As many of you know, I have had my run-ins with US Airways. The stories continue to pour in from friends and family about the evils of USAirways and the way they handle customers. Fortunately I had an experience that led me to conclude all is not lost in the airline industry.
I flew last week on American Airlines, to St Louis. As you may recall, St Louis was the hub for TWA, which was acquired by American. Despite that, I had a connecting flight out, and back, through Chicago. Every connection is an opportunity for an airline to have problems, and rise, or fall, on the opportunities to deliver customer service.
American Airlines rose.
On the outbound leg, I arrived in Chicago 20 minutes early, and the jovial command pilot asked that we bank it–so next time they run late we can “give it back.” Good humor. Ultimately I arrived on time in St Louis and when I talked to the staff about seating arrangements they were ever congenial.
The return leg was a bit more problematic. I arrived at the airport several hours in advance, but unfortunately the airplanes weren’t cooperative. The flights to Chicago were being shifted back by one flgith schedule each. My 6:30 departure had turned into a 7:45 departure with an arrival at the same time as my connecting flight. The customer service line was quite long, but everyone in line was fairly positive. When I got to the ticket counter the gentleman asked me what I needed. I responded with “I need to be at [destination] by midnight.”
Guess what? He did it. He moved me on to the earlier flight, and ensured that my connection wasn’t going to be a “miss.” He even looked, and was able to accommodate my desire to have an aisle seat. Being 6’2″ I need the legroom.
Of course, problems tend to pile up. I arrived at Chicago and found that not only was my final flight delayed, but there were extended delays on the ramp. Every step of the way the entire American Airlines team made sure that every passenger felt special, and that they knew that each passenger had requirements that they needed to meet as a service provider. My final arrival was 1 am, later than I had hoped given a two hour drive that followed, but I arrived safely, and well cared for.
I had a choice, and I chose American. I chose to not fly with US Airways. I will make the same decision again.