Tag Archives: American Airlines

Why I will NEVER Fly American Airlines Again (And Why You Maybe Shouldn’t Either)

10 Sep


The whole thing was bad from the get-go, but Skip down to “Flight” if you want to see the big reason why I’ll never fly AA again.


Summer 2016


American Airlines (Dallas to Seoul) 

 Pre-flight Interactions:

Sucked!  I booked my flight around March because my university reimburses it then. Between March and June, the flight had been changed twice.

The first time, the layover where I catch the international flight was shorted to 1 hour by AA. 0_0 Seriously, one hour? That’s not even according to America Airlines’ instructions!  Spent HOURS (as in more than 10) on the phone trying to contact them and get that figured out. 

For my flight to the States, I was supposed to fly from home to Hong Kong to Dallas to Saint Louis.  Cool.  But then I randomly get a call from China Southern – the flight to Hong Kong has been moved to the next day. Meaning that I would miss all connecting flights. So I call China Southern – can’t talk to them because I have to talk to Orbitz  since they hold the tickets. Call Orbitz, and I’m told to talk to American Airlines. Since they changed the ticket earlier, they now hold the ticket. Orbitz can’t do anything, AA has to make the fix. Call AA and I’m told they can’t do anything because Orbitz has locked the accounted. Go through hours and hours on the phone back and forth only for them to decide that China Southern is uncontactable and American Airlines agrees that the flight has to be fixed. They’ll get me to Hong Kong a day earlier, but I have to pay for the hotel for TWO days until my connecting flights. Uh. . . . No.  That’s not okay. I bought my tickets on time. Paid for my tickets. Have not changed my tickets. This is all on the airlines and it’s going to cost me food and drink in HONG KONG (expensive city!) for two days. Nope. Not okay. So here is AA’s response (one week before my flight). Well, how about this – we’ll refund your tickets, the money will get to you in about 4-6 weeks and you just buy new tickets. Uh WTH?!? I leave in two weeks. A) I won’t get the money in time. B) What kind of prices am I going to get two weeks ahead of time? Try to have a discussion – AA HUNG up on me before I could talk to them that time. Took SO MANY HOURS straightening the whole mess out.I had to fly out a day late and go through LAX instead.

Only good part – apparently AA pulled some strings because I was Pre-Checked through TSA out and back.

Baggage Allowance:


I took three suitcases, a carry-on suitcase, and my backpack.

I paid $100 dollars for my third suitcase. I got two 50lb suitcases for free.

My carry-on was light because of the third suitcase. I just had my camera, hard drive, and some extra clothes in it. No one weighed the carry-ons, but I made sure mine fit requirements in case.  Last year, Air China was weighing carry-ons so I like to be safe.

My backpack just had my laptop in it and fit under the chair.

Flight ~ Here’s the REALLY BAD PART

1. Our flight had a grand sum total of 8 movies on it. Several of which were R rated. None of which were for children. Not one cartoon, Disney film, etc. We had 38 cub scouts on the flight. 16 hours in the air. Only movie anywhere close to decent for them was “Captain America – Winter Soldier.” Imagine how well that went. 

2. In our row of 4, two of the entertainment machines were broken.

3. As we took off, one of the flight attendants start cussing and dropping the F-Bomb like it was nothing. Around 38 cub scouts. Of course, one of them later was asking me what F*** meant. Put me in the oh-so-fun position of having to say “Ask your parents. I don’t think they want you to know.”

4. Taking off, the overhead compartments started opening. No seriously, we’re going up and the doors started popping open – about 4 of them that I could see in our compartment. Straps and bags started falling, and customers had to unbuckle and try to close them while we’re still pointing upwards. The flight attendants did nothing. Ignored it. Not even an apology later.

5. WORST OF ALL – Two of the cub scouts, 8-9 years old Korean boys, sat next to me. Only one spoke English. Darling kids, were very quiet, well-behaved, and just played golf on the screen or watched Captain America (over and over again) the whole time. Spoke respectfully, and were generally amazing. Even gave me their “business cards” – 😛 I loved them! Then this one flight attendant starts verbally and physically abusing the poor boy on the aisle seat for the WHOLE flight. When he asked for soda with his meal, like all the other kids, he was told “You will thank me later for this. I know these things. So no. You need to drink water. I might bring you a soda later.” Of course, she did not. He woke up maybe 1 minute after she passed our row during the meal. She was two rows in front of us. When he tried to politely get her attention – “You’ll just have to wait. That will teach you to learn to stay awake when you’re supposed to. You need to wake up when I come. You need to learn to wait your turn now” She wasn’t even going to bring him a meal! On a 16 hour flight! Later, he had his earphones in and was watching Captain America – she was behind him and started asking him a question about what drink he wanted. He didn’t immediately respond so she yelled and jabbed him. Started going on about “kids his age can’t hear a thing over the stupid things in their ears.” Told him he needed to pay attention to her when she talked to him. All of this in English – he didn’t understand a world and just started stuttering in Korean and looking to us for help. I tried to calm her down and ask him the question, and finally told her to just give us a minute. We had no way to even explain to him why she was yelling. It was scaring his friend and he kept asking me “Why is she so angry? What is wrong? We do not understand?” Throughout the flight, she shoved him several times telling him he was too far in the aisle “This is MY space. You have to stay out of MY space.” Later, she acted like she and I were commiserating – ”I just can’t believe them.” Rolling her eyes. I’m like – lady, I’m WAY more than half way to filing an official complaint on his behalf. The WHOLE flight was like this. It was so horrific, the poor kid next to him (and me) reached over wrapped his arms around him and pulled him into his lap holding him, patting his hair, and holding his hand out to protect him and pull him closer every time she came near. For about 12 hours of the flight he just held him and patted him and kept him as close to him and away from the aisle as possible. Seriously. . . a kid felt like he needed to shelter another kid from the woman. I did my best to help them. Gave him my soda, gave him the snacks from my food tray, got him food from my side of the aisle, let him and his friend sleep on my shoulder, woke them up whenever we saw her coming, and I tried answering for him as soon as she asked so she didn’t mess with him. But still. I’ve never wanted to report someone so badly in my life. They did NOTHING wrong, and certainly didn’t deserve that. What an impression to leave them with – such an exciting adventure, only to be ruined by her ugly behavior. No one deserves to be treated like that.


Luggage Retrieval:  SUCKED!

 AA was supposed to book my luggage clear to my end destination – I specifically asked when I was at the airport. Get to Korea and I’m told that no, they didn’t do that. Took 4 hours of running from desk to desk before AA finally fixed it. No apology, just a “well you have to tell us these things” and bad looks. Duh! I did ask! Then we had to lug around 6 suitcases and two backpacks, because we couldn’t check them in again until the next day due to the mix-up.

Overall Conclusions


Okay, I’d like to give the airline the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really did just mess up the first ticket change. Would have been nice to have that fixed pretty fast, but hey. 

Didn’t appreciate the problems with the second ticket change. Really didn’t appreciate their refusal to even attempt to work with me. 

Did not approve of the fact that they totally screwed up my luggage.  I very specifically verified that it was all checked to my final destination, and the error was on their part. Had they been willing to quickly fix the issue – maybe volunteered to cover storage costs while I was in Korea – it would have been fine. Instead, despite Korean Air repeated asking them to work it out over the phone and rather than sending one of their people UP to the counter to fix the issue, they sent me on a wild goose chase all over hell’s-half-acre in ICN airport trying to get to them. Did not appreciate that at all.

Certainly did not enjoy the flight itself. If we can have the Melissa McCartney “Boss” movie, couldn’t we have had a child’s movie. It would have made so many customers a LOT happier if there was something to entertain the children.  

The food sucked – Korean Air and Air China both serve better food.

But worst of all was the attendants’ behavior. It wasn’t just one – there were several.  And of course a few were really nice, but they didn’t make any effort to help when the doors opened and suitcases could have hurt people.  They were really rude to the children and snippy about how some of them were GASP! sleeping on the floor! And then the cursing and rudeness to those two boys. I wanted to cry.  I wanted to hug them both, give them cookies, promise them adults are really a lot nicer than that, and cry.  I don’t know if it was racism or just a dislike of children, but it was a consistent feeling I got from several of the attendants. I did not appreciate it at all.  If it was my child, there would have been a show like no other.  If this is the kind of person AA hires for their Transpacific flights, then I really don’t want to contribute my money to a company like that. People, even those in economy class and the cheap tickets, deserve to be treated with normal human dignity. And that was not given to that little boy at all.  So, even if I have to pay extra – I’m flying Korean Air or Cathay Pacific from now on.  


**PS – it is worth noting that while American Airlines was horrific, Korean Air was AMAZING as usual. As soon as I knew there was a problem with my luggage, I ran to the Korean Air desks. They immediately directed me to a short line of 1 person and I was quickly helped. The girl spent 2 hours calling around trying to help me, and quickly got everything handled on their end. The only problem they had was with American Airlines’ side of things.  They were polite, lovely, kind, friendly, and efficient as always. My Korean Air flight the next morning was a DREAM.  The difference was pronounced.  And while I almost always go for the cheaper option in flights – this permanently made up my mind. Sometimes, a little customer service is actually worth the extra money.  Especially if children are involved.

Orbitz / American Airlines / China Southern Are Screwing Me Over

20 Jun


I’m so furious with these three companies right now, they are completely changing the agreement we had and expecting me to pick up the tab for their mistakes.

I have spent more than 14 hours on the phone with Orbitz, along with repeated calls to American Airlines and China Southern and no one can fix their problem.

Let’s go back a month. I ordered a round trip ($2500+) flight from Asia to the States and back again. It’s not cheap–certainly not for me.  I agreed to leave on June 30 and make connecting flights throughout the trip. Amazing. Cool. Fine.

First of all, did you know it is all but impossible to work with Orbitz customer service? They will not do anything unless you are physically on the phone with them, and they only have a US number. Try getting ahold of them any other way, and I was simply told that I had to contact this US number and that they wouldn’t do anything unless I was on the line with them. They had problems with their systems repeatedly a month ago- call back. over and over. Several days. “Just call us back later” Ummmm This is an international call thank you very much. And on Skype which apparently enjoys freefalling from great heights and repeatedly. So instead of them going on ahead and fixing their issues and just confirming it all with me by email, I had to mess with the local poor internet to try to get through to them repeatedly. Whenever my call dropped or they hung up on me (which infuriates me on a whole different topic), I had to start ALL over with someone new. 

Anyway, a month ago, American Airlines up and changes my flight not once but twice. Including an asinine decision to leave me with a 1 hour layover in Denver for an international flight that goes against their own recommendations for early arrival. I had to call Orbitz repeatedly to actually get anyone who could help, only for them to finally (after hours of being on hold, please wait, thank you for waiting, I’m just trying someone else, on hold) tell me to call American Airlines myself. Finally get that stupid mess sorted out. 

Okay, I’m not amused, but I’ll deal 

Then several days ago, China Southern calls me. In Chinese. Wo Bu Ming Bai. Wo Shi Meiguoren. (I don’t understand, I’m American). Hang up. They try again in English. We’re so sorry, but the first flight on your trip has now been moved to the next day. So you’ll get to Hong Kong on the 1st even though you fly out of Hong Kong on the day before. We know this was a bad change, we’re so sorry. You are responsible for calling a whole different number to fix the problem.  

Wait. Why didn’t I hear about this from Orbitz? Or American Airlines? Check my email. Nope. Nada. Nothing. They two airlines left me to hear back from a Chinese airline that only by fluke did I answer their call. By the grace of God I answered the call (thinking it was a student) and found out about the change.

Call the China Southern Number. We’re sorry, you have to talk to American Airlines or Orbitz because they issue the ticket. 

Call American Airlines. We’re sorry, you have to talk to Orbitz because they locked the ticket, we can’t change it.

Call Orbitz (after repeated on holds, attempts to get ahold of them, attempts by them to figure out what the heck happened and their customer service generally not having a clue how to fix the mess), finally told oh so sorry, we have to call America Airlines. They call American Airlines. Sorry, American Airlines can’t do anything till they talk to China Southern. They Call China Southern who, incidentally, just closed. They only are open Monday – Friday during normal operating hours. Call back on Monday. 

I call back Monday. So sorry, American Airlines and China Southern only work on US times Monday-Friday so you’ll have to call back at 11pm your time.  What international company of this size does not have customer service around the clock. Seriously, this is antique business service here folks.

I call back tonight at 11pm.  Orbitz girl takes 20 minutes just figuring out what my problem is. Spends the next 2 HOURS trying to find someone, anyone at China Southern to talk to. Can’t get ahold of anyone. She calls American Airlines. They are so sorry, there are no more flights on that day to HOng Kong. You’ll have to fly out the day before. 

Cool, so you made the mistake, caused the problem, you’ll pay for the ridiculously expensive hotel in Hong Kong I now need right. Oh sorry, that’s not our problem. But you changed my flight? Yes. You failed to account for the lack of flights available for this trip? Yes. You changed our contractually agreed upon ticket in a way that costs me money and time? Yes. But you are not going to recuperate my losses from your changes and mistakes? No.

Well, no that doesn’t work. I reject your offer.Try again.

Well we can cancel your entire trip and refund it to you in several weeks. No. I reject this offer too.. I can’t afford to wait, I fly out in two weeks. Tickets are now much higher than before. So that doesn’t recuperate my losses. Try again.


Try again.


Try again.

Okay, let me give you to my supervisor. 


Hello, can you hear me?  Hello? Hello? Hang up.


Oh you did not just do that. You seriously did not just hand up on me at 2am in the morning after 4 hours on the phone dealing with your screw-up?  Why yes, you did!

So I call Orbitz back. Again. I’ve now been on hold for 30+ minutes waiting for a supervisor. 

If they don’t fix this, I will be soooo furious. I’m already never going to book with Orbitz again. And frankly, I don’t recommend that you all do either. It’s one think if you tons of time and live in the States to call and be on hold for more than 14 hours!

But personally, I think that sucks and is generally AWFUL business.  



Airline Reviews: American Airlines

20 Feb





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


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.


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.


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.

Airline Reviews: American Airlines

16 Feb

I should have done this ages ago, but I kept finding other cool things to talk about.  So this is a tad late, but better late than never!  (And I’ll update it next time I have to fly with them).




American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (2 flights).  


Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

I ordered the tickets via Orbitz, so the process was fairly simple. My flight almost immediately appeared on the AA website as registered and confirmed.  The website is easy enough to use; I actually went ahead and registered a membership with the airline, which simplified things.  You have to keep either the “Record Number” or your AA number on hand if you want to look anything up though.  I did have to call them with questions, and I was less than pleased.   Although the questions were fairly simple (arrival times, baggage capacity), they redirected the calls several times and put me on hold repeatedly.  When I finally got someone, they were abrupt and short. Hung up  on me before I finished all my questions.  

Baggage Allowance:

The deal is that if you are flying internationally (and I was), all airlines must honor the baggage requirements/allowance of the airline with the longest flight (if tickets are all bought together–not separately). I flew AA across country and took Korean Air to Asia, allowing me to abide by Korean Air’s baggage allowance.  Still, the difference wouldn’t have been that significant.  

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), a carry-on, and 1-2 checked bags (flights to/from Brazil and Asia are 2; rest are generally 1).  This is pretty nice compared to other US airlines. 


Once again the flight attendants and staff were gruff and short with the customers.  They offered far too many sighs and rolling eyes.  They stalk the aisles snarling at people trying  to put stuff in the overhead, and pushing the customers out of their way.  You can’t ask questions or they act like it’s a huge burden. The first flight, they actually yelled at some people whose stuff wouldn’t fit.  I wasn’t much impressed either time.  No sense of customer service–it’s obviously a job they dislike.  

In Flight:

Still not terribly impressed with the service–it sucked both times.  The food was awful, the snacks were nuts and water.  The first time I had to ask for a water half-way through and was huffily/snottily told “We’re working on it, you’ll just have to wait!” It took nearly half-an-hour before I got anything. Kind of a problem when I was trying to take my medications.  Second flight a baby next to me started crying and the attendant ignored the mom when she asked for a blanket.  The baby had been asleep for forever before it actually showed up.  It was annoying because in the interim, we could see the flight attendants standing around drinking coffee and chatting.  The amenities on the plane aren’t very good either; I had to stick with my ipod. 

The flight itself sucked big time.  The plane was cramped, and we were all smashed against one another.  Plus, I understand that flights aren’t always smooth sailing, but both of these were heart-stoppingly scary. Once, the plane’s humming stopped and the plane actually fell quite a ways. Not like moving downwards deliberately, we literally came up out of our seats (with the belts on) and hit hard when it stopped.  Then pilot missed the landing twice and we had to circle around. Even when we made it, the landing was extremely bumpy. The guy next to me said he’s taken that flight dozens of times and it had never been that bad.  I could maybe have understood that, but they never reassured us or said anything about turbulence. A couple times the seat belt lights (which stayed on most of both trips) came on without warning or comment.  It was especially a problem after the whole plane dropping from the sky thing. I would have appreciated someone telling us that nothing was wrong with the plane.  I was late arriving both times.

Luggage Retrieval:  

This actually went pretty well. My luggage was where they said it was, and it was easy to grab and move.  Nothing was broken, and the cases came out of it okay. I have big suitcases that often end up on bottom, so it’s always a good thing when they survive the journey.

Overall Conclusions

This is definitely not my favorite airline to fly with.  The website/baggage allowance/other mechanics of the system were fine, but everything else was awful.  The flight attendants were rude at best, unkind and problematic at worst.  Their concept of customer service was non-existent, and it was obvious. The flights were too bumpy and nauseating–I’ve flown the same trip with other airlines and made it fine.  Overall, I was sick and unhappy when it was over and I would avoid them in the future.

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