American Airlines Is Dead To Me

by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.

250px-American_Airlines_logo.svgThere are times when you have to cut ties to a vendor when the arrangement no longer is suitable. Then, there are other times when the insolence and lack of respect is so great that if the internet was not available to vent such consternation we probably would boil over in frustration.

American Airlines won the latter approach by leaving my wife stranded–alone in an airport–lied about there being no accommodations to carry her through the night, and refused any form of compensation for their failure to schedule crew members for the flight, leading to this debacle.

Since it was not in American Airline’s interest to offer a hotel room or at least courtesy voucher for another flight here’s some negative publicity as a parting gift to you.


A close friend is a flight attendant with AA so it was with disappointment I write this, regarding his employer. But kinship has limits.

My wife attended a professional conference in the District of Columbia and afterward was scheduled the night before last to fly from Reagan International to Albany to visit family. I remained home during her travels.

She was to board an American Airlines direct-flight to Albany at 7:30 PM. Just before then, the desk announced a delay, which then turned to a cancellation. It seems the flight was short a crewperson who allegedly was to travel from Charlotte. The airline then announced the flight would be delayed until 11:30 but changed this to a cancellation. Several of the original passengers were allowed to rebook on another flight but by the time my wife arrived at the counter there were no seats available. The next flight would be in the morning.

Essentially, they told my wife she was on her own. This was after she informed them she did not live in DC.

When she telephoned me and asked what to do, I explained that AA should offer her a voucher for a hotel room to billet her for the night since it was American Airline’s fault the flight was cancelled. She then returned to the counter and requested an accommodation but to her dismay she was told there were no hotels available and that they would offer no compensation to my wife. No compensation? They drop the ball and my wife was expected to pick up the pieces.

I then went online and discovered that there were ten hotels in the vicinity having vacancies. My wife and I do not use smartphones so I had to do the research for the American Airlines’ employees who just rolled over and pretended that no vacancies existed. Oh, maybe it was because no “cheaper” hotels were available or that it involved too much work to help out a customer. Unfortunately, when I tried to reach my wife the cellphone went to voicemail. The reception there was poor during our previous conversation. I left messages with information on which hotels to call but she didn’t receive the voice mail notification until the next morning.

Thus then began the ordeal for my wife, courtesy of American Airlines.

I expressed to her my reservations with staying alone in the airport at night, Thus, the airline needed to find her a room. My concern was that she might fall asleep and some misanthrope would steal her luggage. She found a lounge of some form that was behind glass where she felt more comfortable. It would not last long. At 1:00 AM a security guard directed her to leave since the concourse was closing. My wife then had to manage somehow in the main terminal, making all attempts at rest a fool’s errand.

In total American Airlines awarded my wife one hour’s sleep.

Fortunately she managed to depart for Albany in the morning. Still, there was nothing to be offered by American Airlines for all the discomfort their scheduling error and lack of accommodation caused.

The airline prides itself with the motto “The World’s Greatest Flyers Fly American” yet it treated one of these “greatest flyers” as if they were baggage that can simply bet left to sit on a bench without any respect.

No, if we were to fly American Airlines after this incident we would be one of the World’s Greatest Chumps to fall for that promise again. Our days of flying AA are over.

I hope saving a couple hundred dollars for a hotel voucher or courtesy ticket was worthwhile for American Airlines. AA, you bought for yourselves a great deal of negative publicity via direct advertisement to a market segment that flies frequently.

To others out there, I ask that when you fly think of how American Airlines valued my wife’s business by abandoning her in a terminal. I recommend selecting another carrier, at the very least to show support for my wife and make their lack sensitivity cost them many times over in lost revenue. Because judging by their actions, money what that matters to American Airlines.

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

104 thoughts on “American Airlines Is Dead To Me

  1. Being you were not their, and being that your wife thought she was too important, or incapable of reading the departure boards to get to the counter to change her flight sooner more than likely makes this debacle her fault… she had the option to call CS, or like a good passanger, should have been at the airport at the time of her original departure time and sat at the gate. Had she done this, she would have been one of the first people to get the next flight out. Unless your part of the 10 percent of passengers paying for first class, which accounts for 70 or so percent of the entire revinure AA makes, your a small drop in the bucket, and as we say at southwest, ” you have many airlines to choose from, we wish you the best.” Personal accountability is what was lacking, and the sense of entitlement you have displayed is grotesque. Maybe you and your wife should stick to driving in order to get from one place to another. No one in customer service wants to deal with you, or a wife who’s helpless…

  2. Several years ago I had the TV come down on my head as I was getting ready to sit. It hurt like a mofo and I had witnesses. I let the flt crew know and I wrote to AA about the situation & was told there was nothing they can do. This was in ’98 & I still get daily headaches. Never been on any of their carriers again.

  3. Most Airlines will put one up for the night if it is clearly their fault one has to spend the night in the airport. This has certainly been true of international flights, but I assumed it was also the case for domestic ones. Lying about hotel availability doesn’t help either. For those readers passing through who are a little challenged on the subject, lying is generally frowned upon except by politicians (who never frown on their own lies or those of their lobbyists). It also is a fairly good indication the American Airlines rep. knew full well it was at fault.

  4. My wife and I last flew in 2009. Anything 1000 miles or less, we drive. Anything more, we don’t go. Airline travel has just degenerated too far. Foreign scenery can always be viewed online.

    • I flew a fair amount in the ’60 as a young girl and teenager. My dad worked for TWA at JFK so we did get to fly for basically free , on stand by. Air travel then was an event, and you did get dressed up, and you did get great service and amenities on board. The TWA terminal at JFK ( The Bird) was modern and cosmopolitan, a beautiful piece of architecture and a special place to be.

      Those days are long gone, sadly, but glad I got to experience it!

  5. When a business callously screws you over, it is unforgettable and unforgivable. AA has been dead to me since April 1994, when they cancelled our connecting flight out of Chicago, which was bereavement travel after my father passed away unexpectedly. They knew our circumstances, yet refused to even try to put us on another carrier that would get us there sooner than 2-3 hours after our original ETA. The rep at the counter said to my wife “That’s not my problem.”
    I now live in a smaller city whose airport’s primary carrier is AA, and I will drive 160 miles to another airport to avoid ever giving AA my custom again.

    • That lady is right it’s not her problem! Why do people feel they need other people to solve their problems? Everybody knows that flying is not perfect, delays can and will happen if you take enough flights. So why don’t people plan for if the flight gets delayed or cancelled?

      If getting to the funeral was so important then why didn’t you walk down to the next airline and but a ticket on the next flight out? You know why you didn’t? Cuz you wanted some else to pay for it.

      Stop acting like a 3 year old! Stop expecting other people to take care of your problems!

      • He had already paid for it. He shouldn’t have to pay twice. The expectation of customer service and reassurance is why we pay to fly with major airlines. Customer service also happens to be what people who work in the industry of customer service get paid for. Sometimes they are officially given the title of “customer service representative.” I’m sorry that you have never learned to separate your feelings from reality and have therefore justified throwing a temper tantrum. Projecting your own naivety and laziness onto random people for the sake of making yourself feel just a little bit better is truly pathetic. My guess is that you wouldn’t work for any reputable company, and you’re just another one of AA’s social media trolls.

          • People expect the airlines to fix these problems because the airlines are being PAID to fix these problems! The whole deal is that we give them money, and in return they guarantee that we will get to our destination in a timely and comfortable manner. When they take our money, and then delay us, lie to us, impede us, and confound our plans, they are BREACHING the contract that we have made. The whole point of this article was the guy sharing the knowledge that his wife was treated shabbily, so they are going to use other vendors from now on.

  6. I am a travel agent and I know American is always delayed…but they are very proactive in reprotecting people…we have a program that will advise us of flight delays and when I get an advisory ..I can see American has already protected my client… I am truly surprised by all the experincest you all had….I always see American’s computer doing an auto reprotect.

  7. Darren – you might try contacting Christopher Elliott with your story/ complaint. He writes a syndicated column for many newspaper including USA Today and is ( I believe) ombudsman for National Geographic Travel.

    Regarding your wife’s scenario – it seems by the time her flight was cancelled it was very late and the information desk staffed by Travekers Aide volunteers was closed, and other airport employees were not helpful.

    Since neither of you have smart phones it would be helpful to travel with something like an AAA Tourbook covering the state(s) where you will be flying out of . For major cities, there are maps and listings of airport hotels with phone numbers and locations. Low tech I know, but it would help.

    Additionally , airlines tend to monitor their Twitter accounts pretty well to fend off problems. But you need a smart phone or computer to access Twitter.

  8. I don’t know why we are trying to help these people…he let his wife stay in the airport all night …due to cheapness…she is so dumb she can’t pick up a phone…to help herself
    …..some people should just stay home.

    • I don’t know why we are trying to help these people…he let his wife stay in the airport all night …due to cheapness…she is so dumb she can’t pick up a phone…to help herself
      …..some people should just stay home.

      This guy says it best! Why should we even give a dam?

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