Where Did American Airlines Go?
This is a “customer complaint” I wrote to American Airlines on September 16th after I got back from my most recent visit to Ecuador. I was assigned a complaint number via Twitter, the only arm of their customer service department that apparently cares to attempt to resolve their issues.
We’ve received your email and have forwarded it to Customer Relations. Your confirmation number is 1-1013447298.
“For over 40 years (yes I am that old and still kicking) I have been flying American Airlines. I grew up in Arlington Texas and as there has always been access to this Airline in the DFW metro area. The headquarters has been located there since 1979 . Until 1973 when the airline transferred to Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport, my flights primarily went out of Love Field in Dallas. It was an ordeal to use this airport and no one was more thankful than me when, DFW opened in early 1973.
As a buyer with Six Flags amusement parks I had the great fortune of traveling to SE Asia for two months each year and to all the major trade shows in the US annually. I used the airlines quite a lot. In fact I am approaching the million mile level with your airline and have always been treated great. I have a myriad of friends that have worked as Stewardesses and at the Ticket Desk for American Airlines over the years and was always proud that they headquartered in my backyard.
Recently I have noticed a complete reversal in service, attitude and courtesy among the majority of the employees. I am not sure if its the merger with US Airways or what. My most recent flight from Guayaquil to Miami, was an example of this. Its bad enough you have to get up at 2:30 AM to get to the airport, buy having transpire what happened to me was beyond belief on this flight.
We were served this amazing breakfast. After all I paid $949 for this ticket and it proudly announced breakfast would be served on the flight itinerary. If you count there are 3 bites of pineapple, 5 bites of watermelon,one grape, a sandwich and either jam or butter to apply to your bread. I was awestruck by the quality. After downing the fruit in about two bites, I opened the sandwich and found this.
There was one measly slice of ham that had to weigh .25 ounce and a slice of cheese that had to weigh .30 ounce I am guessing. I had to laugh to keep from exploding. After consuming this wonderful nutritious meal I was overcome with the Grand Amoeba, more commonly known as Montezuma’s Revenge. I looked to the rear of the coach and there had to be 12 or more people in line. I got up (I was in 3 or 4 rows back from first class) and went to the first class area to use the restroom. A nice young man (Steward) named Art stepped up and told me it would be two seconds before it was free, as the crew was using it.
I asked him if he was sure it was going to be two seconds and he replied well maybe three seconds. I laughed and returned to my seat squirming. When it was apparent the lavatory was free, I got up to go to the first class again and lo and behold a stewardess with short silver hair started walking to me, pointing her finger in my face and telling me I had no right to use this facility and would have to return to the rear lavatory, which now had 15 or more people in it. I was extremely upset, as this same lady had allowed no less than 10 to 12 “coach” passengers to use the first class facilities prior to me and carried on a conversation with some of them, as they waited.
As I returned to get in the massive coach line, a wonderful stewardess that had seen the entire episode apologized to me and tried valiantly to calm me down. I believe her name was Kathy. Tall lady with 29 years experience she told me, blond hair and a fantastic disposition. She helped keep me out of trouble! It helped somewhat.
My issue is that I was the only individual that this lady would not allow to use the facilities and why she chose me to discriminate against is beyond me. I am not sure if it was my age, my beard, my Hawaiian shirt or my Panama Hat, but she obviously felt compelled to reject me and only me. I was embarrassed beyond belief and cannot tell you how much I wanted to tell this lady off. I knew if I did that I would more than likely wind up in jail in Miami and chose to write you, the management about this incident.
I intentionally watched her actions, after disciplining me in front of the entire coach passenger population and she continued to allow other coach passengers to use the first class restroom. I was furious. She again stopped before the curtain and carried on a conversation with a coach passenger, then allowing him to use the first class facilities. I am mortified that I was singled out, especially since I was very sick to my stomach and barely got to the coach restroom without having an accident in my pants!”
As of today October 9, 2013 I have received no response, no apology or no solution to my discrimination. I am perplexed and very disenchanted that American Airlines has chosen to completely ignore this situation and has made no contact with me to attempt a resolution. I am asking my travel and food bloggers friends to use social media and blast this over all your platforms, until they decide to address this issue. I appreciate any and all help. Please use the hashtag:
Thank you kindly in advance for your help and support!!!
Posted By October 9, 2013
EEEEK! That’s terrible. If youhad flown RyanAir I’d be saying, fair enough. That sandwich is worse that the ones they sell at the gas station…
That breakfast is just sad – I’d rather they just didn’t pretend to be offering a meal. At least with the pay-only options you know what you’re getting.
And I can’t understand the reasoning behind not allowing someone to use an available restroom when there’s a line.
I couldn’t agree more. It was laughable that they described this paltry offering as breakfast! I have never been so humiliated in my 40 years of flying. The stewardess needs to be disciplined! Thanks.
If you think it is bad now just wait until USAir management gets ahold of AA. I have my own horror story of their last merger.
I know it will only get worse. I will have to make a major decision about staying with this airline after this incident. I may have to switch finally! I have never been this humiliated in 40 years of flying! Thanks amigo!
Welcome back! But I know it wasn’t a welcoming experience for you. Gosh! That was horrible! I don’t understand them. Well, it’s just so funny that today, I just got my AAdvantage card. But after reading this, not sure when I’m gonna use it next.. Delta so far is still my favorite…
Thanks young lady for your comment. I am going through the same thoughts. In my 40 years of flying I have never been this humiliated!
The airlines suck!! Every frequent traveler has a love/hate relationship with them, but I didn’t think American Airlines was this bad. I’m a Delta frequent flier and for the most part, they’ve been pretty decent with me…but their partner KLM who I’m stuck flying out of Saudi, is a whole other story. And, the crap food you just posted a photo of is what their business class food looks like. It’s horrible!! Anyway…I’m going to share this. I hope you get some resolution.
I am at my wits end and will have to make a decision whether to stay or not after 40 years with them. The humiliation on this flight, was the worst in my entire career of flying! Thanks for sharing and your support!
Prison breakfasts look more appealing.
I hadn’t put it in that perspective, but you are entirely correct! Thanks and I hope all is well with you!
Had something similar with Northwest years ago on a quick flight from MSP to ORD. I was in the 3rd or 4th row of coach and needed to use the bathroom, bad. I had a large drink before getting on board (I know, my bad). I was told I could not use the first class lav and could only use the one in the rear. The drink cart was rolling down and I was expected to wait until every passenger was served a drink before being allowed to go to the bathroom. I got into it with one of the flight attendants, and I would have made a bigger stink except that my boss was sitting in first class. I tried to wait patiently, but when I could not wait anymore, I asked an economy flight attendant. She said I had to ask permission of the same first class flight attendant. I felt like I was in grade school asking the teacher for the hall pass. It was humiliating. Finally, I told the first class attendant that it was an emergency, I could not wait and that she had two choices: 1) let me use first class lav, or 2) I would quietly pee in the seat and have them clean it up. I told her I refused to get a urinary infection because I could not use a first class lav that was being used by no one. She finally let me in, I was red and embarrassed but managed to keep the discussions quiet from my boss. I vowed never to fly NWA again, and never did. As a frequent first class passenger, I have no qualms with occasional usage of the bathroom by others and feel bad that these kind of conversations even have to take place.
I appreciate your comment more than you know. It gives me a little hope that it is just not me that has this issue. In my 40 years of flying (more than you have been alive) I have never been so humiliated and to have such a ridiculous response is an insult. I am debating switching after all these years! Thanks again.
I just wrote a long comment and it got erased because I got the Captcha wrong. Anyway, I feel your pain. Their customer service sucks lately.
I apologize for the Captcha error. I will see if that can be remedied! Thanks for your kind words and for your support. It is so important to have individuals that understand! Thank you kindly for stopping by! It was remedied this morning finally!.
I completely agree with their lack of service lately. I, as well as a few others have shared this on twitter for you. It just stinks when you spend so much money for a plane ticket and all they offer you is a drink and a measly meal. I was on their flight a few weeks ago around dinner time and not even a snack! Am I supposed to find dinner after I land at 11pm at night? And they have all those articles about treating all your flight attendants like queens to get ‘perks’. What about treating all your passengers wonderfully after all the money we spend to fly with them? And even worse about the bathroom. My last flight had 1 broken lavatory in the ‘non-first class’ section. Half the aisle was taken over by people needing to use the bathroom, including myself and it was sad because I would look at the front of the plane at first class and there was no line for it. It just made me feel so little, so I completely understand how you felt, especially with the flight attendant. I actually applied to be a flight attendant for American Airlines and that is why I was on the last flight, for the interview. I did not get the position because they made me feel so uncomfortable and were unfriendly, except for one of the guys, who actually was pretty funny and personable. They actually lied to my face, told me I may hear from them in a couple weeks, and when I did, they said I didn’t get it but they knew that when I was there. So not only has there customer service has gotten worse, they also lie to people who are trying to work for them. Delta is looking better and better to me now. I’m glad you are standing up for yourself and hopefully some action on their part will take place.
I have been with them for 40 years and it was embarrassing and I felt like she was talking to a two year old, not a 63 year old man. It was very humiliating. I am not sure what is going on, but over the last couple of years things have progressively gotten worse. Thank God I had enough friends to make enough “noise” about this, that they decided to handle it. After the person in the executive office called me I felt better and in fact I think they actually did the right thing. I am back in their fold. Hope that your experiences get better, regardless of which airline you fly! Thanks for your great comment!
I am sorry you had a disappointing experience, but I feel compelled to say that along with a drink and a measly meal, I trust that you were also offered a safe flight – the direct result of experienced mechanics, seasoned pilots, and specially trained flight attendants. I sincerely hope that you never experience an air disaster, but should one occur, the meal will be a memory … getting safely out of an aircraft that has been disabled, life changing.
So frustrating. Maybe you should try writing a song about… haha worked for someone else ;p United Breaks Guitars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
You are hilarious. My apologies I am not receiving notification when comments are left. I love your “idea”! Ha! Safe Travels mi amigo!
I am truly sorry you had such an awful experience with American Airlines; there are so many good employees with American, that work hard, despite (in my opinion) support and assistance from the powers to be.
As a recently retired flight attendant from American Airlines (38 years – International) I had a few thoughts I’d like to share. I usually worked the first class position and as flight attendants, we are told by management to discourage coach passengers from using first class lavatories. We also get complaints from the first class passengers and they can be quite vocal in their perceived rights to have special access to the facilities. Put these two concerns together, then add 9/11 where strict movement between cabins was not allowed for several years following that horrible day, and I admit that I became ‘slightly’ militant over paroling the aisles, monitoring the lav situation, until one day I noticed the discomfort on a passengers face as I sent them back to coach in a state of disgrace, and I thought “what am I doing”? Is it really so important to me who uses the lavatory? Of course not. Common sense and treating people with simple courtesy ruled the day.
This background information is not meant to excuse the flight attendant in your case, and I certainly hope she relaxes her guard. I do believe that you were not singled out … I think she started to try enforcing the rather silly rules (when someone has to go, they have to go!), then just gave up. The work place has changed so much – far more people in the same spaces, with far less amenities, less flight attendants per plane … and the food … I don’t want to even touch on that!!
Please don’t give up on American. I think the merger will improve the morale, and thus the service, so try again. And I certainly (!) hope you receive a response from the powers to be at American!
I will respond to both comments together. I have many friends, as stated, that have had careers at American and I have loved this airline and flown on it for 40 years. I understand the policy, but if you read all of my post you will see that I was the only passenger that was chastised for trying to use the first class lavatory. She allowed 10-12 prior to me and then about 5 more after my incident. I was truly “singled out” by her, for some reason. I also mentioned that two others steward/stewardess, were very gracious and courteous to me. I am well aware that American has a great mechanical staff and wonderful pilots. etc. Its one of the primary reasons that I always fly American.
True to form I received a call from an executive at the DFW office and he handled the issue appropriately and in a rapid manner. I am back in the fold and I knew eventually when the right person heard, the issue would be addressed. It was resolved according to my expectation and I have moved on. Thank you kindly for taking the time and effort to comment on my blog. I appreciate it more than you know! Hope you have a great and stress free “retirement”!
I am glad you are back in the fold! And I wish I had you on one of my flights … I would have rolled out the red carpet for you. Here’s to continued great adventures!