Passengers: You too can make flying less miserable

I hate flying. Wait. I hate what the airlines have made flying.

American Airlines is a monopoly, or as close to one as anything but Disney can be. And the merger with US Airways is going to make that worse. Ticket prices will go up. Availability of flights will go down. Service to small towns will decrease. Inevitable.

And I’ve had my fair share of drama with American Airlines. So I decided to document it. I let American know about the good times, and the bad times, the good people, and the bad people. But we all need to hold the monopoly accountable for providing quality customer service. Here’s my $0.02 worth.

April 6
7:10 a.m. | Depart on AA1243 for DFW arriving at 9:30 a.m.
11:50 a.m. | Depart on AA2548 for WF arriving at 12:35 p.m.

So much for uneventful on the return trip. Got off in Dulles 10 minutes late.  No thanks to the TSA at that airport. Crazy. And no thanks to the boarding process. After they started boarding, long line in jet bridge backed up all the way back to the lobby. Finally, plane-side agent started screaming on the PA for gate agent to come help with something. It took about 10 minutes to clear up whatever it was, but it was clear that other crew members could have helped but weren’t.

Crying baby on the plane. Parents had to change diaper on decent after circling for 30 minutes. Flight attendants yelled at dad for getting clean diaper to stop screaming kid. We circled for 20 more minutes in cloudy skies.

On the ground, AA is getting its planes washed for free. We don’t complain about the rain. No lightning. No thunder. Just a light rain. Nice.

I just missed early flight by four minutes. If our plane had been on time, I could have gotten earlier flight. It left 10 minutes late.

Went to gate at 11:10 a.m., 10 minutes before flight was supposed to be boarding. Board shows “on time.” Flightfiew shows arrival after 1 p.m., so I’m thinking AA will eventually catch up and announce delays. Gate B47. Then moved to B48. No announcement. People running to gate B47 missed flight to Amarillo. No gate agent to help.

Almost time to begin boarding. Board departure time shows 1:20 p.m. B48. DFW app calls me about 11:50 a.m. (at scheduled departure time) to tell me there’s been a gate change. Now B27. American Airlines calls. Departure time now 2:07 p.m., two hours late. Still a nice, light rain here. Few other flights delayed (at least on American). Told friends not to wait for me to do lunch. At least according to the schedule, there are two more flights to SPS today. I hope I get on one of them. If not, I’m going to have to pay $150 to rent a car. Here we go again. Sure glad I subscribe to third-party apps to keep me informed.

Gate now B25. That’s four gate changes for one flight. Just gotta wonder who knows what’s going on.

Friend texted that they stopped boarding her flight because of “hydraulic problems.” “No other info.” Plane just landed, so I’d figure that they would know if there were hydraulic problems when they landed and would not have boarded anyone.

Screen capture taken around 2 p.m.

Screen capture taken around 2 p.m.

Another friend just posted to my Facebook: “They just about ruined my son and his wife’s getaway by sitting on tarmac thus causing a missed connection to St Croix. One night in paradise traded for a seedy motel in Miami with no compensation or apology.” Son should have demanded compensation.

Another gate change. To B10 coming from Shreveport.

Another gate change. To B26 coming from Jackson.

Next flight leaves at 3:50 p.m. Watching that one closely.

It’s nearly 2 p.m. and American Airlines’ own app still shows us leaving at 1:40 p.m.

April 3
6:50 a.m. | Depart on AA3288 for DFW arriving at 7:35 a.m.
8:40 a.m. | Depart on AA1489 for Washington IAD arriving at 12:25 p.m.

Well, second flight was a bit late. But, believe it or not, both were rather uneventful.

March 17

Originally booked on US Airways 3335 leaving at 11:25 AM.  I again tried to check in online and on my phone, but could not do so.

Had to go by Federal Express and to return the car, but plan to take earlier flight. Earlier flights were at 7 AM 5 PM to 9:30 AM. Decided to shoot for 9:30 AM flight.
On the way to breakfast got a phone call from US Airways safe flight has been canceled. No information on rebooking.

Called American Airlines they had no information that I should go to the airport and talk with US Airways agent.  Line was long and US Airways counter that I went to preferred customer fine with about 20 minutes and talk to agent named Joanne. She said there was nothing out of Providence today at all after looking through the flight to consider putting me on the 9:30 a.m. Standby. She booked me on flight for tomorrow, or try to, but said the American airlines ticket system would not let her a ticket that I needed to call American Airlines to do that.

I wasn’t about to leave the airport without a ticket, so I called American Airlines. After 20 minutes on hold his supervisor came on and couldn’t transfer US Airways for some reason but she was still trying. About five more minutes we got disconnected. I called back.

I have the start all over the agent was very helpful.  She said it was a US Airways problem, but I told her that I had already been through that. I was standing at the counter and she could not even tell that it had been cancelled even though all of our boards here’s been canceled.  She did not understand like it agent not pretty standby only 930 flight that was now scheduled to leave at 10:50 a.m.  She rebooked me on flights for Tuesday but suggested I go back to the counter to see if I can get on standby flight this morning.

Joanne said there were three seats available. They were being held. Since the time for the flight had already asked a question why she couldn’t get me on the flight. Fortunately I still have the American Airlines agent on the phone. Joanne eventually rebooked me on now almost 11 AM departure to Providence to Philadelphia. If it leaves the enclosed one time I should have plenty of time to make my original connections. I don’t want to get stranded in Philadelphia.

Certainly there is no bad weather here at all. Cold but no precipitation. Weather report have bad weather in Washington DC the weather in Philadelphia is fine. Indeed all of the other US Airways flights have made it out and the flights getting in on time. Even the other airlines have flights going out on time. Indeed even the agent said it was just normal Philadelphia ground delay problems and had nothing to do with the weather. The American airlines agent had no excuse for the cancellation for any delays and was equally frustrated with US Airways inability to cope with the situation.

Flight just arrived from Philadelphia at 10:13 AM. It’s about an hour late.  Now let’s see if we can get out even close to on time an hour late.

AA1025 scheduled for departure at 2:25 actually left at 3:31 p.m. and was then scheduled to arrive at 6:06 p.m., a flying time of 3.75 hours. Actual arrival time was 5:55 p.m. Actual flying time was 3.5 hours.

USAirways557 scheduled for departure at 2:15 p.m. actually left at 2:15 p.m. but didn’t have wheels up until 4 p.m. and then was scheduled to arrive at 5:27 p.m., a flying time of 3.25 hours. Actual arrival time was 5:01 p.m. Actual flying time was 3.75 hours.

Why does the US Airways flight take half an hour longer to get to Dallas than the American flight from the same city?

And why do the USAirways flight attendants spend so much time talking about special deals, etc. on the intercom. Very annoying. OMG. Here she goes again.

March 15

On the way to the airport, was notified that flight us air 3896 was delayed originally depart at 11:30 a.m. Now scheduled for 12:55 p.m.  Based on 2:03 arrival, I would miss flight to providence leaving at 1:50 p.m. Wish I had known. Wouldn’t have rushed.

Get to airport. Stand in line at us airways. No one in front of me but it still takes 10 minutes. Agents seem confused. Two agents hovering over computer with one customer. They don’t even acknowledge my existence.

Finally I get to counter. Fortunately, agent is helpful. After some discussion, he rebooks me on D.C. Flight 2177. I’m not sure this is a good idea but if I get stuck, I’d rather be stuck in d.c. than Philly.

Supposed to board at 10:30 a.m.  No plane. Flight 2172 from Washington is late. Get agent does a good job of informing people what is going on. Boarding finally starts at 11 a.m. Push back at 11:18 a.m. Runway looks like a parking lot. Raleigh flight says they sat on runway for 20 minutes even though gate was empty. They have too many flights coming in and out of here for airport to handle. I bet we sit for a while.

On plane, they sure cram them on. Windows don’t line up with seats because they’ve added so many rows. Like sardines. Wheels up at 11:30 a.m., 30 minutes late. Beautiful day to fly in terms of weather. Much warmer and partly cloudy everywhere.

U.s. Air is talking about merger with American like it’s complete. I sure wish is wasn’t. Just isn’t going to be good for traveling public. This ticket was $700.

Rebooked from Philly flight 3274 to Philly flight 3430. Originally scheduled to arrive at 2:58 p.m. Now scheduled to leave d.c. At 3:15 p.m.  Flight was in early. But we left 15 minutes late. One of the most inefficient boarding processes ever. It took more than 30 minutes to board this tiny regional jet. Southwest can board a 737 in 15. Part of the reason is the aisle that is too skinny. It’s only barely wide enough to get a suitcase down it and you can’t do that without knocking everyone. Then there’s the luggage problem. I was in first boarding group but only a few suitcases will fit. Way too few even for this size of plane. So we had to go way past our row, I was in row 8, to find a place for luggage. That will make getting off a nightmare.

Flew by NYC where I just left four hours ago. Wonder if original flights made it.

March 14

Tried again to book online. Failed on the phone and on hotel kiosk. Could not check in on American Airlines website or US Airways website. Finally resorted to calling American Airlines aadvantage desk. First lady top right away. But she couldn’t do anything. Transferred me. Stayed on hold for 20 minutes.  After giving me a ticket number, she confirmed that I was checked in and could print boarding pass at airport.

March 12

Beautiful day for flying. Clear. Cool. A tad windy.

Flight 3397 to Dallas from Wichita Falls uneventful. Great flight attendant.

Get to Dallas just in time to have a quick dinner in my favorite D terminal.

Get to gate at 6:28 p.m. Gate agent says they are trying to leave a bit early due to weather delays in NYC. According to other sources, that’s a lie.

We get on plane and are ready to go. Luggage bins shut. Then captain announces we’ll be delayed due to a “minor maintenance problem.”  He stands up and chats with flight attendants until eight minutes after departure time. Then more people start boarding the plane. So flight attendants scramble to find them a place for luggage. Arrgh. Another late flight.

Still sitting here at 12 minutes past departure time. Seem to be moving now. Still a beautiful day. We finally took off at 725 p.m., 25 minutes late. So much for getting away early. Pretty sunset though. Beautiful clear sky.

Landed at 1105.  Only a bit late.

February 4

Notice that first flight got off the ground in Dallas this morning and should be landing about 745 today. Glad I didn’t wait. I think I am still scheduled on the later morning flight.

February 3

Noticed that first flight this morning was canceled. Roads are still pretty bad. But I am glad that I came on back.  Still can’t predictive American will cancel other flights today. But right now all three are still going.  At 10 AM I received an automated phone call from American airlines saying the morning flights had all been canceled into Wichita Falls. No surprise. But now I’m glad I didn’t try to wait for the flight.

At 10:15 in the morning I received another automated call saying I have been confirmed on flight 2803 on Tuesday morning that would be eight flights later in two days late. Certainly glad I didn’t wait at this point.

February 2

Finally got to talk with someone this morning. She wasn’t sure why they bumped me to later flight out of Minneapolis. She rebooked me on original rescheduled flight. Lost my good seat though. No effort to help with that. Got text message overnight. Moved to 1045 flight to Dallas, flight  1542. At airport, counter agent confirmed that there is still one flight active to Wichita Falls, but she wouldn’t count on it.  Rented a car in case. Intend to bill American for that if they can’t get me to the falls tonight. All departures out of the falls have been canceled but it seems to be just snow, not ice. Seems like they need to be more prepared for winter weather in the winter.

Guy with crying lap child in row in front of me. Not safe. Dad keeps holding kid up entire plane hear the kid spit. I will laugh if the kid barfs on the guy next to me, behind the kid. Guy across aisle snore so loud he wakes himself up every five minutes. He’s embarrassing himself and annoying everyone around him. Guy in front of me has his seat reclined all the way. Then he sits up. Annoying and not courteous. Thank goodness I’m I extra legroom seat, row 10. Couldn’t even breathe otherwise. Oh great, now kid is crying.

Flight to Wichita falls got canceled, finally, around 5 PM.  The first flight in the morning had no extra seats on it. I was put on standby. I was put on the next flight in the morning so I would’ve had to pay for hotel room and meals so I just decided to rent a car and drive back. Roads were very icy and dangerous. No one at budget rental car answer the phone so I just took Rent-a-car home and will take it back tomorrow. About the time I started driving back the University canceled classes so I could’ve just stayed in Dallas.

February 1

Notified around 6 PM that flight 3397 due to leave Dallas at 3:45 PM for Wichita Falls was canceled.  Noticed on my phone that I was still booked on 3:45 PM flight.  Received no email and no phone message.  Try to get update online, but could not get any information online. The website simply stated information had changed and I should call.  Called in at 10:30 PM still on hold at 11:07 PM.   The recording says you should go online to get information but there is no information online. Very frustrating.

No information on as I went to bed.

This morning flight information was updated on they rebooked me on an afternoon flight.  Online information from FlightView and other sites this unavailable. Dallas is showing low traffic but no delays.  Wayne is flight got off this morning from Minneapolis to Dallas without any delay. Three of the four flights from Dallas to Wichita Falls have been canceled.

Called American airlines have them call me back with the automated system. That was nice. Talk to agent she said the 1045 flight this morning and not be canceled although everything else seems to show that as. She was unclear as to why they rebooked me on the later flight in the afternoon. So I asked her to rebook me on the 1045 flight this morning. We’ll see what happens.

January 30

AA3288 left on time from Wichita Falls. Uneventful.

Scheduled on 9:55 flight to Minneapolis. 7:30 flight hadn’t left yet so I got seat on it. Didn’t leave gate until 8:30. Gate agent was very nice and helpful. Got me exit row after offer for first class upgrade. Flight not crowded. Got front row bulkhead seat 7d. No on else in my row. Captain greets passengers and explains delay is due to snow and low ceiling in Minneapolis. Great. Nice to see him conversing with passengers though.

January 5

Return trips uneventful. Got our of Nashville before cold came in. Tons of flights cancelled. Seems like airlines would cut back on number of flights in the winter because they know weather will be a problem on a good day. Maybe they do. Helped with sick patient on flight. Flight attendants got a little anxious but all was good.

January 3

AA2803 scheduled to leave 11:10 a.m. Didn’t actually arrive until 11:01 a.m. Earlier 7a.m. Flight had been cancelled. No bad weather. Cold and sunny. No precipitation at all.

Got to gate and got luggage valet just after noon. Went to c16 where next flight to Nashville was leaving. Traam not working. Charlie at the gate put me on standby. He was very helpful and considerate. I got on 12:50 p.m. Flight. Better than flight on which I was scheduled two hours later. Still arriving in Nashville four hours later than planned. Put in 15b. No legroom. Cases won’t even fit down the aisle. Not very comfortable.