A non-love letter to US Air


Dear US Air,

How are things? Good? That's great.

I saw that you recently were ranked 3rd to last in a consumer satisfaction survey. Congrats. You must be proud.

I've complained a significant amount about traveling to Philadelphia each week. But, I've largely kept my complaints from you as an airline. Primarily, I've been annoyed by the Philadelphia airport, Philadelphia traffic, thunderstorms, slow people, etc. Things that I had largely deemed out of your control... however, I think I was forgetting that every Monday morning the 6:30 am flight is delayed because you can't schedule the crews right. May I repeat, every Monday morning. Also, the Thursday 7:15 flight is on-time 40% of the time. In what other business, is 40% acceptable? I willingly took your flights because the other option was Southwest and frankly, I like knowing my seat in advance even if that means picking a middle.

But I digress.

Every Monday, I always got to the airport earlier and put myself on the standby list for earlier flights (except for the very first week when I was waiting for a coworker). May I repeat that, EVERY MONDAY. I also put myself on the standby list for return flights on Thursday, however I never made it off the list. So yesterday morning I got to the airport just before 6 am and inquired about putting myself on standby for earlier flights. Almira, the US Air Lady, curtly told me that it would be $50 to board an earlier plane. Really now, Almira? I politely explained to her that I have been flying this route for nearly 10 weeks and not once have I been told there is a fee, and nearly every week did I board any earlier flight. Almira's response? She wasn't sure what to tell me. Now, Almira had me in a good position. She knew I wasn't going wait 2 1/2 hrs for my flight. As I begrudingly paid the fee, I really want to ask Mario* the super friendly nice guy next to her to help me out.... after all he had not charged me for WEEKS. Not, that I expected him to remember me, but come on... "oh Almira, yeah maybe you are new? we don't charge people to board an earlier flight because we are constantly late here". Alas nothing.
So US Air, I've been rambling - but the point is, if you want to charge people to board earlier flights, pay for exit rows, upgrade, etc .... you need to be consistent. If you aren't charging people all the time, it becomes really annoying as a customer when you decide to arbitrarily impose fees equal to 40% of the ticket cost. Hell, even 50% of the time would at least make me feel like I was playing the lottery instead of being artitratily targeted... cause that's what it feels like.

Please don't start charging me for oxygen.

Thanks for "everything",
Jen


*I made up these names. I name this witch Almira, because well she's a witch and Almira is the name of the Wicked Witch's character in the Wizard of Oz. Why Mario? He's lovable, shorter, and just plain nice. Oh, and he looks like a "Mario", I guess.

P.S. Stay tuned, I've been doing some analysis on on-time flights. Anger makes me break out Excel.

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