Name Changed To Protect The Guilty

May 17, 2009

in Luggage Stories

Flight Charlotte, NC to Seattle, WA – Airline’s name changed to protect the guilty.

We boarded our plane at 9:00 A M in Charlotte, NC for our short hop to Dulles in Washington, DC. We arrived and made our way to the ”American Western” terminal for the second leg of our flight. As we walk up to the ”American Western” gates, they make an announcement that the computers were down and no one cannot board until the computers are back up. Four hours later we were informed that they had the office in Phoenix fax a passenger list and we could now board. No seats were to be assigned as this information was not included on the fax.

As we are circling the airport in Phoenix AZ, I ask the flight attendant if she knew if there were any more flights to Seattle that evening. She replied that the computers were back up and all passenger were assigned to the next available flights. They had one scheduled to take off for Seattle shortly after we would land and we were already booked on it. She assured us that the people at the gate counter knew we were coming and would hold the seats for us.

We run to our gate for the last leg of our flight. The gate attendant tells us that he had paged us, and as we were not checked in at the counter fifteen minutes prior to the flight, our seats were forfeited. I tell him that the flight attendant said the seats were to be held for us as it was ”American Western” that had made us miss our original flight as well as being late for this flight. His answer was and I quote, “I don’t give a shit what she told you! I don’t care if the plane was late! I don’t care who said we would hold the seats. They are gone and it’s your fault not ‘American Western’s.’ I hope this teaches you to be at the gate, checked in fifteen minutes before boarding.”

We find the ”American Western” customer service counter and go though the events again. The man at the counter said he did not know anything about the computers being down or flights being delayed. He again tells us it was our responsibility to be at the gate fifteen minutes prior to boarding or our tickets were void. After getting somewhat loud, the airport police arrive. I again go though our story for the officer. The customer service agent gives us a phone number to call. Upon talking to the lady, she tells us she will call the agent and tell him that it was ”America Western’s” computer failure that made us miss our original flight and that the seats were supposed to have been held for us. I tell her I’m still standing at the counter and would be glad to hand my cell phone over so she could do it now. The service agent refuses to talk to her on my cell, she must call him on the phone at the counter so he knows that it is not someone pretending to be an ”American Western” employee. The ticket agent on the phone tell us to tell him to take the call; that she can verify who she is and that she is an employee of “”American Western.” He still refuses. She gives in and calls him on a company phone.

We are then booked on the 12:30 AM fight to Seattle. The flight is delayed. It leaves at 2:00 AM. We arrive in Seattle about 4:30 AM. Our bags of course are not there. The baggage claims office is closed. The next morning we have to go back to the airport and go through our tale of woe yet again. We fill out the forms and she tells us to purchase some clothes as the airline does not know where the bags are as the computers were down when we boarded in Washington, DC. They will cover up to $130.00 for each person for a total of $260.00 dollars. Needless to say, we did not fly ”American Western” back.

Four years later the bags have never been returned and they still deny they were ever loaded on the plane and thus are not responsible for their loss. And as to the clothes we bought in Seattle, they only paid $130.00 total.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

This story sounds false. I find it hard to believe the agent would talk to you like this, and second, just because the computers are down in one city, it does not shut down the whole airline.


Anonymous May 9, 2009 at 4:14 am

Central computer failures can certainly happen, and there's no excuse for an agent behaving as the one in Phoenix did, but I hope you learned your lesson from this experience: never book a flight with two connections to save $5 when you can book a direct flight. (Yes, there is a direct flight, even now, after all the cutbacks.)


pocomouse May 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Sorry, but this smells like BS to me. Bad as the airlines are I can't imagine a CSR cussing at you like that.


sean May 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

give a goddamn airline…if "american southwest" stants for "southwest", i agree with hating them…there's no first class there…we're all second class citizens. but if it's american, i think it's in error…they're pretty cool…


Rich March 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

I know this post is old, but I have to respond. There is NO WAY this was a Southwest agent. I fly them almost weekly and have NEVER had a rude agent. Are they always perfect, no, but they are far and away the best domestic Airline in the US. You don't like the way they board, fine, that is your right. Don't equate that to this kind of rude behavior.

As far as not believing it, well I have personally had close to that and probably on the same airline. Since this originated in Charlotte I would say this was US Air.

Oh and by the way, Southwest does not fly out of Charlotte and is not headquartered in Phoenix.


James March 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

I would guess it was America West. They were hubbed in Phoenix. And "American Western" sure sounds closer to :America West than Southwest


Hugh May 13, 2009 at 1:37 am

I agree with some previous posters…I throw the BS flag. I think this is either outright fabricated or exaggerated. I can't see a CSR resorting to that language right away, unless you acted like an ass. Also, the bags would have been tagged for their final destination. They may not have gotten there with you, but they should have gotten there at some point. A computer issue would not impact that. I believe that you are not telling us the true story. Shame on you!


Anonymous May 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

then why do they have that big depot somewhere in the mid-us that sells unclaimed a.k.a lost luggage? he probably did lose his temper and got told off by the gate agent, after he/she had been accosted by all the other pax on the flight. not right, but it could certainly happen.

"nothing human is alien to me"


jonasgal August 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

WHY change the airline's name?!!? What does that accomplish and HOW does that "help" anyone, especially with bad service from the airline?!!?


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