This post is a little different (and way longer than usual – sorry) as I want to share our recent horrible experience as “First Class” passengers on American Airlines. We had 100,000 miles left with American Airlines because it is so hard to try to make reservations using an award ticket. Plus we have been screwed by American Airlines in the past and started earning miles through other carriers. The straw that broke the camel’s back sp to speak was when we had issues with a non-stop flight from LA to DeGaulle in Paris. About a month before our flight they discontinued that route and we had to go from LA to San Jose, then to Dallas (fun), and then on to Paris. Added about 4 hours to our flight out and then on our return, we had to stop and change planes in Chicago with a 7-hour delay there. The huge delay was real fun, NOT. I have actually tracked the top 4 U.S. carriers and found that American Airlines is the worst in flight cancellations. Please check out the link to that post if you are interested. I for one was shocked, not. Needless to say, we were tired of American Airlines and decided to use all of our 100,000 miles on a domestic flight and go first class just to use them up so we didn’t have to deal with booking 9-10 months in advance. So on Jan 28th of this year 2015, we booked flights from Denver to Newark and then return via JFK.
As in typical AA fashion, on August 1st we received an email that there was a minor change to our flight. I was not shocked but thought it might be an hour or so. However, our return flight route out of JFK had been discontinued and they rescheduled us on a flight that left 7 hours earlier than the original flight. I don’t know what you consider a minor change, but 7 hours is not a minor change. Surprisingly we were able to reschedule our flight but had to leave out of Newark and change planes in Dallas (again, fun). It wasn’t ideal, but at least we were able to leave close to our original flight times, minus the change in Dallas.
Well, the day of our flight came and everything was fine even though we arrived about a half-hour late (not shocked about that). However, the wheels fell off on the way home. We got to Newark two hours early and set there waiting for our flight. However, about an hour or so before our flight was supposed to take off, we found out that there was a maintenance issue and our plane was not going anywhere. So instead of calling all of the first-class passengers up first and getting them rerouted, etc we had to stand in line for almost an hour waiting to talk to one of the two unhappy gate agents while the agents at the gate next to us, set around chatting. On top of that, we found out we were going to miss the last flight out of Dallas and had to wait until the next morning. Ugh, Dallas, the last place I wanted to be. To add insult to injury, they booked us apart on two window seats in separate rows. This is how they treat “First Calls” passengers, separate them? It was utterly ridiculous, and I was fuming, but it only got worse.
I asked one of the grumpy agents to make sure we got our checked bags off the plane in Dallas otherwise we would have any toiletries, clothes, etc. I usually try to make sure to have extra stuff with us in case, but there were two flights after our flight, so I thought we would be ok even if we missed our connection. Sadly I learned my lesson and will always carry extra. Anyway, the agent supposedly took care of this and I was happy because I had been on the phone with AA for over an hour trying to deal with it, but kept getting hung up on or transferred or both. It was absolutely pathetic. So we finally had as much taken care of as we could in Newark and set around for another hour and a half until our plane took off, 5 hours after we had arrived at the airport 🙁 At least we were a little bit closer to getting home.
After a few drinks on the plane, I was feeling a little better until we get to Dallas, and guess what? NO LUGGAGE. Which meant no clothes, no brush, toothpaste, etc. We had already been sitting around for about 8 or more hours and I was supposed to sleep in the same clothes and then wear them home the next day? I don’t know about you, but that is disgusting! But no one at the airport seemed to care, especially the even grumpier Dallas gate agents. My husband said he wasn’t even going to take a shower to show people what AA did to us until I pointed out that no one would know that he smelled because of AA’s incompetence.
The other wonderful thing that AA did to us in Dallas was to give us a hotel in an area that was almost a half-hour away from the airport instead of the hotel right at the airport. It just added more time to our already long and annoying day. I guess First Class doesn’t mean anything to AA except that they charge you more money for the convince of being treated badly.
We got to the airport early the next morning and had to deal with TSA crap again (always my favorite part of flying, NOT), but at least the line wasn’t that long and we didn’t have to wait too long. What we did have to wait on was our plane again. It was delayed a half an hour. Granted it was only half an hour, but it was another half an hour of a nightmare experience I would never want to repeat. All said and done, we landed in Denver 24 hours exactly from when we were supposed to have taken off from Newark. As I said, I should have carried on extra clothes and toiletries, but I thought we would be ok. Boy was I wrong, and I should have known better with AA. Lesson learned, but none of this would have happened had AA not been incompetent, and it wouldn’t have been as bad had they treated their passengers better, especially their “First Class” passengers.
The only bright thing I can say about the whole experience was the fact that the flight attendants on the flight to and from Dallas were very nice. Especially Eric on our flight from DFW to DEN. He was friendly and went out of his way to make our flight better after hearing about our nightmare, Kudos to him! Thank you, Eric. Wish the rest of AA had his caring attitude. If you have any other choice, PLEASE DO NOT FLY AMERICAN!!!!
UPDATE: Finally heard back from AA who thought that a goodwill offering of a $200 voucher would be satisfactory. This is not acceptable in the least! The last person I talked to said that they compensate for delays, maintenance, etc, but not for the personal inconvenience, etc. However, they will make a note of it and see if they can get some of these issues addressed. Well, how does that help us? It doesn’t. I thought that was very unprofessional and rude. You screw up, you do your best to fix it. Just proves how crappy a company AA is and that they don’t care about word of mouth. I gave them time to make this right before I shared this post publicly, but apparently, they don’t care. We used their ridiculous vouchers (on Alaska, thank you very much), and are done with American Airlines. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, DO NOT FLY AMERICAN AIRLINES IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE!
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