Dear American Airlines Employees: "I Hope That One Day You Find A Good Paying Job With An Employer That Cares About You"

AJ writes in to let us know that he too was lied to by American Airlines. They canceled his flight(s) from Pittsburgh to Austin (by way of Dallas). He called the 1-800 number but was met with a CSR who used “bad weather in Dallas” as an excuse, and told him there was no way to get him to Austin on time.

Unfortunately, AJ knows how to use the internet and was able to determine that there was no such “bad weather” in Dallas. In fact, after having no success with the 1-800 number CSR, AJ was able to find a nice ticket agent at the Pittsburgh airport that had no problem flying him to Austin through Chicago. He asked us to share his letter with our readers “to let readers know that when American Airlines blames the weather in Dallas, they are more than likely full of BS.”

AJ writes to AA:

To: American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

From: AJ

Dear American Airlines,

I recently flew your airline on a business trip to Austin, Texas. I work in the music industry as a broadcaster and attended a conference from March 14th through the 18th.

Normally I use a different airline when I travel, but thought I would fly American Airlines on this trip due to the convenience of your available fights better fitting my trip itinerary. So, I chose to sacrifice the opportunity to acquire additional miles with my normal airline, enrolled in the AAdvantage program, booked my flight weeks in advance, and set forth to encounter the American Airlines experience. I would venture to guess that the term “tragic” might be a little harsh to describe my ordeal with your company; however calling it “awful” is probably being too nice.

My day began on March 14th with a phone call from my office colleague with whom I would be traveling. I was half way to the airport to make my scheduled 7:55am flight from Pittsburgh to Dallas, when my coworker informed me that our flight had been canceled and he was still trying to work out the details with the AA customer service department. Apparently he received a phone call from AA around 3AM informing him that our flight was canceled, however I received no such courtesy.

I turned around and instead of continuing my trip to the airport, reported to the office to meet with him so we could attempt to make alternate travel plans. According to the AA customer service representative that he spoke to on the phone, AA would be unable to get us on another flight for several days as they had no open seats on any flights into Austin until Friday March 16th. When we asked to be scheduled on another airline, she said she could not do that due to the flight cancellation being an “act of God”. When asked what that meant, she said our flight from Pittsburgh into Dallas had been cancelled because of bad weather in Dallas. A quick trip to weather.com informed me that the forecast for the morning of March 14th in Dallas, TX was partly cloudy with a temperature of 79*. I would suggest that if fabricating weather forecasts is standard procedure for AA, then perhaps you should consider training your customer service department to only lie to customers who don’t purchase their tickets using the Internet. Perhaps people who still read the Farmer’s Almanac will fall for your ruse, but the rest of us easily recognize your deception and feel insulted. I realize that there were legitimate weather related cancellations in the north east last week, but our trip preceded the inclement weather that caused those issues by several days. Thus, our trip should have been unaffected by any severe weather.

So, after failing to properly predict the Texas weather or successfully discouraging us from missing the first 3 days of our conference, (and only after a heated conversation with my coworker) the AA representative gave us the following options if we wanted to arrive in Austin on Wednesday: A) She could get us on a flight to Waco, Texas. Sure, it wasn’t Austin… but it was in the same state. She recommended renting a car and then driving from Waco to Austin, but could not tell us how many miles the drive was or how long it would take. Furthermore, she did not offer to reimburse us for the cost of the car or even offer us a discounted rate on the rental. Hell, she didn’t even offer to arrange for the rental car for us, we had to call the rental places ourselves and hope they had something available. B) She suggested that we leave Pittsburgh and drive to another city and attempt to get a flight from there. Again, she could not tell us which city to drive to or how long it would take to get a flight. May I suggest that AA furnish your customer service people with road atlases? At least that way they can check the map and realize how utterly stupid they sound when they make such suggestions.

Since we had a non-refundable registration fee pre-paid at the conference and were in danger of losing our hotel room if we didn’t arrive as scheduled on Wednesday (not to mention missing multiple meetings scheduled during the week), we decided to take option “A” and plan a good old-fashioned road trip from Waco to Austin. (Nothing like rolling through Texas in a rented Kia!) Again, at no time did American Airlines offer any type of compensation for this extreme inconvenience. As a matter of fact, your company’s representative (who claimed to be the shift supervisor) didn’t even seem the least bit sympathetic to our plight. We felt like we were bothering her by trying to actually get to our destination.

We arrived at the Pittsburgh airport several hours early in hopes of somehow getting on a flight into Austin. Fortunately, the wonderful woman working at the ticket counter in Pittsburgh must actually enjoy her job… or maybe she was just human… either way, with a few key strokes she was able to get us on a flight into Austin via Chicago. Why the idiot on your 800 number couldn’t accomplish this is beyond me. Needless to say, we eventually arrived in Austin only several hours later than we had planned. Had we not shown up at the airport earlier than suggested by your customer service rep, we never would have made this flight.

You might think that this is the end of my story, but almost unbelievably it is not. Upon flying back to Pittsburgh via Dallas on March 18th, our flight was delayed. We sat on the plane in Dallas for over an hour WHILE WE WAITED FOR THE PILOT. Now, I’ve been on plenty of delayed flights before. Usually for reasons like the flight having been overbooked and passengers being shuffled on and off the plane, the occasional mechanical problem, or even de-icing (oddly enough, never in Dallas despite the alleged bad weather). However, this is the first time that I’ve ever shown up on an airplane before the dude who was supposed to be flying it. Again, we waited seated in the plane, on the runway, for an hour and twenty minutes. Once again (as seems to be standard protocol with AA) we were not offered so much as a beverage by the flight staff to ease the discomfort and inconvenience of the situation. Even some complimentary peanuts once the flight was finally airborne may have been a nice gesture to make up for the general ineptitude that permeates the American Airlines standard of mediocrity, but we didn’t get those either.

I believe this will be my last experience flying with American Airlines. I suppose if I were ever stranded in a Dallas blizzard and my only way home was on an American Airlines jet, I would take it. But to think that I would ever voluntarily put myself through this again is silly. I doubt that anyone is even reading this letter at this point, but if you are I feel bad for you. You work for a horrible, heartless, savage corporation that is a model of inefficiency. I hope that one day you find a good paying job with an employer that cares about you. This is my way of being sympathetic to your plight. (Sympathy… American Airlines should try that sometime) If you are no longer reading this (which I somehow feel to be the case) I can assure you that these words are not falling of deaf ears as I am certain that the majority of the listeners to my radio show will be quite interested as this letter is recited in full detail during a future broadcast.

Regards,

A.J.

(Photo: So Cal Metro )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Airlines could care less about complaints right now.

  2. purplesun says:

    I thought “bad weather” didn’t necessarily just mean bad weather at the destination you were going to.

    Bad weather on another section of the route (say storms in Chicago), could cause massive delays across the whole system. Now the planes that were supposed to be in Dallas are stuck in Chicago and planes that arrived from wherever are now stuck in Dallas because they can’t fly to Chicago.

    So, you end up with too many planes in Dallas and our poor reader in Pittsburgh ends up with his flights canceled because they’re so far behind, they know there will be no place to stick his plane if it were to go there.

    At least, that’s the sort of scenario I was always told about.

  3. rickhamilton620 says:

    @PrestonBerryworth: agreed I’d rather walk than fly anywhere right now…

  4. nick_r says:

    @PrestonBerryworth: If anything, they need to alienate more customers.

  5. zentex says:

    @purplesun: normally, yes…but in this case it’s a fax not weather.

  6. ibored says:

    @purplesun

    They specifically blamed bad weather in Dallas. Most people would be a lot more understanding if the airlines were at least honest. Instead, they choose to lie…sounds like fraud to me. Maybe a classaction lawsuit would scare them straight?

  7. jsdube says:

    I agree with PurpleSun. There are plenty of ways weather could have been the root-cause of the cancellation while Dallas enjoyed sunny weather.
    Airliners must have alternate landing sites pre-planned and within their full-reserve should something happen at DFW. The alternates could have had problems.
    Your plane may have been delayed anywhere else in the US due to bad weather. It’s not like AA has a plane dedicate for each route.
    The delay due to lack of pilot is just as easily explainable. Perhaps the assigned pilot came down with a sickness and had to cancel at the last-minute.
    I fly AA frequently and have to say they aren’t what they use to be. At the same time, despite 2 of my last 6 trips with them having a segment cancelled, I felt they handled the rescheduling reasoning well and with flexibility.

    • Wombatish says:

      @jsdube: Then say that, not “Bad weather in Dallas, sorry”…. and offer compensation, or at least help getting on a different flight.

      You count on these people to take you somewhere, and you pay them for their services. I expect them to provide those services within reasonable margins.

      Having those margins explained to me so that I know they’re not just making up something else isn’t too much to ask.

  8. Truthie says:

    The situation really sucked for this guy, but he (or she) probably could have been more effective in writing the email if it had been more to the point. The tone of the writing is far too cutesy and clever and gets in the way of discussing AA’s numerous failures in this case.

  9. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @purplesun:

    Or, it could have been where his plane was coming _from_ (i.e. plane was supposed to fly Denver-Pittsburgh the night before, but weather in Denver was terrible, so cancelled, so it’s not available for the 7:55AM flight Pittsburgh-Austin)

  10. mikeinwdc says:

    Purplesun is correct. Bad weather in one part of the country can delay (or cancel) equipment getting to another part of the country. Thus delaying or canceling flights in a city (or destination) that has perfectly good weather. Sometimes that doesn’t seem obvious.

    Most airlines keep their equipment in flight all day long and are not necessarily doing round trips (point A to point B and back). Therefore, most of their metal is going from A to B to C to D and then back to A. So if C has bad weather…you get the point.

    I have also wondered why the CSRs do not have maps, etc. to help stranded customers. Then I reminded myself that most CSRs are now in other countries so a map or whatever will really not help them or you. Once I was stranded by United at ORD as I was trying to get to MKE (about 70 miles away). The CSR booked me (by phone) for another flight that was departing TWELVE hours later. I told him I could walk to MKE in less time. He didn’t understand because he was in India.

    However, I have been lied to by United CSRs about delays, etc. so this is an industry-wide problem. The lesson is: always have a backup plan.

  11. GenXCub says:

    @purplesun:

    But the CSR said bad weather in Dallas. Not other destinations. It would appear that he had booked a direct flight, and the redirect via Chicago only occurred at the airport after the reservation was changed.

  12. jackal676 says:

    “Why the idiot on your 800 number couldn’t accomplish this is beyond me.”

    That was a bit dickish, AJ, as well as counterproductive.

  13. SkokieGuy says:

    An unfortunate experience, but the letter is clearly simply a way for the OP to vent, rather than useful correspondance. What was the purpose of your letter?

    Way too long. Edit and stick to key facts

    You announce you’re never going to fly AA again. What reason does AA have for attempting to satisfy you?

    You do not ask for direct of specific action to remedy the situation you so laboriously discuss. What do you want? Why do you want it? Why are you entitled to it?

    You arrived at your destination only 2 hours late. While you went through an inordinate amount of hassle (welcome to modern air travel!), you suffered little or no monetary loss. (Didn’t have to rent a car, miss the convention, etc.)

  14. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @GenXCub:

    He was apparently scheduled to fly PIT-DFW-AUS, and got rerouted PIT-ORD-AUS

  15. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    HEY!!! I read the Farmer’s Almanac when I’m gonna play a late round of golf and I need to know what time the sun is going to set.

    I now have to discredit the whole post. For shame!

    If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to ask my boss for a raise but need to consult my horroscope first.

  16. jusooho says:

    I fixed the letter to where someone might actually read it. Edits below. (Ed. note: Why write a 2000 word letter to an airline you never plan to fly again?)

    I recently flew your airline on a business trip to Austin, Texas from March 14th through the 18th.

    I was half way to the airport to make my scheduled 7:55am flight from Pittsburgh to Dallas, when my coworker informed me that our flight had been canceled and he was still trying to work out the details with the AA customer service department. Apparently he received a phone call from AA around 3AM informing him that our flight was canceled.

    According to the AA customer service representative that he spoke to on the phone, AA would be unable to get us on another flight for several days as they had no open seats on any flights into Austin until Friday March 16th.

    Upon flying back to Pittsburgh via Dallas on March 18th, our flight was delayed. We sat on the plane in Dallas for over an hour WHILE WE WAITED FOR THE PILOT.

    I believe this will be my last experience flying with American Airlines.

  17. Invalid_User_Name says:

    This is too long of a complaint. A complaint needs to fit on one piece of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper and use bullet points on their failings and what you want them to do about it.

  18. katylostherart says:

    how come weather isn’t considered an act of god? do they consider it an act of nasa or something?

  19. NikkiSweet says:

    Random… but… I live literally 2 blocks from the south entrance to DFW airport. March 14th is my little sister’s birthday… She was at my apartment, and we both commented on how nice it was outside… overcast, but a lovely break from the freak snow/ice that we had gotten the week before.

  20. Hairyback says:

    @Invalid_User_Name: Absolutely. No human is going to trudge through that screed.

  21. baryl says:

    Something similar happened to my dad and brother about two weeks ago. They were flying from Birmingham to Denver, with a connection in Dallas. AA delayed their flight from Birmingham to Dallas by about 5 hours, causing them to miss their connecting flight (Dad even scheduled the flights to have a 3-hour layover in Dallas just in case something like this happened).

    At the Birmingham airport, none of the AA staff would tell him why the flight was continually being delayed. He talked to someone at the check-in counter about missing the connecting flight, and the woman told him that if that happened, AA would pay for a hotel in Dallas that night. Thinking they would either a.) get to denver or b.) get a free stay in the hotel at DFW until the next morning, my dad and brother got on the plane and flew out to Dallas.

    Cut to DFW airport. After stepping off the plane, Dad asked someone at the check-in counter about the free hotel stay he had been promised. “I’m sorry sir, the delays were weather related. American Airlines does not reimburse passengers for hotel costs due to weather delays.”

    ugh.

  22. Youthier says:

    I guess I thought the pilot not showing up was common. I’ve had it happen to me twice. I fly about 6 times a year. Do others run into this or is it just me and AJ?

  23. acasto says:

    I’ve pretty much given up on flying. The last time I did fly I just used smaller airports with the smaller puddle-jumper planes and it wasn’t too bad. But I would MUCH rather drive than fly. Every time I walk into an airport I just feel like a head of cattle. When I drive I can enjoy the trip, stop whenever I want, and there is just a certain satisfaction to the whole experience of finding a place to stop and browsing through all the drinks and snacks and deciding what goodies will get you through the next leg of your journey. Sure it can be frustrating to track down a cup of coffee at 3am in the middle of Illinois, but not nearly as bad as an airport.

  24. TropicalParadise says:

    Before I found this website, American Airlines left THIRTY people on the ground watching our plane take off.

    My first flight was delayed and the flight attendant said not to worry or rush because they would not leave thirty people behind. Thirty people were connecting onto my second flight. So we got off the plane and went to our gate. There was no one at the ticketing agent and the plane was still there, some people began banging on the closed gate door and trying to flag people from nearby gates down so that we could get on the plane. No one would listen and we stood there in the gate and watched our plane take off after about 15 mins of trying to get someone.

    I wrote a similar letter and got a ‘we’re sorry, please let us serve you better in the future’ letter and wished I would have been nicer and complained to an exec because I booked that flight over cheaper flights because it allowed me time in Miami to see my dad.

  25. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @SkokieGuy: While I aggree with what you said on principle, it should be noted that often times well written, cordial and to the point letters are met with a “Aw, that sucks, maybe we can do something.” Sometimes an industry or company need something short of a death threat to get the point accross.

    Kind of like in a relationship, more often than not a simple converesation is in order and will serve the trick, but lets say ::achem:: I was talking about m’lady’s boobies, then a yelling and maybe a smack is justified. Not that I’ve ever been in such a sitation last weekend.

  26. melink says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    I don’t think he wants any compensation – he just wants to tell them that they’re a terrible company and live up to their horrible reputation. Fair enough.

    AA probably doesn’t care, but I thought it was entertaining.

  27. FatLynn says:

    The late pilot is most likely coming in on a different flight, so if that flight was delayed, so is yours. I realize it is still a problem for the OP, but I doubt it was something like “oh, Joe decided to sleep in this morning”.

  28. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @katylostherart: Oie, I’m a Pastor at the Church of NASAlogy, been a NASAlogist for almost a decade now.

  29. sleze69 says:

    Good timing with today’s Worst Company matchup.

  30. seamer says:

    There’s a fine line between a complaint and a novella…wow. If I got this in my inbox I’d delay the full reading of it until I had absolutely nothing else to do.

  31. wagnerism says:

    Nobody reads complaint letters of that length, unless it is written by a lawyer. Even then, it is not read until it is forwarded to a lawyer on their side.

    I changed jobs in 2004 to go from 95% travel to 0% travel, moving from San Diego to Washington DC. I had to do it because travelling has come to be such a demoralizing experience and local jobs paid poorly. Sure there were other factors, but I quit primarily because of the travel.

    Here I am in 2008 changing jobs. I took one and backed out of it as the realization really hit me that I’d be travelling a few times per month – and the company is doing what it can to lessen the cost of travel. I don’t blame them, but they’re doing it at the employee’s expense. Fly the cheapest you can and no reimbursement for the bullshit fees for seat selection. If I hated it years ago, I hold little hope that it will be tolerable.

    I’d rather pay with a daily commute than run the airline gauntlet.

  32. iMike says:

    I don’t know why people write such long complaint letters. Nor why they think insults are an effective persuasive technique.

  33. Mr. Guy says:

    Complaint letter FAIL

    Come now consumerist, surely you must have tipsters sending you better material than this?

    Actually, i’d like to take this moment, completely off topic, to express gratitude to Mr. Walid at the Men’s Wearhouse on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. I called thursday morning saying i needed a suit to wear at an event today, Tuesday. He took my approximate measurements over the phone, and selected a few suits for me to look at when i came in after work. When i got there, he had me try them on, and when we found the right one, assured me that they could rush the alterations with no additional charge. sure, he tried to upsell me on some stuff i didn’t need, and sure, he was working on a commission, but he wasn’t pushy about it. i wound up wiht a great, neatly tailored suit within my price range, on short notice, sold to me by an extremely friendly and helpful “wardrobe consultant.”

    i know this little tale of things working the way they should isn’t nearly titillating enough to make it to the front page of consumerist, but i felt i owed it to him to post it somewhere. i suppose i could also send it to men’s wearhouse’s comments page.

  34. BankOfFees says:

    I’ve been on around 5 flights where I’ve waited on a plane that was awaiting the pilot. It makes sense if the pilot doesn’t have an extensive delay as the flights will take off sooner (i.e. waiting for pilot vs waiting for pilot + customer boarding time).

  35. mmcnary says:

    As one of the few people to actually wade all the way through the letter, I realized that not only does this guy work in broadcasting, he is a DJ. That explains a lot. He’s not looking for compensation, he is writing up his rant for his show. Read in that context, I can easily see (hear) some of the local DJ’s expressing thse sentiments in scathing detail.

  36. TootTootToot says:

    @mmcnary: Just what I was thinking. I found the letter (more of an anecdote) funny and personable.

    Maybe he won’t get a basket of free swag from AA, but he did accomplish his goal of making me dislike the airline just a little more.

  37. Doug81 says:

    I think the letter to them served as a way to vent and a way of telling AA about their poor service. If we wanted something I’m sure he would have asked or at least not mentioned that he’ll never fly with them again. If it makes A.J. feel better in some way then it at least did him some good. If AA reads it or not won’t make any difference. The insults are a little much though.

  38. turtledude558 says:

    That sucks about what happened. I’ve been reading bad things about US Airways, United, and American Airlines for a while now. Too bad about the road they’re headed.

    At least there’s still a few good airlines. Northwest, Southwest, and Continental. Never had a problem with them and haven’t read anything bad about them (yet, hopefully not).

  39. m1k3g says:

    You can just hear the execs at AA now..

    “Another complaint letter? So?”

    Airline execs are very much like good old Dick ‘The most appropriately nicknamed man in the world’ Cheney these days. The shit’s so deep there’s no way they can get out of it and they’re beyond caring.

  40. dripdrop says:

    @PrestonBerryworth:

    Incorrect.

    They couldn’t care less about customers right now.

  41. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’ve heard and experienced the “weather in Dallas” explanation before. My understanding is that it’s not a bad weather system but is early morning ground fogs at DFW & Love Field causing the delays & affecting runway & tarmac operations & control tower visibility.

  42. n301dp says:

    Favorite story about an idiot phone agent, this time on Northwest:

    I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles. My originating flight cancelled, and I wouldn’t make my connection. The agent’s suggestion? “I can get you into Sacramento!” to which I replied “okay” as long as she and the airline would provide a chartered jet or chauffeured car to take me to LAX. I don’t think she got it…

  43. ThyGuy says:

    He may as well be pouring gasoline on a 1200 acre forest fire. I got to hear this crap at my last job, and since it was a advertising company, not only didn’t we care, but we let the entire company know that the customer was in a waaahbulancce.

  44. Wet_Baloney says:

    So people working for these airlines don’t give a crap about you — what else is new? It’s just more of the chickens coming home to roost. Just like our hogging it up with our Hummers etc, we are now pissed about how much it costs to drive… Well what do you think the consequences are of years and years of airfares that don’t even cover the cost of operating the planes. All of a sudden these corporate geniuses have to figure out a way to stay in business. Surprise — higher prices, reduced schedules, no service. Another great success for de-regulated capitalism, dontcha think????

  45. catskyfire says:

    For those who say they’d rather drive than fly: You’re either not going very far, or have a lot of free time. For me to get to Houston, it’d take about two days driving, three days to get to NYC, and the same for LA. Assuming, of course, that I’m not pushing it to the max.

    When I visit my friend in Las Vegas, I fly. Is it a pain? Sure…but it takes me about 6 hours total (counting 2 hours flight time, time arriving at airport, and anything in between, depending on connecting or direct.) If I drove…it’s about 17 hours away, according to Google. So two days going…two days coming back There’s 4 days of a week…

  46. AlexPDL says:

    That head line gives AA too much credit…if it were customers it would read like this… “we don’t give a rat’s ass how you get home, go fly an airline that cares about you, because we are not it.”

  47. physics2010 says:

    So what if the writer vented a bit? Yes he could have been brief and to the point. “AA you are a lying sack of S**T. You sux.”

    I suppose Tom Clancy could write shorter novels as well. “Jack Ryan killed four terrorists, and every one lived happily ever after until the next book.”

  48. hwestiii says:

    I’m not sure if its American or DFW or the combination or what, but flying that airline out of that airport is more often than not a nightmare. I’ve been flying between Chicago and Dallas two or three times a month for the last two years. Getting from Chicago to Dallas is smooth as silk.

    Getting home is another story entirely. My return flights are almost always one to two hours late, and I had a run last winter where my return flight home from DFW to ORD was cancelled within three hours of scheduled departure.

    I just gave up and started flying SWA home to Midway. It takes a little longer due to the AA-protecting Wright Amendment, but its way more reliable.

  49. philipbarrett says:

    I recommend that Consumerist cease to bother with any more negative stories concerning US based airlines. They don’t care, why should they? The competition is as crappy as they are. You can bitch & switch but they know you’ll be back sooner or later. It’s a legitimate business philosophy on their part based on the fact that those who need to fly will continue to do so as long as they keep the safety record shiny.

  50. chip says:

    @mmcnary: exactly! unless he is in a band or an a&r rep for a label he’s not doing “business” at south by southwest. he’s seeing a lot of rock shows and maybe drinking free schiner bachs.
    nonetheless, he doesn’t deserve this BS run around.
    @IfThenElvis: who is telling you that? i lived there for 25 years, ground fog is not causing much in the way of delays at either airport.

  51. chrylis says:

    If there’s a blizzard in Dallas, I think that AA probably wouldn’t be flying… with actual justification.

  52. god_forbids says:

    @Mr. Guy: I’d also like to give major props to Jose and Howard in Electronics at the Best Buy in Honolulu, and to Claire at Sprint’s 1-800 number and Tony at the Ala Moana Sprint store – all for their excellent customer service.

    We get so much “blame the OP” around here b/c some customers really are just assholes, and MAKE the companies they deal with become defensive in response.

  53. allen1500 says:

    I used to fly American all the time, but they got so unreliable and so uncaring that I do not fly them at all any more. I fly Southwest and have been happy so far.

  54. newfenoix says:

    May of last year, my new wife and I were flying back from Cancun to DFW via Mexico City. The flight from Cancun to Mexico City was great. It was on Mexicana Airlines and the entire staff was very friendly. The flight to DFW was on American which is in a partnership with Mexicana.

    We had a 2 hour and 45 minute layover in Mexico City so we did a little sight seeing while waiting on the flight. We returned to the airport about 30 minutes before the flight was supposed to arrive and waited. Well, the plane wasn’t there on time and the Mexicana agent said that the flight was still on the ground in Dallas waiting for the weather to clear. Two hours and 15 minutes later, the plane touched down at Mexico City. It is only a 2 hour flight!

    We boarded quickly and after the apologies from the captain, we got airborn. Now, I am a private pilot and know a little about flight times., etc. The pilot said that he would get us to Dallas as quickly as he could. And he kept that promise, we made the trip from Mexico City to DFW airspace in an hour and 40 minutes. Now it was not a pleasant flight. We encountered very severe turbulence and several people got sick. But the worst was yet to come.

    I said that we made it to DFW airspace in record time but we were not allowed to land. DFW was racking and stacking because the airport was closed! The pilot got on the PA and and told us about the situation and said that we were 19th in line to land! Now, I said earlier that I am a private pilot with an instrument rating. I also fly with a small scanner to listen to the comm traffic. And there was a lot of it.

    Well we kept going around in circles. I began to start calculating some figures in my head. The MD80 Super that we were on had flown from DFW to Mexico City, did a turn around without refueling and was now back in DFW airspace and had flown the entire trip at higher than normal speed. Airliners are required by law to carry a fuel reserve. But we had been in the holding pattern for over an hour when I heard the tower diverting other flights to Love Field and to Ft. Worth. But our flight and the other AA flights had to stay where we were.

    We finally landed after 1 hour and 45 minutes in a holding pattern. The bird had just flown over 2200 miles round trip. The plane bounced like a ball when the main gear touched the runway because the it was so low on fuel. I really don’t want to fly AA again.

  55. @Invalid_User_Name:

    This is too long of a complaint. A complaint needs to fit on one piece of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper and use bullet points on their failings and what you want them to do about it.

    Yup. I don’t know if I agree about the bullet points, but this complaint could have been written in two paragraphs.

    And the first paragraph should say:

    I am a longtime customer of American Airlines. I was disappointed recently that I was misinformed as to why a flight was canceled. I am even more disconcerted since I recently read an article highlighting this problem at American.

    In three sentences, AA knows the problem already!!

    The next short paragraph contains a few small details.

    The last paragraphs says what you want them to do (you can even skip that!)

    You sign and put ALL your information below your name. Flight numbers, your address, your AA number, EVERYTHING you can think of so they can pull up the records they need.

  56. @Invalid_User_Name:
    This is too long of a complaint. A complaint needs to fit on one piece of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper and use bullet points on their failings and what you want them to do about it.

    Yup. I don’t know if I agree about the bullet points, but this complaint could have been written in two paragraphs.

    And the first paragraph should say:

    I am a longtime customer of American Airlines. I was disappointed recently that I was misinformed as to why a flight was canceled. I am even more disconcerted since I recently read an article highlighting this problem at American.

    In three sentences, AA knows the problem already!!

    The next short paragraph contains a few small details.

    The last paragraphs says what you want them to do (you can even skip that!)

    You sign and put ALL your information below your name. Flight numbers, your address, your AA number, EVERYTHING you can think of so they can pull up the records they need.

    That’s it!

  57. sherab says:

    The people that you are getting when you call AA’s reservations line are absolutely unskilled, underpaid and couldn’t care less. How is this possible?

    I was one of the guys that wrote the software that makes reservations all menu driven (just like the cash register at McDonald’s!) and I started out in AA’s res department.

    Domestic res earns very little and gets no benefits. Best thing to do if you EVER have to speak with a human at AA is to wait and push the option for “international”. Usually an international rep has been there for several years and when domestic is busy, they take calls.

    Otherwise take heart in the fact that Southwest’s market cap is nearly double of ALL the legacy carriers combined.

    AA/DL/NW/CO/US and UA’s days are very much numbered, as they should be.

    Remember that Braniff used to be the largest carrier in the world too.

  58. djreedps says:

    So I am not the only one who avoids American Airlines.

    Summer of 2006: Baltimore to Austin via Dallas

    Flight out of Baltimore is delayed one hour because guy fueling plane overfills tank and spills fuel on plane and ground. Passengers watch crew cleaning up spilled fuel.

    Flight from Dallas to Austin on broken plane without any air conditioning. Ground temp in Dallas was 104 degrees that day. Very little air circulating at all. I thought older passengers were going to die.

    I sent AA a complaint letter. I think I would have gotten a better response from sending it to Alcoholics Anonymous instead. I got a form letter back from American Airlines apologizing for a late flight. The only thing good about that day was that I arrived in Austin on time because I had a three hour layover in Dallas so I made my connecting flight. I received no compensation and a BS form letter. Suck it, American Airlines.

  59. Anonymous says:

    As a former American Airlines employee I sympathize with AJ. I too hope for better leadership at American Airlines. Remove the incompetent from running the airline into the ground. If things continue as is American Airlines will be non-existent soon.