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Old Mar 25, 2008, 6:07 PM
tlb tlb is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1
Thumbs down Lost Connections TO & FRO Dominican Republic.

This past February, my friend and I booked a last minute vacation to the Dominican Republic (DR) leaving from Philadelphia and connecting in Puerto Rico (no choice for a direct flight from Philly which is why Philly sucks as an origin point fyi..)

On the way there arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico fine, I kid you not, we someone managed to miss our connecting flight to Puerto Plata, DR sitting - let me say again - SITTING at the gate. Yes, part of this I attribute to myself not being more pro-active, *however*, there was NEVER a final boarding call in English at least, and they certainly did not bother to call out missing passengers names - which I know they do. The bad luck was that we happened to be at a gate with many other people who were on a DIFFERENT flight when we assumed they were on our flight. The airline staff spoke very fast in Spanish and never announced they were closing the flight. It's a ridiculous mistake and by the time we asked about it, it was too late. Since there is only one flight a day, they had to re-route us to a neighboring city (2 hours away which we had to pay for a cab to our original destination). Not a great way to kick start your vacation, but it's a bit of stupidity on both AA and our part.

That however is not where the problems really ended. On our return flight, we arrive extra early to the Puerto Plata airport and are sitting at the gate. I'm paranoid now, so I ask the check-in employee, "Is this flight to San Juan leaving from here?... At this time..??" , etc... The answers are yes, yes. A few minutes later we hear some commotion at a nearby desk and go to find out what's going on. We hear the AA employee trying to appease a group of passengers who have just found out that our flight (the one I just asked about) is now delayed at least 2 hours due to mechanical problems. ISSUE #1: No announcement was EVER made on the loud speaker. All the information we found from talking to that one employee. We asked him why? He said...."Pretty much everyone who is affected is right here...." Pretty much!!!??? I mean, what kind of careless attitude is that? Later on, other passengers who were not as pro-active found out by accident and demanded to know why no announcement was made.

As a result of our delay, there is no way we can make our connecting flight to Philadelphia. People going to other parts in the US were fine as they could be rerouted through Miami, but we could not.

ISSUE #2: AA refused to make available a way for passengers to call and make other flight arrangements. The AA employees at the DR airport could not see flight connections from Puerto Rico, so with two hours on our hands, all we want to do is call ahead and find out how we can get to Philly (even on a different airline) or NYC from Puerto Rico. They should absolutely supply a courtesy phone to use. At the very least, the AA employees should be able to tell a US passenger what PHONE NUMBER to call from their airport!!! But nooooo. They don't know anything. They are absolutely clueless. So we try dialing from the public phone using credit cards, from our wireless phones, calling all kinds of main numbers for American Airlines which DO NOT WORK. This might be the clincher to how completely unprofessional, uninformed and reckless this company is operated. I understand things happen, but it's what you do when sh*t goes wrong that determines, whether your company is worth a damn. Making phone calls, supplying phone numbers - I mean, c'mon this is simple stuff!!!

We finally land in Puerto Rico, and now we have to go through Customs there. After that, we finally stand in a long line of angry AA passengers to talk to the desk employees about getting home. The best they can do for us? Check this out: They can put us on a flight to Baltimore which landed at midnight. Then they wanted us to wait 6 hours in that airport until a flight to Philly left at 6am. Since it's 6 hours, there would really be no point in going to a hotel and coming back. That's it; that's all they can do OR we stay over an extra night in Puerto Rico and catch our original timed flight the next night (there's only one every day!). I, myself, had work and could not afford to miss a whole days time so we flew to Baltimore.

By the way, we're so hungry and tired and exhausted, we wanted to pass the hell out. My friend was sick on top of it, but there was no time to eat before the stupid flight to Baltimore left so we couldn't even use our meal vouchers! And let me just say that we board the plane and they start rolling the food cart around - I show this steward guy our meal vouchers and ask if we can use them to pay for some food, and the jerk says NO. I mean what the hell kind of customer service is that? We're talking about a few dollars, passengers who have been traveling ALL DAY and are so worn out and an AA employee can't even have the common sense to find a way to accept my meal voucher which AA authorized anyway??

It's downright mean how they treat passengers in these circumstances.
That is why they should pay or compensate each and every person they put through this hell, because it's way beyond money, beyond inconvenience - it's your life they are toying with for 24 hours or more, and it's unacceptable.
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