Monday, November 12, 2012

Buddy Passes-Part 2.

Following in true New England fashion, the weather during our week in Provincetown was literally all over the place. It was hot and humid, sometime sunny, others cloudy. At other points, it was a bit chilly. Rain would come at random, often with great intensity. All of the above could be apart of one day. Weather literally changes in minutes and with frequency.

About our 3rd day there, we went to T-Dance at the Boatslip, a longtime Provincetown tradition for our late afternoon cocktails and dancing. We were far out on the very long deck area and it suddenly down poured. Mac had to hobble at great speed across the deck in is cast. He made an impressive effort. Unfortunately, or maybe really fortunately at the end of the day, his cast was soaked and ultimately destroyed. We spoke to his Doctor in Los Angeles and that evening we were introduced to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis; the only place within 60+ miles with the equipment to remove a cast. 

Cast removed, we now had some more options, albeit Mac was still not 100% healed. He just had a bit more flexibility. It also made us both a bit more apprehensive as people are cautious around casts, but aren't as attentive with the "boot" that followed. It also didn't garner nearly as much attention, which was a bit diappointing to my husband.

We knew we were going to spend 2 nights in Boston at the end of the trip as we had missed our 1 night in Boston on the front end. But, should we continue on and go to New York City for a couple of days? The 4th was nearing; should we just get home? 

I called US Airways. They told me I could change my existing passes, but I would lose the unused outbound passes and the fares paid for them. That didn't seem right. It later turns out, it wasn't correct. The agent was just ill informed. Something I find is a common problem with airlines on such passes. He suggested I request a full refund for these passes and ask for new ones, just one way for each of us, be issued. So, we did.

We decided to error on caution and head back on Monday, July 2, from Boston with the new passes. We made the 1st flight from Boston to Phoenix. We didn't make the cut for the 1st connecting flight, but did the 2nd some 2 1/2 hours later to LA. This was more than reasonable amount of inconvenience for the type of fare (I refuse to call it non-revenue since there is revenue). 

The real next headache arose after we returned home in getting our refund. The credit card which was used months earlier to buy the passes was no longer a valid account number, but US Airways could only credit to the card initially charged. Further, they had confusion on what was used, not used, etc. After many calls and emails, 2 segments were credited back to the credit card. After multiple calls to the credit card issuer, that refund was returned. We were then told my cousin would for fit the unused passes. That didn't seem fair. In another call, it was suggested because she is retired they might return them to the account, which they ultimately did. At the end of the day, we finally received our refund in full from the credit card last week, some 3 months after the trip was concluded. 

I remain most appreciative of the passes being offered. I was warned that it isn't a lot of fun to use them. Boy, did that ever prove to be true. Granted our circumstances pushed the limits of the typical buddy pass traveler, but it seems that the process could be a bit more streamlined. My guess is the entire program is more of a necessary evil to airlines and not something which they have any interest in making friendlier. Watching the hell a number of full fare passengers were facing trying to get on standby, most often for no fault of their own, I can say customer satisfaction remains a real problem in the airline industry.

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