The media has decided to accept US Air's claim that it diverted a plane two hours out of its way to pick up stranded passengers in Albany as a matter of routine, and not because the two Bush daughters and secret service detail just happened to be stranded in Albany.
The public is more sceptical, as can be seen from this extraordinary posting to Dave Farber's list, quoted below.
Dave, I know you've closed this discussion, but I have something personal to add; don't worry about passing it to the list. Thought you might be interested.
I fly US Airways almost exclusively; have for about 15 years now.
I have been “stranded” by them for up to 2 days as recently as a year ago, only to be told by them that I could “sleep in the plastic seats” — my request for a hotel was denied. I was told that mechanical delays were to blame, and that if I didn't want to buy a membership in their flight club, I'd have to stay in the seating area until they could get me on a plane that did have an open seat: 23 hours later was the earliest they could give me. (I note that only that year I'd let my Club membership lapse; silly me.)
The kicker? I was wearing a full back brace, walking (with difficulty) with a cane, and all my extra pain meds were in my baggage, which they couldn't get for me. I'd broken my back and the spine was beginning to have mechanical difficulties of its own.
Since then I was stranded in Charlotte, NC, on a bereavement fare, with my father dying as I stood in the airport in tears, because my plane couldn't leave, and the next plane — the last plane of the day to go to my destination — was full — I was told to my face, in front of shocked witnesses, that I was “out of luck.” I'd have to stay “in the seats” until they found a place for me =the next day=. A very kind man gave me his seat in the plane and spent the night in the airport himself, after he saw me sobbing. The airline never apologized and instead a stewardess scolded me for “taking that man's seat from him.” I suggested they could make it up by giving him a hotel room. She said, “We don't do that for stranded passengers.”
I can cite at least 6 more times I was stranded by US Airways, all around the country, for between 4-24 hours at a pop, with no offer of even a hotel room. “We don't do that,” is the chorus.
If only I'd known then that I could get a plane diverted for me.
—Nancy who is disgusted that people believe the airline spokespeople couldn't possibly be stretching the truth to cover their asses