Thursday, October 5

American Airlines: Guest Post

People like to share their disservice stories with me. It makes us, like, sympatico. However, this one is truly worthy of the first ever Customer Disservice Guest Post. (It helps that I know the victim quite well in "real life" so I know this was not embellished!)

First, meet Annie. Annie, these are my devoted readers. Devoted readers, Annie is married to Mike; their sons are Isaac (3) and Sam (1). Collectively we shall call them the N family. They flew American Airlines to attend a wedding on the other coast and were innocently trying to make their way back home when they were struck by Disservice Lightning (my apologies-- I think I'm highly contagious!) The witticisms herein are hers.

4 a.m. PDT: The N's stumble out of bed.

5 a.m. PDT: The N's arrive at the airport in Oakland, CA. They check luggage, make it through security. Woohoo. The plan is to fly from Oakland to Seattle to Chicago and then home to Baltimore at 10 EDT.

Oakland to Seattle flight: uneventful.

Seattle to Chicago: preceded by 2-hour layover. They board the plane at 10:30 a.m. PDT.

11 a.m. PDT: pilot announces weather in Chicago is stormy. Time is needed to ensure a safe flight and landing are possible. Another 45-60 minutes on the tarmac are necessary. Isaac is distracted by Goldfish crackers and Magna-Doodle. Sam enjoys making Mike's bladder function as a trampoline.

12 noon PDT: pilot announces that not only is the weather in Chicago worse, but the plane is now experiencing mechanical difficulties and a repair must be attempted.

1 p.m. PDT: passengers become restless and leave plane to stretch. The N family follow suit. Annie realizes she has only 1 diaper and 2 bottles of formula left for Sam. She finds a diaper dispenser in a restroom and purchases an extra.

1:20 p.m. PDT: Annie considers buying food for the kids, but the flight crew are rounding up passengers to re-board. She decides to make do with onboard snacks. Editor's note: cue giggling from the peanut gallery as they see where this is going.

1:30 p.m. PDT: the N family are safely onboard. Many passengers have grown tired of waiting and rebooked their flights; as a result, American Airlines resells these tickets-- and the flight is overbooked. A family of 4 has been sold four seats, but none of them are together.

2:00 p.m. PDT-3:00 p.m. PDT: The flight crew spend an hour attempting to reseat passengers in an effort to seat the aforementioned family together. People are kicked off the plane. Children are crying. The people in front of the N's get fed up and leave altogether, scrapping their trip. The aforementioned familly now has a place to sit. However, the flight crew are now absent, ostensibly pouring over the new flight manifest.

3:00 p.m. PDT: the plane finally pulls away from the gate, only to join the end of a long line of planes waiting for the runway.

3:30 p.m. PDT: plane is safely in the air. Passengers are invited to purchase American Airlines snack packs. Cheese crackers, raisins, and Lorna Doones for only $4. The N's decline.

8:45 p.m. CT: plane is circling Chicago. Pilot informs passengers the weather is still too hazardous to land. Oh, and the plane is low on fuel. Without clearance to land soon, plane will be diverted.

Isaac is now awake from his nap and begging for food. He has no further interest in the Goldfish crackers or granola bars his mother has available. Crackers and raisins now sounding more appealing, Annie flags down a flight attendant. She is informed the snack packs are all gone. Mike inquires about the availability of peanuts. Or pretzels. Or anything edible. Flight attendant informs them they are up shit creek without a paddle. Editor's note: I admit to taking liberties with the precise phraseology. More probably her words were "You guys are way screwed."

Isaac cries. Sam cries. Nearby passengers begin throwing bananas, cookies, and leftover Lorna Doones at the N family.

9:15 p.m. CT: plane is diverted to St. Louis.

9:45 p.m. CT: plane lands in St. Louis. Cue Annie's panic about the diaper/formula situation for her baby. Plane sits on tarmac. The influx of diverted flights means there are few available gates.

10 p.m. CT: pilot announces, "Folks, this just isn't our night." Editor's note: they're really channeling Meg now! Audible plane-wide groan ensues. Pilot explains a gate has been found, but it's not owned by the airport. Rather, it's owned by the city of St. Louis, and nobody at the airport has a key. They need to go wake someone up. Editor's note: no, they are NOT kidding.

10:45 p.m. CT: key is found. "Fasten Seatbelt" light goes off. Everyone stands up. Pilot announces, "Folks, you're going to need to sit back down." The flight crew, unfamiliar with this particular gate, have not lined things up properly. The plane must pull ahead another few feet.

Isaac wails. A voice calls out, "Cry your heart out, little man!" Annie cries too.

11 p.m. CT: the N's are free of the evil clutches of American Airlines.

11:01 p.m. CT: the N's discover their gate-checked stroller is not waiting for them. They trek on foot, then collapse in the waiting area.

Mike produces his blessed Blackberry and books flights that way rather than standing in the long lines now formed at the agent desk. Then he approaches an agent and requests a hotel or food voucher. Agent explains that while vouchers are normally given for mechanical delays, technically this flight was delayed due to weather and therefore no vouchers will be given. She gestures to a box of toothbrushes by way of compensation.

11:17 p.m. CT: Mike contemplates homicide.

11:18 p.m. CT: Annie begins asking every family with a baby or stroller if she can borrow a diaper or formula. She scores a too-small diaper and 4 ounces of formula.

11:45 p.m. CT: the N's are in their hotel room and fall asleep quickly, praying Isaac does not have a nighttime accident in the hotel bed.

1:30 p.m. EDT, following day: the N's arrive in Baltimore after an uneventful flight . . . only to discover the airline has lost their luggage.

Folks . . . it doesn't get much better than that. "Congratulations" to the N crew and American Airlines for warranting an unprecedented guest entry in my hallowed blog. And Annie? I suggest vodka.


At 11:38 PM, Blogger Bobbie said...

I just wnted to let you know I really enjoy reading your blog.
However...I'll bet she wouldn't bhe, rum, gin, bourbon, or e.) all of the above would probably hit the spot.

Thanks for helping diffuse the rotten customer service out there....I frequently feel like it stagnates around me...nice to know I'm NOT the only one.

Good luck with the new baby, I hope she's sleeping and eating well for you, and that you ar feeling well.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Bobbie said...

And I normally type much better than that, I apologize...I must be more tired than I thought.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger MrsTito said...

Wow. As a frequent flyer travelling with a small one, I've always thought myself prepared with plenty of diapers, food, etc. But there is no way that I would have been that prepared!

I'm glad the N family made it home safe, and next time may I suggest renting a mini-van?

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Sara said...

I've been reading this blog for a while and this story is all too familiar. This sort of thing happens to me EVERY TIME I fly into our out of Chicago. I will spare you all the details, but last time, what should have been a 2 hour flight turned into 7 hours on the plane (LOTS of those spent flying in cirlces around chicago)me stranded at the airport with a 13 month old baby with no food, no diapers, no cash, no car seat so I could even think about going to a motel for the night. Just like this story, since it was weather related I got squat from the airline...not even a toothbrush! Nope, not even a lone woman with an infant gets a shred of consideration. I spent the night in the airport with my starving baby. I am never flying through chicago again. EVER.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Chicago Midland airport is the worst. My husband and I got stuck there overnight on our way to a wedding in Colorado a couple years ago. There were no hotel rooms so we bedded down on some airport army cots set up in the middle of a pedestrian walkway. At 4 am airport staff made us get up and leave the area so that it would be clear for people coming through. AT 4 AM! THE AIRPORT WAS EMPTY! Luckily our flight left at 6 am so we didn't have to stay there that long. I came here from where I'm always comparing my opks to yours :) Great site and blog!

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Waldenmommy said...

That totally sucks!

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Annie, I just want to cry for you! That was unbelievable.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

American Airlines STINKS! We flew it last trip and it will be our final trip with them. We also have 2 preschoolers and the situation was remarkably similar to Annie's. After complaining to the airline when we (finally) got home, what did they do? Gave us each a bonus 1,000 miles. Right. Like I am EVER going to get on one of their planes again!!!

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

American Airlines sucks. The CEO Gerard Arpey and his executive band of greedy freaks do nothing but drive the company into BK. Grounded planes because of lack of important maintenance is inexcusable, however that did not stop the execs from stuffing their pockets with money for bonuses. When this company goes under it will be interesting to see what the idiot at the helm will do. Will he find a new job as a CEO who will BK another company or will he sit on the big bonuses he received. He must be a sociopath or something. Sick.

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While they are investigating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, they should investigate Gerard Arpey is who is destroying AA. Insiders are what is killing this country.

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emirates and Gulf Airlines

In 2008 my family (Mukundagiri) traveled to India and I must say Emirates Airlines (shared with Gulf) wins the
prize for the best airline to India.

We were apprehensive at first but were completely won over by the no-hassles performance plus
the compassion, hospitality, courtesy of Emirates' staff. Here is one example. Our food
preference (vegetarian) did not get entered in the system. In the Chicago-to-Frankfurt leg the
American Airline attendant rudely refused to give any food - arguing the law: no reservation, no
food. In sharp contrast, in the same situation, the Emirates staff apologized for the inconvenience
and got them outstanding vegetarian food -- get this -- from the first class lounge. To add insult to
injury the American Airlines attendant refused to give an extra blanket when my wife felt a
freezing cold coming from the emergency door near her seat. Finally a fellow passenger took pity
and pulled out a spare blanket from a storage (it had been there the whole time!). The staff and
management of mid eastern (and most eastern) airlines bring the best of their culture to bear on
their jobs.

The same goes for Gulf Airlines -- providing flawless service combined with compassion and
hospitality, going that extra mile. I will spare you the details - but you get the idea.

At 2:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerard Arpey is filthy stinking piece of dog feces. I was sexually assaulted by a group of loser airline pilots out of O'hare. These bastards are ugly and pathetic. Gerard Arpey was informed of this activity and he did nothing because he is involved. These freak pilots screw mentlly ill hermophadites. One is named Julie Tranny. He is a sexual performer for pilots on layover at O'hare. Many fly into O'hare to grab a piece of the herms. At my assault, they told me they murdered two coworkers of mine because of they were employed for a law firm by the name of Altheimer & Gray. The lost suit was lost and then a death threat was received. Tammy Frye worked for one of the attorneys and she disappeared never to be heard of again. Shortly afterwards Beth Allenson was found dead in her home from a shotgun blast to the head. Beware this filth line full of stinking trash. The hermorphadites are not real FAs, they are fake and allowed on aircraft because they service the freak pilots.

They are still after me because I was told I was to prostitute for them out of O'hare Airport for one year and then they would let me go. I told them no and they are still stalking me.

I hope Gerard Arpey's children find out what he is and what he does when he is not home.

Beware if you fly this line. Make sure you have a qualified flight attendant on board and not a fake for pilot sex.

I provided a videotape for Congress on this matter and am working to expose it so the whole world knows there are nothing but a group of losers ouf of O'hare, Chicago, Illnois.

I am trying to locate Tammy Frye or her grave. If anyone knows Tammy Frye from Chicago and where she might be buried, or if she is alive, please, please come forward.

From what I heard from the perpetrators Gerard Arpey was rejected by Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois. Norhwestern University students are being assaulted on campus. One was even found dead floating in Lake Michigan. This group works for Gerard Arpey and are not afriad to say so.

Here is the entire story:

GERARD ARPEY GO TO HELL. You are failing your airline and failing this country. I am going to work to put you behind bars for murder and rape.

Gina Romano

At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 8:21 AM, Blogger 22 said...



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