america west: the worst airline ever?

email your nightmare travel stories to: spaamiam ( the at sign )
Monday, July 29, 2002

back in February, a woman was asked to remove the object in her luggage that was vibrating. No, not a ticking bomb, it was a sex toy. Now she's suing b/c all the Delta employees were snickering and making lewd comments to her after the mysterious vibrating object was revealed.

Monday, July 22, 2002

At LAX on Sunday, a belt buckle with an image of an explosive device caused an evaction of part of the airport. Sweet limpin' Jesus, who is in charge of airport "security"?

Remember now, a March 2002 report stated airport security missed:
* 70 percent of knives
* 60 percent of simulated explosive devices
* 30 percent of guns

But thank god, they're catching all the belt buckles with radical connotations.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Do not, under any circumstances, ask the pilots if they are sober. AMERICAWERST DOES IT AGAIN. Family asks if pilots took a sobriety test, pilots sigh, fume, take the sobriety test after a few hours wait, then kick the family off the plane after the results turn up negative. One of the family members recalls the pilot: "He said parents should teach their children that there are consequences to asking questions and that the passenger who asked the question was going to be taken off the plane," Christopher von Schweinitz said.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Do not, under any circumstances, joke about the fact that our pilots are sloshed. Cuz we'll kick you off the flight. For Real. America West flight attendants kick woman off a flight after she jokingly asked if the pilots were tested for sobriety. Um. Reason 1000 why I don't fly America West anymore.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002
FINALLY! Another America Werst fuck up: 2 pilots arrested for being drunk. The flight was on the runway when it got called back to the terminal because the two pilots reeked of alcohol when they went through the security checkpoint. They were apparently acting goofy and arguing over their coffee cups.

Friday, October 19, 2001
It's been awhile. I didn't feel quite right about making fun of airlines during the past few months, what with all the trauma suffered. But I'm back, because I just read about the most horrendous event ever, perpatrated by United airlines. A 22-year old kid carrying a novel (Hayduke Lives! by Edward Abbey) with a cover illustration of a man holding dynamite, was prevented from boarding two United flights, after it was deemed he was a threat. A COVER ILLUSTRATION!!!! he went back home after rescheduling his flight and picked up a copy of Harry Potter, and STILL WAS DENIED BOARDING. come on people now. get your head out of your ass.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Incredible story about a woman's trip to Mexico with her young child. After the gate agent had given her seats away on an overbooked flight, he invoked an obscure rule that says written, notarized permission from the other parent is needed before one parent flies into a foreign country with their child. Needless to say, the flight took off without her, causing a 22 hour travel delay.

Friday, August 24, 2001
Occasionally, it's not America West that makes the mistakes. This story involves a 79 year old man who, after being wheelchaired onto a flight, asked an attendant for a diet Sprite. She said Wait. He repeated his request after the flight was airborne. Still no drink. Apparently when the drink arrived, he was pissed and didn't want it anymore so he shoved it back towards the attendant. Next thing you know, the plane has an emergency landing in Texas and the elderly gent is escorted off the plane into a police cruiser, and is now facing up to 20 years in prison for an 'air rage' incident in which he never left his seat, threatened anyone, or used profanity. Culprit: American Airlines

Wednesday, August 22, 2001
Racism on America West airlines: Saudi Arabian passengers detained in handcuffs because the crew thought they were acting suspicious. Apparently they tried to use the bathroom in the first class cabin. That sure smacks of terrorism...
The nightmare continues.... one woman's fight to get to her final destination, amid 3 hour lines, dented planes, delayed flights that were bordering on being cancelled.... all courtesy of Guess Who? America West.

Fear and Loathing on America West: overselling a 110 person flight by 40 seats. Inadequate gate agent response, mobs of angry people, etc., etc.
More on the blind woman who was booted from first class after another America West passenger decided he didn't want to sit beside her and her guide dog.

Saturday, August 11, 2001
The Forbes article on America's Worst Airline... America West. (login: membersonly | password: password) From the article: "The AmWest scrapbook includes some doozies. The carrier has stranded Bruce Babbitt and broken stewardesses' legs (in an onboard mishap). It has belittled a blind woman and engaged in behavior that some passengers deem to be racial profiling. In one incident of air rage the perpetrator was found to be an America West pilot, traveling off-duty."

America West teaches us how to make a crisis happen.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001
Salon (via AP) article on America West's revised policy for children flying alone: now unaccompanied children can only fly on nonstop flights; gee, too bad Am West makes you fly through Phoenix to actually get anywhere! So basically kids can now only fly unaccompanied to Phoenix. Bonus: the kids get to be branded like cattle, wearing a tag around their necks that states their destination and the fact that they are unaccompanied minors.

All this because America West messed another one up on Saturday! "On Saturday, two girls returning to San Diego from Texas were sent to the Ontario, Calif., International Airport, about 100 miles north." Here's the report on the mishap.

Saturday, August 04, 2001 has some interesting travel feedback from random people, including one guy's story about drinking with the pilot of the plane for a few hours before they took off.

one dude's 2 day stay in the airport courtesy of America Werst airlines delaying and cancelling his flight at least 5 times. His letter is called Layover and Play Dead. (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Thursday, August 02, 2001
One Newark area resident dishes on the treatment her bags received on an AmericaWerst flight. To summarize, AmWerst lost one of her bags on a direct flight to Newark, and the other bag showed up on the carousel broken open and missing her mom's red coat! When her bag was finally located, AmWest told her she needed to come in to pick it up, they wouldn't deliver it. Insult to injury: they gave her a $25 voucher for AmWest travel!
Forbes ranks America West as worst airline in the biz. Hee hee, this is getting fun!

Wednesday, August 01, 2001
just found this site,, where you can go to rant about everything from your ISP to airlines.
another man's America Worst (West) story.

Monday, July 30, 2001
My own horror story with America West:

my boyfriend (a workaholic who desperately needed a vacation) and i planned a 5 day trip to La Paz, Mexico, our first vacation in over a year. We board our flight to Phoenix in San Francisco, sitting in the back of the plane, and wait. An hour passes. I get nervous about our Cabo connection in Phoenix, especially when word filters back that it's an oversold flight. Finally the captain tells us what our wait is for: they've discovered a dent in the cargo door, where it looks like someone rammed into the door with a piece of equipment. They're not sure they can take off yet, they need 20 minutes for more tests. Every 20 minutes we get these updates. Finally, they deboard the plane saying it will take an hour to exhaustively test the door's safety. It's 2pm by this time, and our Cabo flight is totally missed. Since we're in the back of the plane, we're in the back of the line at the gate. My boyfriend scampers off to another gate and waits in a much shorter line there. I stay with the bags at the back of the huge line of people getting their travel arrangements re-arranged. By 4:30 I'm no closer to the front, but my boyfriend managed to get to the front of his line, so I go join him to hear that instead of leaving today on our vacation (a Saturday), the first flight we can get on is on Monday at 6am. Gross. So we dejectedly leave the airport and incur an extra $40 cab ride back to our apartment.

Have you ever postponed travel like this when you were all ready to go, actually sitting on the plane that will take you to your connecting flight? It messes with your mind. I spent the next 2 days sleeping, since the feeling was much akin to the 'coming down' off certain drugs. Monday, pre-dawn arrives, and we incur another extra $40 cab ride to the airport. We get to Phoenix with as little trouble as America West can manage, but by listening to all the gate changes, it seems like they just don't have their act together. In Phoenix we board our flight to Cabo. And then we deboard, since apparently our plane is not registered to land in Mexico. THIS IS SOMETHING TO TAKE CARE OF BEFORE YOU BOARD PASSENGERS. An hour later we were finally on our way to Mexico, and we had a great time.

Total cost of inept America West: $80 in extra cab fare, for the 2 additional trips to the airport. $60 for our hotel reservation on Saturday night that we couldnt' cancel in time. 6 hours spent in the airport on Saturday, wasted = $100. Total: $240. When I got back from my trip I emailed their Customer Relations department with our sad tale and told them I expected at least an $80 check to be sent my way for the extra cab fares. Instead a few weeks later I get 2 vouchers for their crappy airline, for $150 each. Are you kidding me? I wouldn't fly their airline again even if they sent a voucher for an amount that would actually purchase an entire ticket. So I get on the phone to bitch someone out, and here's their voicemail:
"You've reached America West Customer Relations. For lost baggage from 5 or more days, press 1. For completed travel, press 2..." so I press 2 and hear the following "You've reached America West Customer Relations. For lost baggage from 5 or more days, press 1. For completed travel, press 2..."

How is this airline still in existence?

Thursday, July 26, 2001
I was compelled to start this blog after America West airlines lost their second unaccompanied child within the same week. This in addition to my own heartbreaking travel experience on America West which i will share here later. But in the meantime, please check out these stories about the two lost children.

Child one: an eleven year old lost for 18 hours, criss-crossing the country.
Child two: lost track of a ten year old and misspelled his last name, leading to more confusion!

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