Yet another terribly depressing airline tale

I just came across an almost-unbelievable story of how downright mean US airlines have gotten. Customer service stateside simply can’t compare to the elegance of Singapore Air or even the straightforwardness of EasyJet and Ryanair. The front-page Washington Post story tells the sad tale of a 78-year-old woman who was forced to take a 3-leg flight on three separate airlines to catch a cruise she spent 10 years saving for.

Of course, one of the connecting flights was delayed. Her subsequent flight was full, as was the next one, and the next one. At this point, a passenger who had gotten a seat offered it up for her, but Northwest Airlines refused. The kicker: they also refused to let her use a corporate phone to call home.

More fiascos ensued. The cruiseline, Princess Cruises, was also to blame for keeping her $2,500 and when one of the airlines, United, finally refunded her money, it went to Princess! Even the government thinks this is all too much. “Princess is adding insult to injury,” a FTC spokesman was quoted saying.

What has the travel industry come to when everyone’s squeezing a 78-year-old woman for all she’s worth?