Last Monday I was slated to fly to Charlotte, NC returning on Tuesday night. You might remember there was some bad weather pounding the East Coast at the time.
I watched the weather and flight status through Monday morning and finally started for the airport to make my afternoon flight. It looked like the weather was passing way north of my destination.
As I was almost to the airport, my cell phone rang. It was US Air, calling to cancel my return flight. Not the one I was about to get on, the flight scheduled for Tuesday evening. The recording did not mention the outbound flight. I pulled over and called the airline. After more than 30 minutes on hold, I proceeded to the airport anyway. The phone call to US Air reservations remained on hold throughout the trip. I gathered my stuff and headed to the ticket counter. After a 20 minute wait I made it to a representative.
I explained my situation to the representative. I could get to Charlotte, but my return was cancelled. She checked the system and agreed. She said there was no other flights on Tuesday or Wednesday available to get me home. I told her I wasn't going if I could not get home. She recommended I cancel the outbound flight and put in for a refund. She pushed a few buttons. She typed a few words. Done.. I cancelled my rental car and hotel. I called the customer and canceled the meetings for Tuesday. No problem, a few hours of my time wasted, some gas burned. This stuff is part of the traveling life. Weather happens.
Fast forward to this Tuesday night. I get an Email from US Air telling me they have rejected my refund. I can rebook in the future with a $150 change fee.
Oh, oh, Houston we have a problem.
I spent 35 minutes on hold yesterday with US Air Reservations. The Representative checked my info, talked with a supervisor and then proceeded to really piss me off. He acknowledged all I claimed. He said the problem was the return flight went as scheduled after all, even though they called me to cancel. That was why my refund was denied. He said I had to contact Customer Relations to resolve the issue. No, he could not transfer me. US Air Customer relations does not have a phone number. You have to fill out an online complaint form. No, I can not just answer the refund rejection Email the airline sent me, it goes to a dead file. I have to fill out the customer complaint form on line. No, he can not help me, I have to fill out the customer complaint form on line. No he cannot transfer me to a supervisor, I have to fill out a customer complaint form on line. No they can not help me at the airport ticket counter, I have fill out a customer complaint form on line. Yes, he agrees it is silly, I can voice my irritation by filing out a customer complaint form on line. I can complain about the lack of a phone number to Customer Relations by filling out a customer complaint form on line. I can complain about the hour plus I have already spent trying to resolve the issue by filling out a customer complaint form on line. I could probably wrap the phone cord around his neck and choke the life out of him as long as I first fill out a customer complaint form on line.
I fly US Air almost exclusively. I have for more than a decade. At various times I have been a silver, gold, and Chairman's Preferred member of their frequent flyer program. I flew their airline 32 times last year and 24 so far this year. There are people who fly a lot more, but I bet I have been aboard US Air planes in excess of 500 flights. The situation would be ridiculous even if it was my very first flight.
US Air informed me via Email, after filling out the customer complaint form on line, they will read and respond to my customer complaint form I filled in on line in 2 to 3 business days.
Until yesterday afternoon, I was OK with no refund. I just did not want to pay the $150 rebooking fee when I rescheduled the flight. Now, I want it all back. It is the principle of the matter.