American Airlines Blames Being The Crappiest On The Weather

American Airlines CEO Gerard J. Arpey went on The Today Show to blame the fact that his company has the lowest customer service satisfaction ranking on the weather, the air traffic control system (the favorite punching bag of the major carriers this summer) and oh maybe we shaved off too much of the ground time.

But a ray of hope is peaking over the edge of the wing, Arpey says the airline is exploring making it possible for passengers to deboard if they’ve been waiting on the tarmac for over four hours. How generous!


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Oh cool! I didn’t know I could use that excuse! I’m in landscaping and thats PERFECT for me!

  2. dregina says:

    American Airlines is the only company I have ever boycotted, and I will boycott them for the rest of my life.
    I had a ticketing dispute with AA two years ago, and they would have been better off putting a rabid badger behind the counter than the bitchy ticket agent I had to deal with. Among other customer service sins, she got my name wrong. My name is “Dana”, and my middle initial is “R”, and she kept pushing the two of them together, calling me “Danar” – pronounced “Day-nar.” I corrected her every time she said it, and she never once got it right, or apologized. She also told me I was “lucky to have the opportunity” to buy a $500 ticket to replace the previous ticket I had purchased, which had been erroneously voided by AA. Because it was Christmas, she explained, no one could do anything to help me. All I could do was buy another ticket and fight it out with AA at a later, more convenient date. Convenient for them, of course. Eventually I got my money back, but I will NEVER, EVER fly AA again.

  3. philipbarrett says:

    I’m Platinum with these guys & my informal survey since May of this year is that out of 26 flights, 20 were delayed. Oh, & 2 lost my bags.

    Hey, at least they’re consistent!

  4. Murph1908 says:

    cue Milli Vanilli

  5. phobs says:

    I hardly fly, why do people keep flying with them if their quality sucks so much? Are they really cheap?

  6. ediebeale says:

    Mother a god, I’m flying AA with a VERY short layover in Dallas tomorrow night. Pray for me, fellow consumerists.

  7. timmus says:

    NO. You do NOT “explore” getting people off the plane if they’ve been on board for four hours. Have the airlines forgotten the 20th century wonders of airstairs and a bus?

  8. ediebeale says:

    @phobs: I fly with them because it’s my job’s airline, so I get to keep all my flyer miles. If that wasn’t the case, believe me…

  9. not_seth_brundle says:

    @phobs: I fly with them because as far as I can tell, every other airline has similar issues, and AA has the best fares and schedules out of O’Hare (maybe tied with United, which I like even less).

  10. Hawkins says:

    This glib douchebag was paid ten MILLION dollars last year. See [] .
    Meanwhile, pilots and flight attendants continue to be gouged out of their pensions.

    This isn’t right.

  11. jamesdenver says:

    I’m sick to death of hearing airlines blame the ATC system for their problems (and general aviation for that as well.)

    The blame falls on overscheduled flights, airports at capacity, and poor management by airlines at a LOCAL AIRPORTS run by local governments.

    I just read an asinine article in Time Magazine with a laughable graphic – again painting the “antiquated ATC system” as the problem.

    I wrote a complete review on my blog. (Not spamming, just my opinions.) People are being “sold” on this problem by the airlines, when in fact it’s the airlines themselves that scheduled 50 flights to leave at 8am, cancel fully booked flights, don’t adjust in bad weather. THOSE things aren’t ATC problems


    Consider the air travel horror stories lately: Eight hours on the ground in New York. Feces rolling down the aisles on Continental. Northwest cancels half their daily flights. Canceled flights Do these anecdotes sound like they have ANYTHING to do with air traffic control? No.


  12. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    You’ll be fine, last time I flew through Dallas literally *every* American flight was delayed. Every single one. So if your flight is late getting in, your flight going out will be too, so you’ll make it just fine!

  13. jamesdenver says:

    I’m sick to death of hearing the airlines blame the ATC system for their problems. All major problems result from airlines being stretched to capacity at LOCAL hub airports. Or cancelling fully booked flights. Or trying to mantain schedules during poor weather. The ATC system is old, but it works. Just because you can route planes through the sky faster doesn’t mean you can land them faster with limited gates and tight schedules.

    Time magazine had a completely asinine piece on this non-problem. With a laughable animation too. People are being “sold” that ATC is a problem (or general aviation too), when it’s not.

    i have a review of it on my site too []

  14. jamesdenver says:

    oops sorry for the double post. Typical of airlines to say “not our fault” It’s those fat cat corporate pilots taking our landing slots. Or the antiquated ATC system spinning us in circles.

    Both are complete fallacies. And non-existent “problems”.

  15. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    damn you Arpey. now I know what you look like!

    then again, I would be stunned if he didn’t get driven home in a limo made of hundred dollar bills and written complaints.

  16. ediebeale says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: charming! Thanks for the tip. Good to know that AA can always be relied on…to suck.

  17. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    We were flying from JFK through DFW for a connection. We were running way late at JFK, and everyone kept going up to the podium to ask if they were going to miss their connection. Eventually they just started telling people that every flight out of Dallas was delayed, so they weren’t going to miss their connection. We didn’t believe it and just figured they didn’t want to look up any more flights. Turns out it was true after all!

  18. Streyeder says:

    Well, umm, I hate to break it to you, but we STILL fly B-52s! The last one was built in ’62!

    Everyone has to deal with the old FAA equipment and the weather, not just you. Quit blaming everyone but yourselves and cop to just flat out being a crappy airline.

  19. kenboy says:

    The real issue, as I understand it from the Ask The Pilot guy at Salon, is that the airlines have gotten us addicted to direct flights from everywhere to everywhere, which means a greater number of smaller regional jets, taking up more takeoff and landing slots.

    (And, of course, no one wants to change planes because they can’t count on making their connection because the system is so overloaded.)

  20. Blue says:

    How about the fact that all airlines now cruise slower. At best possible economy cruise power setting. This alone is not a crime, but when i flew American in june(Barbados-KJFK) we departed 40 mins. late. Despite a promise to do there best to make up the time, they did nothing. We still cruised along for the 1200 miles at mach .77 in our B757 which was designed to cruise at bout mach .81. There crime, which i resent is that late or not they refuse to fly at any speed faster than the best possible economy cruise.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    I’ll take an old B52 over anything that comes out of the Embraer yards any day of the week.

  22. tschepsit says:

    One thing’s true – he’s absolutely right about the weather at their biggest hubs being abnormally horrid this year. Not much you can do about that. ATC issues should be planned for.

  23. philipbarrett says:

    No way, those EMBs are hot rods (they are from Brazil) – I have a skinny ass and always sit on the single row side, exit aisle. Lotsa leg room there & shorter flying times.

  24. LeopardSeal says:

    @philipbarrett: I’m with you. I love the Embrarers. You can’t beat nice, new aircraft with comfy seating and individual entertainment screens.

  25. AlexG32 says:

    He seems to be forgetting that American isn’t the only airline that has to deal with bad weather, and an old ATC system. If all the delays were caused by only those things, every airline would be even. They are ranked the worst for a reason.

  26. Chicago7 says:

    Those damn Southwest Airline jets and their “cone of good weather”! How I hate them!

  27. Chairman-Meow says:

    Ahhh…good ole’ American Airlines. Everytime I flew to a connector in Dallas I was guaranteed an overnight stay.

    Every friggin time.

    My previous employer used AA as a preferred airline so I had little choice when traveling to the left coast. I had to make that hellish trip every three months.

    Where most airlines take about, oh say 7-8 hours to fly from Boston to LA, my flights *always* took 2 freaking days ! If I flew via Dallas, I always would be stranded there overnight due to AA constant delays.

    Thank goodness I now have it from Mr.AA CEO himself that their problems are caused by everyone and everything but themselves. Kudos AA!!!

    AA and USAIR are the only two airlines that I absolutely will not fly under any circumstances.

  28. humphrmi says:

    LOL it’s good to see a new generation of flyers holding lifelong grudges against airlines. I developed a healthy hatred of NWA (20 years ago) and UAL (15 years ago) and have never flown either of them since. Ironically the airline I switched to back then was AA. Now, I’m a free agent… just flew LX and BA to/through Europe, probably Connie the next time I fly within the US. Fortunately my employer gives me more choices these days.

  29. dolphinpacific says:

    American Airlines and ATA both suck. Customer service and waiter/waitress service is horrible.

  30. bbergstein says:

    I’ve never filed a complaint about an airline before — until last month when I was gouged by American Airlines for $1900 for the privilege of rebooking my wife, my 2-year-old daughter and I on a flight the day that LAX was swamped by the Customs Dept. computer glitch and the place was so jammed no one could move. Every single AA employee I talked to gave me a different rule about why we might — and then ultimately could not — get on a 7:15 a.m. flight for which we arrived at LAX at 6 am. One agent said I could rebook for $1300 for two of the tickets and 50,000 miles for the third — except the airline just went ahead and ignored that and charged us for all three tickets. So $1300 of gouging turned into $1900 of gouging with a helping of incompetence. I filed two online complaints with American and never heard back. Not surprising to learn here it has the worst customer service record. This marks the beginning of my online campaign to encourage everyone I know to fly United or Delta or anyone but AA instead.