Monday, 22 February 2016

What is Happening to Customer Service At American Airlines?

What is Happening to Customer Service At American Airlines?

A friend of mine is pressing American Airlines over problems he had with a Toronto to Santa Fe flight and back. He has been up and down the chain of command at American Airlines, but with no results. He shared his letter of complaint with me. I have removed one paragraph and removed one name, still makes for interesting reading!

Douglas Parker
Chairman and CEO

Dear Douglas Parker:
I have always been a fan of American Airlines ever since I went down to Cambridge, Massachusetts as a graduate student. American stood for quality, efficiency, and reliability. Last week we took American Airlines from Toronto to Albuquerque, and enroute there and back we experienced so many problems that I feel the need to report them to you.
My partner and I left for Albuquerque – enroute to Santa Fe – on AA 1038 to Dallas on Thursday, July 2nd. The flight arrived early, and we waited the necessary three hour at the gate of our connecting flight AA 5721. As the time went by, there was no sign for us at B2, from where we were scheduled to leave at 4:50. At 5 o’clock, we were informed that we were leaving from B49 at 5:20. We raced over there only to sit and wait. The plane was delayed – it was further delayed – then at 7:10, we were informed that the crew had not appeared, and so the flight was cancelled. We could go to B40 to arrange for flights the next day.
At B40 I was informed – after waiting in line for much more than an hour – that we were on a flight the next day. The uninformed agent then gave me a meal voucher and a voucher for a room. “Where is the Ramada?” I asked. Suniura, the agent at Gate 40, replied simply and briefly, “I don’t know!!!” So much for aid or help.
We took a taxi to the VERY substandard Ramada – eighteen miles from the airport. The furniture was too slimy to sit in – there was no restaurant open – there were no stores in the immediate or distant vicinity where we could even buy toothpaste and a toothbrush. After waiting half an hour for service, we decided to leave – we took a taxi back to the Grand Hyatt and spent the rest of the night there. (I enclose the bill for the Hyatt – including the telephone calls we had to make about meetings in Santa Fe the next day. I also enclose the unused voucher for the dreadful Ramada.)
At breakfast the next morning we used the dinner and breakfast vouchers, paying the remaining $19.00. Given flight arrival, baggage claim, shuttle to the rental car company, and obtaining the rental, we arrived at our destination –eighteen hours later than scheduled. It goes without saying no only were these eighteen unpleasant hours but they were also eighteen hours that have been forcibly removed from a packed agenda.
Enroute back from Santa Fe and Albuquerque, we were scheduled to take AA 2511 to Dallas to transfer to 2308 to Toronto on July 6th. We arrived at the airport two hours ahead of time, yet faced another series of delays due to mechanical failures. Eventually the woman at the desk said that “Due to mechanical difficulties,” the plane would not take off. We were instructed that we needed to line up to receive bookings for subsequent flights! Should we count ourselves lucky that we received flights the next day – along with some new coupons! Others were not as fortunate.
Going to retrieve our luggage, I listened as the man in front of me addressed the agent at the American luggage office. He told her, “I find it disgusting that American has gone so downhill!” She replied automatically, “I can only agree with that view!”
And so we went off to the Best Western, arming ourselves with a car (receipt enclosed) for the evening. (Bill was $64.19 plus $3.00 for gas.)
At dinner that night, we spent a grand total of $67.71 – and the fine restaurant refused to take your dinner voucher. We were given no voucher for breakfast.
The next morning we arrived at the airport at 5:30 am. for flight 3071, departing Albuquerque for Chicago at 6:50 a.m.. With our prechecked tickets, we waited in line for almost an hour to receive our bag tags. The woman on duty was dealing with one customer for thirty minutes! When I went up to her and said we had to get to our gate, she snarled back, “I am only a trainee!” I managed to get my bags checked through another agent! The trainee was still plodding. One woman behind us said, “I will never travel American again!” Another said that she had been three days trying to get from the Dominican Republic to somewhere further – and she wondered just what was happening! There was open hostility at the airport – grumblings, complaints, exasperation!
When we finally reached Toronto – six days after departing and two days ruined by air travel – we picked up our car a day late. (That cost of an additional day amounts to $25.60. or $20.00 American.)
I do not understand what has happened to American Airlines. We were rudely treated. We never heard an apology for all these cancellations. I was and am aghast.
I enclose all the bills for our abortive trip, coming to a total of $459.04. I would be grateful if you would pay this amount – the least when you consider all the missed appointments, meetings, and other important happenings.
David Staines

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