American Airlines’ Shocking (But Unsurprising) Delay

Filed Under: American

There’s a story going viral about what happened to an American Airlines flight earlier this month from Lima to Dallas. American Airlines can barely run a decent operation on a good day, so when you combine that with a plane having four separate mechanical problems across three days, you’re looking at what’s possibly the worst delay story I have ever heard…

What Happened To American’s Lima To Dallas Flight?

Let’s start with the basics:

  • This story involves American flight 988 from Lima to Dallas
  • The flight was supposed to depart at 11:47PM on September 9, 2019
  • The flight had 171 passengers onboard
  • The plane operating the flight was a roughly 18 year old Boeing 757-200

This is where the problems begin…

What Went Wrong The First Time

The first night it was determined there was a problem with the intercom system that pilots and flight attendants use to communicate. This was discovered before the flight departed, and this is a critical system, and a problem that couldn’t be deferred. Maintenance determined it would take about 24 hours for the parts to arrive, so they delayed the flight until the next night.

What Went Wrong The Second Time

The second night they fixed the first issue, but then discovered an indicator showed a problem with a door and emergency slide. This was repaired while passengers were onboard.

The plane then taxied out to the runway. At 1:30AM the captain announced that paperwork hadn’t been completed before the airport closed at 1:30AM for runway repair work. So they had to return to the gate and delay the flight by nearly 24 hours… again.

What Went Wrong The Third Time

The third night the crew only showed up for the flight about 15 minutes before departure because they were stuck in traffic.

Before boarding a battery failure was discovered on the plane. The flight was delayed by over two hours, and then after 2AM the plane began taxiing. But as they started taxiing out they discovered an engine problem, and had to return to the gate.

What American Says About This Delay

American’s Managing Director of Latin American operations had the following to say regarding this situation:

“I would describe it as one of those perfect storms, unfortunately. The reality is that if we knew Monday that we would be having a conversation about this on Wednesday, I think different decisions would have been made.”

How American Handled This Situation

American Airlines handled this situation about as well as you’d expect. Interactions with American’s ground staff typically leave something to be desired on a good day, let alone during a situation like this. When you add in the fact that this was an outstation, it was a recipe for disaster:

  • Every night passengers had to go back through immigration, which was a time consuming process since there were only two immigration officers at that time of the night; some passengers only got to hotels around 4AM
  • American didn’t even set up separate counters for stranded passengers to check-in at, but rather they had to get in the regular lines each night
  • American didn’t offer to rebook a vast majority of passengers on other flights, and informed them they’d have to buy new tickets if they wanted to fly other airlines
  • American didn’t increase staffing in light of the situation
  • American didn’t fly a larger plane in to rescue stranded passengers, or fly in an extra plane, since they always assumed the fastest solution would be to just fix the plane

By the third night, 115 of the 171 passengers were still booked on the flight (at that point a small number of people had been rebooked, some passengers had canceled, and some passengers booked separate tickets at their own expense). After the third straight day of mechanical delays, American managed to rebook everyone on other flights.

What I (Sort Of) Give American A Pass For

Maybe this will surprise some, but I’ll largely give American Airlines a pass for the fact that they had four unrelated mechanicals on the same plane within a few days:

  • I would assume this wasn’t any sort of a coordinated work slowdown on the part of mechanics, given that American doesn’t have any union mechanics in Lima
  • Mechanicals do happen, in particular with older planes; American’s fleet of 757s is smaller and on average marginally younger than the 757 fleets of Delta and United

So my point is, four back-to-back mechanicals is a freak incident that’s incredibly rare, but with enough flights it’s bound to happen at some point. As such, that could have happened on another airline as well.

What I Don’t Give American A Pass For

What I don’t give American a pass for is that every single part of this story sounds oh-so-American Airlines.

There are two major problems. The first problem is that in order to save money, American has a policy of not rebooking passengers on other airlines. The exception is status passengers, but this means that a vast majority of passengers weren’t authorized to be booked on other airlines, at least not without authorization from a supervisor.

So these passengers could have gotten home much faster, but didn’t due to American’s greed.

The second problem is that American is unimaginative and has a culture of “no.” They’re not a company that finds solutions to problems. They’re just a company with a culture of people clocking in and clocking out, with little regard for passengers beyond that.

To be clear, I think there are lots of individuals at American who care, but the company certainly doesn’t create a culture of caring.

To add insult to injury, many passengers hadn’t heard from American more than two weeks after the flight. That’s not surprising either, unfortunately.

What do you make of this nightmare American Airlines delay?

Comments
  1. AA used to have a reservations office in Lima. Not sure if that is still the case. But there was a pretty good number of AA personnel in Lima.

  2. Is it possible to do a full preflight check after the first issue gets discovered ? They had 24 hours to see what else could be wrong. or is it under the union banner “not my job” ?

  3. Two, I guess, stupid questions.

    1. I assume there were other American flights to/from Lima in this timeframe. Could at least some more passengers be rebooked on those flights? I’m fairly certain that American has several flights a day from LIM to MIA as well. I mean American probably has 500-600 seats a day going out of Lima, there has to be some room to move off more passengers than they did over 3 days.

    2. Um, why did the plane have to wait 24 hours to try again after the first fix? I understand that there had to be some crew rest. But why wait until midnight the next night if the airport closes at 1:30? If this wasn’t a cancelation and was, in fact, the same flight then why not say, try to fly at noon the next day? My guess is because the American counter isn’t staffed for that but couldn’t they just call in the agents on OT?

  4. Just not sure why it’s national news. If it had happened on a Greyhound bus would it also babe made the WSJ?

  5. You know it’s bad when what comes to my mind is I would’ve just booked myself a one way on spirit. Don’t they also fly to LIM.

    AA has truly hit rock bottom.

    Just curious though. Do you guys ever politely but consistently push back on these asinine airline reps?

    It’s like no one, including them, ever answer to their incompetence.

    #flydelta

  6. I think that after the second night’s cancellation, the chance of a third mechanical breakdown on an 18 year old aircraft that was left to sit still for > 48 hours was actually quite predictable. Those aircraft are not designed to sit idle for such long periods of time. The battery that failed after 72 hours on the ground probably couldn’t hold a charge for so long without the level of power that comes in flight.

    Somebody up in Dallas could have figured out the changes of more mechanical problems would go up the longer that aircraft sat in Lima, and that a fresh aircraft would be needed by Day 2, let alone Day 3.

  7. @Flyben, I’d be surprised if they get any compensation at all. It is imperative to use a credit card with trip delay coverage every time you book this airline. This is exactly what I would expect from “We apologize for the delAAy Airlines.” They got that recent five star rating because the rating service threw out every rating by someone whose flight was delayed (true). That meant they had exactly four valid surveys (estimate) to use, all of which were completed by Doug Parker’s wife (speculation).

  8. I don’t give AA a pass for separate mechanical problems. It’s known across the whole company that their 757 and 767 fleet consistently have mechanical issues. On some routes (like PHX to Hawaii), almost 50% of flights have a mechanical issue. They don’t get a pass for keeping old planes in their fleet.

  9. As a fairly regular AA traveler in/out of Lima, there are 2 daily frequencies to MIA and 1 to DFW. The planes are extremely aged 752s or 763s with no individual IFE, power, and barely functional wifi. These planes are prone to maintenance issues and because of Lima traffic and the flight schedules, it is really unpleasant to deal with delays of any kind. Definitely feel for these passengers. LATAM is much more ideal of a solution..

  10. “They don’t get a pass for keeping old planes in their fleet.”

    The plane in this story is 18 years old, which isn’t very old for an airplane. Plus, Delta has planes which are much older and they have fewer mechanical issues. I’d say it’s Doug Parker skimping on maintenance – they don’t get a pass for that.

  11. I have been flying in and out of Lima for 10 years. I learned serval years ago that booking the direct flight to DFW on AA was always a mistake as it invited problems, 3 cancelations and numerous lengthy delays. They use a 757 for that route and I believe that is the source of most of the issues. Going through Miami on a 767 has been a much more pleasant experience, have had delays but with AA I just expect them these days but at least the 767 has the new business cabin layout.

  12. Tough week for AA in South America. First this story from the delay, then the news today with the Delta purchase of LATAM

  13. @Michael and @Shawn: AA has two daily to MIA and one to DFW. So yes, especially if you originally were connecting in MIA you don’t care whether you fly MIA or DFW and onwards and they should’ve been able to rebook customers more quickly. To make matters worse, LATAM has two additional non-stop flights into MIA and they’re a OW and thus also codesharing partner of AA on those flights. In addition, LATAM flies once daily to MCO, twice to LAX, once to JFK and even once to Mexico City and twice to Cancun so which AA also flies from several cities in the US. It ultimately comes down to what Ben said about their culture of “no can’t do”. If they really wanted to, they could have rebooked every single passenger, but they didn’t want to because it’s AA we’re taking about.

  14. Oh great! My wife and I, along with our daughter, son in law and two small children on booked on American tomorrow to BCL with a tight connection in Charlotte. Why was I so stupid to book American…damned if I know. First time in decades….likely the last ever.

  15. AA’s behavior was grotesque, but all of our airlines behave this way, because our government lets them do this. Until we pass something like EU261, our airlines will continue to abuse us. Enough is enough.

  16. There comes a point when you just have to make your own arrangements or you’ll sit there forever. You can’t count on some low level agents in a foreign country to put any effort into being helpful. There were 56 passengers who got out of there somehow, and I’m assuming not all of them were Premium Cabin or Elite Status passengers. To be clear, I’m not blaming the passengers, AA owns this big time. Just one more reason those 757s and 767s need to go to the boneyard ASAP.

  17. I was a passenger on this plane and I was rebooked on the third night on an United Airline and downgraded from business class to economy. I would say that United airline staff were outstanding in handling my request and booked me via Houston to DFW and AA team were sloppy and inefficient. I have travelled around the world and I was never held captive by any organization. I made several call to change our flights as my wife was running out of medication and each accassion I was rebooked on the same flight. I was not compensated for out of pocket expense incurred to porters phone bills to AT&T and the response I received from AA was this is is not the policy.

    I will switch brand as this incident is negligence by American leadership and being reactive and hoping problem will disappear is a myth. They need to be held accountable but they have lobbyist in the government to protect their inefficiency.

    I am very disappointed and fell helpless.

    VK

  18. I must have missed something here. When AA has a mechanical and cancels a flight are passengers not put up in a hotel? (assuming this is the return and not the passengers home base at the start of a trip).

    Or have things deteriorated so far that there is no compensation for this type of event?

    Alaska cancelled a flight from PVR to SEA last year because of problems with weather in Seattle but still put us up for the night. They didn’t provide enough compensation for the food etc but at least they provided a hotel.

    Things have deteriorated so far in the NA airline industry that I recently was unaware that I could have requested a free overnight in a hotel on a trip on Hainan Airlines from Chongqing to Shenzen to Vancouver which had an overnight connection in Shenzen. As we deplaned in Shenzen the airline staff asked us if we wanted to stay in their hotel. I had unfortunately booked a prepaid stay in the Hyatt so was unable to cancel (not that I really wanted to). This used to be a regular occurrence when we flew Gulf Air through LHR but that was years ago.

  19. I forgot to mention the gist of the question.

    If the airline is providing accommodation and feeding the delayed passengers it would certainly be in their best interest to provide alternate flights etc. So if they are incurring additional expenses they should have used their brains to reduce the direct cost by moving the passengers along as quickly as possible.

    So were all the expenses of the delay funded by the passengers themselves?

  20. If this had been a European Union (plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland) airline. Under EU261, the airline would have been required to:

    1) Provide passengers with written literature about their rights under EU261
    2) Provide hotel/food/taxi/phone vouchers
    3) Compensate every single passenger €600 (money, not a voucher)
    4) Rebook passengers on other airlines — as required by law — to get them to their intended destinations as soon as possible

    Whenever you are departing the United States for Europe, fly on a European Union airline, if all else is equal, because while all airlines have to comply with EU261 departing Europe, only European airlines have to comply with EU261 arriving in Europe.

    Americans could demand their politicians provide them with comparable rights, but we choose to be abused instead.

    Of course, the airlines would say, “oh no! these rules will raise airfares!” And, of course, the appropriate response is, “you are lying Big Three, because European airfares — intra-Schengen and foreign — are all *significantly* cheaper than U.S. airfares.

  21. As soon as I read your first complaint – that pax had to go through customs again, I immediately dismissed the rest of this article as unadulterated bull ship.

    Singe when are airlines in control of immigration?

    Never.

    Are you a 300,000+ mile a year traveler or someone who just got on their first flight yesterday?

  22. @ Stan — I’m not suggesting that part is American’s fault. All I said was that it must have been a PITA for passengers to go “roundtrip” through immigration three days in a row.

  23. @ Azamaraal — I would assume American was paying for their accommodation. I’m not sure anyone actually put thought into what option would have been cheaper (accommodating on other airlines rather than hotels).

  24. @Ben — it would be interesting to know what hotels AA put the passengers at. Branded hotels near South American airports generally charge North American prices. Also, I’d like to know what kind of food vouchers were provided.

  25. “ The second problem is that American is unimaginative and has a culture of “no.” They’re not a company that finds solutions to problems. They’re just a company with a culture of people clocking in and clocking out, with little regard for passengers beyond that.”

    This is THE perfect description of how AA’s employees treat the passengers, elite or not. From what I have experienced, AA employees’ determination to maintain their comfort level at work above all else (barring safety) is stunningly bad.

    And this was beyond ”a perfect storm” of failure, it highlighted a lack of compassion in all areas (staffing, maintenance, IRROPs, consumer affairs). How is this airline the largest in the world with ops like this?

  26. Lucky: then edit your article. The issue about immigration is the first bullet point under “how American handled things” – the only way you could make it MORE look like you fault American for the immigration issue is if you change the title of this article to “Omg American forces their passengers to clear immigration over and over even though the nice customs agents were trying to wave pax across the boarder with no delay!”

  27. So if you have a Chase Sapphire, you get reimbursed up to $500/ticket. Hopefully, AA lets you know that you don’t need to return to the airport until the midnight flight and you can enjoy $500 worth of cab rides and meals for a couple of days. I recommend El Mercado restaurant in Miraflores. Could be fun if you don’t need to be anywhere.

  28. You are biased and Crazy.
    My flight was canceled 2 weeks ago.
    I was updated in very timely fashion to the situations by email.
    I re-booked via an extraordinarily competent telephone representative.
    That flight also ended up canceled and I was informed on a very timely basis on my way to airport.
    At this point, I waited until I got home and re-booked with another extraordinarily competent AA telephone agent to the next weekend. She was able to maintain my first class seating with me and my partner across aisle from each other.
    AA is wonderful and very customer-oriented.

  29. @Michael-trying to compare a bus trip delay from Omaha to Fargo where they run every 3 hours to an international flight with stranded passengers for days that sounds like is scheduled once a day is just plain ignorant. Go answer your poll stating the impeachment proceedings are fake news.

  30. No surprise. They haven’t had their act together for many many years.
    The fact they still fly antique Boeings also doesn’t help.
    Simple preventive measure: fly any airline other than AA.

  31. Lots of assumptions and incorrect information in the article that has already been pointed out. The flight number is correct, the departure airport is correct but the arrival airport is incorrect. The flight was to DFW not Dallas (DAL) southwest flies there . Big difference there and unfortunately many writers don’t realize the difference.

    As for the delays etc. Well crap happens and when a plane is out of country maintenance and repairs are a pain. Most all international flights are timed so that the plane has about an hour turn around and does not stay overnight. Which is why europe flights are timed so poorly and you end up with a 30+ hour day going over….
    That plane May have been there for 3 days but not likely. There is one flight a day to DFW and one to MIA. The DFW flights are almost always full flights because it is the only non stop flight and it is $300-$500 less than LATM which has a stop. So there may have only been a few people that could be put on the flight the next day.

    The 757 and 767 fleet get rode hard and put away wet because there aren’t enough of them and mechanicals are more likely. The 757 fills a need for south american flights as it can fly to many airports that other planes can’t. Yes there are some 320s that you can use but you would have to weight restrict the plane which means less seats usable because the plane doesn’t have the performance of a 757. The 757 can do high altitude short runway airports with a full load because it has a big wing and big engines. It’s the hotrod of the fleet.

    AA is the airline that everyone likes to run down and allot of it is deserved but much of what i see is people just over reacting like they do on social media these days because they feel entitled to a cheap flight and if they aren’t treated like royalty they complain incessantly.
    Yeah their operations are a mess. They also have a crap ton of aircraft on order to upgrade their fleet. They are also in the middle of moving to their new HQ in Fort Worth so lots of stuff getting rolled across the parking lot…

    Everyone loves Delta and they have a great on time record despite having a much older fleet which is going to bite them in the butt in the near future so when they have to start buying new planes they will have to cut corners somewhere to pay for them. But they have more room to work since they have minimal unions to deal with.

    Not trying to cover for AA etc just an objective view with a little more information/experience than the typical flyer as they only know how to work the points system and don’t know the inner workings. Would AA be at the top of my list to fly right now? No but I think that will change in the near future.

    If we really want flying to be better then lets go back to regulation where ticket prices were much more expensive and the airlines could operate with breathing room and they made enough that they could offer better food and bigger seats. Look up some tickets from the 80s and compare prices to today. Many of those flights cost as much or more than they do today before you figure inflation into it.

  32. AA stranded my wife and I for 2 days last March. We had to be out of the condo we rented. Asked AA representative what we were going to do for 2 days. Was told “you will figure something out” Zero concern or help. They do not care about their customers. Will never fly AA again.

  33. I fly out of SRQ and TPA, SRQ is a small operation, varies from CRJs to 319s. Yesterday I went SRQ-CLT-CMH. The plane had been sitting on the tarmac since it got it the night before from CLT after 11pm. 8.30am dep, at 7.55 they started boarding (ahead of schedule) only to sto 20” later, bringing back a wheelchair passenger before he could even make to the plane. “We are waiting for maintenance, the tech is on its way”. I’m like, this is going to be fun. “We should be boarding in 20’. No way. What we find out while the drop was getting pushed out in 15’ increments was that the night before there had been a bird strike at they had to check. 1) I understand that the night before it was late and it would have not made sense to have maintenance come in since the dep wasn’t going to be till 8.30 (compared to 5 or 6.30 am which they have on some days). 2) why in the world wasn’t maintenance there at 6 or even 7am to get things checked? 3) why wait for the pilot to board and then call
    Maintenance, 5’ from boarding time?

    They don’t give a damn. Plain and simple. Or plane and simple.

  34. AA has become an absolute shithole airline. I used to fly US Air and feel as one would expect that I still am.

    For those asking about hotels and booking one at the hotel or close by don’t hold your breath. My flight from pit to phl was late in July due to the mechanic crap happening and we ended up landing about 90 minutes late right around the same time our flight to CDG was set to take off. Of course they couldn’t hold it 5 min. We run to the gate to see the door closing with the airplane still there. Off to the admirals club we’re were told we’re sol and here’s a hotel vaoucher. Oh btw they don’t have an airport shuttle. Google mapping it shows its 20 min away. I say f it and book a car. Head out there. It’s an absolute shithole. Like….I have seen better motel 6s. It was a quality inn for reference. I mean I was surprised my partner wasn’t offered crystal meth in the office. Anyways we go there and attempt to check in only to be told they have no rooms and have no idea why AA gave us that voucher and they should have called.

    I ended up booking my own damn room using Marriott points and touring PHL with the kids going to valley forge, the bell etc.

    AA is an absolute cluster F and that’s coming from and AA elite member. I continue to fly them solely to reach status and then it’s off to delta.

    Delta might not be perfect, but at least they appear to give a shit. AA has their typical DGAF attitude everywhere even in the AA lounges.

  35. @Robert – I agree. Back in 1980 when I was in the US Army stationed in Italy, a heavily discounted Military fare on PanAm or TWA from FCO to LAX via JFK or BOS in economy was $850, which is about $2500 inflation adjusted today. The TATL portions were all 747s which went out half empty, they had really nice legroom in economy, the food was decent and there were no movies and there was a smoking section in the back which you wanted to get as far away from as possible. Things have really changed, some good, some bad.

  36. Fuck AA, fly United! United is also on-point with their support when they delays happen no matter it is storm or mechanical failure. Last storm in IAH when airport was closed. I called their customer service (ofc I waited 95minutes) but after I got my agent I was rebooked on the other flight with other airline in just 5m. As a bonus my tickets were in a K and I for my flights in Y so I got much much more miles to my account. This is not the first time she United does what it needs to do.

  37. 18 years old airplane and the worst customer service and airline i’ve seen in my life.
    I wonder why people still book any of the 3 US carries

  38. Well, I dont think it´s a particular AA issue. Delta once managed to not get me out of a major US airport for two consecutive nights. Whole “no Sir, we cant do that unfortunately”. And there would have been plenty of options. Their CS just wouldnt feel like doing it or whatever…

  39. American is hideous. To be honest the only us carriers I will fly are southwest and jet blue. United frankly is pathetic, on par with frontier or spirit. After living abroad in both the uk and 10 y in Australia I will fly Qantas any day is the week, but avoid most us carriers due to horrible service. I just wish Qantas would dump American and consider codeshare with southwest for the us. Also most of the middle eastern airlines are incredible

  40. All US airlines and Some like BA are hideous. So what else is new? This can only be fixed by regulations. $100 per hour per passenger after a six hour delay would do miracles I think….

  41. @Marcus

    Sorry to tell you but passengers are only treated that bad in the USA. In Europe passengers can get up to 600 euros in compensation if the flight is delayed for more than 3 hours.

  42. @Stan – Ben’s point was that the repeated delays caused the passengers to have to go through immigration repeatedly, at a time when staffing levels are limited. “Repeatedly” is the key word here – if American had been willing to book the passengers on other airlines they most likely would only have had to go through the immigration hassle once instead of multiple times.

    @Ron and @Arnie – 18 years doesn’t make a plane an “antique”, especially since cycles flown is far more important than age in years. (And Ron, the fact that they’re Boeings is irrelevant. There’s no material difference between an 18 year old Boeing and a 18 year old Airbus.)

    Bottom line is that American’s attitude of “screw you, self-loading cargo” is the root cause of the problem here. They could have reaccommodated all the passengers the next day, there’s plenty of flights to the US from Lima on other carriers (and there’s also flights to other countries where they could have connected to the US.) They just don’t give a crap.

    And for those who suggest passengers just book themselves on another airline…the non-status passengers that AA doesn’t cAAre about are also the ones most likely to be people of modest means on a cheap fare. There’s a limit on how much passengers can have in reserve just in case their airline screws the pooch this badly.

    Some friends want me to join them for a week in Uruguay next year, and there’s no way in hell I’ll even consider flying American, even though they’re the cheapest.

  43. @Craig

    So you are telling me an airplane fabricated in the late 80’s and has had hundreds if not thousands of cycles is not old, outdated and tired ? No wonder why I had 3 faults in a space of 2 days. Average airplane age of the best airlines new in this planet are 3-5 years old and you do see the difference.

  44. @Arnie – do you know anything about how airplanes are maintained, especially how C- and D-checks work? There are hundreds of planes this age that fly reliably every day thanks to periodic overhauls. AA just cuts corners on non-safety-essential maintenance. And the difference between older planes and newer ones that you can see lies mainly in the interiors – many airlines that use older fleets (DL in particular) update interiors periodically.

    @Ben – question for you. Just looked at same-day prices from LIM to the Miami area, and was wondering if in a situation like this, would they be willing to work with a passenger who rebooks themselves for just the first leg of a journey? You can buy a walk-up fare on JetBlue’s non-stop LIM-FLL for tonight for $479. If a passenger did this, would AA be willing to still get them from FLL or MIA to their final destination, or would they just be told “once you leave us, you’re entirely on your own”?

  45. @Craig

    C and D checks ? Who doesn’t.
    Yes, put your guns down.

    What I can tell you is, as an airline pilot I would’nt want to fly an airplane that was build even before GPS was wide available , small screens, old avionics, failing packs , a tube that was pressurised thousand of times and and every other system failing as you can read in this post. 18 years is way beyond what many airlines keep their planes (10-12 years). And yes, as a pilot or as a passenger I like new interior, big screens, I like comfort a well maintained and run and new airplane.

  46. The bottom line is that airplanes will sometimes break down. Sure, you can invest in more aggressive maintenance to try and keep this from happening, but sh!t happens. The question then becomes, how is the operation set up to recover? Some airlines stage parts or have partners that can help. Some airlines will rebook passengers on any alternate flight, even outside alliances. American has decided these options cost too much money, and would rather keep passengers stuck at an outstation while they fly parts from DFW. So long as people continue to fly them, they will continue to behave this way.

  47. Thank you for writing this Ben. I was one of the passengers. It took me 5 days to get home. All of what you have written is true. IT was handled beyond poorly. I had to reach out to American Airlines myself to get any sort of apology. They initially gave me a $200 voucher. I wrote them a follow up note saying this was disrespectful for what we went through, and how we also lost a lot of work. They bumped it to a $500 voucher. I still feel this is not satisfactory for this ordeal. It was an extraordinary event. Once they finally re-booked me they put me on a flight from Lima to Miami that was leaving immediately. I then had a 9 hour layover that turned into 10 due to another delay in Miami. I arrived back to Denver, Colorado (where I live) 5 days after this whole things started.

    I work in Peru as a Guide and fly internationally very often as my job as a Guide and Photographer has me on the road. I’ve been working in Peru for the past 12 years or so and have never had anything remotely close to this happen. I wrote American again detailing why I believe $500 isn’t sufficient and they said it was an act of goodwill they even gave me that much, and they will not be doing anymore for me.

    I am not one to bash a company often, and I have many great friends who have worked for American for a long time so it is a sensitive case, but I am here to get the message out and hopefully make American own up to this and take care of its passengers and not let it happen again. If you’d like to chat more, please reach out and I’d be happy to talk about the incident in more detail if you’d like.

  48. I wish this was more uncommon, but I have flown this route and the same thing has happened in the exact manner you described above. Repair issue, no plane brought in, no additional customer service, no options offered, 24 hour delays. Luckily, because I’ve flown before and am familiar with other routes with connections, I always ask to be rebooked on a different route because a several day delay is exactly what I expect would happen.

  49. It’s an international flight and you had other options. Book another flight and get your refund; Call the phone number of no one is at the desk; Do ANY research into how airlines partner with international companies and quit whining about how your miserly attitude is keeping you in these situations.

    You don’t like American? Cool. No one cares. I guarantee you it wasn’t the only flight out of the entire country, you dolt.

  50. Update on my earlier comment about being concerned about booking my family to BCN for a cruise… AA Flight 744 was delayed in CLT four hours for mechanical issues BUT they provided a wide selection of free snacks and drinks for the passengers in the gate area. Once the aircraft was ready we were quickly loaded and made up about 25% of the delay. Business cabin crew were excellent and very friendly. Made for a very long day but AA did well given the circumstances.

  51. I was on this flight on the 9th and 10th but gave up and flew home on another airline on the 11th on my own nickel.

    AA did reach out within a few days to give 40,000 miles to each of us and a sincere apology.

    On the first delay AA put us up in a Holiday Inn at the airport. They gave us food vouchers for lunch and dinner at the hotel.

    It was chaos. We were lucky and got to the hotel by 4 am the first night. Most folks took even longer to get processed. But AA did the best they could.

    Upon the first delay, AA thought they needed a part to be shipped from MIA. That is why they delayed for 24 hours to give time for it to arrive and be installed. Unfortunately when they learned that the plane actually had been fixed within hours without the part it was too late to notify us all and we got the whole day to do as we pleased.

    The second night was pure frustration. Two flights with the same flight number and destination within an hour of each other and even the crew didn’t know which plane to get on. The board showed both flights as going to MIA until an hour before the flight. We were then bussed to the same plane from the previous night which never moved. When it was repaired, the airport had closed the runway again. The station manager and the pilot were clearly not communicating. It appeared that they tried but something went wrong and they both were blaming each other. Fortunately we never checked out of hotel room because AA had paid for two nights so we skipped the lines and just went back to access the internet in the hotel. We never unpacked and just booked the first flight on another carrier that got us home on the 11th. We left Lima by 8 am.

    Not sure why it all happened but our flight from Dfw to LIm had a 4 hour delay and an aircraft swap as well. It only went because they had a spare in Dfw. My bet is that it was the mechanics deliberately screwing with the aircraft’s non-essential systems due to their labor dispute. We will never know but I hope they solve the contract issues soon because they are killing the brand.

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