US Airways succeeds to unimpress me once again

I do not fly US Airways often. United is my primary domestic carrier of choice and living with a United hub as my local airport (IAD), it ends up having the most likely flight available. That is except when I am flying to Charlotte, an airport ‘owned’ by US Airways. I flew there earlier this week. Quick day trip. And I remain unimpressed…IMG_0355.jpg

  • Seats: US Airways must have the smallest pitch of the industry. I am not tall and my knees were touching the seat in front of me. What would Shaq do…?
  • Premium seats: Really!? US Airways sells seats in the front half of the aircraft as ‘premium seats’! A $15 surcharge on my flight to sit in them. As a Star Gold, I was ‘given’ one at no charge, but when I tried to change the allocated seat to one just next to it, they wanted $15! Now, we are not talking exit row seats ($30) or Economy Plus like United. These are the same low-pitch as the ones they have in the rest of aircraft! What am I paying for?
  • Coffee: What do they brew? Maxwell House? Please, it was an early morning flight. I bought a Starbucks before I boarded my return flight.
  • No full soda cans: They fill up a plastic cup and hand it to you. The rest of the can is used for the next passenger.
  • No entertainment: They pulled out their entertainment on all aircraft. Only their larger aircraft (A321 and A330s) have WiFi. No WiFi on my plane.

I rest my case. US Airways sucks! Please, merge with American Airlines.

(I did re-confirm that United is still giving ‘minimum’ 500 miles on sub-500 mile flights on US Airways).

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  1. I don’t fly US very much, unless I have deep meditation to do and require zero level is stimulation as disturbance or comfort. I have appreciate US on 2 counts. When CO was buying UA there seemed to be a rash of mechanical failures of CO planes. I remember been held in Newark for 7 hrs over night as we all waited for a plane to EU to be fixed. My friend was in Houston held up. Mec failures were everywhere to the extent I was nervous of flying CO. Then there was that crash of a CO contractor where the flight crew were watching the ice on the wing and joking about it – then the plane crashed. They had no experience and flying for CO. I had no confidence in CO and moved my travelling over to US who did not seem to have these problems. Then there was Eyjafjallajökull. I was stuck in Europe somewhere. On the US flight back, we flew around the north of Iceland and got a nice view but in getting to USA I had missed all connections. US were great at trying to get me home and made sure I had a hotel and food for the night. I was not a high mileage flyer at the time. I suspect that they did not need to cover these costs as natural disaster. So while they are not my fav for flying joy I did hold them in hire regard relative to CO for these reasons.

  2. I am in the minority because I don’t share the hatred for US that many do. When I fly UA as a Star Gold I have many of the same complaints that you have about US. I am treated horribly by gate agents, the service in the back is often lacking and the only IFE of any value is if you are on CO metal with Directv. I guess it just depends on which side your main allegiance is. In the case of frequent flyers the grass of often greenest where your upgrades clear.

  3. I’m sure they would have given you the full can if you asked.

    They’re installing wifi on their A319/320 and certain express aircraft. United, your primary airline doesn’t even have wifi out of IAD, only on p.s. from JFK-SFO/LAX.

    Premium seats – American does the same thing. Block out non-middles in the front of the aircraft for those that want to pay. same problem happens on United, if i was given an economy plus seat and want to change seat to another economy plus, it costs $$$. Plus – economy plus is much pricier than us airways’s choice seats.

    Coffee – have you tried the Continental coffee, brought over to United. Yuck. Always better to get coffee on the ground vs. the plane, just think about how clean those water tanks on the plane are.

  4. Flown a CO aircraft lately, they won’t give me the can either, they say they do frequent beverage services, so I tell them I’m not opening it now, and I don’t want to spill.

  5. 1 important thing to remember about us airways: you get a very different experience and level of support depending on if you’re flying with a phoenix based or a charlotte based crew. Phoenix based america west crews invariably provide a higher level of customer service. That you were flying into charlotte probably means that you got the short end of the stick. I don’t contest charging for front of the aircraft seats is a little ridiculous but I still get more frequent upgrades with them than with any other airlines (I’ve been a FF on all major American carriers.). But as corey said it all depends on where your closest hub is and who owns it.

    Oh, and by the way, next time just ask for the can and they’ll give it to you with a cup of ice. 😉

  6. Let me help clear up some misconceptions:
    1. No carriers have wi-fi on small regional jets (CRJ200, CRJ700/700, ERJ145, Q200/400). Delta is putting them on the Embraer 190’s, which they call regional jets, but aren’t. The way to tell is either when booking, and when bording the plane look for the bubble thing/antennae on top, between the door and the wing.

    2. The way to tell if a flight is not sold out, is that they will have proportionately more of the plane offered as “economy plus/upgrade”, even for seats that clearly aren’t. United does this all the time- that’s how I know to wait for the price to drop for that flight. I complained to them online about the fact that there were no window or aisle seats available on a 757 holding 200+ people when shopping for a flight and therefore chose southwest for that weekend, and they emailed me a $50.00 e-voucher.

    I fly every weekend, mostly for sightseeing, and pick specific seats based on the time of day- which side the sun will be on- which is always hotter/brighter, whether to sit toward the front- which is important if I have a connecting flight and have to wait for an entire 757 to deplane in front of me versus a Q400 with 40 people on board, the type of plane (prop/jet), sitting behind the wing/engine (louder on older 737’s vs. new ones, and the exhaust makes the view blurry and obstructed by the wing), the flight path (what to look at), etc.

    3. The coffee is not made from onboard water tanks- those are non-potable (they started putting the “do not drink” signs on the bathroom faucets a few years back after seeing all the algae growing in the tanks).

    4. Almost every airline fills the soda into a glass and doesn’t give you the can, unless you ask. Southwest even has their system where they take orders and serve the drinks from a tray, which gets rid of the drink cart blocking the aisle problem. If you ask, they will generally give you whatever you want. I got about 20 bags of peanuts/pretzels/chips two weeks ago and saved them for my SAT-ELP-DEN routing (yes, I booked that on purpose instead of the non-stop. If I could, I would have taken SWA 999 all the way to STL, which would be 6 stops, no plane change, from 9am-11pm. I wish they just sold day-passes). The crew said they’d put me to work on my next all-day tour, but wouldn’t let me sit in the jumpseat.

    Have fun, and yes, LCC (US airays) is probably the worst, except for stock trading.

  7. Totally disagree with you on wanting USAirways and American to merge just so that people can combine their miles.

    I don’t want American to lower their standards to USAirways’ level.

  8. I think US Air should really be referred to as the largest of the regional carriers, not a major or legacy carrier. They ‘own’ many significant routes in their dominant region, gouge their customers and deliver sub-standard service simple becasue they can. I thank my lucky stars that they don’t have a signigant presence in my region. In other words, US Airways is always my carrier of last resort. The other carriers may (and do) have service flaws at times, but at least they usually demonstrate some effort. US simplly does not give a shit if I fly on their metal or not. As for the potential merger with AA, I sure hope NOT. AA has their own problems, but – on average – basic customer service is not one of them. AA dam sure does not need to be be taking any lessons from US – or God help us all!

  9. I fly US airways on occasion (west) and it’s mostly fine. I think your issue here is a combination of east vs. West, equipment (really my experience is mostly a321 with a smattering of crjs which are always bad), and judging things which are poor everywhere but you may dodge as an elite.

    Texan: delta is putting WiFi on all rjs with first, including crj900s and crj700. Only the 50 wearers are not getting it. I’ve flown on multiple crj700s already WiFi equipped.

    Delta does not use the erj190 so they are not putting WiFi on any. They fly erj170s and 175s which are getting WiFi.

  10. @Cook, thanks for sharing. I like your thoughts and that of @Texan that US Airways is a regional airline or an LCC. They should market themselves as that. Will lower our expectations.

  11. Living here, I travel on few flights that aren’t US Airways. I don’t drink coffee and can’t speak to it, although I’ve even heard the staff say it’s not great. But at 6′, on US Airways I haven’t had my knees touching the seat in front of me, and they always give me the can with my glass without my asking. The charge for “Premium Seats” is new, but on the flights I’ve looked at it’s only on window and aisle seats on two rows and aisle seats on one other, not all seats on the front half of the aircraft.

    That said, my other flights have been on American, and I’ve had the same experience on them as on US Airways. Nothing better or worse that I’ve noticed, comparing several years of 3.5-4.5 hour flights.

  12. I have flown much of the airlines around the world. US Airways is certainly not at the bottom of the list.

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