Amazing Stories

By | September 9, 2007

One can be shocked by the repeated stories of woe and disaster…here are some that are not to be believed. Airline complaints in the United States overall are up this year, increasing 47.2% in the first six months of 2007, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In order…the top five complained about U.S. airlines were, in order: US Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Northwest Airlines. British Airways was the most complained about foreign airline.

  • In response to a letter from a concerned passenger about recent extreme airline delays, Delta opted to respond with a call to action, blaming the Air Traffic Control system and that “we must move from the decades-old radar and analog ATC system to more precise satellite navigation and digital communication-based ATC technology that will increase capacity.”
  • United caused a passenger to miss his connection on a flight when they had to wait for a maintenance crew to fix a broken overhead bin…for which the fix was duct tape and a sign that said, “Do not Use.” That was merely his return. On his outbound, his flight was delayed, and the kiosk tried to rebook him for the following day…when he called for an alternate option, they rebooked him out of Washington instead of New York somehow, and when he called to fix that, they offered booking him out of Newark when he’d been flying out of LaGuardia. The whole thing would have resulted in a ten hour layover in Washington anyway. The whole situation has the man swearing off United. His correspondence, and United’s reply can be found by clicking the link.
  • For a followup on the Jetblue meltdown on Valentine’s Day, WABC had a report that contains audio of the pilots communicating with Air Traffic control. It shows how good intentions can cause things to break down.
  • Sarah Mills, the Delta Connection flight attendant who was pulled off duty for showing up drunk and disorderly is also available on video here, courtesy of CBS-46.The video is not a pleasant one.
  • A set of passengers booked travel nonstop from Philadelphia to Seattle, using United Airlines. The planes were actually operated by US Airways. A few months after booking, they called United to check on the flights and discovered that the flights had changed to connecting service, with a much later arrival. They couldn’t understand what the customer service agents were trying to tell them, the first didn’t know how to pronounce the city names, the second and third equally difficult to understand. In the background was cheering and clapping. Ultimately, resolution was found through calls to the consumer affairs department.
    • The passenger above sent a letter to various United executives, and did receive a response. they received a call and the offer of a flight that got them in at their original time, and a $100 voucher for each of the two tickets. The squeaky wheel got the grease…
  • 120 passengers staged a revolt on a Continental Airlines flight after waiting for five hours. On July 29th, the plane was en route from Caracas, Venezuela to Newark when bad weather diverted it to Baltimore. Food and water became low and toilets became filthy. Passengers organized and protested by clapping in rhythm and drumming on overhead bins, and finally the pilot called the police. The passengers and the airline disagree on the situation, the passengers claiming rudeness and indifference from airline personnel.
  • A reader of the Consumerist accidentally left his Swiss Army knife in his backpack, something he didn’t discover until later. Going through security, the TSA confiscated his pudding, but missed the knife.
  • An American Airlines plane was grounded after passengers complained about six men speaking Arabic. The men had been hired by Defense Training Systems to train marines at Camp Pendleton. The plane returned to the gate after one woman with children wanted off, frightened by them. It is distressing that passengers speaking a foreign tongue is a reason for someone to panic.
  • One passenger discovered that British Airways places lost luggage outside at London Heathrow outside while they try to figure out how to route it. When he received his lost luggage, everything inside was soaked with water and penetrated with mold and mildew. Everything was ruined. BA has failed to reply to his compensation claim.
  • US Airways overbooked a flight and failed to get a marine home to see his grandmother before she passed. In such an emergency situation, not only did they not get him on the flight, but they failed to put him on the next flight, forcing him to sleep on the terminal floor overnight.
  • A Southwest Airlines supervisor removed a 23-year old Hooters waitress from a plane for being inappropriate. The woman was wearing “white denim miniskirt, high-heel sandals, and a turquoise summer sweater over a tank top over a bra.” Hardly sounds inappropriate, especially considering that flight attendants on Southwest once dressed in mini-skirts. Most journalists were shocked that there was the need for commentary(Check out the links for pictures of the outfit). Southwest commented that the concern was brought to their attention and they addressed it with her. Perhaps it was merely the way they addressed it.
  • A security officer found 30 dead snakes, a dead bird, and pieces of several other birds in the suitcase of a man arriving from South Korea into Atlanta last month.