US Airways Sucks! …or does it?

US Airways has long been the black sheep of the American airline industry. I remember back when they were called UA Air, people referred to them as US Scare (They had a couple of bad crashes). Today it is all over the web. “Friends don’t let friends fly US Airways’ is the signature of a user on Do a search on US Airways on Twitter and you find tweets such as ‘I hate US Airways’, ‘US Airways is the worst’ and others I cannot repeat. But how much of these ‘smears’ are really true? I fly US Airways a lot and here are my thoughts and observations.

  • On Time performance: The DOT noted that US Airways has the #1 ‘On-time’ performance of all the major airlines in the US. That is a biggie. Critics do note that DOT does not include the performance of US Airways Express in their data. I can tell you from personal experience that if they had included the Express data, US Airways would have lost the #1 slot. That being said, the performance for their mainline operations is impressive.

  • Upgrades: US Airways has the most liberal upgrade policy for their Elite travelers – bar none! They upgrade their Elites with no ‘instrument’ needed, if there is space in the upper class cabins. So, it is truly a free upgrade. This is unlike most other airlines. For example, United requires an upgrade instrument such as miles, an e500 or an SWU to be upgraded. These instruments can be earned only by flying or paying money. I have been upgraded by US Airways multiple times for being a Star Alliance Gold, even when I have no Elite Status on US Airways itself! They have my appreciation for that.

  • Aircraft: Their older aircraft, especially the 737s are, well, old. They have bad seats, very little leg room and even the first class seats are nothing to write home about. Their newer aircraft, on the other hand, especially the Airbus 330s are impressive. They are also in the process of introducing flat bed seats in the A330s for their long haul flights. What they need a modernization of their entire fleet. And oh yes, their pilots really do know how to do a water landing!US Airways Sucks.jpg

  • US Airways Express: US Airways Express is the commuter/regional carrier wing of US Airways. Like the ‘express’ parts of many other airlines, it is not operated by US Airways but a collection of regional carriers such a Mesa, Wisconsin Air, etc. They really do suck. I hate to lump them all together. I have heard great things about Republic Air, but you really cannot tell them apart. Most gates for US Airways Express are operated more like a bus terminal rather than an airline gate. Just go hang around gate 35A (thanks Geoff for the correct gate #) at DC’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) and you will know what I am talking about. Their customer service at the gates is really not worthy of being called a major airlines’ customer service.

  • Customer Service: That brings us to the customer service of US Airways itself. They are pretty good. I have had nothing but good experiences with them, including getting an expiring unused ticket extended by a couple of months. They are prompt, courteous and professional.

  • On-board service: No, you do not have to pay for water anymore on a US Airways flight. They have done away with that blunder. Their service on board is no different from that of any other airline like United or American. Nothing like Virgin America, but no complaints. I have always found their in-flight staff to be courteous and ready to help. They do though need to bring back in-flight entertainment on their domestic flights.

  • Public Relations: If there is something US Airways sucks at, it is Public Relations. Perception is reality and US Airways does not seem to be making a concerted effort to change the perception. People still think US Airways charges for water on their flights! I noticed that their Twitter account has a grand total of 3 tweets! Why bother? They really need to respond to the chatter on the web and blogs.

My parting thoughts – I myself do and will let my friends fly US Airways!

Agree or disagree? Leave a comment.

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  1. US Airways is awful, just awful. The concept of on time isn’t even in their vocabulary. What makes it worse is now they have “farmed” out the web site help and they are as awful as the management. Makes you sad to see how they treat customers.

  2. US Airways treated me like utter garbage. They downsized my flight, left without calling my zone, name or final boarding and then blamed me for missing it, even though I was there and waiting the whole time. I was delayed 8 hours and every moment was filled with stress and humiliation because of the way they treated me.

    Flying home, they cancelled my entire flight and offered me the next flight 48 hours later. Compensation? $100. I lost well over $1000 because of their negligence but they just don’t care. Never Again.

  3. My son was stuck on the tarmac on a DC to Philly flight – which landed 7 hours late due to bad weather. He missed his flight to Europe and now they say he has to wait until July 5th. I’m going to have to buy him another ticket, on a different airline to get him out of there. I’m a 33 “air travel veteran” and have lived thorough countless airline incompetence incidents, but a 6 day wait for a connecting flights ought to be the winner. Furthermore, they’re lying – there are other alternatives, they just don’t want to consider them.

  4. Hi. My husband just got back last night after being stranded for A DAY in Charlotte, NC. He was supposed to be home late Friday night, but the plane was delayed due to back weather, but he still had hopes to make his connection to Detroit. But then they kept the plane sitting on the runway for over an hour till a fuel truck showed up! I asked him “What? Were they idling so long they ran low??” Turns out, a number of passengers decided to switch flights, which meant the plane would be flying with less weight. US Air made the decision to replace that weight with more fuel so they would not have to make a fueling stop later on. This cause my husband to miss his connection. It was the last flight out & the next 2 were booked full – he was lucky to get a seat on the third flight or he probably wouldn’t have been home till SUNDAY and he’s scheduled to fly back south on MONDAY. He had to find a hotel room at 2am (And, apparently the hotel they booked him into was downtown in the middle of Drunken Party People Central) & try to get enough sleep before checkout so he could go hang around the airport for 6 hours. And they didn’t comp ANYTHING because they claimed this was all due to bad weather. It started that way, but then they CHOSE to wait for a fueling truck. They COULD have made that connection because the weather had cleared enough for takeoff.

    NOTE: That #1 for “on-time” performance means nothing to me, because I’m sure most air travelers know or have learned the hard way that “on-time” just means that the airplane has pulled away from the gate. They can sit on the runway for 5 hours after that, & it will still count as an “on-time” departure. Of course, as far as I know there’s no way to cheat the “on-time” arrival….I’m sure there are nuances of what’s permitted that I don’t know about.

    Bottom line, this was left a very bad impression with us regarding US Air, & for that matter American if they are going to be merging.


  6. I agree with much of this but USAirways change fees and related policies are pretty bad. All the legacy airlines are bad on this but USAirways is probably the worst.

  7. Wow. Here is what I call good management and customer experience/service…not. This all happened today. I had no preconception of us airways sucking but THEY DO.

    1. Reserved seat assignments changed at check in. Could no longer sit together. Why take reservations and confirm them 2months in advance if it really means nothing? So you needed to use a different plane that seats the same number of people in the same seat config…so why again are we separated????

    2. Get to connecting flight late because of us airways delay of 1st flight (so it was actually their fault almost 50 min late) and get YELLED at to get on the plane by us air desk woman in Charlotte and then wait 15 min to lock doors and finally leave even though we appear to be last people to board…OK maybe they were loading luggage…NOT.

    3. Get to PHL. No luggage AT ALL. At least 25 others are missing luggage too. No compensation offered. They actually charged me $50 to lose my luggagage and waste 3 hours of my life!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!!! Never again on us airways for me…@ssholes.

  8. I’m a 2 million mile flyer with US Airways. Don’t make my mistake! I wish I had miles with anyone but US AIRWAYS. They are the worst. After 2 million miles I got NOTHING but a certificate ‘suitable for framing’ (it actually said that! What a joke.

  9. Ok, deep breath. After an hour delay at LGA i arrive at Philadelphia yo find that even though I bought a ticket for the 9:34 flight to Buffalo, US airways has already filled this flight. This means that when I left LGA with a boarding pass for my Buffalo flight, the flight was already overbooked. What kind of airline does this? If i wanted to fly later in the day I would have booked that flight. No compensation for an airline-caused inconvenience, not even a lunch voucher just a weak apology. This is a seriously quality comprised airline. I’ll think twice before booking a flight on US Airways again.

  10. bad management=bad safety!!!

    I interviewed with Republic, and I found them to be insincere, the female rep did a bait and switch, promising an Embraer 170/190 position, then defaulting to a Q400 later. Since I have tons of Jet PIC time, I was not interested in the Q, and I told them this. My impression is that the company is very insincere.
    I went to the academy in Indy for a sim eval. the company is all female management, the chick at the sim barely knew how to turn it on, I had to teach her the approach, and how to vector to intercept an ILS.
    This is the senior people!
    All were rude and obnoxious at the HQ. Same rule as with a potential interviewee, you should be polite to everyone, the management shows their hubris with the level of jackass they exude at the lower levels, even the secretary.
    I could not find one positive comment from anyone online about this company, accountants, interns, mechanics, flight attendants, pilots. Leading me to believe they are jackass, and I told the HR woman this.
    My advice, even if you are desperate for a job, stay on UESC, this place will destroy your career, your health, and your attitude!

  11. Honestly, my expereinces with US Air have been downright awful. During a recent trip to Colorado, the flight attendents were unprofessional insisting on arguing with passengers and making fun of others. Additionally, one flight announced over the PA for people in line to the bathroom to sit down with the fasten seat belt sign off.

    My second experience had to do with flexibility when my son was hospitalized on a trip. The US Air rep said to not worry about rebooking my flight due to the Doctor order us to not fly. When speaking with another customer service rep to rebook the flight, I was told it would cost us $3000 when the original tickets cost me $150 each. I ended up paying $1000 out of pocket with another carrier. As a business traveler, I will never use US Air Ways again.

  12. Oh God, where do I begin? In a nutshell, US Airways is holding my luggage hostage (1 small bag). I can’t get ANYONE to give me any answers. I know the bag exists because it was scanned coming into Newark but US Airways cannot locate it. I put in a claim but I am not expecting miracles. For the most part, their staff is rude and inefficient.

  13. Us airways sucks! It delay flight without tell you at gate, nothing give for flights delay, nothing compare with ua, delta, aa!

    I am ua 1k, delta diamond, aa exp!

  14. US Air continues to be unimpressive with their customer service. They talk a good game but think that a loyalty program only goes one way – the customer to US Airways. Whoever wrote this article or letter needs to defer to the people that fly regularly to tell them if an airline is good or not! I live in CLT and routinely fly Delta over US Air just to be able to be treated like to high mileage / high spending customer that I am.

  15. US Air lost me to SW.
    I could go on with the details, but really it boils down to the way I was treated…multiple times.
    Snapped at by bag agent after my bag was lost/left in ATL and didnt make it to BNA. Why? I was in coach, and was supposed to get bumped after having already been bumped and rerouted on an earlier leg…but at the last minute they decide they aren’t overbooked and shove me on the plane.
    Ok, fine, I had originally paid for premium aisle seat, whatever, now i get a center. Lets just go. Put my carryon on the first class bin because all the other bins are full. Did I mention my lap top was in there?

    They take it off the plane and check it because, “Those bins are reserved for FIRST CLASS” (I’m the last one on the plane, no one in first class was using that space….BTW, they did this without telling me until I get off in ATL!!! I had 15 minutes to make a connection in ATL, guess what didn’t make it? After 16 hours in airports, I was told by the jerk – and he was a real jerk – in BNA that I was being a bitch. Ummm, yeah, you’ve keep me waiting 30 minutes to file a claim for a bag that never should have been checked, and now I have a 3 hour drive…to the next meeting, no clothes, not laptop, NOTHING.
    At the end, I could have swallowed the $100 for bag delay (that, by the way, I never got…its a little tricky to file a web claim that has to be done in 48 hours without your PC).But the fact that he never gave me the tolietries bag, was nasty to me, after I told him I had been at their mercy 16 hours, I’m sorry, but its 2 AM and Im tired with no bag, no explanation, and not in the town I wanted to be in. (The original flight to evansville was cancelled. So im driving the last 3 hours).

    Another time in Denver, they refused to give me a paper ticket when there was a problem with my mobile pass. Told me Id have to buy a new ticket for $400 more and wait like 28 hours for the next flight. SW got me there in 2 hours, for $89.

    Im done with USAirways, not because of the incompetence, mistakes happen, but because of the staff attitude.

    United has lost my bags, they come to my door. With an apology, and a polite agent, even around the holidays. The reimbursed me for the stroller that went AWOL.
    Southwest has given me drink tickets when I’ve gotten hosed. And made me laugh at the same time. Frontier is delightful, but has seriously cut the wrong markets.

    If only I didn’t feel like I have to use the $750 worth of vouchers I have with them.

  16. @nica, sorry to hear of your challenges. I reluctantly and apologetically welcome you to the ‘done with US Airways’ club…

  17. US AIRWAYS IS HORRIBLE! They don’t want to hear about your issues so they make it difficult to reach someone to talk with. Philly has the worst customer service. These
    People care little for the company they work for, so why should they care about the customers. Fly Delta!

  18. Let’s see, 5000.00 dollars for tickets, going to a funeral for wife mom. Ice storm in kc caused us to arrive in time, slightly late, plane still on jetway, but apparently not their time. Gate agents smirked and were rude. Wife in tears. They won’t let us board. Drive to Richmond va, for funeral. Get speeding ticket . Get home ask for refund…..sorry….no…ok, future vouchers then….no..sorry. Letters to CEO go unanswered … does that suck for you? I would not fly US air for all the money in the world…

  19. Kelly, my condolences on your wife’s loss. Sorry to hear of how US Airways treated you.

  20. Just a quick comment, SUCKS!! Greyhound bus of airlines, gate supervisor was rude unaccomadating and had a generally could care less attitude, have flown many carriers, would not fly US Airways again if they gave me free travel. Heed this advice, they suck!!

  21. 1-US Airways does, in fact, SUCK!
    2-They charge $150 plus a $35 processing fee to “re-deposit” miles back into your account if you decide to change your rewards flight. Why am I paying to get my own miles put back into my account???
    3-Their “bonus” miles they give you for getting their credit card is a joke–way too many blackout dates. And they play games with the seat availability when you want to redeem points. The seat is there one second, then POOF, it’s gone, then it’s back again in 3 hours. Seriously?
    I have converted to Southwest and never looked back. With Southwest, what you see is what you get and it’s all transparent. The only reason I was forced to use US Air recently is because Southwest doesn’t fly to that particular destination. Oh and if you ever call US Air customer service, be prepared for loooooong hold times and unsympathetic reps.

  22. Sorry to hear of your experience. But thanks for sharing. Hopefully US Airways will improve under AA management.

  23. Have twice made the worst experience ever with an Airline.
    Am warning everyone to book a flight with US Airways or American Airlines. Customer Service is something which they do not even know how to spell.
    Flight are delayed, flights are cancelled, important meetings have to be cancelled, US Airways does not care about the consequences of their misbehavior to their customers.

    I know many business travelers and I will make sure they will not fly with this Airline never again.

    I never wish anything bad but these newly merged Airlines have to get bankrupt and need to learn the basics of business and customer service first.

    Do not consider them as an option for travelling.

    Am flying a lot (at least once a week and many long haul international flights), even the cheapest Airlines in Asia are better

  24. Have twice made the worst experience ever with an Airline.
    Am warning everyone to book a flight with US Airways or American Airlines. Customer Service is something which they do not even know how to spell.
    Flight are delayed, flights are cancelled, important meetings have to be cancelled, US Airways does not care about the consequences of their misbehavior to their customers.

    I know many business travelers and I will make sure they will not fly with this Airline never again.

    I never wish anything bad but these newly merged Airlines have to get bankrupt and need to learn the basics of business and customer service first.

    Do not consider them as an option for traveling.

    Am flying a lot (at least once a week and a lot of international long haul flights) but have never been cheated by an Airline like that. They are treating you like a piece of cattle.

    Please do not book with them – the probability is high that you will never get where you need to get on time or at least within a reasonable delay.

    They do not deserve customers and will have to learn the lesson the hard way, Sorry US Airways / AA management but this is not how business works, keep a minimal level of customer service and show some reliability. Your customers need to rely on you but you are the most unreliable Airline I have experienced around the globe.

  25. I agree with you. US Air was always one of the few shining companies in the airline industry. I used them for 10 years and rarely had any problems and when I did, they were handled by friendly, competent people. So many air travelers are RUDE and have expectations that are absurd when it comes down to putting over 100 people on a plane with all the side details and getting it right. The merger with American was a REALLY sad day to me. Any time I called US Air the employees were sharp, helpful, friendly and did all they could. People fail to realize that sometimes you can’t have exactly what you want all the time. The USA traveler has become the spoiled, petulant child that thinks miracles can be performed at a whim. Now many will find out how bad it can be since US Air is gone!

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