up. And if they did do that, US would be on them hard.

I am not saying MDA was perfect. I am just saying this would not have happened with them.

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 22):
As for keeping the USAirways name instead of the America West name
in light of these so-called customer service issues in the past with
US East, do you remember how sh**ty HP was in the 90s?

Agreed.

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 26):
They should have called in a reserve - found someone!

That is the problem with RW, they don't have any.

Quoting Jsposaune (Reply 28):
"I hate US Airways...we always sit on the taxiway forever here!!"

Ah man, I tell you. That is one of my pet peeves. I always just want to lean over and smack them.

Quoting Ejmmsu (Reply 29):
Thats EIGHT regional carriers. This side of United, who has more?

That doesn't mean anything. US may have more regional carriers, but none of their regional carriers fly as much as Eagle does for AA or ExpressJet does for CO. If you want to judge that, judge how many flights baby carriers do for the momma carriers.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 31):
Or maybe cull the herd and only pick oh, say, five or six express carriers to do the flying

The problem is that US is stuck with the contracts.

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 36):
Even though the flights are out sourced to the general public that plane says US and to them that is who is flying them.

Unfortunately, that is exactly right.

Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 37):
I think that a fair analysis would be based upon a percentage of flights, mainline versus "outsourced", recognizing, of course, that most cities that are "outsourced" wouldn't be served by mainline in any event, absent special circumstances.

Agreed.

Quoting BOS2LAF (Reply 41):
Well, thats because US will do absolutely anything for their preferred members. If youre not preferred, you get a proverbial great big "Screw you" from them.

I was flying DCA-BOS on the last shuttle of the evening, and they held the flight for 20 min for 2 late connecting Chairman's gold members.

A month later, my flight from IND was late arriving, and they couldnt hold my MHT connection for 10 minutes when there were nearly 12 people connecting to MHT from my flight.

20 minutes... 2 people vs. 10 minutes... 12 people

That has nothing to do with US. In those cases, it is always the captains discretion in whether to wait or go.

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
FiveMileFinal
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:17 pm

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:04 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 38):
Even more of a reson why I like CO.

Lincoln

I like CO, too, I just wish they'd get rid of some of their hooptie 733s!

A couple weeks ago on an IAH-SAT flight we got to the runway threshold before the captain figured out we had a broken attitude indicator (their words). We sat on the ground for another 45 minutes while they dug around for a replacement, and then a replacement for the replacement!

Better on the ground than in the air, though.
You goin'? We fly you dere! You been? We done already flew up in dere!
 
ejmmsu
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:05 am

RE: US Airways Service Meltdown At DCA This Morning

Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:36 pm

Quoting SonOfACaptain (Reply 47):
That doesn't mean anything. US may have more regional carriers, but none of their regional carriers fly as much as Eagle does for AA or ExpressJet does for CO. If you want to judge that, judge how many flights baby carriers do for the momma carriers.

No, it has everything to do with the reputation of those carriers, and how they reflect on the mainline operation, and nothing to do with the amount of flying.

American Eagle and Expressjet are very close to their respective mainline carrier, and don't reflect badly upon AA or CO. However, every time a mesa flight screws up, a republic FA doesn't show up... a Colgan saab shakes off a wheel... it reflects badly on the US brand.
"If the facts do not conform to the theory, they will have to be disposed of"