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COMPLAINT: Highlights From Nightmare Flying American Airlines AA Flight 407 –Boston to Phoenix

 
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Old Aug 1, 2016, 6:24 PM
Aspasias_Attic Aspasias_Attic is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Glendale, AZ
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Highlights from flying American Airlines AA Flight 407 –Boston to Phoenix - 7/20/16

I’d describe myself as a seasoned traveler…so I’ve pretty much experienced or seen just about everything that can happen in an airport/airplane… while also remembering the top-notch customer service everyone received… because they were so thankful & appreciative that with all of the choices out there, we had chosen to fly with them…The conditions that we’re forced to endure nowadays in order to fly are simply de-humanizing & absurd…Ivan & I were flying out of AZ to NH in order to introduce our 15 ˝ months old daughter her to her grandparents for the 1st time…I’d last flown to NH with AA in 2010 & everyone was so wonder & helpful to me as I’ve suffered from chronic pain for many years, due to several degenerative conditions, as well as Anxiety & ADHD, & I was fully assisted whenever I requested it… with respect & kindness &..never humiliated, badgered or victimized, by anyone before this...I’ve also recently suffered from a touch of postpartum & was diagnosed with high blood pressure & thyroid disease… & I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a struggle every single day…
I’d never had a problem checking a slightly overweight bag before & was confident that a few extra pounds would be overlooked as always before. It was difficult enough traveling with a baby, who’d want to hassle us over something so trivial? Although we were fully prepared to redistribute weight as necessary from our checked bag into our carry-ons, just in case. The lovely woman checked our slightly overweight bag (a mere 58 pounds) without even a comment. In the same polite & respectful manner, she also checked our stroller & its detachable car seat/base without us having to tell her to as it was obvious that they also needed to be checked …
Ivan was still surprised & asked about the extra weight to which the charming woman smiled again & explained that she was allowed some leeway when checking bags & that she gave those traveling with babies as much leeway as possible. Ivan said that we were lucky to have gotten her to which she responded that as far as she knew, all AA associates would have seen our situation & did exactly what she had & that had always been my experience. She added that it wasn’t right to force customers to pay more money for a few extra pounds & that had always been my experience when flying. Still worried, Ivan shared that he was flying home on July 4th…. & that I’d be flying alone with the baby on July 20th , & with my limitations due to my physical & emotional ailments, he didn’t think I would have the strength to make it through the entire process alone. She smiled again & told him not to worry, if a single woman flying alone with her baby needed assistance, all I had to do was ask for it & help would quickly arrive…
On July 20th, I was dropped at the airport some distance from its entrance & before I had completely exited with my baby, an AA employee came out of nowhere & began to run away with my bags. I’d much rather he hadn’t forced himself upon me as I’d prefer to get settled, put Cassandra into her carrier sack & then go at my own pace with the inside check-in desks. Apparently, it wasn’t a choice as he began to check in the stroller portion of my transportation system while assuring me that he would be far faster than anyone inside. Leaving me no choice…Now, if this employee had simply treated me in a professional manner & completed the process of checking in my bag, car seat/base & stroller to completion, just as his counterpart had managed to do when we flew out of AZ, rather than taunting me & turning…extremely frustrating & difficult situation into some type of twisted game…then I imagine that I would have never endured the additional physical, emotional, verbal & psychological abuses that I had, along with the violations of my civil rights (as it became evident that I was being victimized for being a woman with a baby & no man in sight, with disabilities to boot)...
The same bag that had weighed 58 pounds when we flew out of AZ, incident free, now weighed only 55 pounds so I was certainly not worried about it being accepted in Boston. The man who had grabbed my bags without any consent or permission informed me that my bag was 5 pounds’ overweight & that I had to remove the weight or pay an additional $150.00 on top of the $25.00 I’d already paid him to check it… which resulted in a horribly embarrassing, emotionally wrought & physically painful exercise... after being reduced to sweat, tears, & reiterating that I was a chronic pain patient with degenerative conditions & it was very difficult for me to keep lugging this heavy bag off & back onto his scale…He refused to call for assistance, for a supervisor & refused to treat me like a human being despite my obvious condition…Regardless, I understood that rules were rules & had no choice but to comply. He had all the power, not me…
I’d arrived with plenty of time to make my flight. I took my baby out of her car seat still attached to its car base & handed it to the same man who had just checked the stroller portion a moment beforehand…he announced that he wouldn’t check the heavy & cumbersome car seat/base because suddenly, the airplane was no longer accepting any more checked items. This was the most absurd statement he’d made to me yet & it was completely unreasonable for him to force me to add that to my already overwhelming load…I couldn't believe that he was being so unreasonable & unhelpful. If he had simply left me the stroller portion, rather than being in such a hurry to check it, it would have been the only assistance I needed…Craziness. How was I to interpret his actions as anything else but malicious & possibly criminal?
He instructed me to drag my overwhelming load to the 1st desk inside as they would check it for me & I came to the same dead-end… also refused to call for a supervisor, or for a wheelchair, or for any other means of assistance, in order for me to continue through without needlessly enduring additional pain, anxiety, elevated blood pressure & a consuming depression... At this point, all I wanted was something with wheels as I was now more than willing to forget all about a supervisor & the pointless requests for physical assistance…I was certain that they’d check my car seat/base at the gate…then I was instructed that I could not leave the check-in area until I spoke to the 2 men at a podium…
The two men that I was sent to work with, by the counter people, tried to make me drag everything back to the same counter people…again. What was absolutely amazing to me at this point was how I did everything that I was told to & not once did anyone I encountered up to that point feel the urge to do even one thing I asked for, such as call for assistance or a supervisor. It was truly unbelievable to me. I politely refused to do so as the counter people had sent me to them & it was pointless to go backwards…
No one was willing to call the gate or a supervisor in order to find out if the car seat/base was the tremendous problem that they had made it into & as an extra bonus, although I arrived with plenty of time (most of it wasted by these people) & complied with every instruction up to that point, I was told that any suffering... I was experiencing was all my fault…When really, all of these people had to do, was assist me…so that I could move through the airport safely without causing further harm to myself or harming my baby while also juggling everything else...
After failing to send me back to the counter…I was trying & pull myself together while the younger, Hispanic employee chastised me…I kept my mouth shut. I was pulling everything together while they were scratching their heads wondering what to do with me, Cassandra, who’d been an absolute champ up to this point (honestly, I cried far more than she did throughout this whole experience) became restless… She appeared safe & content for the time being & with the older man assuring me that I could take my eyes off of her while pulling everything together as his younger co-worker was a father & was familiar with watching over babies…not even a full minute passed before the so-called parent, was angrily handing me my baby & he…yelled at a complete stranger & a paying customer in need of assistance, that he was a better father than I was a mother… I tried to deal with my baby while he continued to badger me with horrible insults, while the older man just stood there grinning like an idiot. That was simply all of the abuse that I could handle in 1 hour or so …
As no one was stopping his tirade or telling him to back away from me as he came into uncomfortable proximity to my baby & myself & I was truly scared to find out what he might do next, I felt the necessity to raise my voice & continue demanding a supervisor in order to defend myself & Cassandra. The older man decided that the next best thing to do in this situation was to point at a police officer, who had apparently noticed the escalating situation, & threatened me with arrest rather than call a supervisor…Refusing to back down & the state trooper refusing to arrest me & send my baby to wherever… the older man first sent the younger one away (certainly not for my benefit as I’m rather certain it was to protect his identity & job) & finally called for a supervisor…
Finally, a supervisor appeared and despite my multiple efforts to NOT be forced to run through the entire airport with my bags (the 2 men assisting me finally only managed to grab the lightest of my items) while also lugging the burdensome car seat/base and baby loosely held within all the way to my gate, it’s exactly what ended up happening…Before the supervisor scurried away, I again asked for the names of the last two men I’d encountered, which he was unable to give me but “assured” me that he would handle it. Doubtful that he really would, as he never gave me a chance to even explain what happened from my point of view, I asked for his name & was only given “Rudin” ...so there was no follow through at all …
I tried to recline my seat, as it made traveling with an infant on your lap far more comfortable, but to my continued frustration, it wouldn’t recline…I paged for an attendant. Fifteen minutes passed before anyone stopped to assist me, they passed by me a few times but they were determined to ignore me & wouldn’t even make eye contact with me….
When I ordered a second wine…the other loudly informed me that I would not be receiving anymore alcohol on this flight. Completely humiliated, not to mention confused as it sounded like she was shutting me off after only having one other wine an hour or two ago. I asked why that was so, as I’d never been given a drinks limit on any other flight (& I really didn’t need one on this most horrid of days) & was told that there is a limit of two alcoholic drinks per a flight & I was at my limit. When I said that was not true, she tried to strengthen her argument by adding that it was just like at any bar today. Being forty-one years old, & knowing that was complete rubbish. Being publically humiliated, again, as everyone turned to look at the supposed sloppy drunk woman & her baby being cut off, I was extremely hurt & emotional again, it was never ending… Clearly, I didn’t matter one bit to these people & they could just make up rules & enforce them regardless of their validity? I decided not to even bother complaining about my seat, what was the point?
A few hours had passed and I’d managed to keep Cassandra in a good mood & relatively quiet. So when refreshments were being offered one last time, I decided to give it a shot and asked for a third glass of wine (I could have polished off three bottles considering all of the abuses that I had endured already) and was pleasantly surprised when she checked her watch and declared that since we were only an hour away, I could have another wine. Aside from being extremely annoyed by her insane logic, it was clear that I had been treated rather unfairly and like a drunk beforehand, but I was grateful for the sudden change in her two-drink limit policy. I was left to wonder whether she had decided all on her own that I was a drunk or if one of the other horrible people I’d encountered had told her (texted, emailed, called, whatever) that I was a drunk or to treat me terribly. I’ll likely never know who had ratted me out, as I’d not drank any alcohol prior to boarding that plane and I was clearly sober, emotional, yes, but also sober. Regardless, as she did not make me pay for the third drink, I understood that to be her apology for being so cruel and difficult beforehand. Otherwise, I finally made it home and I’m rather certain that I will NEVER be able to fly again!
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american airlines, customer complaint, flying with baby, gender discrimination


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