Preferred Status Guy Saves The Day

January 8, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

In March of 2009 I flew from Newburgh, NY to Buffalo, NY by way of Philadephia with USAir. The whole trip was meant to take 3 hours, so the stopover wasn’t a big deal.

The first leg of the travel went fine. I sat down at my gate in Philadelphia, and with 15 minutes until departure started to wonder why we’re not boarding our 8:30PM flight. Then I overheard someone saying that the flight might be canceled (no such updates from the airline), and rushed to the counter. The official at the counter was already sweating bullets and fumbling with the paperwork. After waiting in line for about 10 minutes in total silence, they finally admitted that flight would be canceled. While in line, I found from fellow passengers that this flight is typically canceled. Another 20-30 minutes of fumbling (and no announcements of any kind), and they start handing out vouchers for hotel stays and tickets for a 2:00PM flight the following day!

The guy at the front of the line had some sort of a preferred status, so he called someone at the central office, and got tickets to an alternative flight. Most of the other people went to complain at the central desk for the airline, but with the entire plane in line (~60 people), my odds didn’t seem good of making it out that day. So I got the number of the central office from this guy, and got rerouted to a 10:00 flight going to Rochester (60 miles away from my destination). Better to have my wife have a slightly longer drive than spend a day in a hotel room… Came home at midnight instead of 10:00, but could have been much worse.

Terrible service from USAir, never again.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim January 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

Sounds like a tactic from, "The Amazing Race". I will try to remember this next time something similar happens. Thanks for the story with advice!


Beth January 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

So true, USAir. We live in Syracuse. Many times our flight to Syracuse is cancelled & if we are lucky, we get on a later flight. They will not fly a half empty plane to Syracuse, so they just cancel & rebook everyone on a later flight. Don't admit that, but it happens too often, esp when it is an afternoon flt. We always try to get another airline.


Jane January 16, 2010 at 6:24 am

Granted, United isn't much better, but they rarely cancel flights to Central Wisconsin! US Airways isn't even an option here, thank GOD!


Zei April 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm

I don't work for US Airways, so I am not certain of what their policy is. But typically a flight will not be cancelled just because it is half empty. Each aircraft is planned to be in certain spots throughout the day. For instance, we have flown a 150-seater aircraft with only 10 people on it, because it is needed where it is going, and from that point onward to the final airport where it remains over night before starting out again the next day.

But again this is only what I know of how flights are planned. Whatever the reason for the cancellation, the airline personnel should have given the passengers enough information. Looks like you got lucky that you were able to talk to that gentleman and get yourself home with only a 2 hour delay.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: