Bad flight stories are a dime a dozen, but every now and then, I get one that rises above the others. Like Michelle Vazul’s.
She and her husband were flying from Elmira, NY, to Orlando on US Airways just after the busy Thanksgiving holiday last year. Vazul was wearing her Penn State sweatshirt.
The flights didn’t go well, from a customer service point of view. Their first leg to Philadelphia was delayed because the crew didn’t show up on time.
“Our flight landed at the very last gate in Terminal F,” she says. “We ran through the airport as fast as we could. We arrived at the gate just as the plane pushed back.”
The Vazuls were sent to a long line to get rebooked on a flight departing the following day.
Once it was our turn, the lady we spoke to was laughing at us. We told her we needed to get to Orlando as soon as possible. We were not on vacation, we had an appointment to look at a house due to relocation. We asked her for a nonstop flight. She put us on a flight to Orlando the next day with a stopover in Washington.
Vazul says the US Airways staff was consistently rude to them. But nothing could have prepared her for the way she was treated on her next flight.
She’d pleaded with US Airways to change their schedule to a nonstop flight, in order to minimize the possibility of another cancellation, and they were finally rebooked on a nonstop flight from Philadelphia to Orlando.
On this flight, we experienced the worst customer service I have ever seen.
I didn’t even think about it, but I was wearing a Penn State shirt. I had worn it the day before and since we had no luggage, had to wear it on this day, too. We sat in the emergency row. The flight attendant’s seat was facing us. I noticed he kept staring at me and I started to get a creepy feeling but blew it off.
When he got up to pass out drinks, he started making comments directed at me. Each time he would pass, he would say, “I hope you rot in hell. All Penn State fans are baby molesters. You should all die.”
This, of course, was right after the Jerry Sandusky scandal had hit the news. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped.
During landing, he had to sit in his seat and he glared at me the entire time. I have never before felt completely trapped like that.
As soon as she checked into her hotel, she phoned US Airways to tell it what happened.
“They were not surprised,” she says. “They told me almost all of the complaints they receive are due to Philadelphia staff. They said they would start an investigation.”
Vazul gave US Airways the names and flight numbers, even though she had some trouble getting them.