Blatant Apathy and Despicable Customer Care
We recently traveled to Europe on American Airlines and words can not fully express the fiasco we endured and their blatant apathy and despicable customer care before, during and after our flight. Following is an excerpt from one of three letters I composed which were answered with lame excuses followed by a telephone call by a customer service representative who tried at every turn to blame us for our trouble and hung up on me when I told her she should be ashamed of herself and the company she represents.
"In January of 2009 I booked a roundtrip flight with American Airlines for myself and my husband from Miami, Florida to Madrid, Spain nine months in advance. When I received our email confirmation I realized the return date was incorrect, whether due to human or computer error I have no idea, but I called your Reservations Department immediately and was informed I would be charged $250.00 per person for correcting the error. I begged and pleaded to several of your employees and, in the end, was charged one $250.00 change fee instead of two, but was hardly satisfied given the amount I was paying for my tickets to begin with, the amount of time I was booking in advance and the fact that I noticed and notified you of the error immediately upon receiving your email confirmation. Hence, I sent an email to your Customer Relations Department and received a form letter in return that basically said, “Sorry for your luck.”
Fast forward to September 12, 2009. My husband and I print and carry our eTickets to Miami International Airport, arriving at 2:00 PM, three hours in advance of our 5:05 PM flight as per your instructions, stand in line with our luggage to check in with Iberia per our itinerary and, when we reach the counter, are told we are not in their computer or on their flight. After much panic and discussion, we run through the airport dragging our luggage to the American Airlines counter where we are informed that our flight was changed and we should have been notified. (By the way, I have checked all email addresses, in boxes, spam, trash, archives, we received NO emails what so ever from American Airlines in regard to a change of flights.) Thank God the new flight was an hour later than the old, or we would have been up the creek. I then asked your counter clerk if we could still have the seats with the most leg room that I had so carefully chosen nine months prior (as my husband has knee and circulation issues) and, again, was told “Sorry for your luck.”
On to the boarding gate where, uh oh, there is no airplane, but wait, the flight is listed as “on time” on all the departure display boards! What is going on? Finally, an announcement, the plane is being serviced, that’s all, no more information, could be five minutes, five hours, five days . . . no more updates until the plane arrives an hour later yet remains listed as “on time”.
Well, we board your disheveled airplane, no, seriously, it was filthy, and sit for two more hours on the runway with one, and only one, short announcement claiming weather issues as other airplanes arrive and depart around us, a maintenance man walks up and down the isles using tools on seats and floor boards and, after about an hour, the flight crew pass out small paper cups of water. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!
We finally taxied out at about 8:30 PM, six and a half hours after being dropped off at the airport, three and a half hours after our original flight was scheduled to depart, and my husband stood in the back of the plane during the entire eight and a half hour flight because he was unable to sit in the seat we were given. Upon arriving in Madrid, Spain, we had to find our own transportation to a strange location in a non-English speaking country as we had missed our pre-arranged, pre-paid transfers.
In the VERY LEAST, you owe us a $250.00 per person change fee, oh yes, what’s good for the goose . . . AND a refund for the two $50.00 transfers we lost PLUS cab fare and that doesn’t even include time, trouble or a refund for the insultingly ridiculous $250.00 change fee you charged us or the seat my husband booked nine months in advance and NEVER USED!!!"
We all know customer service certainly isn't what it used to be, but I believe American Airlines has taken it to whole new level of low which borders on downright abusive and I intend to post my experience anywhere and everywhere I possibly can to warn others and hopefully, in the end, thwart their cocksure attitude.