So I have been back about a day now from Vegas. Man, I am so glad to be home. This trip has been nothing more than hellish (the actual flying part of the trip) thanks to American Airlines. Everything that could go wrong went wrong during the actual travel part of my trip. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that the weather can cause major delays, but what happened with American (and JetBlue to name another) was ridiculous.
I spent 4 of my 6 day (nee 5 day) trip at airports (Newark, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Vegas and Chicago). My ill-fated trip began at Newark Liberty International Airport. My previous experience with Newark was normal…never any major issues (I’ve flown in snow, heavy rains, etc), but then again, I normally fly Continental from Neark. due to the ice-storm, my original 8:20 AM flight (which would have gotten me to Vegas at 2 PM) was cancelled. I was automatically booked on a flight leaving at 1:30 PM…that was cancelled. So finally I ended up on a 5:35 PM flight that would have gotten me to Vegas at 11 something at night (with a connection at Dallas-Fort Worth).
We ended up leaving Newark nearly 3 hours after our original departure time after we froze to the flight bridge (that walkway that gets you from the gate onto the actual plane). Ok, fine, I’ll just catch the next plane from Dallas to Vegas, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!
We land in dallas nearly midnight. I so missed my 9:30 PM connection. No worries, I’ll just head up to the check in desk and get myself on the next flight to Vegas. No worries, right? Well, we (myself and about 40 others) get up stairs and folks, the airport was CLOSED! Yes, a major international airport, and the hub from American Airlines, was closed and had been closed for nearly 2 hours. There was not even a skeleton crew to assist passengers who just got off the severely delayed. Security wasn’t even there. So needless to say we ended up spending the night at the airport. Definitely not what I am used to or expected.
I got up around 3:30 AM to clean up a bit in the rest room. By the time I finished, security and the ticket agents were starting to trickle in. Here’s where things went from bad to worse….
A group of us approached the check-in desk to ask questions. We had all missed flights to Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Ana. All we wanted was to get to our desired destinations after spending the night in chairs and on the floor at the airport. Surprisingly we were not irate. We were actually jovial despite what had went down. But we were only met with attitude. The ticket agent literally grabbed my boarding pass from me, nearly ripping it in half. I guess I must of inconvenienced her. Whatever, you are in a service position, I am supposed to ask you questions! I grabbed it right back from her with a severe excuse me. This time she politely (but fakely) began to assist me.
So Ms. Ticket Agent the proceeds to tell me that I can either fly stand-by (wtf?) or get on a flight going from Dallas to Miami to Vegas (why am I flying back east to go west?). Because I really wanted to get out of Dallas and be ensured a seat on my flight to Vegas, I took the around-the-world-in-2-days flight . Needless to say I arrive a full day and a half after my original arrival time. But the drama doesn’t end there.
Why do I get searched by security because my bad arrived an entire day before I did (how is that possible?). Is it my fault that AMerican put my bags on a flight that was supposedly cancelled? I had to go through a whole long explanation of my misadventures with a full boarding pass from all my stops for the security. Once that was done, I was finally on my way to the hotel.
I stayed off the strip for peace of mind, less noise and drama (but admittedly expensive to get around. I racked up over $180 in cab fare). But I’ll talk about the Las Vegas trip in a separate post. This is all about the horrible service provided by American Airlines.
The next day, after resting and checking in with loved ones (especially a disgruntled Robert (my boyfriend) who has forbid me to travel with out him), I called American. The crap for the past two days was out of hand and something had to be done about it…or so I thought. After two hours on the phone (about 45 minutes of which was spent on hold), I spoke to a supervisior who told me that for all the drama, American would give me 5000 miles, a voucher towards my next flight and a voucher for towards a hotel of my choice in Vegas to make up for the lost day due to travel. The supervisor automatically swithched my flight to Monday (yesterday) to accomodate all of this. Satisfied, I spent the next two days exploring the Strip.
Sunday, I had to check out from my original hotel and go to another as they were booked due to All-Star Weekend. So i made reservations at a place that was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from the airport. All I had to do was print out the voucher from American. So I log into my email….hey, where’s my voucher???? American never sent the voucher via email as was promised. So I called asking to have it faxed to me at my original hotel. Sure thing, they said. It never arrived, even after my five calls. So I asekd to have it faxed to the new hotel (sure thing). I head to the new hotel only to learn that it was never faxed and that the hotel assistance office was closed. I wasn’t going to pay $300 plus for the hotel room. So fed up, I head to the airport with hopes that someone would be able to help me out.
“No rooms” at the inns says the ticket agent who wasvery sympathetic after viewing my record with the notations and hearing my tale of woe. Needless to say, I spent my last day in Vegas at the airport and slept there overnight. Oh so now what this PR Diva is used to.
Monday morning at 5 Am, I finally checked in (it was way to early to check in for a 10 AM flight the night before). I go through security and finally finish at nearly 7:30 AM. I grab a bite to eat and head up to the gate. Around 9 I get a call in my cell phone. My new flight home (via Chicago O’Hare) was delayed! It was arriving 45 minutes late and at a different gate (at least it was the next one over). When the plane finally arrived, it was an hour and a half late. The flight to Chicago takes forever to board and when we finally begin to taxi down the runway, we find out we are the 10th in line for take off (if I could only make this crap up!). We finally arrive in Chicago nearly an hour late. Oh no, another connection missed. Or so I think.
When I arrive, I find out that my flight to Newark was delayed and was leaving at 5:30 from a gate that was two down from the one where I arrived. Ok, cool. I look at the time on my cell phone. It’s 5:27! I sprint over to the gate (memories of Flo Jo) to check in only to find out my flight is now delayed an hour. When I get to my seat, the lady next to me informs me that they had been sitting there for an hour already (Folks if I’m lying….)
We finally arive in Newark nearly 2 hours late. Thank God! You know I am going to email and call American about this (and maybe the press). But the moral to my story folks…DON’T FLY AMERICAN!!!!