In July of this year, our flight out of Detroit was slightly delayed due to a storm. We left a few minutes late, made some time up in air, and landed nearly on time. However, there was no gate available in Dallas and we had to wait on the plane for about 30 minutes. We were told no worries, our flights were being held.
When we arrived at the gate, there was a line of about 50 people and we were told by the attendant that our flight was told to leave early and there were no more flights out. Also that she was leaving soon for the day, and we had to go to another gate to get rebooked. We stood in line for over an hour. There was one attendant to take care of all these folks.
We finally got rebooked to reach our destination, but were told there were no overnight accommodations and we would have to sleep on a cot. On cots - really? With a senior and two small children? The next morning, they rebooked us twice because flights we were scheduled on weren't going to leave the ground due to mechanical issues.
At this point we had been in Dallas airport for over 16 hours with only their airport junk food to eat and no vouchers. I noticed a supervisor and was finally able to get my father to speak to her. Noticing the multiple attempts to get us to our destination were unsuccessful, she rebooked us on an oversold flight with priority booking.
We ran to the next gate. Only to have them board the entire flight and not hear our names called. At this point I was scared and in tears. It was looking like a second night in Dallas airport due to an airline with poor planes and poor customer care.
I later wrote AA about this experience and was told better luck next time. I wrote them again to express my feelings about their lack of customer care and was told, "We have received your most recent email and want to take this additional opportunity to apologize, once again, for your and your family's interrupted travel. I can understand your continued disappointment. After review and at the risk of disappointing you further, our position remains unchanged. I am sorry. Still, your comments enable us to understand things from our customers' perspective. It would be a privilege to welcome you aboard soon."
Of course, I have no intention of ever flying American Airlines again; neither do my family members, nor do our businesses! It's not about the delay. It's about the complete lack of customer care - both during the experience and after! American Airlines simply does not care about their Advantage or frequent flier customers or any other customer for that matter!
P.O. BOX 619612 MD 2400 FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- American Airlines 118 from LAX to JFK. Flight 118 was supposed to land in JFK but instead this is what happened: We were unable to land as planned at 3:30PM and spent 2 additional hours in the air due to weather conditions. Finally we landed in Washington DC around 5:30PM and the plan was to refuel and head back to JFK. We spent additional 5:30 hours inside the plane as we were not allowed to leave the plane.
To top this inconvenience the crew ran out of food!!! I didn't have anything to eat for over 12 hours!!! And no one brought food to the plane nor were we allowed to get out and get some food for ourselves!!! There was a diabetic person on the flight and a small baby!!! I was feeling as I was about to faint! I was dizzy and weak!!! I really believe this is not only wrong but inhumane! To keep people inside of a plane and not provide them with the basic of the basics - Food!
Moreover - we were finally allowed to leave the plane at 11:00PM and entered the airport. Most of the stores were closed, so we had no option to purchase food!!! There was no AA representative to instruct us about our luggage or what to do for the night. I found myself with a group of people from our flight wondering around the airport helpless looking for my checked in suitcase. Finally, we found the suitcases on our own without AA help and waited for about 2 additional hours to receive our luggage.
After we obtained our personal belongings we found an AA single representative on the top floor and begged for instructions for the night. I was one of the single people on the flight who got a hotel voucher and that was due to my insistence yet I was rudely asked to share the room with a complete stranger!!! I didn't receive a cab voucher and had to pay both ways (Over $30USD).
I was told 3 different departure times for the next morning 10:00AM, 11:30AM and 2:00PM no one knew to tell me what time was my flight departing! I would like to add that no food vouchers were provided and due to the late arrival time everything was closed. I got to the hotel at 2:00AM after having less than 4 hours of sleep I called AA in the morning and was told that my flight is scheduled for 10:00AM after I got to the airport I found that my flight was delayed (again) and now departing at 11:30AM. We boarded the flight and spent an additional hour on the plane waiting to take off.
Needless to say the crew did not serve any food or drinks on that flight!!! We landed and I got to JFK at 3:00PM on Sunday March 14th. I inquired at the AA stand about me returning flight on Monday March 16th at 06:15AM (leaving in 15 hours form the time I landed!) and was told that most of the chances that the flight will be cancelled. I had to reschedule my flight to the following day.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- The worst experience I have ever had... never again will I travel through DFW or on an AA flight again. I would like to start off by saying the security was the best thing about DFW Int'l. airport. Kudos to them for their courteousness and their friendly attitude.
I would like to ask you a question... Have you ever been through a bad experience and felt good about it in the end because of the way you were treated? I have and it's amazing how people who care, can really take a negative, and turn it into a positive. It wasn't the circumstances that were so upsetting to my wife and I, it was the arrogance and the disrespect we had received from the American Airlines representatives.
From not taking responsibility for their own actions, to the fact that we were asked to come out of pocket for transportation and lodging expense after we arrived late from PHX, and missed our connecting flight to Tampa because there ground crew was late by an hour to man the flight. When we landed we watched our connecting flight roll away from gate c-19 as we arrived at gate c-12. (They told us they could hold that plane when we left PHX). Also note there were 8-10 of us on that PHX flight that missed the connection flight 890 that departed at 6:45...
So they put us on stand by for flight 1072, it was the first flight to Tampa departing 8:40 p.m. We walked DFW one end to another from gate c-28, to a-39 back to gate c-11 for our opportunity to get to our destination. (THAT'S ALL THE GATE CHANGES IT MADE FROM 6:45 to 8:30.)
Here's the trouble. The plane had open seats on it and they would not book us on it because they said it was weather related... NOT TRUE!!! You people can wait, we will make you fly stand by again if the plain sells out... Now keep in mind we where not late due to weather. We were late due to their inability to staff their plane with a crew... So we couldn't get on that flight (1072). Now listen to this customer service...
The man at gate C-11 starts issuing stand by for the 7:30 a.m. flights... STAND BY AGAIN WHEN AGAIN WE LOOKED AND SAW THE PLANE WAS NOT BOOKED. So I confronted the man and asked him why would he not book our flights and give us a seat assignment when we were the priority for open seats? Why make us fly stand by again? As he saw the angry people around him bumped from now 2 flights... He took back the stand by tickets issues and books our ticket and gave us a seat assignment...
OK fine now let's get to the lodging... We were told that we would get a cot for the night... Again not acceptable... Are you charging me for a ticket I book and don't show up to use?? YES. So I am paying not only for a rental car tonight and lodging in Tampa but I am told we won't compensate you anything... Again we are not here due to weather. This is your mistake. He issues a voucher for a room, and $25 meal voucher to econolodge in Arlington... It was 20 minutes away, had no restaurant to redeem the food voucher and we were told we would be required to pay 47.00 for the room plus a shuttle fee of 40 roughly to get back in the a.m.
So we come back to the airport and demand a supervisor... There are 2 hotels on the airport property, why would you send us 20 minutes away?? And why would we pay anything??? The response given, “I am sorry but we can't give distressed vouchers to those properties.” So we asked why would we get taken 20 MINUTES FROM HERE? As we understand there are about 30-40 hotels in the area within 5 minutes... So we called the Hyatt... They confirmed that they do work with American Airlines and they needed a phone call to authorize the voucher...
All I can say is if you work for this company I am sorry you don't have any real choices as to being employed by a reputable company who puts quality and service ahead of the $$$$$ machine.. As to the multiple AA employees I spoke with I was told this was the worst on time airport with the worst customer service, they have visited as if they were ashamed themselves to be in DFW... Now I know as a business man when your employees speak of their company with disrespect, embarrassment, and contempt there is an obvious leader issue. People should speak up and you should listen...
MANAGEMENT YOU ARE FAILING IN THE BIGGEST WAY AT THE SIMPLEST OF THINGS IN BUSINESS... SERVICE. To Dallas, you will never see one dime of my money ever again... This reflects on my perception of what your city is like.
To the heads of AA you can look in the mirror and point the finger at the reflection you see... As in any organization leadership, and lack thereof is reflected in the attitudes and the demeanor of its staff. If this is your base, your hub, your home, I would think if you're going to see class, service and quality it would be here... UNFORTUNATELY IT WAS NOT. Make your billions and be happy. Rape, pillage, and look at yourself and smile, coz that's all you got to show for it... Sleep well. I know I won't here on a cot, listening to construction workers in DFW...
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- This letter is being written as a warning to passengers flying on American Airlines (AA) in association with “partner airlines”. I recently (June 15 to July 1) returned from a trip to Ecuador. My flights were booked through Orbitz but were all American Airlines flights. Nashville to Miami and Miami to Quito, Ecuador – returning the same way. The Miami-Quito leg was American Airlines (flight 7638) but operated through Lan airlines.
On the trip from Miami to Quito one of our group (of 10 total) was told by Lan that she had no ticket and would have to go to the AA counter to get proof that she had purchased a ticket. As a result of her trouble we went to the AA counter in Miami (since we had a 3.5 hr layover and thought we had time to spare) and asked them about our tickets. The AA representative behind the counter told us that they didn't know why we had come to the counter, that we were appropriately ticketed and had nothing to worry about.
Given our friends experience, we asked them to contact Lan to let them know that we were ticketed. The representative, with a supervisor standing next to them said no – because Lan wouldn't pick up the phone and said – and I quote - “when you miss your flight come back here and I will help you then”. Little did we know that experience was a walk in the park compared to the one we had on our return trip.
On our return we arrived at Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport 4 hours in advance. When we got to the counter, after waiting 2 hours, the agents told four of us that we had no tickets and would have to go to the purchase counter to get confirmation that we had a ticket, then return to the counter (with hundreds of people waiting in line) to get our boarding passes.
We meet many other groups (over 25 people) that had been there longer than us, going between the AA counter and Lan counter trying to get boarding passes. Since Lan could not/would not confirm tickets we went to the AA office in the UIO airport. At the office, the lights were off and doors locked. Security guards (extremely friendly and helpful) repeatedly rang a bell to get representatives to open the door.
They (AA reps) then robotically printed the ticket info (which my friend already had), highlighted the flight and said they couldn't help us because “their part of the trip” (in her case Miami to Cincinnati) was fine and sent us on our way. There were 7 of us (the other lucky people took another airline). Four (including myself) got their boarding passes with 30 minutes to spare. Two made it at the last minute. One got left behind.
I can't tell you how horrifying it is to leave behind a friend, alone, at a chaotic airport, with an airline (s) that is acting like you didn't even by your ticket (which cost upwards of $1000). She is still there today – although they have put her up in a hotel – she will be returning 3 days late. Many others had the same experience with families and groups randomly split – some “making it” and others left behind.
I am a frequent traveler; having been to many countries and had many interesting experiences. The treatment of passengers by American Airlines and by Lan was by far the most disorganized, discourteous, frankly frightening experience I have ever had – and we were not the only victims. Usually I would contact management and let them know what was going wrong, but I sincerely believe that this is a systemic American Airlines problem. This is meant as a warning to anyone not willing to be mistreated, mislead and even marooned – DON'T FLY AMERICAN AIRLINES!!!
MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- Today is a big day for me; it is my best friends wedding. Not just any ordinary friend, she has been my best friend since kindergarten. I am a senior in college at Kansas State University and have been in DC for the past two weeks visiting my boyfriend. We fly once a month to see each other through American Airlines.
Today I was supposed to be on an American Airlines flight at 12:30 pm leaving from BWI. I was supposed to be landing around 5:15 and getting in the car with one of my friends to the hotel to put on the beautiful satin, honey colored dress that the bride chose for me to wear today while standing next to her.
This is how my day actually went… I woke up in Germantown, Maryland around 9:00 am and called my best friend to tell her how excited I was for her wedding tonight. The Montgomery County Taxicab driver picked me up at approximately 10:02 am to take me to BWI airport. His name was **, he was a very educated man and talked wonderfully about the new ICC highway we drove on a majority of the time to BWI. He said how impressed he was with the building of this highway; delays were a minimal during the construction. Great guy and outstanding service.
We pulled up in front of the American Airline entrance and I paid him $112. I went up to the self-service counter to check in and to check my bag, only to find out that my flight was delayed until after 1:00 pm. This meant that my connecting flight in Dallas wouldn't be an option because I would have only had five minutes to get to the next gate.
If you are familiar with the Dallas airport then you would know that getting off of the plane and making it to the next gate would have been merely impossible (but I'm sure you already know that). So I went to the service counter and was greeted by an agent, **. I explained my situation and how I was in dire need to get back to Manhattan, KS before 7:00 pm. He tried his very hardest to dig deep into the system to find any possible solution for me to make it to my best friend's wedding. I understand that there was nothing he could do, but I am grateful for his effort and kindness. He contacted his supervisor, ** (CSM).
Over the phone, his supervisor offered the possibility of me catching the next flight with United Airlines that leaves at 4:47 pm to Chicago, and then leaving there at 7:30 pm to arrive in Manhattan, KS at 9:15 pm. So I took that flight because I have no other option than to accept the fact that American Airlines has delayed my flight. They told me that I could not get a refund for my ticket, but they gladly offered me a $12 meal voucher. A $12 meal voucher doesn't do me any good when I have been fasting for the past two days to fit into my bridesmaid dress.
So I decided I would go get a drink to relieve stress and call my best friend to break the news that I would not be standing next to her on her big day. Until I looked down at my voucher and read, “NOT VALID FOR ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES”. As I sit in the lobby area in front of United Airlines, patiently waiting for 4:00 to roll around to check my bags, I decide to give my meal voucher to a younger lady that could probably find some use for it. Hopefully she's not a drinker. So here I am, still waiting in the lobby. Words can't explain how extremely disappointed and sad I am, and all American Airlines can offer me is free, cheap airport food.
My mother swears upon Southwest Airlines, refuses to fly with any other airline. Her flight was once delayed and she missed a meeting for work, so they immediately offered her a free flight. Now I understand her commitment to them. In six hours my best friend will be getting married to the man of her dreams and I should be standing next to her. Because of American Airlines I won't make it. Now I'm short a $12 meal voucher and possibly my best friend.
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- On September the 25th I flew American Airlines from Seattle to Dallas Fort Worth, and arrived in my home city of Columbus, Ohio at 12:30am. We were supposed to get in around 9pm, but the flight had been delayed. When my head hit my pillow at 2am that morning, I was totally exhausted.
Waking up on the morning of the 26th I started to unpack my bags to hand out souvenirs, and start my laundry. Much to my surprise, my laundry bag was missing. It contained a week's worth of my favorite outfits, some brand new that I had purchased for my trip. I hopped online and got the number for the Seattle Branch Airport right away, letting them know about my missing items. I explained that I found a TSA notification that my bag had been searched, that I thought that they pulled out my laundry hefty bag and just dismissed it as trash and did not return it to my bag. They told me that while the items may very well be at their airport, the policy was for me to report it in my destination city.
I called port Columbus and let them know exactly what happened. The man on the phone said since it was Sunday there was not a lot they could do, but he took an initial inventory and promised that the staff that handles these issues would call me the next day to get the rest of the information. They didn't call. I started to call regularly on the 28th, but received an answering machine message about delayed bags and the number to call to check on my claim. I didn't have a delayed bag, and I had yet to get a hold of someone who would give me a claim form, so after leaving messages to call me back and receiving no answer this seemed a dead end.
I went online to look for a place to claim missing items, but there was no link to be found for this information. Customer reviews repeatedly mentioned that there was nothing to do for missing items via the web, and that they were given the run around when they called to inquire. Calling more baggage numbers online, I continued to run into the wall of a pre-recorded message for delayed baggage expectancies, or was asked to enter a claim number to check the status. Getting a hold of a human being was next to impossible, and when I did they told me there was nothing they could do and that I had to call my home city.
On the 10th of October a woman finally called me back from Port Columbus and left a voice mail. It explained that the search would be a ten week process, and that she hoped I had reported the missing items within 24hrs of my arrival or they would not be covered if they weren't found.
I called back several more times and finally got a hold of a man that took down my information and sent out a claim form to my address. After spelling my name a letter at a time **, the letter that took two weeks to arrive was addressed to **. The mail man almost did not deliver it, but my roommate was there to tell him that we were expecting a letter from American Airlines, and they must have mis-addressed.
I sent the letter back priority mail, having just a week before the cut off day for them to search. Around the ten week time I called to find out the status of my claim. They told me it would be a little more time. Three weeks after that I received a letter explaining that I could not be reimbursed because of my unusual delay in reporting the missing items.
I honestly feel that every step along the way - from having to report the lost items in my home city, not being called back in a timely fashion, having no way to report the items online, being left a voice mail with no further solution, to having the claim sent to the wrong name, were road blocks set up to make it impossible for me to follow the procedure that would allow me to make a claim in which I could receive reimbursement. I am going to write a letter to this effect and send it to baggage and customer service. Based upon other reviews I don't expect much. In the future I will do everything I can to avoid travel with American Airlines, and suggest you do the same.
I put my 75 year-old mom on a first class flight with American Airlines from DFW to LAX on Jan 5, 2011, then connecting with Cathay Pacific from LAX-HKG-KUL. AA DFW-LAX flight was delayed by more than 2 hours due to mechanical problem at DFW airport, resulting in my mom missing her Cathay flight at LAX.
We were told by AA agent at LAX that the baggage were tagged to transfer to Cathay Pacific, so she couldn't retrieve her bags at baggage claim at LAX. The next day, my mom checked into her Cathay flight at LAX and was told her 2 bags couldn't be found because AA never transferred them over. She was told to check with Cathay Pacific at final destination in KUL Malaysia if the bags were there.
Obviously she arrived and the bags were not at KUL. We filed a lost baggage claim with Cathay Pacific in KUL. I called the Cathay Pacific baggage services at LAX to follow up and was told based on their log, AA never transferred the bags over to Cathay at LAX on Jan 5 and they had telexed the message over to AA and had not go any response. We contacted AA directly and were told the 2 baggage tags were closed out from AA system since the flight had arrived in LAX.
They do not have baggage tracking system, so they can't tell me where the bags are or whether they were even on the flight from DFW to LAX. I called AA Baggage Services at 1800-535-5225 and AA Central Baggage Service at 1800-866-4010 (after the baggages have been missing for 5 days). I got the same response - the 2 baggage tags were not in AA system at all and they were not responsible to trace them because Cathay Pacific was the carrier to the final destination, so Cathay was responsible.
I told them the bags were lost under AA control and were AA even bother trying to trace the baggage? No, not their jobs. They only deal with claims filed with AA. So basically NO ONE is looking for the lost baggage for my 75 year old mom.
I have called and tried to get information for 6 days now and is getting increasing frustrated and helpless. I know AA's customer service sucks but I didn't know they just don't take responsibility at all for lost baggage. If they don't show up, too bad for you. No one cares to look for them.
We paid a lot of money for my elderly mom to feel comfortable about the long haul international flight but it ended up being the most stressful flight in her life. She has had sleepless nights for a few days now worrying about the baggage. She is a 75 year old lady and has lost everything she has got in those bags. I am extremely disheartened with what is going on. My suspicion is the bags have been stolen but AA is taking no action to investigate on how 2 bags can disappear into thin air.
TAMPA, FLORIDA -- On July 18,2010, flight #1786, I was travelling to out of country with my wife and 2 kids (2 years and 4 years) and I was checking in from Tampa going to New York JFK to transfer my international flight. At checking desk, they couldn't find seat for my daughter's reservation. Therefore they checked us till JFK instead of international destination which we're about to miss the flight. We were the last ones got into plane before the doors closed and we noticed they gave us 2 seat at front and 2 seats in the back of the plane since they couldn't get us seat together due to waiting almost 45 minutes at check in counter.
We had 4 carry on luggages since we were travelling with 2 kids international and once we got in the plane there were no space to put those luggages. My wife and my 2 year old son sat at front seats and place the luggages under the seat in front of them and I moved back and placed 2 luggages under the seats as well. After we all sat our seats (which I was sitting by window with my 4 years old daughter) one of the male flight attendant asked my wife to move her 2 luggages to front of the plane. She was also sitting by window and was trying to drag those 2 carry on luggages underneath her seat and leaving 2 years old kid on a seat by herself.
I called the flight attendant and ask if he can help her since I had my seatbelt on and holding my daughter. I asked them if they can move those luggages to front for her. He responded back to me "No sir, she will her own luggages". I told him if airline will be responsible for if something happens to my daughter if she falls down and is it not flight assistant's job to help passenger especially if they are a woman with an infant. He repeated the same thing back to me. My wife continue to drag those 2 luggages which we were going to need during our trip anyway due to diapers, milks, etc.
Then, he told me if I continue to talk, he will get me off the plane. I said, all we want is a service from you to help a woman and you cannot ask me to be quiet. I told him this is not acceptable for a airline crew to treat a customer like that and I asked to talk to captain since he start yelling at me in front of my 4 years old kid. My 2 year old was also crying at the front since his mother was stacked at from trying to find a space for her luggages. When captain came back, of course flight attendant was making up a totally different story and he was telling captain that I was rude to him and he wasn't feeling safe to be in the same flight with me.
I couldn't believe that he was using "flight safety regulations" as a tool against to a simple help request from a customer. Nothing else. Then they called the airport security to ask me to get off the plane. I was shocked but no one in the plane act like they care either. Everyone was too quiet and was watching the show placed by flight attendant. He exactly knew how to get around his wrong attitude and make it seem like I was a problem passenger creating problems. Then captain asked me to apologize from him otherwise they were going to take me off the plane.
I kept quiet and apologized from this person who did everything but providing service to a female customer. And I was wrong because I said that it is not right and I got penalized by American airlines which I have paid $7,000 to buy 4 tickets to overseas. I will never use this airlines again. Poor service, poor management. And flight staff does know how to use those new security laws against customers when they needed. Watch out, you may get kicked off the plane, if you ask for customer service. It is unacceptable.
I booked a last minute package with Travelocity for me and my wife to see my sick grandmother (LAX->BOS). A few days after I received a call from my mother, who told me my grandmother would not still be alive on the weekend. I attempted to change my outgoing flight. Travelocity told me only American Airlines could do it, and American told me only Travelocity could. Travelocity promised to try to change it and to call me back and failed to do so.
I booked an additional one-way flight so that I could see my grandmother, but, alas, I was too late. The funeral was several days later, and I planned to take my original return flight. However, when my wife flew in several days later for the funeral, she found out that I would be unable to use my return ticket (BOS->LAX) because I did not use the LAX->BOS flight. Despite the fact that the airline essentially pocketed the money for the seat, and undoubtedly sold it to someone else.
I spent 2 hours on the phone with Travelocity and American Airlines. Travelocity customer service was nice but uninformative. I can not say the same thing for American Airlines. Each claimed only the other had the power to allow me to keep my original flight. The last manager I spoke to at American was rude and condescending. He simply said it was my fault for "deciding to be my own travel agent", and when I begged him to just get on the phone with me and Travelocity together to hash out just who has the ability to change my ticket, he said it was not his job. He said no one at American Airlines had the ability to let me keep my original flight.
The next day I went to the American Airlines ticket counter. I explained the situation to them, and they let me keep my original itinerary by paying a $150 change fee (contradicting the rude manager). So, in the end I paid for a roundtrip ticket and a $150 change fee to fly a single one-way flight from Boston to LA. Oh and hours of my time, and the stress of having to deal with terrible people while grieving for my grandmother.
American Airlines should be ashamed as a company to employ people of the sort I had to deal with. They should be ashamed of their Byzantine computer systems that allow all their employees to pass the buck and to lie to the customer. They should be ashamed that of their less than fair fare rules that do not allow you to take one leg of a roundtrip flight even when there is a death in your family.
And the biggest shame of all is that our taxes have repeatedly bailed out this and other airlines - failures as standalone businesses, instead of letting these failed businesses fail, and paving the way for better-managed companies like Southwest. All I can do is stop flying American. I hope others follow suit.
I've flown countless time with American in many parts of the world, having been an American Advantage Platinum member in the past, and cannot recall an instance of such poor service, and certainly nothing remotely approaching the exceptionally poor service which I received in Rome with two of AA's personnel, one of which was the AA supervisor there. This Rome AA supervisor was arrogant, indifferent, and condescending. Below is my experience:
On Tuesday May 11, 2010 I flew on American Airlines from Chicago to Istanbul with a connection in Rome (AA 110 Chicago-Rome and scheduled TK 1862 Rome-Istanbul). The flight from Chicago was scheduled to depart at 4:55pm but was delayed due to mechanical difficulties. Hence, instead of arriving in Rome on Tuesday at the scheduled 9:15am, it arrived the same day at 11:30am.
As I was disembarking from the plane in Rome, I was intercepted by a local representative of AA who informed me that I had missed my connection but that I was “protected” on a later flight - seven hours later to be exact! When I explained that that was an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a connection and that there must be other routes which could get me to Istanbul in far shorter times than nine hours (seven hours waiting plus two hours flight time).
The AA representative showed me on a nearby screen about four flights. The first of these flights on the screen was my original connection originally scheduled for 11:40am but now set to depart at 11:50am, so I asked if I could not board that one. I was told that there was not enough time. With twenty minutes to spare, I took it that, based on the AA representative's rejection that the 11:50 flight must be in a far-off terminal and gate. The remaining handful of flights presented to me did not appear to arrive in an earlier time in Istanbul.
Having just flown for some nine hours plus delay, I then reluctantly went to the main terminal as directed by the AA. For this I went into the satellite terminal where I had landed, down the stairs to the tram boarding area, waiting for and rode on the tram to the main terminal, waited in line at and went through the security screening checkpoint.
There on the screen adjacent to the main terminal security point, I was to discover that the 11:50am departing flight, i.e. my original connection and the one which I had been told I did not have enough time to board, was not only still boarding but that it had been back at the tiny satellite terminal (circular and only 14 gates, grouped in pairs of two) and just by the gate where I had landed!
Disturbed by having been directed physically away from a connection which I could have easily made, I went back to the satellite terminal to speak with a supervisor. [Side Note: There was not any valid reason for my being directed to the main terminal, because even my seven hour later connection was in the very same satellite terminal].
When I first explained the situation to the supervisor and asked for an explanation, he said that he had to get a flight boarded. So I waited, waited while the supervisor chatted leisurely and jokingly with others. The flight fully boarded and then I saw the supervisor move over to another flight, with not a word nor gesture to me who was by the now empty boarding area waiting for him.
So I patiently moved over to this new gate and attempted a couple of times to discreetly get his attention, wherein he avoided even eye contact with me, let alone giving some indication that he understood that I was still waiting for him. Finally, as this second flight was nearly fully boarded, and the AA supervisor was again holding non-business conversation with others and still completely ignoring my presence, I spoke up and explained that I was still waiting for him. The supervisor then said that he would be with me in a few minutes and I continued to wait.
When the AA supervisor finally came over to me, all he attempted to do from beginning to end is to attempt to justify that the original AA representative's actions. The lies and misrepresentations which came from the AA supervisor are summarized as follows: Falsehood #1, that the AA representative had not known that the flight which departed to Istanbul had been delayed to 11:50am. While he may have not know at the time he rebooked me to the seven hour later flight, he certainly knew when the two of us were looking at the same screen at 11:30am.
Falsehood #2, that there were only the handfuls of trip routing from Rome to Istanbul. Rome and Istanbul are major international airports, only two hours flight apart, and each with flights departing and arriving every few minutes. There were far more options to be routed to Istanbul (or Ankara which I had given as a possible option) than the handful which I was shown.
Falsehood #3, that the original flight AA110 delay was due to weather conditions beyond the airline's control. The final words of the Rome supervisor as he haughtily and indignantly pushed my documentation across the counter back to me were, and I paraphrase: “I cannot help someone who is not able to understand that we are dealing with weather forces out of our control.”
The fact is that I was on the plane naturally when the pilot, before take-off, informed the passengers that there was a delay due to two mechanical difficulties - one that his windshield wiper had to be repaired. Further, the pilot had informed us that at least an equal amount of time, if not more, would be due to the paperwork. Thus the original flight delay which was the first factor in my missing the connection in Rome was due, not to some unavoidable act of God, but rather due to American Airlines.
Thus, naturally, there is no justification for my not having been directed to board the 11:50am flight, nor to being sent to the wrong terminal, nor for AA claiming that they were not responsible for my missed Rome connection, nor for not rerouting me to arrive in Istanbul in less than nine hours.
Further, neither the original AA representative nor the supervisor even gave my any assistance or guidance relative to the apparently re-booked seven-hour later flight. During my time in Rome, I noticed that I was not given a boarding pass for the flight, or directions to obtain one nor told where / in which direction even to go.
The reality is that without Rome AA's misinformation and misdirection, I would on my own have easily located and boarded my original connection, the nearby 11:50am departing flight. Rome AA violated a primary rule which can be applied to customer service: “Do no harm”.
After my seven hour Rome ordeal, I arrived in Istanbul. Rebooked, paid a change fee for, and boarded the last, 11:55pm, flight from Istanbul to Ankara. In sum, I spent over 24 hours en route, due to the incompetence and intransigence of two, ill-mannered and ill-trained American Airlines personnel in Rome.