Living in Miami nearly requires flying American Airlines. I recently booked a round-trip with my girlfriend to visit a very sick uncle before he dies.
Our adventure began on the outbound flight. After sitting with the door closed for about 20 minutes, it was announced that an air conditioning problem needed to be fixed and that it would just be a few minutes. Twenty minutes later, the pilot announced that the issue was fixed and once a logbook was signed we’d be on our way. At the time of announcement, the temperature was well above comfortable and it was quite humid.
After another 20 minutes, the pilot announced that another air conditioning issue was found and that passengers could voluntarily deplane and wait in the gate area if desired. A few people did. About five minutes later, the pilot sheepishly got on to announce that there was a rule that if one person got off, we all had to get off. Grrr!
Once forced off the plane, I immediately started looking for another way to my destination so as not to lose time visiting my uncle. I learned that there were no other flights, even if I routed with two stops, until late the next day. My fellow passengers waited and fumed while only one gate agent fielded questions.
Over the next three hours, I spoke to five American Airline employees and asked for a manager. I traveled to two different re-booking areas. They were supplied with free snacks, sandwiches and drinks, but the gate where everyone waited for four hours had nothing. All the while, not one manager ever showed up or responded to the gate agent’s frequent radio requests. Eventually, the fight was cancelled after seven recorded delays. Not once did anyone at American Airlines say they were sorry.
Ultimately, I came back to the airport the next morning at 4:30 a.m. and fought to get stand-by reservations on the morning’s second flight after the first flight left full.
After a seriously shortened trip, I expected no issue returning to Miami. I had important work scheduled an hour after the flight was to land and my girlfriend had to get her son ready for the first day of school.
Well, you guessed it! Our return flight was ready to board when a leak was found on the wing. After three delays, I was able to negotiate us onto the only stand-by reservations that would get us back to Miami the same day. As we stood in that line, we were told only one of us could fly, despite taking three single flyers in front of us. American Airlines split us up, and I sent my girlfriend on that flight. Moments later, the original flight was announced as being ready to board. I flew back alone and enjoyed our particularly hard landing. We also spent 30 minutes waiting for an arrival gate. Welcome to Miami and the wonderful American Airlines hub.
I’ve sent reports to customer service after each botched flight. To date, there is no reply. There is so much more detail to this story. Maybe someone from the airline will read this and respectfully address it. Perhaps my readers will think twice before booking their next American Airlines flight. I know I will.
Here is a travel expert on the same subject: “About half of my flights lately have had significant maintenance delays. I simply can’t rely on American to get me where I need to go in a timely fashion anymore.” <onemileatatime.com/fly-american-airlines-2019>
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