Cheapskate Customer Service Representative

September 7, 2012

in Odds & Ends Stories

My partner and I were scheduled to leave DC on US Air on Flight 3243 to arrive home in Kansas City on Sunday, August 12, 2012. We started receiving robo-messages about a delayed flight (6 in total all with different departure times) before we reached the airport. When we arrived at the security gate the flight was showing on time, so we were glad we didn’t waste time getting to the airport after being notified there was a delay. While in line we got another message saying the flight had been cancelled due to mechanical issues. The board still showed us with an on time flight so we called customer services to confirm.

We spoke with customer service by phone while we made our way to the desk agent. The agent said all flights were sold out and they could reschedule us to arrive home Tuesday evening. The desk agent confirmed this too and said they could put us in a hotel room and we could possibly go stand-by on Monday. We insisted they get us out earlier so they booked us on another airline to arrive on Monday. They gave us a hotel room for the night and being exhausted, we decided to contact customer service after we had cooled down a bit to work out compensation for missed work and the bad experience.

When I contacted customer service and explained the situation, the Indian agent told me they would only offer us $125 vouchers for our trouble and refused to let me speak to a supervisor. Upon my request to speak with his supervisor, he kept repeating that he was in “corporate” and he was the highest ranking individual I would speak with. After 15 minutes of explaining that $125 hardly covered our loss of wages and trouble, he offered to give me 15 additional dollars for meal expenses incurred if I could produce receipts. After 15 minutes of a conversation that was going nowhere, I stopped arguing with him. US Air is no longer on my list of preferred airlines.

– J.Harlow

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

David Clark September 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I stopped flying with US Airways for almost this exact reason. I cannot stand having a problem or concern and then being transferred overseas. I can only imagine how many other customers have just wrote off this airline for bad customer service.


david September 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

no airline is going to compensate you for lost work wages

sorry its just the way it is, your lucky that you got offered that much, most the time it is just the hotel voucher and a $5-10 meal voucher

delays and cancellations happen all the time, imagine if everyone asked for compensation for missed wages, no airline would survive


James September 14, 2012 at 8:24 am

Yes, they won't.

But, philosophically, should they? You've contracted with them to travel at a given time to a given place, and they fail to meet that contract. This causes you to fail to meet some other obligations. Who is responsible for that failure? Keep in mind, the original author is reporting a two day loss because of overbooking: lists 298 flights from the Washington area to Kansas City. They are claiming that there are *two hundred and ninety eight* flights completely sold out. More like, they refused to look at endorsing the couple to fly out on a different airline, and get them to a different airport. Yes, US Air should pay, in my opinion.


Scottt September 8, 2012 at 4:25 am

So if y flight is delay 30 minutes … and the Lotto ticket I usually buy, has to be bought 30 minutes later….I can demand the 14 million Lottery money because I was late? Where does it stop?


Substantial September 9, 2012 at 1:29 am

Gosh, you must be the ONLY person in the world who has ever had to speak to an agent in a call centre that's not in your own country – no wonder you had to come and whine on a website about it.

Diddums, my heart bleeds for you.


Kate September 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I can understand frustration with calling a US-based company and getting a service representative that doesn't speak English well. If the company's clientele is English-speaking, then the customer service people should be able to communicate in English. However, that doesn't necessarily make this 'flight-from-hell' worthy. In the larger scheme of the story, I can see how getting an international person on the phone would be a bit annoying.


kyledcline September 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I agree with this for the most part. I take no issue whatsoever with overseas call centers. They're typically cheaper to run and work well. But as Kate mentioned, if your clientele is predominantly American English speakers, as is the case for US Airways, your call centers should be staffed with intelligible and professional speakers of American English. This is not difficult to do with some training for Indians, as English is a native language of theirs.

But a noticeable accent (as long as its clearly understandable) is hardly enough to warrant a complaint. Last week I called AT&T Customer Service and was answered by a Southern woman with a thick drawl. So I immediately hung up the phone, took to the streets with my pitchforks and torches, cancelled all future business with AT&T, and wrote an angry letter to the local news station about the socioeconomic harms and dangers of outsourcing jobs to Alabama. Get a f*cking life.


paul September 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Go away "Sub" stop bothering people.


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