This has nothing to do with photography, or Photoshop, so you can just skip it if you’d like, but it has everything to do with how not to treat your customers, and how US Airways, whom I didn’t think could afford to lose another customer, just lost me as one.

An offer that’s easy to refuse
It started when I got an email from US Airways letting me know that the 81,000+ miles I had accrued as part of their “Dividend Miles” frequent flyer program had expired because I hadn’t flown US Airways since 2008.

In the email, they offered me three ways to get my miles back:

(1) Pay $300
(2) Get a US Airways VISA card
(3) Pay for a First Class Ticket on US Airways

Basically, they gave me three options—which all favor US Airways—for me to get my miles back.

The problem is: I flew US Airways twice last year, and I had the email confirms and receipts to prove it.

This should be an easy fix, right?
I logged in to my account on the US Airways Website, and this is what came up:

So I called US Airways, referenced my two missing flights from 2009, and asked if they would reinstate my miles. They said a resounding “No!” The customer service rep said I hadn’t supplied my Dividend Miles number when booking the trips, so those US Airways flights (even though they can see on my account that I took them), don’t count, and they’re keeping my miles.

A travel agent actually books my flights, and they apparently didn’t give US Airways my number. Well, I asked “couldn’t we just add those in now? You see them right there on your computer?”The less than helpful US Air Customer Service rep told me that they couldn’t just add my number now, because it’s outside their time limit to do so. I would have had to catch the mistake last year.

Certainly there’s some reasonable way to fix this, right?
I asked her what she could do to help get my miles back and keep me as a US Airways customer, and she said my only options still were:

(1) Pay $300
(2) Get a US Air VISA card
(3) Pay for a First Class Ticket on US Airways

And now she’s starting to get kind of snippy with me.

It takes a lot to get me upset
But I’m starting to get there. We argued each others point back and forth, totally going nowhere, and finally I said this:

“Look, I’ve obviously flown at least 81,000 miles with your airline, not including the two flights that I didn’t get credited for (I know, it’s my fault), but you’re still totally willing to lose me as a customer forever rather than give me those 81,000 miles that I earned back, right?”

She didn’t answer. She just irritatedly repeated the three options with which I can “buy” my miles back. All three of which benefit US Airways, and not me, their customer.

I wasn’t ready to give up
I mentioned to her that in each issue of US Airways in-flight magazine is a letter from Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman and CEO, and I had remembered reading his letter on one of my US Airways flights where he talked about his customer service group’s “Commitment to excellence,” and about creating a truly great airline, and I asked her if this was an example of that commitment to US Airways customers he was talking about? She paused, then told me (I am not making this up), his letter had nothing to do with my situation.

I went on to tell her that if we couldn’t work this out, my next call would be to my travel agent—not to yell at them for not providing my frequent flyer number, but to tell them to never, ever, under any circumstances to book me on a US Airways flight.

She said, “It’s the customer’s responsibility to monitor their Dividend Miles account; to contact US Airways if the dividend miles weren’t credited properly.” She then nastily reiterated the three ways I could benefit US Airways by paying them to reinstate the miles I had already earned.”

I assured that I wasn’t going to take one of those options, and I let her know that not only was she absolutely no help to me whatsoever in resolving my problem, but that she was not help to US Airways that day either, but apparently US Airways has so much business, that losing another customer just doesn’t matter.

She didn’t argue the point, and I hung up with steam coming out of my ears.

But I just don’t represent one passenger. My company flies literally hundreds of people around the world all year long. We fly over 100 staff and instructors just to our two Photoshop World conferences alone, plus we fly an entire team to our 80+ seminars around the world each year, plus all the conferences, workshops, and events we hold and/or attend each year. How many of those do you think we’ll be booking on US Airways going forward?

They “Got Me” on a technicality
They were right. I didn’t provide the number. I didn’t catch it in time. It’s 100% my fault. And when I talked to the US Airways customer service rep, she let me know in no uncertain terms that I was in the wrong, and therefore she didn’t feel the least bit compelled to help me. She didn’t get a supervisor. She didn’t offer an alternative. She didn’t offer anything but a nasty attitude and blame. So, they “got me” on a technicality. Congratulations US Airways—-you won. You got my 81,000 miles back. But you lost another customer who had flown nearly 100,000 miles on your airline. Way to go!

Why this stuff matters
Bad customer service particularly grates me, because in my own company we work so hard to provide exceptional customer service. A week doesn’t go by when I don’t get a personal email, or even a handwritten letter from one of our customers telling me about how someone in our customer services dept. went out of their way, or above and beyond the call, to help them out. I hear it all the time. I’ve had people wait in line between sessions at my one-day seminars—not to ask a question, but to congratulate me on our company’s customer service, and to acknowledge how much our team truly cares. It totally makes my day.

We’re not perfect, and we make mistakes like every other company, but where we really shine is when we have screwed up. We admit it, then we bend over backwards to make things more than right. We’re still a small company—and we’re not in a position like US Airways clearly must be, where customers are expendable. Every one matters to us.

It’s not all airlines
I had an issue with a Delta flight earlier this year in Atlanta so I sent an email letting them know what happened. I also told them I wasn’t look for any compensation whatsoever, but I thought they had done something that kind of messed up our trip a bit, and thought they should know. They immediately wrote back, had looked into the problem, offered a detailed and sincere apology, and had already credited all nine of us back $200 each for our inconvenience (that was above and beyond service). It wasn’t just that they gave us the credit. It was how they handled it. It was clear, they cared.

So, although US Airways just lost another customer, Delta just gained a new one.

By the way, how have your experiences with US Airways been?

About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.

391 Comments

  1. It is amazing how short sighted companies can be. What this airline does not understand is the concept of viral marketing. Scott, this blog is read by, and influences thousands of people. Your bad experience with US Airways will greatly influence my travel purchasing decisions.

  2. I can say from past experience that US Airways needs to look at NAPP And Kelby Media and their customer service and commitment and take a lesson. I know of only one other company I deal with other than yours that has this excellence in service and that company is LLBean! I also believe in the good old boy friendship law, so long US Airways.
    Ken Toney, life long US Airways customer

  3. Scott totally agree. I recently needed to have somewhat emergency brain surgery, and was scheduled for a flight a week or so after the procedure. Of course the surgeon said no flying for a month, so the trip was out of the question. He provided documentation for me as this was clearly an extenuating circumstance.

    Anyway, the best Southwest could do was give me the value of my ticket towards the purchase of another ticket, but first I would have to pay a $150 fee. Shouldn’t there be an exception for such a case. I didn’t exactly get a cold.

  4. Yes, customer treatment can make a difference. A few years ago, AirTran lost my luggage for a hiking trip I was taking to the Smokies. They finally found it the last day of my trip. This was obviously too late to use my clothing and hiking equipment for the trip. When they did return the luggage, there was no apology, and they treated me like I’d done something wrong. To this date, I will not book a trip on that airline, even tho it has often been the most convenient available for trips I’d planned. Losing the luggage wasn’t my complaint, it was the way they treated me during the experience.

    I’m just one person, with a personal preference to never fly AirTran. You, on the other hand, have one heckuva bully pulpit, and I can’t imagine USAir wants to have you tell your audience the way they treated you. Why they can’t see that is beyond me…

    I will take your experience as a warning to avoid USAir.

  5. It was interesting to come across this post Scott because as of a few years ago, I got to the point where I declared to my wife in a somber tone that “US Airways is dead to me”. I had flown them a lot into DC for business and suffered through countless cancelled flights and delays, but I never counted that too much against them – it can happen, although the domino effect of a situation seemed to him them particularly hard. It was on a family trip to New Orleans – we had two girls at the time – a three year old and a baby in diapers. After parking at the airport and getting all of us and car seats and suitcases, etc. on and off a lot shuttle, we ran into a significant issue – a ripple delay from the day before. It wasn’t affecting other airlines from what we could tell, but it had hit US Airways in a big way. Okay we thought, we’ll go see what’s going on. I left the family with the pile and found that all of the flights had been cancelled on US Air for the morning – I asked: why didn’t you call us, you had our home and mobile numbers. I didn’t get a response to that. I was directed to a long line for rebooking for later in the day, assured that they could get me on another flight. It was the kind of line that wrapped back into a long hall. The family was with me now and a US Air rep took some pity and pulled me aside and said – “look, they’re not really going to have anything for you, you guys are going to be here for hours and not get out today.” So we piled back onto a lot shuttle and went home. We get to the airport the next day – having rebooked on the phone and got out to New Orleans. When we arrived – no luggage. This is particularly problematic when you have a small baby with special formula for a milk allergy. Okay – we can get diapers, wipes, formula, bottle liners, etc. at a pharmacy. We were told that the bags would be there on the next flight. They weren’t we called customer service and the airport countless times – the estimates for when we’d get our bags kept changing, next flight, between 6 and 8, between 9 and 11, sometime after midnight, they’ve been put on a van and are in route to you (I kid you not), only to to call two hours later and get an operator who couldn’t find anything about our case and couldn’t tell us anything. The next morning (or later that morning) I drove out to the airport to check in because telephone customer service had no idea. At the baggage desk – there were our bags – they’d come in the day before. And with that, US Air was dead to me and I haven’t flown them for business or pleasure since.

  6. I just traveled my last time on USAirways a few weeks ago. Cattle car seating pitch, couldn’t even pick up a dropped iPhone because the seats were so tight I couldn’t even get my head in that position to look down there. Rude cranky flight attendants barking orders, reprimanding me for putting my laptop in the seatback pocket. No working overhead vents in a 80+ºF cabin. Unapologetically and unaccompanying about their being late/missed connections…the list goes on. Done with them.

  7. Common sense and human courtesy. Something companies do not get anymore, every when they are failing miserably.

    -A

  8. Scott–

    Its really unfortunate and maddening to read how badly you were treated. It might be worth sending copies of your blog post to some or all of these folks: http://www.usairways.com/en-US/aboutus/pressroom/executivebios.html
    The execs need to know just how poor your experience with customer service was.

    Rich

  9. Equally horrible. It’s no wonder they went into bankruptcy! I documented mine here:

    http://www.canonblogger.com/2007/12/26/wednesday-web-links/

    Tracy and I have had similar experiences with US Airways and Delta as you have indicated. Positive on the one hand, negative on the other. Hopefully with time, enough people will vote with their wallet and the US Airways of the world will go under for good.

    Although, if I could make a small suggestion – I’d call back and see if you might get a different response with a different representative. Don’t want to defend them, but sometimes I’ve done better with a different agent holding the reins, so to speak if I didn’t like the treatment the first go around.

  10. Yuck. I’m sorry you had to deal with that and I’m sure they will be sorry too! I can only imagine how many people will be choosing to NOT fly US Airways after reading this- I know I won’t use them!

  11. First line CSR duties are limited to a script and due to tenure, are the least professional. You have to ask for the supervisor. Failing that, next is contact with the President or CEO, consumerist dot com is loaded with e-mail addresses and phone numbers for major corporation’s executive offices.

  12. Well I work for USAirways (flight attendant) and it pains me to see how poorly you were treated. Doesn’t make me a proud employee when I hear about experiences like yours Scott. I wouldn’t give up though just because you encountered one snippy customer service rep. Rather call again and if you get the same reply ask to speak to a supervisor and keep moving it up the chain of authority until you get someone who can help you. Whenever I encounter a situation like this I just say nicely, “I understand you may not have the authority to resolve this matter to my liking, could I speak to a supervisor?” No guarantee that you’ll get what you want, but perhaps you might get a more sympathetic ear.

  13. Airways just lost another customer. After, hearing your story there is no way that I will personally support that kind of business practice.

  14. I dont live in the US, so I dont fly US airways much, but based on the few times I have, the phrase USless AIRWAYS has been coined. Same goes for Aimless Airlines. By far my fave US airlines are Virgin (a british company no less) and Jet Blue (Stellar airline)

  15. I hate to say this but I had the same thing happen with Delta. I had transferred 100,000 points from my amex into thier system. I did not use them fast enough and got the same basic letter from them. Customer service in the airlines business is a thing of the past, except with SWA.

  16. Amen, Scott. United hosed me a couple years ago and now Virgin America is the primary beneficiary.

    For those that are interested, I had a zone 1, First Class upgrade boarding pass on the last flight of the night from ORD to SFO and didn’t board until they called zone 4 (which is totally allowed) and was told they gave away my seat because I didn’t board with zone 1 and told me it was my fault. I have never been so upset with an airline. Had to stay overnight, buy a new ticket, etc.

  17. In my opinion, most companies don’t give two bits about Customer Service. There are many examples of that. It seems like Customer Service went out of style with the neon sunglasses and skinny ties.

    For instance, when is the last time you called a company and got a person? I think a phone maze is absolute BS. It takes way longer for me to navigate a phone maze than it would to ask a call centre agent to direct me to the proper department. It’s a way to spend way more time on the phone than needed. Sadly, my favourite airline, WestJet recently started a short phone maze. Last year, you could call to book a flight and would get a live person after 3 rings. I LOVED that… but not this year.

    Also, line ups at retailers and restaurants. If there are lineups at the cashier or hostess, obviously you are under-staffed. They would rather save the extra minimum wage than value their customers time. They obviously don’t think my time is valuable. I won’t stand for it. Many times I have walked out of a restaurant because the waitress took to long to take my order. If they don’t want my business, perhaps their competitor will.

    Gas stations. When is the last time you had your tank filled by an attendant and they didn’t charge an extra 25%? You can’t even get an oil change there any more.

    BTW. I wonder how much business US Airlines lost after this blog posting? You must have many thousands of readers who may boycott the airline as well. Thanks Scott, for sticking up for customer service.

  18. Scott totally agree. Customer service is becoming the heart of marketing strategy. Sometimes people value a company not because of products but how they are treated as customers. Customer service is exactly the way to establish emotional attachment to a brand. I think US Airways should learn a lesson, and refocus on its action rather than words on its in-flight magazine.

  19. What happened to going the extra mile or miles, literally? I’m sorry about that and they were wrong for this.

  20. I sure hope that based upon your postings on social media sites as well as your readers that US Airways gets a “viral” earful. Last I checked all airlines were having trouble with their out of date “dinosaur” business models. The one thing they should be bending over backwards to do is customer service. I have had a similar issue with a few other airlines and they no longer get my money. At some point somebody has to hold these folks accountable for this type of behavior. Thanks for posting.

  21. I used to work at at&t as a business customer service rep. Not the best customer service as a whole, but I always took the Delta route when it came to screw ups on our behalf, or even when the customer was at fault at the moment but otherwise an excellent customer in the grand scheme of things. I always approached customer service as “every call, every customer matters.” That point can’t be proven any better than your particular situation. What makes it even crazier is that they obviously had no idea who you or your fantastic company truly are!!

    I’d be willing to bet that once the higher ups get wind of how their useless rep single handedly ticked off one of the nicest people in the world representing one of the greatest companies in the world, their lips will make a beeline for your behind faster than a groupie with a backstage pass at a KISS concert (nice job at Photoshop world btw :-D)

    I hope you tell them “too little, too late” no matter what, otherwise their customer service will never improve. Period.

  22. Scott- I am currently in a taxi heading home from LAX. My flight took off 5 minutes ago without me on it because they could not accommodate my Tamrac shoulder bag on the plane and requires that I check it. No, I am not going to put $25,000 worth of gear under your plane. Oddly I travel with this bag at least 20 times a year and neither Delta, American, United, Continental or ANY other airline has had a problem fitting it on their plane or under the seat in front of me. I am the easiest person in the world to deal with, polite and understanding- hell, my uncle is a flight attendant. I hear all the BS they have to deal with each day, so I am over the top polite with them… They lost a customer. I would rather have 12 connections than fly direct with US Error ever again. Glad to see I am not the only one.

  23. Scott, you know I’ve personally congratulated you many times on the customer service I’ve gotten at NAPP. Every time, a real person answers the phone and goes out of their way to make things right. This is huge for me, you’ve got a loyal member for life.

    Ken, you’re right about LL Bean. I would add Zappo’s. How about if we all take this moment to celebrate those companies that get it right with customer service? Delta’s online experience may not always be great, but when you call them you get a lovely person who does their best to help you, then wishes you a nice day. Frontgate and Grandin Road are outstanding at helping you with any question/problem you might have. Tom’s Shoes–awesome. And then there’s Costco (who, hey! just featured an article in their magazine by Scott Kelby!). Easy returns, no questions asked. Even Verizon, which has its problems, sent a specialist to my house to try to resolve my crappy DSL (not really their fault, I’m just too far from the station), they couldn’t have been more helpful (even suggesting I get another company’s service).

    The thing is, customers remember when they’re treated badly, and they tell everyone they know. So let’s start noticing when we’re treated well, and spread the word!

    Janine

  24. I flew with US airways for my first time flying to my first PSW in Vegas. They had us run across the airport in Arizona because they had overbooked our flight. Not like the overbooking was our fault. Although it was exciting it wasn’t really my idea of a good time.

  25. It’s just a matter of time before Obama nationalizes the airlines anyway, then customer service is really going to suck.

    You don’t know the meaning of “suck” until you deal with a union government worker that knows they can’t be fired no matter how much they suck.

    US Airlines can count me out as a customer also.

    Also, about 2 years ago I had a problem with my Layers Magazine subscription. One short phone call and everything was solved. Now that’s customer service! You have a customer for life.

  26. Stay classy US Airlines. Didn’t think ol’ Scotty boy would mention this on his blog, did ya? There’s this little thing called KARMA, and it’ll come back to bite ya in the a$$.

  27. Scott, I have never flown with US Airways, and I can tell you, I never will now. I travel around quite a bit here in Australia but when I head your way, I won’t be using US Airways for my in country flights.

    That being said, I really feel that many of these companies should send their staff to Japan or something for lessons in customer service. I am sick to death of walking into shops and getting nothing but a grunt from the woman behind the cash register or the guy in the news stand. Each and every time I get service like this, I just don’t go back. Sure, one customer is not the end of the world, but I certainly tell my friends about the incident. Yes, everyone has a bad day too, but arguing with a customer, like the woman from US Airways, just shows a lack of manners and intelligence.

    I have lived in Japan on and off over the years, and I hope to again soon, and one thing they are really REALLY good at is customer service. Everything is done on time and they will even run to get you shoes when in shoe shops. Some of my friends laughed when I told them how customers were treated but when I arrived back in Australia, everyone who was with me in Japan felt a hard slap in the face from the moment we arrived in customs in Australia. The service was that bad. In fact, I always feel really good when I get good service here and thats because it has become a rare event!

    I think the service in many western companies have slipped and I think it is because employees feel they have a job because it is their right, not privilege.

    Anyway, I hope you get better service in the future.

  28. Will be interesting to see if US Airways ever pick this up and respond.

  29. Great post. I’m also ex-USAir (was Chairmans Preferred, 100K+ per year) and switched to Continental over a customer dis-service issue.

    Couple of small points.

    1. When a CSR isn’t helpful, hang up and call back. Example: as CO Elite, I’m entitled to Economy Plus seating on United, but the web sites haven’t been merged yet. I called UA cust svc and the agent said she couldn’t do it and I was wrong. I hung up and called right back and got the seats I wanted. Sometimes it is the people who are lazy or incompetent, not the policy.

    2. Anyone in danger of losing miles that expire on any airline can make a small miles transaction (get a magazine subscription, Donate 1,000 to make-a-wish, etc) and reset the timer. That won’t help you this time, but perhaps other readers might save some aggravation.

    3. You can fly any Star-Alliance airline and credit miles to any of those airline accounts. So, if you have UA or CO or any of about 20 others, you can take a US flight if you need to and credit the miles elsewhere.

    4. Assuming you pay travel agency fees, I’d complain to them, too. Their mistake cost you the miles and a few hundred dollars of award seat value. I’d tell them to make it up to you somehow and see what their Cust Svc response is.

    All the best,

    Steve

    PS Everyone messes up, including KelbyMediaGroup. I had an annoyance that I decided to abandon. I get far more from your company than a small problem was worth so I decided to let it go. Given the market penetration of USAir in Florida, you still have to balance the annoyance at US-[lack of]Cust Svc with the convenience of their schedule to you and your people.

  30. Scott you are absolutely right. It makes no sense to be rude to a customer. It just doesn’t make sense to be rude to a customer, you not only have a very good chance of losing that person’s business, but it takes longer to deal with them unless you just hang up on them.
    I have been living in Australia for over three years now and one thing that bugs me still is the ridiculously poor customer service. I called my phone company and was on hold for 30 minutes before speaking to anyone (paying for the call all the time) when the representative picked up asked for my account info and put me back on hold for another 30 minutes at which point I hung up as I had an appointment to go to. When I called back and complained they just said that was unfortunate. I am no longer a customer of theirs.

  31. US AIR needs to take some lessons from Zappos , obviously. I only wished they sold photo gear, their service is that good.

  32. Bad customer service is an oxymoron. Her job was to help fix your problem. She failed badly. My brother used to say I was too loyal to certain brands. And I am loyal, not only to products I like but to companies that treat me right. Companies that treat me wrong could be offering a better deal but they’ll never see a dime of my money. I do try to let someone know why they are losing me and, on occasion, someone there will reach out personally to discuss the issue and try to resolve it.

    It isn’t just good business (though it clearly is since acquiring new customers costs far more than maintaining current customers), its about doing right by people that have given you some of their hard earned money. By paying someone or some company, you are entering into a contract with them, part of that contract is service. US Airways has lost sight of this fundamental part of being in business.

    I might even write a blog post detailing some of the companies that I think do it right (USAA leaps to mind, best banking and insurance company I’ve ever done business with!) and, of course, those that have done it wrong.

  33. The sad part is that, since you have such high visibility, US Airways will now bend over backwards to restore you to full satisfaction, thus rewarding their bad behavior. It is human nature to forgive. But for a regular individual traveler to whom they pulled this stunt (as American Airlines did to me…), they really would just blow them off entirely. I hope you don’t reward them further by publicly acknowledging your “forgiveness” when the perks start flying into everybody at KelbyMediaGroup.

  34. No experience with US Air but had a frustrating experience with United. I upgraded (for $25) to get a little extra leg room on the flight as I checked in. As it turned out the puddle jumper had all the same seats – there was no difference in leg room. I figured they’d just refund the money. Nope! They told me that they would give me a voucher for $25 dollars but I’d have to purchase a ticket through them and it would have to be in person at the airport. What!! I refuted the charges on my AMEX, wrote letters, and called – I spent to much time on it. I was really angry about how I was treated on the numerous phone calls and that they wouldn’t refund my $25 out of principle. I have never purchased another United ticket since nor will I in the future.

  35. It happened to me as well in 2008. I had approx. 34,000 miles on US Airways at the time and received an email saying that my miles had been forfeited because I hadn’t had activity in a certain amount of time and the only way to get them reinstated was to fly US Airways or use one of their debit/credit cards. I had no intentions of doing either! It still ticks me off to this day! Sorry it happened to you too!

  36. I’ve been in your situation (or at least one similar) and it certainly is a bad one. All I have to say is, I absolutely love jetBlue. Period.

  37. Bad customer service irks me to the max.

    I have never flown before, so I have no personal experience with airlines, but I have been dealing with a certain company for 7 months without resolution, 7 months of being jerked around by a large corporation, 7 months of being tossed from one person to another having to repeat everything I had already said to the person before. Frustrating to say the least.

    The large corporations don’t realize that the little people add up to quite a large portion of their pocket lining profits, the don’t realize that we have families, jobs, responsibilities, and aren’t being paid to spend dozens of hours on the phone trying to coerce them into doing the job they in fact are being paid to fulfill. I began working when company mottos were “the customer is ALWAYS right”. There is always a solution that benefits both parties, especially when the raging customer turns into a loyal/returning customer.

    NAPP customer service has been far above & beyond any other customer service I have EVER encountered. If only these companies would model their services after the NAPP customer service model. You and your staff at NAPP have earned a lifetime NAPP member here, not because of the discounts, not because of the learning centers, not because of the content or materials, it is because of the CUSTOMER SERVICE!

  38. Well Scott, I’ve never taken a US Airways flight, but I sure as heck won’t now.

    It always surprises me when people would rather argue and fight with you for far longer than it would take to try to solve a problem… sure, it’s a little extra work but I’m pretty sure that if you’re being paid to provide customer service, at least SOME part of your job should involve SERVING the CUSTOMER.

  39. You are to be congratulated on the way you handled that. I would do one last thing. Send an email to the head of the airlines and cite his letter to customers.

    Its amazing but sometimes something as simple as that can create a change.

    Good luck.

  40. In one or two weeks this post will be the second or third result when you google “US airways”. Then they’ll care about you.

  41. Scott, if I were you, I’d write a letter (not email but good old-fashioned ink on paper) to the CEO letting him know what you shared here. It might not get you anything, but at least he will know what his company lost and why: Shoddy customer service.

    • It would surprise me if they do not find this post on their own.

    • I’m guessing he has about 59 emails in his in-box about now, with links to this page.

    • I absolutely agree with John. It’s apparent you’re not looking for monetary compensation, but an acknowledgement of your value as a customer.

      I am a Customer Service Rep so I understand how important it is to treat customers with dignity and respect. It’s what I do 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Believe me, not all CSR’s are treating their customers as US Airways has. What’s even worse is when the CSR is doing their part, but the service providers are not, thereby losing our customers’ trust. I, for one, acknowledge the importance of the people we serve. They are keeping me working full time and are the reason our company is a success. CSR’s are an integral part of that, but with the customer, our efforts are meaningless.

      I hope your experience opens some eyes, Scott.

  42. As a Phoenix resident I live in a city where US Airways has a hub and reservations center. I have flow frequently over the last 3 years for my job which takes me to many cities where they have a direct flight, which is convenient until their late, make you miss an appointment, have a totally disaffected staff who complains about their employer and policies openly. I flew it because I liked getting the upgrades to first class for the extra room, but nowadays I fly the other Phoenix hub carrier…..Southwest because they work really hard to be on time, their people are nice in the face of some really nasty travelers, and they get what its like to be a frequent traveler.

  43. “By the way, how have your experiences with US Airways been?”

    Don’t know as I’ve never used them before! And after reading this, I shall never know!

  44. To be honest, it seems a bit harsh to pull the plug on US Airways, and make statements that encompass the entire company based on the over-the-phone interactions you had with 1 bottom rung employee. That one employee doesn’t represent the entire airline. What if 99% of their reps are awesome and you just got the bad one. Seems a bit much to openly tear them a new one on such a global stage, just because you can.

    It also seems a bit entitled to think or assume that since your company does so much business with them, or that you personally have 81,000 miles with them, that they should change their rules for you, when you openly admit you were 100% in the wrong. It’s like you’re trying to say you have clout for flying more than other people fly, and that the rules that would apply to others don’t or shouldn’t apply to you.

    • That’s the thing about customer service, though… they DO kind of represent the entire company. Good companies understand that (on a photo-related note, SmugMug is one of those good companies – they should be a business case study for good customer service).

      The airlines are one of the most loathed industries in the country, and this experience is exactly why.

    • “That one employee doesn’t represent the entire airline.”

      Based on every job I’ve had with a corporation, one employee most certainly does represent the entire company. Its one of the first things big companies express to new employees. “you work for us you represent us, so keep it friendly and professional” that type of thing. People get fired for misrepresentation all the time.

      I just think a lot of the people that take on the ‘low rung’ CSR positions and the like aren’t happy with their life choices and it shows in their work. Lots of lazy folks out there who’d rather ruin someone else’s day than do an honest days work.

      • whats a shame is that as a society we have classified our jobs into “low rung” “high Rung”. I’ve been fortunate to work for a company where management made it clear that no job in the company was any lesser than another, the cleaning crew were given just as much respect as the ceo. CSR’s being the first contact a consumer comes in contact with when there is an issue, should be supported from the top down to provide the consumer with what they need. If all they are expected to do is read from a script, no one is going benefit from that…as Scott’s experience shows.

  45. That being said, I do think that they should make an exception for you…and let you use your 81,000 miles, or maybe charge you $99 instead of $300 or whatever. I don’t agree with that ONE REP’s decision, but I hardly agree with your reaction to it either.

    I would pay $300 for 81,000 miles in a heartbeat, especially when I, or somebody that I hired (travel agent) eff’s up. That being said, they should have tried to accommodate you, giving your amazing flying history with them. They should have been honored to accommodate you, in fact.

  46. I too, have had consistent bad service from US Air. I even avoid being on their planes when there is a code shared flight and take a different flight that is not operated by US Air. I really prefer arriving on the same flight as my luggage.

  47. That being said, I do think that they should make an exception for you…and let you use your 81,000 miles, or maybe charge you $99 instead of $300 or whatever. I don’t agree with that ONE REP’s decision, but I hardly agree with your reaction to it either.

    I would pay $300 for 81,000 miles in a heartbeat, especially when I, or somebody that I hired (travel agent) eff’s up. That being said, they should have tried to accommodate you, giving your amazing flying history with them. They should have been honored to accommodate you, in fact…

  48. US Airways “customer service” pissed me off so bad that I told them to take the $417.00 credit I had and shove it up their @$$. I would rather lose the money and take the loss than fly with them. That was in 2006. I will NEVER use that airline EVER again!

  49. It’s just ridiculous how US Airways has handled such a, let’s say simple problem. They have all informatione they need and are not willing to keep a good paying customer. I don’t get it. Really! My respect for you Scott for this dicision.

    Cheers,
    Juergen (Austria)

  50. I am not a customer of US Airways. I usually fly Southwest, but not very often. I will make sure not to fly US Airways if given the chance.

    I really think you need to forward this blog post to someone higher up in US Airways so they are aware of the problem There IS someone else who CAN make it right. If they do, please come back here and let us know.

    It’s not like you just lost a “few” miles!!!! I would be pretty steaming, too!

  51. Hey Scott
    How do you think I feel? I’m stuck in Philadelphia- where US Scareways is the ONLY option if you want to fly nonstop to just about any other city in the country. It’s a main hub, and in order to fly another airline(which i’d surely prefer), I’d have to lay over somewhere. It’s a crappy situation, and one that I’d love to change. Their slogan is “thank you for choosing us airways”. In Philadelphia, US Airways chooses us, because nobody in their right mind would choose them… Sorry for your crappy experience. If I ran my business like that, I’d be out of business in no time flat.

  52. Hello,

    You are probably right with the issue (the “technicality”), and of course- the Customer Service could be more helpful – but I believe that the representative in the CS is bound by her procedures and could have done exactly nothing in your case… have you tried to contact somebody more important?

  53. Scott,

    In my country (the Netherlands) a well local known stand up comedian (youp) started a campaign against customer service (especially call centers) of big companies in general.
    The company in question is T-mobile (telephone provider) and quicker then lightning the apologized for the manner in which the handled the case.
    Youp really started a storm over here and a critical look at customer service in general. We all make mistakes, but it is the manner in which we handle mistakes.
    So to publish your encounter with US Airways can make a difference.

  54. At a company the size of USAir, not every single employee is going to be at their best all day every day. I think it is unfair to characterize a company on the basis of a single bad encounter with a single employee, particularly if you have had satisfactory experience with the company previously. While it was certainly not your obligation, I think you would have been well served to ask to speak with a manager or supervisor. That’s what I do when I am obviously not going to get satisfaction from the lowly flunky I got with the luck of the call center draw. I always ignore it when they say (and they always do) that the manager will tell you the same thing, because the manager almost always says something different. And they never offer to transfer me to a manager. I always have to ask. One of my rules of life, not just business, is never take no for an answer from a flunky.

    Put yourself in USAir’s shoes. If one of your good customers ever has a bad experience with a customer rep, (it’s only a matter of time) would you feel good if they bailed without ever even asking to speak to a manager, and then wrote about it publicly on an Internet forum? It’s a fact of life that if you deal with enough people at a large company, eventually you will wind up talking to a jerk, an egregious jerk, or just someone who’s having a bad day. It is completely valid to become upset when this happens. Just try to be fair, and not make mountains out of molehills. Loosing 81,000 frequent flier miles is not a molehill, it’s a mountain. Talking with a single flunky who likely doesn’t have the authority to resolve a problem, even if they wanted too, and blowing up a business relationship on account of that, does qualify as making a mountain out of a molehill, in my opinion. Lastly, if you do decide to call a manager, I think it’s a mistake to start by saying you just lost all my business, because then what incentive does the manager have to try to help?

    I used to fly a lot more than I do now. Since I live near Charlotte, NC, a majority of my flying was done on USAir. While they have not been perfect, they’ve been pretty good. I’ve had much worse customer service issues on Delta than I ever have with USAir, even though I’ve flown Delta much less. So be careful how you set your standards, or eventually you will disqualify every airline that ever disappoints you. There are some solutions though. Either buy a Gulfstream private jet, or ride on Ben Wilmore’s bus.

  55. Dear Scott,

    Customer Service is a big thing in the news here in the Netherlands right now: the son of a well known comedian got into trouble with T-Mobile here. The son called for months and couldn’t get a solution was sent from hither to tether, but his problem was not solved.

    So Daddy made a call and experienced the same lackluster experience for weeks. The thing is, Daddy also writes a column for the NRC, kind of the New York Times of the Netherlands. He wrote what he experienced in this column.

    Right a few hours after the column was out, someone high-up in the T-Mobile organization called him, that this wouldn’t have been necessary, offered more than a fair share of compensation and asked why he had not called before…

    Well, as comedians go, he placed this on Twitter saying he was getting preferred treatment because of his influence and really got an avalanche rolling. He is now getting a nationwide campaign and a book set up to crucify bad customer service.

    He always made clear that he’s not only aiming for T-Mobile but for all those companies who obviously don’t care about customers. He never used rude language but always a humorous tone. His opinion is that bad hotlines can only be improved by using plenty of people who had the proper training.

    Now you may say this’ll blow over, but there is one thing going for this guy: he already had a beer company taken off the market with one of his comedy shows. He already put a serious image hurt on T-Mobile that was estimated to be in the million-range by now.

    I hope you can get what you want with Delta, but I think you need something just like that in the US. Maybe that’ll shake those cumbersome companies up. It sure did over here, as I noticed with a phone call to a service line this week. I pray they keep this up!

    I wish you good luck and perfect light!

  56. If you had great service somewhere, you might tell a couple of people over a few days. If you have bad service, you will tell everybody you can for years.

    When did they stop teaching this in business school?

    • Exactly! My dad taught me that when I was a little girl and he was running a locksmith shop.

      Do a good job for a client, they’ll tell 10 people, do a bad job, they’ll tell 100.

      Other important tip he gave me back then : treat your team like you would your customers, they choose to work with you every day.

  57. Simply put US Airways is just a sorry excuse for a company. I’m surprised they are still in business. Clearly they do not value customers. I suggest you reach out to the CEO. For sure I will never fly them again. My first flight with them made me think of them as US Scarways. I cant get that out of my head.. and its still true today.

  58. It sounds like you got ahold of an individual who was cranky and had no common sense. Are you saying that under all circumstances it would be impossible to run into someone like that who might have just had a bad day at your company?

    It was worth going up the chain a couple steps to give them a chance to recover, that’s what I do.

    You have a pretty large audience here. I would say you screwed US Air right back.

  59. I had an interesting situation with US Airways in Houston, on a flight to Charlotte, NC. I was in boarding group 3, during the loading of boarding group 2, the gate staff announced that all carry on bags in groups 3 and 4 would HAVE to checked. Now, I’m carring my Canon gear and an laptop, nothing that does well checked nor by the FARS is covered by airlines liability if loss or damage occurs. I told the gate attebdant that I could not check my carry on because nothing I had was checkable. She then insisted (with that loud “Sir!..”) that I check my carry on. I demanded (in my loud “Bitch!) my ticket stub and walked on the plane WITH my carry on. I avoid them at all costs at this time.

  60. oh my gosh, same thing happened to us BUT, it was 252,000 miles we lost and we were presented with the same 3 options. we couldn’t afford to lose those miles (we are but one family of 6) and we had to buck up and pay the $400 (not $300). and all along the path with all the customer service calls, we had the same snippy service.

    hey USAir, b/c i know you’ll end up reading this, you should know we don’t use you anymore, and in fact, have paid MORE to fly with someone else.

  61. My experience is that if you write a polite but somewhat firm letter to the President or Chairman of the airlines wherein you state your case completely, you stand a much better chance of getting your miles back. I can think of a half-dozen instances where I got nowhere with a “representative”, but when I wrote to the head guy I got almost instant satisfaction.

  62. I’m reminded of how many years ago as a young manager I was “forced” to read Jan Carlzon’s “Moments of Truth” and I’m glad I did. It’s the story of how he turned Scandanavian Airlines around by empowering ALL his staff to “fix” problems on the spot – in any way they felt appropraite. He did this in the 1980’s and even now the book is a “must read” for managers in any industry. Why don’t you get a copy and send it to the US Airways’ CEO?

  63. That’s insane. She probably went home that night, and gleefully told her family about the customer who messed up and she wouldn’t credit his miles back. I second the “letter to the CEO” recommendation.

    I did recently get a chance to report some awesome customer service though. I was trying to use my Frontier FF miles to book PSW Orlando, and because of the time frame, there was nothing coming up (even 5 months out). I’ve flown pretty much nothing but Frontier since I moved to Denver (4 yrs) and hadn’t used any FF miles yet. The person reading the Frontier Twitter account saw my post, and went into their backend loyalty program to book it for me. That was awesome, to say the least, and I wrote a very nice letter to the company about how I definitely picked correctly in being loyal to Frontier, and the awesome service I received.

    So it is possible to get good airline customer service.

    • I doubt she went home and gleefully told her family about the transaction. She probably went home miserable like most of the people I know that do phone customer service. Her attitude and behavior weren’t the proper way to treat a customer but you make it sound like she probably enjoyed doing it.

      Plus, the company’s policies are such that if she credits too many miles back, she’ll lose her job. She could have been acting out because she feels bad but the choice is credit someone his miles or keep her job. We don’t know anything about her situation. Blame the airline, not the poor phone person who may not be able to do anything. Write the company.

      Scott, when you hit a dead end with the first person on the phone, ask to speak to a supervisor.

  64. I was thinking maybe this was just one bad customer service rep experience, until I read Aileen’s comment. It sure sounds like it’s company policy. Another clue to their policy is the CEO’s letter: if the CEO of a company has to tell you about their “commitment to excellence”, then something’s wrong; customers know the company’s level of commitment based on their experience, and they know when the company isn’t committed, as your experience showed. The CEO of US Air doesn’t understand customers, or customer service.

    Many LARGE companies these days are still following antiquated business models. Companies that don’t understand the importance of quality customer service are the dinosaurs. Anyone remember Eastern Airlines? Pan American? US Air may be joining them.

    Before I go, here’s my pet peeve with poor customer service… You’re in a store. You found what you want. You have the product in one hand, your cash in the other. But you can’t pay for it because the person behind the counter is on the phone, talking to a potential customer while ignoring a real customer, making you wait, and wait. But I can’t single out one company because it happens a lot. Bugs the living daylights out me. There, I’ve said it; I feel better now.

    • So here’s my pet peeve with poor customer service… I’m on the phone with a store clerk. I know what I want. I think the store carries it, but I can’t find out because the store clerk keeps putting me on hold to ring out other customers. Bugs the living daylights outta me!

      • Really??? I’ve never had that happen to me while I’m standing there waiting…

      • No… it was kinda tongue in cheek, from the flip side of your perspective. :-)

      • Trying to point out that regardless what the store clerk does, one party or the other feels neglected…

      • Hmmm, my second post didn’t seem to show up… with my comment, I was pointing out that regardless what the store clerk does, someone will be neglected and have to wait. :-/

  65. The idea idea of writing to the CEO seems like a good one. Oftentimes, an “order from above” gets customer service moving. Secondly, as US is a StarAlliance member, you could try to contact StarAliance over this issue, maybe they’re able to help. Another idea might be trying to get miles credited from other StarAlliance flights you already took, which are within the time range to still do so or from some other partner company, e.g. Hertz, within the last 6 months. Still, VERY annoying. I’ve had some “interesting” experiences with US Airways myself, but that’s another story ;-).

  66. Wow! It’s hard to believe that in this day and age (not to mention, economy) that this sort of stuff still happens, but unfortunately, it does.

    Believe it or not, I actually had a similar experience with Adobe several years ago. They never made it right, and a manager actually hung up on me; I could not believe it. I likely never would have gone back to them had Corel not dropped their support for the Mac. Eventually, after a few years, I did give Adobe another shot, but the sore feelings still creep up in the subconscious every now and again. They have changed their ways (or at least seem to have).

    Delta rocks! I’m amazed at how they’ll go above and beyond, often without you even having to ask.

    NAPP/KelbyTraining customer service has been excellent as well. I had one minor issue a while ago – I called the office and the problem was resolved immediately, without any hassle.

  67. I could be wrong here, but is the date of forfeiture not next year? Surely that should mean that you have not even forfeited them yet? Just a thought.

  68. I hope for his business’s sake that the CEO of US Airways uses twitter and realises he has some serious training issues that need to be put in place with his Customer Service crewe otherwise he ain’t gonna have a business. To quote Graham Hedrick(above) “What this airline does not understand is the concept of viral marketing”.

  69. This stinks, but I am confused as to why YOU didn’t ask to speak to a supervisor. Problem could probably still be solved…

  70. Not surprising at all Scott. According to a US News and World Report article from last month, US Air is in the top 5 worst airlines in the US. http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-36360593
    Sounds like they are working hard to get to the top spot!

  71. Big chance that once this story spreads and some exec realizes what damage has been done, they come crawling back. Here’s a way to make up (besides a big big big public sorry) free tickets for all NAPP members! (preferably trans atlantic so I can visit Photoshop World too)

  72. Scott, I second John Tucker’s recommendation to write to the company. I’ve found the threat of “the next $xxK of my company’s travel budget will be used on airline x rather than yours” to be more effective than “never”… Hard numbers get folks’ attention. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention that you have a loyal following of xx people, host conferences and training sessions all of the country (that bring in thousands of travelers), etc. As you said, they are not just loosing one traveller…

    There’s probably a photographer or two that work for US Air reading this right now and I’m sure they’d love to see a follow-up post in a couple weeks stating how happy you are now, after being contacted by US Air management, who reached out to you to resolve this satisfactorily to you and them. (hint, hint to any US Air folks out there)….

  73. US Airways is not alone. Im sure you have all heard about Dave Carrolls experiences with UA and how he dealt with it.

    Pretty gutsy and cool i think.

    http://www.davecarrollmusic.com/ubg/

  74. It’s kind of amazing that it costs $300 to press a button and reactive points. I’m probably over simplifying it but still.

  75. Scott, All I can just say this. My NAPP membership expires at the end of this month (I am renewing before the end of the month though). A couple of days ago I tried to logon to the NAPP website but all I got was a message saying that my membership has expired. I still had another month left so I couldn’t understand why it would say that. I called NAPP customer service, explained to them the problem. Literally within 5 seconds after explaining I was on the website. Now THAT’S customer service!!!!!

  76. I can’t even remember the last time I flew US Airways. To me they had always acted like some small, regional airline without the friendly staff and services of a SouthWest. I almost alwyas travel on United and have the miles to prove it. I hear a lot of people complain about them but I am always satisfied with their service and they offer the Economy Plus section, which is crucial when you are as tall as I am.

  77. It pains me to admit it, but US Airways is the worst airline in the US, which has many of the worst airlines in the world. It pains me because my sister is a US Airways flight attendant, and I know that she personally cares. And my father was a US Airways pilot. It’s the airline that I’d love to love, but I absolutely hate it. Their flight crews out of Philly are the worse. I’d rather swim across the Atlantic than fly with them again to Europe. (PHL-AMS on US Airways was the worst flight I’ve ever taken, and I’ve flown on ancient Russian aircraft in remote China!) US Airways and Delta have lost all my business. In fact, I fear that I’m running out of airlines that I’m willing to fly (and I fly a lot). Fortunately, so far Continental has been great. (Dear Continental, please don’t blow it! Please, please, please don’t blow it.) But I miss living in Europe and being able to routinely fly on airlines that actually care about their customers. It’s become a rarity here in the US.

    PS – I had a somewhat similar incident with Continental last year (their switch to Star Alliance in the middle of my trip caused confusion), and they handled it completely differently. It was part their fault and part mine. We met in the middle. All walked away happy.

  78. Scott,
    All I can say is this. My NAPP membership runs out at the end of the month (I am renewing though) Anyways, a couple of day ago I tried to logon on only to get a message saying that my membership has already ran out. I know I have another month left so I couldn’t understand why it was saying this. I called NAPP customer service, explained to them the problem. Literally within 5 seconds after explaining them the problem I was on the website. Now THAT’S customer service!!!

  79. Sounds to me like this would be a good time to send an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb)….

    http://consumerist.com/2007/05/how-to-launch-an-executive-email-carpet-bomb.html

    Your post would make a good subject for the Consumerist Blog….
    http://consumerist.com/

  80. That’s awful to hear. Well, given the choice on my next flight I definitely won’t be using US Air. I’ll collect points with another airline that won’t charge me to keep my dividend miles.

  81. Scott – just to make your day a little better, let me add my voice to the rest when it comes to customer service from YOUR company. It is, indeed, terrific! I’ve had to call on rare occasion and whatever “problem” has existed has disappeared. Truly stellar. As for US Airways, you are better off without them!

    • Another point or two. Several have mentioned writing a snail mail letter to the CEO. Christopher Elliott (www.elliott.org), travel writer and ombusdman, recommends an e-mail instead as a paper letter can disappear at secretary level and you’d have to pay for extra service from the USPS to prove it had ever arrived. The contact page for US Airways is here: http://onyoursi.de/wiki/airline/us-airways/ . Contacts for other travel companies are at Elliott’s main site. What the heck, contact Elliott himself. He favors using travel agents, by the way, and isn’t terribly fond of US Airways.

  82. As it looks like my previous comment didn’t really go anywhere, here is another try… For a research project I’m currently conducting, I’ve read about the necessary elements for a good company-to-customer relationship, one of them is that every employee should be an amabssador of the brand or company. Perhaps US Airways should embrace that rule. A great read on that matter is “Do you procide customer disservice?” by Martin Lindstrom.

    Scott, you’re absolutely right, great customer service makes all the difference in the world and KelbyMedia’s is great. Every time I’ve contacted them I got a precise and helpful answer, most of the time within just hours.

  83. I didn’t read the posts above me, so if this was said already sorry.

    Your first mistake was not talking to a different person. She was standing on “being right”. At that point she wasn’t going to budge. Why didn’t you ask to speak to her supervisor? Generally that would have solved the problem. Folks that answer the phones have little power in life and some grab it where ever they can. It’s called human psychology.
    Debbi

    • I’m a financial guy at a Customer Care Call-center and have been for 10 years… This statement couldn’t be more true.

      Chances are QA will hear that call & she’ll be provided re-training.

      Sucks that it happened to be your call though.

      It’s unfortunate that one person’s actions, can change the way you feel about a company. I would feel the same way.

      I can only hope that the customer service rep can learn & be able to provide a better customer experience the next time…

      • Debbie/Tim,

        I wish you were right, I was in the same situation as Scott and went up two levels of supervisors and they took the same position as the original rep.

        Steve

  84. Scott, sorry to hear about this crazy experience. Its so frustrating when policy gets in the way of common sense and the customer service reps first priority are to protect the policies. Its an amazing difference in experience when certain organizations understand this upfront and do not implement a one size fits all set of rules. My personal best experience ever hands down was with Verizon and I would move every piece of business I could to them if they offered a greater set of services in the area. Worst experience this year believe it or not was with Adobe. They would not let me download software that I had previously purchased for a new platform. (I switched from PC to Mac). I had to buy a new version that I had no need for. Hands down a terrible experience. Good luck with future flying and I hope you can route around US Air.

  85. It’s a ridiculous policy that’s probably in place to help keep them solvent.

    If you’re dumb enough to put your customers over the rack like this… at least be smart enough to have a loop hole escape route for customers who represent a certain amount of business.

    There are some customers that some companies can afford to loose.

    Not a single airline is on that list of companies.

  86. Hi Scott,

    There are far too many businesses out there that are so concerned with being right and being sure that the customer doesn’t outsmart them, that they tend to forget where the money comes from; cutting off their nose to spite their face as my ma always said. This always reminds of this little ditty, which was first published back in the 20’s but may possibly be older. Perhaps this is the epitaph for US Airways when the stock tumbles….

    ‘Here lies the body of William Jay
    Who died maintaining his right of way –
    He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
    But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.’

  87. Customer service is really part marketing and part sales. But so many companies make them the punitive department of the offensive/defensive division.

    A recent example of customer service and it’s effect on overall business came recently through the automotive finance divisions. We were paying on two vehicles, one a Ford, the other a Chrysler, when I suffered a detached retina.

    Throughout the ordeal of getting our finances back on track Ford was always helpful and understanding. At one point when I commented to a customer rep from Ford Credit how good their service was she replied that “…Ford recognizes that you have been a good customer having purchased several vehicles through us. And we hope that when you get straightened out you will be a good customer once again.”

    Since that time I take every opportunity to tell the story of how great Ford treated me and in a lot of detail how bad Chrysler did. (As I’m doing now). Apparently many others experienced similar treatment as the recent bailout of the automotive industry brought to light.

  88. Welcome to the world of US Scare, Scott. I stopped flying with them years ago and the only way I’ll take one of their flights now is if my Delta flights are messed up due to weather delays, etc and I absolutely need to get to a certain city by a certain time. Their equipment is old and looks worse for the wear inside the cabin, so imagine the kind of maintenance they must be doing (or not doing); more often than not, their flights are cancelled (mechanical) or delayed; and the flight attendants act like that dopey flight attendant who jumped ship after landing, but on steroids.

    Delta isn’t perfect, but at least they try to make up for any screw ups.

  89. Perhaps you should compose a song, ala ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and post it on You Tube. You might (if you haven’t already) tweet about it as well. I don’t know if US Air monitors the twitterverse as much as Delta, but the Wall Street Journal just had an interesting article about how more and more companies are monitoring tweets which mention their company and that they quickly respond to complaints.

    Jim

  90. Scott, I have had experiences with the customer service departments at your company and at US Air. There is no question that the serivice I received from your company was exellent, I was totally satisfied. BTW, I called because I screwed something up and needed help getting it right again. When I deal with US Air, my expeirece was much like yours. A strange thing which I noticed above, was that nobody mentioned that the mileage you are talking about is based on belonging to a “loyalty program.” I have about 233,000 miles in mine, down from about 500,000. I am using up my miles and will fly other airliens such as Southwest whenever I can. I will stay away from US Air’s customer no-service as it is clear that US Air has no loyalty to us.

  91. Great…I am flying with them on Friday.

  92. The exact same circumstance happened to me. Except they tried to get me for $100 instead of $300. I handled it the same way as you. USAir refused to do anything about it and their attitude was less than friendly. So I walked. Southwest will get my business.

  93. Some companies don’t seem to realise that customers just won’t put up with bad service, and will take their money elsewhere, and in these hard times that’s akin to business suicide. A bad reputation is almost impossible to turn round; one way is to let the people at the top know what is going on – I would write to the Chairman or CEO of a company, by name, if something has been so bad I’m steaming; they probably have no idea their profits are falling because of some twerp on the end of a phone. I live in the UK, and on the several visits I’ve made to the US I’ve always found the service far better than here. Get your pen and paper out and let them know why they’ve now lost your business for ever!
    Christine

  94. Scott I hope that you sent this letter to the CEO your are talking about…

  95. Careful Scott! Don’t you know what “Delta” stands for? Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport… seriously though, I once had 2 domestic connecting flights canceled by Delta and got re-routed… through Paris, France. My original destination was Sao Paulo, Brazil!

  96. They’ll never know it, but they lost 2 customers with this. They don’t have the nickname of USeless Airways for nothing.

    Lizz

  97. I agree Scott! I always spend more money with another airline so myself or my family does not fly on US Airways. But then again I have had poor customer service with NAPP as well. Sometimes things work out for you and sometimes they dont! Sounds like life to me.

  98. I’ve never flown US Airways but I switched from American to Southwest for a similar customer service issue when AA started charging for my suitcase. Southwest is the best and lowest price too.

  99. Customer service is increasingly big problem these days… I feel like companies don’t teach Customer Service anymore, they teach Customer Excuse-making.

  100. I had similar issues with British Airways recently and I will now do anything to avoid them, BA are flat out rude if you can actually get them on the phone which is almost impossible to do.

  101. The Continental One Pass program is consistently rated the best milage program in the country and their international service is the best I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what impact the merger with United will have, but it will make them the largest airline in the world so they are worth considering as your new carrier.
    Frank

    • I flew Continental for the first time last year from Atlanta thru Houston to Tokyo, then on ANA to Okinawa. Booked thru Continental. Was pleased and impressed with their service, but now that the merger has been announced with United who has rated near the bottom of customer satisfaction, I can’t help but wonder what my next flight to Japan will be like. Continental + United… Seems like a marriage of convenience, not of like minds…

  102. I stopped flying them several years ago when getting off a flight I attempted to ask the gate agent a question, were did we meet the requested wheelchair, and he launched into screaming tantrum telling me he didn’t give a damn. The rest of the flight delayed by bad weather was a nightmare in which some 1100 paying passengers were ignored on the airport floor for 14-18 hours. Two other airlines were taking care of their stranded passengers while we watched.
    We never got the wheelchair.

  103. Disgraceful. One would think that after the Southwest Air situation with Kevin Smith, other airlines would try to improve their attitudes. Especially in this day and age when opinions can travel much farther and faster than ever before. All it took was a few tweets from Mr. Smith and the story wound up in People, L.A. times, cnet and the list goes on. I have a feeling that US Airways may have just lost more than your business this day and, IMHO, they deserve it.

  104. I had a similar experience with US Airways a few years back and also refuse to fly them even though they are part of Star Alliance. I fly United 99% of the time, and if I can’t get a United flight I fly Continental. Both have been in the top 3 for on-time flights the past few years, and for the most part I have had great customer service. Granted, i’m now a Premier Executive member, and United certainly rolls out the red carpet a bit, but since I started flying United 4 years ago I can honestly say i’m really happy with them. Of course there has been a few small blunders along the way, but nothing like the unwillingness to help out and overall bad attitude I dealt with at US Airways.

  105. I recently flew on US Airways (3 legs), and prior to the trip I decided to look at my seating on the website. The seats where pretty bad (as I recall they where all middle seats), so I opt’ed for the ‘upgrade’ towards the front of the plane, at $15/leg. I didn’t realize it at the time, but after paying for the upgrade on with my credit card, I never receive any form of hardcopy/email receipt. Probably my fault for not printing out a copy from the screen.

    Well, my corporate expense auditor says I need a receipt. After spending 15-20 minutes of looking around the US Airways website trying to find a link to some form of receipt without any luck, I called a few of the contact numbers. After being transferred or told to dial a different number some 6 or 7 times, I finally got to someone that appeared to be helpful.

    First she put me on hold and spent about 10 minutes trying to find me the weblink that I could use. Finally she said there doesn’t appear to be one. Then she proceeded to take some information from me and went away for another 20 or so minutes. Finally she returned, asked for my email address to send the receipt to, and said I should see something within a few hours. It’s been 5 days now, and no e-mail from US Airways yet. I really dread calling them again. I’d rather go fight our expense auditors, or just eat the $45.00.

    This was the same flight where the ‘mis-located’ my luggage. I had planned for the luggage to be carry-on, but when I finally got to the aircraft door, I was told that the overheads where full, and I had to check the bag on the jetway. Luckily all my camera gear was in my backpack which came on with me. I had to purchase a complete change of clothes, and personal items that evening for my morning meeting. Ugh!

    Count me in as another customer that they lost.

  106. I’m sorry about your experience with USless Airways, Scott, but it doesn’t surprise me. They treat their employees just as bad.

    My father worked for the company for 15 – 20 years. Remember the hangar they used to run at TIA? That was the building he worked in as an aircraft mechanic. Being we’re in Florida, he preferred to work 3rd shift so it wasn’t so hot.

    When they closed down the TIA hanger, it was the night before Thanksgiving, at 2am of their shift. Officials from the company came in, told the staff that was currently working that they were closing the hangar and the mechanics had two hours to be off premises or security would be there to escort them out. Two hours to be off premises for employees that have put 10, 15, 20 years in for your company?!?!

    Two hours may seem like a long time, but every mechanic in the hangar supply their own tools, tool boxes, etc. Some didn’t have their trucks there, they had cars, therefore no way to load their tool boxes. In my dad’s case he just had arm surgery, due to a work related accident. Instead of taking disability, he went in to work and did paperwork for the rest of his crew. So he couldn’t load his own equipment.

    In the end, they offered them early retirement or to transfer out of state. One of my dad’s ex-coworkers put it best… he said “I’ll take the early retirement and find another job. Why would I pick up my wife and kids to move and stay with a company that would treat us so poorly?” and shouted “Happy Thanksgiving!” as he drove off.

    USless Airways is a worthless company, with even more worthless policies. They get what they deserve. I have not flown with them for years and I never will again.

    • Joe, I hate that a company would do that. Google is probably the best company in the world to work for but you have to get an invitation to be hired. I mentioned LLBean earlier, their policy…100% satisfaction, no questions asked, for life! My wife’s cousins son is a pilot for USless and we have sent him this link.

  107. Large companies spend large $$ crunching the #’s to say:

    “If policy X costs us this many customers because theyre pissed that we kept their miles, but if we save Y($$) by not having to honor 573,000,000,000 combined miles that customers accumulate while actively purchasing seats, and assuming that (Z)% of passive passengers will continue to fly with us even if they’ve been screwed, and assuming that more passengers will buy the seats vacated by the lost customers, THEN, OUR BOTTOM LINE IS LARGER.”

    As you can see, thats a lot of assuming, the lesson here –one that US Airways could easily learn from failed corporate giants of the past– is NEVER, EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE HUMAN FACTOR!!!! Or the power of a blog. ;)

  108. I had a similar experience with T-Mobile when I bought an iPhone (and switched to AT&T) mid-billing cycle. They charged me for the whole cycle and refused to prorate it. When I called about it, the telephone rep. told me that I was suppose to call them a month in advance of switching in order to not be billed. It came across as very vindictive and manipulative (trying to make it as hard as they can for people to switch). I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for years, and so has everyone in my family. I’ll never be a T-Mobile customer again … and now I’ll do everything I can to avoid US Airways. Thanks for the heads-up.

  109. As a frequent traveler myself (approximately 100k per year and over 2.5M miles on American Airlines since 2000), I can completely identify with your story. I had a similar issue with United whereby I had apparently requested a status match so that I could get my Executive Platinum status matched on United as a 1k flyer. They told me that I had apparently already done that once in 2006 and they had a policy of once per lifetime with a customer. I told them that I’d be flying United non-stop from DFW to SFO every week indefinitely (approximately $100k in flights per year). They didn’t care. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, they refused. I told them and have held true that I would NEVER fly United again and that they should express my dissatisfaction with their airline to their management.

    So, I haven’t flown them since. That was 2008. I still fly AA solely. Based out of DFW, you pretty much have to. I’ve had my share of issues, but they’ve made major strides this year with customer service, and I’ve written them letters applauding their efforts.

    As for US “Scare-ways”, I’ve “tried” to fly them three times since I began traveling in 2000. Do you know how many flights haven’t been cancelled? Zero. That’s right. Every time I’ve tried to fly them, my flight has been cancelled. I won’t even bother trying any more. Forget customer service, I never even got to fly.

  110. Two years ago my daughter flew US Air and when her bags were delivered to our house 48 hours later, her camera and two of the lenses (mine!) were gone. They provide a list of products they will not cover, basically anything of any value. That is like telling their employees to go ahead and steal anything because they won’t assume responsibility. Great stuff.

    • Bob, Here is how to handle this situation. Drive to your local airport, and get the name of the person in charge of dealing with lost bags. Then have a friend serve them with a PERSONAL summons in Small Claims Court. You cannot bring an action against the airline, but you can against their employees. A friend of mine did this, and was reimbursed $800 for his lost bag by the airline before it had a chance to go to court.

  111. Well all I can say is, I haven’t flown in nearly 4 years and then it wasn’t Delta. BUT all of my Delta “miles” I’ve earned are still valid. To heck with expiring “dividend miles”! I earned them, they’re mine until I’m ready to use them.

    • I had a similar experience. I used to fly Northwest exclusively, and about 5 months ago got an email from Delta saying I still had 25k miles I hadn’t used (Delta had bought Northwest). The last time I flew Northwest? Probably in the late 1990’s. I used the miles to buy my kid a tricycle, but the fact of the matter was, they were still there for me to use.

  112. I live in Phoenix and thought it was good to support local companies but USeless Airways has given such bad customer service and misinformation from their customer service representatives that we avoid them like the plague where possible. When we called them on the phone the customer service dept representative told us to write to the customer service deptartment!!!? After sending e-mails to the customer service department asking for nothing hoping they could use constructive criticism (but expecting at least an apology or letting us know they are looking not taking care of the problem) we were seemingly at fault. I even CC’d Doug Parker, US Airways Chairman and CEO but as expected no response from him just political air from his customer service head supervisor. Just a look on the internet and you will see we are not alone or an anomaly when complaining about there customer service!! Avoid them like the plague is my recommendation!

    Al in Phoenix

  113. Overall, airline service has become miserable. I prefer to drive, as I did from the East Coast to Moab in October. As to US Airways, my experience has been limited. Two years ago we flew to Spain and Back from Philadelphia. The flight and service was adequate. My worst experience was with Iberia (national airline of Spain). They fell below even Aero Swift (national airline of Ukraine). But domestically, my worst experience was with Delta. From your description, Delta must have reformed considerably. The best airline I have flown in the past 15 or so years is ANA (Japanese).

  114. One would think in this day and age of high tech systems, iPhone, etc. airline database systems would automatically acknowledge, verify and credit the passenger’s mileage to his/her mileage account #.
    I wish I could say this was an isolated incident but as often is the case it is a culture within the company as evident with the repeated & scripted 3 options read to you over and over again to reinstate your mileage account.

    Agree – based on principle alone – you should write the CEO, Doug Parker and its President, Scott Kirby (unrelated to Scott Kelby ;-)

  115. Scott, I’m a pilot at Delta and we couldn’t be happier to have y’all as a customer! I hope we always treat you the way you deserve to be treated… I know we too may miss the mark sometimes but I can promise that 99.9% of all of us at Delta want our customers to be happy!
    Tom

  116. U.S. Airways cancelled the flight my 14-year-old daughter and her similarly aged tour group were scheduled to connect to after returning from Europe a couple of years ago. They stranded this group of kids and one very pregnant teacher/chaperone in a stange city with no offer of another flight, hotel, or compensation. The earliest flight, airline representatives told the chaperone would take off in 5 days. There was no one at the airline who could help. Fortunately, a parent who commutes to that city was able to get them on a flight on a competing airline the following day. Their plight was featured on the local news when they finally returned to Kansas City.

    Needless to say, we don’t fly US Airways — or do business with any company that screws their customers.

  117. You gave up way too easily! I really don’t like to open up my can o’ a-hole, but this is one situation where I would have. I would have told the Rep, she can either solve my problem now, or the next link up the chain will, and I will be taking and giving names on my way up on how I was treated. You keep working your way up until someone fixes the problem.

    I once worked my way all the way up to the Executive Admin for the President/CEO of Iomega. She proceeded to tell me that she was not going to let me speak with President of the company as she was too busy to handle situations like this. But you know what? The Executive Admin took care of my problem right then and there. The situation should have never have even made it this far. The first customer service rep I spoke with should have been able to take care of this for me, or at least got me someone who could.

    Poor customer service is no excuse for any business. I say call them back Scott and get your miles back!

  118. They lost me when they were America West. Imagine lying to your own customers, and giving away your seat to standby passengers even though you connected in time – which is exactly what they did. Imagine customer service having to call in airport security because of irate passengers – I saw it happen in Phoenix. At the time, J.D. Power rated them #1 in customer satisfaction, which is why I will never believe J.D. Power anymore!

  119. You should have recorded her and put it on Youtube with so many tags to the Airline and to the CEO who wrote the letter and I bet you would have flown free many times. I have the Airline when you ride on a bonus mile give away they tell you get off the carpet and when you need to go to the bathroom them tell you to stay out the restroom and give you a empty plastic water bottle and say “Please aim!” and then “Thank you for recycling your air miles, loser.”
    Got to love them

  120. It may be the “tomato/tomahto” discussion but John McWade makes a great point about the “NO” graphic that people use. He says the symbol represents the letter “N” as in “No.” Meaning the crossbar goes from top left to bottom right vs. the way you have it displayed.

    Love your blog!

  121. I have gotten stuck on them in the past when my other flights have been cancelled or weather delays. I am Platinum on Continental and I learned quickly that I had been spoiled by them. Seems like they should be called US Scareways!

  122. I also will not fly US Airways again. I went on a trip to Las Vegas last year and we had a layover in Charlotte. Well the plane we were supposed to take to Las Vegas had mechanical issues. So they decided to book everyone in a hotel in Charlotte for the night. It was only 4 p.m. when we were in Charlotte. It wasn’t like it was the last plane of the day. I wasn’t really interested in spending time in Charlotte either. My vacation was supposed to be in Las Vegas. So the next day, we had to take a plane to Philadelphia first and then to Las Vegas. Long story short, it took a full 24 hours to get to Las Vegas. I could have driven in that time and been a lot less irritated. If it had been a weather delay, that would have been one thing but it was nice and sunny and warm. No reason to not be able to get there in a more timely fashion.

  123. Scott,

    Try copy/pasting it to the CEO’s e-mail….

    douglas.parker@usairways.com

    Good luck!

  124. Venting on the Net can be extremely useful, Scott, as proven by these guys.

  125. Most of the world is worried more about what the computer says rather than trying to connect with the customer on a personal level. This is why I enjoy the business side of photography because it is personal. If i worried about lost time on the computer than I would lose not only money but a relationship!

  126. We all have our customer service nightmares to tell, so I will spare you some of mine. I’ve been working with the public for most of my life, and two things always helped me to diffuse any bad situation. 1) Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. They’ll feel like they are fighting their problem with someone that can help them, not hinder them; and 2) Show some common courtesy to the customer. “Please”, “Thank You” and “Sorry” go a long way towards making a customer feel like they are being cared about.

    Scott, I was very impressed with your staff when I had an issue earlier this year. Very professional and helpful. And you know the best indicator of good service? When you can’t remember what the issue was, just that you know it was handled promptly, efficiently and with courtesy! Your team has that in spades. You should be proud of them.

    I would pursue this with the head of the USAirways (hey, you’re BOTH presidents, so why not!) and at least direct him to your blog and the over 125 comments (at this time) from your readers. We all fly airlines at one time or another, and we can all decide where we want to spend our money!

    Thanks for sharing,

    –John

  127. Scott, you’re completely right, as far as I’m concerned anyway. And you should’ve gotten a few “warning” emails along the way (check your spam filter).

    But I wouldn’t count on it being any better with any of the other airlines. Probably worse with United. Continental was OK, but now that they’ve been gobbled up by United I wouldn’t count on that holding out (and Continental has the key routes to some of my favorite scuba diving destinations, but that’s another post). Delta is just plain awful. Southwest was good at first, if you didn’t mind the cattle calls at boarding, but they’ve fallen back lately and their “low fares” aren’t different from anyone else anymore (I guess they figure the “free two bag” deal is their new competitive edge).

    I realize you don’t have much choice in the matter, but I’ve finally decided to just travel less. I used to think I liked to travel, I’ve since discovered that I hate the process of getting there.

    And God help you if you have to get a USAir flight now, say, as a last minute change. I’m sure you’re on their private do-not-fly list (not for the TSA, just for this particular airline).

  128. They took away a measley 28000 miles from me this year as well, and I too will not step on another US Airways flight. I too called and got the run around.

    Moral of the story, buh bye US Airways…
    Southwest, you had me at “No baggage fees”

  129. Scott,
    I would not let it go that easy. I would make contact again with someone higher up in the food chain. I know you say you will never fly them again, but sometime in the future they may be your best or only option. You earned those miles, and they should do a better job of keeping you and your company as their customer. The fight is not over! You got knocked down but get up off the canvas and fight a little harder.

    Scott

  130. I’m really quite surprised that Matt doesn’t let you borrow his Lear when you need to fly….

  131. Another thought. Next time you fly them (if you do), just say BOMB once you get on the plane. You’ll be sure to get right to the top of the list of folks trying to talk to the CEO. ;)

  132. They should all take a lesson from Apple Customer Service!

  133. Scott, first off you are doing a great job with your company. I recently switched from the e subscription to paper (sorry for not being green, but it was too inconvenient to read) and not only was the women that helped me nice, but she sent me past copies that I had electronically in the mail. Above and beyond for sure. As to your US Airways story, the identical thing happened to my buddy; so you can add two more people to the US Airways boycott.

  134. Hi Scott,

    I fly to the US (Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN), in October/November on a yearly basis – direct flight from Amsterdam – used to be perfect.

    You would think that when you book a flight to MSP, through the KLM website, our excellent KLM would take me there and back – how wrong can you be. Through their partnership with other airlines, for a number of years, you would be flying NorthWest. Their on-board service was not as good as KLM’s but acceptable, so no complaining there… I believe it was last year that Delta took over NorthWest… Man, Delta service s**s BIG TIME. I justed returned from a trip to NewYork – of course I booked KLM again – but no cigar, you get Delta.

    How about sitting in a plane for almost 8 hours, with the ‘entertainment system’ down, (KLM has personal entertainment systems in the back of each chair – Delta is still flying these aged planes with the big screen on the middle of the rows, and the very small screens above the walkways), flight attendants who were older than the dinosaurs (man, it was Halloween alright, but these fight attendants were SCARY!), just before landing in Amsterdam (around 6:00h) they threw (literally!) some a plastic bag with a squashed muffin and an green banana in our laps – that was our ‘breakfast’.

    A letter to KLM is on its way – not just for this trip, but also for our experiences for the past couple of years. You pay for a more expensive KLM ticket, and you get bad service from another airline… I am not expecting anything from it… A response would be nice. However, I will double check for future flights that when we book KLM, I make absolutely sure that we will be flying KLM as well.

    J.

  135. Bravo Scott for putting this put there. US Airways (known as “Agony Air” back when they were Allegheny) needs a major dope-slap! I had a very similar experience a few years ago when trying to get my mother’s 100K-plus miles reinstated. Decided to cave and do the new-credit-card route. Then went through four months of the credit provider repeatedly rejecting the application due to my mother’s being a credit risk (retired, no debts, large net worth mostly in liquid assets).

  136. A photographer that has a web site commented once on the site that these large companies “Hate Their Customers”. I feel that that is true. All they want to do is get your money and not be bothed by you again. Just call tech support or customer service and most of the time you are shipped off to some foreign land where they can’t even speak english that you can understand and almost never know the answer to your problem. Sorry to say that Adobe is one of these companies.

  137. Hey Scott, my heart sank when I saw this. My wife works with the US
    Airways Dividend Miles Program. I have shown her your post, and she is
    checking into it. From what she read this morning, it seems that this
    can be remedied. She has sent you an email and will also be glad to
    talk to you. I can assure you that everyone that I know at US Airways
    cares about treating people the way they would want to be treated
    themselves. Maintaining this level of customer service is a difficult
    task when there are hundreds of representatives. There are two sides
    to air travel these days… companies (like most of us on this page)
    that
    need to make money to stay in business, pay employees and answer to
    Shareholders and the other side is customers that want great service
    and low fares. We all know that this is a difficult balance these
    days. US Airways is a large company with tens of thousands of
    employees and subcontractors and yes there are some bad apples. But I
    can assure you that there are plenty of good apples that get upset
    when they hear of things like this happening to there customers.

  138. You’re absolutely right, Scott. It may be our responsibility as frequent travelers to monitor our accounts, but the company has to also realize we have many options when it comes to travel. I have had similar issues with US Airways, and also recently stopped flying them. Delta, on the other hand, sent me an apology letter and 5,000 miles for a late flight – even though I NEVER complained or wrote to them. It’s true, we tell others about the bad experiences 10 times as often as we tell them about the good ones.

  139. As an owner of a company that specializes in small group travel and
    concierge services for travel to Italy, I fully understand customer
    service. In fact our company’s first and foremost product is customer
    service – before, during and after the customer’s travel is complete. I
    want our customers to enjoy their limited time in Italy so we spend a great
    amount of time before their trip to ensure it will be what they expect.
    No company is ever 100% perfect and issues do arise. For example just
    several weeks ago we had a couple who discovered the villa we reserved for
    them was a little too far from town. Even thou we reviewed this with them
    before hand, when they got there they just weren’t comfortable with it. So
    at 3:00 AM our time, we were on the phone with them, the villa and
    eventually a hotel in town where we secured a room for them. Because of
    this service they have recommended us to several of their friends.

    US Airways missed a chance to turn a situation where Scott was not happy,
    in to a marketing opportunity. Not because Scott has this blog or because
    Kelby Media does large amounts of travel but simply because good customer
    service leads to word of mouth marketing and word of mouth marketing is
    great marketing.

  140. My 9 to 5 job is working for a funeral home in Spring Hill, FL. The people the funeral directors book flights for have not had issue with their flight or any customer service issues. And hopefully never will.

    I have been in a customer service position for many years and have always worked for a company where it is their policy to assist customers to the fullest. A lot of companies today do not care about quality customer service for whatever reason, large corporation, false security their empire has what you will be purchasing no matter what. Kind of the take the money are run attitude. I no longer shop at stores who do not care about customer service or do not staff enough people to assist you. Collectively we have the power to change attitudes, sadly not enough people hear or care about the bugle call.

  141. David Leatherood Captain Southwest Airlines

    Another example why SWA has made a profit for the last 37 yrs straight. Airlines are CUSTOMER SERVICE dependent. We LUV our customers!

  142. Scott,

    As long as I’ve been following you in all of the places where you cast a huge online LIGHT (never a shadow) this is the first time I can remember you being upset enough to post a “scathing” review of another company. Your standard practice is to ardently promote everyone you believe in from total strangers, to your team, all the way up to some of the mega companies who’s products and services you rely on daily.

    You don’t know me personally (would love to change that someday) but when someone impresses you I know about it. In fact, I had to smile at the way you concluded this post, BY PROMOTING DELTA! You just can’t seem to help yourself :).

    I would like to think I admire you so much because we share that trait but I have to concede that you are in a league of your own when it comes to effectively building up the people you believe in. Having been on the receiving end of unfair criticism I tend to heavily discount the typical online “rant” but, given your history, this one carries some weight with me.

    Having said that, I’m a firm believer that the way a company recovers from a mistake is more indicative of their personality and potential than anything they do when they have smooth water and wind in their sales (spelling intentional). I believe your gracious nature could turn this into one of the best promotional opportunities US Airways has had in years… provided they show evidence of extending that effort to all of their customers.

    Damaging as this post probably is, if they find a way to re-EARN your respect that would say a lot more to me about US Airways than the poorly trained actions of a single employee on a given day. That would surely be a tough thing to do at this point which is why I would view it as a mark of excellence.

    I wish the best to everyone involved, but to US Airways in particular. I for one sincerely hope they give us all the opportunity to learn the art of a gracious recovery on the Scott Kelby blog. I’m pretty sure if they find a way to impress you I will hear about it and I really hope they do. Lord knows we need more companies committed to that level of excellence in the world.

  143. Scott, before you sever ties with US Airways, take one more step. Simply get in touch with Doug Parker, the Chairman and CEO and outline your flight plight and see what he says. This is a case where going to the top is warranted. The answer you receive will be a testament one or the other of how sincere his promise of customer satisfaction bears validity.

  144. It is always about customer service. Hey, shit happens, but it is how you deal with it that matters.
    Our customers are always commenting on how great it is to be able to pick up the phone and get their questions answered. We would certainly not be one of the top online proofing services today without our customer service that keeps our customers (you photographers) signing our praises from the rooftops.

  145. Holy Cow! I’ve been telling everyone I know about US Air and their terrible customer service for the last two years…but this one takes the cake!

  146. You haven’t “experienced” US Airways until you’ve actually flown their regional flights. Even more to the point, the former Mesa Air (America West’s regional airline, now part of the US Air umbrella) flights. That had to be the one of the most miserable experiences I’ve had with airline employees (think former Soviet block airline — it was that bad).

    Having learned my lesson (thankfully, only a couple of times), I can’t begin to imagine punishing myself with actual membership in their frequent flyer program.

  147. To Debbi – I have had occasions where I spoke to a customer service rep and asked for the supervisor or anyone above their head and was told that I couldn’t talk to anyone else…they refused to transfer me and refused to do anything to alter the situation….it is very frustrating. I worked part time in a major department store selling expensive cosmetics for a few years and we had the philosophy that the customer was always right, even when both parties knew they were in the wrong. There is no sense in a CS rep arguing with a customer, nobody wins.

  148. Scott, just one more quick note. You are to be commended for your civil discourse in trying to resolve the problem. You could have easily become a Steve Martin’s character in dealing with the situation in the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles

  149. I have never, EVER had a positive experience with US Airways and avoid flying with them when I can possibly help it. Sometimes my travel is arranged for me so I take what I’m given, but their customer service always has been, and apparently continues to be, horrid. Delta, on the other hand, has always been positive in my experience.

  150. Scott, I don’t think my first post went through but it was to say that try getting in touch with CEO and Chairman Doug Parker to see if he actually stands by the claims he makes in his letter attesting to his company’s commitment to customer satisfaction. Going to the top here is justifiable. The results would be interesting.

  151. My husband is a pilot for Southwest. I’d give them a try. They still know how to treat people well.

  152. Customer Service or the lack of is contagious. Often employees will treat customers exactly the same way the company treats them as noted by some of the stories from USAir. Some rules of Customer Service: every customer you disrespect will tell 7 people (this was before the internet) who will in turn tell 7, who will in turn… Bottom line: If your grandmother was standing in front of a co-worker how would you want her treated. I often ask the CS rep on the other end what city they are in. If the response is out of the country or they refuse to answer I know I will get the printed response printed in the book in front of them. If you are really upset ask politely to speak to a supervisor. If told they will call back, ask for the name and phone number of the supervisor and the person currently on the phone. If you get a reply that states “that is not allowed”, think about the frustration you are about to incur and whether it is worth it. Then use the internet / company wide loss of business, etc. threat.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. She could just be acting the way she is being treated (or trained) at work. I know a couple of times I have been a disgruntled employee, I took it out on my customers a couple of times because I felt vengeful. I was a teenager at the time, and regret doing so!

  153. I feel your frustration Scott…
    I’m in Canada and I was an Elite member of Air Canada’s program. On average, I flew over 100K with them for 10 years. When I started my new company, I did not fly very much so my status went to regular. But here is what Air Canada has done…. if you don’t use your rewards card for one year, they will forfeit all your miles…. That includes flying or using your card with participating businesses. How is that fair? I had flown with them for 30 years…. I think airlines are short term thinkers and customer service is now an option…. Air Canada is not on my list when I fly now… shame how the airline industry has changed for the worst…

  154. That situation is so frustrating! Just to comment on how important you said customer service is to you…I booked the class for Joe McNally’s class last night and bought a book but didn’t realize it didn’t register my NAPP number so I didn’t get a discount. I thought I had typed it in but didn’t double check the total before I paid. This morning I called Diane at Kelby Training and she fixed it for me no questions asked. Thank you! If only everything was that easy!

  155. Scott, I know what you mean. I work in an IT department for a graduate school but our team has to handle technical support requests. We pride ourselves on being personable and giving the best possible experience that we can. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to go “above and beyond” most of the time. I also just wanted to let you know that I have had fantastic contact with Kelby Media and want to praise your employees for everything they do. They go “above and beyond” on everything and it makes all the difference in world.

  156. Personally I skip AA. My dad died in 07, and they booked me full fare from DFW to slc…said they had used their allotment of bereavement fares. What was usually $280 rt with a month advance was just shy of $900. So I get on the crowded flight and sit between 2 AA employees who endlessly bragged about their almost free flights all over the country several times a month. Finally one asked about my trip, I told about the fare issue and they told me to get a form from a clerk to submit for adjustment credit. I did it, with all docs for death etc. They rejected it. I fly SW now. Just sayin’…

  157. I gave up US Air years ago when they adopted a policy of canceling flights without reason. The tipper came when I was living in New Jersey and got a call saying the flight I was booked on was canceled and that they could book me on the next day. That prompted me to reply that if I had wanted to fly the next day I would have booked for that day. No offer to assist in getting a flight on any other carrier or anything.

    • Dave, we had the same thing happen – USAIR canceled our flight home, and offered to fly us home THE NEXT DAY from a DIFFERENT AIRPORT 2 hours away. No offer of hotel, food, transportation to the other airport, etc. We rented a car and drove through the night. When we wrote to the company, they said only flights canceled because of mechanical issues offer hotel stays and such.

  158. I avoid US Airways like the plague. I once had a flight going from Pittsburgh, PA to Bangor, ME (with a stopover in Boston, MA). The flight from Pittsburgh was badly delayed. They held the plane from Boston to Bangor for us (it was a small plane, and half the people on it were apparently on the Pittsburgh flight). I spoke to the flight attendant – I asked here what would happen with my luggage. We were going to Bangor because we were IN a wedding, and our clothes were packed. No problem, I was told. “They transfer baggage faster than people.” Uh, OK. I get to Bangor – no luggage. No problem, I am told at the desk. It will be placed on the next flight to Bangor and sent to the hotel for us. They have several flights a day from Boston to Bangor. Uh, OK. That night, nothing. I call CS. I am told that they are not a baggage tracking line and can’t tell me where my luggage is. “OK – well, can I get the number for baggage tracking please.” “No, that is not a public line.” “Well, if it’s for internal use only, then can you please call them, and give me an update?” “No, we don’t do that.” Mmm hmmm. Next day, nothing. Finally, around 4 pm, in a panic, my husband and I go shopping to get clothes for the wedding the next day. Not easy – I don’t exactly have a supermodel’s body, and my husband is 6’5″ – luckily, Bangor had one big and tall shop. We got the luggage about two hours before we checked out of the hotel, the day AFTER the wedding – the fourth day of our trip. I can’t tell you how much wrangling it took to get them to pay for the clothes we had to buy. Hate em. Just hate em.

  159. Was it a call agent in India or Costa Rica ? That would explain a lot…
    I’ve said it before and I will say it again Scott. You customer service team totally Rocks!

  160. As being a pilot for the worlds largest airline! There is one thing that doesn’t frustrate me the more, airlines who have poor customer service! Every airline is very bad about it I cant stand working for a company that treats people like a number or $ sign! I will say when I am not sitting in the front, I am flying southwest best airline out there!!!

  161. Just so everyone knows, Scott does have the right to be upset even based on one phone call from Customer Service. They are not called “Customer Service” for nothing. If he was talking to a baggage guy, I could understand!

    I was at OfficeMax recently and complained about customer service and asked to talk to Manager. He said, I am the manager. I re-explained the problem and the poor treatment. You know the excuse he gave me???? Well, I’ve only been here for 3 weeks.

    I’m sorry guys. That doesn’t fly with me!!!!! I was more mad when he said that. It’s like he said, I don’t care because that happened when I wasn’t here.

    These people need to be accountable for what they say. Yeah, I agree with some of you saying that not all are like that, maybe some are more helpful. BUT, she was not! That needs to be mentioned.

  162. Thanks for this post Scott. This Country is in a lot of trouble, and attitudes such as you are describing are a lot of the cause for this trouble. It seems that no one cares anymore. People are only interested in ‘collecting’ paycheck, not “working” for a paycheck. If she were ‘working’ for my corporation, she would be looking for another job right now–and so would her boss! It is about time corporations like this understand we, the consumer, have a choice, and I am with you; I told my secretary not to stop using US Airways for any company flights, and I encourage you to get this link to the US Airways Board of Directors. Put some of that steam back where it belongs.–Craig

  163. One trick I’ve learned with airlines is, tell them you have a starter pistol in the bag. My studio lights bag is too large for carry on, so I bought a starter pistol, which shoots only blanks, and I put it in the bag with my gear. You’ll fill out some paperwork, because they consider it a firearm, and then you can lock your bag, and it will never be opened.

    Reason is, once it’s been checked with you present at check in, and the forms are all filled out, they don’t want to open it again for liability reasons. I’ve never in 10 years had a bag opened with that pistol in it, and never lost one either, something about a “lost firearm” just doesn’t sit well with airlines. By having a firearm present in the bag, it seems to receive alittle more attention.

  164. Scott, somehow some of your posts are not posting–mine lengthy last one did not.

  165. I’ve had similar experiences with losing my miles and with just generally terrible customer service on both USAir and American Airlines, and now I just won’t fly with either one, unless there is just absolutely no reasonable alternative. In fact, even if there is more inconvenience or cost involved with flying an alternative airline, I’ll always go with that. Life is just too short to be treated like a number, and if that’s how a company insists on treating me, then they lose my business. Simple as that. To be honest, after all the horrible experiences I’ve had with USAir, I’m surprised they’re even still in business.

    I think a lot of the times these CS reps think they’re dealing with an individual, and they don’t realize that that individual may actually represent the business of a much larger group. And these days with the Internet, word spreads fast. You’d think that companies would start to “get it” by now.

  166. There are very few brands or companies that I will openly recommend to anyone. People are all different and I’ve had enough bad experience in the past being burnt by what I thought were good recommendations of mine. I can honestly say that your company is one of those rare exceptions. Your classes and materials fall at all different skill levels so obviously no book, class, article or video you produce is ever going to please everyone but I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with your organization either with your customer service or the value of what you offer.

    I’ve had a few “bumps” with your company in the past – twice my fault and once something within your organization – and in all cases, things have been resolved with almost no effort on my part. In one case, I actually felt bad because I was clearly on the wrong and wanted to “negotiate” some sort of compromise only to find the person one the other end of the phone willing to make my mistake right 100% without question. I got off that call not just satisfied but delighted and I can count on one hand the number of times that has ever happened for me with customer service, even when it is the company’s fault.

    It’s obvious that your commitment to quality isn’t an accident. As frustrating as this experience has been for you, I’m glad you shared it with us because it really helps illustrate what a firm commitment you have. Keep it up and not only will you have this customer for life but as many others as I can tell. Thank you!

  167. Come on Scott it’s about time you got a NetJets card!!! :)


    DT.

  168. Speaking of customer service and photography, this is why I will never purchase another thing from Adorama.

    I had finally scrimped and saved for a decent (not extravagant) tripod that was in the $300 range. I had ordered from Adorama before since they’re tied to Amazon, and I had not had experienced any problems with either Amazon or Adorama before (but I had never purchased directly off of Adorama’s site prior). Anyhow, I bought the tripod directly off of the Adorama site and eagerly awaited its arrival.

    I received the boxes which contained the ball head and tripod and signed for them since the boxes looked intact without any evidence of abuse. Imagine my disappointment when the main adjustment screw had part of the plastic broken off of it.

    Of course, I contacted customer service first thing by email, and they asked that I take photos of the broken part. I was happy to oblige so I sent them the requested photos. I asked that they just replace the one screw because I figured one brand new adjustment screw would be easy to ship in the mail instead of returning the whole tripod back and waiting for a replacement. Then, I didn’t hear back anything after sending those photos so I called back a couple of days later.

    I spoke with a customer service representative who asked a few questions, but consequently said that I had to contact the manufacturer directly to rectify the situation. Needless to say, I was upset. After all, I didn’t buy the tripod directly from the manufacturer so why was I being forced to deal with them when Adorama sold me faulty equipment?

    So that is how Adorama lost me as a customer.

    On top of that, since I am an active duty service member and the subject matter expert for my command on anything photo/video/digital imaging software related, I will never suggest Adorama as a vendor for any equipment purchases to my supply and logistics personnel. They have already missed out on thousand of dollars of photo equipment that I had to buy recently which went to their direct competitor, B&H since I have not experienced any difficulties with their customer service representatives in the past.

    Also, since my community of experts in my branch are fairly tight knit, I have also made the recommendation of black-balling Adorama as a vendor to anyone that asks including novices who are employed in a different field and interested in buying their first camera kit who look to me for my expertise.

    All this stemming from one broken adjustment screw which should have been the easiest fix. Imagine if it was something bigger and a lot more expensive like a lens or a camera body. By the way, I never got the part replaced so everytime I use my tripod, it serves as a reminder and I remember how Adorama screwed me.

    • Yup, I too will never spend another nickel at Adorama … that’s about $40K/year … because they have such terrible customer service and it’s always my fault even when they have sold me things they don’t have and can’t get. It’s so much easier to buy from B&H, Amazon or Samy’s and never be wrong.

    • Dear Charlemagne

      I was extremely concerned to read your posting, and firstly would like to apologize, most sincerely, that you did not receive the level of customer service which you quite rightly should have expected.

      I would welcome the opportunity to find out who you spoke to, as this individual employee has clearly acted inappropriately and completely failed to follow Adorama expectations relating to customer service.
      I am not surprised that you have assumed that this is company policy, however, I can assure you that it is not – but I do understand why you have decided not to purchase from Adorama in the future. In your position I may well have felt the same way.

      There are many other reputable retailers also offering competitive pricing and excellence in customer service and I appreciate that my words alone may be inadequate, bearing in mind the inconvenience and disappointment you have experienced.
      I would be grateful if you could email me directly: HelenO@adorama.com with details of your order number and the staff member you were in contact with, I can investigate this matter, ensure that you are compensated appropriately, and of course the issue will be raised with the member of staff in order that it can be dealt with according to internal procedures.

      Once again my apologies, and I do look forward to hearing back from you and giving this my immediate attention.

      Helen Oster
      Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador
      HelenO@adorama.com

    • I am pleased to be able to advise you that the replacement part is on the way out to you, directly from the manufacturer.

      My deepest apologies that we didn’t handle this as we should have done when you first contacted us.

      Helen Oster
      Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

  169. Just one of many reasons they are called Useless Air!

  170. I had never flown US Airways before but 2 weeks ago I was supposed to fly with them. I had booked a regular coach flight with them that was from Florida to California. A few days before my scheduled “booked” flight I called them to ask if I could upgrade to a first class seat instead of coach. Turns out first class was full, so I remained in coach. When I get to the airport for my flight and go to check our bags we find out my booking was canceled and I’m no longer on their flight. The flight itself wasn’t canceled, just my ticket. Apparently when I called to UPGRADE and give them MORE money to do so, the person on the phone decided to cancel my ticket altogether when an upgrade wasn’t available. I was supposed to have been notified of the change but I never was. The flight was now overbooked and there was nothing they could do to get my on the flight. I was pissed!! I quickly used my iphone to search for available flights with other airlines and found a delta flight around the same time. We ran over to the Delta gate and told them our problem. Delta was understanding of our problem and got us on the next flight home and on top of that, they charged me a great rate, much lower than if I would have booked a last minute flight online with them. The next day, I received an email from US Airways stating I was canceled from my flight. Gee thanks US Airways.

  171. U.S. Airways Motto: “We’re not happy until YOU’RE not happy!”

  172. One of the saddest things about this whole episode is, it that US Airways might try to make it up to Scott because of the clout and following that he has.

    As for the rest of us pee-ons, whi knows if they would even care?
    sad. sad. sad.

  173. Scott, allow me to share a quote with you that is written on my white board in my office. It is the only quote that I have, that I look at every day, that although I may at times due to being human, I always come back to in order to gain THE persepctive that is required to be successful in business.

    “The goal of any organization is to serve it’s customers” – Peter Drucker

    This is THE goal of any organization. Everything comes secondary to it. We may error, have bad days, make mistakes, but if we understand that EVERYTHING, INCLUDING profits comes second to the goal stated above, it is my opinion that you have a very well thinking organization/indidual/employee/supervisor on your hands.

    “The goal of any organization is to serve it’s customers” …. :)

    CHEERS!

    • You might want to edit that quote to read, ” The goal of any organization is to serve its customers.” (Use the possessive “its” instead of the contraction, “it’s,” which is short for “it is.”)

  174. US “Scare” is the pits. I too have had challenges with their customer service. I stopped using them several years ago.

    The problem is that their employees are not authorized to think for themselves. US Air seems to think that customers are not people. We are just packages being shipped from one point to another.

    Sorry, but I refuse to be treated like a package.

    Bravo for having the guts to tell the world. Don’t back down when they use intimidation to get you to remove your blog.

  175. Fly Southwest. There is NO other airline that has customer service that even comes close to Southwest. I fly them exclusively – haven’t flown another airlines in almost 10 years. Scott, you live in Florida near Orlando and Tampa. Southwest has more than enough flights from those cities. Make Southwest your exclusive carrier – you won’t be sorry.

  176. I used to fly US Airways pretty exclusively for travel to the US, as I went to PHL an awful lot, and most of their connections from YOW were reasonable. I flew more than 70k miles a year with them domestically, and had been reasonably happy up until one flight.

    I was boarding, and had an exit row seat. They scanned my pass, and it got rejected, where I was told I had been reassigned and to go to the counter. I went to the counter, and they gave me a ticket with a middle seat. Confused, I asked where my exit row seat was, where I was told words to the effect of “A lady who had a higher-priced ticket wanted it. I don’t know why you have it, you certainly don’t deserve it with your fare class, and we reserve the right to reassign you.”

    No apologies, a fantastically terrible attitude, and when I politely pointed out how much I had spent with them this year and my current status, that this wasn’t terribly customer friendly, and that I might reconsider flying their airline I was threatened with having my boarding denied because “we can do that at our discretion, you know.”

    I phoned in a complaint and sent a letter, and got no further response. It sounds petty, and it is. It wasn’t a big deal to me until they told me I didn’t deserve status seating despite being a vbery good customer, that they had the right to do it if they pleased, and thendelivered a thinly-veiled threat to make my life even more difficult if I put up much of a fuss (which included simply asking “why?”).

    So, I haven’t flown US Airways since, and never will again. I keep waiting for them to go belly-up, and am mystified by how they haven’t yet.

  177. I absolutely understand your frustration! I have the US Airways VISA card. I have tried two times to purchase tickets with my “miles” only to be told they were black out dates and I was unable to use them during my planned travel dates. We are now planning a family trip next July. I called ahead and asked about black out dates and to make sure I’m not going to lose any previous miles. I was told black out dates are not set yet, but I should have no problem. I am giving them one more chance … if I’m told no, I’m switching my credit card and saying so long to US Airways! But, how short-sighted of them to not realize the potential revenue you and your colleagues could bring to their airline??!!

  178. I find it so hard to believe that companies just don’t get it anymore, especially airlines. What happened to treating all customers, no matter how many times you have flown with them, with grace and great attitude? It only takes a smile to make someones day and to think she could have kept you and your company raving about them instead of ranting. She (for US Airways) lost so much more than one customer.

  179. It’s interesting that the date of forfeiture is in the future according to the screen capture and they still were unwilling to work with you on the issue. That is beyond bad service. It is deliberate meanness.

  180. Well thats saved them a dime and cost them a dollar

  181. You have to love the power of the internet brother! I’ll stand by you, but I won’t help you get your miles back either :-)

  182. In thinking about this a little bit more, they more than “got you” on a technicality. They could have just as easily notified you before your miles expired, and you could have phoned and corrected matters a little more simply (hopefully, anyways). Instead, they use the fact that they know your miles have expired, that they may have value to you, and hold them hostage in a rev-gen opportunity.

    It’s more than stupid. It’s planned that way.

  183. I had always flown Northwest because of the fact that they were HQ’d in my home state, but often flew US Air from Philadelphia to Jacksonville because they were the only one at the time with a direct flight.

    Since the NWA/Delta merger I have been happy with the service, ease of upgrades and the general treatment that I have gotten from them.

  184. Scott – I completely understand your point (and agree). At this time my comment is behind 208 responses and I haven’t the time to read them all, but I would like to share my thoughts too.
    I don’t have a personal experience with US Air to share, but a general observation about customer service. As unfortunate as it is, customer service seems to be lacking in many US companies. I have had multiple experiences where the customer service experience was a complete failure. I work for a company that has a culture that strives to provide a unique customer experience and they succeed! It means a lot because people really care how they are treated or at least want to be satisfied. We grow “fans!” not customers, when we have a positive customer experience. Your point is valid and relative to business models throughout the USA that are just bad when it comes to the customer experience.
    To end on a positive note – I have had several positive customer service experiences that were affiliated to Kelby companies – NAPP, Kelby Trainng Live, Kelby Online training. I haven’t needed customer service often, but when I do / did I know the Kelby brand will take care of me! Thanks Scott – I truly appreciate your candor, business accuman, and openess about business and life – YOU ROCK! ..and that’s why I will always be a Fan! of anything Kelby :)

  185. I had similar issue with Budget car rental this summer over a Miami trip. I specifically used Budget because of the NAPP discount. I emailed NAPP about this, warning about the way Budget treated their customers in effort to have NAPP at least reconsider whether they were worthy of being part of our discount offerings. My rental bill had about 30% additional charge added to it for hundreds of dollars for no reason. After 2 weeks of fighting with them, I had to go through my credit card company to have the bogus charges removed. I had proof in the form of hardcopy receipts with signatures and quoted totals and Budget could not counter any of it so it was eventually resolved that way through my credit card company.

    I don’t write this to deminish what you’ve gone through with US Air, Scott, but to help get the word out that there are companies that don’t deserve to be listed on the NAPP discount list for their bogus and sometimes illegal actions towards their customers.

    I hope you’re able to get your issue with US Air resolved to your liking though. I’m just amazed by how some companies treat their customers and expect them to just accept it.

  186. I just booked a flight with US Airways.. so will see.

  187. I have always avoid U.S. Air! I now, I will never fly with them. I’m really sorry that they treated you that way, Scott!

  188. My last trip with US Air was such a nightmare it’s amazing to me they are still in business. It was a business trip from Ottawa to Boston so it only made sense that we’d go through Philadelphia. The plane scheduled to take us from Ottawa to Philly arrived almost 2 hours late. After servicing and whatnot we departed for Philly a total of 3 hours behind schedule. We were assured before departure that we would be placed on the last flight of the night to Boston around 11PM.

    We arrived in Philly and it had rained or something and the whole airport was at a standstill. We sat on the tarmac for 1 hour and 45 minutes until they could find us a spot at the terminal to park our jet. But we still had over 2 hours to the scheduled flight to Boston so all was well, right? Nope. We arrive at the gate and are told by the counter person that the flight may be cancelled. Huh? Yup, the flight crew scheduled to fly this leg has already gone over their alloted hours for the day. We are trying to locate another flight crew. 11PM comes and goes. Still looking for a crew. About 1AM they finally make an announcement that the flight is cancelled. Wonderful. And to add insult to injury we cannot rebook you here tonight, you must call the 1-800 number and rebook yourself over the phone. Well I can tell you how that goes when all of a sudden 150 people jump on their cell phones at the same time.

    Oh and they also said they’d provide us transportation to a hotel if we wished and a $30.00 credit towards a room. Near Philly, $30 bucks….. Oh yeah that’ll work.

    After another hour I finally get through to a CS rep and tell him I need to be rebooked tomorrow morning to Boston. Why he asks, my original flight wasn’t cancelled. WHAT? They had no clue about what was happening there. After assuring him several times and letting him speak to a counter agent on my cell phone he finally agreed to rebook me for the following morning at 11AM. Now I’m stuck at the airport in Philly and what do I do. There is nowhere comfortable to sit nevermind sleep. I ask the rep if there is somewhere in the terminal where I can find a little comfort. Not that I can think of is the reply. All the seats in the local terminal area are filled with stranded passengers. She hands me a cardboard stroller box and says here, you can lie down on this. Again I’m dumbfounded. Obviously they’ve gone through this before.

    I eventually find a few sq ft to stretch out my box, use my laptop for a pillow and manage to get an hour or so of sleep. The next thing we know is we are being woken up and told we must all leave the area and be re-screened for the morning flights. Again, WHAT? Where have we gone? Are these people for real?

    Finally we board and takeoff heading to our final destination. I arrive in Boston and head to the baggage claim. I wait for a half hour or so, no luggage. NOW WHAT??? I head into the baggage office and am greeted by the most miserable CS rep I’ve ever encountered. Are you sure you just flew in? Did you fly US Air? We don’t usually have luggage issues. After explaining the whole ordeal to her another rep says wait, goes out back and comes out with my bag. It had arrived from Ottawa the previous day at 6:45PM, the original time our original flight was scheduled to land. AMAZING!

    After going home and sleeping for a couple hours I called US Air to try and get an apology or something for the troubles….. Nope, nothing, nada. We don’t compensate for weather related delays. Weather related delay? You didn’t have a flight crew, it had nothing to do with the weather. Sorry, it did she says. I asked for a manager and was denied the transfer. With steam coming out of my ears I finally decided it wasn’t worth it.

    But I will go out of my way to persuade anyone I know from ever flying US Air.

  189. Scott,
    I have found it always helps to escalate when I am not getting what I needed. Asked to talk to their supervisor, talk to the manager of the supervisor, etc. Keep going up the chain until you get what you need. Don’t forget to log the full name and time/date you talked to each person and let the next one up the food chain know exactly who and how the previous person wasn’t helpful. Also let them know that you will blog about the situation and how many readers follow your blog.

    Darrin

  190. I am frustrated just by reading this – as if 81,000 miles are really going to make a dent on their revenue! I truly do not and will never comprehend how such large companies choose to behave this way towards customers. And you wonder, is it the person who helped you out who just “doesn’t get it” — that there are exceptions to rules (failure to enter Dividend Miles) and that your customer always comes first? Or is it the company’s overall culture — no exceptions, EVER. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me with US Airways, but I have noticed that their demeanor is just in general kind of snooty. Their kindness seems somewhat forced and not genuine. Anyways … Sorry this happened to you, but I’m more sorry for US Airways.

  191. if that customer disservice rep could get on your last nerve, she was olympic-strength awful … you invented the smile ;-)
    and, by the way, your wonderful staff has been awesome to me on a couple of occasions and mea culpa for not writing and letting them know … i will have to fix that!

  192. I’m afraid I have to disagree with many of the posts here. Scott should not have to speak to someone higher up the ladder. He made the effort he needed to. The CS rep at US Air should have the ability to make it right. Until that is changed, there is no way that their service is not going to stink.

    In my opinion, Delta, Southwest, and Frontier are the best (although I do wish Frontier would invest in a few Boeings). Just my opinion.

  193. I fly US Airways because of their robust miles program – I get miles from dining, car rental, hotel bookings, and almost everything associated with my business travel. However, their customer service department is horrendous and I make it a point never to deal with them – so I re-check every booking twice, and sometimes three times. I know that if it’s my screw-up it’s all on me because they have no room for negotiations. One experience in dealing with customer service where I tried to correct an issue, it was as though the customer service rep was reading a pre-drafted response from their communications department – insulting. Sorry they treated you that way – American Airlines isn’t much better…if you can fly Alaska, that’s a pretty good domestic airline.

  194. Scott, have you considered sending a short personal letter to the CEO? I did that twice after similar experiences with one airline, one telecoms provider. And what do you know, they actually respond, not personally, of course, but their admins, and things get resolved. Why not refer to this blog post so they see that you actually have quite a few readers… Even US Airways can figure out that this isn’t only about a single customer (guy named Scott), but their reputation as a customer-service oriented organization, which has many more implications. That’s the power of social networks and US Airways better do some sentiment analysis.
    Safe travels and always good light
    Andy

  195. I’ve only flown on US Air once. It was a good flight, the flight staff was friendly, and an overall good experience. However, after reading what happened to you, they lost another customer. I despise companies that don’t care about their customers. It’s unfortunate they treated you that way. The only loser in this situation is US Air.

    Regards,
    Brian

  196. We lost the wonderful Midwest Airlines when Frontier bought them. Flying Midwest was great value, exceptional customer service and warm cookies. Flying US Air is akin to riding in a Yugo. Nasty service and a rough ride.

  197. Maybe somebody should forward this link to the CEO’s of U.S. Airways!!!! Wow!!! Customer Service is beyond important in any company!!!

  198. Hi Scott, this only confirms my experience with US Airways and it’s the reason why I no longer fly with them. My company has 300K employees worldwide and they didn’t listen to any of our remarks so I guess they just decided that customer service is not part of their service.

    Wrt Delta, I’ve been a Diamond member for 4 years running (125K+ per year) and most of the time they are better but even they laid of their VP of customer service and replacement him with a director and their customer service has started to go down ever since.

    The only airline I’ve never had any problem with is Airtran but you’re limited in where you can go.

    Mark

  199. I had the same situation with one of my credit cards, I setup to pay my bill on their website and for some reason it never when through, so I got hit with almost $100 in late fees. I complained and was very clear in saying unless we can resolve this issue, you will lose a customer that has been with you for almost 20 years. Their attitude was so what. I wrote a nice letter to the chairman of the board and put it into terms he could understand. Over 20 years (I use my card for both personal and business travel), I’ve averaged $2000 or more a month. That’s $480,000 charged to their credit card and to so casually throw away a loyal customer, it’s an interesting business model. Needless to say I got multiple calls and they went so far as to give me back $40 dollars in late fees (they still kept the remaining) to try and get me to return. Sorry that ship has sailed.

  200. You should submit this to the consumerist blog (http://consumerist.com). They’re pretty influential and can sometimes get action on these.

  201. I only have two airlines (and one is new this year) and lucky for me US Air is not one of them. I love your philosophy on customer service and practice it myself in my field. I totally love when my clients tell me “you made that easy”. In any industry where an individual is going to spend a good amount of money, emotions can run high. It’s our jobs to be sure the client walks away feeling good and confident about their decisions. Once our airline cancelled our connecting flight and put us on the next available flight without notifying us. Our new seats (for five of us) where all over the airplane. And they were sure to put our nine year old by herself. I asked for our seats to be moved and got major flack for it. It wasn’t their issue to deal with. Well let’s just say she didn’t like what I had to say, but our seats were moved and at least our nine year old got to sit with Grandma and we were only a row away. It will be interesting to see if US Air see’s your blog and what if anything they will do. I’d love it if you keep us posted!!

  202. This is another example of why our “big” airlines are threatening bankruptcy and other smaller airlines like Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America are thriving. Unlike you, I had a customer service issue with Delta and will never use them again. These other airlines happily change your ticket, don’t nickel and dime you death and offer options like video screens in the seats and free wi-fi. AND they are usually less expensive. They also don’t take themselves so seriously. The “big” ones act as if you are lucky they sold you a seat.

  203. US Air has the worst customer service, I refuse to fly with them as well! My partner flies all the time and he accumulated a ton of points and I wanted to use his points for my flight. It was such a long and frustrating task. Because they were his points I couldn’t book my flight online. Instead I had to call and somehow their system did not match up with the results online. This does not make any sense. After many phone calls I had to settle with the flights I got and just walked away.

    What made me furious was the fact that I couldn’t speak to a rep in the United States! All their call centers are else where around the world… not an issue, but when I want to speak to someone in the US since they company is US AIR I better be transferred!

    Don’t call yourself US AIR if you are using people from another country (who probably doesn’t care/know much about the company) deal with important customer service issues!

  204. I was a travel agent for 25 years and had to deal with stuff like this on an almost daily basis. Once I misspelled a customers name. His name was Bryan and I issued his ticket as Brian. They wanted to charge me $150 for a name change. Too bad that I screwed up, the rules are that a name change is a $150 fee. I argued for a long time and to no avail. I had to pay the $150 out of my own pocket to take care of my customer. I left the business shortly after and opened a yoga studio. It was a wise decision. Much less stress dealing with yogis. I feel your pain Scott. VERY frustrating.

  205. I was just talking to a colleague this morning about how awful my experiences with US Airways has been this year. On each occasion that I have had to fly with them, there has been something that has gone wrong. Delayed flights, unexpected overnight stays, etc. It is just coincidental that I am taking a trip later today and have to fly US Airways. I checked in online, but I was unable to check my bag. I called customer service to explain my issue and the representative tried to walk me through how to do it. He was doing it right along with me and had the same trouble I had. Then he told me that they were experiencing technical difficulties with that function on their website. I’m not sure why he didn’t say that at the beginning of the call. US Airways really upset me this past summer, when I missed my connecting flight, because my first flight was delayed. When I finally landed at the connecting airport, they told me that there were no more flights that night and I had to stay overnight. They wouldn’t even pay for my hotel, when it was their fault that I missed the flight. I have been very disappointed in their service and really hope that they are taking notice and working to correct these issues.

  206. You shouldn’t be suprised. Airlines aren’t the only companies that pull these kinds of things off. It’s just the way big business operates to maximize profits, until things get really bad. I think the mistake you made was trying to convince the customer service rep. He/she doesn’t get paid to think, why didn’t you ask to speak to her superior? The people higher up get paid more to think about the situation. He/she would have realized that you have some clout, have a blog where you can speak your mind, etc. They would have realized it’s much cheaper to give you your miles back then receive the bad publicity. Again it’s just BIG business. I wish things weren’t that way, but it’s one of the faults of our system.

  207. US Airways finally responded… through Twitter
    http://twitter.com/USAirways/status/585273444409344

    “Scott, If you follow us we can DM for the details. I may be able to help. ^Matt”

    • Really… Seriously? That’s their opening gesture? Maybe we are not going to learn as much about recovering from a blunder as I had hoped.

      • I think this is hilarious. I would take my free miles and run

      • Please reference my comment from this Morning 10:37am.
        When I saw this post from Scott I showed it to my wife (because I new she would want to do what she could to make it right) and she made an effort to contact him as soon as she got into the office.

    • Whatever you do Scott, maintain your ground. Don’t give in to any apologies or second chances from this company. These corporate giants don’t give a rat’s @ss about everyday people flying with them.

      The only reason your getting a response now is because they’re realizing that you have a little more weight than your typical passenger and want to clean up the PR before the negative advertisement prospers into a nightmare for US Air.

  208. I also won’t fly US airways anymore. They kept us on a flight they knew wasn’t going to take off. Then they took us off told us to stand in line to get a new flight. Sent half of us up to the terminal and said somebody would help us up there. Nobody ever came and so an American Airlines person came and help and I went on an AA flight instead.

    I will never fly with them again.

  209. US Air… where do I begin… I’ve flown with them 3 times. They’ve screwed up 3 times. Had no choice but to fly with them the first two times (flew on the company’s dime with the company’s travel agent). Knew better and flew with them the 3rd time. Lost luggage, rude customer service, bad flights. Only once, when they had no other choice due to federal law, did I receive any form of compensation and even then they fought with me. When I have a choice it is Delta or American. Never again on US Scare.

  210. What was the outcome you expected? They have a policy, you didn’t comply, they gave you options. I just had miles expire with United due to my inattention. It sucked, but I had to re-purchase them as well because they were worth more to me than the penalty of the buy back.

    I’m with you on the customer service rep probably being obnoxious, but at some point you probably pushed her past her limit. She’s making $12 an hour and has to deal with angry people all day.

    • Andrew, I completely agree. I work in customer service for a high-end technology company, and not a day goes by that I don’t have to listen to someone telling me why the rules (which they agreed to when they ordered with us) shouldn’t apply to them.

      I get it. It’s frustrating to get stuck in a situation that you don’t like. But seriously, man – you messed up, and instead of dealing with it and moving on you’ve decided to swing back. Isn’t that just a bit entitled?

      Don’t get me wrong. There’s not a bloated corporation on this planet that doesn’t piss me off. I’m currently boycotting more places than I can count because of their policies, practices, or politics. But I’m not so special that I think the agreements I enter into only need to be honored by one party.

  211. US Airways received a below-average score in the J.D. Power 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study and it is listed in the America’s 11 worst airlines. It shouldn’t be surprising the bad customer service you received, but it is frustrating still.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/12/americas-11-worst-airline_n_534205.html#s80340

  212. In the old days ,before Piedmont and Allegheny airlines merged , we called Allegheny
    Agony Air. Guess they haven’t changed.

  213. The guy ahead of me at the counter said asked that each of his bags go to different, seemingly random, destinations. The girl at the counter said, “We can’t do that, Sir.”
    He said, “Why not? You did it last time!”
    Then they lost my bag. What I thought was a good joke turned out to be a nightmare at
    US Air. :(

    If I ever thought about trying them again, this reminder was enough to bring me back to my senses.

    Thanks, Scott!

  214. There is never an excuse for poor customer service and you are taking the right steps by not giving US Air any more of your business. However, I have to ask, what exactly did you expect US Air to do for you? Just give you back the miles? Credit the miles from flights a year ago? Come on. You only used their product two times last year and now you want them to give you what could amount to three round trip tickets to “keep you as a loyal customer”?

    We as Americans are becoming more and more complacent about our personal responsibilities. If US Air bends the rules to make you happy, where then is the line? Should they bend the rules for someone who only lost 20,000 miles? 200,000 miles?Should they just give the extra miles to the person who only needs 50 miles to get a free ticket, or perhaps should they just give the people who acknowledge the problem was really their mistake but they were hoping they could get what they wanted just for asking? Better yet, maybe they just shouldn’t have any rules and everyone gets everything they want…always, after all, it is a loyalty program and they should want to keep those loyal customers at any cost, right?

    You were given the rules when you signed up for the program and if or when they changed, and you either forgot them or failed to read them like most people.

    Answer this, how much positive customer service would it have taken for you to accept their “No”?

    You made a mistake, plain and simple. The customer service person should not have chastised you for it, nor should they have been rude or condescending to you, but take your hit like a man and move on to another airline like you are doing. And oh, getting the word out about your bad experience via this post is excellent, thank you. I will now think twice about using US Air in the future.

    • Q: “what exactly did you expect US Air to do for you?”
      A: meet my expectations

      Ron said: “just give you back your miles”
      A: yes. they are my miles.

      “You only used their product two times last year and now you want them to give you what could amount to three round trip tickets to “keep you as a loyal customer”?”

      A: yes, exactly, you understand perfectly.

      “Answer this, how much positive customer service would it have taken for you to accept their “No”? :

      A: I accept their “No”. I do not accept using them again. Fair enough?

      Ron H. do you remember those old TV commercials from the early 1970s about defensive driving. The idea is that Driver Bob asserted his absolute and correct rights while driving his car. Trouble is Driver Ralph was distracted, drunk, tired, inexperienced or just plain dumb and didn’t recognize Bob’s rights and drove straight into Bob’s car Bob killing Bob. The tag line was “Bob was dead right” Dead and gone but he held to his rights. The lesson was that relinquishing a certain amount of rights while driving will keep your the driver alive and happy much longer.

      Ron H. let me help you understand something: U.S. Air won’t die providing customer service. It will die asserting its contractual rights.

      Right is Right but dead is dead and U.S. Air is dead to Scott and apparently many other victims.

  215. I always remember being told years ago that on average a person will tell 9 others if they experience bad service or an experience with a company; something tells me US Airways seriously underestimated your ‘reach’ Scott :)

    Would be really interesting to hear if you get any communication back from them after today’s blog post and the numerous retweets and comments on Twitter.

    Cheers,
    Glyn

  216. Scott, I completely agree with you on customer service. To this day, I refuse to ever buy a Nissan product because of bad customer service they gave me when I bought my first car (that was a lemon) 15 years ago. Companies don’t realize how much one bad customer service rep can’t affect their company.

  217. Well, the trend of comment is obvious, but US Airways can actually do a good job sometimes. I flew on them this week, Portland to Phoenix and back. Their agents on check-in where helpful and friendly. The flights both took off on time and arrived early. The flight attendants were cheerful, both the older ones and the younger ones. The snacks offered were up to the standard of other airlines I fly. My checked bag arrived as it was supposed to, and in both cases, were delivered to the baggage carousels within three minutes of the time I arrived after stepping off the plane.

    U.S. Air may be an awful airline, but you can’t begin to prove it by me.

    • And the sad part is that this is not the NORM – and we’re putting up with it… :)

      “The flights both took off on time and arrived early. The flight attendants were cheerful […] My checked bag arrived as it was supposed to, and in both cases, were delivered to the baggage carousels within three minutes of the time I arrived after stepping off the plane.”

  218. I have also blacklisted US Airways with my travel people. Worst customer service in the business coupled with “gotcha” policies.

  219. I had a similar (not miles related) issue with America West a few years ago and ended up getting bussed to our final destination (about 250 miles) which made us miss the event we were headed for. I swore I’d never fly with them again. Today, they’ve been acquired by…US Airways; it seems the horrible customer service continues. (I won’t fly with them, US Airways, either!) I prefer flying myself.

    Maybe it’s time to look into the economics of getting your own company plane?? May be worth it in the end (plus put some pilots to work again!!)

  220. It has been my experience that US Airways has terrible customer service when you have to contact them for problems similar to yours. Most of their staff that I have dealt with face to face in the terminal and on the flights have been friendly and accommodating. It’s easy to be a jerk when your hiding behind a phone and if I were you I would start blasting the higher ups with emails about what happened. I will also agree that everyone I have ever dealt with at your company has been great.

  221. US Airways lost me a year ago. Used to love flying them. However, the last 5 flights i had with them, they lost my baggage. Each. Time. No more.

  222. Indeed. I have not flown US Airways since, they questioned an international flight I was on. They told me that even though I had to present a passport at the counter, and before boarding, it really might not have been me. Pretty much saying that I circumvented the security just to get points, and they could not confirm that I was on the flight. Fairly bold statement to get out of giving me points.
    Whatever, they can keep them. I would consider a single prop plane, or even a train, before I would get back on one of their planes again.

  223. If there is no help from one rep, I hang up and call again. Hopefully, the other one is more helpful. There are dumb asses like that. I had a similar situation when some customer rep couldn’t solve my issues and was driving me nuts. The next call I got another one who resolved my issues in a snap, no arguing, no explaining anything…

  224. It took me one trip to learn that I’ll never fly US Airways again. They are the worst the airline when it comes to charging for everything that used to be part of a ticket price, their planes seem to be in the worst shape, and their service is at best “indifferent.” I luckily didn’t have to call into their customer service line, but I’m not at all surprised at your experience.

  225. Scott, great response today! You have a huge group of friends, I’m glad to be one.

  226. My Daughter flew US Airways to visit us from overseas 3 weeks ago. Her experience with the flight staff was terrible. The stewardesses were rude, and made unheard of comments about passengers. After hearing her story I would not choose to fly that airline.

  227. Hi Scott,
    If you haven’t already, you need to see this video. This guy is from Halifax, NS Canada. He wrote a song about his experience with United. You’ll love it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

  228. Good for you Scott for fighting back and for not flying with them anymore! I hope some of the top brass read your write up. With this economy you would think customer service would try harder. I have talked to NAPP customer service in the past and they were great!

  229. Scott, you should forward this to Gailen David at http://www.skysteward.com. It won’t get your miles back but might might create wide range discussion on the issue of bad customer service and corporate police stupidity!

  230. US Airways lost me when they lost my luggage on a direct flight. How my husband’s bag, which went on the belt right before mine, made it and mine did not still astounds me. They did find my bag and ship it to the country I was in three days later. I had to pay for a taxi to the airport to pick it up. I was given one hour notice before the airport closed for the night and was never reimbursed for my expense to retrieve my bag. I “donated” my 35,000 miles to them because of this, and several other experiences.

  231. I have never flown US and now I never will. CS is SO important. They should have don’t something for you-regardless of your “mistake”. Our family will never buy another Ford because of the horrible ordeal we went thru when returning a vehicle when the lease was up.

  232. Agreed, customer service is crucial to any company. It can give companies positive or negative reputations. I work for an online auction site that deals with this every day. I’m sorry to hear about your experience, but maybe after this post, US Airways will change the way they conduct situations like yours. Way to stick up for yourself!

  233. Better Business Bureau – I called them on T-Mobile and I got a call back from their “corporate offices” with a promise to reimburse me the amount of my cancellation fees.

    BTW – your miles equate to 2 trips at the most – they give that away everytime they overbook a flight and need someone to give up their seats. Which happens ALL the time.

  234. Your frequent flier miles should never be forfeited – you should be able to keep them until you need them.

  235. Whatever happened to “the customer is always right”?

  236. I wonder if they know how many people read this blog…

    Companies can’t afford to get on the wrong side of a customer these days. Too many people find out about it.

  237. Not only are you a great photographer but a great motivator. I haven’t really flown on US but one of the worst flights I had was on the now defunked TWA airlines. I flew to st. louis from Joplin, MO and when I got there I was supposed to only be there an hour max. We were later told four hours later that they didn’t have a plane for our flight. I was hungary, tired and didn’t get home to Cincinnati til about one in the morning by the time they located an air craft for us and got us home.

  238. Just wondering if you’ve heard from the CEO of US Airways, yet? I have a feeling that you will. Of course it could end up as just another “Ellen’s dog,” where you get to vent, get lots and lots of “we’re with you’s” and “atta boys” but in the end nothing changes. Good luck to you.

  239. I agree with the others who urged you to send your blog to the CEO of US Airways and reference his letter in their in-flight magazine. I’ll bet they will come through for you – at least I hope so.

  240. thanks for sharing!! will keep that in mind next time i’m booking my flight.

  241. Same thing happened to me. I no longer fly “Agony Airlines”. This was just after I spent 14 hours in the Philly airport trying to get to Baltimore. They canceled the flight as we were actually standing in line to board. Not a soul told us what to do next or how to re-book. When I found a gate agent to help me, he said I had to wait 14 hours for the next flight to Baltimore because my luggage was going to Baltimore, whether or not I was. They would not divert it to another airport nor bring it to my hotel if I got there earlier. I couldn’t even find anyone to try to get my luggage out of the system so I could travel a different way. All the USAir folks I spoke with, acted as though they were really not concerned. I could have bicycled to Baltimore more quickly.

  242. I fly USAir at least 2x per year usually 4 or 5. Usually coast to coast. They have been pretty nice to me. There flights are ususally on time and I arrive at my destination with my luggage(in 20 years my luggage has been delayed 2x). My BIG complaint is with the luggage handling at Philadelphia Airport. Takes WAY to long to get your bags.

    I had a payment issue this year with my credit card (one day late). I called and asked for help and they checked my account saw that I always pay on time for years and took care of all the charges – they did say if it happened again they would not be able to help me.
    When I speak with a customer service rep (at any organization) who is not willing to help me, I always ask to speak to a supervisor. I do not wait for the rep to offer the supervisor, because if they are not giving good customer service, that is not an offer they are going to make.
    It’s a shame that a lousy employee (possibly) can have such a detrimental effect on the entire company.

  243. United took 140,000 of mine in a similar move!

    They had me on a technicality too, since their notices went to my old email address and I wasn’t monitoring my account either!
    They used to be my #1 airline, but they wouldn’t budge, so we parted company for good with pretty harsh words. Now I go out of my way to mention their service and customer appreciation every chance I get! Go Scott!

  244. Scott, sorry you had such a hard time with the airline I work for. it is a shame when one uncaring employee, gives such poor service. The good news is I have some buddy passes I will be glad to let you have if you need them.

  245. It took me two phone calls and a faxed (and refaxed 2x with noted history) letter to US Airways before my mother in law finally the got the mileage credit she deserved. I hope they are getting better but sadly I can relate to this blog about US Airways customer service. I think they just figure you’ll give up and move on….but thanks to social media we have a little better way to try to hold them accountable. BTW, I love how you cited Doug Parkers letter!!

  246. Here’s a little comic relief for you all! Last year I booked a trip on US Airways to Maui from Chicago for a Christmas getaway. Weather at O’Hare was abominable. The first de-icing machine broke down. The second one that came by itself froze and was useless. The 3rd one…well they didnt have a third one. So, we waited, and waited, and then waited some more. Finally, United let US Airways use theirs. This thing was clearly made to work in freezing temperatures, and looked like an elephant next to US Airways garden sprayer. So, we finally take flight, only 3 hrs late, and fly to Phoenix for the connecting flight to Maui. The only problem is that my Maui-bound plane is already over the Pacific. After waiting in the customer service line for (and I’m not joking here) 2 hours, I am told that Im out of luck – there are no more Maui bound flights available for the next 3 days as they are booked solid, so “have a nice stay in Phoenix.” I’m like, “thats it – thats the best you can do?” After arguing with her for another 15 minutes, and totally exasperated, I ask if my family could be flown to perhaps LA where there was bound to be more Maui flights available. “No” was the short response. Now, don’t get me wrong, Phoenix is a nice enough place, but when I’m leaving Chicago in the winter, expecting to be at Maui, I’m not looking forward to 40 degree days, right? So, the guy behind me is wanting his turn with the clerk, and as I turn to look at him, I notice that there is a flight leaving to the Big Island just behind him. So I ask if she can get me on that flight. She says no because Im booked through to Maui. I told her that I would get my family the rest of the way to Maui once we got to the Big Island. She said absolutely not, because my baggage would get lost. After more back and forth, she finally relented, and we got on that Big Island bound flight, BUT, they would not pay to get me to Maui. They made me pay to get my family to Maui ($500) from the Big Island, even though it was their junk equipment that made us miss their connecting flight. 23 hours after we left our home, we made it to our hotel, $500 poorer and in a bad mood. The one nice thing is that our baggage made it to Maui ahead of us. So, when we planned this year’s trip to Maui, what do we do, book US Airways, of course! (cheap tickets, relatively speaking) and hope for better weather!

  247. Scott

    While I cant even begin to read through all the comments so I have no idea if it’s already been said, but this year Delta was ranked as one of if not the worst airline in the US. As someone who used to fly US Air, I can say they are indeed horrible now, I now only fly 3 airlines within the US, jetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America.

  248. Hi Scott, I’m the CEO of US Airways, and I wanted to write you and offer my insincere condolences on your experience with my airline. You see, being a CEO is hard work. We have early morning tee times, usually a massage around mid morning, then a power lunch with politicians who take our kick backs, an afternoon of endangered species game hunting, followed by flying to our luxury resorts in our private jets (you don’t think we would fly our airline do you?). It’s hard work! Just ask my golf buddy Tony Hayward how hard it was for him to relax on his private Yacht with all the press bothering him because if that little spill. Don’t worry, the poor people will clean it up, right?
    I’m sorry you thought my letter in the magazine really had any meaning. I didn’t write it, it was written by a PR rep and was only intended to make our customers think that we care about them. Shhh, here’s a little secret- it’s their money we care about! They’re idiots and we don’t care! Ha ha that’s the beauty of making money- poor people think that “care” is what a business runs on! Oh we use that angle all the time and people hand over their cash.
    So you see Scott don’t get me wrong, we love your money, and want to tell you anything you need to hear to keep giving it to us. Whatever you want me to say, just enter it right here and that will make everything ok. “_______________________________________”. Ok, all better now? Good.
    And just so you know, as long as you actually believe letters you read from CEO’s regarding “care” or “you” or caring about anything but our quarterly statements, here’s our new company slogan:
    “Come fly with us, and if you don’t, screw you- we’re in bed with the government and will stay rich anyway.”

  249. Let’s see. The NAPP page has 32,581 “likes” and you linked your blog there. US Air has no idea how large and loyal your audience is. If I had stock in US Air, I’d sell it now.

  250. Just be thankful they didn’t break your Taylor guitar………

  251. Always fly Virgin. They would have given you your miles back and a massage. In fact they’re so good at stunts, if they are reading this, they should give you 81,000 of theirs and shout it out.

  252. Living in the ATL, I’m generally a loyal Delta flyer. Never had a problem that I can recall. Customer service, along with common sense, seems to be in short supply these days. You’re a reasonable guy. So I’m pretty sure you didn’t come on strong to warrant that kind of treatment.

  253. I personally fly Delta exclusively now. Although I’ve also had various moments when Delta has not lived up to my personal expectations, I have found them to be extremely helpful when I notify them of the problem. They even credited me 25,000 miles last year when my flight was delayed because of the circumstance. On the other hand, I’ve never found US Airways to ever be a pleasant experience. I haven’t flown with them in a few years because of that.

  254. I haven’t flown US Air since 2006. I was on a layover from Providence to Raleigh in Philly, and we were in a remote concourse. They delayed our flight about a half dozen times, then they just cancelled it late that night. Not only were there no other flights available, but we couldn’t even get a shuttle back to the main concourse. No offer to put us up for the night or otherwise make it right. The folks that complained were offered $5 food vouchers for the airport (which, as I found out the next day, couldn’t be applied to beer purchases…). The manager I spoke with (I still remember his name…) was completely unsympathetic and walked away while I was talking to him.

    I haven’t been back, nor will I ever be back. Honestly, I haven’t flown much the last few years due to the lunacy of the TSA (I go out of my way to drive if it’s under 15 hours–an alternative I find more palatable than being groped by sheep to make other sheep feel safer), but when I have to fly for business, it’s Southwest.

  255. Last May I was about to lose my miles with Delta, but they kindly sent me an email to alert me to the impending loss. I was able to buy a minimum 2K miles for $60, and they had a “sale” which meant I got 1K extra miles too which extended the life of my miles another 2 years (I think)—but I’ve never tried to redeem miles so we’ll see how that works out. I have just enough miles now for a reward flight to Florida.

    Delta had been my preferred airline for years, but in the past 8 years AirTran has won me over. Competitive prices, pleasant flying experiences, and good customer service. I had $150 banked with them for a year because of a canceled flight last year. When I went to book a recent flight at what I thought was the end of the period to use that money, the website said my credit had expired two days prior. I called customer service, and questioned them about that. They said my credit expired 1 year from when I made the purchase last year, NOT from the day I canceled my flight. But I told them I distinctly remembered the customer service rep last year telling me the specific date I would lose my credit this year. After stressing that on the phone, the rep put me on hold, talked to a supervisor and then came back and told me they’d “reinstate” the money I lost and let me apply it to the flight I was trying to book. Very different treatment than Scott got. I will continue to fly AirTran, or Southwest or whatever it is going to be called after the merger… but will have to wait and see if the customer service continues. (I’ve never flown with Southwest.)

    Airlines do drive us crazy, but they get use where we’re going. They just need to treat us like valued customers and not cattle.

  256. I had a similar circumstance with Southwest and when I brought it to their attention, they immediately credited me for the two flights that didn’t appear on my Rewards account, no question.

    • Southwest is the best, and anybody going anywhere should choose them if they’re available. They fly one and only one model of airplane, which is both efficient and safe. They don’t use kamikaze contract second level carriers, that are little airplanes flown by highschool dropouts, and – get this – they actually pretend like they are glad you’re flying with them. What a novel idea. Too bad United never heard of it.

  257. These days, no airline gives service like they did 10 or 15 years ago, they basically all suck. But, I’ve flown somewhere around 1.5 million miles on Delta and they have always treated me well. Never had a charge for a checked bag.

  258. Between the TSA and the airlines treating people like farm animals, I’ve stopped flying. I’ll drive with my camera equipment of course. In your case that’s not an option, but thanks for the post, I’ve passed it along to friends who do fly.

  259. Scott, so sorry to read of your negative run in with a person who is ” only pounding rocks.” if you discovered by now this is great time to learn. When this happens… End the call and call the corporate offices and speak to someone that is “building a cathedral.” it is unforturnate that you’ve lost these miles but don’t let this pebble pusher destroy your relationship with company. I am sure that people at US Air want to resolve this matter. Give them a second chance. No I nor anyone in my family are employees at US Air, but I gave NAPP a second chance after a lady at NAPP treated me in manner very much like this about a year ago over my subscription. No one was willing to make it right for me then or now. I choose believe in you and your organization and came back. Give them a second chance.

  260. I just has a problem with us air on my trip to Photoshop World in Vegas. I packed a carry-on for this trip so I wouldn’t have to go through checking my bag and waiting for luggage pick-up! On my first flight, which was a small prop plane, I had to give my carry-on to the crew at the bottom of the stairs before boarding and I would get it in Dulles when we landed. Waited at the bottom of the stairs for my bag and saw a crew member put it aside while they brought all the other carry-ons to those waiting. They asked if the one set aside was my bag, because apparently the crew at the first airport did not put a carry-on tag on my bag an give me a reciept. I should have know this, but you think they would have informed me of this when I handed them my bag? They told me I could not have my bag and that I would have to pick it up with all the other passengers luggage which meant I would have to leave the secured area and go back through security and I had to catch my connecting flight. They said they could just check it through to my final destination if I wanted. Reluctantly I agreed because I did not want to miss my next flight. WRONG ANSWER!! Bag was not in Vegas when I arrived! Surprise surprise! Reported missing bag, got reciept and number to call to find out status on my bag. Called several times that night and throughout the next day until my pre-con class started and according to the computer phone system, they had no idea where my bag was! Finally got a real live person to talk to, who sounded from India, and gave her a description of the bag and items inside. She said she may have found my bag in Dulles! She asked me a for a few more descriptions of items and we determined this was indeed my bag and was told it would be put on the next available flight, which was 2 to 3 hours after our conversation. Kept calling for updates…no changes in status which meant, no bag the next day either. Talked to live person again, and went through the entire prosses again and she tells me, “we may have found a bag fitting your decription in Dulles.” Ummmm I thought we established that yesterday!! Apparently not. Finally got my bag on Thursday. Only thing I can say that was helpful was they gave me permission to buy clothes for the inconvenience, which I had to fill out a letter with receipts, tickets, bag claim my first born…etc. and I have yet to see the money back yet! I dread having to call them again to see where my money is! If I was not flying through work and had a choice I would not fly us air!

  261. I “Love” Southwest Airlines. (Big bias my sister works for them)
    Never had any problem with them and my gear.
    No frills but I’m short and mainly make flights under 6HRS.
    Big hint there are usually at least 2 TSA security points @ major airports
    Look for the secondary areas and your time in line will be short.
    I fly out of Dallas LUV and it take less than 2min in line at the other TSA line.

  262. Scott,
    you are absolutely right.I could not agree with you more customer service is number one.I find that a lot of companies think the customer owe them something. If I find 2 competing companies and one has excellent customer service I go out of my way to give them my business.

    BTW, not blowing smoke up your @ss but your customer service is about as good as it gets. Your gals are always so polite and helpful when I call and book a class or renew my subscription or order a book. You have hired the right people to represent Kelby training!!!!

  263. We had a similar experience with U.S. Airways. They said on their website they would not charge us (military) for bags as a family of 4 with 2 kids under 4 years old tried to go home for the holidays. But the lady at the ticket counter said the website was wrong. My wife almost got into a fist fight with the horrible ticket counter rep. We’ll never fly with them again.

    http://themodernmama.blogspot.com/2008/12/take-off-your-grumpy-pants-or-im-going.html

  264. This post sure hit a nerve with alot of people. But, then again, we’ve all had our bad airline experiences. I wonder if this post got more comments than Zack Arias’ guest blog Wednesday contribution?

  265. Wow, I’ve read about 6 pages of comments, I agree with you Scott. Any service like that deserves what it dishes out. Under no circumstances would I go back. Let them keep the 81k miles – it’s just not worth it – now or in the future. The pi_ _ -poor cssv rep should have got her supe on the line and escalated the matter. I worked in the freight forwarding industry over 25 years and our nick-name for US Air was US-less air, the merger made it even worse. Customer service is the front line interface. Someday they will realize this….

  266. We had a similar experience with US Airways where we made an error in booking a flight. We scheduled a flight for travel to Ft Myers and back in the same day, instead of the next day. I called US Airways and got nowhere other than a very expensive re-booking fee. My husband then called and after getting the same response that I received, he asked to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor got on the phone and rebooked us on the correct flight with NO fee! This may have helped you Scott, had you asked to speak to a supervisor. We then had another situation with them on the flight home and were not happy at all. It’s just a shame we have to rely on these airlines and the ridiculous baggage fees they are now charging.

  267. As a professional photographer, I stopped flying US Airways this year for their really awful customer service and anti-consumer policies. Like many photographers, I travel with expensive equipment and take care to pack as light and compact as possible. Multiple times I was FORCED to check my photo bag (a half-size Think Tank rolling suitcase) – not even gate-check – but check and have my gear sent through baggage. Instead of accommodating me, they ALSO FORCED ME to sign a liability waiver for the gear.

    When I got on the plane, there was an empty bin right above my seat. I was extremely disappointed that the gate agents made absolutely no effort to help or find a place on board.

    Been flying Delta instead as well.

  268. I had an old American Airlines credit card where charges=miles. I eventually canceled it and switched cards. A couple years later when I started flying I became an American frequent flyer. They looked up my old credit card account and credited my new FF account some 80,000 miles – enough for 2 round trips tix to Bolivia. Every airline has problems but American has been very good with their customer service to me (~30,000+miles/year). I just returned from Hawaii and at a layover in LAX I saw an out of line passenger fighting the gate agent over her excessive baggage. She made up all kinds of complaints to the supervisor. I told the supervisor the customer was wrong and rude. I wrote a letter to American supporting the employee. Only the 2nd letter I’ve ever written to a company.

  269. I just got off a flight. I finished a seminar a day early, I called to reschedule a flight… it will cost me a hundred bucks… standby was 50. Nevermind, I just kept the flight that I had. Once I arrived, I was told that they overbooked the flight and I may not get to fly the scheduled time… they didn’t care a computer bumped me. I told them that there were 5 flights earlier that day and they didn’t care about it.

  270. Well done, Scott.
    I am fed up of some other air companies and have tried many many times to argue with them without success. Good that people who have a “louder” voice act like you did. This may change something in the future…

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  271. I don’t see what the big fuss is. The travel agent and Scott screwed up, not US Airways. They didn’t catch their error for a long time. US Airways has publishes rules about expiring miles and missing credits, and seems to have abided by them. The agent offered various options/alternatives to remedy the situation – maybe not to Scott’s liking, but they aren’t horrible options (and seem to be in line what is offered to other people in a similar situation). I can see getting all bent out of shape if US Airways wouldn’t fix a problem that was their own fault, but the fault lies with the travel agent and/or Scott. Live up to your mistake, accept the options presented, and move on.

  272. Great post. While I cannot comment on any American Airlines issues (but thanks for sharing yours), I totally agree with the excellent quality of your own customer-service !!

  273. The screenshot says you won’t lose your miles until 3/30/2011. Maybe you haven’t lost them yet?

    Seriously, it is scary how dumb corporate America can be, to lose a customer over a technicality.

    P.S. Bought your CS5 and your Lightroom 3 books, love them both. (although I missed out on the DVD by not buying from your site, although Amazon gave me a good deal)

  274. I have lived in Pittsburgh for the last 14 years, which was a USAirways hub until a few years ago. I actually drive to Cleveland to fly other airlines because my experience with USAirways has been so horrible. If there’s a silver lining in losing your miles, it’s that USAirways ranked lowest in ability to redeem miles for travel recently (I’d post the source but I can’t remember where I saw it – it was either Wall Street Journal, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, or CNBC). WSJ did an article (10/26) on how customers are using Twitter to complain, and an article (10/4) on Delta’s new commitment to customer service.

  275. Scott if I where in your shoes I would feel the same way towards USair.

    With that said, USair has been my only airline of choice the past few years (over 100K per year) and my personal opinion is that they are the lesser of many evils in the airline business. Hell I just played Boy Scouts at Charlotte NC during a layover because USair felt it not necessary to cancel a flight that was scheduled to leave at 6PM but kept delaying it until 4:10am

    I currently feel the same frustration as you but towards United (worst airline known to man) , Ted, Southwest and Northwest (granted some of these are not around anymore – and I know why).

    I do hope you can at least get your miles back and let them know that in this case the customer is right.

    Good luck Scott, please keep us informed if there is any change in the outcome

  276. Scott:
    It’s for just such events that I keep a digital recorder plugged in to my telephone. One click on the “record” button and the conversation is on tape – perfectly legal when done by you on your own phone.
    Guess how long it takes for a call from HO when the CEO get a copy of that tape?

  277. I concur with Rick. This problem is not US Airways fault, it’s the fault of the consumer. The program is for Frequent Flyers. It makes no sense for them to keep accounts open with people who don’t use them. US Airways sends statements to customers (either in mail or email, depending on your selections) where it clearly says when the next flight must occur to keep the account active. Had the consumer checked their statement, they would have seen the date and/or seen that their flight hadn’t credited. There are also lots of other ways to keep the account active beside flying. While US Airways is by no means perfect, they have given the customer several opportunities to resolve this issue before it became an issue, and have given opportunities to reactivate the miles when they would otherwise be lost. Complaining about US Airways when the fault is the consumers is just bad apples. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. And, before you ask, I don’t work for US Airways…but I do fly with them, frequently.

  278. I think this is the perfect way to handle these situations…. good job

    Too many customer service reps ( not ALL )… but too many have no idea the sphere of influence their customers have… thanks to the internet.

    Back when I acquired most of my two million Delta miles… If someone gave you a bad time… big deal… maybe you told ten friends… maybe… Today if you treat a customer badly… it is a BIG DEAL…

    I believe in voting with your feet… and this is a perfect example of how to accomplish that goal

    well done

    — M

  279. Hi, maybe this was mentioned in the sea of responses but did you ever talk to a manager? Probably they would fix it and probably fix the person you talked to. If the rep on the phone can’t support me and it is getting silly I escalate. Sometimes the underpaid rep is just having a bad day.

  280. Living in Atlanta I must say Delta rocks.

  281. Thank you for this.

    I had a similarly exasperating experience with AT&T, in which they failed to link up my new digital phone number with my old Yellow Pages number, resulting in no forwarding of phone calls and months of payments to Yellow Pages to a phone number that could not be answered. No help from customer service, nothing but multiple calls to multiple reps in multiple countries. So we cancelled our AT&T contracts and vowed never to darken their door or give them money again.

    Do you know of a blog or website where such cavalier corporate conduct can be revealed for the world to see? and hopefully help them mend their ways and refund money which was lost by us due to the many headed monster they have become and cannot control. If so, write me at the website above -DFW.MWOB.lawfirm@gmail.com. thank you.

    Do you know

  282. Hey Scott,

    You can have my Useless Airways miles. I don’t fly them anymore!

  283. Earlier this year I had to cancel a flight on US Airways and when i did they explained that I would be able to get credit for the ticket on a future flight within the next year, for a change fee of $150, plus any difference in airfare. Fair enough.

    A couple of months ago, I went to book the same trip (same origin and destination), and now the fare was less than half of the original ticket. So I (mistakenly) figured that I could just cover the $150 fee with the credit and still have a few bucks to buy a bag of pretzels on the flight.

    No way.

    I went through 4 levels of customer service reps and was able to talk with someone fluent in English that I could understand, but they would not budge. They said there was no residual value in my original ticket, and I could either use the credit to cover this ticket (and pay the $150 additional change fee), or try again on another flight (as long as i do so before the credit expires in a few months).

    She pointed out (probably correctly) that this is clearly written in the Terms and Conditions to which I agreed when I bought the ticket.

    Left without much option, I paid the fee and took the trip.

    About the only airline I have ever enjoyed flying was Southwest (never flown on JetBlue), but Southwest doesn’t offer service near my area – but they will if the merger with AirTran goes through. At that time, they will become my airline of choice – and I’ll find another way to use the 80,000 frequent flier miles I have on US Airways – and do it before they expire.

  284. Scott, I don’t fly too much, but I do fly occasionally. I am also a NAPP member and follow your work regularly. You don’t know me, but my photography and photoshop skills have been the beneficiaries of your knowledge and teaching. In an attempt to throw some support your way, I emailed US Airways and let them know that I saw your blog post and would be making my travel plans in the future accordingly.

  285. I read one of the comments from a reader who’s a CS rep for his company and listens to complaints all day long and provided little sympathy. He’s right…in a way.
    But as Dr. Phil says, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” Imagine if the US Air CS Rep (had the power to say and) said, “we see what the problem is and you know we do have rules, but you know what, your patronage is important to us and we’ll fix this.” Just like Southwest can do, apparently. You would have been so appreciative, and you would have told her how great she does her job (maybe made her day a happy one), and you would have blogged about how great US Air is and would have made them happy.
    What has US Air gained by all of this? It didn’t have to fill that one free seat bought with frequent flier miles (although it probably was filled by another frequent flier anyway). But, look at what it lost — the business from an entire company (Kelby training). I don’t see how US Air could be happy about this. But, at least they knew they were “right”…

  286. well like all big company’s they don’t care if their lost another customer, because it wont affect the company business, thats how this huge company’s work…

  287. I have been Chairman’s level on US Airways for years (100K miles/year) but I fly them only by necessity given where I live. I much prefer United (and am now Global Services on UAL). US Airways is a horribly run airline. One time I took a Portland-Phoenix flight. The passenger on the flight in apparently had urinated in my seat. USA’s response was to put a towel over the seat and tell me I could sit there or take another flight – and this is how they treated their highest level of preferred customer. No compensation. No apology. No nothing.

  288. My beef with US Air is the relentless, endless, merciless credit-card pitch the flight attendants launch into and stick with for the entire flight. It’s like being trapped in timeshare vacation sales hell with no chance for escape.

  289. Yep, my LAST flight on U.S. Airways was a out and back with two legs each way. 3 of the 4 legs were late or canceled. They’ve earned the name “Useless Airways”. Bye Bye.

  290. Just switch out US Air and put in Verizon and you have the same insensitivity to consumer issues. Throw in Time Warner and you’ve got the Trifecta of stupidity in consumerism! I wrote about my Verizon experience in my blog months ago and referenced it in a letter to Verizon. *sigh* The rep told me they’re not allowed to read anything but what’s mailed to them in their customer response system! These companies have just gotten so big it’s hard to find somebody to care, but I’m curious to know if you hear anything from US Air over the next week.

  291. Sounds almost exactly like my family’s experience with Anthem Blue Cross health insurance and having a baby! I just don’t understand companies that seem to think the customer is the enemy. Thanks for posting about US Airways though. Sounds like they are definitely to be avoided!

  292. Dear Charlemagne

    I was extremely concerned to read your posting, and firstly would like to apologize, most sincerely, that you did not receive the level of customer service which you quite rightly should have expected.

    I would welcome the opportunity to find out who you spoke to, as this individual employee has clearly acted inappropriately and completely failed to follow Adorama expectations relating to customer service.
    I am not surprised that you have assumed that this is company policy, however, I can assure you that it is not – but I do understand why you have decided not to purchase from Adorama in the future. In your position I may well have felt the same way.

    There are many other reputable retailers also offering competitive pricing and excellence in customer service and I appreciate that my words alone may be inadequate, bearing in mind the inconvenience and disappointment you have experienced.
    I would be grateful if you could email me directly: HelenO[AT]adorama.com with details of your order number and the staff member you were in contact with, I can investigate this matter, ensure that you are compensated appropriately, and of course the issue will be raised with the member of staff in order that it can be dealt with according to internal procedures.

    Once again my apologies, and I do look forward to hearing back from you and giving this my immediate attention.

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador
    HelenO[AT]adorama.com

  293. Have you twittered about it yet? In the Netherlands a well known stand-up comedians’ son had problems with T-Mobile for months. He had several conversations with T-Mobile’s help desk like yours, getting nowhere. After his dad twittered about, T-Mobile suddenly was able to solve the problem, because they were afraid to loose customers.

  294. Anyone with a complaint like all that I have read can go to http://consumerist.com (owned by Comsumer Reports) and tell their story. These people get the attention of the CEO’s of the world and results are often rewarded with their complaints resolved. Its like a massive attack on CEOs and their so called Customer Services. Scott as well as the rest of us should try it. Others have and won !

  295. Thanks. Companies have a choice in how they treat customers. When customers make clear that they also have choices companies who want to stay in business will listen. It is very important not to take this kind of customer abuse. Thanks fopr speaking out. I hope others will follow your example anytime a company takes advantage of them like this.

  296. Had the sales rep known who Scott was (and how many people he flies each year), she would probably have been much more helpful. That’s the fickle side of humans, unfortunately. Good job Scott taking away all those flights away from USAir to teach it a lesson.

    • Agreed. I had a very similar experience with USAirways a few years back and have not flown them again. I figured I was just one person and they didn’t care. I am glad Scott is well connected. I am confident the CEO heard this one guy.

  297. Just the same, I think that if I were you, I drop the CEO an email. If he/she is any type of CEO that does care about customer service, at a minimun he/she should look into it.

  298. I see customer service is key for most people, given the number of comments this post has received. I am ashamed to admit that I am not patient at all with sloppy customer service and need to learn how to approach people better if I ever hope to get the service I expect. Its not that I’m a bad customer, at least I don’t think so!, its poor attitudes that get my angst going. But having read this I realise that even with Scott’s easy approach manner it still didn’t work. For some, rules are rules and common sense never prevails. Congratulations Scott on telling it like it is AND in your own company for raising the bar on customer service and keeping it there. In these days of high tech consumerism I fear people do not really matter any more to a lot of organisations but it is obvious it is the people that count most for your company. Well done.

  299. I see customer service is key for most people, given the number of comments this post has received. I am ashamed to admit that I am not patient at all with sloppy customer service and need to learn how to approach people better if I ever hope to get the service I expect. Its not that I’m a bad customer, at least I don’t think so!, its poor attitudes that get my angst going. But having read this I realise that even with Scott’s easy approach manner it still didn’t work. For some, rules are rules and common sense never prevails. Congratulations Scott on telling it like it is AND in your own company for raising the bar on customer service and keeping it there. In these days of high tech consumerism I fear people do not really matter any more to a lot of organisations but it is obvious it is the people that count most for your company. Well done. Why doesn’t everyone get this?

    • Jo-Anne, your question “Why doesn’t everyone get this?” is a good one. You’re right – I can’t believe that high-paid CEO’s, VP’s and Customer Service Directors don’t get this.

      I’ve gotta believe they’re too focused on their internal processes, and getting employees to follow those *&^%U*I processes, when they should be more focused on the results and impressions that those processes create for the customer.

      And more blame should go on the people responsible for training the CSR’s. They oughta focus more on empathy than they do on policy. If every CSR put more emphasis on empathizing with the customer (“I understand why you would feel that way… I feel bad about it too…”) than spouting corporate policy, customers would be a lot less ticked off, and might stick around longer.

  300. I purchased a ticket on US Airways for a dear friend to come to my Mom’s funeral. This entailed three flights from Santa Barbara, CA to Allentown, PA. Her 2nd flight landed in an emergency situation in Philadelphia (harrowing, but they landed safely). By the time they got to the gate she had missed the short flight to Allentown. There was no one there to assist; she was with a gentleman in a wheelchair. After 20 minutes waiting for the transport that was requested for them (she wears a leg brace), SHE pushed the guy to the main gate area. We had to drive to Philly (roundtrip 4hours) in the middle of the night to go get her. The funeral was the next morning at 8:30am. Needless to say, it added stress to an already stressful situation. When I called US Air to get some sort of compensation and explained what happened, the woman on the phone said it was impossible that there wasn’t a gate agent present to assist when they landed. I repeated that by the time they got off the plane, there was no one there to help make alternative travel arrangements and that two handicapped individuals were left stranded at a gate at 11:20pm. Her snide remark, “well if someone wasn’t there to open the door, they could have gotten off the plane now, could they?”. In addition, US Airways does not offer any compassion fares (unlike United who couldn’t have been nicer with the travel for my sister). All I know is that their offer for a refund for that portion of the flight (which I still haven’t received) seemed more of an insult than anything. Fortunately I rarely travel US Airways and will avoid doing so at all costs.

  301. Scott- my husband and I recently traveled and we both agreed we will avoid us airways AT ALL COSTS!! Their customer service is horrible.

  302. As a frequent flyer myself, I have not yet flown with US Airways, however, after reading this article and being one with Customer Service expectations that exeed that of US Airways reported service levels, will not fly with them. There are way too many other options to fly that have even at least ‘mediocre’ service levels. Flying United has always been a preference of mine. Best service I have ever had flying has been with United. Cheers.

  303. Scott, With out a doubt fly Continental. The most curtious and accommodating

  304. Scott,
    US Airways did the same thing to me this year and made me an ex-customer. They told me that I could reinstate the 20000 miles I earned by paying $300, get their credit card or book a First Class flight. They refused to work with me to resolve this amicably, so I promptly booked my next 4 flights with another airline. Between phone calls, emails and a letter to them , they made me realize my business was not important to them. Good-by US Airways, I won’t miss you….

  305. Not exactly outstanding. As we say in the new Outstanding! book, people fire organizations all the time. But when they do exceptional things, people stay with them. It comes down to the PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY of individuals working at any organization. http://www.QBQ.com … good stuff.

  306. Scott,

    I know how you feel I had a similar experience with US Airways and so did my dad (he flys around 150 to 200 thousand miles a year) now we only fly American Airlines. I have never once had a problem with them. They are always nice to us and do their best to help us out whenever something goes wrong.

  307. Way to go Scott!!! It’s time everyone got tough with big companies that have lost sight of how they got to be big companies in the first place. Even if you’re the only game in town, human decency should prevent this sort of situation.

    In all my years of dealing with companies, there has only been one company that has consistently give me great service and listened to me and that company is Apple.

    Support good service and lose the companies that don’t care.

  308. This is a very well-formulated response to your incident and really expresses very well some of the short-sightedness and distance that a lot of these companies have between them and their customers.

    I stumbled upon this blog post from a friend’s buzz post and you just gained a photographer and reader to your site as a result! :) Thanks for sharing.

  309. Well done Scott, so many people just don’t complain when something unfair happens, and you definitely did the right thing.. I would have done the same, never ever being their customer again!

  310. I guess the US Airways Customer Service Manual is subtitled, “How to lose friends and alienate people.”

  311. Scott, You may not read this but I had a similar experience with US Air, the predecessor to US Airways. Back in the mid 80’s, I traveled from ND to upstate NY and transported firearms in my checked baggage. Having traveled internationally with firearms for many years and knew the rules. On my way back out of NY, the check-in clerk insisted on putting a flame orange sticker on my bag indicating “firearms enclosed”. I insisted he remove that tag as it identified a high value theft item was contained in the bag. He wanted to know who I was that I knew so much but I told him that didn’t matter, there was no requirement to identify the bag in that way. (and there wasn’t) He finally consented to not putting the tag and I went on. Imagine my outrage when I arrived back in ND and seeing the bag come off the belt with a big flame orange tag that said Firearms Enclosed. I contacted the company and got a unresponsive letter back saying they were required to do that. In turn I wrote a letter to every congressman and senator I had the slightest connection with. Today, no tags are allowed on the outside of bags and I have not flown on US Air or their successors since that day. (over 25 years.) I still travel with firearms frequently and it’s nice to know in most cases the airlines today do it right. Another interesting anecdote, this happened once before on another airline in St. Louis. The ticket agent pulled out the tag and when I saw what was going on, I told him, “If you’re dumb enough to put that tag on my bag, you’re dumb enough to sell me $50,000 worth of insurance on it.” He asked if the gun was that valuable and I repeated my previous statement. He thought about it for a minute and then threw the tag away. Smart guy. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  312. I am with you Scott! I will do whatever I can to NEVER fly US AIR. I have had so many nightmares with US AIR, that the very thought of having to interact with them or sit on one of their planes actually causes me physical pain.

    Their customer service reps, their flight atttendants and gate agents border on hostile. That kind of culture starts at the top!

    The good news is that I live in AZ, so most of the time I can fly on SW Airlines. I don’t work for or represent Southwest Airlines in any way, but consider this:
    – No bogus fees to fly standby on an earlier flight if they have empty seats
    – No baggage charges
    – Customer service reps that actually care about customer service
    – They are almost always on time
    – Their policies are reasonable

    It is somewhat amazing to me that they can still be in business with the wretched service they seem to consistently provide.

  313. Just read your contract. It’s right there. You have 30 days to add missing miles to your account. It’s not that hard to keep your ticket and check-in every once in a while. It’s people like you that cause all the rest of us fees and problems. Because you don’t keep track of your shit and US Airways shouldn’t have to. How did it go an entire year without you noticing? Clearly you weren’t utilizing the miles.

  314. Scott, did you get her name? Maybe she was just a rotten employee and didn’t handle the problem well. She should probably be reported for losing business for the company. Fortunately, I hardly ever have to fly….but if it was my company I’d want to know if somebody was losing business for me. You are right…she should have called a supervisor. But maybe you should have asked for one. I know I would have.

  315. Worst airline in the US.
    Ran me around for 2 days was decieved from the gate agent in CLT to the the various people on their phones they simply lie to you and tell you what they feel you want to hear.Incurred hotel bills, rental car bills,still don’yt have my luggage was told it was still at CLT,was told it was arriving at LGA, was told it was in white plains NY. Have no clothes for business meeting and guess what My bag is waiting at the airport of my original destination. A the CEO of a corporation i would be fired if My employees lied to customers like they seemed to be trained to do.
    Well none of My employees including myself after 16 years of loyalty will ever fly them again.
    Sam McArthur

  316. Just flew with US, horrible experience. Delta is so much better.

  317. If you don’t understand the commons, keep it for yourself the stupidity…. Thing, thing & re-thing before opening your mouth. The approach was to reactivate the miles…..

  318. Seriously, Dude? United Airlines made me “sleep” in an airport, along with a dozen others (including grannies and babies) who missed our connecting flight by 10 minutes, due to United’s own connection delay, plus about 80 other people in SFO that night. I haven’t had ONE on-time United flight in two years. Some haven’t even landed in the expected city. US Air is fantastic in comparison. Check DOT complaint stats. No free flight? NOBODY gets that, don’t you know?

  319. you didnt fly 81k miles. you get bonus miles for every flight, and hotel and car rental, you also get 40k when joining. realistically you probably flew 20-30k if even that. you probably arent even silver level.

  320. Not legal in every state, eg, def not legal in MA.

  321. If i were you, I would write to Doug Parker with all details!

  322. Agreed. It seems to me they conduct job fairs in the inner city ghetto’s.

  323. OK, here is some advice. You never spoke to anybody at US Airways. Don’t beat the messenger here but the program you are speaking of is not ran by US Airways. Most all the airlines and US Airways included sell once per year seats etc to companies that then create these programs. I am not sure ANYBODY at US Airways could solve this problem unless they paid this outside company a fee themselves.
    It is just like when you fly on some US Airways express flight. That flight and airline may or may not be owned by the US Airways but have permission to use their name. US Airways (which is really US Airways group now AMR group) and then add the words ‘mile program or express flight operated by xxxxx).
    It is just the way it is and this almost the same at every airline.
    Remember it is all separate so you never spoke to anybody at the airline, trust me I know it is confusing but also remember that miles program owners (which is not the airline) is there to make money somehow.
    Also keep in mind if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, so free travel sounds really good but……… well you can see the results.
    Better just to always take best deal possible, stash some of the savings of shopping for best ticket and when you have saved enough buy a ticket where you want on the airline you want.
    Again don’t beat the messenger.

  324. United expired my 48000 mules without any notification. When I went to the website, it offered to re-instate for $300. Delta skymiles is a much better program. Miles don’t expire.

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