I am so livid about H’s recent experience on US Air that I just have to put it in words.  We picked her up from design camp in Raleigh, NC last week, and drove to Charlotte to put her on a US Air flight to Denver for Operation Smile’s Student Leadership Conference.  That flight was uneventful. But on her return to Asheville, NC through Charlotte the nightmare began.

When she arrived in Charlotte, (after only sleeping 3 hours the night before=tired and emotional) she was told her connection to Asheville would be delayed. An hour later was told it was cancelled.  She called us trying to hold back the tears because she had no idea what to do.  We sent her to the “special services” line, and when she reached the attendant was told there were no flights until Saturday!!!! (2 days later!). Trying not to cry, she told the attendant she was only 16, and asked her what she was supposed to do. Another attendant didn’t even look up, but murmured, “well, her parents didn’t tell us she was a minor so there’s nothing we can do”. (**side note:  when you purchase tickets online there is no designation for a 16 year old, only adults or children up to-14 years old. )

We were ready to drive the 3 1/2 hours to pick her up, but that would have meant she would have to sit in the airport, exhausted, scared and alone for 3 1/2 hours.  As it was, it was 6 p.m. and she had been up since 6 a.m. and in airports since 7.  Luckily, we were able to find a car service ($600) to drive her to us, but when she went to get her bag was told it had been put on another flight and she couldn’t get it. No “lost luggage” code because it wasn’t lost. Now it’s three days later and we still don’t have her bag. Multiple phone calls to customer service, putting us on hold for two to three hours total, it has been a nightmare.

We were lucky that we had the means to find safe transportation for her that night.  I can’t imagine what would have happened if we weren’t available and didn’t have connections to find alternative travel.  The multiple agents that she encountered that evening were of absolutely no help at all.  There was no consideration that she was a child traveling alone.  No sympathetic adults, no kind smiles, no information other than the fact that she was s&*% out of luck.  The icing on the cake was that her cell phone died, so she had to ask a stranger to borrow his cell phone to call us.  

Needless to say, we will never fly US Air again! EVER!!!

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