17 February 2010

US Airways Does It Again: Would You Sit Separated From Your 2 and 5 Year Old?

by Sierra on February 15, 2010

US Airways!!! Straighten Up And Fly Right!!!!

Hello all BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Just when you thought the airlines could do no worse, US Airways comes down and drops the ball in a big way! This is an absolute mistake on the grandest scale and US Airways and the front-line employees failed to do the one thing that is paramount and their primary job function....CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!

How does some many employees who are involved with the boarding process and flight screw things up so bad? Here is the story in brief and I will post a link to the actual blog story of the passenger involved!

US Airways Hates Families and Kids
A mother traveling with her 2 children and another family member who also was traveling with a child were to fly on US Airways from Boston (KBOS) to Tucson (KTUS) with a stop or layover in Phoenix (KPHX) US Airways Corporate home. The skinny of it is all 5 of these passengers were seated separately. A 2 year old, 5 year old, the mom and the other family member with a lap child.

From her story she said that not one of the agents, flight attendants or other passengers would help her get her seats changed, ask for volunteers to change seats so that the children were not seated alone for 5 hours worth of flying and the mother was terrified that if she made a big stink out of it that she would be arrested! I can't count how many times when I flew as a flight attendant, worked as a gate agent or customer service supervisor/manager that I have asked for volunteers to change there seats to accommodate a family in part or full when it came to seat assignments.

This is lazy agents and flight crew not doing what they can to come up with a solution. Give a passengers a free drink or two, free headset or a free meal for making the change...the agents or flight attendants could have done something....If they really wanted too! There was a flight attendant that tried to offer assistance to this passenger in her moments of need but the story was a little sketchy regarding her.

The passenger didn't know if she worked for US Airways or not because she was flying in plain clothes but she did say she was a flight attendant. Sounds like she was commuting or deadheading (deadheading: flying to or from a trip in plain clothing; On duty but not working this particular flight) She offered some assistance but then retreated and all but alienated the passenger. this is one of the weirdest series of events I ever heard of and it was just plain wrong!

This is what you get when people get complacent or just don't care about what they are doing. Being a flight attendant, means a 24 hr smile and you MUST help everyone at anytime and if it's repetitive then you must do things over and over. This incident just shows that the flight crew can be a helpful entity or a hindrance when a passenger is in need. The crew may have been following their company policies about seat assignment changes and things they do on the plane but the last time I checked to a point the company policies are a guide and employees need to use good judgement to solve problems. The crew on board and the agents obviously didn't do anything more than they were suppose to. Again this is why the airlines as a whole have a black eye right now and at the rate they are going the are working on a broken nose too!

Now I don't know if the passenger did her part about making sure her seating was in order before getting to the actual departure gate but there were many things she could have done to lessen the chance of this happening. I sent her a reply to her blog but as of my writing she has not posted it or replied to me regarding it. When this happens I will update this. This is all over Twitter and starting to pick up the national headlines too, so I know this story is far from over. As I hear of updates I will post them too!

The link to her full story is here! Would you sit separated from your 2-year-old?

I have also posted Reservation Tricks When Flying I hope travelers can use them to their advantage to make their travels a little less stressful.

The airline is only going to do so much but it is the responsibility of the airline passenger to be prepared and planning ahead for anything that might be out of the ordinary. When passengers start doing this they will have less stressful trips and when things go well they enjoy their trip just a little bit more!

Remember to Be Proactive And Not Reactive when you fly and enjoy your flight!!!


BlkAv8tor2003 said...

As a former agent, customer service manager, flight attendant and next stop is pilot the one thing that that women do in this situation is something they did without knowing it.
1. Mom has a different or uses her maiden name when they make reservations. This is one of the biggest problems when parent travel and then get separated by seat selection. the computer systems the airlines use only sees pairs, groups and singles so when the children’s name differ from the parents the computer automatically seats them differently. Hopefully the agent catches it and makes the change and most parents don’t even know it happened.
2. When making a reservation to fly and children are on the itinerary and if they are under 12 years of age, for boys the parents MUST put MSTR (Master) in front of the boys name and MISS in front of a girls name when the reservation is first created. This tells the computer system that these passengers are children and it will not seat them in emergency exit rows and it will make adjustments to keep the children together or paired up with adults as best as possible in the same reservation.
3. Parents should check-in to the flight at the gate, even if you have done your ticketing at home. The agents need to see or know that there are children flying in your party. Let them check your tickets to see if there is anything that may cause a seating issue once your on the plane. At least the sooner they know the sooner that the agent can start working on a solution or moving passengers around to accommodate your family either in pairs or in the same row together.
As a parent you need to plan for the worse case scenarios when flying with the kids and then adjust accordingly. This will keep the stress levels to a minimum!
I too have written about this in my blog and I have 23 years of airline experience from on the ground and on the plane!

subalin said...

Avoid such situation by choosing a Private Jet in which you can be seated anywhere around the flight and enjoy your travel.