US Airways

Actually, you can’t. Sorry. There is no way to do that, according to the moderately nice woman I just asked at the United Airlines gate in Denver, when I once again saw that I was on the wait-and-see list. It would have improved my chances if I had paid extra for an “economy plus” seat, but even then there is no guarantee.

When I didn’t get a seat last week, on my US Airways flight, the woman at the gate (who became very nice after I didn’t get on the plane) said I didn’t get a seat because I was the last person to check in. My on-time-but-last check in, for complicated reasons, was their fault, and they were very, very sorry about all this. Would I accept a check for $127 for my inconvenience? Even better, would I rather have $200 toward my next US Airways flight? I took the money, hoping never to have to deal with this company again. Aside from the great sympathy after I didn’t get a seat, every interaction I’ve had with US Airways has been abysmal. My experience may just be a fluke–the guy I sat next to on the flight they (barely) got me on several hours later, who had had a much worse time on US Airways than I had that day, said he’d been flying US for years with never a hitch. Based on my experience, though, I’m surprised that US Airways is still a viable company.

So of course I tried to check in online last night–as soon as allowable–for my flight this evening. It didn’t work. After an hour of being on hold and talking to a couple people, the very nice United Airlines customer service representative fixed whatever the mistake was and I could print my boarding passes. I noticed I had no seat assignment for the third leg and told him I felt nervous about that. “I cannot give you a seat assignment right now, but I guarantee that you’ll get a seat,” he said, and even asked me if I preferred a window or aisle seat. I preferred an aisle seat.

Well, I’m writing this while sitting on the United Airlines flight (a window seat) that I was hassling over last night, but just barely. When I asked the moderately nice woman at the gate how it was that I had come to be on their wait-and-see list, she said it was because I was the last person to check in for coach class. Apparently, every one of the 60-or-so coach passengers sitting around me checked in during the hour and some I was hassling with the United Airlines website and then hassling with the United Airlines customer service. Incredible.

Dear Nathen,

US Airways is an awful company to do business with. Please do not forget this again. Perhaps this post will help.