When was it when US Air earned its one star?
Was it the 5:00 AM morning call from the gentle voice of the US Air notification system advising me that my PHL – SFO flight was cancelled – not delayed or postponed or rerouted – but cancelled, with no further explanation or offer to rebook me on alternative flights?
Was it the time that I bought a ticket on a PHL-SFO flight that was advertised to have onboard wifi, planning to use the 6 hours to catch up on desperately backed-up emails only to find that they had decided to use a smaller plane that day that didn’t have wifi and no amount of complaining to the US Customer service could make the point that some accommodation was in order?
Was it the time I booked Hartford to Philly to SFO but drove to Philly from Hartford and was nervous enough to call to confirm that I could still use the Philly to SFO leg and I wouldn’t lose it because I had not used the Hartford to Philly segment and found not only did I lose it but now I had to buy a new same day Philly to SF ticket for hundreds of additional dollars?
Was it the time that my son’s bag came off the conveyor belt with its straps ripped off and a gash all the way through its belly as if it had been in a knife fight and so I stood in a line at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night before a group of paralyzed clerks who were taking information on lost and damaged luggage with the speed of rocks growing and then being assigned to the slowest growing rock of all with an attitude like a red dog at leash who regarded it an unpardonable offense that my son’s bag had had the effrontery to be damaged and who really, really, really did not like it when I snapped a photo of her slow at work so I could identify her in a future complaint to US Air?
Was it the time that US Air was 2 hours late on a one hour flight from Reno to Las Vegas because water was leaking from the drinks container and no one could find an engineer who could testify that it was melted ice not jet fuel in the cabin and the delay was just sufficient to make us miss the connecting flight to Philly and everything – everything! – sold out and after 12 hours at the airport standing by on every – every! – flight to Philly one seat but only one seat was open and putting my oldest son on the flight like that scene from Sophie’s Choice and taking a cab to a hotel to brood until the next flight I could book the day after?
No it wasn’t any of those things.
It was the one time when a US Air flight to Philly was not just on time but actually early and they preened and cackled over the early arrival repeatedly as we settled on the tarmac and approached the gate only to discover that the mysterious collective bargaining unit that controls the neuro surgery involved in synching the jetwalk to the door of the plane was involved in a labor action or a coffee break and could not be summoned for 20 minutes and me standing 3/4-ways out of my window seat with the aisles full of urgent passengers strapping on their briefcases and barking on cell phones as the temperature rose like we were in a pot of human soup being brought to a boil.
Yes, thats when it was.