Air travel has become more and more difficult no matter who you fly with. I’ve had minor issues with American Airlines for years, but unfortunately, I sometimes have no choice but to fly out of my home area unless I use American. It depends on where I’m going and when I have to be there.
The minor issues have been escalating lately to a point where, as a travel writer and someone that travels regularly, if American Airlines is my only choice – I just won’t go. That’s a huge decision for someone who makes their living traveling and flying from one place to another.
I’ve decided I will no longer subject myself to the horrible customer service and treatment received from a business that I usually have to pay close to $500 to travel with.
Just this month I’ve had to use American Airlines twice. Just this month I’ve had issues with American Airlines twice. Twice in one month. Twice being treated rudely and not getting what I paid for. Twice in two weeks.
My first trip this month was to Los Angeles. The issues during this trip were somewhat minor. I was scheduled to leave my home airport at around 5 a.m. so I got up at 3:30 a.m. to head to the airport. Before getting ready I checked my messages and after midnight I had received a message that my flight was canceled. CANCELLED. Not delayed. CANCELLED. No explanation. Nothing.
I got on the phone to rebook myself on the next flight out – no room. On the flight after that – no room. I was finally able to fly out and arrive in Los Angeles close to 9 hours later than my original plan. I missed a full day of the event I was going to.
One minor glitch. When I paid for my original flight I also paid for a boarding upgrade. Minimal cost but it’s the way I like to do things. When they finally rebooked me they didn’t carry over the paid upgrade. It has taken me 15 days, multiple phone calls and multiple direct messages on Twitter to get a refund.
My red-eye flight to return home from LA was delayed (of course) due to “our flight crew hasn’t made it here from the hotel.” So – hundreds of passengers can make it through LA traffic to be on time but the flight crew can’t get from the hotel ON AIRPORT PROPERTY on time.
Fast forward to November 15th. I booked this trip to a conference in New Jersey months ago. As I always do, I added on priority boarding and upgraded seating ($76.50). Combined with my original ticket purchase, the trip cost me just a few dollar shy of $500.
Amazingly, the trip from South Carolina to New Jersey went well. The major issues started when I tried to return home on November 17th. I say “tried” because I never made it home on Sunday, November 17th. I could have driven home from New Jersey faster than American Airlines flew me there.
To recap –
- I paid close to $500 (ticket plus seating and boarding upgrades) for a ticket that did not get me where I needed to be when I needed to be there.
- My bag, containing my medication, was taken from me without giving me the opportunity to get my necessary items from it.
- I was treated rudely by multiple representatives of American Airlines.
- Forced to go through TSA in Newark Airport twice because rude gate agents wouldn’t help.
- When I tried to ask a question, agents immediately cut me off and raised their voice to make it appear as if I was creating a problem. I was screamed at, embarrassed and humiliated while boarding the plane in Newark.
- I was forced to pay for a hotel and food.
- I was forced to pay an extra day parking at my home airport.
- A paying customer forced to pay for a hotel so they could give the one seat available FREE to an employee.
- Arrived home a full day later than expected. I didn’t pay to get home on 11/18. I paid to get home on 11/17 – BECAUSE I NEEDED TO BE HOME ON 11/17.