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Got a complaint against US Airways?  Don’t waste your time.  I wish I hadn’t. First let me tell  you my issue.  I was flying from Detroit to Phoenix with a connection to Seattle.  I went to select my seat and found that if I wanted an aisle or window seat as well as a bulkhead or exit seat, I needed to pay $25.  Fine, I understand the need to pay for luggage – not everyone takes luggage, but everyone needs a seat.  So because I wanted an aisle I paid $50 – $25 for each leg of my trip plus my checked baggage fee of $20.  My “free” PR trip is now up to $70 (someday I need to write a post about the cost of “free” PR trips, but that’s for another day).

So on the day of my flight I decided to check for an upgrade.  I knew they were pricey  on this airline – almost double what Alaska Airlines charges for the same number of miles, but again, I didn’t pay for the original ticket so it’d only cost me the upgrade.  There wasn’t an upgrade available for the 4hr leg, but there was for the 2hr trip – $125 (most charge $50-$75).  I decided to go ahead thinking that I’d get the cost of my bag check and seat purchase reduced from the first class upgrade.  I was wrong.

It seems US Airways penalizes their customers who choose seats ahead of time.  Turns out I’d not get any refund and I’d have to pay the full price of the upgrade.  On the principal of the matter I decided not to upgrade and I tried to contact US Airways via Twitter to let them know I thought their policy was punitive.  While most companies are embracing Social Media, evidently US Airways is only using it as a signpost to direct customers to their website.  The problem is, most people, including myself, connect to Twitter through a 3rd party application and we never see their bio where the information is listed.

Evidently if you're "famous" they do help you out on Twitter - the rest of us are on our own. Funny, I have more than double the followers of Dobbs.

After waiting 24 hours and not getting a reply on Twitter, I checked their account and that’s when I found the “we’re not really here to help” message and contacted them through their website.  Below is the very unhelpful reply I received.

Dear Mrs. Ott:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations regarding your concern for our Choice Seating and Upgrade policies and procedures. We appreciate and welcome all inquiries, concerns, and compliments, as your feedback is important to us.

I apologize for your dissatisfaction in that you purchased a choice seat and were then unable to apply that amount toward a first class upgrade. Choice seats give our customers more seat assignment options and more say in where they sit on the aircraft, and are sold per flight. Choice Seat fees are non-refundable, and are not associated with any other upgrade policies.

I appreciate the opportunity to explain and clarify this matter, and again, apologize for your dissatisfaction. Your concerns regarding this matter have been thoroughly documented and forwarded to the appropriate departments for review and consideration of possible changes in the future. This method has proven very successful; in fact, many of our current policies, procedures, and positive changes are a direct result of customer feedback. Comments and concerns from our customers are considered a vital link to the continued growth and success of US Airways.

Mrs. Ott, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns. US Airways values each customer and appreciates their feedback. We realize you have a choice when flying and we certainly hope US Airways will remain one of your choices.


Stephanie Mastors
Representative, Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office

Case: US-11OTT-K50O14

The ironic thing about their stupid seat policy is that a 3 year old and his mother were seated across the aisle from each other because the “free” seats are the middle seats.  She begged people to switch with her so she could sit with her son, but these people had paid extra to have the seats they wanted and they weren’t budging and frankly, I can’t really blame them.  It was resolved somehow and I would have given up my seat, but I was alone so that wouldn’t have fixed their problem. Put I had to wonder why the airline didn’t offer the mother the chance to pay $25 so they could sit together?  Or did she know and decide not to pay and take her chances?  I’m not sure, but I can tell you if you’re planning to fly US Airways with kids, pay, because the flights are full. We know these people weren’t going to get a refund for giving up their seat.

I find the whole process frustrating and what’s next – paying to potty on the plane?  Sadly I’m not alone – check out the Twitter hashtag #usairlines at any given time and you’ll see delays, cancellations,  surly crew, flights stuck on the tarmac in 90 degree weather with no air conditioning, complaints of no free snacks (soft drinks only – everything else you pay), no movies or entertainment of any kind (4-6 flights across country – bring your own entertainment), and paid wi-fi if it’s available at all.

As it turns out, first class was full on my flight home to Seattle but thanks to a mechanical failure, plane change, and crew mishap (ours were given away and they had to call a new crew in), most of our travelers disappeared…to where I’m not sure.  The plane was full when I scheduled my seat, but the actual flight was empty. Many of us had the entire row to ourselves.

Will I fly US Airways again?  Not on purpose.  I’m not happy with their reply and in the time I was at the Phoenix airport every one of their planes in our area was delayed by hours because of crew or mechanical problems.  Plus they moved us from the far reaches of the A gates to the far B gates, which in this airport is a considerable distance,  and they made no accommodations to get the elderly and people with kids there in time for the flight.  With so many other airlines to choose from, I’ll choose one that understands the concept of customer service.

Disclosure:  My son works for Alaska Airlines as a Customer Service Agent – this did not affect my thoughts on the poor service of US Airways.