I do not recommend flying US Airways for various reasons, but my most recent encounter cemented the fact that I truly loathe their company…
August 10th began as a normal day. my spouse, our dog, and I loaded into the truck and rather lazily headed south. We left about 1230pm and my child's flight wasn't due in till 1026pm. We made stops along the way, LL Bean Outlet, Petco, Cabela's, a picnic lunch in
. Traveled along Route 1 because we haven't done that in forever. We really got to enjoy Freeport . We had dinner at Dunstan's Schoolhouse Restaurant in Maine Saco and then headed towards the airport. That's when I got the call from Grandma in WV … her child had called her collect from the airport. "Are you sitting down?" Of course I was, we were in the truck headed to the airport. "Your child is not on the plane. Apparently, the gate agent did not put them on the plane, closed it up, and sent it out 5 minutes early."
So, my initial reaction was, "They're turning around to go get them, right?!" No, they didn't. That's when it got interesting … a lovely, relaxing day all gone to hell in a handbasket. I arrived at the
(where I was supposed to them pick up) and went in to the ticket counter. I had no contact with the other parent, their excuse to their mother is that their phone was dead. They didn't realize that the child had a tracfone in their bag they could have used – they were just being immature and didn't want to have contact with me. I waited in line, rather patiently – if I do say so myself, for an agent. The woman who I ended up dealing with was an absolute bitch. I politely said, "I would like to find my child that your airline did not put on the plane that's supposed to be arriving at 1026 pm, though they were checked in." She was rather ignorant. I asked if she could call Portland Airport and find out what the issue and what possible course of action they're going to take. "No. That's not possible." "Excuse me, I would like to speak to your manager. Who would that be?" "Him (pointing at a guy named Michael) … why?" "Because you're rude, ignorant, your airline has messed up my child's flight, I have no idea where they are, and you're unwilling to help." This is when Michael stepped in. Charlotte, NC
He immediately called
– which btw, they're a rather SLOW bunch of people … he had to repeat himself 10 times (I counted!) – to find out what was going on. I had the ticket number and stuff so he could see it in the system, but nothing had changed on it yet. The Unaccompanied Minor policy states that she must fly a direct flight from A to B … no pitstops. The next direct flight was in the hour of 11amish the next day. Excuse me? Um, I just drove down here, I live 3 hours away, your airline is at fault here. Can you at least get me a hotel room? Michael checked with a regional manager somewhere then gave me the guy's name and Customer Service contact information when he denied me anything since I'm not the actual flyer. He thought it was ridiculous also, since the policy states I must be there to pick her up … yet THEY messed up. Charlotte
My spouse and our dog were meanwhile manning the truck in free parking, or else it could get towed. I was walking back and forth between the desk and the truck with updates. Michael had my cell phone if he got any information in the meantime. That's when I found out that my child did not have any baggage on the incoming flight that night since their parent and step-parent decided none of it fit, so they were going to keep it. This provoked my first ever nasty voicemail to both of their voicemails – they didn't buy them, they don't give them away. My spouse and I were trying to figure out the best thing to do. Drive home or stay the night. They still had to work Monday night, so if the flight didn't come in on time, they would miss work. I called my mom to find out what she was doing on Tuesday. She was taking my brother's dog back to him that she'd been dogsitting, meeting him at LL Bean about . Mom said I could ride down with her, just meet at her house, we'd hand off the dog, pick up the kid at 130pmish and head back North. Easier said than done.
I didn't leave the airport without confirmation that my child was booked on the next flight. While I was waiting for the printout, a couple walked up – apparently thinking I worked there – and asked me for toiletries since their flight was cancelled. I looked at them and said, "Soon as I get the guy back here with the printout of my child's flight tomorrow since they forgot them today, I'll see about some toiletries for you." They realized I was a bit stressed … commended me for not breaking down … and waited patiently for Michael to return.
Alright, Tuesday started out as planned … but along came the handbasket … still not getting direct calls from the other parent, I was getting indirect information from Grandma about an hour after the fact. She called, "The flight took off, my child left the airport, they called them (apparently their phone magically charged itself without a charger) and told them to return to the airport cause the flight had to return to the gate due to mechanical difficulties (1 hour delay). Mom and I went to eat lunch at On The Border since we had time. My brother met us there … he was going to stay to meet my child … till I got another phone call – another 1 hour delay due to air traffic around New York. He left, since we were looking at least 330pm before it would arrive. We did what most people do with free time, we went shopping … I'd never been to a Christmas Tree Shop … it was pretty neat. That is, till I got a phone call 45 minutes after the fact that the flight had been altogether cancelled. This provoked my second ever nasty phone call. "I don't know if you noticed, but I'M THE PARENT ON THE OTHER END OF THIS FLIGHT. Don't be calling other freaking people to tell them the news, when you should be calling me direct. Grow up, get your heads out of your asses and call me direct!" (What can I say, I was rather pissed to get second hand information way after the fact. Everyone else knew but me!)
Mom and I headed to the airport. She was slowly figuring out that she was doomed to stay till the night flight arrived at 1026pm. She had commitments the next day and needed to go home much earlier than that. That's when I finally broke. I started calling my friends … one was almost to Six Flags … one was working till 1130pm … one wasn't – and I started crying. I was more than willing to pay plus gas money to come get me cause I was going to be stranded in
. I just couldn't take it anymore. My friends ended up working out a plan to come pick me up, if I had confirmation that my child's flight actually had her on it this time. Then I fell asleep, completely passed out from exhaustion – mental and physical, in the passenger seat. Mom started killing time by calling her friends. She was trying to find a place for me to stay the night if I needed to if my child didn't come in the on the night flight. When she talked to one, they said, "Gee, why don't you come home on the bus and leave your child your car? They'll have a place to stay and a way to get home." Why didn't WE think of that … oh yeah … exhaustion. Portland
At 555pm, we found out that the 759pm flight my child was booked for was already delayed an hour. The next bus out of
to Portland was at 615pm (thanks to mom's friend!) … we barely made it to the terminal. An upside was, another one of Mom's friends was already on the bus from Bangor to Boston – so she had a friend to chat with up the highway. I was the proud temporary owner of a Dodge Intrepid … mom left me with, "The insurance information is in the glove compartment. Don't come home till you have them." I didn't leave the terminal till I knew that the bus had left - without mechanical difficulties. Portland
I drove around downtown Portland a bit … went to Tim Horton's for supper, Big Apple for snacks/water … the cashier tried to be nice ("How are you this evening?") and I politely said I'd been much better than the last 24 hours of a nightmare that I'd rather not discuss. Of course she had a quizzical look … so I simply said that when an airline forgets your child, cancels the next flight that they're booked on, and already delays the next flight they're booked on – you'd be living a nightmare, too. She wished me luck and I went back to living at the airport free parking in mom's car. I do not know what compelled me to bring the car charger that day, but it was a good thing so I could continue to use my phone. I had sort of a mini command station with all my stuff spread out around me and my Bluetooth headset on my ear. Luckily, I'd also brought some books that I'd gotten in advance for college, so I had stuff to read. I called my friends, instead of coming to get me they went to my house in
to let the dog out to go potty since my spouse was working. Charleston
I had to pay to park to be able to go into the terminal to meet my child. I went in 20 minutes early and cuddled with their Karate Bear that we had bought them for their return while watching the gymnastic Olympics on tv. They finally got in at 1140pm. No baggage meant we went right to the car to go home. I called my spouse … called Grandma … and sent out a mass txt message that they were on the ground. Tim Horton's in Waterville was a pitstop for coffee ... still didn't get back to mom's to get my truck till 230am (they woke up to the sound of me starting my truck ... Dad: "How do you know our child has our grandchild?" Mom: "I told them not to come home till they had them.") … Drove home, 25 minutes … and crashed in bed at .
Luckily my child was back … and life resumed.