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KRo
01-13-2009, 07:14 PM
I had quite a horrific experience with an American Airline ticket agent so much so I was compelled to write my first letter of complaint. The letter is as follows:

I have been flying American Airlines for the last 26 years and have
never before felt compelled to write a letter of complaint. However
after our recent experience I feel American Airlines needs to be aware
of how a certain ticket agent has chosen to represent the airline.

On December 21st, my husband and I had a reservation on flight 337
(service from LaGuardia to O'Hare). This agent's behavior could only be
compared to that of an insolent child. She was rude, unwilling to
listen, combative and refused to perform her job. Frankly, I have never
dealt with a more unpleasant ticket agent nor have I ever had to argue
with anyone in order to get them to perform their job.

The situation began when we were unable to get our boarding passes from
the self check in machine.We were directed to a line by an airport
employee to speak with a ticket agent.

The first available agent was 44B. She seemed rather put out from the
moment we walked up to the counter. When asked, my husband informed her we were on the 3:40 flight to Chicago. After checking her computer once, she informed us there was not a 3:40 flight to Chicago and instantly
became dismissive.

Due to bad weather in the morning, we had been calling the 800 number to verify flight 337's departure time. Thanks to these calls, we were well
aware of both the flight number and the departure time.

While I was trying to inform her of this information, she began talking
over me. She kept insisting there was not a flight to Chicago at 3:40
and could not be bothered to look up the flight number. Instead, she
continued to argue with me over the existence of this flight and
creating reasons to refuse to look up the flight number. Apparently
verbally stating a flight number was not sufficient enough.

As a representative of American Airlines, she made it clear she was
uninterested in helping us. Instead, she became increasingly
argumentative. We still had a flight to catch and had already waited
half an hour to speak with her. Despite her lack of help, I continued to
ask her to look up the flight number.

My persistence made her even more combative. Simply, she refused to do
anything other than heatedly tell us there wasn't a 3:40 flight to
Chicago. The woman had the gall to yell at us.

Once she finally looked up the flight number, she was able to find our
reservation. I asked if our frequent flyer numbers were in the
reservation (this was one of the problems with the self check-in machine). She literally told me she was not going check for someone
who was on stand by. I don't know where that came from especially since
we were never on stand by (not to mention she was printing out our
boarding passes). At the end of this exchange, I asked her for her name
which she refused to tell me.

Behavior like this is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. The
overall experience was unbelievable. I wanted to report this incident
immediately but was unable to do so before my flight boarded. I
literally spent an hour and a half trying to speak to a supervisor.
Airport personal sent me on a wild goose chase and the gate agent at D2
made it clear she was also uninterested in retaining my business (she
told me she would not contact a supervisor unless I told her the
situation. I began to tell her the story and she started talking to
another American Airlines representative. It took her a minute before
she realized I had stopped even trying to tell her the situation. She
then told me I should have reported this situation elsewhere. Had she
been listening, she would have heard me say I had been sent to the wrong
location on multiple occasions including baggage claim. She stated she
would contact a supervisor and that I would need a print out. She
claimed there was a problem with her printer and that she would have it
printed out for me. She called for a supervisor once. 45 minutes later,
our group number was called and we boarded the plane without the print
off or speaking to a supervisor).

I sent an email of this complaint in to my travel agent who then passed the information on to her American Airlines rep. I asked specific questions about whether or not this behavior would be considered acceptable and what they plan on doing to prevent other passengers from having a similar experience. I received a generic response back from Americans Airlines today saying they were sorry for the inconvenience I experienced while using the self check-in machine and that they need to work on their customer service.

I attempted to salvage my relationship with this airline but they have made it rather clear that my I'm a fool for doing so. In the future, I will let price dictate which airline I fly since loyalty only gets you a round with 44B. Best of luck to anyone who has the misfortune of dealing with this ticket agent.

countrynewsman
01-13-2009, 09:11 PM
About all I can say is that I got off the "Loyalty Trip" a long time ago and, as you say, let price dictate which airline I fly. As a result, I have frequent flyer miles scattered all over various carriers, but frankly don't care.

jimworcs
01-14-2009, 12:22 AM
The only way this will be resolved is to stop using the airlines. It would be great if frequent flyers would not only stop using them, but after a year, write to them again and tell them how many miles you have done on other airlines, so that it is clear how much business they have lost.
Unfortunately, the current political climate in the US is very protectionist towards the monopolistic airlines. We need people to lobby their congressman about the behaviour of airlines towards their customers. Frankly, they are hidden monopolies. People think that since deregulation there has been an increase in competition. In fact, this is a false perception. In fact, the airlines have built up "fortress hubs" in which they dominate city pairs, and avoid directly competing on many routes. We need to lobby for the re-regulation and the break up of these monoliths. This will increase competition and improve overall service, as it did for the communications industry.

Silent Bob
01-14-2009, 02:21 AM
I think your first big mistake (and not sayin its your fault) was that you argued with that counter agent 30 minutes too long. If you saw she was givin you a hard time about the flight number and stating you were on standby, you should have walked away to another agent. Personally I would never talk with another agent who acted in that manner, especially if she didn't even know or refused to look up the flight number you knew was correct. And I'm with you countrynewsman, I let price dictate who I fly with... however I am prone to fly United more often than not.