Dear American Airlines: Thanks For Stinking

To Whom It May Concern:

I have never taken extreme measures to solve problems such as this, but I feel that I must notify you of the worst flying experience I have ever had.

I am a student from Brazil living in United States. I bought my tickets to visit my family about a month ago. I was supposed to leave on June 12th and stay in Brazil for 15 days. I drove to the airport from where I am staying in Illinois almost 3 hours away. I arrived at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport several hours before my flight, checked my bags, went thru security, confirmed my gate and seat and waited at the gate for over an hour. I sat patiently waiting for my flight to start boarding to be announced when I realized the flight was already half an hour late. I asked the woman at the desk when my flight would start boarding and she told that the flight I was waiting for had already left. When I asked her how it could have left without me I was told that the gate had been changed at the last moment and that I must not have heard the announcement. This situation is not specific to only me because I am not the only person who missed this particular flight due to the gate change and poor announcement that was made. I also felt that there was nothing wrong with my flight because there were a lot of people in the gate the whole time I was waiting there so I assumed we were all waiting for the same flight. Long story short I missed my flight and when I asked what could be done to rectify this situation, I was treated with no compassion of my situation by not only customer service but also the supervisor over 45 minutes to be found. I was then informed I would have to spend an additional 450 dollars (to a college student a fortune) and take the flight a day later. I then had to call the person who had drove me to the airport to have him turn around and make the 2

hour drive back to the airport, take me home (another 2

hours) and make the same trip again less than 9 hours later.

My trip home went as planned. When it came to the day I was supposed to come back the United States I arrived at the airport in Brazil with plenty of time to spare because I did not want what happened to me in St Louis to happen again. Before I checked my bags I had them wrapped in protective plastic at the airport to protect my bags and belongings on the long travel home. I boarded the airplane on time from my departing city and I was relieved that everything was going smoothly. We then landed in Sao Paulo and I had a brief lay over before getting on the flight that would take us to the United States. I took my seat and waited for the flight to leave and then the announcement came over the loud speaker in the airplane that we were having engine trouble and they were waiting to get it fixed. Three hours later the engines were fixed but all the passengers that were in economic class would be without video, music from the armrest or reading lights. Now on a short flight this would be extremely annoying but on an 11 hour flight not only is it not acceptable but also completely intolerable. We arrived in Dallas 3 hours late and consequently I missed my connecting flight that would take me on the last part of my trip back to St. Louis. I was put on standby for the next flight that would take me to St Louis with no guarantee that I would be put on the next flight if it was full. I have been doing some reading and rule 240 on American Airlines it states that American Airlines defines a schedule irregularity as:

    A delay in the departure or arrival of an American Airlines flight that results in a misconnection, or A flight cancellation or omission of a scheduled stop, or any other delay or interruption of an American Airlines flight, or A substitution of equipment to a different class of service, or A schedule change that requires you to be rerouted.

    If your flight is delayed, cancelled or you miss a connecting American Airlines flight, due to a schedule irregularity

    1.American Airlines must confirm you on their next flight (on which space is available) at no additional cost.

    2.If there is an alternate American Airlines flight that will arrive at your destination earlier than the alternate you have been offered, you have the right to be confirmed on this American Airlines flight at no additional cost, even if first class space is all that is available.

    3.If the alternate American Airlines flight is not acceptable to you, you have the right to be confirmed on the flight of a different airline at no additional cost.

    4.If there is an alternate “different airline” flight that will arrive at your destination earlier than any alternate flight you have been offered, you have the right to be confirmed on this flight at no additional cost, even if first class space is all that is available.

    5.If no alternate flight (on American Airlines or a “different airline”) is acceptable to you, American Airlines must refund your money – even if you have a non-refundable ticket.

Not one of these options was available to me. What was available to me was a standby ticket with no certainty that I would be on the next flight. I feel my passenger rights have been grossly violated because there were several flights that would have left sooner than the one I was placed on standby on. I arrived in St Louis after 12 pm when my flight was scheduled to arrive at 935 am. The person that came to pick me drove again drove 2

hours to pick me up to sit and wait for me for over 3 hours by the time I exited the plane. Thank god this journey was finally over right? Wrong! My bags were lost during the flight and I was told I had to walk from baggage claim M2 to M4 then back to M2 Then back to M4 where the man told me he couldn’t help me and If I felt like I could sift thru the 500 or so bags that were just unloaded due to all the delays that they have been having over the last couple days. I did this for 2 hours because all my belongings are in these bags including my soap, tooth brush, all my clothes including all forms of undergarments, prescribed medication that is to be taken daily, and several other daily necessities. My bags were nowhere to be found and I was finally routed to the lost baggage department where the line was over 25 people long. A service agent came out to tell the line that there would be a very long wait and gave us all pamphlets that explained how to file a lost bag claim. I followed the details of this pamphlet to the letter and was assured my bags would be there the next day and if not then I would be eligible for a small compensation in order to by toiletries and underwear etc. etc. The next day after I placed the lost bag claim I called the number that is listed on the lost baggage pamphlet and I spoke to a woman that had to be the most disgruntled employee I have ever encountered. She spoke over me when I asked about my bags and when I was confused by her response she yelled at me insulted my English which is not my mother language but as you can tell from my letter is far from a problem. I then asked her what her name was and she refused to give it to me and finally she gave me a name which later I found out was phony. I asked to speak to her supervisor and I was put on hold for over 30 minutes. At this point I thought she had just put me on hold and did not plan to transfer me at all but to her credit she transferred me to woman who announced herself as a supervisor. I am still skeptical that it was indeed a supervisor and not just the person sitting next to her, in cahoots with the rude woman, in order to not get in trouble for her rude behavior. I was informed that my bags were found and although entering my tracer number on http://www.aa.com/bagstatus showed they were shipped and would arrive that same day, this was in fact not the case. The woman explained to me she knows that the information on the website says that my bags should arrive today but they will not come until tomorrow. “This is the complete opposite of what it says on the website”, I say. Again she says she knows what it says on the website but my bags will come the following day VIA FedEx. I asked what I am supposed to do about having no undergarments, clothes and the rest of my things and she says that this is not her problem once the bags have been found and no compensation monetary or otherwise is required at this point. To this I am appalled and when I explained that I have been wearing the same underwear she again reassures me that this is absolutely my problem and if I would like I can write a letter to customer relations. The next day I wait around for FedEx to arrive. They arrived at 1pm. What a relief right? Wrong! To my surprise the protective wrapping was no longer on my bags and they were filthy. “Ok I can clean off the dirt” I thought, and when I went to unzip my luggage I realized that the locks had been broken off of my bags. I kept my fingers crossed that nothing had been stolen and attempted to unzip my bags, at which time both zippers handles on both bags came off into my hand broken. I figured something had to be missing if the situation that had started 15 days ago was to continue in the manner it had been going but to my amazement all my things were there and unbroken.

I know I am not unique to situations like this. Some people will keep their mouth shut and usually I am one of these people. I feel violated, taken advantage of and left with only one choice which is a letter that I have no guarantee will be read and not just rerouted to the problem customer file to never be looked at again. To assure myself that have done all that is possible to have my letter read by all powers that be, I will be forwarding this to as many executive email addresses that I can find. This will be a painstaking task but at this point I have been thru so much frustration that a little more at this point is nothing compared to what I have already been thru. In the end I would like to believe that American Airlines will in some way make well, the bad feeling that I am left with as a result of my traveling with them. We will see.

Juliana

Wow, that’s an absolutely abysmal experience. Juliana cc’d us on her executive email carpet bomb to American Airlines, along with tim.ahern@aa.com, ralph.richardi@aa.com, GerardArpey@aa.com, Gerard.arpey@aa.com, John.Bachmann@aa.com, corp.com@aa.com, lynn.watson@aa.com, craig.kreeger@aa.com, Isabella.Goren@aa.com, Peter.Dolara@aa.com, Gary.Kennedy@aa.com, Daniel.Garton@aa.com, Marilyn.DeVoe@aa.com, Denise.Lynn@aa.com, David.Brooks@aa.com, Mark.Burdette@aa.com. We hope she sees some deserved results.

Executive Email Carpet Bombs are when you figure out the company email address format, get a list of top-tier executives, and combine the two to make a big email blast to the honchos. They say crap rolls downhill, so start at the top so it has the most potential energy!

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(Photo: JohnKit)