Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Contour Airlines

I don’t fly a whole lot.  When I do, I’ve generally either driven to Nashville (most of the time) or St. Louis (occasionally) instead of using our local airport – Barkley Regional.  It’s usually much cheaper and much more flexible on times I can fly.  I fly Southwest mostly and there are a good amount of Southwest flights out of both of these airports.  I had planned a trip to Orlando in January.  I ran the costs and it wasn’t going to be quite as good of savings to fly out of Nashville as opposed to Paducah.  Plus, the regional carrier out of Barkley had recently changed.   It was now Contour Airlines. I decided to give it a try.  Keep in mind that my review is based on one trip and “your mileage may vary”.  However, it certainly influenced how I will fly in the future.

First, everyone I dealt with in person at Contour both in Paducah and Charlotte (the routing airport for Paducah now) couldn’t have been nicer.  They were very helpful both to me and with other passengers I saw them dealing with.  Also, each person gets one free checked bag even on the American legs of the trip (Contour has an agreement with American).  However, these were the only good things I can relate.

First, their app is not very good.   For example, it is very difficult to retrieve your boarding pass once you check in for a flight.  I talked to a young lady that was leaving from Paducah with me who had an mobile pass.  She said she was able to screen shot the pass once she checked in.  She couldn’t retrieve it the previous time she checked in so she remembered to screen shot it when she checked in for her return flight.  I could never get the mobile pass to display on my trip down.  I had to print out my boarding passes for each leg of the trip – something I have not done in YEARS!   I even saw some script errors display while trying to use the app. 

Second, Contour states that they have a partnership with American Airlines.  However, when I purchased my ticket via Contour, I could only choose my seats on the Contour legs of my flight. I confirmed with Contour support that I couldn’t choose my seats on the American legs of the trips. I ended up with a middle seat on both American flights. Speaking of which…  Their support leaves something to be desired.  They are hard to get ahold of.  They don’t even answer the phone 24 hours a day.   They are open from 5:30am to 10:30pm.  They have an email address that you can send support requests to.  My first request was answered.  I never heard back on any others. 

Finally, I need to relate how the return flight to Paducah went.  I checked in on the app and saved my boarding pass.  However, I only got a boarding pass for the Contour leg of the trip.  I didn’t get one for the Orlando to Charlotte leg that was on American. I called at 8pm that night and asked for a return call.  I never got it.  I was concerned about it and when I woke up at 2am, I was able to directly chat with American.  While the Contour trip ID didn’t work on their site, I was able to get the American trip ID and call up the boarding pass for the American leg. There was another issue.  It had MR appended to the end of my last name.  I know there are sometimes issues if your name on the boarding pass doesn’t exactly match your ID.  American could not fix the issue since they didn’t originate the ticket.  I called Contour when their support line was supposed to open.  For the next couple of hours, all I got was voice mail.  I got on their Facebook page and mentioned the issue.  They said they were not aware of any such issue.  Mysteriously enough though, I was then able to actually request a callback from Contour support now.  After several hours, they called back.  I explained the issue and asked if there would be issues with this? Their answer? “I hope not”.  That was not reassuring.  I held my breath as I got to the airport and checked my baggage and went through security.  Fortunately, I had no issues.  I got to Barkley to be greeted there by my two favorite girls 😊.

I have decided that unless flights end up being significantly cheaper out of Paducah than Nashville or St Louis, I probably won’t be flying out of there again.  It’s a shame really.  It appears a beautiful new terminal will be opening later this year.  I just don’t want the hassle and lack of support.  I’d be interesting to hear anyone’s experience in flying out of Paducah to see it went for them.

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