Today’s reader mail was apparently inspired by a reader mail post from this past July, and is one that isn’t really a fair question. This reader mail comes from Marcy who asks “I just finished reading your “Why does it seem you hate the TSA?” reader mail and was struck with this question, why do you hate US Airways?”
Marcy, good question… slightly misguided question possibly … but good question nonetheless, because it allows me to shed some light on how I view US Airways. Much like my answer for the TSA post … I do not hate US Airways. In the past four years I have logged more domestic miles, and certainly more segments, on US Airways than any other airline, as well as quite a few international flights.
My ‘home’ airport for the past six years or so has been New Haven’s Tweed Airport (HVN). For the past four years or so HVN has had one airline, flying to one destination … US Airways to Philadelphia. The vast majority of my travel starts and ends on a US Airways Express Dash-8-100.
I am at times harsh in my comments regarding US Airways and this is largely because I believe the company frequently alienates its passengers. The company is often inconsistent from station-to-station and its frequent flyer program is seriously in need of an overhaul.
My problems with US Airways’ Dividend Miles … and I had previously been a Platinum Elite … is that the program asks a lot from flyers and offers very little in return. I was so unhappy with Dividend Miles that I switched my frequent flyer program to BMI (British Midland International) shortly before reaching “Chairman” status with US Airways.
As a passenger, I find direct passenger communications, especially during delays and cancellations are lacking. While US Airways has significantly increased its on time performance to levels that would have been unimaginable 3 or 4 years ago, its hub in Philadelphia is consistently problematic with baggage and with the customer service experience in general. The customer service experience with US Airways in Charlotte and Phoenix are far better than Philadelphia. When I have tried to address this with US Airways no answer can be provided.
US Airways has resources at its disposal to build a new way of communicating with passengers and handling its passenger issues, however the company moves at a glacial pace and is falling behind its competitors … all of whom are fighting for US Airways’ passenger dollars … even its partners.
However … as a flyer, I find US Airways’ fares competitive, the airline’s route network to meets the majority of my domestic travel needs and its code-share options within Star Alliance ideal. When flying trans-continental routes, my preference tends to be with US Airways due to convenient flight times and connections from nearly anywhere on the East Coast … and on international flights, I often seek out US Airways’ Airbus A330 flights as the cabin is quite comfortable. While many Star Alliance flyers seek out Lufthansa or Swiss International Airlines, for the economy class comfort and service, US Airways is my preferred airline, generally connecting through Philadelphia, sometimes Charlotte.
I also find the staff at the US Airways Club generally very attentive, friendly and helpful. I have publicly praised the US Airways club recently in this post – A Big Thank You To The US Airways Club Bar Tender at PHL!