“American Airlines Doesn’t Want Us To Help”

Filed Under: American, Travel

Ultimately this will likely surprise exactly no one, but that won’t stop me from sharing…

American Airlines Doesn’t Want Employees To Help Customers

Over the past couple of days my dad, Ford, and I, returned from Cape Town to the US. We took a 10 hour flight from Cape Town to Doha, had an eight hour layover, then had a 16 hour flight to Dallas, and then Ford and I were connecting back to Miami, while my dad was connecting back to Tampa.

My dad doesn’t have Global Entry, so we intentionally planned a long layover in Dallas for him, since immigration times can vary wildly, and he also gets nervous with short connections.

Fortunately everything was quick this time around. So I tried to make a same day confirmed change for him (which costs $75, and seemed well worth it to have him get home shortly after 9PM rather than after 12AM). Unfortunately the website wasn’t allowing it, because with this change he’d be downgrading from first class to economy.

There was exactly one confirmable seat left for a same day confirmed change, and as luck would have it there was an American Airlines counter nearby. The counter was marked as “self-service,” but that was the only counter around, and there were two American gate agents sitting behind the counter.

“Hi, could you help my dad with a confirmed same day change?”
“You have to use the kiosk.”

So I used the kiosk, and the kiosk said to see agent.

“I tried to use a kiosk but it said to see an agent, so could you please help?”
“You’ll have to go to the full service ticket counter.”
“Okay, where is that?”
“It’s about a five minute walk in the other direction.”

Let me note at this point that if you’re going to have separate counters like this, maybe don’t put them a five minute walk apart?

“Is there any chance you could help, since I tried to use the kiosk and you’re the closest agent? We’ve had a long travel day, and I’ll I’m trying to do is get my dad home at 9PM rather than after midnight after traveling for almost 48 hours. There’s only one seat left that can be confirmed, and I’m scared it will disappear.”
“You’ll have to go to the full service desk, we can’t accept payment here.”
“Can’t you try at least? It’s not like there are any other customers waiting.”
“American Airlines doesn’t want us to help. That’s what the full service counter is for.”

Usually I’d just walk off at this point, but I decided to (politely) push on further. Let me be clear that these employees weren’t rude at all, which is more than I can say about a lot of American employees. They were just indifferent and work for a company that doesn’t have a culture of customer service.

“I know this isn’t your fault and is part of an overall problem with the airline. But surely you also understand my frustration. I’m an Executive Platinum, my dad is a million miler, we’re both in first class, and we’re just hoping for help with a simple change. And you’re telling me that the company doesn’t want you to help us. How would you feel if you were a loyal customer to a company and that’s how you were treated?”

I wasn’t expecting anything, but rather figured I’d just feel better getting that off my chest. Much to my surprise at this point she agreed to try to help. Not only that, but you’ll be shocked to hear that these employees actually can accept payment, unlike what I was told.

So while it took a while, she did eventually help with the change… and this perfectly sums up what is so darn annoying about flying American.

During the 10 minutes it took to try and process the change, a couple of other customers walked up to the other employee sitting there, and the answer was simply “you’ll have to go to the full service desk.” One of those customers responded with “but why can’t you help?” Exactly…

I want to be 100% clear — both of the employees sitting at the desk were actually quite friendly. They just didn’t give a you-know-what, and that’s because they work for a company that doesn’t give a you-know-what about their customers.

American Has A Culture Of “No”

If American can fix their reliability problems, then their single biggest issue is their toxic culture. American Airlines simply doesn’t have a culture of taking care of their customers. Why? On the most basic level it’s because employees aren’t at all aligned with the mission of the company, because the company doesn’t have one.

This is why it’s so darn refreshing to fly with Delta. While every company has bad apples, by and large Delta employees go out of their way to take care of customers. They have a culture of “yes,” and if there is a problem they try to find a solution. They appreciate their customers at every step of the journey.

I have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta. I’d say on the average Delta journey I’m thanked for my business five times, while on the average American journey I’m told “no” five times.

At American I consistently feel like employees are inconvenienced by my presence, especially their employees working on the ground.

Comments
  1. Well put.. I agree with you 100% that American is a company that lacks any kind of vision. I would not do business with them unless I had to. I was shocked when my brother told me his overseas flight in business class had the Video monitors ripped out of the plane and they handed out ipads that didn’t work. Even low cost airlines premium economy is better than that. He was on a $2700 one way ticket.

  2. As a PP elite, I hear you and agree. However, those self serve, kiosk agents should be reserved for just checking bags onto the conveyor belt.

    Often at PHL, people try to use these kiosk agents when the elite line or general help desk is too long. People tend to take advantage, so I kind of get why AA had these agents say no.

    Your thing was a one off, and I agree they should be more lenient with elites like yourself. But the rest of the population has no problem taking advantage of this if there is even a 5 min wait at general check in.

    Just my two cents

  3. The new display ads are a little aggressive. Four large ads on a small article is complete overkill. Please don’t sacrifice user experience just to cut an even larger check

  4. Isn’t this a known issue due to two types of employees, one with a union contract and one without? American doesn’t want one set of these employees performing certain duties.

  5. @ Anthony — At some airports they have different types of employees handling certain duties, though these were definitely the standard AA check-in agents.

  6. @lucky. Being a world traveler myself and using DFW as my hub to the world . I find your criticism overly critical of AA . All airlines are looking to gouge and make promises they refuse to keep and Delta is no hero either. Until we have strong legislation to protect consumers, it’s only going to get worse. With new ndc capabilities the gouging is just starting. Yes we need new rules to protect the consumer.

  7. What I want to know is why you still have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta? Is it because of your base in Miami? Because of the OneWorld redemptions? Please explain… I want to understand why you continue to fly AA when you regularly comment about how much better Delta is.

  8. Given the number of times I’ve been double if not tripple booked when desperately trying to get somewhere during a time when the system is cooing with delays I call BS on Your claim that American agents don’t care.

    The problem here is unrealistic expectations and responses. You fly a lot, and a few times you run into problems like this. What happens every other time? American gets you where you need to go.

    You paint a false portrait of their customer service when you hold up this example instead of all the others…

  9. Lucky, I was at DFW terminal C admirals club. Was on a delayed flight to SF that was going now on delay for 3 1/2 hours. When I checked in with the agent I asked them nicely since the flight is delayed would you be making announcement for boarding? Their answer…. no we don’t make announcements. I said but for sure for delay flights like this you would do no? No sir. No we don’t do that. You should plan on being at your gate 30 mins before departure. ‍♂️‍♂️

  10. Chris John – when airlines were regulated, tickets were FAR MORE expensive than they are today. If you think airlines gouge customers now, you wouldn’t bc able to afford to fly at all in your idealized world of ‘consumer protections’

  11. Kind of off topic, but one thing everyone keeps saying is that “well at least American miles are worth more.” Increasingly, they aren’t. Outside of specific uses (like flying to Asia on Cathay), availability on American metal on direct flights, international AND domestic, has become abysmal. I have used American miles for holiday travel in the past, no direct saver seats are available, only “Economy Web Special” seats at 20K per flight, which is comparable to what Delta is asking for. To go to Europe on AA metal, you basically need to pay 110K miles, which is again not too far off from what Delta is asking for. The mileage program is becoming less and less of an advantage.

    The one benefit of AA out of NYC is that because they are doing so poorly, planes are often half full, and upgrades are plentiful on their E175 routes. The transcon routes are also good. That’s about it

  12. I currently only have Gold status, so I can’t speak to the level of service you’ve experienced (you clearly fly more than I do). But I’ve had some of the WORST experiences flying on American – second only to Spirit. And there are identical experiences to mine that have been well-documented on YouTube by other flyers.

    My best example, flying from MIA to SXM – after a mechanical problem (the engine was on fire) and returning back to Miami, flight delayed, delayed, delayed – and I was told they wouldn’t pay for a hotel (because we couldn’t check into our AirBNB as late as we were going to arrive, due to the delay), then cancelled. Then waiting in line to rebook, only to be told that we had to call a phone number to rebook, only to be put on hold and disconnected – requiring 3 phone calls to rebook my flight, during which time most other alternate flights (which had plenty of availability before) were booked up (because it took so long for me to finally reach someone who cared), and being told that X flight didn’t exist (when my co-flyers had just booked that flight). Then given one meal voucher for 2 people, and put up in a filthy, dated hotel with no shuttle service to the airport. I live in a Delta hub city, yet I remain loyal to American. But I’m starting to wonder why…

  13. @Lucky, I know you intentionally scheduled a long layover at DFW for your Dad since he doesn’t have global entry, but I suggest for him to try the Mobile Passport app next time. That’s what my friends and I use if one of us don’t have Global Entry. Not all airports have it available but I see DFW has it. The app is free and all he needs to do is input his passport details, answer the typical customs questions, and take a selfie.

  14. I am a million miler with AA and have lifetime Gold status (totally useless) and haven’t being on a AA plane for over 10 years. I still have over half million miles sitting on my AA account but every time I think about using it I decide it is not worth the hassle. Delta treats me well and they have my loyalty.

  15. @ Joey — Hah, my dad just learned to text about 1.5 years ago, and has zero apps. While Mobile Passport is great in general, it’ll be a decade or so before we’re at the points where he’s using apps, I think. :p

  16. Their service sucks, they don’t treat their customers well, they make customers suffer, they serve a hotdog on international first class, their share price are at historic low and they aren’t really making “real” profits and yet Dougie gets to keep his job. Salute.

  17. I am generally not a big fan of people who respond with a DYKWIA “do you know who I am”.. exec platinum, million miler, etc. I totally think it was justified here, given the lack of compassion you received.

  18. @ Mike — If mentioning to a customer service agent that you’re a good customer when they refuse to help without even looking at your situation, then yes, I suppose I did pull a DYKWIA.

  19. @ Stan — Are we flying the same airline? Could you share more about how you were triple booked? Who helped with that?

    Obviously we have vastly different experiences, but for me this isn’t an isolated incident — this is an anecdote that represents my average experience with the airline.

  20. There is a vision at AA: More for the CEO, less for everyone else.
    The CEO does not care if the customers are happy. , he does not care if employees are happy, he cares slightly that shareholders are happy because they can influence his income..
    @ Anthony..the job is the same, no matter if you are Union or not.. so good try, but wrong.

  21. @ Levy Flight: good idea, put all employees on the street because inconsistent and irresponsible executive management…
    why not put the fault where it belongs? the employees only do what they are told..
    ” going that extra mile ” just puts a mile on the person doing it, no appreciation from either the customer or the employer..

  22. I will assume if you put the Self Service Kiosk next to the full service ticket counter, “most” people will do the line for the counter instead of the Kiosk.

  23. What a surprise American unhelpful ?why you are a lowly EP
    Even Concierge Key members despise American
    This is and has been the Doug Smug Parker Era for sometime
    until we get a new CEO and a new administration anyone that uses American Airlines will likely suffer similar business behavior especially if you fly with any frequency
    My family member flew them a month ago and had a 10 hour delay so they flew out on Delta instead unfortunately and true to form American Airlines promised a refund and never sent it as promised nearly 4 weeks later and they are still waiting and no reply from the refund dept who apparently is in a bunker somewhere with their hands tied and Doug Parker whipping them to a pulp if they process a refund of any kind or dare to offer any helpful assistance

  24. I hate the “use the kiosks, use the app, use the website, use the phone tree, use the counter far away” excuses. If those avenues worked well or were working at all, people would use them.

    It drives me crazy that companies think their customers are a burden when they are called. Customers call when there is a problem that the regular ways aren’t working. Why would I want to wait to speak with someone if I could I resolve an issue myself?

    The sad part here is that AA probably doesn’t even know that their kiosks aren’t working. There was nothing done to prevent the issue from happening again. And the vicious cycle continues. Customer service lines are backed up and regular agents can’t perform their normal duties. Kiosks are not a substitute for people, but rather a complement.

  25. @ Ben I landed at JFK recently, international flight, I used Mobile Passport instead of Global Entry, I was the only person in the Mobile Passport lane, while dozens of people were in line for Global Entry. I joked with the immigration/customs officer and said why would anyone use Global Entry when there is nobody in the Mobile Passport lane? He responded and said as soon as more people start using Global Entry they will be eliminating Mobile Passport….

    @ Stan, seriously? AA is the worst these days. I had an issue recently so I called AA and was directed to send an email. Wrote the email and was not happy with the response. I called AA a second time and was told to write another email. Based on the the response it was apparent the person didn’t read my email. I was pissed and called AA again, the phone representative then called a supervisor and they apologized and waived the fee that I had first written about. The phone rep said you have 12 months from the date of issue to use the full value of the ticket and stressed when you call tell them to pull up my note. So I called last night to use the value of the original ticket towards a new trip, gave them the ticket number and the person helping me said there is no note. She then reached out to a supervisor and they checked another system. No note. AA IS THE WORST. Hands down the worst.

  26. I thought AA first class comes with free same day confirmed flight change? My experience is that if trying to rebook in J the original fare class needs to be available, while if rebooking in Y the E class needs to be available and you should be annotated DSR (so you will be ahead of all upgraders)

  27. So stop flying with American. That’s all that will get them to change. I have, except for one place I can’t get to otherwise.

  28. @ Lucky, you must have a unused Global Entry benefit on one of your credit cards. Why don’t you apply for your father for your next trip?

  29. Ben- I couldn’t agree with you more. I travel every week for work and live in Ft. Lauderdale. I recently matched to Platinum on Delta and the experience on Delta has been spectacular and in very stark contrast to American, to whom I have been extremely loyal for decades. Delta folks are genuine, kind and seem actually happy to work for Delta. And living in FLL, DL has better schedules and connections. With AA, I often have to travel to MIA to catch non-stops.
    Having qualified for EXP several months ago, I have been flying DL pretty regularly. But here is my problem: I have NEVER been upgraded on DL. That’s a deal breaker for me. As I often get upgraded (90%) with AA. Also, I have not had the schedule challenges that others have shared.

  30. I love it!! Lucky, I’m glad you pressed the agent on this issue and no, you weren’t pulling the “don’t you know who I am” card. Could top management at AA (Dougy) please read some of these comments to reaffirm what a crappy and toxic organization you run.

  31. Employees at American wanted this management team! The company’s poor employee relations is a long story that will take a special manager to break this cycle.

    But this is more than just a story of bad employee relations and the culture of no, it’s the story of bad management decisions overall. The reason these agents were directed to send you down to the full service desk was sound. They were there to take bags and had they been backed up with other things, that would have been inefficient. The disservice was in management not having the full service desk there too.

    Additionally the employees could have been empowered to better explain the “why” and to make an exception for you without irritating you.

    That said, I am surprised at the rookie mistake you made here. Why didn’t you just go to the Admirals Club? Except for LAX, Admirals Club agents are angels. You could have sat Dad down (in the fully upright and unreclined position), drink in hand, while you took care of his ticket.

    The short version of this is that Doug needs to go.

  32. I’ve solved the problem w American Airlines.

    I stopped flying them, period.

    I’ve moved as much business as possible to Delta, and when necessary I put other flights on UA (to be sure, a grotesque carrier, but still more reliable than AA).

    Life without AA has been on time

  33. my “do not fly” list of airlines I avoid whenever possible include Spirit, Frontier, and AA, in that order. That said, two weeks ago a ticket agent at AA was remarkably helpful and friendly in arranging for a new flight when I could not make the ticketed flight due to weather. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw, especially in a business as hard pressed as airline travel.

  34. I had the same issue with AA in Las Vegas. Attempted to use the self service kiosk and the response was to see an agent. There were several staff at the counters. I approached one surly one who was clearly doing nothing as it was 6am and the concourse was virtually deserted. She was so unhelpful and all I wanted to do was check in. She insisted I used the kiosk. So I was faced with a kafkaesque situation

    She eventually relented as if it was too much trouble

    It’s like going to a bank counter and being told to use the ATM
    what if I had a hidden disability ?
    Then don’t employ staff if they are just paid to sit

  35. If you want to fight back, don’t forget to get rid of AAdvantage credit cards. All of my family members had one and I had one for my business. When I cancel them, I tell the reps “Nothing against Citi/Barclays, but you are lashed to a terrible partner.” I know Doug Parker makes money every time someone signs up for or uses a Citi/Barclays Aadvantage card because the FAs flog them relentlessly on flights (even at the expense of doing their real jobs).

    Perhaps Citi could become another source of pressure. The card offering Admirals Club will become almost worthless for many people on 11/1 when club access is limited to those flying AA on that day. Additionally, the 10% redemption bonus has been removed along with various insurances. Anyone cancelling a card or downgrading cards to a no fee MileUp should mention their annoyance with AA.

  36. My wife and I had a similar bad experience with American Airlines in June returning from Belfast via London. We got to the departure gate in Miami right about the scheduled departure time, so the plane was already closed up. Although there were plenty of agents in the immediate area, we were told that we had to walk to the rebooking counter, which was about a 30 minute walk.

    Once we got there, we had to wait about an hour before we could get through the line to talk to an agent, who rebooked our flight to Tampa. We were also flying first class, but that didn’t make any difference.

  37. You’re so obviously getting paid to bash AA and advertise for Delta. I’ve read a few of your articles and they all do the same thing, it’s no coincidence. Like one of the commentators said, AA probably has that rule because people take advantage and it becomes a habit. I’m not saying there aren’t customer service agents who can be apathetic but that’s in every airline. Delta isn’t the Holy Grail like you try to imply. If you’d mentioned any other airline’s performance compared to AA I’d say your opinion was frank and valid but since you seem to bash AA and always praise Delta your opinion and anecdotes are null. Can you even prove this story is true? What a shame that companies need to hire people like you to bash their competitors instead of uplifting themselves with their own, positive attributes and real social media verified anecdotes. The rule of Social Media is…”picture or it didn’t happen” You are a giant Delta-paid troll “Lucky”

  38. I am not a heavy traveller but have had an American Airlines master card for over 20 years and consider AA to be my go to airline. I recently tried to change a Fort Myers to Savannah GA flight that included stops in Charlotte both ways. My request was to drop flights two and three and just travel to Charlotte instead. The cost was $600/per person to delete two legs. The seats could be resold and likely would be. Not my idea of customer culture. This is a result of deregulations and capitalistic mergers. There is no concern for satisfying the customer as this requested change would be a win for both me and AA. I will be looking for a new airline ASAP.

  39. My wife and I had a similar bad experience with American Airlines in June returning from Belfast via London. We got to the departure gate in Miami right about the scheduled departure time, so the plane was already closed up. Although there were plenty of agents in the immediate area, we were told that we had to walk to the rebooking counter, which was about a 30 minute walk.

    Once we got there, we had to wait about an hour before we could get through the line to talk to an agent, who rebooked our flight to Tampa. We were also flying first class, but that didn’t make any difference.

  40. @STAN you must work for aa because if you look at the comments or other threads about aa you see the same complains over and over about their customer service on the ground and in the air

  41. @M

    “He responded and said as soon as more people start using Global Entry they will be eliminating Mobile Passport….”

    Don’t you mean the other away around? If more people use Mobile passport, they’ll get rid of Global Entry?? GE has been there for years, phasing out GE sounds more plausible than getting rid of a new product

  42. “Much to my surprise at this point she agreed to try to help.”

    Yes because at that point you made it clear that if they did nothing things were not going to end well.

  43. For years you have said your parents don’t have Global Entry, any reason why you haven’t signed them up? They are Green Card holders which makes them eligible. Any record on them that makes them ineligible?

  44. I spent several years as Advantage Platinum, but have since moved on to United (where I’m a lowly silver). Despite all of the horrid press that United gets, I have never had a bad experience in dealing with them and find them to generally be courteous and helpful. And they treat me better as a silver than AA ever did when I was platinum with them. And that was when AA was better than they are now.

    Recent flights and dealings with AA have been just awful, to the point where I had to throw away the back half of an award ticket on AA for my wife and 2 kids and buy a one way home from vacation for them on the WN flight I was on (also an award ticket). This was when Dorian was threatening Florida and we needed to get them home from Central America. Spent 2 hours on the phone with them only to be offered a flight one week later. We couldn’t do that, they hung up on me and I gave WN $1500 for what turned out to be a great flight. Screw AA.

  45. This often reflects the culture of a company. Years ago I was in a store, the item scanned didn’t come up with a price and the lady asked me what I thought it was, I told her, she entered it and things kept going. In another store, the same thing happened (and this item was very low cost) but she would accept my price, and had to delay everyone while someone had to go and find the price.

    You need to empower employees to make decisions. Sure sometimes they will make the wrong ones but you have to take the chance. The employees who constantly screw up, you get rid of.

    I had an issue in Houston with Luftansa (returning from Frankfurt and connecting to Phoenix) where they broke the handle of a checked bag. Before I could finish my sentence the employee spouted the baggage rule (we are not responsible, etc. etc.). My point at that time wasn’t to do anything about the baggage but pointing out the reason the luggage tag was missing was because Luftansa broke the handle and the tag fell off. Instead they forced us to walk to the check in desk to get a new luggage tag.

    It is nice when a company screws up admits it and tries to proactively fix it and not just hide.

    I’m just trying to figure out what to do with 360,000+ miles. I sure wish they were Chase points instead. My usual choice of going to Europe is tough with AA.

  46. For your information Mr. Million miles flyer, you were very fortunate that agent helped you. They’re not AA agents, they’re there for the specific function of only getting your bags checked, but got lucky to have one there who knew what to do, which usually in most cases it’s not what they were contracted for. If you want to take advantage of your status and his, upon arrival, go to the nearest Admirals Club, as you wouldn’t already know that, they would have gladly taken care of the situation inmediately, they are great at it, and there are several Admirals Clubs in all terminals conveniently located throughout the DFW Airport, faster to walk to one of them, than the 10 minutes it took you to forcefully but politely convinced that contracted agent to help you. You did put that agent’s job in jeopardy, you should know. Uulse the Club next time, they’re there to serve you well and in fashion for status members like you and your father

  47. Ben you are assuming these agents were actually trained to be able to help with ticketing. How do you know that? It’s been my experience at some of these baggage only areas that they don’t actually staff this with folks who are trained in ticketing. I think they should be but they might not be trained.

  48. “This is why it’s so darn refreshing to fly with Delta.”

    “I have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta.”

    “While every company has bad apples, by and large Delta employees go out of their way to take care of customers.”

    “I have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta.”

    “They have a culture of “yes,” and if there is a problem they try to find a solution. They appreciate their customers at every step of the journey.”

    “I have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta.”

    “I’d say on the average Delta journey I’m thanked for my business five times, while on the average American journey I’m told “no” five times.”

    “I have Executive Platinum status with American and no status with Delta.”

    Ben, on behalf of everyone at American Airlines, thank you for your loyalty.

  49. On the last leg of a Platinum challenge with American thanks to Hyatt. Figured I should give them another chance since I’m Charlotte based after all. 10 of 16 flights delayed due some sort of MX issue, and a general vibe of “sorry not sorry” from any gate agent/phone agent I have interacted with.

    Back to Delta I go…

  50. @Stan you must work for aa because if you look at the comment here and other threads about aa you see the same complaints over and over about customer service on the ground and in the air, besides the fact you said you said you get double or triple booked when you need to smells fishy because no one has claimed that on any airline even the world’s best so I call bs next time if your gonna lie make it more believable
    @Steven M have you ever flown aa most times they wont do anything even if things won’t end well besides I dont know even know what means like he was going to hurt them if they didn’t help?

  51. You are spot on. Living in PHL, I dread flying AA. Every interaction at the bag drop off or gate has been unpleasant. It feels like a chore for them to do anything. No hello or thank you, or a smile on their face.

  52. I used to be a loyal AA flyer, but switched to DL about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back. The experience and customer service is a stark contrast. In fact, on DL it’s almost *too much*. On nearly every flight, i get thanked for being diamond — by the person scanning boarding passes, by the flight attendants (who have bothered to check my name and come to my seat and thank me by name for being loyal to Delta). One time on a flight from LGA-CLE, the flight attendant wrote HAND WRITTEN thank you notes to all the “elite” status flyers thanking us for our loyalty. And still, she provided great service (she wasn’t hiding in the galley writing them). They really want customers to feel appreciated. It’s great, and like I say, almost too much sometimes.

  53. I wish people will understand that they are no longer flying American Airlines but US airways. They are the ones running the new AA.

  54. Your experience is consistent with my experience as well. I could see that the aircraft for my flight wasn’t going to be on the ground before the posted departure time and when I called AA and asked to get on the earlier flight that was boarding right next to me, I was told, “No. Your flight is still showing as on time.” When I pointed out that there was no way that the aircraft would physically be on the ground in time for an on time departure, I was told, “The system is showing an on time departure.”

    My experience with Delta is one of “let’s see what’s going on and how we can make this experience better for you.” Even if the answer turns out to be “no,” at least I feel like the default answer with Delta is “maybe”. I was recently in Bangkok and woke up on my morning of departure to an inbox full of emails from Delta – your flight is delayed a little, now a lot, and now we’re not quite sure when you’ll get home. I called Delta and after a few minutes, the agent found a solution that got me home an hour earlier than I was originally scheduled. She seemed to take it as a source of pride that she was actually able to find me a better solution (time-wise). I did miss out on the new Delta One Suite on the A350 on the way back, but my Korean flights were lovely.

  55. I had an issue with American where I wanted to check a Tenba Bag designed to hold a 27inch iMac. I’ve traveled with this bag on Delta, United, Lufthansa, Swiss, SAS, and never had a peep from any checkin agent. And then … American … who wanted to charge me $200 to transport the bag between MIA to TPA. Instead I shipped it with UPS for a lot less. My take away was that American Airlines isn’t a business friendly airline and that I avoid them if I’m traveling with any kind of conference gear. They are great at shooting themselves in the foot.

  56. Did you know that if you ask someone empowered at Delta you can get Elite status on their airline for a certain amount of time provided you show proof of statement that verifies you and your Dad’s status as a million miler from another airline? Delta employees with longevity there can help you with that and then you have better options for future flights.

  57. It pains me to read weekly bashings of AA, although I know in my heart they are well deserved. I grew up as an AA pilot’s kid and have a special affinity for them. However, the AA of yesteryear is very different from the AA today. I agree. Go to Philly. Walk down the F concourse and observe the gate agent’s interactions with customers. They could care less. For the most part, they are completely unprofessional and do not reflect standards of a full service airline. But that’s what you get when you pay your people low wages.

  58. Granted, AA is not the best – I find their flight attendants in Economy to be more friendly than the attendants in First Class. However, taking a huge trip like this, why not just get your father Global Entry? When my mom started traveling with me, I completed the application and took her to the interview. Maybe you can help your dad out as I’m sure you have another card with the GE benefit. And if you don’t, pay for it – PreCheck would be helpful as well for domestic travel as he is elderly.

  59. I love your hate-love relationship with American hahaha, because no matter how bad they treat you, you always end flying with them.

  60. You lost me at the part that said, “My Dad doesn’t have Global Entry,”….
    You, the Prince of Credit Card deals, a couple of dozen of which offer FREE Global Entry, doesn’t get Dad onboard with the program?!!! I’ll assume Dad isn’t on a watch list or in the country illegally, so I’m a bit shocked. I would definitely make this a top priority for the next international trip with him.

    As for the rest of the toxic culture, I can clearly envision exactly what you describe because there’s a lot of “not my job” bad attitudes across the board and I’ve seen this on other airlines as well, although traveling through the South for many years, the Delta agents in Atlanta always seem happy and helpful, not always the ones at DFW though. The worst I’ve ever experienced were UA agents out of Newark, and I always avoid that place. I think it’s a YMMV situation at different airports across different airlines. I’m treated well at PHL by AA people and I use that hub a lot.

    Can’t wait for the Safari report!!!

  61. We live outside of charlotte and used to love to fly US AIR as the company was small and the charlotte airport convenient and cozy ( relative to atlanta, chicago etc) But when USAIR became American our whole experience changed. It is a terrible experience now. As you so eloquently wrote it is not a culture of helping you I am very sad about this as we often have to fly AA in order to fly out of the most convenient airport for us but if i ever have a choice I ALWAYS pick another airline.

  62. Kai says:
    September 13, 2019 at 11:00 am
    You are spot on. Living in PHL, I dread flying AA. Every interaction at the bag drop off or gate has been unpleasant. It feels like a chore for them to do anything. No hello or thank you, or a smile on their face.

    Kai, I think that’s a PHL thing rather than an AA thing 😀 [Disclaimer: I live near and fly out of PHL, and yes, usually on AA.]

  63. Some background: American has six nonstops daily DFW-TPA. No other airline has any.

    Comparing American to Delta is like comparing American to Qantas. You can’t get there from here, and American knows it. Deregulation has allowed them to build Fortress Dallas, just as it has allowed Delta to build Fortress Atlanta.

    Did you have a choice to fly through DFW? Not for what you wanted to pay. The nonstop to Atlanta would have been faster, with better service. For other customers, though, there would have been a choice between hubs. And the American service model does seem to drive business to Delta.

    I am surprised that a same-day downgrade from First to Coach costs $75, and that American isn’t making it more convenient to rake in that kind of dough for five minutes of work.

  64. I actually used to work for AA and I can tell you first hand that they preach customer service but very rarely give it. The agents are pushed to their limits to the point where they stop caring. Either that or older and more bitter employees see the fresh blood as change and they willingly go against it. It’s sad to see so many complaints when they can easily be fixed. Yes, in their defense, crap and weather happens but when it comes to actually helping– it really is a “sorry but not sorry” type of attitude. Unless it comes to Exec Platinums, then they want us to bend over backwards for them over the general public. But yes, they really don’t want us to help and there have been times that I’ve actually gotten trouble for trying to help. It’s a sad system that needs to change if they’re going to try to stay in business.

  65. @Zich: “Don’t you mean the other away around? If more people use Mobile passport, they’ll get rid of Global Entry?? GE has been there for years, phasing out GE sounds more plausible than getting rid of a new product”

    Common sense would indicate that they’d be more likely to eliminate the free product as opposed to the one that people have to pay for. Government entities may not be businesses, but they still have their own incentives to generate as much revenue as possible.

  66. @Lucky
    In my experience the most help will come from the admirals lounge. I actually have the number for my home lounge in my phone and when I have a problem, my first call is to them. So long as there isn’t a weather event back home making thd line snake out thd door, they help me, not agents at a call center or whatever terminal I happen to be at.

    Triple booking doesn’t happen very often. That’s a ‘its Christmas time and I’m trying to get home to see my son’ sort of thing. But I get double booked plenty of times, ocassionally even by reps on the phone, though most of the time they just want to put you on standby.

    I have to agree, are we even flying the same airline? I do maybe 150k miles a year on American and my experience is no where like yours. The closest I’ve had to bad customer service lately is when they deboarded a late flight because of a mechanical problem, they didn’t announce they would be popping for hotels, so I snagged a local room before I found out it was on the house. A quick email to customer service returned an offer to cover my expdnse or post a bunch of miles to my account… That’s hardly poor customer service…

    Btw, in my experience at DFW, mobile passport can be faster than GE, especially if you are in the front of the plane, near the door. Many times I get to passport control and there is zero line… You might have to drag pops kicking and screaming into 2019, but I say it’s worth it…

  67. As a former American Airlines employee, I am in 100% agreement with this article. The management is two-faced, giving lip service to their employees by saying that they care about improving the culture but never attempting to do anything about it.

  68. Admiral’s Club for *everything* ticketing-related, especially MCO & MIA & LGA clubs…and as a second resort, the EXP phone line. I’ve been triple-booked and treated fairly, keeping my first-class seat, using both of these avenues. It sucks that the employees even have to be put in the position of re-booking due to MX-caused delays and cancellations, but AC and EXP Desk usually come through. In-person though? Especially @ ORD? Fuggedaboutit #theWorst

  69. Just flew American for the first time EVER and after I get back home I am making a vow to NEVER use this carrier again! Multiple delays causing missed flights, multiple rerouting, with too short intervals between flights making it nearly impossible to connect..the most frustrating day of my life!! A trip thst should have only taken a total of 7 hours, turned into 14! Not acceptable!

  70. While I recognise your frustration, try to look at it from another perspective that you already acknowledged, “Why are you helping him and not me?” This is considered a deviation from the standard Policy/Practice and leads to further false expectations by those around and further down the road for those that request an exception “just this once?” In today’s age imagine how it looks from the outside and the opportunity it present for others to cry foul/racism etc. I too am guilty of requesting an exception based on my circumstance and have used any status that I might have in my back pocket to have my expectations met.

    From a corporate perspective, yes they went above and beyond for a loyal patron to which the patron, you, really should celebrate. From a local management perspective, they deviated from policy which may be grounds for additional performance management up to and including termination. From a bargained labor standpoint, they may have violated union contract rules and may now be subject to a grievance for taking the job away from a fellow union member. While this may seem like a stretch to someone that is self employed, this is a reality for those employed by any company which sets the rules.

    In any other situation, regardless of how polite you may have perceived yourself, you bullied them into submission “Usually I’d just walk off at this point, but I decided to (politely) push on further.” DYKWIA, my status should cause you to break the rules is the unfortunate side effect of today’s “Me 1st” mentality.

    Think about that for just a moment and let it sink in. Do a root cause analysis and you’ll find the root cause was not the employees/company.

    Just my $0.02

  71. I don’t know.. I smell an entitlement from this article.. nobody likes entitlement
    Second, why do you fly with them continuously? It’s a free country, you have choices to fly different companies
    Third, what is your true intention to write an entire article about how bad it is, but continuously fly with them?
    To me it is illogical
    Either you want some miles or some refund, or are you genuinely want AA to do better??

  72. You are so right on with this post brother. I am Exec Platinum, spend well over 100K a year with American for flights to Europe, and still get terrible service. I would fly another carrier if there were more choices for a direct to Europe from Phoenix.

  73. Lucky, I noticed you were connecting through JNB and DOH and was wondering what there is to do at those airports as I have a 8 hour layover at JNB and a 10 hour layover at DOH on an upcoming trip. I have Priority pass lounge access but was interested in sightseeing if that’s possible. Flying Qatar in biz class and I am looking to stretch my legs a bit during the layovers.

  74. Honestly, your entitlement is ridiculous.

    It’s not a policy of “No” and it’s not personal against you; It’s a policy of “Not my job” and you need to stop trying to get employees to bend the rules for your convenience at the risk of suffering your scathing reviews.

  75. 100% correct I’m this article
    Thank god my ticket was on delta during Hurricane Dorian
    They changed my ticket several times until I was able to get a flight home to FL. Any other airline would have acted like I was inconveniencing them
    On another occasion during a ground delay to la Guardia they offered to change me to JFK. It happened a second time they were full but offered to put me on standby and I got in. I landed in JFK when the ground hold to La Guardia was finally lifted. Thanks delta!!

  76. The hate towards Million Miler status is sad. I don’t have it, but if someone spends that much time on a plane and particularly with one airline, they deserve extra attention. It’s good business – taking care of your best customers. Duh. As for switching airlines, some of us live in locations where AA is so dominant you have to suck it up unless you want to spend extra hours connecting. Or some companies require their employees to fly certain airlines. The lack of service is not because of Doug Parker – I have lived in Dallas for 30 years and known many people who work for American. Management has never cared about the employees and the employees have always had bad attitudes. Their us-against-them internal battles spill over into their product and we end up with brisk, unhelpful, uncaring service. Their culture is toxic and their work ethic is nonexistent.

    @Ella Fischer – Doug Parker called. Your check is in the mail.

  77. I have been flying on American airlines for forever and a day and yes, things are bad in regards to its employees in the caring for customera department.
    I usually use Miami as my international hub and it’s just terrible, everytime. To tell you my last experience at Miami’s International airport, after landing from an overseas long flight, I was connecting to another flight on AA and asked one of their agents to direct me to the specific counter for a bag recheck , I was directed to one particular area and while atanding in line, another AA agent was going down the line saying:” Check in for Puerto Rico only”, several times. I approached the agent and politely told her that I was told by her colleague that I could check my bags here, NOT to my surprise her repky was:”You have to go to another counter, not my fault and if not happy that’s American”.
    When I hear of AA’s report regarding their difficulties, well if the airline’s CEO would just start lookin at how their employees treat their customers, in flight and ground, things could start to improve!
    Remember American, who pays for your guys’ paychecks! And I should start flying on another airlines where I will be treated better.

  78. We had 2 horrible experiences with AA, both of them totally their fault with no attempt to rectify the situation (1st incident) until we involved Jesse Jones from KIRO7 news channel! The 2nd incident was a very delayed flight from Seattle, that made us miss our connection to Florida! The plane was still sitting at the gate, we learned that they close the door 10 minutes prior to actual take off & would not make exceptions, even if it was them that caused the problem! To make matters worse, our luggage made it onto the plane, even though we didn’t. After a long time arguing with some very rude AA employees, we and some other travelers, who also were in the same predicament, were put up in a Motel 8 room & given a $25 food voucher (for 2). We will NEVER fly with them again, unless it’s a dire emergency and they would be the only airline available!

  79. Having worked in customer service for many years and now traveling every week for work, This started out as kind of an annoying read because all you had to do was walk five minutes away to get some help, but you continued to press them. HOWEVER, after reading further I understand your point very much. It’s very frustrating with somebody who can help —and knows they can — seems indifferent.

    I have status on United, American, and Delta. I like Delta the most by far, but I haven’t really had any customer service issues with any of them. If you truly are told “no” an average of five times per trip with American Airlines, I can only imagine that you are a needy traveler that are asking a lot of things that are outside the norm. Am I right or is that number a slight exaggeration.

  80. I arrived early for a recent American flight and learned the earlier flight still had available seats. I tried to change my flight and offered to pay any fees. I was told my ticket couldn’t be changed and I couldn’t simply not use that ticket and buy a new ticket on the earlier flight. So, the flight departed with empty seats. My original flight was delayed several times before American finally cancelled. During the delays they kept pushing the departure 20 minutes at a time even though the inbound flight hadn’t departed yet. The employees knew the information was inaccurate but had to say it. When my flight was finally cancelled, I booked travel on another airline.

  81. OMG the complaining is never ending on here about AA. We all know the issues at AA! I would suspect that MOST employees know you or know of you. Hmmm 🙂 Every negative title about AA is a kick in the face to the good AA employees.

    I for one receive excellent customer service from AA employees (yeah there are a few horrible ones) but I’m secure inside to look past it…they are dealing with a lot. No matter how bitchy they look, I give a big smile and speak to them sincerely, it changes everything. ONE SMILE and pleasant banter. I never approach with a negative thought about whats to come, nor do I abuse my position by say “I am a…………..” I ask “how’s your day going?” or “long day?” if I sense they are stressed. Please try this.

    I guess I’m still surprised that you have not figured out the secret to seamless travel and changes. PLEASE hire a concierge service to take care of your travel. Your life will change.

    OR

    Stop flying AA.

  82. Two weeks ago, my flight to CLT from AUS was going to be late and I’d miss my connection to PHL. The two offers I received from a gate agent were to sleep at AUS that night and either A) Fly the next morning to LAX and take a redeye to PHL, or B) Fly the next morning to CLT, sleep there for a night, and then onwards to PHL two mornings later.

    After a week long work trip, both of those sounded like hell, so I decided to skip my “vacation” to see my family and just head home to Miami. This was just before Dorian was to hit, and the MIA flight was literally empty. Figured it would be easy to get on that instead, and inquired at the gate.

    Gate Agent 1: “Are you on the Miami flight? If not, go away”
    After saying that I wanted to be on the Miami flight: “I can’t switch your destination! You have to go to Philadelphia. Go to that gate.”

    Five minutes later, I gave it another try:

    Gate Agent 2: “Ah yes, your trip to Philadelphia is pretty ruined, those other options look terrible. Give me a minute, I can get you back to Miami no problem. The flight is empty. Here’s your boarding pass for Miami.”

    The excuses and inconsistencies, as you also experienced in this post, are what drive me crazy. Why did I have to experience such attitude and a “we can’t do that” from the first agent, only for the second one to be friendly and accommodate my request?

  83. In my experience US airport staff, particularly immigration/TSA are trained to be impolite. It’s like they have all been told to drop the words please and thank you from their vocabulary.

  84. If it’s so rough for you, fly another airline. Vote with your feet, not your mouth/keyboard. This achieves nothing. You can complain all you want, but as long as you keep paying for tickets, nothing’s going to change. I fly American because I have to. Yes, it was a major adjustment after enjoying the service at TWA when my husband worked there, but I still get where I’m going. Of course, I don’t expect to be treated like a princess, either. I make advanced plans in case I get bumped to another flight or something happens and I end up spending hours sitting at the airport. For me, I counted as part of the experience. I never go anywhere in a hurry, anyway. even if it takes me a whole day to get somewhere with delays and such, it’s still faster than driving and I’m not as tired when I get to my destination. Flying is a privilege, not a right.
    It’s not the fault of the employees. It’s management. Don’t get upset at the ones in the trenches. They have to follow the rules set for them or face the consequences. If they step outside their job description, they’re subject to discipline or even termination.

  85. I want to comment on the “not my job” comment. In some cases due to union rules maybe that is the case. I’m not real familiar with unions (and far from 100% against them in many cases).

    Generally everyone is doing a job but they shouldn’t be tied to that specific job and should be willing to help out as needed. They are all working for the same company. In a restaurant a bartender may not be serving a table but if they see a customer in need, the good ones help the person out. A lost customer hurts everyone.

    A while ago I had an issue with American Express. I got transferred to a department who fixed one thing but when I asked about something else they said I would first have to be transferred to the main office (I have no idea what they actually called it), and then have that group transfer me to where I needed to go. I said “why can’t you transfer me directly” and they claimed they couldn’t. When I threaten to cancel more cards, they magically were able to do so. Made no sense to me. Help the customer when it isn’t costing the company any more money (i.e., when the customer isn’t asking for anything they aren’t entitled to).

    Of course companies cause many of these problems by getting rid of reasons to stay loyal to an employer (remove pensions, remove benefits, remove stock options, etc.). If all I’m doing is getting paid, I can always go somewhere else and get another job. Too many companies are too short sighted to see this as a problem.

  86. That is also what I have experienced with American multiple times over the last couple of years. Given the experienced attitude, it feels that you are not welcome and whatever we do is just a favor.
    Somewhat better on the plane, but not really much better.
    I have stopped handing these recognition slips to American stuff long ago.

  87. @Oma I agree. No one gives the employees the benefit of the doubt here.
    I cleared customs at DFW twice last month. I know the customer service desk where Lucky is talking about right after you get through passport control. Imagine a busy time there with hundreds of passenger asking them for help. Can’t blame them for having to keep their guards up. It’s a tough post there. People are rude. After Lucky insisted for help they did help him in the end.
    If American served Krug , caviar , lobster , and installed first class suites on their plane tomorrow all of a sudden all of these aviation geeks would give such high praise to American Airlines and how great the company is.

  88. Not my experience with American at all. Just got back from a flight that was delayed to weather and every employee we encountered was helpful, kind and fantastic. Thanks American!

  89. Too many crybabies! I have flown AA almost exclusively since 1987 and although I never get past Platinum status I don’t share all the grumps you people have. There are good and bad at every airline. Sure, there have been a few times I have had problems, 99% of the time I have had good experiences with the employees.

  90. I’m glad you pressed the agents and were able to be helped.

    I hope you have a life time filled with incredible memories!

    Don’t allow the AA culture to disrupt your ending of a tremendous trip abroad w your Dad, filled with joy.

    Sounds like you held composure after a long journey back, kudos!

    Thanks again for sharing a truly magnificent adventure.

  91. @turbobrick:

    I see your points, but I think you missed Lucky’s. In any service business, you should empower your employees to have latitude to make customers – let alone your best customers – happy. THAT’S how you stay in business. Remember, he tried to make a change online and couldn’t. He was instructed by AA staff to use a kiosk, which he did…to no avail. Don’t you think the frontline staff should at least be allowed some latitude to assist at that point without 10 minutes of begging? Yes, the “me first” mentality is worse than ever. However, what is equally getting worse is service businesses who enable a “it’s not my job” mentality among employees. And, if this is how AA is treating their best customers, can you imagine what it’s like for someone who isn’t silver/diamond/platinum/boron/krypton?

    For all the bad (and, IMO, mostly unfair) press UA has gotten, my experiences with them have improved dramatically. I recently took them DFW – IAD in F and just (very politely) told the FA that I’d wish they’d rethink serving Indian food (sorry, but I don’t care for it (along with just about everyone else in the F cabin), and it’s arguable it has a limited general appeal). I was extremely polite to her, and I neither asked, nor expected anything in return for my feedback, other than perhaps a “thanks for the feedback; I’ll pass it along to the folks in Chicago.” She profusely apologized, and I received a mileage credit.

    Contrast this to my last three experiences on AA/Eagle, where one flight was delayed exactly 2:55 minutes before they boarded (can you guess why?), and two Eagle flights that were on decrepit, old CRJs that were so hot, it was like being in a flying sauna. I almost filed a complaint with the DOT over the CRJs. AA barely apologized.

  92. American has always been like that. Part of the reason why I quit flying then 25+ years ago what’s because I constantly kept getting the no answer for just about anything that was requested of them. To top it off I had mileage that was supposedly not supposed to expire but when they changed their frequent flyer mileage system over I suddenly lost all of my mileage and their response was too bad so sad.

  93. WELL THEY ARE PARTNERED WITH BRITISH AIRWAYS, AND ONCE THE WORLD’S FAVOURITE NOW REKNIWNED FOR UNRELIABLE OVERPRICED SERVICE AND POURING DISDAIN AND OPPROBIUM ON CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE THE TEMERITY TO ASK FOR THE SERVICE AS SOLD TO THEM.
    AA MAY NOT BE GOOD BUT THEY MAKE BRITISH AIRWAYS LOOK LIKE A CARING ORGANISATION THAT VALUES ITS CUSTOMERS.

  94. I so agree with you. American airlines does not care how they treat the customer. Sorry to say I’m a advantage member. It doesn’t matter. They do not care. So why am I a member. I joined when American airlines were the best. 1988? Now they are crap. I fly SWA when posible.
    AMERICAN AIRLINES. CHANGE YOUR WAYS OR NEXT STEP BANKRUPTCY.

  95. What you never tell your audience …
    Has an EP ( executive platinum ) for AA
    You have an phone contact to a special desk
    Maybe it your attitude of entitlement that make the employee you keep bashing about
    Not incline to help…A greeting before the opening phrase of …I have a problem can you help !! Goes a long way with anybody in any kind of business …But what do I know I only been an customer service agent for AA
    For the last 25 yrs…

  96. I agree with Chris John that “I find your criticism overly critical of AA”. It is not the problem of AA, it’s US Air, especially for US Airport staff, where the “culture of NO” comes from. In my experience, most US airport staff behave the same thing. Saying no, refusing to help, chatting with co-worker even the waiting line is so long, advising you going for kiosk or app or phone. On the other hand, most CS in phone are really helpful. I do not know why this happen so differently, but it is doubtable if lucky is paid to bash AA solely.

  97. I fly out of CHO and I must say that my experiences with American are 98% positive. For example, last month I was flying with two friends who were on basic economy tickets. I caused us to miss our flight back home from Denver. The gate agent moved heaven and earth to not only put is on another flight but also checked everyone’s bags for free even though I was the only one with status.

    I was on a small regional jet from CLT to CHO recently and the flight attendant not only provided full drink service but also gave me Woodford for free.

    These experiences are more the norm than the exception.

  98. I wonder if you are as critical of Grocery stores and other establishments who have special services like fast lanes/lines. Do you tell the companies who have 10 items or less lines that there is an issue with them having those lines when they dont serve you when you want them to? I bet however you are very grateful to have them when you walk in and only need the flu medicine. Then on the other hand when you can not stand in a lengthy line either because of time or illness you are very frustrated that the 2 speedy checkout lines just let people with entire carts go through. See at the time they let that go through no one needed speedy checkout but when you walked up now they are in the middle of these very long transactions. This is why the services are separated. Sounds like this is not a very reasonable argument against the service it is Ill informed.

  99. #yaaas! Boost that google engagement algorithm by bashing AA! 😉 I like to contribute to the effort.

    With that said, I actively avoid traveling on AA unless I absolutely have to. As we all know, the best way to avoid using AA is live around NYC, SF, and LA where there is plethora of choices. But then again if you have to fly to Dallas, well, your choices shrink…. I have always wonder why you moved to Miami instead of staying in LA as there are a lot more airline options in LA. But then again, FL has no state income tax not to mention closer to where your parents live.

  100. @lucky. so because you wanted something that Makes them useless or have no customer service, sounds like you feel you are “white privileged “ you keep referring that you are in first class . I’m sure you are the type of person that sees the express sign “ less then 20 items “ but you still go in the line with 30 items !

  101. My opinion of American was sealed early this year when I purchased a BE ticket, knowing full well its limitations. But, explicitly contrary to what was stated prior to purchase, during check-in I was denied both an non-premium assigned seat (which they were happy to sell me), saying I needed to get one at the gate; and also denied an an electronic security clearance, saying I needed to print one at a kiosk. The line for kiosks that morning at PHX was 100+ deep, and if I hadn’t been Gold we would have missed our flight. It was enraging.

    But more enraging was that I filled out their commment form, and got back irrelevant boilerplate about Basic Economy, again reiterating the lie that a seat would be assigned during check-in. I replied, and got no response, and replied again, and got no response. I submitted another complaint, and finally got a call, from someone who wanted to make me happy, but literally could not understand what I was saying, no matter how many times and ways I tried to explain it. I don’t even think she understood what the Basic Economy product was, so she couldn’t understand the part of it that was broken/deceptive. I gave up.

    Lucky, you are correct — they’re not unpleasant per se, they JDGAF.

    I gotta say that by contrast, United, who also get a lot of shit, pretty consistently go out of their way to be helpful for me as a Gold. I find the difference between the employee attitudes between UA and AA to be night and day, even if UA doesn’t make it to Delta levels, where employees actually seem proud of their airline.

  102. I was on a flight that was delayed, first 1 1/2 hours, then 4, then 5. While waiting at home I got a call from Admiral’s Club letting me know of the delays ( I already knew through the app) but also telling me what the problem was and that if the problem was repaired sooner, the departure time would be updated and the plane would leave earlier. I asked “so are you telling me to take a shower and get to the airport now?” She answered yes, which I did and the plane did leave earlier. I thought the service was terrific.

  103. @ Lucky, et al. Mobile Passport allows everyone in your family to be included which means you can use it for all 3 of you to enter the US. Just something to keep in mind if your father is unable to use Global Entry for any reason.

  104. Loyalty status to the airline that treats you like garbage, no status with the one that shows respect and helps.

    What message does that send to AA? What message would it send to a human in an equivalent scenarios?

    I’m guessing because you value their miles more. Except for increasingly rare instances, I don’t buy the “convenience” story much anymore.

    Stop giving them your business, don’t support it’s mileage program and you will have a far bigger impact than writing yet another negative AA article.

    Otherwise you just like complaining and merely coming up with repeated and tiring content for your business, disguising as journalism.

  105. Umm, Delta has to say Yes as they don’t have a union and can get fired for breathing the wrong air lol

    Yes, American has issues, but you have options. If you prefer Delta, then fly them. Done deal.

  106. @Duane As someone who used to live in CLT for decades and still flies out of there, I was pretty much forced to use US-Air and now AA because they basically have a monopoly on the airport. I can say from MUCH experience that flying US-Air was always exponentially better than anytime after the merger. The problem is, while yes US bought AA, they kept the AA executive team and corporate culture. We might be doing business with US but we’re flying AA.

    My comparative experience is US was Virgin compared to today’s AA being close to Spirit.

    That said, to be fair I have encountered some helpful, courteous AA representatives recently when there have been serious non-weather related issues (9-24 hour delays and cancelations.) I appreciate those experiences yet still consider them extraordinary.

    Every time I fly, I like for the days of US-Air (as sick as that sounds LOL).

    In general, the one thing I’ve found and what seems proven by Lucky’s experience is this:
    These people have what they see as hard, unappreciated jobs and they have to deal with rude, irritated people all the time. If we as the customer show up and be as understanding and courteous as possible, we are much more likely to get the same in kind combined with at least some effort to help us solve an issue. At least this usually works for me (although I have had to break bad on some folks occasionally – esp. Air France… OMG talk about on a mission to piss off every customer they encounter when at Charles D!)

  107. It doesn’t take a peanut of a brain to figure out why Delta employees lobbied vigorously and successfully to stave off Uncle Doug’s hostile takeover by his USAir over a much bigger Delta. Thanks be to God he was unsuccessful. Delta continues to work hard at taking care of customers in an industry with so much opportunity for so many things to go wrong. Good for you DELTA! There’s a solid reason why your care for the customer is recognized over and over. Keep Climbing!

  108. You’re still free to leave AA. You probably have a horrible eagle rating anyway and there’s no chance in hell that you’d ever be a CK.

    You’ll be happier somewhere else… Until they fuck up. And then you’ll post on how terrible airline XXX is.

    Welcome to the realities of US commercial airlines 🙂

  109. American employees have been trained to send customers to the full service desk because some processes take more time than others. So if for instance, if they are boarding or about to board a flight, they can’t stop and help a customer. As far as employees sitting, where is that station? Because most American employees are required to stand unless they go to a break room, even if it’s far away! It’s not the employee’s fault, it just has to be revamped.

  110. My wife was an AA employee during the Bob Crandall era, it was completely different then, It’s Doug Parker and the U.S. Air mentality. The legacy AA employees despise the U.S. Air employees. Completely different mindset.

  111. Ben

    I am sorry that your father was treated this way but I am not really surprised. I am an American Executive Platinum status (just renewed this month another year). This was from allocating my BA and Qatar miles into the account. I do use the mile occasionally for one-way international tickets on non American flights. Frankly, I avoid American and will not use them on long-haul flights to Europe.. many of the cabin staff and those at the airport just really upset and annoy me.

    Do you think that anyone from American ever visits these blogs? Does senior management at the Company have a clue about how many of the frequent travelers that participate in this site feel?

    I know that American was making good money. But they, like all airlines, have many implicit government subsidies that they do not acknowledge. They owe the traveling public more that we are getting. We are a stakeholders as well as management and shareholders.

  112. I flew AA on Monday with my adult daughter, our flight was delayed coming in from LA but we were able to get on earlier flight, they did not have two seats in first class, but had one in first and one in economy which we took, otherwise we would not have made our connecting flight. They placed my daughter close to the front of economy. On Wednesday had an email refunding part of her ticket price. The staff couldn’t have been nicer.
    Also on our way to west coast a few days earlier, we had a flight delay that turned into a change of planes, just prior to disembarking the flight attendant handed everyone in our cabin a note with our name and apologizing for any inconvenience that we may have experienced.
    They also asked people who did not have a tight connection to let six people off who did and had an electric cart waiting for them as well as holding a plane for these six passengers .
    AA employees did a great job on 9/5 and 9/9/19. Kudos.
    My status gold.

  113. This article resonated with me especially about the culture of no part. I was on a call with an agent last night. Having been disconnected once or twice due to spotty service overseas I asked the agent, who by the way was incredible and extremely friendly if she could call me back in case we got disconnected. She informed me that American Management no longer allows them to call people back. They need to call back in to the call center. How is that for an EP level of customer service. Also, the wait times when calling into support have skyrocketed despite the we’ll call you back service.

  114. If Japan Airlines wasn’t part of oneWorld I would have dumped American Airlines and British Airways. Unfortunately I fly often to Japan and the United Kingdom so I really don’t have a choice. AA and BA, take a page from JAL and learn what customer service is.

  115. Wow. Where to begin:

    Ella/ethical capitalism/tom – I feel badly for AA hub folks; I sense that you haven’t been exposed to alternatives. I used to have status on AA. Used to. Tom – I feel badly that you expect a fair amount of negative experiences from any airline. I don’t. I expect to get where I’m going, on time, and I get that. I won’t name which airline I’ve switched my loyalty to, but I’m sure you can guess it.

    Bob

    PS I’m typing this from the air and about to land 30 min early and was proactively switched to a flight to San Jose to avoid the current shitshow that is SFO.

  116. Hey Lucky, our of curiosity given the abundance of global entry credits you probably have through premium cards why doesn’t all of your immediate family have global entry? I definitely get if it’s a hassle for technologically challenged parents but it’s definitely been worth the process traveling with my 70+ parents even though I had to basically do the entire process for them out of Tampa

  117. Well that is certainly one way to twist the story.

    AA has separate customer service stations to facilitate different customer service related issues.

    What you did is similar to the customer with a basket full of groceries trying to check out in an express lane designated for 10 items or less and then whines when asked to go to the proper lane…..while everyone else behind you is inconvenienced for you.

    I know you will conveniently say that there was no other passengers around so it was ok for you to do this, but even if you attempt to use this excuse, lines build up quickly.

  118. I agree with all the negative reviews I American Airlines. Their culture is so bad and I experienced a lot of issues as well. People should stop traveling this Airline. They will learn a lesson only when their revenue drops otherwise they treat passengers like revenue generating units as if like we are flying for free

  119. Here it is!

    You say you won’t fly again with AA, or DL or UA should I go on?? The only people who fly an airliner for a given reason is, “who is paying?” Most high leveled frequent fliers are business peeps, who’s company but the tickets to begin with! They are spitting out the cash not the passenger! The customers I actually serve who have actually paid the first class ticket, they live a first class life. Yes, by that I mean they are not demanding, don’t want anything, and are probably some of the best passengers to have on board. They simple want extra space. Privacy! Etc!

    When the knuckleheads start to ring the call ball in first class, it’s always a upgrade acting out, pouting about not getting what they want, or complaining about something.
    Since when did our society become so damn entitled????

    You buy a ticket to get from A to B, it’s not your plane or your seat! You simply rented a space to travel on someone else’s jet, IE: AA or DL or US etc…or private too! Anyway, you want the ability to change your ticket for free and then complain when the flights over booked. Do you realize there is a NO-SHOW rate in every flight?? Because people get sick, plans change, business need last minute tickets. Can you imagine if we didn’t over book and everyone changed their flights, that some airplanes would be empty? I know you don’t care!!!!! But I’d like you to know that it cost a lot of money to run a good airline! From the liquor tax of each individual aircraft ranging from $500,00-$1,000,000 a year each? Crew pay, ground crew pay, baggage handler pay, insurance, beverages and movies rented from HollyWood and catering costs, wait just a minute, how much do you think fuel costs to run a jet?????

    It’s necessary to have back up, to the back up plan… maybe your crew members mom died and she had to work because the crew schedulers won’t release her from duty? That’s why she was short with you. Maybe the agents kid was bullied at school and she is trying to cope with how to deal with it? Airline employees are people to. I guarantee your company, if you’re employee or owner, you have issues too!

    Some points are valued here! Americans airlines doesn’t care much about their employees sadly… I have never seen my own company work so hard to not do the right thing. Employees get grouchy because work conditions are not as good as they should be. American Airline executive employees are well taken care of thanks to the their generous bonuses and good will to each other. The real front line employees suffer. Speaking of that, the FIRST TRUE RESPONDERS of 911 were and always will be, 1. the flight attendants then 2. the pilots then 3. ATC then the planes hit the world trader center!!!!! And the fire fighters and police and paramedics,,,,, so frustrating how no one sees that? I’m at a loss for words over that one! The flight attendants were stabbed and over taken, then the pilots. Let’s be honest! Then let’s really be honest!

    You, the American Citizen feel like everyone owes you! If we continue down this disconnect and selfishness, are future generations are really going to be screwed up. Stop bitching about American Airlines and start doing your part to make American Great again! Be kind to others all the time, treat people like you like to be treated and remember you never know what someone’s life is like in their private world!

    American Airlines executive employees need to wake up before its to late! You need the employees and they need and trusted you to do right by them!

  120. I agree a 100%. I am in Charlotte and don’t have a choice so I fly this shitty American Airlines. I have Platinum Pro status. I had to switch from Delta to American and regret it everyday.
    The AA employees are arrogant, their Stewards provide horrible service and their Planes in business class always have some issue every time I fly overseas I their 777.

    Not sure when these knuckleheads will learn from Delta.

  121. I bet the reason you have no status on Delta is because of all the free vouchers you get for praising them specifically in every article you write. How can flying over 100k miles a year be the same data sample as flying less than 25k? Simple statistics.

    You and your fam had first class tickets on an international flight, with your elite status you could have gone to admirals club to deal with this instead of forcing a union hourly employee to help you. It’s not their job, simple.

    You seem extremely entitled and, as another user pointed out, using google engagement to push clicks. Tacky and transparent.

  122. @Chris John: You nailed it. Consumer protection is our only hope. This US airline industry is so far out of control it is truly disgusting and sad. There was a novelty to the internet at first and being able to search for deals and buy airfares online- but in the race-to-the-bottom culture I hear more people talking about hating to fly and starting to avoid it more when possible. Many people are wising up to the fact that “cheap fares” really aren’t worth it when things go awry and they so often do. Now loyalty programs are losing value as well. Personally, I will not buy the ridiculous refundable fares, but now I wait until closer to travel time to purchase a flight rather than deal with that racket of change fees, etc. Delta is just as bad as the rest. Wishful thinking to say otherwise. Only Alaska seems to really offer something noticeably better. All of this is part of a country and culture in the terminal stages of capitalism. When greed affects the safety of airplanes themselves you know we really are in trouble.

  123. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for your absolutely fantastic blog and website. As a long-time reader of yours, I’ve done numerous trips in international premium cabins (costing less than I ever thought possible) as a direct result of learning from OMAAT and acting on the info that you’ve been providing here over the years. Keep up your good work!

    RE AA vs DL, I am plat on AA and gold on DL (these are equivalent elite levels, both have the same 50k miles plus $6k spend requirement per year), and AA is always my preference, for 3 reasons that have barely been mentioned in the comments here:

    1) Upgrades to domestic First. I get ’em nearly 100% of the time on Eagle and ~ 75% of the time on AA mainline. On DL (mainline and DL connection), I literally get at most 1, sometimes 2, upgrade/s per year. There is no comparison. E.g. LGA-DTW and return: Always upgraded on AA (Eagle E75), never upgraded on DL.

    2) DL “SkyPesos,” with no rewards chart and often-rising redemption costs, feel nearly worthless (aside from a few niche “bargain” partner redemptions), and there is no Int’l First Class on SkyTeam through DL. You’re an expert on loyalty programs, so I am sure you realize that upgrades and mileage redemptions – in addition to the customer service, or lack thereof, from the front-line agents – are important parts of the overall ff experience that determine the loyalty choices customers make.

    3) As mentioned by one of the posters above, AA miles are more useful for aspirational awards, e.g. CX F at affordable rates. I snagged PEK-HKG-YVR-JFK last winter on KA F and CX F on AA miles, it was great.

  124. Lucky, I don’t fly nearly as much as you do, but I have flown a lot for decades. Nowadays, it is mostly for pleasure rather than business. So I get to make personal choices for most of my travel. After having flown millions of miles with each of the three airline alliances and others in all classes, I have distinct preferences. I use those preferences to select my airlines for a trip. I avoid airlines I dislike. Why are you seemingly unable to do the same? Living in the Miami area certainly does not make you hub captive to AA.

  125. If AA has constantly provided you with horrible service, it seems ALL employees bar none have been just lazy, rude and unhelpful to you and your travelling companions then STOP flying AA period, ZERO. Fly Delta even if it means connecting thru ATL or DTW instead of a NonStop on AA. I think Delta still does Status Matching if you transfer over to them. Still have millions of AA Miles? You can BUY products with miles, from computers to clothing or Donate then to Make A Wish???
    Many years ago I tried getting a job with IKEA for the summer or holidays and each time I wasn’t picked. I was not good enough to be a part time holiday helper BUT my money was good enough to spend at their store. They gave me small discount coupons each time I didn’t get hired thru the mail. LOL, very odd. I haven’t stepped inside an IKEA in YEARS!!! Fedex Nope. Etc etc.
    Dont spend money in places that don’t like you.

  126. Sure AA is going through a lot, but DL and UA are not exactly seamless either. I feel like this experience just sums up air travel in America today.

    Until this oligopoly that’s developed ceases to exist, get use to being treated like cattle. We use to have CO, NW, US, America West, Midwest Express, I could go on….

    Until there is actual “competition” which should occur since we live in a supposed capitalist society, get use to this. Can you imagine if EK and SQ and LH and whoever else wanted could fly domestic US routes? Prices would plunge and customer service would go through the roof. That’s what free markets do.

  127. When AA sends me surveys at the end it always ask for comments and mine has been the same for several years – If American would be loyal to your clients as we are to you then you will have a great company.
    The problem is from.the top, they really do not care that we are loyal to them. I will say Oklahoma City has great gate agents.

  128. I get it, you want help at FPoC. BUT ~ The picture looks to be a multi-use counter possibly just outside of the FIS. The “clearly defined self service kiosk” options available are check-in/print BP, change seats, and check bags/receive claim checks. A lot of people come off an international flight and want to change their ticket, AA simply wants that transaction to happen at another location – they do not have a lot of space to handle these complex transactions at this location. While you were standing there other people came up to ask the same thing…. imagine if they allowed this type of transaction there – you could have come upon a MASSIVE QUEUE – then asked WHY isn’t there a “Premium” passenger line. They staff this area for issues with the 3 things that are noted on their signage.

    BTW gate agents work the counter positions directly involved in boarding an airplane – and looking at this picture the planes would have to be very small if they’re on the other side of the counter. These agents should not be reissuing/revalidating tickets as it is a MORE TECHNICAL skill, you “LUCKY”ed out that this agent staffing this position at your moment of need was over-qualified for this particular work station assignment.

  129. Delta is just as bad if not worse and so is this web site….. If you want to comment, it’s all the way at the bottom with a klugey interface…. Your complaint came across to me as whiney compared to real issues many passengers run into. Waah…. executive platinum million miler….. cheezuz

    I’m not a fan of any airlines at this point…. I was even very rudely treated by a moronic Singapore Airlines flight attendant who woke me up in the middle of a night flight (in biz class) to sell me duty free….

    They all have diligent, capable people, but their leadership just plain sux…..

  130. With the inability to zoom into your photo, this could be the counters just outside the FIS. If this is the case, those counters are not for ticketing/revalidation issues. The signage said “self service kiosk” with three options that can be done at this location. As you state, other people came up and asked the same thing as you were doing. If this was the reaccommodations counter, you would have come up to a massive line of people AND then demanded a premium line. There clearly isn’t space for AA to staff this locations with dozens of ticketing agents. From he looks of it – there might only be 4 actual counter spaces for AA.

    Ticketing agents for AA – are more skilled agents that are staffed at the main ticket counter/premium lines. You “Lucky”ed out that this one agent was staffed in a location where they were over-qualified.

  131. My two cents from back here in economy. Not a frequent flyer, but I have an anecdotal experience to share. Recently did a three-leg trip where prices and service to each airport varied. Found the best deal by taking different airlines for each leg (all domestic): American, Delta and United. Hands down, the entire experience (booking, gate agents, flight attendants and cleanliness/quality of aircraft) was far superior on Delta. Based on that experience, I will lean Delta whenever possible. Your experience with American seems to be in line with my most recent interaction.

  132. But in a nutshell, just part of a “self serve” economy. Travelers may benefit, if they give up the mantra: “…expect nothing, get what you expect. “

  133. Let’s also be clear that American Airlines employees are union-protected. Therefore–if they don’t feel like giving AMAZING customer service–they don’t have to. Delta, on the other hand has no union, and therefore any incompetence is punished–and I don’t disagree that it should be. I fully agree with you, Ben on everything you’ve said there. Delta is INVARIABLY nice and they always look amazing. You can walk on any Delta mainline flight and see what appears to be a “crew” working together and pleased to help. Try walking onto an AA 777-300 and you have 12-13 flight attendants looking like they work for 12-13 different airlines.

  134. Having problems with American Airlines to. The biggest problem is there international sister company British airlines. Once I paid for Aisle seats from Dallas to London to Johannesburg South Africa and when I got on the plains they completely changed my seat number and gave them to British Travelers. The stewardess even started to cry after I started to complain because she knew it happen. When I got off the plane and there was a customer service counter right off the Concourse and I went right to their to ask them if it a refund my extra money I paid to have aisle and window seats. They gave me an 800 number and said I’d have to call that even though there were five of them standing there. I did try to call 800 number, but to no avail they wouldn’t help either. The airlines motto “WE’RE NOT HAPPY UNTIL YOU’RE UNHAPPY!”

  135. Yes another story about bad American, and the next will be the miracle that is Delta. I saw a different story that discussed the difference in NPS and tried to explain that NPS is garbage because Delta’s couldn’t be lower. However, for me I find American way way better when something happens, they work harder to make it better, where Delta becomes a mess when a flight is delayed or cancelled. It’s why I choose American as my main airline. Obviously everyone has their own experiences, and you seem to hate American as much as I hate delta, but if it is sooo bad for god sakes stop flying them. Everyone on here who complains walk with your wallet. And yeah if you live in a hub, so what leave if it’s that bad.

  136. I agree about this article. I was traveling with my medical equipment that supports my LVAD in a carry on suitcase. I was connecting through ord from dtw. When I went to board the plane at ord. In my opinion the gate agent was not comprehending what I was saying and the picture I was trying to show her on what I had in my suitcase. She made me open my.suitcase in front of other passengers and said go ahead, but I dont know if it’s going to fit. Now mind you I was getting on a bigger plane and I didnt have that issue on my first flight. I emailed the airline and they basically backed up what was done, after me explaining to them what I had done. I promised I’d do my best to never have to use american airlines

  137. this level of service is with almost all companies now, ” SELF-SERVICE USE THE KIOSK CHECK OUT SELF SERVICE AT THE GROCERY STORE, ETC..” We, as a society are being conditioned to do everything with a computer or an app, or a website, that we have forgotten about the human aspect of things, at the grocery store, does one get a discount if one uses the self-check out lines, NO,I do not care if there are 20 people in line to use a real human being and the self-check out line is empty I will stay in line to interact with a real human being, these self-checkouts, etc… , kiosks, apps, etc, are costing JOBS, maybe not the best paying but at least JOBS, and makes more people go on the un-employment roles….

  138. Also, it might be noted that AA is using third party contracting in some cities. These folks do not get the kind of certified training that AA (old school or newer but capable) agents receive.

    With the situation you described, it sounds like these two (BTW, friendliness can be self forced after one realizes it’s in the best interest to respond finally) could just “skate” because they have the full service counter to send folks to. It takes self motivation to not fall into a category “where we just sit here ’cause we can”. What’s sad is they had the ability to do what was needed, unlike some of the CARs who are assistance “chained” to the kiosk with no other choice.

    They may all wear the same uniforms (with some adaptations), but they are not all the same even with the title (customer service agent) they retain upon hire. It would take some discipline to make American great again. But, with marketing and corporate high ups SO far away from everyday ops, the idea of improvement is non-existent. Because they see no improvement needed.

  139. I hate that this is happening especially since my father (now deceased) was a captain for AA.

    Now I fly Southwest as much as possible since I get to check two bags free and there is no financial penalty (aside from possible fare difference) if my plans change.

  140. I haven’t read ALL the comments, but enough…..my input, as a recently retired AA employee of 29 years. First of all, leave the Union bs out of it, if it weren’t for the Union, I’ve have been screwed 6 ways to Sunday. Since the merger, it’s ALL been downhill.Those of us who were the ‘real’ American, before all this stuff, miss the way it used to be, this management is……different. It makes it hard when your only goal is an on time departure, everything else gets lost in the shuffle.

  141. Entirely consistent with experiences I have had. I once asked if I could be changed to a direct flight to Sioux Falls from Dallas rather than a flight with a layover in O’Hare even though this meant a layover in DFW of over 3 hours. The direct flight also got me to my final destination earlier. As a Platinum Pro member, I thought this was a reasonable request and explained it to the gate agent as follows “You would be making a customer happy by saving him time and saving the company money by reducing my time on flights.” The response I received was, with zero hyperbole or exaggeration, quote, “Nah…American Airlines don’t care ’bout dat.” I asked quizzically, “So your company doesn’t care about saving money or making their customers happy?!?” She confirmed the answer, “Nope.” Shook my head and walked away. I will also say that she was not rude, just demonstrative of their corporate culture of “No.”

  142. The fix might be a 5 minute fix or the fix might be a 50 minute fix. The noted agents are designated for one purpose and one purpose only. Other customers would not be well served if the agents are “helping” for an extended period of time.

  143. One person had it right. The Kiosk agents are outsourced agents. The real AA agents are the ones at the full service counter. The union contract allows the outsourced agents to work the Kiosk and are not allowed to personally handle any other transactions.
    The person that assisted you could of been disciplined or even fired. I hope you thanked her. I wonder if they will now trace your transaction to that person.
    I hope you said thank you.
    If AA didn’t outsource the work we wouldn’t be having this conversation

  144. ZERO F awards for Alaska, so AA gets a hard pass from me. I have also heard of other people losing assigned seats so AA could sell them to someone else (assuming here).

    Lets face it, the US service culture is crap and those running the corporations care about nothing but money. I will keep spending my money on Asian carriers. Death to AA.

  145. Curious why you continue with American, then, if you’re happier with Delta? I get the earned perks you have, but if you’re traveling a lot, you’ll earn them with another airline. They’re still getting your money, so they have no motivation to change.

  146. As a person who gets paid to do a job, there is no excuse for this. Don’t complain when you don’t get raises or promotion if you’re going to do the bare minimum which, in this case appears to be just show up.

  147. I was happy when I learned AA start flying from Guyana, and I started flying AA since then.
    I agree of the rude culture of some AA employees for I encountered a bad experience with an AA ground staff. a local who looks Asian (I am Asian anyway,) I beg to disagree that Americans has a culture of saying No, it is how the AA employees are trained about customer service.
    I was flying to Miami and the flight would be past midnight, she did not allow me to board unless I put my neck pillow and small back pillow , which is about the size of the pillow they have on board.inside my hand carry as she said these are counted as separate items and are not allowed. She sternly said it with her hand on her wast as if I were a small kid. I am in my 50’s, anyway.
    I saw other passengers have g jackets and blankets with their hand carry and personal.item but were allowed. Is it because I am an Asian?

  148. American as a company couldn’t care less.
    I assisted on an inflight emergency some years ago – reluctantly – as a last resort with an unconscious passenger as no one else came forward.
    Lots if thanks from the onboard staff, my details taken and told I would be hearing from American etc. etc.
    Nothing, not expecting anything material but not even a thank you letter.
    Says what fhs management attitudee really is.

  149. American Airlines is just a brand now. You’re essentially flying USAIR/US West, and it shows. Greyhound of the sky of even that good. American is long since dead and it won’t get better until they replace their CEO and probably most of their executive staff. Fish rots from the head.

    I’ve had ONE flight in 3 years that hasn’t had issues of one kind or another. Add too that I agree they could care less about their customers, customer experience, and frankly best I can tell their employees. I let my exec Plat go a couple years ago and don’t see any reason to start flying them significantly again.

  150. This is standard American Airlines. They simply hate passengers. They seem to go out of their way to inconvenience customers if they can, even if it means a monetary loss to themselves. AA should really be a cargo-only airline.

  151. You forced an unqualified employee to spend 10 minutes fumbling through a ticket change in order to save a 5 minute walk to the full service counter. Boy howdy, did you show them!

  152. Funny. I am Executive Platinum on AA but I refuse to fly Delta again for the rest of my life because of 1 terrible customer service experience 15 years ago. Just goes to show you how important customer service is.

  153. I will say AA customer service is sorely lacking in DFW. However, I have had some wonderful American gate and ticket agents in other airports go out of their way to help me get to my destination. Not in Dallas. Never. I have had so many bad experiences in Dallas that I refuse to fly on American if I have to connect in DFW. I have had more positive experiences flying with American than not, and will continue to fly with them, and I encourage others to try them again, that they do have some awesome customer service reps…Just not in DFW.

  154. After 10 years with status I’m thinking of going to Delta. I thought it was me. Reliability was touched on but my last 4 (yes 4!) AMR flights were cancelled, none due to weather.

  155. @ Jim et al. — These “kiosk” employees are not outsourced. They are full AA employees hired as part of a different workgroup than standard customer service/gate agents (CSAs). They are part of the same union and wear the same uniforms as CSAs. Their only functions are at-kiosk assistance, as well as accepting kiosk-checked luggage. They are not trained in any ticketing functions, and are not allowed to do any ticketing transactions per their union contract. So, them saying “American Airlines doesn’t wan’t us to help” was not really correct. It’s not like they were told to not help; they physically can’t. The only way to definitively identify them is by the “Customer Assistance Representative” on their metal name tag.

    See here: https://www.american-agents.org/news/cwa-ibt-association-passenger-service

  156. Used to be a fan of AA until a recent experience at PHL. Was flying to Nashville for a conference. About 20 min before my flight, the nurse from my sons school called. He had a temp of 102.

    Quickly I called a cousin to pick him up and sent her a screen shot of our insurance cards in case. All good. Took about 5-6 min. I go to the gate to board and they won’t let me on the flight. Doors closed 15 min prior (5 min early). I try as best as I can to explain my situation to the AA gate attendant. I take pics of me at the gate for time stamping purposes. No help from anyone at all. Total Heisman.

    Come to find out later, they had way oversold the flight and were offering a grand for people to give up their seat.

    I was told by other gate attendants (actually lied to even by the attendants in the Admirals Club) that the new AA policy is that you now have to be at the gate 15 min prior. Well, I have flown about 4 times since May and have printed out my ticket instead of mobile ticket and they all say – doors close 10 minutes prior to departure.

    Shame on you AA!

  157. Ben ,you should no complain about AA because if you hadn’t said “I’m an Executive Platinum, my dad is a million miler, we’re both in first class, and we’re just hoping for help with a simple change. ”
    No one would have helped you.
    One funny thing about AA : They ignore all their customers equally”

  158. @Lola I amSorry, I do not understand what in the article makes you think about “white privileged”, and if I am paying for first class (a more slightly higher amount of money than economy) of course I have a higher expectation of beeing helped if there is a problem. This is one of the reasons I paid this money….

    @sophie And because I have contact to a special number I am forced to used it and should not bother the agents at the airport???? (BTW managing the comments ist absolutely necessary with all the trolls around)

    @all Lucky’s father is not entitled for mobile passport as this app is open for US and Canadian passport holders, only and as I understand it, his parents have a green card, but are still German citizens (that’s where Luck got his German passport from).

  159. I agree about a American airlines. I had a flight book back from Las Vegas at 1 a.m. on the morning of my birthday, and I was trying to get to New Orleans for a cruise at 10 that morning. AA had no problem taking my money for the flight, but at 6 p.m. the night before I was to leave, I got an email from them that the flight has been cancelled and to call a number. I called that number and the next fight they were getting me on was on July 9th, 2 days later. I was in Las Vegas, the hotel was booked up so I couldn’t extend my stay, and American couldn’t fly me for two more days. I finally found a Spirit flight for $400 one way to get me to New Orleans, so I grabbed it but headed on to the airport early to talk to AA face to face. I waited for 20 minutes in one line, which I didn’t consider bad and wasn’t complaining, until I got to the front of the line and they told me I had to go to another line. By this time all of the people whose flight have been cancelled were showing up, and I literally waited in that line for 2 hours. When I got to the front of the line finally, that ticket agent could literally not give a damn. I was nice where others had been yelling at her, so maybe she was just tired and frustrated, so I finally gave it up, said to myself oh I have a flight, and went on to that boarding area, resolved to just write them and deal with it that way. Their response was to give me 15,000 miles. I wrote them back and explained that I had a paid ticket that I did not get to use and had to spend another four hundred and I would like to be reimbursed. That didn’t happen, although they did finally give me a small voucher towards another flight worth a couple hundred dollars but I had to show my butt to get it. I’m going to use that voucher, and I won’t be flying American again after that. I am totally disgusted with their service.

  160. I read this and can relate. I travel extensively for work and have also been an advantage customer for a very long time. I am currently an executive platinum also, but have been a consierge key many years. You will ONLY get a decent treatment if you are a consierge key level customer. It is sad to say that Executive Platinum means almost NOTHING to AA customer service. Yes you can get free upgrades to domestic flights, but you better need nothing for help, otherwise you will only get frustrated. Unfortunately in Miami, AA has the best connections so we are almost forced to continue flying AA. Sad!

  161. USAirways should’ve never bought into this popcorn stand of an “airline” that’s American, they should’ve waited for it to crash and burn then picked up their routes.

  162. Brian the problem is the US air gusy are running American. Just wait someone will pick up the pieces. American will go bankrupt again.

    It the old government plan to double the speed of a dead horse. Harness it to another dead horse.

    RG

  163. Travelling by air in the US or on any US based carrier is like riding a city bus, maybe slightly worse…..there’s no noticeable customer service of any kind…..ZERO……and if you try to push the issue they’ll threaten to deplane you and have you arrested….my current expectation for domestic air travel is only to arrive alive….nothing more….for international travel I long ago switched to the Asia based carriers, CX and SQ.

  164. Worthless & unfriendly & fat ugly union employees + Moron & dumbo fat pig Parker + DEMANDING WHINING QUEENS CRYBABIES DYKWI & PRODUCT PUSHER (aka TYPICAL TRASHY TRAVELERS) = 2019.

  165. I hope the person who wrote this see my comment.

    Delta will match your status to come to Delta. Call them. We be happy and grateful to have you and your father.

    We are lucky that we have loyal passengers. Without them Delta would not successful and would not be able to treat us well. Our job is to make you and others happy so everyone comes back.

    I am very proud of our company and colleagues. We try very hard to make our guest happy.

    Thank you for past flights with us.

    (From A NYC base flight attendant)

    Bravo to the ground crew. That is from someone that flies above the wing. I do work with amazing people.

  166. Wife was traveling from MIA to a South American city today. Premium economy, but wanted to upgrade to business class. Gladly willing to pay for it, cost no problem. 3 business class seats were available, no one on the upgrade list.

    Agent says “NO” “I can’t upgrade you (i.e., accept the extra revenue) at the gate because there’s only 3 seats left. If we had five seats, I could upgrade you.”

    Really? That’s like going into a store and trying to buy something but being told, “I can’t sell you that because we only have 3, but if we had 5 I could sell you one.” Makes absolutely no business sense.

    Seats were given to non revs so AA got zero revenue. And Wall Street wonders why AA has a revenue problem.

    The culture of no permeates the whole company. Sad for me to say as I’m a 35 year employe of the company, but never cease to be amazed with The lunacy.

  167. Boy is this true. I’ve flown all over the world primarily with AA since 2010 and I am reeling from the appalling deterioration of their service after flying with them last week from LAX – LHR. Probably one of the worst flights I’ve ever had. I tried to speak to a gate agent on arrival, was told I couldn’t even though there were five standing there, when I asked again the screener said “FINE if you INSIST! “Angrily. That was just a prelude to the hottest, most cramped economy long haul of my life. I’m still gagging thinking about the bland pasta with no sauce and one mushroom slice we were served as a meal.
    Returned on BA today and the difference was 180 degrees. They used to be similar products, now AA is an embarrassment.

  168. Until AA removes the cancer of Doug Parker nothing will change. Period.
    The first question they ask counter and gate agents is “Do you hate people?….Yes?? …You’re Hired.”
    “Going for great???? Nah it’s Going for LATE”.
    Adios Doug

  169. Well said Jordan! Lucky Ben you and all the other privileged whining SOB’s need to fly DL and UA so AA and its customers flying them will not have to deal with you. Sure Doug needs to go but also passengers like you will not be missed! Quit whining and stay with Delta and United or start your own airline!

  170. Wow all I can say is I have always found American Airlines to be a good airline to fly with – my only knowledge of Delta is the time they completely lost the flight reservations of a friend of my who just happened to be a long time Delta customer- make of that what you will.

  171. Having worked for American and now retired, I have to tell you that what you said about the Airline Customer Service attitude and culture is not 100 pcnt accurate to say the least. We pride of our customer service, we live for our customer come first phylosophy. The agents you refer to in your blog are not AA employees, they are sub-contractors, and as such they have specific functions and are limited to what they can do. As other people have suggested, you should have proceed to the nearest Admiral’s Club, or just walk a simple 5 minutes distance, and would have solve your problem or trasaction in less time that took you to deal with these non-American Airlines agents who in spite of their restricted duties they somehow managed to assist you risking being talk to by their superior for deviating their prescribed duties which are strickly enforced since they do not have the training necessary or tools to perform them properly to serve you as they should otherwise. Use your status, go to the Admirals next time, you deserve it and earn it.

  172. Its unfair how the air lines has taken advantage off we the public , first it was 70 lbs with 2 checked suitcase , then 2 at 50 lbs , then 2 at 50 lbs & now they are charging for every suitcase, with 1 carry on , it’s time we the public demand our representatives to look into this unruly conduct off all airlines .they has taken advantage off us all

  173. American Airlines is one of the WORST in the World. As a Million Milerplus myself, I have stopped flying on American. I travel the World over and opt for Foreign carriers like Singapore, Cathy, Emerites amongst others than fly on any US Carriers. This is pathetic and lamentable for a Country like the US. We should strive to make US Airlines Great again.

  174. Well if you were an executive platinum like you say they have separate phone line just for you and they always, always go above and beyond. Many time at agents at the self help are not Customer Service Agents they are Customer Assistance Representatives that do not have access to the main system. Many few do when they decide to step down from CSA to CAR but they are not supposed to perform that action. Glad you received the help that you needed but you probably could have walked faster to the appropriate area rather than going back several times to argue and give tour two cents. Seemed kind of silly to insist. There are reasons for this and all of us passengers need to understand.

  175. I am sorry you feel AA failed you. But, to dump on all ticket counter and gate agents because of this one person is irresponsible. Shame on you. If you had a CAR, they are not allowed to make changes, if you were holding up the line in recheck or self-service, then you
    Should have gone to full service. Shame on you. Most agents take great care of our customers, elite as well as non-elite.

  176. @sheryl ross
    Shame on you for making it seem most aa agents help the people they’re are supposed to help. i have never met a more selfish, lazy, arrogant , nasty group of agents. Shame on you for covering up that this is one time thing were in reality when you get a nice accommodating agent which has never happened to me yet with aa shame on you

  177. As an employee, I can assure you being unable to help is equally as infuriating. Especially with the basic economy restrictions.

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