US Airways First Class

This shot gives you an idea of the lack of room in the first class cabin from US Airways

To quote Gordon Ramsay to US Airways (soon to be American) “When did you stop caring?”

When you pay to fly first class you expect that you are paying the premium for a few things:


(a) larger seat with more legroom

(b) Clean cabin

(c) Clean blankets

(d) Meal service of some sort

WE DIDN”T GET THAT ON US AIRLINES – soon to be American Airlines

On the US Airways flight back from Hawaii – a 6-7 hour flight the first class cabin was cramped, the meal service an hour before coming into Phoenix was cold cereal, and even though my son (3.5 years old) paid for a full fare ticket (and is a Silver medallion member of US Airways) – there was no milk to be had on the plane.  Of course, if he were a vegetarian they might have had an appropriate meal for him. The blanket was used, not cleaned – the cabin was filthy.

Contrast this with Hawaiian Airlines 

The question is not what new planes someone orders – the question is why would you pay for a premium seat only to have something that is less than premium.

Take Hawaiian air- which we flew direct to Hawaii from Phoenix. While the airline was part of their new fleet, plenty of room – real meal service, a friendly aloha welcome from the staff, and personally thanking. Milk, because they saw the passenger who bought the seat was 3.5 years old and wanted to know ahead of time if whole milk or 2 percent were needed.

Could US Airways have provided an ipad with pre-loaded movies for its customers? Yes. Could US Airways have provided clean blankets for its passengers on an overnight flight? Yes. Could US Airways have made sure the cabin was clean? Yes. Could US Airways have checked its passengers for their food preference and had some milk on board? Yes.

Bottom Line- if you are flying anywhere to Hawaii – fly with Hawaiian Airlines. Flying on a long flight and thinking first class – think of another airline that cares.

US Airways didn’t. They didn’t care.

The response from US Airways is to stick with them because they are working hard to update their fleet. If you check the news stories you will see that the main new fleet they have is from their merger with American Airlines. The question is – you can change a plane, but can you change an attitude?

Bottom line: if you are going to pay a premium for an airline seat, check to see if it is a modern jet or not. For us- we fly a lot, out of Phoenix- my frequent flier number goes back to America West Airlines and I was the 164th person to have an account with them. Until they get a good fleet,  when I purchase a premium seat it will be on a new plane.


For the four people I paid for the tickets it would have been less expensive to:

(1) buy six seats in economy – we would have had more room (of course if there is an empty seat chances are US Airways would have filled it)

(2) buy them all new iPads with pre-loaded movies of their choice (US AIrways played an old movie – The Hobbit in First Class on the big screen on a red eye)

(3) buy them all fresh clean blankets – US AIrways supplied blankets that were used and folded

(4) buy some great food (and milk) from the local airport outlet (US Airways served cold cereal)

Below is a bit of quoted news about the fleets of the airlines.

“American is seeking to replace more than half the 190 Boeing MD-80s in its fleet with more fuel-efficient 737s and Airbus A320s by 2017, according to a presentation today to investors and customers. The MD-80, a workhorse of American’s domestic routes, went out of production in 1999, and Boeing’s newer 737-800 aircraft are 25 percent more efficient.

At the end of 2011, US Airways had 244 planes made by Airbus and 81 Boeing jets, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All of American’s 608 aircraft at that date were manufactured by Boeing or companies it has acquired, according to a separate filing.

Both carriers have ordered the planemakers’ most advanced new jets. Fort Worth, Texas-based American last week signed for a purchase of 42 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner wide-body planes, while US Airways has committed to 22 of Airbus’s A350 aircraft, according to the planemakers.” – from Bloomberg link here.