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Complaints at America West soar

Local airline triples national average

By Peter Corbett The Arizona Republic April 5, 2000

Consumer complaints against America West Airlines soared to more than triple the industry average in February after a computer glitch caused hundreds of canceled flights.

The Tempe-based carrier was next to last among the 10 major airlines in three other categories: on-time arrivals; cancellations; and mishandled baggage, according to the February Air Travel Consumer Report released Tuesday.

America West's complaint rate of 9.74 per 100,000 passengers far exceeded the industry average of 3.08 and No. 1 Southwest with 0.56. America West's Steve Johnson said the complaints and other performance rankings are reflective of the problems related to a malfunction Feb. 17 of the company's automated-flight management system.

That system failure forced the cancellation of 280 flights and countless delays over two days. Just 62.7 percent of America West's flights arrived on time. Industrywide, three-fourths of the flights were on time, and Alaska was last at 60.5 percent.

The air-travel report from the U.S. Department of Transportation included flight cancellation rates for the first time.

America West canceled 977 out of 16,934 flights in February or 5.8 percent, well above the industry average of 3.4 percent. Only Alaska Airlines was worse with 8.8 percent of its flights canceled.

America West, which carries more than one in four passengers originating in Phoenix, also had the next-to-the-worst record in baggage handling in February. the company mishandled 5.66 bags per 1,000 passengers, just ahead of United Airlines at 6.72. Industrywide, the figure was 4.81. The poor-performance rankings continue for America West, which was last in on-time arrivals last year and had the highest complaint rate.

-- - (, April 05, 2000


And the point of this posting is?

Let me guess, to enforce your LOSER mode of living? Your desire to spend time bitching and whining? To once again point to THEM as the reason YOUR life is so boring?

94% were satisfied. Look if YOUR flight was cancelled your satisfaction was ZERO. The figures mean absolutely NOTHING, NOTHING. All this story says is there is/was/will be FLOW increases/decreases, so what. Anyone following America West's growth knows this going in. Change is systemic, DEAL WITH IT like adults do.

-- Momma (, April 05, 2000.

Whatsa matta Momma? This one hit too close to home?

-- viewer (, April 05, 2000.

Take a couple of Midol.

-- - (, April 05, 2000.

Ok I know I'll get a lot of evil responses but that's fine. I used to LOVE AWA. They were an inexpensive luxury style airline. They bought all new planes (which could be apart of their bankruptcy problem), always tried to make it up to their customers for delays (often by giving them headphones for free), they also used to sell you the headphones for $4.00. But a few years back they became evil and nasty. They took away the food and gave you Crap Packs (with mutated and unusually small apples), “rented” headphones, and worse yet they laid off many many people. A lot of those people stuck with them during the bankruptcy. Damn loyal employees if you ask me. They are slowly trying to win their name back though. They have brought back the food, which is a good start. Please come back AWA!

-- Joseph (, February 12, 2001.

Just a warning NEVER to fly AW. I just finished with a week of nightmare-ish travel problems due to overbooking, late crews, and convoluted airplane repair procedures. I figured out that I spent over 15% of my vacation in an airport (I did the math while waiting in an America West line). I know s--t happens when you fly, but this was unbelievable, just ask the 200 or so other poor souls trying to get to Las Vegas for a bit of R&R...or the ones trying to get back east. Spend a little extra money and avoid this airline if you can.

-- karen Damico (, February 25, 2001.

I had a truly diabolical flight from Oakland - Phoenix - Houston and back with America West. I had booked an aisle seat for all four segments, and had printed tickets with my seat on them, but I ended up in a middle seat on three of the four segments. Twice because the seat was double booked, and once because they were late, so they just told eveyone to "take any seat, just sit down so we can go". They also wouldn't let me take my (Below regulation size) bag on any of the segments, mainly because the stewardesses made no attempt to control the huge and numerous bags taken on by earlier passengers (I had a low number row on each segment). They lost my bag on the outbound flight, and when I got it back it had obviously been opened and rummaged through. Then, just to ad insult to injury, they responded to to my complaint with a pathetic little $25 off coupon.

Avoid these losers!! Take ANY other airline.


-- Richard Alty (, August 06, 2001.

This "airline" is a joke! Following is a letter I wrote to AWA after they stranded me in Palm Springs, when I had a ticket from Phoenix to Carlsbad, CA. Note that Carlsbad is only 2.5+ hours driving time from Palm Springs! Their response? "We do not cover the cost you may incur such as car rental expenses to reach your destination". This is normal practice with all U.S. carriers".

November 19, 2001

Joette Schmidt America West Airlines 4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85034

Subject: Customer Relations

I just returned home after the most disappointing and appalling air travel experiences of my life of 48 years. In the present climate of air travel after Sept. 11, I would have thought that your personnel would have more training in customer relations.

On Friday, November 16, I arrived at Chicago O'Hare to fly home to Carlsbad, CA, after being away for almost two weeks. I arrived at the airport two hours early and patiently waited for the America West flight 815 to depart at its scheduled time of 4:15 pm. Since I had some time to kill, I took a walk around different sections of the terminal. When I returned to the gate, I heard a notice on the P.A. that the flight was delayed. I walked up to the desk and asked for more details. I immediately received a glaring face, answering in a very condescending, rude and in a nasty voice, replying: "If you would listen to the announcement, I said that we are trying to work out the connecting information. You need to step aside and let me help some other people who haven't checked in. Everyone should just stay away until we have more information." Please note that I also waited in line, and, unfortunately, didn't hear the details over the P.A. system. After her diatribe, I was speechless and didn't know what to think, since I have never had this kind of treatment before. I thought that someone at America West should be aware of this "out of control" personality and noted her name as "O. Miss". As I walked away from the desk, I overheard her say that the plane may be delayed as much as two hours, or even cancelled.

After approximately 20 minutes, an announcement was made that the aircraft was delayed due to mechanical reasons, but everything was resolved and the plane would board. I wonder if "O. Miss" had any conscience. Please note, also, that I wasn't the only person who received this kind of treatment. A passenger sitting beside me on the flight mentioned that her husband saw "O. Miss" "going off" on another customer. (customer)?

This problem was very minor in comparison to what happened next. I arrived in Phoenix with a connection on flight 6226 to Carlsbad, CA. Everything went well until we attempted to land at Palomar Airport, which is only 10 minutes from my home. After two unsuccessful attempts, due to fog, the pilot said we were being directed to land in Palm Springs. Everyone on the plane wondered why we were being directed to Palm Springs, when San Diego, Orange County and Ontario airports are much closer to Carlsbad than Palm Springs.

This part of the story is absolutely unbelievable!! There were absolutely no provisions made for the fact that we landed so far away from our destination. The pilot didn't say anything whatsoever, and the flight attendant was borderline illiterate! She even recited the statement "America West hopes that you enjoy our stay in Palm Springs or whatever your final destination may be." We were held on the aircraft for several minutes, with absolutely no word on how we would be transported to Carlsbad.

When I departed the aircraft and walked into the terminal, there was yet another arrogant, rude America West representative. This young woman was snapping at customers saying that America West has no control over the weather and is not responsible for anything. She then stated that there were rental car companies in the Palm Springs terminal and we should go there! Basically, she said that everyone was on their own.

I hurried to the rental car agencies to find that there were no cars available for drop-off in Carlsbad. Fortunately, I hooked up with another individual from the flight who had already rented a car and had to return to Carlsbad that same evening. I also had to get back that same night and gave him $60.00 to cover part of the car rental and drop-off charge.

I understand that things happen in any business. I understand that delays in consideration of safety are best, if there are problems with the aircraft. I understand that America West is not responsible for acts of God or weather. What I don't understand are the rude, condescending, nasty and arrogant people who work for your company. What happened to customer consideration and politeness? The last time I looked, I believe I am a paying customer. And, the last time I looked, and listened, I do have a choice on which airline I fly!

The fact that your company made absolutely no consideration, whatsoever, for dumping people in Palm Springs is also deplorable. But, your representatives added insult to injury, by the way they mis-handled the situation. I still amazed that you can land an aircraft so far away from the destination, without any kind of provisions or compensation.

I anticipate your comments and would like to know if this is normal practice within your company. I would also like to discuss this situation in more detail, if you wish to contact me by phone.

-- Robert Wolbrink (, January 28, 2002.

america west sucks. i was forced by their employees to check my musical instrument even after i told this guy that this is valuable and fragile. sure enough i get my instrument back and it was damaged. i complained and they said that they will not take responsibility for the damaged instrument. i would not advise anyone to fly this airline, it's not worht the hassle that you have to put up with.

-- billy ray hunter, jr. (, March 14, 2002.

Just watched the lady who was kicked off because she comment about the sobriety of the pilots.

What a bunch of babies!! They take the stupidity of their employees out on their customers!? All she said when she walked on the plane was "Everyone sober up there?" Sort of trying to make light of the situation and keep a sense of humor. Of course the AWA morons have no sense of humor and before she even got to her plane, the pilot was on the intercom saying that the flight would be delayed because a passenger had accused them of drinking and they had to take a sobriety test. OMG!!! PLEASE!! I'm gonna say it again - WHAT A BUNCH OF BABIES!!!!!!!!

She didn't make any accusations!! All she did was make a light hearted comment in reference to the IDIOTIC FREAK pilots who got booted because they WERE drunk!

If these pilots were gonna get pissed at anyone they should be pissed at the pilots that were drunk NOT they passengers who are nervous about flying with them but trying to stay optimistic about the situation.

-- (, July 12, 2002.

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