Recently, I flew with American Airlines from Mexico City to Montgomery, Alabama via Dallas, Texas, then from Huntsville, Alabama to Mexico City via Dallas, Texas. It’s one disaster after another. Last year alone I flew 55 times, and I have never expected an airline to be this awful. So this is what happened in chronological order…
I usually try to fly without check-in luggage, and my bag was small enough as a carry-on. Nevertheless, cabin space got maxed out and I was asked to check it in literally outside the plane. That was annoying but not terrible.
The flight from Dallas to Montgomery was…odd. After taxiing for like 10 minutes, the pilot suddenly said the cargo door was apparently not closed and we would have to head back to the gate. Then, he said we would have to wait for instruction to see if we had enough fuel for the trip!
Then in Montgomery, I received notification that the bag was “delayed” from their mobile app. I was only in Montgomery for 3 days, so I wanted to make sure it would deliver before I left. Shockingly, there was literally no American Airlines staff members anywhere at the airport. No-one in the baggage claim area, and nobody at their counter. There were no other offices I could find! I wonder what would happen if I didn’t have the app, or if I didn’t have internet? Even the airport help desk was unstaffed.
Soon after, I received an email with a supposedly “live” tracking page that said it would be delivered at 2.35am the next morning, while in the email they said deliveries would be made the next morning if it was after 11pm, and if there wasn’t a prior arrangement with the airline. It didn’t say whether there was an arrangement, so I waited until that time to see if anything would happen.
I didn’t get anything. The “live” tracking page didn’t show anything new. So I went to bed and I waited the entire morning for it, as it was never mentioned in the email when in the morning it would happen. Nothing happened.
I called American Airlines at around 11am. I had to wait for an hour to get to someone. When I finally got through to someone, I was told the delivery company could not call me, that’s why they hadn’t delivered. Somehow, they didn’t try to update the “live” tracking page, they didn’t attempt to text me, send me a message, an email, or even ask the airline to contact me. Nothing. Apparently, if they couldn’t call me, they just don’t do anything at all. I was asked to then wait until 5.30pm for the delivery. So basically, they made me wait the whole day when it was the only full day I had in Montgomery…
When I finally received it, I was happy…at first. Then I saw that it was badly damaged! One of the corners was completely gone! The delivery guy asked me to report it to American Airlines, so I did. But what happened? They asked me to go back to the airport right away! What? I can’t even tell if there would be staff members there!
I went back to the airport the next morning for my flight to Nashville (with Delta), and I managed to talk to some American Airlines people. Guess what? They asked me to take my stuff out. I was like, but I have things, what should I do with them? As it turned out, they expected me to have a spare luggage bag so they could send it back to their headquarters for “repair”.
So I went to Nashville airport following their advice, hoping they would have a replacement bag or just to proceed with the damaged bag claim. There the person informed me that they could actually do nothing but to send the bag to the headquarters, and there was no way for me to do it anyway since I don’t live in the United States, and they would not send the “fixed” bag to Mexico normally.
After all that, I called again and told them all these things. Finally, they allowed me to simply ask for a compensation (which was only around USD$20), contrary to their earlier claim that only airport staff could do that.
But that’s not all.
On my way back from Dallas to Mexico City, the departure time was 6.30pm. At 7pm, the captain notified us that they needed to replace a part of the aeroplane and they didn’t have that in their inventory, thus they took the plane out of service! Half an hour AFTER departure time and we had to switch planes. Obviously these problems happen to all airlines, but wouldn’t they have checked whether a plane was fit for flying BEFORE boarding?
Worse still, we lost our pilots after switching to an older and less equipped flight. How? Like. How??
So departure time was 6.30pm. We didn’t have pilots until 9pm. Oh dear.