Mailbag: Customer Service

By | April 30, 2007

Our recent Customer Service Stories from other blogs netted this comment from Joanne.

I arrived in Newark airport Sunday, April 17 at 6:45 from Paris to take a connecting flight on USAir from Newark to Rochester, NY. I had booked the ticket on Cheap Tickets back in December. When I and my 2 traveling companions arrived at the check in counter, we were given boarding passes and told the flight was delayed for 1 hour. Noticing that the flight said Pittsburgh, we decided we’d ask at the gate since the very unpleasant person at the counter didn’t say anything about our tickets reading Rochester, NY- and frankly, we had just gotten off an international flight and we were bushed. When a human finally arrived at a gate- ours (the other 10 gates had no humans available to ask…) we were told that the flight didn’t go to Rochester, and that we needed to go back upstairs and try to re-route. We were also told that “this flight hasn’t gone to Rochester in a long time.” I checked. It went last week, and this week etc. Finally, after not producing any decent options, the airline put us up in a flea bag motel for the night and we took Amtrack the next morning at our expense. What, in your opinion should we do with the unused ticket and the lousy and rude customer service we received? HELP!!!

Since we love proof people are reading our blog…we’ve decided to feature her comment in its own post. First, Joanne…we are sorry for your customer service experience. Rest assured there are helpful and courteous airline customer service representitives out there…we have met some…even befriended others. Here’s a few bits of advice for this situation and for the future.

  1. Don’t buy through Cheaptickets…Not only do they share an overseas call center with Orbitz…but online agencies like these guys are notorious for not advising of schedule changes. When it is an agency-issued booking, the agent is supposed to advise you. Do what we continue to advise…use these sites to find prices and buy direct…then the buck stops with your airline.
  2. US Airways is getting a lot of black marks for customer service of late. Even their CEO admitted if they don’t do anything, they’ll be in serious trouble. They are hiring 1000 new employees…but only at their focus cities, so Newark and Rochester are probably not going to get any help. Of course…you never know.
  3. Now…in regards to your problem….US Airways does not operate nonstop service from Newark to Rochester…only Continental does. You had to be changing planes somewhere…unless your plane retained its flight number while going Newark to somewhere and continuing on to Rochester. Newark is not a big airport for US Airways. We pulled their printed timetable effective April 1, 2007. It states they offer nonstop service(codeshares excluded) from Newark to Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. They offer nonstop service from New York-LaGuardia to Rochester though.
  4. What options did the airline offer you? Did you suggest reaccomodation on Continental…the only nonstop carrier? Or that they taxi you to LaGuardia for a nonstop flight?
  5. Finally…you should…assuming you kept your receipts, have enough of a story to contact US Airways and demand they reimburse you for your Amtrak ticket…however, we would need more details on exactly what happened…flight numbers, chain of events…Feel free to comment on this post with such information.
  6. If you do decide to write them for compensation, make your letter to them just as details as we requested…and include your reference/ticket numbers. Write to Customer Relations…here is the link to their contact info.

We look forward to more info on this and an update on your status…