Fred Rotgers’ recent flight from San Juan to Newark was canceled because of the weather. At least, that’s what United Airlines claims.
Rotgers doesn’t believe it.
“The weather at both the origin and destination was just fine from the time of cancellation until two days later,” he says. “United called this a pre-emptive cancellation.”
Question is, what was United pre-empting? Like many passengers, Rotgers suspects it had other reasons for canceling the flight. Maybe it was having plane trouble or maybe they failed to sell enough seats on the plane. Continue reading…
Just ask someone like Daphne Gemmill, a lifelong US Airways frequent flier whose allegiance to the company goes all the way back to its predecessor, the old Piedmont Airlines.
“With the merger of US Airways and American, I thought my combined lifetime miles might put me in the million-mile category,” says Gemmill, a retired federal government employee. (Million-milers get VIP treatment, a coveted perk for passengers.) So she logged into her account, only to find her “lifetime” miles were gone — voided because of “inactivity” on her account.
“Guess those miles aren’t really lifetime miles, since I’m still alive,” she sighed. Continue reading…
I understood that in the abstract sense — who doesn’t? — but it wasn’t until one day exactly 20 years ago that I learned what it really meant. That’s the drizzly, bitter cold Northern California day I discovered I was broke.
I lived in a rat-infested tool shed that had been turned into a spare bedroom in a run-down part of East Berkeley. Down to my last $20, I trudged up to Telegraph Ave., to visit my bank. There, an ATM delivered the bad news dispassionately: I didn’t have enough money in my account to cover next month’s rent.
To call Ron Giancoli a loyal US Airways customer might be something of an understatement. A sales manager from West Chester, Pa., he’s flown on the airline — which recently merged with American Airlines — almost exclusively for the last three decades.
“I flew US Airways even when it wasn’t the lowest price,” he says. “I flew US Airways even when it was a less convenient schedule.”
Giancoli says he’s been an elite-level customer for 27 out of the last 30 years. He stuck with US Airways through good times and bad, through bankruptcies, reorganizations and customer service meltdowns. In exchange for his loyalty, US Airways offered him upgrades into more comfortable seats and award tickets. Continue reading…
Yeah, so did I – until I took this job. Now that I’m immersed in the wacky world of forgotten passports, flat tires, missed connections and trip-ending calamities that I thought only happened in the movies, there’s one thing I know: I am not the world’s smartest traveler.
If you’re not a book person, don’t worry: I distill my favorite takeaways from the book here. Peruse them before your next vacation and I promise you’ll come home a little smarter, if not happier. Continue reading…
Tom Ungar and his wife spent $128 to fly from Venice, Italy, to Naples, which is a ridiculously low fare. But when their checked luggage tipped the scales at just over 20 kilos, their airline demanded an additional $152.
A luggage fee that exceeds your airfare? Welcome to the wacky world of a la carte fees — a world filled with consumer “benefits” that airline apologists believe you’ll love.
Ungar’s case is something of an extreme example. He was flying on easyJet, an airline known for its preposterous luggage policies. But ignore his cautionary tale at your own peril, because this is the world the Big Three legacy airlines aspire to, if we, their captive customers, would just let them.
Ungar’s misadventure began when he checked in for his flight in Venice recently. After placing their baggage on the scales, an easyJet employee informed the couple that their luggage was “a bit” overweight and pointed them to another representative. That person said their luggage was free to fly for an additional fee of $152. Continue reading…