It's been a while since a formal letter was posted in this thread. I've just completed one, which I hope will cause someone in charge at Independence Air to feel bad for at least a brief moment of time.
To whom it may concern
I'm writing this letter to you to complain about my experiences with Independence Air (IA) this last weekend.
My initial experience with Independence Air was flight 1223 from Dulles to Pittsburgh on the 3rd of August. The flight was a pleasure, with an excellent onboard crew and I raved on to my friends in Pittsburgh about how great IA was (and what a nice idea it was to have funny celebrities do the security briefings).
My return trip was supposed to be flights 1232 and 1019 from Pittsburgh to Dulles and from Dulles to Newark at 1 pm on the 6th of August, where I would have quick transportation to my home in Manhattan. However, two hours before departure from Pittsburgh, IA called me and said that my flight had been cancelled. I wasn't told why, but thought it of no significance as I was transferred onto a flight three hours later in the day.
I checked in well in advance to my new flights (1236 and some number I haven't got any more) and went to the gate. There I was told that my fligth from Dulles to Newark had also been cancelled, and I that I was to contact an IA agent once I was in Dulles. I was not told about the reason for this cancellation.
When I got to Dulles I did as I was told, and talked to two (very busy) IA agents. They told me that I could either stay in a hotel, or accept a transfer to a JFK-bound plane instead. As I had an important arrangement on that same night, I accepted the transfer to the JFK flight (1094), although I asked if there would be any compensation of my added travel expenses, seeing that I could no longer go from Newark to Manhattan as I had planned. I was told that, yes, I would receive a voucher for a cab once I got to JFK.
I boarded the plane, and apart from the fact that it was two hours late, it was a pleasant flight. When I arrived in JFK, I found out that I would in fact not get a voucher for a cab, but rather that IA would book a shuttle bus to transport those passengers, who were supposed to go to Newark, to Newark. Of course that was of no use to me, as I was going to Manhattan. So apparently I was lied to in Dulles.
At this point I was severely delayed, so I wanted to grab my bag as soon as possible and get to my arrangement. Unfortunately, the bag had not been redirected from my cancelled Newark flight to the JFK flight (despite that I was clearly promised so by the IA agent in Dulles, and that the JFK flight was delayed two hours, providing ample time to ensure that all bags were aboard), so I had to fill out a “Delayed Bagage Report”. This enitre process took another hour of my time, and as my fine clothes were in the bag, my arrangement for the night had to be cancelled.
At this point it was clear that IA had provided me with a lousy trip, causing me a long delay, the loss of my bagage, and a general feeling of noone being in control of anything. The IA agent who helped me with my delayed bagage report at JFK, therefore gave me a form that, when filled out, would mean that IA would “pay my fare”. Although the promised return of $120 was not enough to put a happy smile on my face, I did fill out the form, only to read in the end that I would in fact not be reimbursed the $120, but rather receive a credit for another flight with IA in the upcoming year. For someone who is about to leave the US for at least two years (like me), that offer is of no value whatsoever, and I would have preferred to have been told directly there and then rather than after having filled out the form.
Finally, I waited 24 hours for my bag to materialize, and when it did not, had to call your reservation center five times before I got my bag (today, three days after check-in). Everytime I called I was told that the bag was on the next flight landing in JFK and that I should call back, and everytime it turned out that my bag was not on that flight. If you had no idea where the bag was, I would prefer to be told so rather than consistently being lied to. Furthermore, I told each and every person I talked to that the charger to my cell-phone was in the lost bag, that the phone was out of battery, and that IA could therefore not contact me on this phone, yet when the delivery man was finally here with the bag, he complained that I didn't pick up when he called me.
In general, my impression of IA is that of a company comprised of small independent units, who do not communicate very well with each other. Furthermore, I have a feeling that you cancel flights whenever you feel like it, and that your employees mislead customers whenever it suits them. I travel a lot and have never received such bad treatment from an airline before, and I will spend all my anger with you telling everyone I meet about my experiences.