Airline Reviews: American Airlines

20 Feb

This one was SERIOUSLY NOT GOOD!

Date:

2013

Airline: 

American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (1 flight).  

Plane:

Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

This is where everything went VERY wrong on the part of American Airlines.  I ordered the tickets via CheapTickets.com, so the process was fairly simple.  They didn’t show up on the AA list before my flight though, so I had to have the email confirmation in hand.

MAJOR PROBLEM:

I was coming in from Seoul, South Korea and originally planned a three hour changeover from Korean Air international to a domestic American Airlines flight at LAX.   When the Korean Air flight had to go north to avoid a pretty large storm, it changed my changeover window to 1.5 hours. 

Still, according to the airline website, you need to arrive about 1-1.5 hours ahead of time for a domestic flight anyway, so I wasn’t actually late at all.  Since AA had access to my itinerary and the flight records, they would have known that my planed would arrive in time.  Figuring everything was okay, I showed up at the check-in counter only to be told I’m not on the flight list.  You can imagine the trauma that brought forth–my bags were scheduled to be put on the plane, my family was waiting on the other end for me to arrive, and suddenly I’m not there.  

Immediately I start asking questions; I had the confirmation number, I had the itinerary, I was on top of things. So what the heck went wrong?  I was shuffled off to a customer service kiosk,fwhere I waited in line 10 minutes trying to explain to VERY RUDE employees that I was now in a hurry.  They told me to just “wait my turn young lady” (very condescending btw), and then informed me that I had been deleted from the system. It wasn’t an accident at all–AA deleted me on purpose. Unable to answer my questions or resolve the issue, they sent me across the building to another kiosk with less than 45 minutes remaining before my plane left. After another 10 minute wait, I’m told that since my flight was late, they  had removed me from the roster. LATE?!?!?!  Since when?!?!?  I had a whole hour (as recommended by their directions) before I was supposed to leave on the AA plane! The only reason I was late now is because someone took me off the roster!  I was FURIOUS with them; they had no right to give away my seat when I showed up on time according to their own guidelines.   Finally, they said they thought they might be able to slide me in last minute, but I’d have to run and I wouldn’t get the seat I’d chosen. I was left with 20 minutes to get through security and run to the gate.  No apologies were offered, no discount, nothing to make up for the stress.  I arrived as the last people got on. While I made it onto the flight, this is one of the worst examples of service I have seen with an airline.

Baggage Allowance:

First/Business Class customers get 3 free checked bags all the time, but it differs for economy depending on your destination. You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger) and a carry-on.  If you want a checked bag, they cost around $30 each for the first 2. I prefer airlines with at least 1 free checked bag.

Boarding:

Yet again of the bad.  I arrived at the desk rushing up to ask if I had been added or not, and was yelled at because “you should have been here earlier, we’re boarding now, so you need to hurry up if you want to board”  (not the most polite response I’ve ever gotten).  Realizing that if I wasn’t on the flight, my bags might not be on the flight I attempted to ask about my luggage. Their response “Ma’am you need to get in line now.” Finally, I was obviously upset and a lovely cleaner woman stopped and asked if I was okay. After explaining my problem, she patted me on the shoulder and hurried off to stop the pilot walking by. She brought him over and he informed me that it should be okay (Thank you both if you read this; you saved me a great deal of grief).

In Flight:

I’ve yet to be impressed with AA flight attendants–their concept of customer service is one of the worst I’ve experienced. Food is horrid and there is little of it; drinks are hard to come by. There are few amenities, and the only entertainment was a tiny tv at the front that you couldn’t really see and the microphones were broken.  Trying to sleep didn’t work because the flight was cramped; and I ended up crushed in the middle when I wanted an aisle seat.  We still arrived late.

Only positive–for the first time since I’ve been flying with them, the AA plane had a fairly smooth ride.

Luggage Retrieval:  

My luggage wasn’t where I was told, and no one was available to tell us where to go.  I was happy though to find out it arrived on the plane.

Overall Conclusions

HORRIBLEThis airline was extremely and unnecessarily problematic due to bad business  practice on the part of American Airlines.  Given the significant issue over my retracted ticket, I would have expected at the least helpful kindness and patience from their staff. That was not forthcoming.   I was also expected some kind of apology or reparations for my aggravation, and they acted like I was the problem and that I should be grateful they were working with me to fix it.  

For Comparison’s sake, I once arrived at a Korean Air flight check-in fifteen minutes before boarding.  They rushed me through check-in, grabbed my bags, and hurried me through to my flight with 2 minutes to spare. Plus, they were exceedingly polite in the process.  AA FAILED. I will avoid them in the future.

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