Local/State

One couple's nightmare trip with US Air

Friday, July 29, 2011

Almost everyone who is a frequent flyer has a tale or two about a travel nightmare. One couple aboard a US Airways flight from London have a story to tell.

Pat and Karen Noonan of Phoenixville were onboard a US Airways flight on July 1st.

They were taking a flight from Philadelphia to Barcelona, Spain where they would catch an 11-day Royal Caribbean Cruise, but their plane never took off.

"We were at the gate for 5 hours on the plane," said Pat Noonan.

"The plane never left the gate," said Karen.

They say it began when the pilot announced a problem with the plane's entertainment system shortly after boarding. The passengers were told they would be off and running in 10-15 minutes.

"Four hours later, when he said 10-15 minutes, the entire plane erupted in laughter because that was the umpteenth time we heard them say 10-15 minutes," Karen said.

Finally after 5 hours, the pilot allowed passengers to get off the plane and told them not to go far because they would be departing at some point.

But at 2:30 a.m. the next day, the flight was cancelled.

InterAction: Tell us about your nightmare flight

The Noonans realized they weren't going to make their cruise on time, so they asked the clerk at the airlines ticket counter for help.

"We're asking them to help us figure out how to reach our cruise, and the guy behind the counter says, 'This is not my job. Here's an 800 number'," explained Pat.

But the Noonans say their nightmare was just beginning, because the cruise ship was due to arrive in Nice, France, and US Airways does not fly there.

US Air booked them on a Lufthansa Flight to arrive three days after the cruise had already begun. But they were concerned about their luggage.

"They said, they wouldn't give us our bags, they were going to re-route them, and they assured me they would be in Nice, France when I landed there," said Pat. "I get to Nice, France, my bags aren't there."

The Noonans were forced to buy some new clothes to wear on what was left of the cruise and never got their bags.

When they came back home, they made call after call and sent emails to US Airways inquiring about their bags.

Finally, at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday night, a courier working for Lufthansa delivered their bags to their home after the Noonans had contacted media outlets about their story.

Thursday, a US Airways representative called to apologize and offered them $300 travel vouchers for each of them to travel in the future.

"I will not ever fly US Airways," said Pat.

"I don't even know if I'll use the credit that they're giving us, because I don't want to have to deal with them," said Karen.

A spokeswoman for US Airways told Action News that Lufthansa's files show the luggage was to be picked up by a cruise ship representative in Barcelona on July 9th, but could not explain what happened after that.

She added that it's the airline's goal to get passengers and their luggage to the destinations on time with their luggage, but something happened with the Noonans' luggage, which is why they offered the Noonans travel vouchers.

Meanwhile, a passengers' advocacy group, FlyersRights.org says "The airlines have forgotten the customer to the point of callous disregard, and when one thing goes wrong, it generally causes a cascading set of problems for a passenger."

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Tags:
philadelphia, pennsylvania, chester county, us airways, local/state, dann cuellar
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