Get Me to NOLA – Part One: No Boarding Pass for You!

I need to vent.

If you don’t like to read about people bitching/whining, I don’t blame you. It can be annoying. But I gotta get this out. It’s also pretty text heavy. So feel free to skip this one. #disclaimer

A mess fit for a King (Cake)

So as you guys know, I went down to New Orleans this week for Mardi Gras. I spent most of it pretty indisposed, which explains why I had to brush away cobwebs around here just now.

With near-record lows in the Northeast lately, I was ready for any type of warmup, even if it was just up to the 50s (beats single digits!).

On Sunday, I was originally scheduled to fly LGA-DFW-MSY, which I was really looking forward to.

I wanted to gain some EQPs toward my AAdvantage Platinum Status Challenge, visit the Centurion Lounge @ DFW, and get to New Orleans before the Krewe of Bacchus – all of which would’ve been accomplished by this routing. Oh, and it was all on American metal.

So my heart sank a little when I got this email:

They're succinct, I'll give 'em that

They’re succinct, I’ll give ’em that

But life goes on.

I got re-booked to EWR-CLT-MSYall operated by our friends US Airways. But whatever, I wanted to stay optimistic, and maybe it would all be fine. At that point, I just wanted to get out of the city. Was not looking forward to EWR, or to CLT to be honest, and I knew I’d be giving up EQPs. But on I went. I would still make the first parade in plenty of time.

Then the beads hit the fan

My EWR flight was scheduled to take off at 6am.

I got to the terminal a touch after 5:30am, but there was no line at security and the gate was right there.

Plus, I had already checked in on my phone on the mobile site and gotten confirmation of it, so when I went to the kiosk to print out my boarding pass, I didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. I just really like paper boarding passes and I could see the gate from the kiosk. Steps away.

Except the machine was actually checking me in then – 20 minutes before the flight. Me and my companion were on the same reservation and same PNR. It spit out his boarding pass when I checked in, but not mine.

At that point, I was thinking it’d be OK. But the agents could not have been slower or more unhelpful. Standing in line watching them doing literally nothing just about gave me a heart attack.

They said it was my fault for checking into the flight so late – but I’d already checked in on my phone. Why didn’t it go through? I didn’t save the confirmation because I’ve never had a problem with mobile checkin. Ever. Not that it would’ve helped me in that moment anyway because those people are impossible to talk to.

And why would it give me one boarding pass and not both when the reservation had two people?

Long story short, my seat mate and I were split apart. He got on that flight, and I was forced to standby for the next flight which left 2 hours later and was already oversold. I told him to go. It would be harder for two people to standby than just one.

But that was only the beginning of a long and hellish day with US Airways, which began when I woke up slash didn’t really sleep at 3am and started toward EWR.

Bottom line

  • In which my mobile checkin did not go through.
  • In which one boarding pass printed out but not the second.
  • In which the desk agents told me it was my fault for checking in too late but had no explanation for the one boarding pass trick.
  • In which I was forced to fly standby for an oversold flight.

And in which, while waiting for the flight I was supposed to be on to take off, I got this picture in a text…

My seat!

My seat!

…of the seat I was being refused for no good reason other than the fact that the gate agent would not let me check in.

I understand it’s their circus or whatever, but there is nothing more infuriating that knowing your empty seat stands behind a person who just told you to standby for a flight you might not even be able to get onto.

When asked what would happen if I couldn’t get onto that flight, and knowing my seat was empty behind her, she delivered this nugget of wisdom:

“It is what it is.”

Ladies and gentlemen, US Airways couldn’t have given less of a $#!+ what happened to me in that moment.

Other than being tired as hell, pretty mad at the situation, perplexed about the numerous technical errors, and overall just disappointed in everything, I now had to face 2 hours at EWR… which brought even more nuggets of wisdom from the fine people at US Airways.

This might be a good time for a break, so I will leave this right here.

Have these errors happened to anyone else recently?

To be continued…

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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    • I know it’s really dumb – I should’ve saved it. But I always do that and then print out the paper pass at the airport. Which begs the question – if I was able to check in and (theoretically) had a mobile boarding pass – then WTF?

      I’m as confused as you are.

  1. Still hate to say it but arriving “a touch” less than 30 mins before departure creates such a risk / puts some blame on the passenger. That being said i’ve arrived that late plenty of times so it does suck that the boarding pass wouldn’t print. I would have thought there would be some way for them to get you on the plane :/

    • Totally. The lovely PATH train was delayed. So I accept that I should’ve been there sooner.

      But why did my companion get onto the flight and not me? We were on the same reservation.

      It’s also amazing to me how completely unhelpful everyone was with the situation. I would’ve been at the gate and in the seat before the plane took off.

  2. That’s horrible. I’m starting to not understand how people whose sole job is customer service, yet they don’t like their job, can still have their job?

  3. Well, they are called “Useless Airways” for a reason… . Still confused about the BP thing: the app has a boarding pass wallet and saves them automatically. Did you both check in? I’m wondering if it was an issue with you both being on the same reservation?

    • Only I checked in… but I checked us both in (I selected both of us to check in – it wasn’t the app but was mobile check-in). I could’ve saved the BP in Apple Passbook but didn’t because I simply trusted that the check-in had gone through… well… lesson learned (the hard way)!

    • I just found out about asking for OCR – I am planning to do so. And yep, paid First Class (with a lot of AA gift cards paid for with Amex Plat and AA set as preferred airline).

  4. I’ve never had trouble with US Air. I don’t use the mobile boarding pass but I do print the online pass in pdf and save it in dropbox so I can pull it up if needed. I’ll usually print a hard copy if I can.. I think I’ll also start saving the mobile boarding pass. My problem with your scenario that would of killed me is I usually check a large bag so I would have had trouble at check in. Of course it always pays to get there a little extra early. I figure they board most domestic flights 30 minutes prior and international 45+ minutes prior so I need to be at check in 30 minutes before all that so I can get through security and not stress.

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