the Goliard
April, 2002

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Another Letter to - 6/12/2002

Dear Goliard,

Your experience with America West sounds all too familiar. A few years ago I wanted to visit my brother in San Francisco, and I flew from Tucson to Phoenix on that piece of crap airline, only to find that they cancelled all flights to San Francisco that day and were unwilling to put me on another airline. I had to stay in a hotel (in Phoenix for Christ's Sake!!) with my own hard earned money, and then arrive at Sky Harbor the next morning at 6 to catch their early flight. I did my job, but those imbeciles did not. After every passenger was in their seat, and all the attendants were ready, we waited for a half hour, wondering what was going to happen next. The pilots never showed up! Everyone is pissed off, especially since many of them, like me, had to stay overnight in Phoenix, so the airlines try to get two substitutes for the flight. After an hour or more, the pilots do arrive, but by this time we've lost our clearance into SF. This means another hour of waiting. They won't let us off the plane however, because we could "take off at any minute now." Finally, we get our clearance, begin to taxi down the runway, and the plane stalls! The pilot restarts it, and heads it back to the bay. After another half hour, they cancel the flight!

What gets you upset about it is that there really is no way to kick any ass on these people. If you stay and yell at them, you could get arrested, but most importantly, you also lose a place in line trying to negotiate another flight. I ran to another counter and started yelling at a check-in guide, who immediately put me on a flight to Oakland that was about to leave, which did fly as scheduled. It cost me another $50 in cab fare to cross the bridge into SF.

When I got back into Tucson, I called the America West customer service line to complain, but it was busy that entire Monday. When I finally got through the next day, I let them know what happened, and the snotty airhead on the other end acted like she hadn't heard anything about their screw-up in Phx. When she said "I'm sorry that you are unhappy, but it is such a strange occurrence," my response was "well why is your God-damned phone always busy?" She gave me the same worthless travel voucher that you received. 

CA - Buffalo, New York

Ed's Note - These are the kinds of stories we had always heard about America West. And just a week ago, another one of us sat on one of their decrepit planes for three hours in the heat of Phoenix while they worked on a broken engine before finally having to deplane and board another airship. By the time they took off, our staffer had already missed the event that she was making the trip to attend in the first place. It's seems clear that they are operating a fleet of broken, tired aircraft on a shoestring budget with the worst people in the industry working for them. We're kicking ourselves now for falling for the hype that they have cleaned up their act and are now a legitimate carrier. We wanted to support a business based in our home state but learned our lesson. If there is any justice in the world, they will be out of business shortly. In the mean time, nobody we know has any plans to fly with them again.

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