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Old Dec 18, 2010, 2:13 PM
jenines jenines is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Angry Worst Flight Experience in 35 Years, and AA doesn't Care!

In July of this year, our flight out of Detroit was slightly delayed due to a storm. We left a few minutes late, made some time up in air and landed nearly on time. However, there was no gate available in Dallas and we had to wait on the plane for about 30 minutes. We were told no worries, our flights were being held. When we arrived at the gate, there was a line of about 50 people and we were told by the attendant that our flight was told to leave early and there were no more flights out. Also that she was leaving soon for the day, and we had to go to another gate to get rebooked. We stood in line for over an hour. There was one attendant to take care of all these folks. We finally got rebooked to reach our destination, but were told there were no overnight accommodations and we would have to sleep on a cot. On cots - really? With a Senior and two small children? The next morning, they rebooked us twice because flights we were scheduled on weren't going to leave the ground due to mechanical issues. At this point we had been in Dallas airport for over 16 hours with only their airport junkfood to eat and no vouchers. I noticed a supervisor and was finally able to get my father to speak to her. Noticing the multiple attempts to get us to our destination were unsuccessful, she rebooked us on an oversold flight with priority booking. We ran to the next gate. Only to have them board the entire flight and not hear our names called. At this point I was scared and in tears. It was looking like a second night in Dallas airport due to an airline with poor planes and poor customer care. I later wrote AA about this experience and was told better luck next time. I wrote them again to express my feelings about their lack of customer care and was told, "We have received your most recent email and want to take this additional opportunity to apologize, once again, for your and your family's interrupted travel. I can understand your continued disappointment. After review and at the risk of disappointing you further, our position remains unchanged. I am sorry. Still, your comments enable us to understand things from our customers' perspective. It would be a privilege to welcome you aboard soon." Of course, I have no intention of ever flying American Airlines again; neither do my family members, nor do our businesses! It's not about the delay, it's about the complete lack of customer care - both during the experience and after! American Airlines simply does not care about their Advantage or frequent flyer customers, or any other customer for that matter!
Old Dec 18, 2010, 6:41 PM
seeker80 seeker80 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 14

I am sorry for your experience, but I am surprised a woman who is old enough to have two children is just now learning a well known fact. The airlines do not care? Of course they don't. They never have.

Here is how it works. Most Americans (and citizens of advanced nations) deal in a world where a service is offered, you pay for it and if the service is not delivered as agreed upon, you receive some compensation (even if it is only a sincere apology).

This is not the world the airlines inhabit. They devise a plan which relies on everything going perfectly (the weather will be sunny, planes will not break, employees will show up) and have puny/non-existent contingencies when they do not. Every day (especially the winter) is a fly by the seat of your pants (pun intended) world where they make it up as they go along (standby/other airlines/tell you tough luck).

Here is how I approach the airlines. I will be working a NFL game on the 2nd. We always allow additional time/day when our crew travels to anticipate the "uncertainites" of the airlines. I was offered tix to the Orange Bowl in Miami on Jan 3. If I had chosen to go it would have required booking the last flight out or the first in the morning and a connection. I decided to pass. I had no confidence I would make it even though it was a night game on the 3rd. I don't want to watch the game in a bar in the Atlanta airport so I will just go home.

I would submit that you should approach air travel in a like fashion. Expect delays, cancellations and their not being prepared to accommodate you when the service fails. You MUST be the one prepared because at the end of the day, if they get you there in the same week as your original flight date their attitude is, "you should be grateful we got you there at all".

They are all the same and it will only get worse as they consolidate. But if you want to continue to tilt at the AA windmill, they should eventually give you vouchers of some kind which only means you get to gamble on their service again.

Good luck.
Old Dec 18, 2010, 7:00 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

You should have filed the complaint with the DOT. If you flight left only slightly late and arrived on time, the failure to get a gate is not a "weather" delay. You should therefore be entitled to hotel costs and vouchers. However, you did not incur hotel costs because you chose to sleep on the cots provided. The airlines seek the most tenuous link to weather to deny you compensation. Seeker is right.. the airlines don't care.. you can only change carriers and deny them your business and lobby for re-regulation of the industry. There is no alternative.
Old Dec 19, 2010, 5:28 PM
jenines jenines is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2

Trust me, sleeping on cots was not a choice. We asked to speak with supervisors & everything else. No one else ever came to the gate & we were given no other options! How do you file a complaint with the DOT? I've never been in a situation where an airline doesn't assist you when there are delays before & was completely apalled & frightened quite honestly.
Old Dec 20, 2010, 1:18 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

I realise it wasn't a "choice" in the sense that you wanted to do it, I mean that had you made the choice to go to a hotel at your own expense, I think you would have a reasonable chance of getting this reimbursed, if you could prove that your flight landed on time. Because you didn;t have this expense, you may not be able to prevail. You should however, complain to the DOT. There is a link to the online complaints section of the DOT in the Quick Links line at the top of the page. Good luck.

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