AAL Flight #5957, DFW to CRP (Corpus Christi, Tx), Sunday, September 18, 2016. ... The scheduled 6:50 p.m. departure looked promising at first: Our plane was at the gate; the weather clear. Then the all-too predictable delays started, first a few minutes, moving later and later into the night as the agents explained they had mechanical issues. Of course, it's AAL, right?
As usual, shortly after announcing another delay and passengers are sent scrambling to another gate, the flight is cancelled. Nothing new here. Been there, done that. One too many times.
Weary travelers are then expected to wait in long lines to deal with inept, unpleasant, disheveled agents who are unable to get us to our destinations until two days later. Forget options of your own: They have their own system and it doesn't include reasonable flights on other airlines, which one can easily find on other airline sites.
Agent 1 left when it was my turn to plead my case, telling me that it was time to go, that she was "off" and I should get into the other line. All this without any kind of apology, smile, or acknowledgement that I had been standing in line for over an hour. Agent 2 attempted to get her to stay, but true to AAL's general attitude toward their customers, Agent 1 pointed to her watch and left.
By the time I got to Agent 2, I had found flights via United Airlines (UA) leaving Monday morning and asked to be rebooked on one of them. However, she was unable to find those UA flights "in her system," so repeated the same refrain: Basically, we can't help you get from DFW to CRP until Tuesday.
When I told her that was unacceptable, she escorted me to Agent 3, a "more experienced" agent, she said. Agent 3's first question: Why was the flight cancelled? Seriously? She's asking ME?
Agent 3, although patient, was clueless and finally decided the only way she could get me back to CRP on Monday was via San Antonio (SAT), where, she advised, I should rent a car and drive back to Corpus, assuring me that AAL would reimburse me. (Given AAL's lack of care and response, I doubt that ever happens.) ... I relented. By then, I had been at DFW for 8 hours and was ready to get out, even to the stinky, restaurant-less hotel where they booked me.
Early the next morning, I checked AAL's website, and lo and behold: They were still selling tickets for an 8:45 Monday morning flight to CRP! How can this callous, cavalier treatment of its customers be acceptable?
I fly frequently and have been for a long time, yet almost every time I fly AAL, there's a problem. (As an aside, I only fly AAL if there are no other options.) Sometimes it's simply a short delay (those are the good times); other times, the delays create havoc for those of us trying to make connections at DFW. I've missed connections for domestic and international flights (but am still obligated to pay for booked hotels I can't reach), witnessed one young woman crying when she realized the cancelled flight meant she would miss her sister's wedding, watched business men and women frantically rescheduling meetings, and one designate speaker for a conference in Dallas unable to make it there in time for his presentation. This is just a smattering of what I've observed over the years. After a similar ordeal not long ago, I sent a letter to several AAL executives. Not one bothered responding.
What compounds these major inconveniences is the general rudeness and ineptitude of too many of their agents, the lack of empathy, the lack of any real options provided by AAL to adequately address the issues from the passengers they just shafted.
Those of us unfortunate enough to fly AAL to and from smaller hubs via Envoy/American Eagle or Mesa/American Eagle know the m.o. all too well. Unfortunately, our choices in CRP are limited to only 3 carriers, so no doubt, this will happen again. And again.
I'm just another number, another paying customer to AAL, which boasts the largest fleet size in the world -- yet too often -- cited as mechanical problems -- they cannot find a viable option for getting its customers from Point A to Point B.