by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
There 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.