Open Letter to US Airways

Madrid Barajas Airport

I sent the following message to the US Airways Customer Service Department on April 29, 2013:

Let me start by saying I am a fan of US Airways.  I fly frequently on the shuttle to Washington, DC, and find the ground and flight crews to be friendly, helpful and professional.  I have rarely been delayed and never stuck on that route.  Which is saying something because when I was traveling in my former position, I was ALWAYS stuck.  I have been stuck in Des Moines, Fresno, Fort Wayne, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.  I have been left on the ground in Boston for an entire day and unable to make the speaking engagement for which I was being paid pretty well!  My track record going BOS-DCA and back had almost started to erase the painful memories of previous flight challenges.  Until Madrid.

A brief recap:  After a week in Ravello, Italy, we were flying back from Rome to Philadelphia on Sunday April 21 when we were informed that we had to turn back and land at the closest airport, due to a “tiny crack” in the windshield. After landing safely in Madrid, we were told the flight was cancelled and we would be greeted by agents who would tell us how to proceed.  There were no agents.  We followed the crowd and stood in a very long line to speak to the one person who was available, given a calling card number (which never worked for me) and a US Airways telephone number to rebook our flight.  We were herded onto buses and taken to an industrial airport hotel where we again stood in a very long line to get a room.

While my husband waited, I called US Airways.  We were not able to be rebooked until Tuesday.  Two days later.  Two days of lost billing for me, school days for my two high school students, and finals for my college-junior niece.  While I was on the phone with your airline, I decided to get an upgrade for my 6’4 husband, for whom the trip over in Economy had been a little tight.  I used 30,000 miles and paid an additional $300 for that privilege and later discovered that I had dropped my credit card during this process, which was then stolen and taken for a nice spin in Madrid.

I am not sure what I hope to gain from this correspondance (restored miles? reimbursement for the ugrade? vouchers?–just coming up with some ideas here).  I just wanted someone there to know that while I am grateful that we are safe, that while we appreciate the hotel and meals, and are happy to have seen some of Madrid, we spent hundreds of euros more than we had planned, and experienced a level of anxiety and stress, at least for me, that left me sobbing when, after we finally boarded the plane on Tuesday in Madrid, we were told by the captain that there was no auxiliary power.

That problem was ultimately fixed, and we are home and finally catching up.  I am heading to DC on Thursday and absolutely dreading getting on the plane.

Thank you for listening.


Cheryl Byrne
Divided Miles Member