US Airways may be on time, but it’s falling apart — literally

There’s good news and bad news today for what some have called America’s worst airline. US Airways recorded the best on-time performance among the 10 major American carriers for the month of January, which prompted it to pay out $1.8 million in employee bonuses and issue a self-congratulatory press release. But at about the same time, reports in the blogosphere started bubbling up that the airline was falling apart — literally.

You can’t make this stuff up, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to make this stuff up. The employees and passengers of US Airways have suffered long enough after a badly mismanaged merger with America West, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wished it ill. Based on reports from its latest media day event, the airline is really trying to improve itself, and I think on some level, we’re all rooting for it to succeed.

But the images circulating online suggest US Airways has a long, long way to go. These come to me by way of US Aviation and the passenger group Ffocus.

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Here’s the worn-out back of a first class seat that’s been mended with tape.

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Courtesy phone? I don’t think so. We don’t do that anymore.

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These paper towels double as a curtain. You an hardly tell the difference.

Has anyone else seen this on US Airways, or are these just isolated incidents of apparent neglect? They kind of remind me of TWA before it was absorbed by American Airlines: a once-proud airline that is long past its prime.

It isn’t my place to suggest that US Airways should refrain from handing out a million bucks in bonuses. But isn’t it a bit premature to be congratulating themselves?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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