An Open Letter to U.S. Airways

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  1. You can call me, 'Sir' says:

    “If you didn’t want this to happen, well then maybe you shouldn’t have had children.”

    Oh, please, please, please promise me that if the USAir person that you talk to says this that you’ll find a way to record your response.

  2. Useless air. Gotta love ’em.

  3. Don’t think it’s just US Air. It’s all of them. It happens to us all the time. I just refuse to sit down. Funny how quickly people solve the problem for you. And, hey, it’s not as if I don’t book seats together when I make the reservations.

  4. My gosh, this is like the 20th story this month I’ve read/heard like this. All different airlines but US Air seems pretty prominent. This is all kinds of absurd, and the major problem seems to be with their response to it. Good for you standing and letting the kids cry until it is resolved.

  5. I would be terrifed, except for the fact that we are flying Southwest Wednesday. Yup, I know that they herd you like cows into the airplane with no assigned seats. But, in this case, the preboarding makes sense!

    I can’t wait to hear their response (and I would have told Ian to keep screaming, too).

  6. Gah! Flying with kids. I haven’t done it with two of them yet. Not looking forward to it.

    Our experience with T on Southwest was wonderful. He got the tour of the cockpit.

  7. Oh, that’s horrible. Good for you for using the howling of your children to shame otherwise shameless people into helping you.

    How funny that several months ago, a very good friend of mine wrote a post with nearly the same title. Don’t think I’ll be flying US Airways anytime soon.

  8. Again, I find myself speechless because there are entirely too many things to say and I don’t know where to begin.

  9. Do you read Suburban Turmoil? She called out United recently after flying with her baby…they had seated them SEPARATELY.

  10. ckirby50 says:

    I *heart* Southwest and their pre-boarding with children under 5 policy. And yes, Ian totally had permission to scream. (and now for an ND reference) Idiots!

  11. Nice.

  12. MathleteSarah says:

    Good job Ian! I am surprised Claudia didn’t have a word or two for those flight attendants!

  13. I have travelled extensively with my now 9 year old son. I am a US Airways pilot too. When we travelled, we were always the last to board as we were “Non-Rev” passengers. I never had a seat assigment with him, but always managed to sit next to him. People will move for parents. The problem is the advanced seat assignment process that every airline has and every passenger has access to. You could have taken your e-ticket code, loggged onto the airline website and booked your seats together 30 days in advance. I ALWAYS recommend doing this.
    Once you get on the plane, if you have a window or aisle seat, use that as a bartering chip. Put one of your kids in your assigned middle seat and sit in the window or aisle seat next to it. Then when the passenger who has that seat shows up, hand him or her the coupon to that window or aisle seat. That always works. Then when the 3rd passenger shows up and sees a mommy and child next to him or her, they will probably trade too. And now you have 3 seats together. And standing in the aisle does work. The FAA regulations say we can’t close the door or move the aircraft until all overhead bin doors are closed and all passengers are seated. If you aree standing, the Flight Attendants will get the problem resolved.
    All the airlines are plagued by this problem this summer. Most airlines are filling 4 out 5 seats (or MORE) on every single flight this summmer! That is unprecedented! This is what high fuel prices and low air fares have generated. If you don’t have a seat assignment and your flight is within 30 days, you better get it secured NOW! And I would recommend getting to the airport 2 1/2 hours early even if I do have a seat assgnment. It has been an absolutely CRAZY summer travel season (since the middle of June). And if your ever on my flight, come on up to the flight deck (before or after the flight) and I will give you and your kids a quick tour!

  14. How crappy is that??? Not gonna fly US Airways anytime soon. I’ll stick with JetBlue. When you book online… you actually pick your own seats on a little chart. You can see the whole plane… what seats are filled and available… and personally assign a seat for every ticket you bought.

  15. The only way I would fly USAir again is if they were giving away tickets. I’m not one of those breeders who demands that the world bend to me because I have a kid. I do, however, have money to spend and if an airline clearly treats me like shit, I’m going to assume it’s because they don’t want my money. I am sick to death of USAir- last three times with them = worst trips ever.

    People gripe about Southwest not assigning seats, but they practically fall over themselves to help people travelling with children. And guess what? I’m happy to hand over my money to them.

  16. You are a better person than me. I would have gone Aiken on their asses until the FBI pulled everyone off the plane.

    That is crazy.

  17. I don’t think I’ll be flying US air any time soon. Or ever.

    I felw Delta the other day and they had put a woman and her 6 month old in different areas. She was pissed. I think they are all incompetant idiots.

    What’s girl food?

  18. Sounds like you got the same guy who didn’t know the difference between Chicago and Minneapolis. And yet U.S. Airways paid CEO Doug Parker $5.4 million last year. Does the smell of all that money make him dizzy and forget how to run a business?

  19. I’ve had this problem with American and Northwest as well. All of the airlines can suck it!

  20. P.S. I like the redecorating you did here.

  21. Thanks. It was all Karen. She is the goddess of Blogs.

  22. I kept waiting for the part where you said “April fools” because I thought there was no way this could actually happen. We are going to Disney in November, and now I am going to worry about the flight even more than I normally do!

  23. The new look is great.

    The airlines blow. It’s almost as if they don’t care at all about us and only care about our money, and once they have that money, we can all go suck an egg. Oh, wait …

  24. Wow. That truly sucks.

  25. I love that you told Ian to keep screaming. You rock!

  26. I totally wish this would have been on that reality TV show “Airline” on A&E. I seriously hope you sent them a copy of this.

  27. As a woman who just got off a plane (seriously) I have no idea how you did not go postal on their asses. I think I would have gone crazy ape shit if I would have been in your position.

  28. this is what i say to all people who traumatize mothers at the airport….fuck you! you were much nicer than me…

  29. OOOOOOOoooooooooooo, lovin’ the new look!

  30. I love Ian screaming. Good boy.

    Even though I am a childless kid-hating old shrew, I would gladly move seats for you to be with your kids. And I would punch anyone who didn’t.

  31. This seems to be happening a whole lot lately. A friend of mine went through the same thing with her three year old AND 8-month old! Nobody ANYWHERE (from the reservationist, to the check-in chick, and the gatekeepers, to the actual attendants on the flight — they’re all dodos! Seriously, who the hell thinks there’s nothing wrong with the fact that children are being seated apart from their parent(s)??

  32. That’s a shame. It drives me crazy how airlines don’t keep families together when the seats are assigned. We flew with our 4 kids this past week and our seats were all over the place. We flew United and I will say that the flight attendants were awesome about rearranging seats so we could be together.

  33. You need to go to Cafepress or wherever and make shirts that say “Suck It.” I will buy lots of them!

  34. Customer services isn’t even in the airline industry’s vocabulary anymore. It’s like healthcare. We have to self manage everything.

    I totally disagree with Jerry (posted above) “When we travelled, we were always the last to board as we were “Non-Rev” passengers. I never had a seat assigment with him, but always managed to sit next to him. People will move for parents.” That’s a load of crap! First of all, I spent years travelling “Non-Rev” and there were plenty of times I didn’t sit with my parents (mind you, I was older – preteen and teen – at the time, so it didn’t really matter all that much). Second, people will NOT move for parents. Not all people that is. The thing that bothers me the most is after giving these airlines a krautton of money to get to your destination WHY should you have to be figuring out how to put your family together?

    The gate agents at US Airways should have done this for you, immediately when you asked at the gate. Someone dropped the ball on this one Sarah! Hope it didn’t put too much of a bad taste in your mouth for the rest of your trip.

  35. i was waiting for the gates to open for my Singapore Airlines flight (Australia to Singapore) when i heard my name called over the speakers and i thought, “oh my god, what the hell did i do now?”. but it was the gate lady who was politely asking me to swtch so that a family could sit together. at first i thought that they shouldn’t have been seperated at all but at least they did something about before the flight and not when everyone was trying to get seated. and the gate lady was very polite and apologetic. i think it is very thoughtless to inconvenience the parents, and stress them and the kids out like that. even if it is a budget flight, there is no excuse for such lack of service. better to stay away from US Airways from now on. they obviously don’t care.

  36. Re-fuckin-diculous!

  37. United did the same thing to me when I was flying from California to Georgia with my three-year-old. Alone. I was told to ask strangers to give up their aisle or window seat for my child. In the end I pinched her thigh real hard and stood in the aisle blocking the other passengers as she screamed. At that point, I had several people offer up their seats.

    Ridiculous business, airlines, eh?

  38. The exact same thing happened to me, except my son was 10 months old at the time. We had to get last minute seats b/c my husbands grandfather died. They had us all over the plane. And they told us there was nothing they could do. I actually started to cry. They had my 10 month old sitting by himself. Eventually 3 people moved.

    Airlines are idiots.

  39. Late reading this – but hey, it’s a topic I love…

    Airlines do not provide service to normal customers. None. Whatsoever. Way too expensive. And most people travel once or twice a year and then buy the cheapest ticket on whatever airline they find – so why bother?

    The only people airlines provide service for are frequent flyers. And forget the “first level” (25000 miles a year on most airlines). They are busy taking care of the people flying every week. Once you fly 100,000 miles a year on the same airline, they start paying attention to you. And of course your seats are together. And of course you preboard. And of course if you complain someone looks into it.

    So what do you do when you are not flying all the time (and trust me, you really don’t want to be flying all the time – the perks do not even come close to compensate for the time wasted, time you’d rather be home)? Most advice here was good. a) try to book seats early online b) if on the plane, most people will trade c) if all else fails, simply stand in the aisle and very calmly (that’s important, if they claim you are causing a disturbance, they can kick you off the plane and charge you under a federal law) – very calmly ask to sit with your children.

    I’m still in awe that you traveled alone with three year old twins. Awesome. You rock!

  40. Wow, wow, wow!

    I’m out of words. Thanks for sharing the misery with us, though — airline mishaps with kids seem to be popping up all over!

  41. This has happened to us several times, too, but we’ve always managed to get either a gate agent to help us, or to camp out in the seats we want until someone will trade. I’m not sure if you had car seats for the twins, but that can be an added complication — the car seat must always be on the window to avoid blocking escape routes. We were supremely lucky once when we had 3 middle seats, none of them carseat-acceptable, in two different rows on a jumbo jet to Hawaii — there was a storm in Chicago, so half the connecting passengers didn’t make the flight. It was the emptiest flight to Hawaii I’ve ever taken, and we were able to get three seats together with the carseat in an acceptable spot. Whew! One shouldn’t have to depend on luck when flying with small children, however.

  42. Honestly I don’t think airlines think about anything that goes on on those flights except getting the herd on and off without an incidence. Been on 2 flights with USAir not too long ago and each one had issues with food running out and other things. It’s unreal!

  43. Sarah…I LOVE YOU! (Well, not not really, but…) I live in Phoenix, and US Airways is billed as our “hometown airline” because they are based here. (Actually, it was America West that was based here, but they both stink so it doesn’t matter that they merged.)

    I just traveled back from Florida last week (I wrote about it on my blog), and both times the plane was delayed – once by an hour, once by two hours. My husband and I have a running joke that we’ll always be late if we fly on US Airways because they ALWAYS have “mechanical problems.” They have set the bar so low that I can simply hop over it.

    Every. Single. Trip. Is a nightmare.

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you. To add to the person that mentioend Doug Parker’s salary, Mr. Parker has had a rough year. He’s been busted here for DUIs, the most recent one included him driving his Mercedes (the company lawyer in the car with him – NOT JOKING),less than five miles from his home after attending the FBR Phoenix Open. He’s had others but was able to keep them quiet until this story broke. Nice.

    Also, I have to give a shout out to Whit. That comment about Clay Aiken (while he is still one of my favorite Idols) was awesome.

    Good luck, Sarah. And let us know when you get a sympathetic response (muffling a laugh here) from US Airways. It would be a first.

  44. ok, so, yet again they have SCREWED ME!! thats THREE TIMES in ONE week!

    in retaliation, I have started a myspace page on US AIRWAYS SUCKS!

    join my myspace protest, my email address is:

    You can search me on myspace. Thanks in advance for the support

  45. there. a website that now clearly states that us airways sucks.

  46. when america west took over usair (as explained to me by an agent) the new “mickey mouse” reservation system has a few

  47. “Jerry says:
    I have travelled extensively with my now 9 year old son. I am a US Airways pilot too.”
    Funny how a US Airways pilot doesn’t see this as a problem… but has a dozen work arounds! That’s the f-ing problem with this airline!

  48. I missed this post at the time (I was moving) but I can soo relate to this. When our twins were 1 and Elliot nearly 3, we bought 3 seats on a flight and were a little late boarding, so all 3 seats were middle seats, one in front of the other, and the 3rd nowhere near. And no one was willing to move so that I could sit next to Elliot!
    Fortunately it worked out great. Elliot was not a bit shy, and he chatted away. “I frew up last night!” was his opener. He’d had the flu months earlier but it had made a great impression on him. His seat mate was more than a bit worried, but I didn’t feel the need to enlighten her. He kept asking the businessman in the window seat if he could play Reader Rabbit on his laptop! He demanded help with crayons, spilled his juice, etc. It was awesome.
    I like to think that those 2 people, at least, are even now (Elliot’s 12) more willing to let mothers sit next to their toddlers.
    Sorry this is so long, but I felt the need to share 😉

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