US Airways and transatlantic torture treatment

US Airways blah.JPG

It’s official. All these back-to-back trips are kicking Runway Girl’s butt just a little bit. The upside to being a road warrior is that I’m getting to experience the downside of the passenger experience on a regular basis (US Airways, you know I’m looking right at you), and can attest with complete certainty to the following:

1) In-flight entertainment and particularly in-flight connectivity are necessary distractions to what has otherwise become an agonizing in-flight experience for economy class passengers (all the mood lighting in the world isn’t going to make that seat pitch any better).

2) The airline that sits on the fence too long and doesn’t offer passengers these distractions is asking for trouble, especially now that travelers are FaceBooking and Tweeting every little thing they do/see/feel, like this:

US Airways blah blah 2.JPG

Now then, do I think that US Airways gives a fiddler’s fart that its passengers despise its service? Not in the least. Do I think that the lion’s share of US Airways’ employees are happy? Hell’s to the no. Some of the flight attendants are downright hostile. But can you blame them? The carrier had back-to-back bankruptcies and demanded its pound of flesh from employees.

Nonetheless, I’d like to urge US Airways (again) to change its ways, and it doesn’t have to go particularly high-end or complex either. Lookie here, for instance, at the Siemens/ALTRAN outfit, which has been quietly drawing a lot of attention lately for its “Simple” wireless IFE solution. The following video is in German, but you’ll get the gist. 

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18 Responses to US Airways and transatlantic torture treatment

  1. Mark W May 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Wow, did you know you would be in for such cramped accommodations before making that flight. All the best to you.

  2. Roger May 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    As someone who is 6’4″ the very first thing I do on getting to my seat is grabbing all the crap in the seat back pocket and putting it in the overhead bin. That always buys you some knee space.

    But of course your mistake was flying internationally on a US based airline.

  3. Jim Reardon May 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Mary! Surely, that is not your leg!

  4. Mary Kirby May 24, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    That is indeed my leg. I removed the literature from the pocket, and the shoes from my feet, but I was still in absolute agony all the way to Geneva. I’ve come to expect the bottom of the barrel from US Airways in terms of service…I’m just hoping all these points will one day fly my daughter and me to someplace nice for a holiday.

  5. Erica May 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    I’m with ya sister. US Air. Worst airline ever. I go out of my way to avoid them. And thankfully, since they pulled our of and screwed The Burgh over, its not hard to do that.

  6. Mary Kirby May 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Ah yes, the big Eff-U that US Air sent to Pittsburgh, after the city went out of its bloody way to accommodate the airline. I remember it well. (Love The Burgh, btw. I used to live in Oakland, when I was doing an internship at what was then known as Pittsburgh Magazine.)

  7. Eric Ericson May 25, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    Sadly, every time I experience a long flight on a US airline, I’m driven to fly elsewhere. BA and LAN beat AA and Delta every time.

    (On the upside, those are some pretty fierce heels)

  8. Layman May 25, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Here’s a little tip – if you need to cross the atlantic, pick a European airline for the fantastic consumer protection you get if your bag is lost or the flight is delayed/cancelled. Alternatively, pick a Gulf based airline for the leg-room, food and service.

  9. Kicking May 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    How did you fly to Geneva on US Airways when they don’t fly there? I guess you were just angry and typed the wrong city. I fly US Airways in coach on the 767 and I have had some nice service. As to no entertainment, I see there is a nice line-up this month.

    Overhead video: Hawaii (B757 & B767 FC/Coach), Europe & South America (B757 & B767 Economy) May
    The Green Hornet, X-Men: The Last Stand, Unstoppable, True Grit, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Gulliver’s Travels.

    Let me ask this… Next time someone asks you to give up a pound of flesh. Just say No. Find a job that makes you happy as life is too short to be angry about every small thing. Idea, how about working for a movie theater.. You can get a good seat, food, and a movie. Sounds like everything you are looking for.

  10. Mary Kirby May 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    My ultimate destination was Geneva. I flew US Airways to Zurich, then took codeshare partner Swiss to Geneva. Lord knows everybody has myriad travel horror stories. But I do believe you missed the entire point of this blog (Green Hornet on fuzzy overheads, seriously?)

  11. glen towler May 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Shows that some airlines are just stuck in the 90′s that leg room looks shocking like some cheap charter airline . Shame on US airways looks like they do treat there passengers like self loading cargo.

  12. Stef May 26, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    I am smaller than average and *still* have had flights where my knees touched the front seat. I can only imagine what it’s like when you’re taller. The worst flight I had in that respect was Thai Airways from Tokyo to Bangkok. I mean, maybe the average leg space for Asians is smaller, but both me and two Japanese people beside me literally were stuck between the seats. It’s ridiculous, aren’t there any international regulations like they have for animal transports or something?

  13. alloycowboy May 26, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    Mary that picture reminds of the mid evil torture device the use to keep in the Tower of London popularly known as the Duke of Exeter’s daughter (aka the rack), but only in reverse. Oh, nice ankles btw!

  14. Mark May 26, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Yes, US Air flys the 767 and 757. They are old and out dated, but will be replaced within the next couple of years with the new A330s and A350s. The seat pitch on the 767 is 32 inches. More than BA and UA, however, the Airbus planes only have 31 and the US air seat is very thick. They need to skinny up their seats to provide actual more leg room. With all that said, you get what you pay for. US consumers wanted to pay less for flights, they are dirt cheap look at inflation versus airfares. So we get what we wanted. In the 1980s we paid $700 to $1,000 for a round trip to Europe, about what we pay today. Even if you pay $1,500, that’s very inexpensive and somehow we think we desire a big seat, great food and lux service. Dream on.

  15. Facts about France June 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    OMG, that photo looks painful! Doesn’t even look like you’ve got enough room to slide your feet under the seat.

  16. Mat June 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I travel a lot for work and mostly internationally. Being based in NY I am lucky to have an array of airlines to choose from and always try to stay away from the US carriers. I am fairly short compared to Mary and can still attest that that flying in the back like the large majority of customers can be painful, and is almost always worse on the likes of American, Delta or US Air.

    ‘Kicking’ must be dazed and confused after being flown too often on business class or just defending his/her beloved airline, but honestly, in this day and age, who still want to watch a single movie on a round tube TV hanging above the aisle with a discolored image and white noise in the background (which I just enjoyed last week on an AA flight to Panama)? Plus if you are the type of frequent flyer/nut job/road warrior, how many time can you take having to endure seeing the same moving played over and over and your neighbor litteraly laying on you to see the screen properly?

    US Air and most US carriers need to realize that the captive market they have been enjoying nationaly does not translate for transatlantic flights anymore, too many good airlines are out there.
    Mary, next trip I suggest you get on one of those european airlines in the same aliance as US Air and enjoy the bliss of a better seat, great service, IFE in your seat, and maybe, maybe some sleep!


  17. Patrick June 6, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Mary, I feel the pain.

    Mark: prices does not explain the lousy offer you get from US carriers. Flying all over Europe with AF in Economy from CDG you still get a meal in 2 hours or more flights for the same ticket price (at equal distance) as an intra US flight, where you only get peanuts and the extra charge for checked luggage…

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