OneX123
Topic Author
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:08 am

US Airways experience

Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:58 pm

Hi all,

What was it like for a Frequent Flying traveling on US Airways prior to their 2015 merger with AA?

I've flown with AA, UA, and DL very frequently and enjoy all of their FF perks. The ability to select Econ+ as a gold/platinum member on UA/AA is very nice (extra points for AA giving free booze in that class!). DL obviously for their PTVs, nice snacks (almonds and cheez-its), and upgradeability (as long as it's not ATL on a Monday or Thursday).

The unfortunate part of being an AA FF and traveling to PHX is having to endure LUS's horrendous onboard product. On thier A321's there are two rows of Econ+ (one is the bulkhead behind first which is uncomfortable and the second is the emergency row at the back of the plane with the tightest seats I've ever had to endure on an aircraft). Along with this, there are no PTVs and no power.

Was US Airways a nice airline to fly on prior to their merger? Were they cutting a lot of costs in the early 2010s?

Best,
 
PI4EVR
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:29 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:06 pm

Well be prepared for a litany of opinion, most along the line of "horrendous" as you describe the LUS A321.
It will unfortunately be known forever as a lousy airline. That opinion was formed from a difficult past history dating back to the 1989 mergers that ultimately formed the new-named USAirways by Stephen Wolf. The period up to the mid-20's did see improving finances, growth and fleet commonality switching to Airbus, but it was not sustained. By the 2005 merger with HP, the airline was days away from collapse and shutdown.
Douglas Parker and his HP team came aboard and moved the airline to the LCC model to streamline costs and the operation. And while that model did result in significant financial improvements, it did not win accolades with customers or employees. That past history of poor financial performance, several high profile accidents (UScareways) and the perception that all employees were rude added to the perception of being a lousy airline with uncomfortable airplanes and poor service. Remember charging for water? Remarkable to think the airline ultimately was flying 80+ million passengers a year throughout the US, Caribbean and Europe with such a lousy reputation. Remember just recent that Spirit was named "worst airline in the US", while DL, UA and AA have shared lousy reputations at times as well.
I spent the last 12 years of my airline career as an employee of US. I was proud of the airline and I know many, many dedicated and loyal employees who tried to do the best job they could. Many of us would remark "we continue to succeed in spite of ourselves." We wanted things better for employees, customers and the corporation. And we were loyal even when there was no cohesive people culture there.
I feel a sense of deja vu today with AA. That culture is lacking and no sense of the mission. I proudly support AA and want it to be the absolute best in the sky. There are great people at AA. I'm one of thousands who would like a conversation with Douglas Parker. I truly hope AA moves on and sets the standard for airline service everywhere it flies.
Its time AA. Stop rearranging the deck chairs. US has "flown west."
Good luck with your feedback.
 
User avatar
fbgdavidson
Posts: 3863
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

Re: US Airways experience

Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:47 pm

I only ever flew them from about 2005 onwards on single class regional jets or in F domestically and thought they were pretty rubbish, especially in the premium cabins.

The pitch in F, which is still in place in some aircraft today feels barely more than coach. No power, no wifi, coffee served in styrofoam, plastic glasses. You wouldn't get a meal on flights of less than 3.5hrs, which means you could fly F coast to coast with connections and not get a real meal. It was all extremely low rent...and they certainly lived up to their LCC stock ticker...
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
OneX123
Topic Author
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:08 am

Re: US Airways experience

Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:52 pm

PI4EVR wrote:
Well be prepared for a litany of opinion, most along the line of "horrendous" as you describe the LUS A321.
It will unfortunately be known forever as a lousy airline. That opinion was formed from a difficult past history dating back to the 1989 mergers that ultimately formed the new-named USAirways by Stephen Wolf. The period up to the mid-20's did see improving finances, growth and fleet commonality switching to Airbus, but it was not sustained. By the 2005 merger with HP, the airline was days away from collapse and shutdown.
Douglas Parker and his HP team came aboard and moved the airline to the LCC model to streamline costs and the operation. And while that model did result in significant financial improvements, it did not win accolades with customers or employees. That past history of poor financial performance, several high profile accidents (UScareways) and the perception that all employees were rude added to the perception of being a lousy airline with uncomfortable airplanes and poor service. Remember charging for water? Remarkable to think the airline ultimately was flying 80+ million passengers a year throughout the US, Caribbean and Europe with such a lousy reputation. Remember just recent that Spirit was named "worst airline in the US", while DL, UA and AA have shared lousy reputations at times as well.
I spent the last 12 years of my airline career as an employee of US. I was proud of the airline and I know many, many dedicated and loyal employees who tried to do the best job they could. Many of us would remark "we continue to succeed in spite of ourselves." We wanted things better for employees, customers and the corporation. And we were loyal even when there was no cohesive people culture there.
I feel a sense of deja vu today with AA. That culture is lacking and no sense of the mission. I proudly support AA and want it to be the absolute best in the sky. There are great people at AA. I'm one of thousands who would like a conversation with Douglas Parker. I truly hope AA moves on and sets the standard for airline service everywhere it flies.
Its time AA. Stop rearranging the deck chairs. US has "flown west."
Good luck with your feedback.


I greatly appreciate the response! Extremely interesting to hear about especially from a past employee.

It's also very interesting to hear they picked up the LCC model - I can definitely now see that given the LUS aircraft. I grew up right under one of Boston's arrival path's and always loved seeing the aircraft fly in -- I loved their livery.

To be honest, I've flown heavily on AA over the past year and, thankfully, I've been fortunate as of now to avoid the operation issues. With that said, I've very much enjoyed their hard product (outside of that LUS A321!)
 
UALFAson
Posts: 1022
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:47 am

Some of it depended on which routes you flew. Taking the DCA-LGA-BOS Shuttle was a different experience with higher-class passengers than a lot of their leisure routes through PHX and CLT.

For a while they were in the Star Alliance and code-shared with UA, so I flew them a fair amount during that period, though I know a lot of UA frequent flyers would go out of their way to avoid US flights as the experience was substandard. And I think I always considered USAir(ways) sort of a second-class airline, compared to AA, CO, DL, NW, and UA. Maybe it was because they were a mash-up of multiple airline mergers over the years, but their logo and marketing and product and onboard service just always seemed dated. Even with their uniforms, before the AA merger, they tried going business casual with polo shirts and the like and the employees just looked ridiculous. It's like they've never ever been able to figure out who they are as a company--are we full-service business or casual leisure oriented?

That said, they had (and still have) a great route network to the Caribbean. PIT was a fantastic hub back in its day--much better than PHL from an operations and customer service standpoint. I grew up near DCA, so they will always be a bit of my hometown airline, and were, in fact, headquartered in Arlington, VA prior to the merger. I knew people who worked for them and know they have been through a lot, like PI4EVR said. I, too, hope AA can get their act together soon. Its employees and customers deserve better.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 13992
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:35 pm

UALFAson wrote:
Some of it depended on which routes you flew. Taking the DCA-LGA-BOS Shuttle was a different experience with higher-class passengers than a lot of their leisure routes through PHX and CLT.

For a while they were in the Star Alliance and code-shared with UA, so I flew them a fair amount during that period, though I know a lot of UA frequent flyers would go out of their way to avoid US flights as the experience was substandard. And I think I always considered USAir(ways) sort of a second-class airline, compared to AA, CO, DL, NW, and UA. Maybe it was because they were a mash-up of multiple airline mergers over the years, but their logo and marketing and product and onboard service just always seemed dated. Even with their uniforms, before the AA merger, they tried going business casual with polo shirts and the like and the employees just looked ridiculous. It's like they've never ever been able to figure out who they are as a company--are we full-service business or casual leisure oriented?

That said, they had (and still have) a great route network to the Caribbean. PIT was a fantastic hub back in its day--much better than PHL from an operations and customer service standpoint. I grew up near DCA, so they will always be a bit of my hometown airline, and were, in fact, headquartered in Arlington, VA prior to the merger. I knew people who worked for them and know they have been through a lot, like PI4EVR said. I, too, hope AA can get their act together soon. Its employees and customers deserve better.


Many good points here, especially about PIT. My US experience was predominantly on sub-750 mile routes ex-CLT when I lived in Charlotte in the mid-00s. It was generally fine though probably somewhat less premium-feeling than AA or UA.

CLT didn’t yet have the operational problems that have plagued it recently, though takeoff lines could sometimes be long when there were only two parallels. The ex-Piedmont staff, both on the ground and in the air, were (and, to the extent they are still around, still are) wonderful. The newer hires and ex-AL folks not so much. Then as now, many cities that had a lot of regional flights to other hubs had at least some mainline to CLT, which I viewed as a benefit.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
User avatar
ricport
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:54 pm

My experience began in the 70s when they were Allegheny. For many years, they had a virtual lock on service from the Great Lakes states to the east coast. And, they acted like they knew it - lousy planes, horrible service, PIT & PHL hubs that had all of the charm of a Greyhound station men's room, no FF program for years after everyone else had one, etc. I think part of the reason why they changed their name to USAir was because their Allegheny name had become transformed to "Agony Airlines" by so many pax (for good reason). That transformation - and the subsequent one to U.S. Airways - were nothing more than putting a new coat of paint on a burned-out house. Despite their horrible reputation, they not only did they endure, but they gobbled up - and totally ruined - good airlines like PSA and Piedmont. I was glad when DL, NW & CO set up Great Lakes hubs, as it finally gave us long-suffering folks viable options to the east. I gladly changed planes instead of having to endure a US nonstop to the east.

Then, just when I was hoping they'd finally get their come-uppance and go under, America West swooped in to save them. But, all that happened is that the same surly, indifferent US staff infected the America West staff. I was finally glad to see the US name die with the AA merger, but I felt sad for them, for it was the equivalent of a healthy person running up and kissing someone with a raging case of Ebola. And, all you have to do is look at AA's DCA operation (Z gates, surly, uncaring staff, tired, old planes) to see that, sadly, the rotten, fetid ghosts of this horrid carrier live on. As I've said before, they should hire a voodoo priestess and a Catholic priest to rid this carrier of the bad US evil spirits. Whatever they called themselves, they'll always be Agony Airlines to me.
 
DesertAir
Posts: 1417
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:34 am

Re: US Airways experience

Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:07 pm

I remember when they bought PSA-beloved California airline- On the short Burbank-Oakland they served food. The FAs were just about throwing the trays at the passengers on the BA-146.
 
User avatar
chepos
Posts: 6785
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

Re: US Airways experience

Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:03 pm

First time I flew US was in 2003, MCO-CLT-SJU, during a time of uncertainty for the airline. A 734 up to CLT and a 320 down to SJU. The 734 had these huge TV’s mounted to the ceilings and was showing it’s age. The 320 was much newer and had the usual offerings for the day. Crews were typical for a US carrier, as for service, pax got a free mini sandwich with chips on the CLT-SJU segment. US had to evolve to survive, they had an inefficient hub structure a motley fleet makeup and had to undergo changes for survival. Many of the changes earned the ire of many, yet it guaranteed survival.


In the mid 2000’s in a last minute ditch for survival they attempted a FLL focus city, which was quickly abandoned as the HP merger progressed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
Kno
Posts: 359
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:26 pm

I thought the service was particularly bare bones. I remember they kept the IFE off on all domestic flights. no IFE on jfk-Phx, no IFE Phl-Mia, no IFE even on the a330 I flew from Bos-clt.
 
EAR111pt2
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: US Airways experience

Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:43 am

I have flown US Airways only twice, on a flight from DEN-PHL, and PHL-GLA. First Class. Service was ok. Not much to write home about.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: lesfalls and 21 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos