Photo: Flight Global
Here’s yet another airline horror story, and a PR nightmare (via Daily Mail).Arthur Berkowitz wasn’t able to sit down for seven hours on his US Airways flight because an enormous 400 lb man was in the seat next to his, reports consumer advocate blog elliott.org.
Here’s what happened, according to the account he gave to elliott.org:
Berkowitz was already seated when the late-arrival plopped down next to him. The guy was so big, he spilled over into the adjacent seat, filling half of it, so he told the flight attendants that it was impossible for him to sit there.
Unfortunately for Berkowitz, there was nowhere else to go. The flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia (one of the longest domestic non-stops around) was full, and he wasn’t allowed to sit in the flight attendants’ jump seats because of regulations.
He did acknowledge that the flight attendants were “sympathetic,” and “fully acknowledged the mistake by their gate agent.”
And so, Berkowitz stood in the aisle and galley area for the duration of the flight. He didn’t have a seatbelt for take-off or landing.
So, what’s US Airways doing to make it up to him?
The airline apologized and called the incident, which happened back in July, “regrettable.” Then, it offered him a $200 voucher, but didn’t reimburse him for his $800-plus ticket. Plus, Berkowitz says that it never addressed the safety issue, and is worried that the same thing may happen to others.
This episode tells us a lot about airlines, and why they have such a crappy reputation. Even if you excuse the initial mistake by the gate agent (US Airways admitted that the agent should have charged the 400 lb man for two seats), the airline should’ve done everything in its power to make it up to the person that got screwed, and address how to fix the problem for future customers.
Of course, it did neither.
Also, the voucher is an ironic little tidbit. In order to benefit from US Airways’ compensation, Berkowitz would have to fly the airline again, and likely have to pay some hard cash too unless it’s a really short flight.
Hopefully, he’ll have a seat next time.
(Note: As noted in the photo caption, the picture is NOT one of the US Airways incident in question — it is a photoshopped picture that popped up on the web in 2009)
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