Friday night, I was on US Airways flight 117 from LA to Vegas. In theory, my plane was to leave at 9 pm, leaving me plenty of time to catch my 10:50 flight to Cleveland, especially since it's only a 50 min. flight. We didn't begin boarding till 9:10. That's alright, still plenty of time... or so they said. We're waiting and waiting and waiting on the plane. Pilot comes on to tell us that air traffic control is keeping us grounded, and we will be getting in to Vegas at 11:05. Vegas is a major hub for US Airways. I'd estimate 1/2 of my plane was attempting to make connections. Needless to say, no one was pleased. Never fear, the pilot says, but the same reason we're grounded is also keeping Vegas grounded. All our connections just be just as delayed.
I deplaned at 10:58 pm. My connection had taken off at 10:54 pm. Missed it by that much. Well, no worries. It's Vegas! US Airways will give us happy hotel vouchers, and I can go gamble my night away, take a quick shower, and be off in the morning.
US Airways took the stance that it was air traffic control's fault. Never mind that they had been late getting in. Oh no. They felt free and clear to pass the buck and claim zero responsibility. This means no hotel vouchers, not even discounted rates. Also, no working with you on getting those flights fixed. One poor guy was sent from Vegas to Phoenix, and then put on standby for Boston.
My turn to talk to ticket counter person. At this point, it was about midnight. I understood that he was tired and frustrated from dealing with a plane full of angry passengers, so I did my best to be polite. No hotel vouchers? Oh well, tell me somewhere safe I can store my purse and carry on. I am a young female traveling alone. I'm occasionally a ditz, but I'm certainly not stupid enough to trust to the kindness and goodwill of an entire airport.
Ticket guy was offended! How dare I not trust the vaunted Airline Employees. They have gone through background checks! They are as trustworthy as the FBI!
That's funny, considering that the next morning, as I was getting searched (because apparently changing airlines = terrorist, and so I was subjected to the entire anti-terrorism rigmarole. Let me tell you how fun that is on no sleep), the TSA employee, the one who is supposed to make me feel warm, fuzzy, and safe, made repeated inappropriate comments about being young, pretty, needing a man, and oh, he wished he'd known about my plight last night, because he has plenty of room in his bed.
Back to getting me to Cleveland. First, ticket guy tries to send me Phoenix to Cleveland, leaving at 9 am and getting it at 9:30 pm. Even accounting for time change, my answer was "hell no." Then he books me on a Continental flight. It's a direct flight, getting me to Cleveland at 5 pm. Much better. Except wait, it's a different airline. There won't be any problems, will there?
Of course, not, ticket guy assures me. This happens all the time!
Fabulous, except ticket guy didn't assign me a seat. The flight was full. It was, in fact, a small miracle that the ticket lady in the morning found space for me.
In conclusion, Continental > US Airways, and Continental gives you free food on flights. Don't fly US Airways.
I am debating sending an angry letter to US Airways. Don't know if it'd do any good, though.