Subject: America West/Sr Citizen Awards
Somebody mentioned they had an AmericaWest Flight cancel during check in process . . . I had the same problem with American Airlines, so the problem isn't unique to America West.

Two years ago we flew AmericaWest with my senior citizen mother. Found out at that time that if one paid the senior rate, the senior is allowed two companions at the senior citizen rate.

Last week used America West on a Chicago-Vegas flight. We were not asked the security questions, however check in went smoothly and first leg of the flight was without incident, breakfast included bread and fruit and a cookie. Cleanliness of plane average. The flight retained the same number, however had a change of aircraft in Phoenix. Flight crew poor in announcing information on the stop, and only at very end announced a change of aircraft for those continuing to LAS. PHX airport personnel were very poor in providing information to the passengers. A delay of a previous flight contributed to the confusion. On the internet site HP specifically states it overbooks (and I guess we are aware that all airlines do). If by phone, or travel agent, during booking ask how full the flight is, and when the one previous to your departure and after your departure leaves. If using an agent, have her jot down the flight time of other carriers should you run into a problem. Call the airline reservations to find out how full your flight is when closer to departure. Have a game plan on what you will do if the flight is cancelled. Of course if one is trying to get vouchers for being bumpeed, be sure to book a full flight late in the day.

AmericaWest frequent flier miles can be used on Continental and I believe Northwest for Asia flights. I don't know about any Southwest partners.

We Have gotten out of the habit of checking luggage as we've found that any airline can misplace baggage . . . even on non stop flights. When returning home, if we do have to check luggage, we check our clean clothing . . .I have fears of what the bag would smell like if the dirty clothing would continue on an extended vacation. Loss of luggage happens on any airline. When travelling to a destination where you will need a large amount of clothing/items, consider mailing/shipping to your destination. If hotel, contact and find out how to address. You may have to label the box as guest, hold for XX arrival.

SouthWest is known for good customer service. I know of one situation where a death occurred at the destination location. SoutWest had no problems in changing the return tickets, very helpful personnel. Sister had used US Airways, besides being uncooperative in attitude, there was the change fee which had to be paid to delay the return . . .

If AmericaWest has the best price and that's important, go ahead and use it. You've been warned about the worst that could happen. Enjoy the flight, and be be pleasantly surprised if without incident. Besides, if at the last minute there is a delay announced due to a mechanical reason, it is better to have it happen on the ground than in the air. Susan Huff