American Airlines Complaint - Absolutely terrible service from rude, arrogant, and abusive American Airlines personnel at Terminal 8 at JFK Airport
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I would like to detail an incident which occurred at American Airlines Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sunday, December 7, 2003. My traveling companions and I arrived at the above mentioned terminal at 4:00 AM for American Airlines 6:45 AM flight (Flight 619) to Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There were hundreds of people already waiting on criss-crossing and serpentine lines in the terminal, and there were no signs directing us to the proper line in order to check-in for our flight, so we asked an American Airlines employee, who later identified himself as “Glen Brown”, to direct us to the proper line. He told us to wait on a line, which ultimately led to check-in counters at Area A. We waited on that line for almost 3 hours, and were still a considerable distance away from the check-in counter, when I again saw Mr. Brown, and asked him if there was any way that we could check-in immediately, as our flight was scheduled to depart in 15 minutes. It was at this point that Mr. Brown told us that we were waiting on the wrong line! I asked him why he told us to wait on the wrong line, and he lied straight to our faces when he told us that he never told us to wait on the line we were on. I asked him to help us to check-in for our flight, at which point he turned his back on us and walked away. We left the line we were waiting on and proceeded to cut ahead of the people waiting on line for the check-in counters at Area B. We explained to the American Airlines employee who was directing people on line into the check-in area of Area B what had happened to us, but she told us that there was nothing she could do for us, as our flight had just finished final boarding, and was preparing to depart from the gate (As it turns out, our fight did not in fact leave its gate on time, but was delayed and did not take off until 8:20 AM!).
We ultimately missed our flight, and after speaking with a succession of indifferent American Airlines employees, we asked to speak to a supervisor, at which point we were put in contact with Ann Rhodes, who told us that she was the senior supervisor on duty for American Airlines that morning. We explained our situation to Ms. Rhodes, and instead of helping us, she repeatedly accused us, in so many words, of lying. She refused to believe our story about being directed to the wrong line, and she was very nasty to us. She told us that there was nothing that she could do for us, and told us that in order to fly out on another flight, we would have to pay a fee in order to change our tickets. We were not willing to pay a fee to change our tickets, and we came to the realization that nobody from American Airlines was interested in helping us. After explaining our story and pleading with yet another American Airlines employee, we were placed on the stand-by list for the next scheduled flight to Santo Domingo, which was American Airlines Flight 635. We checked our luggage, and were expecting to be placed in a priority stand-by slot, as we missed our flight through no fault of our own, but because of the incompetence of an American Airlines employee. A boarding call for Flight 635 was made, and other passengers who were on stand-by were allowed to board. We were never called for that flight, so we asked an American Airlines employee at the boarding gate if we would be able to again be place on stand-by for the next flight to Santo Domingo. She told us that we probably wouldn’t be able to get out on a flight that day, and she told us to come back the next day in order to be placed on stand-by for the next day’s flights. After making additional inquiries, one of my traveling companions, was put in contact with American Airlines employee James Bobb, who unlike previous personnel we had the misfortune of dealing with, was very helpful and treated us with respect. He tried his best to find someone who could assist us, but he just couldn’t find someone who wasn’t “too busy” to assist us. After getting the runaround from some more indifferent American Airlines employees, we were finally directed to Harriet Calvert, an American Airlines employee who was both concerned with our situation and in a position to help us. Ms. Calvert was very understanding and sympathetic to our plight, and offered us an acceptable solution to our day long ordeal trying to get on another flight to Santo Domingo. Free of any fees or additional charges, she changed our departing flight to one leaving on Tuesday, and changed our return flight from the following Friday to the following Sunday. She apologized for the treatment we received from some American Airlines employees, and wished us better luck on our next flight. With this simple change of our itinerary, were able to return home at 6:00 PM that night, putting an end to our 14 hour ordeal with some of the nastiest and most incompetent airline employees that I have ever dealt with in my life.
I have been a customer of American Airlines for almost 17 years, and I find it totally unacceptable that my traveling companions and I were treated in such a rude and disrespectful manner by some of American Airlines employees.
I wrote a certified letter to American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey in order to request that some kind of disciplinary action be taken against American Airlines employees Glen Brown and Ann Rhodes. I explained that these two incompetent and nasty individuals should not be working in a customer service capacity with a major airline. I went onto add that these two individuals need, at a minimum, to be re-educated in the proper way in which to deal with passengers. Lies, false accusations, nastiness, and contempt are unacceptable ways to deal with customers of any business, let alone an allegedly professionally run airline. American Airlines ignored my first letter, but after sending a second nastier letter, they responded with a hollow apology, and a promise that they would "look into" my complaint. Needless to say, they never got back to me.
Neither I, nor my traveling companions will ever fly American Airlines again, and I hope that American Airlines finally declares bankruptcy and goes out of business in the near future!