Alright, so I’ve seen US take a lot of flack lately for their customer service (or lack thereof) on the boards. I’ve last flown US in 2008, and while I wasn’t impressed then I wasn’t unimpressed either…it was just another flight. But with all the trashing (deserved or not) lately I can’t say I had incredibly high hopes for my flight yesterday on US77 DFW-SEA via PHX.
Due to how scheduling worked out with a ride back to DFW, I ended up having to get dropped off about seven hours in advance of my flight. Having just spent the past three days really doing nothing but taking and reviewing pictures I was honestly burnt out – and the thought of gate spotting, or even picking up my camera at all, kind of sickened me. So, tired and toasted I decided the best use of my time would be to ride the Skylink around. About four hours, roughly one dozen complete trips, and what I believe to be a short nap later, I finally got off and decided to get to some editing. US is based in terminal E at DFW – and I can’t say I was too impressed the building itself. Outlets in decent locations were hard to come by; the quality of the window glass sucked even for just watching. But they did deck out their area with some nice chairs.
As the flight came up I looked at my ticket and noticed I had been given 8C. I found that sort of odd because I booked my ticket months in advance for a window seat – and was given 35F (which was also odd when you consider it is an A320, which only has about 26 rows). I went to the ticket counter and explained the situation. She said she could get me into one of the early rows on a window seat but it would cost me $20/leg due to premium seating location. I said I’d just take the aisle then, and she went to put me back on the seat but the seat had already been reassigned – so I wasn’t even on the flight anymore. Shortly thereafter a different, very friendly ticket agent took over from her and said she’d call me up in a bit. Ten minutes later I got the call to the desk (and she pronounced my surname correctly, which I don’t think anyone who doesn’t know my wife or I has ever done ‘till then), and she got me a window seat in 7F on both legs, no charge. I was quite pleased and thanked her for the change. Service with a smile – it went a long way.
Before boarding they took the time to thank the service members & vets (there were several uniformed guys & gals on the flight) with some kind words and a round of applause that eventually spread to most of the gate area, which I thought was a nice touch. Doubly so because, unlike some other times, when I’ve heard it spouted out as part of the routine, this one was totally genuine amongst the staff at US –and it showed. I’m sure that almost every gate for almost every airline did the same thing on the 4th, but it was really nice to have it be so apparently genuine.
The flight from DFW-PHX was quite fine. The lead flight attendant had a real sense of humor in her announcements, and it spiced up an otherwise uneventful flight. The seat next to me was empty and I was able to curl up and take a short nap. As I usually do, I slept through the beverage service and went to the aft galley to pick up a beverage. The FA’s were nice and friendly – one of them I’d go so far as to say excitable, and I enjoyed a short chat. We were dodging enormous thunderheads (something we rarely see in Seattle so I forgot how awesome they are) during the whole 1 hour 55 minute flight, but never had anything other than a light chop. In Phoenix I was happy to see the local ARF wing during roll-out, along with a lot of the US special schemes that seem to never come to SEA. We had an unscheduled plane change, which resulted in a longer layover than was planned on. We left PHX a bit late, and again a fairly uneventful flight. We passed by some really fantastic t-storms over Arizona which put on a great show for us, after which it cleared out and you could see fireworks displays for miles and miles. Flying over Olympia/Tacoma was pretty cool with flashes and pops of color everywhere – it reminded me of seeing the camera flashes going off in the big stadiums. We ended up landing 15 minutes early too, which was great. Unfortunately one of the other passengers was having some sort of health troubles, which resulted in medics meeting us at the gate. The crew was very professional about it, and I was surprised that all the pax on board complied with staying seated until the situation was resolved by the medical staff at the gate – even if it ate up most of the benefits of the early arrival.
As some of you guys know I don’t fly super often (like Tommy), but certainly quite a bit considering, and I almost never post trip reports. So bottom line?...pleasant, uneventful flights, courteous and attentive in flight crew, and some really fantastic ground staff on a number of levels – which resulted in me writing a trip report. Maybe I had a unique, one-off US experience but did I walk away last night impressed overall?...yes, yes I did.