American Airlines bites

By | July 6, 2007

July 6, 2007

Customer Relations
American Airlines
Post Office Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to complain about the unsatisfactory experience my family had on recent American Airlines flights.

My wife, our four young children and I flew on American flight 156 on June 20. My wife and our children also flew, without me, on American flight 155 on July 3.

The amount of food served on these flights was simply inadequate. My wife and I overheard numerous other people complaining that the food service had left them hungry. The problem was even more pronounced for my family, since we keep Kosher, and American did not provide Kosher snacks to us when snacks were served to the other passengers.

Beverage service was also inadequate – it was not nearly frequent enough.

We also flew on British Airways and Continental during our trip. On both of those airlines, the amount of food served and the frequency of beverage service were more than adequate, and Kosher food was provided during every food service cycle.

Another complaint I would like to register is that none of the programming on your entertainment system was appropriate for young children. Again, British Airways and Continental both got this right.

Also, we had less legroom on the American flight than we had on British Airways or Continental.

Finally, since my wife was traveling home alone with our four young children, she asked the flight attendants for help a number of times during the flight with things like buckling the children’s seat belts, and the attendants repeatedly failed to provide her with the needed assistance. Once again, my wife’s experience in this area on British Airways was far superior.

In short, our American flights were an extremely negative experience, one which we do not intend to repeat if we can avoid it.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

17 thoughts on “American Airlines bites

  1. CB

    Don’t bother posting any airlines related complaints on my3cents.com. The airline section of this site is full of airlines employees , friends, former employees etc who will give posters sh** about any airline complaints posted!

    Reply
  2. Karan Sahni

    This was when I was flying from Chicago to New Delhi. When meals came they were telling everyone that we have a choice between beef with macNcheese and a veggie meal. The Indian lady sitting in the seat ahead of me enquired what was served in the veggie meal. She was curtly informed that they do not know. When my turn came for the food, I asked for the beef and mac, and I said to the steward that it would be nice to know whats in the veggie meal too. He acted like I had killed his cat and rudely took out a veggie meal, shoved it in front of me and asked me to figure out myself whatever it is. I said I cant tell for sure from the way it looked but if he did not know the menu there must be some way for him to find out, it would benefit all passengers. He said if I have a problem I should talk to customer service. I decided not to pursue that any more since we were not getting anywhere, but the incident did leave a bad tasted in my mouth. I think it is basic courtsey for an airline to inform passengers what they are being given to eat, but maybe thats just me…

    My next flight was with Jet airways and the contrast in service was stark. Jet provided a well-printed detailed menu to every passenger, they were even OK with mixing and matching meal items if we preferred. We got steel cutlery and cloth napkins and china cups. The alcohol was free and the ice cream and candy were really nice. And yes, this was in coach, not first or business.

    Reply
  3. bberg009

    Hi guys, It looks like many responses (i.e. Chaz?) comes from airline employees).

    I tried another blog, my3cents, but the Quantas airline employees simple jumps on you, are rude and tries to shout-you-out.., much like some of these responses..(they never disclose the fact that they work for airlines).

    My fun experice starts with AA and Qantas working together to defraud customers- Qantas is the active party….

    ——————————————-
    After spending almost $10,000 on plane tickets to Austalia for our family vacation, Quantas refused to give a single frequent flier mile to our American Airline accounts (they are one-world alliance partners).

    However, after the travel is completed, Quantas instructs American Airlines, that the flights does not “qualify for frequent flier milage”. No such stipulations were made when we booked the tickets, after confirmation, nor is it printed on our intiniary, tickets, boarding passes,emailed confirmations or receipts.

    Only after travel is completed and paid for do they refuse credits. Quantas, also does not respond to emails nor direct contacts.

    DETAILS FOR THOSE INTERESTED
    We bought the tickets (5 of them) on Qantas web site (not American Airlines) and paid Qantas. The ariline never told us that miles was not awarded during the search, booking process nor the payment process. When we added our frequent flier miles numbers nothing was told, when the flight was rebooked by the airline, nor when we flew, they never provided any information in any confirmation, ticket, boarding pass or receipt.

    It was only after the flight was completed that they refused any credits.. We paid almost $1,800 per ticket and was basically defrauded. Here is what Qantas sent us as confirmation when we booked on-line at their web site (see if you can find any reference to no ff miles beside the ‘N’ class which they later told us meant we got nothing)..

    INITINARY 12JUN IAD LAX
    ——————————————————————————–
    QANTAS ITINERARY ABN 16 009 661 901
    QANTAS AIRWAYS CONTACT CENTRE USA 14JANUARY07
    2801 E. ELVIRA BUILDING B
    TUCSON AZ 85706 PH 1 800 227 4500
    BOOKING REF: Z65AWB
    YOUR ITINERARY AND TRAVEL DETAILS:

    QANTAS AIRWAYS QF3082 ECONOMY CLASS (N) CONFIRMED
    DEPART 12JUN07 WASHINGTON/DULLES INTL 1745
    ARRIVE 12JUN07 LOS ANGELES/INTL 2020
    OPERATED BY AA AMERICAN AIRLINES
    ARRIVES AT TERMINAL 4 5:35 DURATION
    AIRCRAFT : BOEING 757-200/300 NON SMOKING
    SEATS (SUBJECT TO CHANGE) : 15A 15B 15C 15D 15E
    —————————————————————-
    QANTAS AIRWAYS QF12 ECONOMY CLASS (N) CONFIRMED
    DEPART 12JUN07 LOS ANGELES/INTL 2230
    ARRIVE 14JUN07 SYDNEY/KINGSFORDSMITH 0605
    DEPARTS FROM TERMINAL 4
    ARRIVES AT TERMINAL 1 14:35 DURATION
    AIRCRAFT : BOEING 747-400 NON SMOKING
    SEATS (SUBJECT TO CHANGE) : 52H 52J 52K 53J 53K
    —————————————————————-
    QANTAS AIRWAYS QF11 ECONOMY CLASS (N) CONFIRMED
    DEPART 08AUG07 SYDNEY/KINGSFORDSMITH 1325
    ARRIVE 08AUG07 LOS ANGELES/INTL 0945
    DEPARTS FROM TERMINAL 1
    ARRIVES AT TERMINAL 4 13:20 DURATION
    AIRCRAFT : BOEING 747-400 NON SMOKING
    —————————————————————-
    QANTAS AIRWAYS QF3003 ECONOMY CLASS (N) CONFIRMED
    DEPART 08AUG07 LOS ANGELES/INTL 1415
    ARRIVE 08AUG07 WASHINGTON/DULLES INTL 2200
    OPERATED BY AA AMERICAN AIRLINES
    DEPARTS FROM TERMINAL 4
    4:45 DURATION
    AIRCRAFT : BOEING 737-800 NON SMOKING

    Reply
  4. BG

    The comment about paying a little and flying first or business class is an interesting one. Did you know that American Airlines (and others) no longer serve kosher meals in first class on domestic flights that are not coast-to-coast, even when serving a free meal to other first class passengers? Examples are Washington to Dallas. They just don’t offer them any more.

    Reply
  5. MMR

    Many of the AA stews need help putting on their own shoes. I get the feeling that many of them are there in their short, tight outfits to attract pilots not to help customers. I wish AA would regroup and enhance their FA pool by hiring more FAs with a level of intelligence beyond that of a slug. It takes a lot more today to be an FA than using Dove soap and acting as though you are a 1950s woman. I think you should consider flying airlines where the FAs are trained professionally such as United or Southwest. Forget AA, they stink. Don’t waste your time writing to AA because you will never get customer satisfaction on any level. To me, they are a negligent line.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Something better to do » Blog Archive » American Airlines still bites

  7. jik Post author

    Pack Kosher snacks.

    I’ll tell you what… The next time you’re traveling on an eight-hour flight with four young children, try to pack enough “snacks” to keep them fed for eight hours, along with all the other stuff I listed in my last comment, without exceeding the carry-on restrictions imposed by the airlines.

    It’s impossible. The fact that you seem to think that it isn’t makes it rather clear that you don’t have a clue.

    I’ve never suffered from thrombosis.

    Well, there you have it, folks! This guy has never suffered from it, so it must not be a problem!

    Of course, to come to that conclusion, we have to ignore all the medical studies which show that it is a problem, not to mention the fact that all the airlines nowadays have prominent warnings about it on their Web sites, in their in-flight magazines, and in the videos that they show at the beginning of flights.

    I think the inadequacy of the airline is greatly exagerrated [sic].”

    See, the thing is, I’m not talking about this airline in isolation. I’m talking about this airline in comparison to the other airlines I’ve flown, all of which were better. The things that I complained about where objectively significantly better on the other airlines. Whether or not my complaints are exaggerated is irrelevant to that point.

    And gee, let’s not forget about all the other people complaining about American Airlines I was able to dig up with just a little Googling. I’m not exactly the only one who thinks American sucks.

    Spend a little extra money and fly first or business class.

    A little extra money? A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY? Do you have any idea how much more expensive first or business class is on an eight-hour international flight? We’re not disgustingly rich. Heck, we’re not rich at all. We cannot afford to fly internationally in anything but coach, and that’s true for the vast majority of people in this world.

    Not to mention the fact that I’d just love to see the faces of the folks in first or business class were we to show up there with our four young children. I’m sure they’d just love that.

    I honestly think that you complain far too much.

    Then please, stop reading and commenting on my blog. Then you won’t have to subject yourself to my complaining, and I won’t be subjected to comments from a clueless idiot.

    Reply
  8. Chaz

    I can’t believe you thought that I was implying that you shouldn’t feed young children! Pack Kosher snacks. I honestly think that you complain far too much. I’ve been on airlines with minimal legroom, and I’ve never suffered from thrombosis. I think the inadequacy of the airline is greatly exagerrated. Spend a little extra money and fly first or business class. I would never expect adequate food service in coach.

    Reply
  9. jik Post author

    From The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton (see my blog entry about the book):

    “I was struck by her description of how American Airlines handled delayed planes and other performance problems in the 1990s. American’s employees told Gittell that the fear of then-CEO Robert Crandall drove people to point fingers at one another rather than to fix problems. Crandall justified his approach by saying, “The last thing most of them want is the spotlight on them. I just increased the amount they have to do to keep the spotlight off themselves.” Although some insiders admired Crandall’s ability to uncover the `root cause’ of delays, Gittell concluded that his tough approach backfired because many employees were so afraid of Crandall’s wrath that they devoted their energy to protecting themselves, not to helping the company. one field manager told Gittell that when there was a delay, `Crandall wants to see the corpse…. It is management by intimidation.’ People focused on protecting themselves from `recrimination’ rather than on `on-time performance, accurate baggage handling, and customer satisfaction.'”

    Reply
  10. jik Post author

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/american_airlines.htm

    “Over the last few years, AA has succeeded in destroying a splendid reputation… As the complaints in this section show, American manages to insult and alienate just about every type of passenger you can think of… We don’t know why anyone would take American, United or any of the other over-priced giants when there are such splendid, consumer-friendly carriers as Southwest, Jet Blue and ATA.”

    Also http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/american_stranded.html .

    Reply
  11. jik Post author

    http://aacomplaints.com/

    “I started this site because I’ve noticed that in the past few years AA’s Customer Service has fallen to an unacceptable level. I spoke to other AA customers about this and realized I wasn’t the only one complaining about this. As someone who travels considerably, I could not sit idly by and not do anything about it. So I’ve started this site to give a voice to American Airlines customers and hopefully help the airline improve.”

    Reply
  12. jik Post author

    Frankly, I don’t think the airlines have to provide Kosher food.

    You’re right, they don’t “have to” provide Kosher food. They don’t “have to” provide any special meals. And yet, they all do, and some of them do a much better job of it than others. American is among the worst. Both Continental and British Airways do a much better job.

    It’s this simple-don’t eat the non-Kosher food.

    You can’t take four young children on a plane for eight hours and not feed them. They’ll get physically ill, not to mention behaving atrociously (lack of food seriously affects the behavior of young children).

    You also can’t ask a pregnant woman, which my wife currently is, to go on a plane for eight hours and not feed her. It will make her physically ill and unable to care for her children.

    Normally, my wife and I don’t rely on the airlines to provide Kosher food for us our our kids — we bring our own food. However, it’s pretty much impossible to bring enough food for an eight-hour flight, both because it spoils, and because the ever-shrinking carry-on allowance doesn’t leave room for that much food after one has packed all the other things that one must bring on a plane when traveling with small children (e.g., changes of clothes, cups with covers, clean-up supplies, toys and books to entertain the children for eight hours so they won’t bother the other passengers, etc.).

    And if kids can’t buckle their seat belts, that’s a serious problem.

    So, what’s your point here? That children who can’t buckle their own seat belts shouldn’t be allowed to fly on airplanes?

    Or is it that the flight attendant call button that the airlines put at every seat is actually a placebo, and it’s unreasonable for passengers to actually expect the flight attendants to help them when they push the button?

    We called American Airlines before our trip and specifically asked them how we could go about getting some extra help on the flight. We even offered to pay them to ensure that someone would be available to help as needed. We were told, explicitly, that all my wife needed to do was let the flight attendants know when she boarded that she was traveling with four children and might need some extra help, and then to use the call button as needed and they would assist. We did as instructed, and the flight attendants pretty much blew her off every time she asked for help. Mind you, I don’t blame them — I’m quite certain that the reason why they couldn’t help is that American Airlines doesn’t put enough flight attendants on the plane, so they’re all overworked throughout the flight.

    And how much legroom could one possibly need?

    Enough to be comfortable? Enough to be able to move around in one’s seat enough to avoid deep-vein thrombosis. Enough not to end up with muscle cramps and aches when standing up to deplane at the end of the flight. More than American Airlines provides.

    It’s just a bunch of complaints.

    Well, yes, isn’t that the point? It was a bad experience. The reason why it was a bad experience is because American Airlines made it a bad experience, by providing service and accommodations that were poor in absolute terms as well as in comparison to those provided by other airlines. When I have a bad experience as a consumer, I complain about it. If you find that concept intolerable, you shouldn’t be reading my blog.

    Reply
  13. Chaz

    Frankly, I don’t think the airlines have to provide Kosher food. It’s this simple-don’t eat the non-Kosher food. And if kids can’t buckle their seat belts, that’s a serious problem. And how much legroom could one possibly need? It’s just a bunch of complaints.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.