My letter to AA:
I am writing to express my utter disgust with my flying experience on June 4, 2009 and June 7, 2009.
I have flown American Airlines before and have NEVER had such a horrible experience.
We started in San Francisco, CA. On June 4th we accidentally missed our flight. This was, admittedly, our own fault. However, we continuously encountered American employees that were thoroughly rude and telling us “That’s why you must get to the airport early” – we know that, life happens, we missed our flight to our Miami vacation, we did NOT need to hear this.
We were then waiting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on standby. One person in our party was called to the front desk. All the other employees and crew went onto the plane. Only ONE employee was manning the check in desk at the gate and not assisting our friend after calling her name (???). We proceeded to wait 10-15 minutes in line while the American employee assisted another customer first (???). As everyone in our party waited to see if JUST our friend was called to board or if we could ALL make it onto the flight the crew came back up from the plane announcing there was NO MORE ROOM. How is this possible when they called our friends name? The next employee that FINALLY assisted us after that announcement says “We called all your names to bored”. We, shocked, said “No, you just called our friends name”. She alluded to the fact that we could’ve all boarded. Luckily she was able to find us another flight an hour later on standby.
When leaving Miami on June 7th, we arrived at the airport in PLENTY of time as to not run into the same issue as our departing flight from SFO. We arrived, checked in and check our bags in an extremely unorganized and confusing area. We approached the desk to find yet another unfavorable attitude. Then, we were told to bring our bags we just checked in to a specific area. (I have never encountered this kind of “system” at any other airport). This “already checked in bag area” was in complete disorder. However, we trusted that the airline knew what they were doing and had their own method.
While waiting for the boarding call, there was an announcement that the flight was overbooked… why, pray tell, would a flight to and from large cities like Miami and SFO be overbooked?? Funny, due to the fact that there WERE actually free seats on the plane. After boarding, pulling away from the gate, and starting to taxi, we were informed by the captain that “SFO decided to do some maintenance that was unbeknownst to the Miami controllers so we either wait here or fly to SFO and wait there.” Frankly, this was the shadiest thing I’d ever heard. We were informed we would be waiting in the taxi line from 1 ½ to 2 hours! Two hours on a stagnant plane, ON TOP of our already 6 hour flight made NO ONE too pleased. And our compensation… beverages. No complimentary alcoholic drinks to calm my frazzled nerves??? No complimentary snacks or actual FOOD??? By mid-flight I needed to eat badly and was about to break down to purchase a $10.00 sandwich when I heard the announcement that American Airlines no longer accepts cash. I believe this is unacceptable. I do not have a credit card. I only brought cash on my vacation. What is a person to do in this situation???
Just when I thought I couldn’t get more disappointed with my traveling experience, we land in SFO only to find that my friends’ luggage did not come out of the carousel. In fact, about TEN people’s bags did not come out of the carousel. The American employee used the check in ticket to find out that my friends’ bag (and most likely the other unhappy passengers too) was on another flight arriving THE NEXT MORNING!
So after a TWO HOUR delay on the tarmac, flying for SIX HOURS, arriving in SFO at 9pm, waiting for ALL the bags to come through the carousel, finding her bad was NOT EVEN ON OUR FLIGHT, I would assume anyone could share my disgust at this point. Since we cannot go through security with hardly ANYTHING on our carry-ons, EVERYTHING is in our checked luggage. Not to mention this is all occuring on a Sunday night. She works the next day. She NEEDS her bag. THIS IS ABSOLUTLEY UNACCEPTABLE. I possibly understand A bag, ONE bag being misplaced in such a chaotic situation. When approaching one of the employees to ask about this and why it seemed to happen to so many people at once, the response was “It happens.” Really??? Why should it? After 80 years of being in the airline business you haven’t figured out a better system to NOT make this happen???
Not only is customer service virtually dead (with the exception of one employee, Graham, at the MIA airport) but now we must deal with our luggage not even being on the same flight??? How is that acceptable to tell the passenger they won’t receive their bag until AFTER disembarking? How is one to make arrangements so late at night when what is/was EXPECTED is that their luggage, checked-in in PLENTY of time, will arrive at their destination, THE SAME TIME THEY DO.
What are we even paying for?
Once upon a time traveling was a romantic adventure. A time when people would meet at the airport to see loved ones. Traveling was “Fun.” Now it is just a flat out pain in the ass thanks to this kind of service.