Rant: American Airlines Has The Operational Reliability Of A Rickshaw

I don’t actually have anything useful to say here, but couldn’t help but share just how bad my luck has been with American lately.

Of my last five flights on American, three planes have been “broken:”

  • A few weeks ago I had a four hour mechanical delay on a flight from Miami to Quito that was operated by a Boeing 737 MAX; the plane couldn’t be fixed, so they had to find a new one, which took hours
  • Last week I had a significant delay on a flight from New York to Miami that was operated by a Boeing 767; the captain initially said the plane was broken, but later said that rules changed recently so that the issue with the plane could be deferred, so in the end the delay was only about two hours

I know American dropped their #GoingForGreat slogan, but did they really have to replace it with a #GoingForLate philosophy?

Well, today I’m flying from Miami to New York (my most recent flight with American since flying from New York to Miami). My flight was scheduled to be operated by a 767, and you want to guess what happened? Yep, the plane was broken.

While there was a 767 at our gate at boarding time, around that time we were informed that there was a gate change from gate E6 to gate E8.

Go figure there wasn’t actually a plane at the gate.

We were then informed that there had been an aircraft swap from a 767-300 to a 757-200. On the plus side, I maintained my upgrade, even though they reduced the size of the business class cabin from 28 seats to 16 seats, meaning that they had to downgrade a dozen people. I guess there were a dozen people who cleared their upgrades after me.

All things considered I have to say the delay was handled pretty well — two hours after the delay announcement they brought snacks into the gate area, and they provided a few updates. This is especially surprising since I find that Miami Airport is American’s worst airport for customer service.

Apparently the 757 we were waiting for was undergoing maintenance in the hangar, and they didn’t initially know how long it would take for that to be wrapped up.

So yeah, I have conflicting feelings about this:

  • Obviously I’ve had extremely bad luck given that three of my last five planes have been “broken;” even the worst airline doesn’t have such poor operational reliability
  • At the same time, American has consistent reliability issues with the 767, so either they need to retire the planes or do something else, since I can’t imagine other airlines operating the 767 have operational issues to this degree.

But yeah, I’m certainly reaching my tipping point with the airline. With next year’s changes I think it’s time for me to finally quit American “cold turkey.” But I’ll save that for a separate post…

Comments

  1. And yet you still flew us. That’s how good our frequent flier program is. You could’ve flown JetBlue, Delta, Spirit, and whatnot. You still chose AA.

  2. I have the same problem. I am an Executive Platinum and I fly atleast 2 times a week. I’m on the verge as well to switch to Delta and the only thing holding me back is that I fly to the Middle East every year and I love redeeming points for Qatar Business Class. Is there another airline I could fly which has a good product and is a good use of Skymiles?

  3. Old news. This has been the case for years. Delays, broken planes, unavailable crew, blaming the weather, lost luggage, incapable check-in agent, I have had them all.
    Stopped flying AA about 4 yrs back. it is just a badly managed company with a lot of uninterested employees. Sorry for the few food ones I have come across but most are totally uninterested.
    As non american I dont care about things like upgrades, signup bonuses etc so I could step away from AA in a blink.

  4. @ Ben — Yep, Delta is the only decent option remaining and they will steal your miles. Too bad JetBlue isn’t bigger.

  5. On the flip side they are so obsessed with on time departures that they insist on closing doors 10 minutes before departure, sometimes more (if delayed) and refusing to allow connecting passengers that ran to the gate to board. This while the aircraft sits there with the jet bridge attached for 15 minutes and more. It has happened to me 6 times in the past couple of months.

    Bottom line is that if American is going to allow 40 minute connections in Dallas they need to manage reality through better operations and more compassionate thinking in going outside the box of rules are rules.

  6. I know someone really well who drives a rickshaw and it has better reliability than the ancient relic you are describing….. *cough* AA’s 767 *cough*

  7. I quit American cold turkey about 5 years ago, after having an aggressive and outright disrespectful flight attendant on a 767 from MIA to GYE. Worst business class service I have ever seen.

    Since then, I mainly use Copa Airlines to travel between South and North America, and I couldn’t be happier. Also, I can credit those miles to FlyingBlue, where I have Platinum status.

    Finally not only is American unreliable most of the time, but AA’s regular schedules from South America to MIA are so bad that I’d rather fly Spirit to FLL and pick a Big Front seat before flying a 4 hour redeye on an American 767, even in business class.
    The worst part is that short redeyes have spread like a virus, and now AV and LA also schedule them. I really hope Delta expands their South American network someday.

  8. @ lucky Glad to hear you’ve finally freed yourself. I’d love to see a follow up post a few months comparing all the US airlines (delta, United, Alaska, Southwest) across different categories (both domestic and international). God Save The Points has a great article doing something similar lately.

    At the very least, an article on life as a free agent would be fascinating. Could be really helpful for those still in the fence.

  9. I was EXP for 7 years in a row living in Dallas. Well I am still here and said goodbye to AA in 2015. You will survive and find being a free agent isn’t a bad thing.

  10. They have really turned into a crap airline. I’m PHX based so a change to WN for most domestic travel is pretty easy and AA has been doing pretty much nothing to keep me onboard. The worst is when you have an obvious mechanical delay there is no plane at the gate and the app is showing you a 20 minute delay.

  11. I don’t really think that rickshaws have that poor of an operational reliability.
    This post is offensive to rickshaw owners 🙂

  12. I was EXP for 9 years before quitting cold turkey last year (though I still fly with them on some international routes where there isn’t a good alternative). I live in Boston and have found JetBlue to be top notch and while their Mosaic status isn’t quite as rewarding – there are no upgrades to Mint for example, and few partners on which to redeem points, I’m still happy with the switch.

  13. Not sure why you are dissing rickshaws. Do you have any empirical evidence that rickshaws are unreliable? They have no motors or electrical parts. Just seats on a wheel. All you need is some low wage human labor to power one. How are they unreliable? I have never had a delayed rickshaw or a rickshaw that broke mid-trip. I ask you to retract your unsubstantiated claims.

  14. Yet AA gets criticism from the investment community for having so many new planes on order while DL keeps repairing their old dogs. I’ve flown only a few times in the last 90 days-two DL, two UA and six AA and the only one with need-to-fix-it issues was DL’s 767-400. It also had the shabbiest Delta One business class cabin I’ve ever seen. I asked for compensation and received thirty-thousand Skymiles (2 pax involved on my reservation) so now I need to redeem only an additional 250,000 of them for one person, one way travel to Europe for a planned trip in March. Oh, yeah, AA wants 57,500 on the same date. Perspective?

  15. I’m confused. Aren’t there like a gazillion flights on AA between MIA and NYC (once you include LGA and EWR)? Could you not have switched onto another flight, given it’s a mechanical delay (I’ve never had an issue with doing so). Or did you want to keep your upgrade with a lie-flat product?

    I agree with that AA has seriously declined in the last few years (I jumped ship this year). But I’m pretty sure you could have avoided this particular delay.

  16. Two minor delays, and you’re ready to quit the airline. Most of us see delays like this several times a year, but you don’t see us stomping off like indignant children.

    What a privileged life you travel bloggers must lead.

  17. The worst part about this whole debacle was that you were stuck in the third world country that is Concourse E at MIA: a low-ceiling food desert with no lounge.

    Thank god your flight actually departed, otherwise they would have sent you on a 20 minute journey back to Concourse D to rebook.

  18. So down to Delta and Alaska domestically, huh? Or would you be flying United with a *A account? Or has MP forgiven you for those upgrade shenanigans of your youth?

    Just get used to “want first, but first” and you should be good. The paid upgrade offers on Delta are nice.

  19. I’m surprised that it took you this long to come to this realization. Perhaps it is not your recent bad luck, but just not getting lucky (sorry but pun intended!) lately when flying aa.

    Although I was concierge key for 3 years in a row up until last year, I experienced what you described above on a regular basis, even though I’m sure I fly way less than you (most of my flights were long haul, international in business class for work, reason why I was able to make to CK), so in theory, less affected by these issues.

  20. Rickshaws — like bicycles — are actually quite reliable because of their simplicity. They are unlikely to have complicated mechanical issues that delay their departures.

    Couldn’t you pick a better metaphor?

  21. The Rickshaws I’ve been on have been vastly superior to anything AA offers reliabity wise;)
    And their new Frequent Rickshaw Rider program is vastly superior in redemption to anything American has to offer
    I became free from American Airlines crap award availability,overpriced awards and
    and incredibly shrinking seats and lavatories two years ago when I slammed the door after 20 years of a previous solid relationship
    Thank you Mr Parker for turning American into Us Air withban American logo
    Loving life now saving a fortune and free from AAs psychological and physical abuse of their customers

  22. @ James W

    “Two minor delays, and you’re ready to quit the airline”

    I suspect you have reading comprehension issues since the article clearly references 3 delays.

    As to whether or not they were “minor”, I guess it depends how you value your time. Looks like Lucky places a higher value on his time than you do on yours.

    For me, much more than an hour and I start getting edgy.

    But what I love is Lucky’s optimism that Delta or United will be any better. Unless you can switch NA flights to a combo of JetBlue, Porter and Alaska, you’re just going to have a mostly miserable time.

  23. W says:
    November 6, 2018 at 10:11 am
    “I have the same problem. I am an Executive Platinum and I fly atleast 2 times a week. I’m on the verge as well to switch to Delta and the only thing holding me back is that I fly to the Middle East every year and I love redeeming points for Qatar Business Class. ”

    Well, from various news online, it looks like Qatar Airways is seriously considering leaving OneWorld Alliance in 2019, mainly because of their disappointment with American Airlines’ attitude towards it. When they do that you Executive Platinum status will not be recognised by Qatar Airways.

    Perhaps that may make you change your choice of airlines from flying with American then?

  24. Those 767s you’re flying could well be older than you and are scheduled for phase-out in two years. Delta has 83 767s and they are no more reliable if what my friends who fly DL 767s to EU locations say is true. I book around these and other older aircraft for a number of reasons, not just maintenance delays.

    I’m surprised you don’t experience more maintenance delays throughout all your airline choices and flights per year. Overall, I think you’ve been “lucky” in the past to avoid these runs of bad luck. I had two out of four AA flights delayed earlier this year, an A321 and an A333, about two hours each but if you add in all the other non-delayed flights I had over a one year period (60 segments), it’s not bad. And none of my flights were cancelled and the two that were delayed did not impact my schedule or ability to successfully connect at the following airport.

    I hope your day gets better.

  25. Lucky,

    I like your stuff, but on these blog posts about AA, either put up or shut up.

    I was just stuck on a tarmac because today part of Delta’s IT system went down. I am not threatening to quit delta on the spot 😉

  26. What’s funny is that their old slogan, Going For Great, doesn’t even imply that they were great so now they’ve got rid of that it hard to imagine what they even are now.

  27. What the hell lucky? Is there a reason you’re insulting rickshaw operators worldwide? How dare you compare them to the mess that is AA! You do realize that millions of people make a living offering affordable, RELIABLE transportation using their rickshaws, do you not? You do travel a lot don’t you? This post is racially-motivated just like so many of Gary’s, it seems.

  28. @Alpha

    LOL You must be joking, right? AAdvantage is an absolute disaster in every aspect. Award availability is nonexistent and when you can redeem it’s for a tuesday afternoon on a 29 hour itinerary from LAX-LHR with a long layover. That whole airline is a dumpster fire on it’s best day.

  29. Not defending them however they operate upto 7000 flights a day. And most passengers have absolutely no idea of the complexities of flight operations

  30. I would advise to let capitalism work. When an airline fails as much as American go to the competition. At least in the DC area I found United to be very reliable at Dulles if nothing else and Southwest has a good handful of flights out of Reagan and a hub at BWI. Even though Reagan is more convenient I avoid American as much as possible. I will not reward a bad airline with my business. And yes this post is an insult to rickshaws everywhere LOL

  31. Lucky, I read this blog all the time. You’re great. But seriously, either stop complaining about American and suck it up, or switch carriers. You clearly do quite well for yourself, stop subjecting yourself to the inferior product if it’s making you miserable. Status isn’t *that* important.

  32. Have you ever rode rickshaw? Growing up in India, I rode rickshaw hundreds of time and never had one broken down. But I can’t say the same for AA.

  33. I’m a Delta flyer nowadays but had 2 flights on AA recently. I flew PEK-DFW on the 787 and overall the flight was great. We even arrived 1 hour early at DFW but guess what — we had to wait inside the plane for 50 minutes because DFW didn’t have an available gate for us to use since we arrived so early. We were all surprised since DFW is an AA hub and how can they run out of gates?!?
    Anyway, for my connecting flight…. guess what? It was delayed by an hour! I saw a Delta on the Departures timetable TV and wished I flew DL instead of AA. I still have AAdvantage miles in my account but will redeem them on oneworld partners. I have no plans to fly on AA metal anytime soon.

  34. Hah! I go to India every summer and based on your recent posts I can assure you a rickshaw has never failed me in getting me from point A to point B in a timely manner

  35. MCO-ORD last night, 5pm departure delayed to 11:30pm. Boarded an hour late, then a broken engine, followed by going back to the terminal to agents who had no information. Finally found a 737 landing from MIA and flew it to Chicago. Lots of this type of delay lately.

  36. The aa is for crap too. Boarding passes dont show up unless you logout and back in. Got to go…my $400 one way, one hour flight is leaving…oh I mean hour and half because of typical 20+ minute wait for bags to brought up to jetway. Go capitalism…cant wait for competition to drive them in the ground….they’re headed that way.

  37. Comparing an aircraft with a rickshaw is frankly idiotic

    @ joey because the gates were occupied by other aircraft

    If an aircraft arrives early it’s assigned gate was occupied ! Flights are planned way in advance often with short turnarounds and if for example it pushes back from the gate proceeds to taxi then for one reason or another has to return to a gate , the one it left has probably been occupied by another.

    During turnaround cleaning , emptying toilets , catering , new crews , tech checks , refuelling , offloading passengers and cargo , enplaning passengers and cargo

    When you drive a car to the shops on the return do you clean it, check oil , water , engine and gear check. Call the local authorities to check the road status for your journey. Check en route weather
    Etc

    As I mentioned above , most passengers haven’t a clue

  38. Full disclosure: I work at a regional airport working on American Eagle flights. Although we have issues with flights due to maintenance, weather, etc, so do the other carriers. I can’t tell you the number of irate passengers who come over from a delayed Delta flight or other carrier trying to get on our flights. And when they start complaining about how terrible Delta is, I always try to let them know that the airline industry is very complex and that, unfortunately, we ALL get delays and cancellations.
    I have been on more delayed JetBlue flights than on-time. But I still fly JetBlue.
    And depending on where you’re flying, it may not make sense to fly another carrier. So even if you swear off a particular one, you may be back.

  39. I have always had 100% satisfaction with the rickshaws I’ve ridden. I also own a rickshaw for fun, or more accurately a tuk-tuk, in Bangkok! Myatisfaction with flying within the US is under 50% however. Therefore, rickshaws are statically certain to be much more reliable than an airline in the US, based on my sample set. I hope American does not begin a rickshaw service.

  40. I wish I could post the image of Newman going backwards downhill in a rickshaw after a pilot error by Kramer…

  41. You will experience the same with any other airline. Believe it or not pilots are actually worried about your safety. I guess you are not. The real problem is flying between Miami and the greater New York area. Go interview a air traffic controller and they will tell you the system is beyond broken. Delays in the northeast are routine without weather. Glad you experienced a SAFE flying experience on a airline staffed by highly professional flight crews.

  42. Also currently airline travel adjusted for inflation is historically low. You get what you pay for. Pay more for a fractional if you want a different experience. In other words put your money where your mouth is.

  43. Reading the response I would love the contributors to see how complex it is to operate an airline.

    As I said they haven’t a clue and show their ignorance referring to rickshaws. AA ops 7000 flights a day and carries around 600000 pax a day

    A few cancelletions and delays v operated flights and everyone wets themselves Oh I’ll never fly XXX again.

    True it’s how irrops are handled however you read the same complaints for every airline Unhelpful staff. No one knew etc etc.

    The grass is never greener

  44. Would you rather fly on a plane that’s not operational? You’ll be back it’s all about price price price. See you soon on American Airlines

  45. @Icarus I’m very familiar with what it takes to run an airline. The difference that makes other airlines greener is when CEO Doug Parker said to employees “Someone has to be fourth,” when comparing metrics to United, Delta, and Southwest in 2016. Then hasn’t really changed the stance since.

  46. This was buried in the most recent AA earnings call:
    “We also feel very good about our plans moving into 2019. We anticipate American will continue to grow at a rate lower than any other U.S. airline, despite the fact we have what we believe are the industry’s best growth prospects. In 2019, American will acquire 15 more gates in Dallas-Fort Worth and seven more gates in Charlotte, North Carolina, which are our two most profitable hubs. And of course, we still have the upside of the strategic initiatives we discussed at our Investor and Media Day last September. As a result of these actions, we are confident American will return to both revenue outperformance and earnings growth in 2019 and beyond.

    And most importantly, we are excited about the long-term future of American Rickshaw Services. ARS will compete on a global scale with other major rickshaw companies and we look to gain marketshare year over year. We remain absolutely committed to our efforts to build a better and more competitive American and increasing shareholder value over the longer term.”

  47. Well if you fly to south ameria fly AVIANCA THE OLDEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD. FIRST CLASS OPERATION. ALSO TRY JETBLUE.

  48. Delta has 158 or so 767s and I fly them all of the time without issue.

    I’ve been delayed on 1 of 52 flights on Delta this year on an old MD-90 due to a problem with the secondary power supply which seems to be a recurring issue with that aircraft, but they’re phasing these out. I’ve been delayed on 2 of 2 flights for AA this year…which is why I’ve limited myself to Delta.

    I fly for business, often on day trips or short over nights. If I’m delayed 4 hours in a lot of cases it’s not worth even getting on the plane which rules out AA and SW for me. I believe that the excellent reliability of Delta is due to their maintenance facility in ATL which keeps a relatively old fleet running like new (or better than new if you’re trying to fly on an AA 737 Max).

  49. @Si Tiawan – I don’t really believe Qatar will leave Oneworld right now. It wouldn’t be smart considering their current situation and their CEO has made these kinds of threats before.

  50. I’m 3/5 on American flights being delayed this year, 2 being over an hour. 0/4 on Delta and 0/2 on Frontier, glad I’m not alone!

  51. Recently on an American flight the fight attendants brought a puppy up to the first class galley and played with it for 30 minutes while we ate. Hmm health department should be warned

  52. Ive had this happen a few times. It may be more or less annoying depending on how frequently you fly, and what for. I fly a few times a year, to LA, and Ive only had delays once. Not to invalidate your complaint, Im not saying youre lying or anything. Im just noting that I may be biased because while Ive experienced some delays, they definitely dont seem to be as frequent as yours are made out to be.

    To keep a calm mind about flying in general, and the inconveniences of it, including TSA limitations and the like, I try to rationalize it that: in the grand scheme of it, it’s really a small delay for the amount of time it would take you to get there some other way, like driving or taking a train. That sounds like flimsy logic, given how frustrated people get in regular car traffic, but the difference is still an enormous amount of time. Delays are what this kind of falls into. Complete cancellations and oversold seats and such? That’s another story.

    This all changes if the delay is making you late to work or a meeting or something. That’s an inconvenience I can see being very much more frustrating for all parties involved.

    Ultimately though, I’m glad theyre finding the problems on the ground. Its fair if theres an airline out there that somehow has more reliable equipment, and you’d rather fly with them as a result; but I’d rather not go with an airline that is content with flying a plane that isnt working perfectly.

  53. Hey Lucky –

    Don’t be distracted by the “hater” comments.

    Both my partner and I have been loyal 16-years Executive Platinum with American Airlines and are fed up with the airline as well. A majority of their flight attendants and gate agents have bad, non-caring attitudes towards the paying customer, their flights are constantly late and their decision to de-value the AAdvantage program (once again) next year, was the straw that broke the camels back for us.

    We are looking into other airline programs at this point as well.

    Hang in there Lucky and keep doing what you’re doing. You’re great!!…with or without American Airlines.

    Best,

    Wes

  54. Ben, as an Ex Plat for 3 years on paid travel on my own dime, I finally called it quits with AA. Even worse than the consistent delays, ridiculously bad ticketing and upgrade system and horrible ground service out of DCA is the customer service.

    It seems like everyone thinks that they are doing you a favor or as if you are traveling on a non rev reservation. I took a status challenge on Delta and I’m writing you from a delta flight to OGG and I can’t tell you how happy I am to ditch AA. Flight attendants that smile at you, call you by name, thank you for flying with them and just extending common courtesy.

    Such a shame what has happened to American after the merger. Every once in a while you’ll find a gem of a person with AA and whenever I encounter them I just feel sorry for them but appreciate them to the fullest as anyone than can be positive under the current leadership at AA has to be a special person.

  55. Well, I am happy to wait to board and fly a plane that is not broken!
    These machines are complex. And when weather is bad, do not blame the airlines.

  56. Joey
    Limited number of gates because you have to clear immigration
    AA will not settle the contract with mechanics therefore lots of delays and cancellations.

  57. Thanks to AA my last connection in Dallas (headed to Vegas) resulted in a 5 hour sleep over at the Hyatt ($250) as no more flights left after 11pm. I arrived late because of a broken plane in Mobile, AL.

    Hey AA, are you listening to the voice of your customers?!!!!!!!! I think it would be more reliable if I mailed myself via USPS.

  58. Even though AA has been declining for years, this is the first time I’m seriously considering jumping ship. And I’m not saying that in the whining, threatening way — I really mean it.

    It’s the combo of so many things that have just chipped away over time to push me to the breaking point. As a Plat or EXP for the past 10 years (EXP the past 3-4 years), I just feel like AA doesn’t care about me anymore. Upgrade chances are down while the economy flying experience gets worse and worse. Using my systemwide upgrades (SWUs) for any kind of advance confirmed upgrade is next to impossible. I’ve searched almost every AA international flight for mid-week departures in slow parts of Nov, Dec, and Jan, and there’s virtually *nothing* available. That’s just plain stingy. Same for award availability — it’s still abysmal, especially on AA metal. I had some hope that it was going to improve, they certainly said it would be getting better, but I’m just not seeing it. At least not for any international premium cabin awards.

    Add in the new increase to the EQD threshold to $15k *and* removing the ability to earn EQDs from credit card spend (with one degraded exception), how else can I view this as anything other than AA saying to me in the clearest of terms that they just don’t care about my loyalty. What they DO care about is continuing to operate a “loyalty” program that generates a ton of money for them… because we all still play the game. We get the credit card, we chase the partner offers, we fly on alliance carriers. They’ve learned that they don’t have to do very much to still earn all that revenue. So I blame us passengers. But not anymore, I’m not putting up with it anymore.

    I should add that most of my recent flight searches have AA pricing *much* higher than competitors. For example, I’m looking at flying NYC-FCO sometime next January. As what is becoming typical, Star Alliance and Skyteam have lots of options in the $600-ish range while Oneworld is more like $1,100. And that’s mostly BA and IB. If you want to fly AA metal it’s $1,400! I *do* want to fly AA metal so I can at least try to use my soon-to-expire SWUs, but should I really pay $1,200 more for that possibility? And can you imagine if my upgrade doesn’t clear and I’ve paid that much extra to rot away in coach?

    Something is seriously wrong with the airline. It’s not showing up in a major way with their financials yet, but I think it’s coming. We are the canaries in the coalmine. Wall street analysts should be reading this blog and feeling a chill, because Winter is coming for AA.

    Now the question is what is the best alternative. Unfortunately we don’t have a great one yet, at least not for domestic U.S. travel. It does feel like jetBlue and Alaska are better than the majors, but it’s hard to concentrate flying on their networks, depending on where you live. I know B6 lost out on VX, but maybe it’s time for them to think about linking up with AS. Now *that* would be a very viable alternative to the US3 and I’d certainly give them a good shot at my business.

  59. Dude what world do you live in?

    I flew AA 19 times when I lived in the US (coudln’t avoid it). That shit was delayed >1 18 times out of 19. Five times the delay was >5 hours.

    It’s a hopeless basket case of an ‘airline’

  60. Sorry but the rickshaw comment seems a bit racist? Just because poor brown people are in charge doesn’t mean that it isn’t a reliable means of transport.

  61. Get the new Congress to pass a law mandating something like EU261.
    It makes airlines see an identifiable cost from skimping on maintenance, or planning badly.
    Yes, there is some unjust enrichment for people who get back more than they paid, but it’s a relevant bulwark against the cost-cutting pressure.

  62. I’ve flown 53 segments on AA this year. I think all but a handful have either been delayed (or cancelled — at least 2 flights were canceled, so I was really booked on 55 segments) or they have boarded early with no warning, which I find almost as infuriating as a late departure. What good does status and early boarding do you when you arrive at the gate for on-time boarding and they are on Group 8 with the plane and overhead compartments already full? It makes using a lounge, visiting a restaurant, or doing anything but waiting at the gate a serious gamble.

    The worst part of all of it is that most of the early boardings did not result in early departures; rather, we would just sit at the gate (often waiting for folks from a delayed AA connecting flight) or taxi until our normal departure slot came up.

    I will hand it to AA. They keep innovating . . . in ways to disenchant and infuriate their most valuable customers. If I was not based in PHL where they operate 80% of all traffic, I would have switched already. I am looking into alternatives at PHL and considering EWR and BWI, especially for longer haul.

  63. @Vihan — Racist or not, it is just inaccurate. A rickshaw traditionally is just a glorified bicycle, and bicycles are one of the most operationally reliable forms of transportation because very little can go wrong, and when it does, it takes minutes to fix (mend or replace a flat tire, re-seat a chain, etc.). Rest assured that you will seldom be stranded because your rickshaw broke down.

  64. Yes, that is a bad week, granted. But the changes to the program aren’t THAT bad – yes, the extra EQDs to qualify are a pain, but the rest is what it is. Not brilliant but could certainly be worse. Much worse. (The lack of credit card EQDs don’t bother me.) I am more upset by cranky/unhappy staff, stupid (meaning nearly non-existent) saver award availability, and small planes when you have a ‘normal’ sized carry-on.

    I will, however, be interested in your gameplan if you DO decide to leave AA.

  65. Still don’t get all the hate for AA. Yes, service in US is not great, but I haven’t encountered all of these issues like many of you. I fly 30-40 segments per year on AA, and have been stuck overnight three times in the last two years, all due to weather. On the other hand, I’ve flown UA once in the last three years and was stuck overnight due to mechanical issue. Delta I fly 6-10 segments per year, and this year experienced a mechanical delay of 2 hours. So given the track record, I’m still getting to places on time with AA and with decent service. Perhaps it’s LUS hubs I frequent, but I am still a generally happy camper with AA and don’t see the need to shift business.

  66. I fly American Airlines at least twice a month and haven’t had a delay for as long as I can remember. I think you just ran into some bad luck there.

  67. Yeah, I have to stand up for the rickshaws. The last few times I used them in Cambodia they were 100% reliable, cheap and customizable. They took use from the hotel to dinner and then asked if we wanted a return later. I said yes and suggested a time and they were waiting for us at that time. So unlike US airlines.

    I had the “honor” of being on one of the only East to West redeyes last year. I was flying direct (on American) from Miami to LA last year. I was supposed to leave around 9 PM Miami time and would get home 11 PM ish LA time. Leaving me enough time to get home and get a decent night of sleep before work the next day. Well, there was a 2 hour storm in Miami and our flight was delayed. Then, we spent the next 3 hours waiting for fuel. So we ended up leaving Miami around 3-4 AM and getting into LA around 5-6 AM. Just enough time for me to get a shower before going to work. Of course they blamed it on “weather” even though that was less than half the delay and the weather delay was actually done before my flight was even scheduled to take off. Ahh, incomptence..

  68. I think this is a bit insulting to rickshaws, I have always found them to be perfectly unlike American it seems!

  69. @Lucky, I love how the titles of your posts about American keep spiraling downwards. I’m expecting an image of Dante’s inferno in the next one!

    Seriously, I flew them a lot last year (was ExPlat) and realized how horrible they were. Now I’m a Delta boy, MUCH happier!

    @vlcnc lol exactly

  70. Real time AA incompetence. Started boarding a 777 from mia to dfw 30 mins before departure. Everyone is boarded and 10 mins after we’re supposed to push back the FA comes on and says cheerily “we have everyone on, bags loaded and all we need now is a captain! We’ll let you know as soon as we get one.” I can only hope the dfw ops is as incompetent as MIA so that one is late too.

    I’m only flying them because they offered me temporary high status to give them a try (I already have gs and 75k) and the three times I’ve flown it has been an unmitigated disaster. #marketingfail

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