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Thread: Airtran HORRIBLE service

  1. #1
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    Airtran HORRIBLE service

    I hate to be a complainer however I think its important people are aware of terrible service. We were leaving Aruba this past Sunday booked on an Airtran flight that had a connection in Atlanta. Our flight arrived and shortly after it came into Aruba we were told that we could not board because the plane was having a technical problem they had a medical emergency and had depleted the plane of enough oxygen to return with passengers. We were told they would fly another plane in and we would leave at 10 pm. A short time later we learned that this medical emergency was actually a woman who is on oxygen that got on the plane without enough oxygen and apparently when the crew learned this rather than turn the plane around or land and let her off in Miami they continued and let her use all the oxygen. We were originally scheduled to leave the island at 3:30pm in the afternoon. We were told we could not leave the airport and had to wait. I kept checking airtrans website and soon learned that the flight was being moved up until midnight. When I addressed this with airtran staff I was told immigration would not stay open and we had to wait an additional 2 hours. It was horrible we were given vouchers for food in the airport but everything was closing. A short time later the website moved the flight to 1:30 am so we could land in Atlanta closer to 6am so we could go through immigration again because we were cleared on a different day! We were connecting to Boston when we landed in Atlanta and I was told there were 36 seats on a 9am flight. At some point those were taken and we would not be able to leave Atlanta until 2pm.
    When we finally left the island at 1:30 in the morning the crew from Airtran sent on the "rescue mission" as they called it could not believe that this had happened and all agreed the woman should have not been allowed to continue on the plane at the inconvenience of approximately 200 people that had children sleeping on the floor of the airport. When we finally landed in Atlanta we were given vouchers for a hotel to sleep for a few hours while waiting for our connections. Then Airtran gave us each a 100.00 voucher for further travel (give me a break) never ever again finally got home at 7 pm the next night what a lousy way to end a great vacation!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    wow, that really sucks.....I fly quit a bit because of the job I have, and have on occasion been but into similar situations but only once going on vacation and my trip was still a luxury compared to yours......problem is, things happen and even though this woman caused all these problems it was probably not the captain that made that decison. I expect it was made from the control tower and they probably did not see the full picture when making that decision.....not defending the airlines, but.....
    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    It's my understanding that FAA regulations prohibit passengers from bringing oxygen on the aircraft, only portable oxygen concentrators are permitted. If her batteries died in flight, the only option would have been to utilize the on-board medical oxygen bottles. Not providing oxygen to someone that requires it isn't an option at any time, let alone in flight.

    The FAA requires at least one medical oxygen mask be made available for at least 10% of the passengers. It wouldn't take much at all for them to deplete enough to make it impossible to depart with a full load of passengers. I can only imagine the frustration if you had been chosen to remain behind, while others left on time.

    A diversion is extremely expensive and would have been a major hassle, especially had the aircraft already exited US airspace. Dropping off the passenger in another country could have presented some legal issues, especially as it wasn't a life threatening situation. That decision was likely made at the operations/dispatch center and not left up to the crew in any way. You also would likely have run into duty time limitations once the crew arrived and they wouldn't have been able to return to the US anyway.

    As for the time it takes to bring another aircraft down, it takes time to assemble a crew and for a spare aircraft to become available. Most airlines operate on thin margins and they just can't afford to have extra aircraft sitting around in case of emergencies. The larger the airline, the more likely they are to have a spare aircraft of an equal size.

    The biggest issue for me is that the passenger never should have been allowed on the flight. Unfortunately, the person/people that would have had to make that decision are under incredible pressure from all sides and it's unlikely that the company would have stood behind them if they had done so. Threats of discrimination lawsuits make everyone very hesitant to deny boarding.

    I had a similar delay going home a couple years ago. It's no fun but you just have to accept the lack of control and do your best to roll with the punches. The more you try to control events, the more frustrating it will be. These incidents happy extremely infrequently, but they happen to every airline. And while I do work for an airline, it isn't Airtran or their new corporate parent.
    Last edited by Chadd; 05-07-2011 at 01:43 PM.

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    The airline could have compensated the passengers a lot better. A $100 voucher is a joke!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Thank you Chadd for the excellent explanation of "behind the scenes".

    arubaerin, if you do not feel that your compensation was sufficient, I would send a "thoughtful" message to Air Tran customer service explaining the situation and your unhappiness with the compensation. Perhaps they will issue additional vouchers. For the time it would take to compose an email, it would surely be worth the time.



  6. #6
    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    Just found Airtran's Contract of Carriage
    http://www.airtranairways.com/common...ge_06JUL10.pdf

    Their requirements are similar to ours and the applicable stuff starts on page 6 or7.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jdoll's Avatar
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    While not to your expectation, it certainly sounds like the AirTrans staff was trying on any number of levels to provide service to their inconvenienced customers.
    Aruba where the toughest question each day is "where to dine tonight".



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    airtran

    Quote Originally Posted by danadog56 View Post
    wow, that really sucks.....I fly quit a bit because of the job I have, and have on occasion been but into similar situations but only once going on vacation and my trip was still a luxury compared to yours......problem is, things happen and even though this woman caused all these problems it was probably not the captain that made that decison. I expect it was made from the control tower and they probably did not see the full picture when making that decision.....not defending the airlines, but.....
    The control tower has nothing to do with the flight. The captain has the last word on the plane and was given information from the flight crew about what was going on in the back of the plane. He might have talked to his dispatch and advised them of what was going.

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    Senior Member Chadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hvy747 View Post
    The control tower has nothing to do with the flight. The captain has the last word on the plane and was given information from the flight crew about what was going on in the back of the plane. He might have talked to his dispatch and advised them of what was going.
    While legally the captain has the final decision, that's not how it always works in the real world. If he/she makes any decision contrary to the instructions from dispatch/operations, he/she better have a very, very good reason.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chadd View Post
    While legally the captain has the final decision, that's not how it always works in the real world. If he/she makes any decision contrary to the instructions from dispatch/operations, he/she better have a very, very good reason.
    Thank you for the clarification.

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