Airlines: Still Hating on Their Customers

When The Curmudgeon needed to fly across the country on very short notice recently, he expected to pay a ridiculous amount of money for his ticket.

And US Airways didn’t disappoint him.

He also expected not to be able to sit next to his sister on any of the four flights they were taking (two on the way, two returning).

And again, US Airways didn’t disappoint him.

And he also expected that both he and his sister would be stuck in middle seats on all four flights.

And yet again, US Airways didn’t disappoint him.

But what he didn’t expect was to go to the US Airways web site the day before traveling, to see if some reservations might have been abandoned and some previously spoken-for seats newly available, and find that he could now get seats together on some of those four flights – for a price.

Which he paid, albeit reluctantly.

And then what he didn’t expect was to get on the flights for which he paid to get adjacent seats – and this included paying extra for middle seats – and discovering that the flights were only two-thirds full and that the airline had essentially blackmailed its customers into paying extra so they could sit together.

That’s right, he said it:  blackmail.

The Curmudgeon has written previously (here and here) about the no-service ethic of American airlines and how, more than any industry, those airlines really seem to hate their customers.  This was another example, with the airline selling for a premium seats that no one wanted and no one would ever otherwise occupy.

So The Curmudgeon will consider it a life lesson, and if and when he needs or chooses to take to the skies again, he’s going to remember how US Airways screwed him over and do his best not to put another dime in that company’s grubby little hands ever again.

US Airways may need a lesson, and so in that spirit, The Curmudgeon would like to offer the following reminders:

  • Eastern Airlines
  • TWA
  • Pan Am
  • Altair Airlines
  • Continental Airlines
  • Frontier
  • National
  • Northeast
  • Northwest
  • Ozark
  • Ransome

These are just a few of the literally hundreds of U.S. airlines that have disappeared over the years, some of them gone bankrupt and others bought out and taken over by more successful companies.  US Airways has struggled mightily in recent years (including two bankruptcies of its own; you know about corporate bankruptcy:  that’s a legal loophole that enables businesses to stiff their creditors and especially their employees) and its continued existence is by no means certain.  After all, there’s no such thing as an airline that’s too big to fail.  The people who run US Airways should give this some thought when they make their next business decision that’s obviously intended to screw the customers they so despise, because that next such decision could end up being their last.

And if you don’t believe that, just ask the folks who used to work for Pam Am.  Or TWA.  Or Eastern.  Or…

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