If you're wondering how to turn a dream experience with a young child at Disney's Magic Kingdom into a nightmare, maybe you should consider flying with American Airlines.
We flew from Santiago to Orlando, via Miami, and those flights were not bad, other than taking off later than they were scheduled to depart. But, lets give AA the benefit of the doubt and let's think that they maybe didn't get timely clearance from the airports.
Had a lovely time the five days we went to theme parks and had a field day at stores shopping.
Departure day from Orlando: Arrived well ahead of check in time to return rented car and process the 4 pieces of checked in luggage allowed on the flight. Had pre checked online, so check in went quickly and smoothly. I was originally scheduled to depart Orlando on 11 February at 4:05 pm, flying on a LATAM 9051 operated by American Airlines. The flight was to stop in Miami, where we would catch our connecting flight, to arrive in Santiago, Chile (our final destination) on 12 February at 7:45 am.
Boarding time came and went. When we finally made it into the plane, just to be kept waiting just shy of one and a half hours. No entertainment, no refreshments. Although, by going to the back I was able to score two tiny water bottles to at least keep my 5 year old granddaughter and myself hydrated. Erratic announcements about the status of one of the plane's motor, letting us know over and over again that maintenance was checking the motor and just that as soon as they knew if the plane was fly worthy they would let us know. Although, the length of time that they were checking the problem, preempted the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Around 6 pm - we were finally herded off the plane to join a lengthy queue of passengers needing to be rerouted or given food and accommodation vouchers. Although the line up was mainly adult men traveling alone, AA staff refused to first issue vouchers to people traveling with young children. By the time I made it to the counter two and half hours later, it was past my granddaughters bedtime and she had not even had dinner yet. By the time I reached the service counter and was given hotel and food vouchers it was 9 pm and the food court of the airport was closed. So, we ended up eating at a restaurant where the voucher needed to be topped up and the service was not quick either. From there, we went to catch the shuttle that would take us to the hotel. We waited and waited, and waited. Finally, having no working cell phone in USA, I had to ask a kind flight assistant to call the hotel I was assigned to to ask them to send a shuttle. After four calls, and being put on hold twice she finally got through. We made it to the hotel by 11 pm.
We were told we were put on another flight (American 112) for the following day /12 February), leaving Orlando at 2:30 pm. We promptly arrived at Orlando's airport well before noon to check on the status of our luggage. Being assured that everything had been processed to go on to Miami on that day's flight, looking into AA luggage storage room, the first thing I see is our brand new stroller clearly identified and tagged in its original box, yet obviously not processed as I was told. Looked on the screen and the gate remained the same as in our boarding passes. Turned out that the flight we were booked was oversold. So much so, that when the flight left the boarding area was still full of people waiting to get on a flight to Miami. I was assured that we would get on the following flight. We were then put on standby for a 4pm flight to Miami, that same day, but, again with no assigned seat. The flight was overbooked so, once again, we were not able to depart. I had to speak to a supervisor who finally got me and my five year old granddaughter on the 6 pm flight to Miami. The flight was scheduled to leave Orlando at 6 pm (AA1354) and then Miami to Santiago at 19:15 (AA225). Finally!
Boarding went without a hitch. Yet the plane sat on the tarmac not going anywhere. We were eventually informed that the loading supervisor could not allow the plane to take off because the plane was not loaded properly and the weight was not distributed correctly. There went another 45 minutes sitting on the plane. Of course, by the time we got to Miami AA staff were waiting for us to let us know that we had missed the connecting flight to Santiago, but that we were now booked on a 9 pm flight that same night. A few minutes shy of 9 pm we were told that the pilot was sick, that a replacement could not be found and that we were going to be issued vouchers for accommodation and food. Refusing to put my grandchild through the same thing that the day before, I asked to be given vouchers first on account of being with a young child. I must say that the lady that looked after us did it in a professional and speedy manner - unlike the American Airlines staff in Orlando.
We were then put on standby on an AA flight leaving at 22:45 (AA957). We waited to board and then were told that flight was cancelled. We had to again wait hours to get our hotel voucher.
We were then put on another flight (AA957), leaving Miami at 10:15 am. We did not have seats assigned, but finally managed to board. When we finally got on the plane to Santiago, I knew that between American Airlines and Latam, they had singlehandedly managed to cure me of my love for travel. Four days of wearing the same clothes was a disgusting experience.
We finally arrived in Santiago, days after our scheduled arrival, only to find that none of our luggage arrived with us. Another line up to start the claim process for lost or "misplaced" luggage. Three of my suitcases arrived three days later. The fourth travelled to Saudi Arabia before eventually making it to Santiago, even though the correct tags were on it. I picked my last bag myself at the airport because AA had no driver available.
Overall, it was a nightmare to travel with American Airlines, while LATAM was completely absent. I was extremely disappointed by the customer service, in addition, and what seems to be a complete lack of compensation policy.