An Open Letter to American Airlines

I expect better.

In the last 15 days, I have been on 9 flights. 5 with American. All went well until flight #8 made me miss flight #9.

Mind you, it didn’t have to happen. Yes, it was delayed, yes, it was a tight connection, but we got to the gate at 9:02 for a 9:16 flight. Yes, we saw that boarding closes 15 min before take off, but that isn’t the point.

The point is that when our fellow passengers got off in JFK on AA, there were people to meet them at the gate to get them expedited to their next flight. No one even acknowledged we had another flight or tight connection. We literally RAN from one terminal to another only to miss the flight.

We were greeted at the closed gate by a man in a suit who did not tell us to go to rebooking, but put us on a golf cart with 3 other people to go from gate D16 to E7 (mind you were can in at E11) and took pictures of our boarding passes (as did the golf cart driver) after telling us that there was plenty of room on the next flight.

Well, after we were left by the driver, the gate agent showed up, shocked to have a group of stressed and tired passengers saying they were told they would be on that flight (We started our day in Paris at around 3 AM EDT). She was quickly overwhelmed and let us know she was 11 people overbooked and we were not getting on the flight and she had no idea who sent us and no, a golf cart could not take us back to D37 for rebooking. All of this as we watched the crew from our plane, get on the flight we were told we would be on.

So we walked back.

The rebooking people did their job and got us on the morning flight. We got a hotel, but had to Uber because the shuttle stopped running 6 minutes before we got there. We had to Uber back in the AM because the shuttle didn’t start until 7. Everyone was nice enough and the stay was fine for the 3 hours of sleep we got after finally getting dinner at midnight.

Oh, and we were lucky. The there was a passenger who was 21 who also missed the flight and he had to sleep at gate 37 because he was too young to go to a hotel. He was also part of the group who was shuttled on the golf cart.

We are home now, but all of this could have been avoided with a little extra effort on your part. Here is what could have saved you money and lots of stressed people:

1. Priority debark for passengers with tight connections. If we were in row 1 rather than 23 we might have made the flight.

2. Have someone to take people to the next gate or rebooking if it is far away.

3. Let us know that we might have to rebook so we don’t run like crazy across the airport. We were on your airline, so you knew.

4. Don’t let staff mislead people or cart them around and leave. I wish I got the man’s name, but his “helpfulness” made the situation worse.

So as a long term Advantage Member, I am disappointed.

As a frequent flyer, I am frustrated.

The messages that my bag arrived early were not helpful since the bag made the flight and I didn’t.

The situation is resolved, but I just think you could do better.

9 flights, 1 train ride, and 4 countries in 15 1/2 days

A small drink on one of our many flights

I like the idea of vacations and being on them much more than the act of planning a vacation. This most recent one was supposed to be easy, Spain and Portugal. The challenge was the lack of direct flights, the expense, and even more expense if we didn’t do a round trip. So we decided to add 1 more stop in Paris to save money and give us a chance to go to one of our favorite vacation spots.

So we added Paris. Then we needed to decide if we wanted to go to Spain or Portugal first. There were 4 cities we wanted to see. They were Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Porto. We could fly to the countries and take trains in between the cities.

When we started to feel like it was too much, we dropped Porto from the list and kept the other 3. Then throw in the wrench. I was granted to opportunity to go to a conference in England while we were on vacation. A few changes of bookings and Barcelona got dropped and Manchester was added.

The next challenge was finding a flight from Lisbon to Manchester. After an unsuccessful search, we figured out we could take a train to Porto and get to Manchester that way. Whew!

Planes were on time, train was on time, but the one other sticky point (other than being nervous the hurricane was going to keep us from leaving Orlando) was now that Norwegian Air closed up shop, direct flights to Paris are rare and expensive. Add in paying with points and you end up on 5 flights to get to Paris and back.

So I am now on flight 7 as I write about all of this crazy and I hope we stay on schedule and I don’t curse it by saying all has gone well.

Next trip will be simpler and have way less moves, but all in all, we loved every bit of it. Except maybe the lack of air conditioning in a couple of places and the double landing with Ryan Air.

More to come.

By the way, Eddie took 2 additional round trips by train while I was at the conference in Manchester.

Update- I cursed it. Will share in another post after we get home. Flight 9 is in the wings…


Having the opportunity to travel to 4 different countries over a 2 week period is a tiring, but beautiful experience. There is so much to learn about other cultures and the people of these amazing places.

One of my favorite things is to visit museums. I am amazed by the details of historical paintings. Some are so good, they look like photographs. Probably because before photography, this was the way to memorialize people and scenes. Imagine a time when you couldn’t just snap a picture on your phone!

What strikes me though is how history is revised through the eyes of the artist. In many ways like the propaganda we receive through all forms of media (especially political ads). Some of the religious paintings seems to tell a much different story than I have read in my Bible. As I reflect on this, in many ways, nothing has changed. People often believe what they are told. Pieces of the story come forward while other pieces are left behind.

Yesterday, my husband went to a museum in Liverpool, England. He was surprised and amazed that the museum showed the raw truth about slavery in their country. In his words, “they owned up to it, bad things and all”.

As a society, we can’t move forward if we tell ourselves lies and revise the history that happened before us. Some of the situations we face are bigger than us. Bigger than one country. Whether it is economics, climate, or politics, we are all entangled whether we admit it or not.

It is time to see each other for who we are, work together on solutions, and learn history so we do t repeat it.

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