I’m writing this post as I sit on the runway of Charlotte’s airport, waiting for my US Airways flight to Barcelona to depart. Our original departure time was scheduled for 6:20pm. A departure delay and a gate change later, it’s currently 9:25pm with no signs of takeoff in sight. (This is in addition to the previous flight from Cleveland to Charlotte that was pushed back by an hour and a half). The rumors and reasons given for the delays ranged from a late incoming flight to re-fueling to weather delays. The latest updates revolve around “fuel issues” with the plane, which have been happening for the last hour.
The extra hours I had to kill raised some questions in my mind. When passengers pay a fare for a service with a previously agreed upon schedule, how responsible is the airline for sticking to those time frames? Because of all the delays, we are currently slotted to arrive at our final destination, Barcelona, three hours after planned. Losing hours of time that we had planned to use exploring Barcelona is a little frustrating, especially when you’re only spending two days in the city. If time is money, what accountability does the airline have when they waste your time? When you’re paying over $1,500 a ticket for a service and the service is not provided as well as expected, what rights do you have as a paying customer? Sure, I can choose not to fly them again, but does not giving my business really affect them?
One of the deciding factors when purchasing the flight was that fact that the airline had recently merged with my airline of choice, American. I can’t help but wonder if venturing outside of the One World Alliance would have been worth it to save the time and frustration. In hindsight, maybe I should have also given the airline’s horrible on-time stats more weight. Something to think about next time I’m shopping for flights. Will my negative experience thus far on US Airways ruin my summer Eurotrip? No. But it’s certainly made the trip get off to a negative start. Needless to say, I’m nervous to see how our return flight back to the states will pan out!