(Yeah, this one's got a few f-bombs in it, so be forewarned. Sorry about that.)
Kids, if you walk away from this little blog with one piece of advice, make it this:
Don’t fly US Airways.
Ever. Even if it's free.
Worst fucking airline in the world, hands down. No contest. Worse than those Russian ones I bet.
You know that scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana is dragging behind that truck and hanging on to his whip as he’s trying to pull himself back up? Yeah? Well, flying US Air is kinda like that except you’re also covered in unemployed, satan-worshiping wasps and somehow a bear trap has attached itself to your tender parts. And somehow it keeps opening and closing and you're thinking "how is that even possible?" but you don't want to let go of the whip 'cause you really want to get where you're going.
And, honestly, that’s putting it lightly.
Here’s what happened this weekend on what should have been an easy jaunt to LA for the weekend.
Thursday night I was scheduled to fly from Atlanta to LA through Phoenix leaving at 7PM, getting into LA at 11. Not too bad, right? Well, Thursday was the one day of the year it rained in Phoenix and so the wheels came off for the entire operation over there at US Air. I swear if I started an airline today, tomorrow I would be more prepared to handle the situation than they were. Grosser incompetence I’ve never seen.
I got into Phoenix pretty delayed but it didn’t matter as pretty much everything in Phoenix was tits up by that point. And the fact that an "A14" jetway was extending from the "A12" gate wasn't exactly encouraging. Seriously. Click on this pic and check it out.
Then we began to get the bad news. The plane to LA was late coming in. It finally showed up at like 11 (when I was supposed to be arriving in LA). But there was no crew. They were coming in from Seattle. It would be three hours before they got in. Estimated departure was 1:30 AM. I laid down on a bench for a bit I think and waited. The crew showed up, we were boarded and relatively happy to be leaving even if we weren’t getting in until like 3 something. Then I leaned into the aisle to see what the hold up was only to see a pilot leaving the plane with his little suitcase. Then came the voice:
“Our pilots have timed out, this flight is now cancelled. Please see customer service in the concourse to rebook.”
It was after 2 AM. 5 AM Atlanta time. I’d been up for almost 24 hours.
All around me was a chorus of expletive-ridden shouts. None of us were very happy. People were livid. Rather than suffer the seemingly endless customer service line, I called the good folks at US Air and was told I had been booked in the 10:21 flight the next morning. I asked where they would be putting me until then considering I don’t maintain a residence in Phoenix and had not intended to spend the night there that night. They said that it was the weather’s fault, not theirs, so where I was to stay was no one’s problem but mine. This is what came out of my mouth (and it's not good, mom):
“How the fuck is that not your problem? You’re a fucking airline! You don’t fly indoors now, do you? No! Guess what, sometimes it rains, even in shitty-ass Phoenix. You should be prepared for that. Oh, and here’s an idea, how ‘bout having a couple of spare guys who can fly a plane be around in case you need them. This is your hub, after all. You’re the worst fucking airline flying today and I hope you do go bankrupt because it would do us all a favor. You do realize there are other airlines who really have their shit together and actually know what they’re doing and you do realize that the people sitting in those seats are the ones paying your salaries and they most certainly have a choice as to who to fly so it wouldn’t hurt to treat them like a fucking human being? I’d rather walk than fly you ever again.”
I don’t know how much of the end of it she caught ‘cause I think she hung up. I don’t blame her. But then again, she didn’t seem to care too much anyway. After all, it wasn’t her problem. You know? Somehow in US air's mind this was my doing and so my problem to sort out. They act like you're lucky to be getting anything from them.
So I went down to the baggage claim area to see what the deal was with local hotels. Everything was sold out. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, other names for the same city—you name it. Nascar, Final Four, the clusterfuck airline who’d been canceling flights all day—it was not a good night to be looking. Good spaces on the floor were starting to fill up. I decided to go ahead and get mine.
I managed to make a bed out of that chair there and a wheelchair and got a couple of hours sleep there and on the floor next to it to the sounds of “recent changes in security require all carry-on liquids gels or aerosols to be 3 ounces or less and contained in one, 1-quart re-sealable, zip-top bag. Know your 311 to make your screening process go smoothly.” Fucker. I awoke a shade before 6 to the early morning flights arriving at the baggage carousel.
So this is what it’s like to be homeless, I thought.
I called the airline repeatedly overnight to see if I could get on an earlier flight out only to be told they were all oversold and I was lucky to be on the 10:21. Yet Friday morning when I got to the gate and asked if I could get on the 7:23 flight the guy said “yeah, it’s wide open, come on aboard.” Fucking shysters. Liars, all of them. God, I want to know what is on those computer screens of theirs.
So that was the trip in. Because it was so bad I postponed my trip back to yesterday rather than Sunday. Fast forward to yesterday.
I got to LAX at about 2:30 hoping for the best. However, as soon as I got inside it nosedived. The automated check-in machines were down. Of course, they were understaffed. I commandeered a woman and demanded she speak to me. She told me the flight to Phoenix was never gonna make it on time to get me to my connection. I wasn’t surprised. So she offered to book me through Vegas in first class the whole way to get into Atlanta at 6 in the morning. Just like that, I was already six hours behind schedule and I’d just walked in the door. Thank god somehow it all worked out and I got home this morning on time. I’m tired and I slept in seat 1A and not my own bed like I had planned last night, but I made it home. I’ll just tell you this:
US Airways is the worst fucking airline known to man. Avoid them like the plague they are.