Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I Will Never Fly American Airlines Again

I know this is a food blog but I'm mad and need to vent. Plus maybe this will save someone else the trouble of dealing with the craptastic failure that is American Airlines.

Why I Will Never Fly with American Airlines Again

After a hellacious trip to Orlando earlier this month, American Airlines being the main culprit could have tried to make the situation right. But they didn’t.
I sent a complaint letter. Here it is:

As a loyal American Airlines frequent flyer, I am writing you to express my extreme disappointment and shock at the lack of customer service and consideration I experienced during a recent business trip. I have recently started a new job that requires monthly travel at a minimum. Every trip I have scheduled thus far has been with American Airlines and I’ve had no problems until my flight (1812) on 3/31 from Miami to Orlando. While I understand that American Airlines does not have any control over the weather, you do have control over how you treat your customers. In that regard, your representatives failed miserably.

The record locator number for this trip is [redacated]. Ticket number 001- [redacted].

After being informed of the cancellation, the passengers; myself included waited in line for over an hour to be told that we were going to be bused to Orlando. I and others nearly missed the announcement because the line was so long those of us at the end could not hear the ticketing agent who was not using the loud speaker.  I expected to be told we would be put on a flight later in the evening or the following morning. That was not the case. Cancelling a flight is to be expected on a rare occasion, but being put on a bus over 3 hours after our scheduled departure time is unacceptable.

Whomever was responsible for requesting a bus for the passengers failed. Miserably. The bus that arrived could not accommodate all of the passengers and that was painfully obvious to all of us. There was a mad rush to door of the bus and an AA representative took boarding passes but did not explain that another bus was on the way. People began to get irate, and no one from AA took the time to explain the situation. 
The 30 or so passengers who did not get on the first bus boarded the next bus and then we proceeded to sit for 45 minutes, with the doors closed (with no air conditioning) waiting to leave. Again, no American Airlines representative told us what was happening or why we were sitting there.  I finally went to the front of the bus to ask why were had not yet left and was informed that we were waiting for a few people who had not yet boarded the bus.
Not having an American Airlines representative present at the time of our arrival (2AM) in Orlando to tell us what terminal and where to go to find our luggage is unacceptable.  The bus driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal and we had to wander around the deserted airport to find the right place to pickup our luggage.

The absolute lack of communication, customer service, and general desire to be helpful was shocking and reprehensible. At no time did anyone offer any kind of apology to any of the travelers nor did they try to make the situation right.  I feel extremely dissatisfied at the lack compassion or compensation on behalf of American Airlines.

The way I and my fellow passengers were treated has me seriously reconsidering any future travel plans with American Airlines.  I believe in brand loyalty but American Airlines does not really seem to care about keeping me as a customer.  During my past experiences with American Airlines I never observed any customer relationship problems. Hopefully the issues aired above do not become the American Airlines norm. However, without a sincere recognition of American Airline's failings, I may be forced to rearrange all of my (as well as my family’s) future travel plans amounting to anywhere from 10,000 – 30,000 miles for this year depending on my personal and business travel requirements. I currently have 2 flights for family vacations booked with American Airlines for later this year.

I may be contacted at [redacted] or on my cell phone at [redacted].

Thank you for your prompt attention,
AA frequent flyer # [redacted]

Long story short - cancelled flight, really crappy customer service, bus, 4 hour trip, no A/C, lost in airport, 2AM.
As you can see I was expecting a response. This is what I got 1 minute after I sent the e-mail to their customer relations department.

April 25, 2012

Dear Ms. [Redacted],

Thank you for contacting us. You trusted us with your valuable time and you were understandably disappointed when we didn't get you to your destination on time. There's clearly nothing more frustrating for everyone -- customers and employees alike -- than having to endure the difficulties associated with air travel when bad weather impacts our flights. From the details you provided, it certainly sounds as if the circumstances surrounding your flight were made even more frustrating by the lack of assistance you received.
When bad weather happens, in the interest of safety, we don't have too many options to get you to where you are going as planned. What we can do, however, is display a friendly attitude to help make the situation a little less trying and I'm sorry we didn't do so on this occasion. At the same time, we are glad that you took the time to share the details of your experience. Your comments enable us to see things from our customers' perspective and help us to improve.
Bad weather is not something we can overcome and the direct impact on our flight schedules is unavoidable. Accordingly, it is not our policy to reimburse our customers' out-of-pocket expenses, make up for lost time, or offer compensation when we don't operate our flights as planned. I am sorry. Nevertheless, you have my assurance that we will continue to focus on the on time departure of our flights and our customer service standards.
Ms. [Redacted], we are eager for another chance to serve you -- we will do our very best to get you to your destination as scheduled and provide you with the kind of service you deserve.


W. Chris Calnan  
Customer Relations
American Airlines

AA Ref#1-528327729 

In case you didn't want to read it all, it basically says - screw you.

So obviously no one read my e-mail either that or this Chris Calnan guy is the fastest reader and typist in the world. I'm going to go with the latter. When I called one of the umpteen phone numbers for American Airlines I was told that there are no phone numbers for Customer Relations and that I will have to send another e-mail…. Because that worked so well the first time. 
What’s sad is all I wanted was an upgrade to elite gold status which I would have achieved at the end of this year anyways. That’s it, that’s all. But rather than even try to find out how the7 could make it right, they decided to blow me off with a form letter. Obviously American Airlines really does not believe in trying to keep their loyal customers. How disappointing. Now I have to go about cancelling my two current booked flights and have to find a new airline to build a relationship with... awesome.

Oh and I'm also going to tweet this to everyone who is following the InfoSecWorld twitter handle (@InfoSec_World), I'm going to send it to The Consumerist and everyone I know on Facebook as well. I may not have a lot of social media power, but The Consumerist, Facebook, and Twitter do.

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