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.

%d bloggers like this: