the Goliard
April, 2002


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Another Letter Concerning - 5/17/2003

This airline really is a piece of crap! We can't believe we even had any dealings with them again. We, who've turned down free tickets to shows and sports matches we wanted to attend based on the simple fact that the event was to be held in America West Arena and we didn't want to end up stuck inside for six hours like we have been on their planes. Yes, we have come to despise this company and are well aware that we are on record as saying that no one we know would ever get on another America West plane if we could help it. But, under the "time heals all wounds" fallacy, one of us went and did it anyway. Now, after what should have been a short and easy business trip, (and a chance for America West to restore some credibility), the wounds have been sufficiently reopened and salted once again. Here's how it went down: 

One of our staffers had to take a quick jaunt over to New Mexico recently for a breaking story and, in a diabolical state of affairs that wreaks of collusion, America West ended up being their only air carrier option. We sincerely considered sending them by car in order that we might keep our vow to not get back on one of their planes but the story wasn't going to wait and the schedule just wouldn't allow it. 

The flight over was uneventful. This is the best thing you can ever say about an America West Experience.

On the way back from El Paso however, the staffer reported that they had to stop in Phoenix, (which makes sense because it is 200 miles out of the way and you have to fly right over Tucson to get there). Said staffer deplaned during what was supposed to be a brief layover and was sitting near the gate at Sky Harbor waiting to get back on the plane when an announcement comes over the speakers that says the flight would be delayed because there were no flight attendants to make the trip down to Tucson. Phoenix is the home of America West! Wouldn't you think instead of making an embarrassing announcement like that, they'd be able to find a couple of stewardesses for a twenty minute flight? Then they began to board the aircraft but stopped suddenly and announced that one attendant had arrived but the other had had "car trouble" so there'd be a further hold up. The staffer reported that people on her flight felt lucky because the America West terminal was packed with angry passengers who were being kept over night because of mechanical problems in a couple other planes. The flight for Tucson finally boarded and took off an hour and a half later.

On the other end, where we waited for the staffer, the electronic arrival boards provided by America West listed the flight as on time. Fifteen minutes after the flight was supposed to have landed, the board removed the flight as if all had gone as planned. Assuming the plane had arrived and we had just missed the staffer somehow, we searched the bars, corridors, bathrooms and baggage claims to no avail. Finally after an hour of this one of us approached the desk where two bimbos in red America West shirts giggled at something on a monitor. "Excuse me," we said. "We were waiting for a person coming in from El Paso through Phoenix. Your board said "on time" but we can't seem to find them in the terminal. Could you maybe check if they missed the plane or something?" The dim bulbs looked up as if a person wearing a paper mache donkey's head had approached the desk. "Oh you mean that Phoenix plane?"  one of the twin aeronautical engineers finally replied, "that plane is delayed about forty five minutes." We looked at our watches and it was an hour and fifteen minutes since it was scheduled to arrive. "Well it's been more than 45 minutes." Blank looks. "Well it's not here now," chimed in the other brightly, "it hasn't even left Phoenix yet." 

Once again the surreal dealings and sheer incompetence of America West had rendered us speechless. How does this airline stay in business? A simple trip to a bordering state turns into an infuriating ordeal for everyone involved, wasting a entire evening for no reason, and which ends up taking longer than the drive would have. A mere airport pickup ends up leaving everybody but the dimwitted employees so upset that they can't even put together a coherent sentence of complaint. Not that complaints seem to do any good anyway. America West's policy seems to be that if their employees make you feel like you are addressing a pack of golden retrievers, you'll eventually throw up your hands and just go away. And we guess that's just what we'll do. But this time it will be for good.

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