Wednesday, July 13, 2016


We took a week vacation in and around Minneapolis. This is not the story of the wonderful time spent in the Twin Cities but rather the story of our round trip on one of the most ineptly run airlines in the United States today, American Airlines!
Our vacation ran from July 2nd to July 9th.
It may seem a bit long but you only have to read it - We lived it!
I'm willing to bet some of you can relate!

Even though there were many errors and mistakes made with our outbound flight I will start with the return flight saga.  The outbound appears at the end and in a smaller font for anyone interested in the complete pathetic story.

July 8, 2016:        On our last day of vacation we received a text alert that our return flight on the 9th will be delayed and while being asked to be at the airport in time for the original departure time of 4:25 (which was originally 3:00!) we should not expect to leave until 5:34.

July 9, 2016:    12:15 pm:        We arrive at MSP at 12:15pm and the flight is not moved back to the earlier time.

                        3:45 pm:          After 3½ hours in the airport a text informed us the flight will be further delayed until 5:49.

                        5:50 pm:          Passengers are starting to get angry as there is no airplane at the gate and no word of any further delays.

                        6:00 pm:          An aircraft arrives at the gate and all passengers and crew depart.  A supervisor is seen talking to a flight attendant who seems animated and abrupt before leaving.

                        6:45 pm:          I am tweeting constantly about the level of non existent service we are getting and explaining to anyone interested how American Airlines is the worst airline in the world.  AND I receive a reply from American on Twitter explaining that they had many delays in and out of my location due to bad weather.  REALLY!  I counted 2 clouds in the bluest sky you'd ever want to see so the only bad weather this liar must have been talking about was  a blinding sun!  Do they think we are that stupid???

                        7:05 pm:          New texts are received by all in the waiting area that the flight is now scheduled to depart at 7:22!  The reason given is the flight does not have a full complement of flight attendants. They are 1 short since the attendant who left earlier did not wish to go past her allotted time working. But the supervisor is waiting on a flight due in any second to see if one of those flight attendants would work our flight.

                        7:15 pm:          The arriving attendant agrees and applauded as she walks to the gate.  Passengers start loading including 2 blind passengers and 2 wheel chair bound people.  Clearly we will not depart at 7:22 pm but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.

                        8:05 pm:          I notice luggage being off loaded from the plane and turn to ask the supervisor why.

                        8:08 pm:          Texts arrive stating our flight is now officially canceled!

                        8:15 pm:          While the 4 passengers are helped back off the plane the supervisor explains that Minneapolis dispatch will not allow the flight attendant to work our flight because they have a more important flight that needs her in the morning and should would not be back in time for that one if she left with us for LGA!

                        8:45 pm:          Like sheep we line up for vouchers for dinner and a hotel for the night. We are told to call an 800 number (800-446-7834) to reschedule and many are given 5 am flights.  We receive word that although there are many direct flights in the morning we will not be accommodated on any of them and must choose between flights with stops in Charlotte, Chicago or Washington DC Reagan, DCA. Alternatively we could fly into a different state – Newark and find our way home from there!  I accept the 10:55 am DCA stop with connection at 3:00 pm to LGA but receive a text confirming that we are booked through Charlotte and into Newark at 5 am!

                        9:00 pm:          The supervisor and William at the 800 number finally straighten everything out and we can depart for dinner and a hotel after spending 9 hours in the airport!

July 10, 20168:30 am:          We arrive at MSP and proceed to wait to depart at 10:55.

                        11:20 am:        We finally take off but note that our connecting flight is at 3:00 pm out of DCA and we may not arrive until just before that time.

Bye bye connection!
             3:35 pm:
We land at DCA but cannot pull into a gate since it is occupied by another aircraft!  Almost is if a bad joke we are sitting on the tarmac directly across from our connecting flight at gate #31. I take a photo of our soon to be plane.

                        3:50 pm:          We deplane and find that we must board another shuttle to get to the departing gate but the shuttle is not ready and will not be back for 5 minutes.

                        3:55 pm:          The shuttle arrives and we load. While we are being driven across to the correct terminal the driver stops to let 5 empty carts pass in front of us.

                        3:57 pm:          I watch our connecting flight pull out of the gate while still in the useless stopped shuttle.

                        4:05 pm:          We arrive at the gate and are placed on the 4:00 flight to LGA which also will pull away from the gate 5 minutes earlier than scheduled. The first and only flight all week to leave on or close to schedule!

                        5:15 pm:          We are finally off any and all American Airline / Republic Airline / American Eagle airplanes and find that our luggage had made the earlier flight out of DCA.  Brilliant!  Our pieces are off some place in the corner of baggage claim with only one piece damaged.  The final blow delivered unwittingly by a luggage handler somewhere along the way.

Conclusion based on the time line of the changes made to the flights we booked is that American or Republic or American Eagle OR ALL THREE knew in advance of all the possible problems and delays but chose not to address them!
It is not hard to calculate allowable flight work times for pilots and other airline employees so the crew shortage was known well in advance.  The fact that no entity saw fit to have an alternate crew ready to go is unacceptable.

One other point of note: No matter how the airlines screw you or ruin your vacation plans or treat you like dirt or insult your intelligence with obvious lies IF YOU COMPLAIN THEY THREATEN TO CALL 911 AND / OR HAVE HOMELAND SECURITY ARREST YOU! You have no recourse but to accept their level of inept service and total disregard for the customer.

The total amount of extra time spent sitting in airports caused by the inept people running the three corporations noted above is14 hours and spans an entire wasted Saturday and Sunday!

The number of lies and misinformation involved in every aspect of this experience makes me wonder how this airline can stay in business for long.  It also makes me wonder why I or any traveler would ever want to fly with any of these uncaring corporations.
Thank goodness our next trips are booked on professionally run airlines!

(And now the outbound story:

April 14, 2016:            We received confirmation from American Airlines of our round trip from La Guardia LGA to Minneapolis MSP on American Eagle operated by Republic Airlines.

Our Outbound flight # 4462 on 7/2/16 from LGA at 6:15 and our return flight # 4645 from MSP 7/9/16 at 3:00 were set.

We made all our plans for travel to and from the NY airport based on this schedule.

We noted that food would be available for purchase on-board both flights and since we have and pay annually for our AA Aviator credit card we would receive discounts on those purchases.

Before going on let me say the statement about food was not only a bold faced lie but we seemed to be the only ones not knowing this. When we arrived at the airports and asked about food on-board we were nearly laughed at and told to buy sandwiches beforehand.

April 16, 2016:            We received an email with our Record Locator OZXBEO explaining that our return flight was no longer #4645 but now #4317 and the time of departure was now 1 hour and 20 minutes later at 4:20. Food for purchase was still noted on the confirmation.

April 25, 2016:            We received still another email noting another change to the flight that was 10 weeks away.  Return flight # 4645 at 3:00 that was changed to # 4317 at 4:25 is now flight # 4485 leaving MSP at 4:25.  This meant that our return to LGA was not the original 7:05 pm or even the 8:04 pm but now 8:11. (Food still available for purchase though.)

July 2, 2016:                We arrive at LGA early in case security takes a long time and find that the flight is slightly delayed and will now leave at 6:19pm.  We also find that the confirmed gate of departure has changed twice already and as we sit in the waiting area receive news that gate change number three is being announced ALONG WITH a change of terminal!

We are all told to board a shuttle to take us to the new terminal.

We stand in line for 10 minutes and after walking down the stairs to board the shuttle are asked to return upstairs because there’s no more room for us.

We wait another 10 minutes for the shuttle and finally arrive at the correct (?) terminal and gate only to find that the gate is being changed for a fourth time.

One of the workers at the airport said he had never seen so many changes in his life!)

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