View Full Version : Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked What's with all of the mechanical problems?

Oct 10, 2010, 3:01 PM
I generally like American Airlines but lately I'm starting to be a little concerned about their airplanes. They're old and with that comes a greater likelihood of mechanical problems. A family member of mine recently traveled from Los Angeles to the Caribbean. What an adventure that turned out to be! I admire him for taking it all in stride.

He had an overnight flight to Miami. While sitting at the gate at LAX an hour before departure the passengers were told that there was a mechanical problem with the plane. They did have another plane available and were told to move to another gate. Boarding took place an hour late. The plane taxied to the runway, then moved out of the line and went back to the gate. The captain told the passengers there was a problem with the fuel pump and maintenance was looking at it. Two hours later, the captain told the passengers the problem couldn't be fixed. The flight was cancelled. It was now 2:00 in the morning. That meant, of course, he would miss his connecting flight. To make matters worse, there is only one flight a day to that particular Caribbean destination and the next day's flight was full so he couldn't get on it. Thankfully, another airline had room on their flight so he got on that one. AA arranged for that so I give them credit for that. He got to his vacation 24 hours late. Good thing he wasn't on a cruise or he would have missed the ship.

Return flight home, the flight to Miami was uneventful and arrived on time. Flight from Miami to LA - same problem!! They did board the plane on time, mechanical problem with the plane, everyone got off and moved to another gate at the other end of the terminal - 40 gates away. All of the luggage had to be offloaded and put onto new plane. Plane departs two hours late. At least it wasn't cancelled.

So, bottom line, 3 planes on his trip were taken out of service due to mechanical problems. I know that AA has a lot of planes and this is going to happen, but really American Airlines, this is excessive. I've traveled AA quite a bit myself and have had some problems but generally they're pretty good. I have noticed, however, that many of their planes are old. Probably older than the industry average.

Oct 10, 2010, 5:16 PM
we recently flew AA a few days ago from ORD-FRA. we were told that there was a mechanical problem with the plane and the crew was told to stand by and not show yet as the flight could be cancelled...not good for us considering we had a connection from FRA-LEJ that we could be missing now. about 1 hour later we were told they called the crew and the mechanical problem was fixed and we SHOULD be leaving tonight. 2 hours later after that the crew showed up and we were boarding the plane. the plane we were on looked like from the inside it just came out of the hanger and they swapped airplanes at the last minute, our 767's arent exactly top of the line either but AA"s even made our 767's look brand spanking new. we ended up missing our connection in FRA and had to wait 8 hours for the next flight to LEJ. thankfully our travel dept. put us up in a hotel. it wasn't fun. then the pilot told us that they did swap aircraft. so the other plane wasn't even fixed...lies. by the time we got to fra- we traveled for 31 hours...UGH

Oct 12, 2010, 12:31 AM
It's hard to say if they really have a bigger problem than other airlines or not. Keep in mind they have a large fleet (619 aircraft according to their website) and of those, 247 are MD80's. The MD80 is an aging aircraft (to say the least) and will be more prone to a mechanical problem.

Are they cutting corners? Who knows. But the statistics are kind of stacked against them. Other than the MD80 the main stay of their fleet is 757's and 737-800's. The 737's are still new enough to be reliable, but the 757's are getting up there in their years. It's a much better plane than the MD80, but still aging.

Cortney - OK, I understand they said it was fixed but instead brought a plane from the hangar. Does that mean that the gate staff outright lied? No. Even if they did lie, is it really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things? You as an airline employee should know that there are cases where the simplest explanation take the least time and is easier when in the end it doesn't truly matter. It's very likely that the problem was worse than they thought, so instead of delaying you more they pulled a plane from the hangar that was in the hangar with something much simpler that could be MEL'd.

Oct 12, 2010, 9:35 AM
trust me, i know things happen. we just had a plane divert to ATL for a mechanical problem, we are down 2 planes now. it was the fact that he said we SHOULD be leaving tonight (which we kept our spirits up and joked about it) we (as flight attendants traveling for company business) had to know if we were going to or not since we HAD to be in LEJ the next day so we could work our flight. i dont care there was a mechanical problem and whether they fixed it or just swapped a/c, i dont care about that either, just use the CRM and tell me the same thing, not different things, it looks bad on the company. bottom line is that we made it to FRA and eventually to LEJ (only 8 hours late) but we made it!! i would still take this AA flight over ANY air india flight any day