Grumpy Gate Agent Rips Up Boarding Pass

February 9, 2012

in Airport Stories

Every December my parents take my family down to our annual winter vacation in Aruba (AUA). Living in Ottawa (YOW), there are no direct flights to Aruba and usually have an overnight connection at any of the Eastern Seaboard HUBs or Toronto (YYZ).

Much to my dismay, we continually fly US Airways. People usually fly an airline due to their exceptional service. However, we fly due to their way below subpar service. Continually, year-after-year, US Airways manages to screw up majorly and give us flight credit vouchers, hence our returning business. However, this year’s events definitely take the prize for biggest screw up. 

The journey begins on my outbound from YOW to PHL. I was meeting my parents in Aruba and I was flying this year solo. I was all packed and ready to go, so I went to the airport and got onto an early departure to PHL for my overnight connection. US Air even waived the fee and all seemed perfect!

When I got to my Philly hotel room that night at 11:30, I proceeded to (attempted to) web check into my flight for the next morning, a 7:30 departure to AUA. When I logged into my itinerary, it informed me to contact the US Airways call centre. I called and was informed that the system had showed that I never made it to my original departure to PHL and by default had cancelled ALL REMAINING FLIGHTS on my vacation. Luckily, the customer service rep was able to get back all of my original seats. During the time I had no flights, anyone could have web checked in and selected an upgrade to my envoy seat!!!

After all this was sorted out, I made it to Aruba with no error. However, the HELL was only about to begin on the return leg.

I checked in at the Aruba Airport for leg #1 of my routing home AUA-CLT-YYZ-YOW. Aruba is a very rushed airport and congested during the Christmas holidays, and the first class check-in line just whisked away my bags and threw them on a conveyor belt once I had checked in.

The airport process in Aruba makes the TSA’s process look like a Picasso. Once you have checked in and dropped your bags, you proceed to wait outdoors, in 100 degree weather, for Aruba emigration to process you. After Aruban Customs, you clear security checkpoint #1. After security, you proceed to a baggage claim hall to re-claim your bags from US pre-clearance customs.

This is just the beginning of my troubles. I picked up my bags and was finally able to read the tags on them. They were only tagged to CLT, and with only a 1.5 hour connection in Charlotte I would not have had time to go get my bags and re-check them to Toronto. There were no US Air agents to be seen in the baggage claim hall, but I found a United rep who was very nice and helped me. He wrote down all of my information and understood my itinerary and called US Air check-in counter to explain what they needed to do (i.e. bring me new bag tags ASAP!!!). He spent about 10 minutes dealing with this because US Airways was nowhere to be seen. I felt compelled to tip him as he did not need to help someone who was not his customer. As he got off the phone, a US Air rep came by and said, “There’s nothing we can do, keep moving on. You will have to get your bags in CLT.” To this I replied, “Um, no! You made this same screw up last year and you fixed it!”

As I said this, his co-worker met up with us and had new bag tags! The original US Air worker did not apologize for this inconvenience but rather said, “We’re all humans, we make mistakes.” Talk about needing a Customer Service 101 class.


We arrive in Charlotte early, and I make it over to the Toronto-bound flight, which is oversold and they offer the standard comps to volunteers. I’m thankful that I have my seat assigned, first class, seat 2A. I’m in the clear right? NO!

Pre-boarding is called for first class passengers and I am the first one to walk onto the plane. The gate agent says, “This boarding pass isn’t valid. Please stand in front of the desk.”

I asked her, “How is that possible as I checked into this flight in Aruba over 8 hours ago!”

She said, “Too bad, your seat is no longer valid” and proceeded to RIP UP MY BOARDING PASS.

I told her that she must put me on this flight as I was a minor and had family meeting me in Toronto. She asked how old I was, and when I said I was 17, she proceeded to laugh in my face and then refused to acknowledge me when I asked her questions.

There was a supervisor at the gate dealing with the oversold issue and when I told him I didn’t have a boarding pass anymore, he asked me why not. I told him that the agent ripped it up. However, when she heard this she said to the supervisor, “No I didn’t!” I could not believe she would lie straight to my face.

I told the supervisor to turn around and look in the garbage and there he would find the remains of my boarding pass. Once he realized her complete stupidity, he off-loaded people from the late inbound Punta Cana flight and was able to give me a first class seat back!

After a 30 minute delay so we could get more ice cubes on board (Are you kidding?! Ice Cubes?! At 10:45 pm!), we were off to Toronto and I couldn’t be happier to be flying Air Canada on the next flight. FYI US Airways, Air Canada serves a full meal to its First Class pax on a 40 minute flight. Where was mine on the 2+ hour flight from Charlotte to Toronto???

To add insult to injury, US Airways does not give any compensation for personnel/customer service related issues. This will be the last time I ever fly US Airways.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Johnny February 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

Wow, I can´t believe she ripped your boarding pass into pieces and lied about it! Lucky you she didn´t eat it up afterwords…


Anod February 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm

AM I really supposed to get upset at this? You brag that you go to Aruba every year, you're 17 and flying first class!!! And on vouchers on top of that. How about complaining when you have to pay for your own tickets and have to sit in coach.


Train February 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm

So what, because they fly first class they're not allowed to complain? :/


Anon July 7, 2012 at 8:48 am

This sounds like hell, a young boy has to fly by himself and get his ticket ripped up! I am sure since he just sound quite wealthy, he could easily get another ticket, but imagine what it feels like!


anod February 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

The post came across as a whiny spoiled brat. Not really a flight from hell.


Cam April 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Air Canada does not give meals on 40 min flight in First Class


Fred Flintstone July 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

I agree with Cam–I think this entitled little fart is embellishing.


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