Our National Travel Nightmare Continues

I fear I shouldn’t write too much, so as not to jinx my chances of getting on the flight I was originally booked for. No such luck. Read on.

What? How did this happen? Did I seek out a disastrous travel schedule so I could blog about it later? I only wish I was so conniving.

My parents drop me off at Austin Bergstrom International Airport with time to spare, I get in line to pick up my boarding passes at the little self-service station. Hmm, the computer can’t find me after I swipe my credit card and enter my destination airport. I enter my confirmation code. Hmm, no game. I escalate to the ticket agent, and he can’t find my reservation either!

So he books me standby for the flights I should have been on, or so I thought. I go through security WITH MY SHOES ON, they bomb swipe my laptop, and I continue to the gate, eventually get a seat, get on the plane, get on my way.

So we’re just about to land, and I’m thinking about still having to get a seat for my leg to Oakland when I look at the boarding pass only to find myself “booked” (whatever that means anymore) for a flight that leaves Phoenix at 11pm, two and half hours later than the flight I should have been on!!!

Now I’m sitting at the gate for my original flight to Oakland, which is overbooked, and they’re 99.9% sure I’m not getting on this flight. Guess what, I’m not on the flight—it’s pulling away from the gate. Yay, another two hours in Phoenix. Is this some kind of joke?

So what happened? No one seems to know. The most likely story is that because I took a standby flight on my spectacularly borked outbound flight to Austin instead of the flight they’d confirmed me on, they decided to drop my return reservation. You know, because the computer thought I’d “never” made it to Austin (the computer thought?). I’m starting to wonder how much safety taking my shoes off is buying me.

Apparently this is how America West/US Airways treats its customers. Fun. Tomorrow I’m calling their customer service center (800-363-2542) to find out how much they’re willing to offer to keep me as a customer. Because at this point, I would NEVER fly America West again.

Update: It pays to complain inform. Customer service is investigating my terrible service and sending me a $175 travel voucher.


The only travel experience I have that resembles that at all was on the same awful airline. Besides the things you’ve listed, I also had to sit in their bulkhead rows, which had less than the usual amount of leg room, and my legs fell asleep over and over!!!

I had the same problem last week when I was flying to San Diego on Delta to defend my dissertation. Because of delays and getting stuck in San Francisco, I ended up flying to LA instead. On the return flight, they say “uh, you aren’t booked for the flight”. I showed them my email confirmation and say “uh, yes I am” and they told me the same thing you heard. WTF???

I just like how it’s our responsibility to check to make sure they haven’t arbitrarily decided to drop our reservations, instead of say, getting a phone call or god forbid an EMAIL before making a change.

For three years, I travelled the US for my job, being in a different town every one or two weeks. Sometimes going from one coast to the other and then back again. Yes, my sleeping schedule was bizarro.

I found that it is common practice across all airlines and their respective affiliates I flew that if you miss a scheduled flight or connection your return seat reservations will be canceled. I would usually fly American but sometimes Northwest, Delta or United and all of these are guilty of this fallacy.

I’m not sure on their reasoning for doing this, perhaps if you miss one flight you are going to miss the return so no need to keep your booking for the flight.

I doubt it will ever change. Competition fosters better service and there is no real competition for travelling here in the US.

The irony is that I flew standby on America West, so on some level, they should have known that I did make it to Austin. “Should” being the operative word. I got the feeling that when I was rushed on my standby flight (along with half of a dozen other souls) that that fact never made it into a computer.

Southwest rocks

Oh so sorry that America’s Worst Airline upheld its bad, bad rep. We will only fly Southwest, unless it is completely impossible. They have yet to let us down. Their best practice is that should you cancel a flight, they just put that money into an account, which you can access the next time you travel: no penalties. I don’t know about the standby thing effecting the return trip, but since they operate in a realm of two one-ways, they might not do that.

PS Your story is terrible, but imagine flying fuck ups when you and your spouse are sick and you are with your young child, who gave you the cold. There is no hell like the descending airplane. There is no hell like your child, who is tired of flying all day, screaming and you just wanting to take some nyquil and have the flight attendant deal with her.


I am here at the Phoenix airport waiting for an America West flight that is 2 1/2 hours delayed (as of now) because the FRIGGIN pilot didn’t show up. They are supposedly waiting for a pilot coming in from another flight. I am sure he will be wide awake to fly our plane. It is due to land at 2 am. As this may be my last time that I write….

Hater Of America West

They aren’t even offering to buy us a meal or a drink!!! Heathens.

sandy Hay

I just received an email from Continental Airlines notifying me they are changing my flight plans by delaying my departure on all flights I reserved nearly a year ago by an hour and taking away all meals. I am traveling 9h on one flight,NJ to Barcelona and 6h on another flightBarcelona to NJ (not sure why it is 3h less time) and no snack, no lunch no dinner no breakfast! Nothing on my 4h flight either from DEN to NJ each way. I had snacks, lunch and dinners prior to their notification. 9 h no snack!! I wonder if they have water! Oh yeah, they are also changing our seat assingnments!!

sandy Hay

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention why we are going to Barcelona. We got bumped last year flying to Scotland. In NJ they said we had no seats although we had reservations. We ended up going to Paris with an 8h layover and received these comp tickets. perhaps that’s why we are being treated like stow aways.


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