In-flight Issue
COMPLAINT: Horrible Service on AA943 MIA-EZE in First Class

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Old Jun 3, 2007, 3:32 AM
ghillier ghillier is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1

I am an AA Platinum for life AAdvantage Member and was shocked at the service - or lack thereof, as a First Class Passenger on AA943 from Miami to Buenos Aires on April 28, 2007. Despite the fact that less than half of the seats in First were filled, the Purser on this flight - a woman who reeked of tobacco and a sour disposition, could'nt have been slower or less motivated to provide the most basic service. After take-off, the dinner service was rushed so the Purser could disappear. No wine was offered with the meal, no snacks or other goodies that the menu promised ever materialized and, most incredibly, I was denied a second bottle of water because, the Purser claimed "We are catered for only 1 bottle of water per passenger." On a 9 hour flight ? In a Premium Cabin ? I was brought a watered down Diet Coke an hour later. The Purser's Assistant, also a Purser I found out later, sat in the galley and listened to the Bose headphones and read a book all the way to Buenos Aires. If this was'nt bad enough, Customer relations at AA has only sent me a terse apology although I did receive a call from a Flight Services Manager in Buenos Aires who argued that "The woman is question has never received a complaint in 40 years." RIGHT ! Perhaps it's time for retirement. I am trying to get a mileage reinstatement for some of the miles I wasted to take this trip.
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Old Sep 7, 2007, 4:58 PM
AADFW AADFW is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 117

As a frequent overseas premium class customer, I couldn't sympathize more with this post. While many of the F/As at AA offer outstanding, caring, and attentive customer service, I can't tell you how often I encounter older-than-average pursers and F/As who couldn't care less and are overtly annoyed by even the most modest customer request.

Many older F/As with years of seniority know that customer complaints aren't going to put their job in jeopardy. They also know from experience that a vast majority of customers will simply not complain about poor or inadequate in-flight service. This problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.

I do have some advice for when you're in the middle of a flight with really poor or rude service. There are a number of things you can say which may cause a rapid change in attitude:

1.) Try chat up and "become friends" with the friendly F/As on other flights and ask for the name(s) of the international and/or transcon purser manager(s) for each major (hub) city you fly to/from most frequently. When you're getting really bad service, you can "name drop" casually.

For instance, you can say something like "Gee, only one bottle of water per passenger? I'd better have a word with my friend (insert MIA purser manager name) so he can call catering in EZE." I'll bet you the F/A on your flight would have offered you at least marginally better service upon hearing such a comment.

2.) If you don't use the technique above, you can also make vailed references to a "check ride." Check rides are conducted in cognitio by AA managers to assess F/A safety compliance and customer service.

One important note where this is concerned: NEVER say that you are an AA employee if you are not. Rather, it would be acceptable to say, "Gee, only one bottle of water per passenger? I guess it's a good thing this isn't a check ride!" Then watch as the horrified F/A snaps to attention, thinking that you are evaluating his/her onboard performance (since 99.99% of customers have no idea about this).

3.) As a measure of last resort, never be afraid to respectfully ask an employee for his or her name if you are very dissatisfied. Do this even if he/she is wearing a name tag. It will almost always backfire to argue with or yell at an F/A during the flight, but calmly asking for a name is often enough to make a hostile or lazy F/A think twice about his or her words and actions. If the offending F/A refuses to give you a name, stay in your seat and ask to speak to the captain or FO once the plane has landed and is fully deplaned, then ask him or her for the offending F/As name. And if you're really upset, demand to speak with a ground supervisor at the gate upon arrival. Insist that they document your customer experience in your "PNR" and get their name (and business card, if possible) to include in your formal written complaint to AA.

Just don't forget: NEVER attempt to confront crew members about poor service while in-flight, especially in a hostile or aggressive manner!

I hope this helps, and happy flying!

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