Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start…
Dateline, June 2013
I sat in Billy Bishop terminal just prior to boarding a Porter Airlines flight from Toronto to Newark, New Jersey…this is where our adventure begins.
An email from US Airways arrived to say that my connection from Newark to Charlotte, North Carolina was overbooked. I had time before required at my final destination so I phone and offer to voluntarily switch to another flight. Thus, I avoid flying with US Airways that trip as they switch me to Delta with a flight voucher for my next trip.
At the time, seemed like a great idea with our plans to travel to Atlanta in October of 2013 and London in March of 2014.
Dateline December 2013
For our March trip to the UK, we picked a flight from Toronto to Philadelphia and connecting to London Heathrow, but the online system would not allow use of the voucher. To use the voucher required a phone call to a US Airways agent.
On the phone, we began a two hour epic discussion that included the information that the voucher was only good for domestic flights. I never would have volunteered had this been initially stated, plus the fact I am based out of Toronto which, by my understanding, is not domestic to US Airways.
The US Airways operator, it seemed, agreed with me and got that solved. For our patience, the operator booked our seats so that we would be seated together and as far to the front of the aircraft as possible.
Dateline March 5, 2014
The US Airways aircraft from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Philadelphia was tiny. I am not an overly tall man, but the craft lacked leg room. Otherwise, an easy flight.
Before leaving Toronto, however, we mentioned on Twitter and this blog how our eloping that morning and the trip had become our honeymoon. Among our friends’ responses we received a congratulatory Tweet from US Airways social media:
In Philadelphia, we transferred to a half-full Air Bus 330 for the trip to Heathrow. We board and, after take off, we slip back on row for more space. M’lady took a sleeping pill that left her in dreams before the regular drinks and meal were served. I started to doze off watching Gravity on the video system.
After all lights are dimmed and snoring has commenced across the cabin, an announcement was made for us to notify the cabin attendant where on the plane we were. I snap awake thinking there is an emergency.
Thoughts of issues with parents and children at home are first until the attendant is stood over me to ask if we are going incognito on our honeymoon. He offers champagne, or a special dinner, and in my groggy state I believe he offered to move us to first class (could be wrong). With m’lady asleep beside me, this seemed an awkward thing to consider.
At least the initial scare the page created left me. I could not sleep after that, however. Later it crossed my mind that we should have been called at the boarding gate by the US Airways agent there, not once well into the flight and people might be sleeping.
Landing in London, thus ends the first half of our voyage.
Dateline March 11, 2014
Time to go home.
Maybe incorrect to hope US Airways would keep a record and perhaps do something this time before boarding the plane. Nothing expected, but it was a nice thought.
To our surprise, they did change our seats from the 17th row that we specifically booked with the nice operator back in December.
They moved m’lady to row 24 and me to row 29 on the two-thirds full aircraft. As we boarded, someone sat in our initially booked seats.
When I pointed this out on Twitter:
Then, I ask, how did the attendant on the flight to London know it was our honeymoon?
I smell inconsistency.
In addition, I fell asleep right after takeoff…at least until one of the flight attendants decided to laugh and yell in my ear while she conversed with the man in the seat behind me.
We landed nearly an hour early in Philadelphia. Because of this, we thought there to be plenty of time before our connection home to Toronto. We might get a bite and a coffee. After almost an hour’s wait for our bags, however, we barely made it to our gate as boarding commenced. Maybe the US Airways ground crew was asleep, or just not interested.
Regardless, this post is nearly finished with about ten minutes before we land at Pearson. Soon we will be home on Canadian soil again.
Well, I thought that would be the end of it…we landed early in Toronto and, with no gates available, the plane halted on the tarmac for a good twenty minutes. At the gate, finally, we then stood on the craft for another twenty minutes as an apparent amateur member of the US Airways ground crew attempted to bring the gangway up to the aircraft.
A great trip other than the flight experience.
Above is the last response received from US Airways…and proof that they had no intention to do anything. I responded that I would happily send them the link to this review once I wrote it. Hopefully one of my friends will add it to the Reddit travel sections for me as well.
This adventure has left me intending to never again fly US Airways nor, with their recent merger, American Airlines again. I know we are only lowly Canadians, and they certainly showed that with their haphazard service, but I expected better.