American Mechanics Intentionally Delayed My Flight

Filed Under: American

Update: The mechanic ended up being sentenced to 37 months in prison.

A couple of days ago I shared a video that sums up the American Airlines experience in a nutshell (in other words, your flight is delayed and the airline handles it horribly). On that post, reader Trey commented the following:

We get it, Ben. You don’t like American.

I’d rather you post you personal terrible experiences than stuff like this.

With pleasure! And I’ll one-up it, because in this case I was on a flight that was intentionally delayed by American Airlines mechanics, as part of their dispute with management (and I’m not speculating… the captain more or less confirmed it).

What’s going on with American’s mechanics

For those of you not aware, American is suing their mechanics union, claiming that they’re intentionally canceling and delaying flights in their dispute with management. Management and the union can’t come to an agreement on a new contract, and the head of the union has promised a “bloody battle” and to “shut this place down” (referring to the airline).

Management claims that the odds of American’s huge increase in mechanical delays and cancelations being random rather than action by the union are less than one in a billion. I’m inclined to believe that, not because I side with management, but rather because the union doesn’t even really deny it. They admit they’ll use any technique they have to.

In the meantime a federal judge has even issued a temporary restraining order against mechanics.

Before I share my experience yesterday, let me note that:

How American mechanics delayed my flight

Yesterday Ford and I were scheduled to fly from Chicago to Miami, after returning from our trip to Japan. American had the only nonstop flight that worked with our schedule… the joys of being a hub captive.

Things were initially looking good for our 6:25PM flight. The plane was supposed to come from St. Louis and would have about an hour on the ground. An hour before departure I got a gate change notice. We were now on a plane that had arrived from New York several hours earlier. Hmm, that’s a long time for a plane to be on the ground.

We went to the gate in time for the scheduled 5:50PM boarding, but there was no plane. There wasn’t a plane at 6PM… or 6:10PM… or 6:20PM.

It’s so infuriating how poorly American handles delays. At 6:20PM we still showed an on-time departure, even though there was no plane at the gate.

The reason this is so frustrating is because it means you have to crowd around the gate rather than being able to sit somewhere else more comfortable or visit a lounge, since you don’t want to miss the flight. At a minimum can’t they just always push the departure time at least 20 minutes into the future?

The gate agents announced the plane was being towed over from the hangar, but they didn’t know how long it would take. They just kept delaying the departure, but always only by 5-15 minutes at a time, just minutes before the currently scheduled departure time.

Finally at around 7PM we boarded. The captain announced that we were just waiting for some more bags to be loaded, and that we were waiting on some “paperwork to be signed off on,” as the plane successfully had some maintenance done on it while on the ground.

Five minutes later I received a gate change notification on my phone.

At this point the captain came into the cabin and announced over the PA “maintenance is taking this plane out of service, and we are going to be changing planes.”

Note that he didn’t say the plane had a mechanical problem, or anything else. Just that maintenance was taking the plane out of service.

To American’s credit, they had another 737 ready just a few gates down. It took a while for the gate agent to arrive, though the pilots were standing there. So I decided to approach them.

Let me note that the pilots have absolutely nothing to gain in maintenance’s contract dispute with management. They’re actually inconvenienced by it as well, since they’re not getting paid when the plane’s door isn’t closed.

So I approached the pilots not because I was mad at them, or anything, but because I was curious how they’d react, and what their take was:

“I’m just curious, if you can share, was there a mechanical problem with that last plane, or was this part of the dispute the mechanics are having with management?”

Clearly I caught them very off guard, and the captain responded:

“Ummmm… ummmm… ummmm… you know… it was an issue that was previously written up and… ummmm… it was not our decision.”

I responded:

“I guess that answers my question. Well thanks for flying us safely.”

He nodded, seemingly in agreement about my statement about him having indirectly answered my question. That’s as close as I’ll get to an admission of what was going on here.

We ended up boarding the next plane at around 8:30PM, as they first had to cater it and load bags. Boarding started as normal, and then at 8:50PM an announcement was made over the PA by the gate agent:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we need your cooperation. We need to depart by 8:55PM. If we don’t get the door closed at 8:55PM we will need to find a new plane again.”

My first assumption was that this was just a scare tactic to get people to hurry up and sit down. But I was also seated right near the front of the plane and could hear the conversation among the crew, as the flight attendant asked the gate agent:

“Wait, why do we have to deplane if we don’t leave in five minutes? We’re still legal.”

That made it clear to me that this wasn’t an issue of the crew “timing out” (meaning they maxed out the number of hours they could work in a day). The gate agent simply responded with “maintenance.”

I have no clue on what grounds the mechanics could have taken the plane out of service at 8:55PM, though it seemed clear that’s what they were trying to do.

So, how did we do? I’ve never seen gate agents and flight attendants run and hustle and scream like they did to get the door closed. The door closed at… exactly 8:55PM.

At that point everyone in the cabin started clapping and cheering.

Let’s reflect for a moment on how sad it is when you’re flying an airline where you cheer after a 2.5 hour delay because everyone managed to sit down so we didn’t have to get on yet another new plane, all due to a contract dispute between management and mechanics (though of course most passengers didn’t know that last part).

Bottom line

While I’ve had a lot of maintenance delays on American, this is the first time I can say with near certainty that it was part of the industrial action on the part of mechanics.

I’m writing this post for a few reasons:

  • Unless mechanics and management come to an agreement, it’s going to be a very rough summer at American, and things are going to be getting worse, and not better
  • Be extra nice to American flight attendants and pilots, because they’ll suffer from what the mechanics are doing as much as we do; they’re not getting paid when the door of the plane isn’t shut
  • Also be extra nice to gate agents and phone agents; while they do get paid overtime, they’d probably rather not have to deal with angry customers
  • This was the first time I was just about certain that my maintenance delay was intentional

If anyone else has a delay that they feel is related to the issue between mechanics and management, please share your experience!

  1. I once boarded a half-full, evening departure MIA-PHL flight on time. Door stayed open up until five minutes after scheduled departure. At that point, we were told that the crew timed out and the flight was cancelled.
    How can a crew time out on a five minute “delay”?!? Seemed like AA just didn’t wanna fly that flight and rather accommodate the half-full load on other flights the following day.
    The untrustworthiness and sketchiness of AA’s operations never ceases to amaze me.

  2. So glad I have left for Alaska Delta Jet blue mint etc
    American has been hostile and horrible for years to their passengers and their employees
    After so many occasions i am proud to move on where I am treated respectfully and my business is appreciated I was one of those Exec Plats you know those overly entitled passengers that wanted to see their bags returned when the plane had issues or there were weather delays
    I buy more First Class fares now and don’t depend on upgrades
    I feel let out of prison from the horrible culture and overcharging at American
    Did I mention the frequently horrific customer service that American provided me with?
    It almost made me want to get dragged down the aisle @ United though preferably not bleeding

  3. As a retired airline employee of one of the big 3, not AA. I have seen and experienced what is happening at AA. First off, this too shall pass. But as Ben stated, the pilots don’t gain from this and in actuality, we are all inconvenienced. Obviously the public first, then the employees second. If you consider the mechanics, pilots and flight attendants, neither group has standing to complain. As a retired flight attendant, I have worked flights where the pilots slow taxied, flew at lower altitudes to burn more fuel, taken planes out of service for issues that were not on the minimum equipment list, etc. The flight attendants have played the delay game too. Their best leverage is when they are about to go illegal. And I must say, they will make it happen. With what’s going on at AA and what will go on in the future at other carriers, across all departments, nobody wins. This all being said, I have a trip coming up on AA to MBJ and I’m hoping for the best. Fly safe everybody.

  4. Good! AA makes ridiculous profits and should be sharing more w/ the hard-working folks who make that possible. When you’re up against such a powerful corporation, there are not many ways to find leverage. Often disruption is the only option. As long as they’re making sure everyone is safe I 100% approve. (Though I can totally understand it would be pretty annoying as a passenger.)

  5. Any idea how long this dispute will last and disrupt flights? I have AA travel booked over the 4th of July weekend and am wondering if I should rebook on different airline or hope it’s cleared up by then

  6. Lucky, you are not really “hub captive” unless you want to be. I know you are EXP with AA but at some point it just isn’t worth it. I fly mostly DL out of FLL but also UA and B6. I tend to buy first so the status thing isn’t really a big deal to me.

  7. I guess it’s time for parker to buy more of his company stock with his cash just to show what an idiot he is.
    That way when AA goes bankrupt, he’ll have all his wealth in his AA stocks which would be worth like a penny a stock.

  8. @Hawaiian Joe I can’t fathom why you’d fly AA willingly in the first place, but you should be fine.

  9. Wow- amazing. And I believe it 100%. I haven’t had a similar situation (yet), but have you ever posted on the reason AA does their slow, rolling delays? It never makes any sense to me, and wasn’t sure if there was a reason for it. I, like you, would rather sit a delay out in an admirals club than by a gate. I know it’s a first class problem, but just really curious about it. Thanks for postin!

  10. If AA could, they should fire all the mechanics. This kind of tactics is just unacceptable. I cannot wait for the day robots can replace these irrational human beings. They should be grateful to have a job. If they don’t like what they are being paid, they find another job or try starting their own airline.

  11. @Hawaiian Joe – There’s absolutely no way they’ll have a contract within a month.

  12. What an absolute clownshow. AA op performance was already awful before this. I feel sorry for the FAs and pilots.

    Drawing on my short (thankfully) experience in airline management, negotiations with mechanics – not the pilots or FAs – were always the most challenging aspect of the job. More so than fleet maintenance, hedging fuel costs (which were wildly volatile at the time), and perhaps even the threat of BK (this was in the early aughts when AA filed for BK). Mech union negotiation is not only about the classic management vs. union dynamic but class differences. Or at least the perception that mechanics have about a class struggle, which has only been exacerbated by some of the press.

    Lucky, you mentioned that you completely understand the beef mechanics have with management. Can you elaborate? It might be interesting to do a short post about AA’s mech union pay vs. the industry. I haven’t looked at any data, so I don’t know if the mechanics are in fact getting a raw deal. Or are the mechanics blowing things out of proportion? Btw, why are the unions choosing to put themselves at legal risk by intentionally delaying flights? Why not just strike?

    Also, here’s a theory that might explain why Dougie Parker is still CEO. AA’s board has known that labor negotiations were coming up for a while and the board can’t afford to replace the CEO (and other execs) during the process. A new CEO, unless they hire from within, would have to learn the ropes and management would be at a disadvantage in any negotiations.

  13. It worked for Southwest mechanics. They did the same thing in the spring. And Southwest eventually started negotiating with them.

    Sucks for passengers though.

  14. You guys can argue with me, but in the year of our Lord 2019, Spirit Airlines — yes, Spirit Airlines — is more operationally efficient and reliable than any of the Big Three carriers.

    All Airbus fleet and they move heaven and Earth to recover from operational challenges. Their customer service is also excellent, very responsive via Twitter.

  15. This is an abuse of union rights. I am hardly ever in favor of removing worker rights but in hospitality industry, I would prefer it.

  16. The Technicians are not in control of when an aircraft is deemed out of service. It is management that determines if the aircraft is deemed in an out of service condition. The technician is there to troubleshoot, defer or repair the discrepancy with the aircraft.

  17. I’ll also add that everyone should remember to be kind to gate agents, too? They’re neither part of the dispute nor able to do anything about it yet they’re the first line of defense against irate passengers. If you think they’re surly now, just you wait. If/When these delays become more common across their mainline network, you’re in for a real treat. Also, just don’t be a dick in general.

  18. As a note: make sure you differentiate mainline American with American Eagle partners. We operate under different contracts and ‘most of us’ are happy with our pay scales and not in a dispute with our management.

  19. i have no sympathy for the mechanics. they took more than 2 hours to fix a minor issue before a recent flight of mine, causing me to miss a connecting flight to europe, hugely disrupting my vacation. i hope they get fired en masse.

  20. I have to tell you I really enjoy your column but I think on this one this is a bit of a stretch. I read it twice and I’m not so sure how you can positively say the mechanics did this. Yes American sucks. Yes their reliability sucks. But again I think it’s a stretch to stay with such certainty that hat the mechanics did it based on their dispute with management

  21. I hesitate to post as I side with the mechanics on this issue. However you really only know the story from your perspective. I have yet to see anything but professional service from the mechanics I deal with daily at work.

  22. These people just got a huge raise and already are paid more than their counterparts at other airlines by a wide margin. Sorry, no sympathy for these petulant greedy people

  23. Two of us flew out of ORD last Sunday night after the FTU Signature event and we ended up having THREE separate maintenance events, each in order, not at the same time. Left 3 hours late that night and included one extra deplaning in the middle. In the end we flew to CLT with no working sink in the bathroom (problem #3). They just threw some sanitizing wipes on the counter and told us to use those instead of washing our hands. Yea!! Parker better be finished soon, I’m so over this airline!!!

  24. Union in aviation should not be existed in the first place. They only cause the problems and make the service quality worse.

  25. “Hub captive” is ridiculous. I’m been based in DEN since 11/2018 and I fly AA and Onewold 99% of the time. I’ve requalified for EXP and Qantas Platinum (Emerald) both before the end of May of this year. Make your choices, live with them, and don’t create ridiculous victim scenarios like this.

  26. Part of the problem is that airline employees are governed by the Railway Labor Act. Labor contracts don’t expire;, rather, they become amenable. Historically, this has empowered management to drag negotiations along for multiple years rather than come to the negotiating table in good faith. They only negotiate when it becomes more costly to drag on the negotiations. in the past, this has led to the work slow downs by unions.. it’s the ONLY way to get management to actually engage in meaningful negotiations after years of stalling.

  27. Sorry Ben, but you’re out of your element here.

    Mechanics don’t just “take planes out of service” without a legitimate reason via the FARs. When your Captain told you an item was written up (in the log book), you just rolled your skeptical eyes and inserted your “umm, umms” as if to discredit what was, in every likelyhood, an important, documented reason for removing the aircraft from service.

    Just my 2 cents from a retired A&P mechanic.

  28. As a former public sector union president, I find the tactics by the union to be reprehensible and egregious. While I understand the pressures felt by union leaders to achieve a successor agreement to their current contract, the damage done to the relationship between the union and management and customers, is one that will be difficult to repair if ever. I blame both management and labor for this. Management knows of these actions, and wants the union to be put in a public relations nightmare, rather than bargaining in good faith and achieving a fair settlement. Time for all parties to grow up and stop the nonsense.

  29. So glad I’m not hub or airline captive! Love living in big cities where there are plenty of choices and nonstop flights! Not loving real estate prices or traffic though…. I guess there are trade offs for everything!

  30. The same thing happened not once but twice to me this past week. Once at SJC and once at ORD. Both times I asked about the maintenance issue and no one could elaborate on it. When I asked if it was due to the negotiations, i got a similar “non-answer” answer.

  31. Mechanics are only doing what they saw the pilots do in the run up to the merger/hostile takeover.

  32. @Jackie – ever read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? Your attitude, that workers should be grateful to have a job and accept whatever conditions ownership wishes to impose on them, is what led to the formation of labor unions in the first place.

  33. How many years has the union been waiting for a contract? If American would stop acting like some cheesy third world airline and actually conduct negotiations with their people, stuff like this could be avoided. Without federal permission, aren’t the mechanics specifically forbidden from striking?

  34. Hard to judge without knowing how much the AA mechanics earn compared to other airlines and similar work in other sectors. Workers need to defend their rights, but they too can sometimes make unreasonable demands.

  35. @ George Petlowany — I’m curious, are you suggesting that mechanics aren’t doing anything to slow down or cancel flights, or what tactics are you suggesting they’re using then?

  36. If you won’t vote with your wallet nothing will change. Your more “convenient” flight turned out to be worse than a connecting itinerary. At this point it just seems like you want to keep AA EXP, which is fine. I’m SFO based but recently switched to AS after UA devalued their program.

  37. It´s your own fault for still flying them. Easy as that. And if you believe MIA has no alternative airports nearby then go ahead and keep on flying AA. Your choice.

  38. Lucky

    As a mechanic in the industry I can tell you many reasons why a plane that came from maintenance then got taken back out of service. First someone could have believed the item was defferalable and it was not or someone in maintenance control (who are not mechanics) could have refused to allow the defferal or a member of management could have signed something off to get the plane back in service only to be called on the carpet with a threat of report to the Faa then reconsidered his/her sign off all of these things happen more than you would imagine.
    As for your allegation that maintenance was going to take a plane out at 8:55 thats ridiculous if there was a reason at 8:55 then that same reason would apply at 8:50 time change items and deferred items change by calendar day not hourly so you sound like a person trying to make facts fit your story.

  39. I’m the Trey who single-handedly caused this post. I feel special!

    Not going to say whether or not I side with the mechanics on this. I’m just happy that Ben posted a personal anecdote as to why he doesn’t like American versus just posting a YouTube video from a few years ago. Gotta keep my travel bloggers honest and accountable!

  40. Mechanics lack ethics.

    You don’t see your doctor kill you on purpose because you have Medicaid, which pays less than the cost of providing the service. (Which scares me that some politicians want Medicaid for All even though they call it Medicare for All).

  41. We don’t have such problems in Europe. They delay, they airline pays compensations (250€ for short-hauls, 600€ for long-hauls).

  42. Also, if the maintenance people find better job deals elsewhere, perhaps they all should go there and leave place for all those unemployed people who are willing to work for money?
    This is how your capitalism suppose to work, no?

    Best regards from socialistic Europe.

  43. Well, this is what you get when you live in a society (USA) where everything is a free-for-all and who-shouts-the-loudest-wins. Everybody is ripping everybody else off. The thing that’s forgotten is that if you rip someone off, you will also be ripped off. Thank goodness I moved away from the USA and now live in a civilised society. Happy Flying over there!

  44. Matthew at Live and Let Fly did a post last week on Doug Parker. The comments were a sh$t show. It appeared to all be AA employees (seemingly mechanics) going ballistic. Even accusing Doug Parker of being an alcoholic etc. The anger was real. I was, quite frankly, shocked. Given the language and personalities displayed my first reaction (even though I am no fan of Parker) was, “these are the people working on the planes?”

  45. I’ll say it again (with the same sarcasm as yesterday). No one panic! Executives invested like .002% of their wealth in American stock. This will all be taken care of shortly. It’s all good, folks.

  46. @ Ben — If you have been following the FCQ, you’ve seen that American PILOTS intentionally cancelled our flight last week. We’ll be intentionally taking our business elsewhere.

  47. This is by far one of the most speculative and non-factual articles I’ve read in a long time. Why you would twist the comments of the flight crew and assume anything about the second airplane is beyond me. For your information the Pilots, Flight Attendants and Gate agents stand behind they’re c-workers as they too are union workers with unfavorable contracts as compared to the rest of the industry. Please write using facts not in the words of Donald Trump “Fake News” in closing, some of the comments are absolutely ridiculous and thanks for the laughs.

  48. “If AA could, they should fire all the mechanics. This kind of tactics is just unacceptable. I cannot wait for the day robots can replace these irrational human beings. They should be grateful to have a job. If they don’t like what they are being paid, they find another job or try starting their own airline.”

    Lol sounds like Ayn Rand theory gone awry

  49. I am on the side of the mechanics and union. American Airlines should pay the people that are responsible for the electronics and equipment to work properly and safely. If it was up to American Airlines and they had no union mechanics, I bet they would be hiring low-skill employees with little experience for much less pay.

  50. I have an upcoming flight with American in July from JFK-LHR and I was just wondering if all these problems happen with international flights also

  51. “everyone should remember to be kind to gate agents”

    My kindness to them will be directly proportional to their honesty with me.

  52. Wow, no proof just speculation. South west and American have the largest fleet of Max 8 guess what American replace those older 737s or newer ones both of which are having problems. Southwest had similar maintenance problems February and march, April of this year. Probably will have a similar cycle of maintenance issues this summer once vacation season starts. If you got delayed for what ever reason then blame the airline not the workers who are already overworked trying to service older and troublesome planes for your safety.

  53. I know first hand that the mechanics are to blame. It’s not that they are writing up items in the logbook, its simply that they are not giving the aircraft an airworthiness release. This battle between management and mechanics has been going on since the merger with us air. Take away the overtime because everyone is abusing it and it’s a guarantee that in the morning a bunch of planes will be left with checks undone. It’s an never ending battle. I feel very bad for management, especially those that just want to do a good job.

    A&p mechanic / production supervisor

  54. a mechanic when hired on agrees to the wages and the terms of the contract. Yes it sucks when you can’t get a new contract before the old one is finished. I am no fan of AA management, FA’s that go through the motions or whiny well paid mechanics that play games at the expense of everyone. The Union chief is a throwback from the 70’s. The CEO is overpaid no doubt. The union and senior management need a come to Jesus meeting and fix this. The whining about bringing the company to its knees helps no one. Fix the contracts and then fix the mess called American Airlines

  55. I was wondering what your AP license number is? Oh isnt it company policy at most airlines to not reveal causes of mechanical issues?
    Isnt the person who signs off the log book liable if there is a failure?
    Maybe the guy who signed off the issues with the 737 max decided getting the plane out on time was more important?

  56. Any idea of what the exact problem is? How much do AA mechanics get paid? Do Delta/United/Alaska/JetBlue mechanics get paid significantly more than AA mechanics?

  57. Disclaimer: I am an aviation professional (manager, pilot, and mechanic all rolled into one). I am not an employee of a major airline.

    The viewpoints of some of you in the comments section are extremely arrogant and based on zero facts or professional experience. The absolute majority of you have no idea the level of training involved with becoming a mech at a major carrier. Further, you don’t realize that the actions of maintenance personnel are VERY strictly governed by federal regulations. In addition to the FARs, we’re also talking about adhering to mfg maintenance manuals, carrier OPSPECS, GOM, GMM, ADs, SBs, MSBs, the lost goes on.
    The notion that mechanics should “be thankful they even have a job,” (looking at you @Jackie) could only come from the type of person that would berate a server in a restaurant for cooking their meal wrong…even though they’re the server and not the cook. Also the type of person to drive slow in the left lane, answer their phone in a library, eat crayons, etc. How about instead of proposing they start their own airline you go spend $100k on becoming a professional pilot, spend a handful of millions on a jet, then spend another $500k on tooling to maintain it, go become an A&P IA, and fly yourself around in your own little flight department. Or just shell out that $286 on your ticket and bite down on a Jolly Rancher so your jaw gets stuck shut.
    @Eric, aviation professionals reading this are laughing at the presumptuousness you display by unilaterally determining the severity of the “minor issue” that delayed your flight. God forbid that you, of all people, should have to suffer an inconvenience as you embark upon the privilege of taking a vacation when many of these airline employees either work on their vacation days or can’t afford to take their kids somewhere during them. I envision you wearing a fanny-pack, but since I can’t substantiate that I’ll just chalk it up as a maybe. I hope the tower of Pisa is leaning enough to stack up to your expectations…#eyeroll
    @derek…you’re an idiot. Mechanics aren’t turning themselves into executioners. Though, I agree with your political point.
    @Dennis…Good riddance.
    @Stuart…oh if you could be a fly on the wall of any shop across America. Cussing and jabbing is part of fixing things. Just accept it. After shift, we clean up nice and can be taken out in public without leashes or muzzles. Imagine that: a skilled laborer with a vocabulary AND manners?! Are we in the Twilight Zone?! …#rollseyesagain
    Anyway, do I know all the answers? Hell no. But the propensity for people to comment with such incredulity and speculative arrogance is downright disheartening. Take a step back, realize how incredible it is that modern aviation is so accessible to you, have some empathy for people that find themselves in the middle of this in ways which affect their livelihood, and just focus on enjoying your day a bit more for crying out loud.
    Do I deny that there are some power games at play? No. But I can’t prove that there are either.
    Have a damn good weekend, everyone!

  58. No We’re did you correctly confirm this was some sort of deliberate attempt to delay you . As I see it there was a maintenance issue it didn’t get correctly resolved so they put you on a different flight this happens every day. SORRY FOR YOUR INCONVENIENCE BUT WHEN YOU LEAD READERS ON ITS CALLED DECEPTION

  59. I sat on an American plane for 4 hrs today while they did “maintenance paperwork”. That was fun.

  60. If they don’t do their jobs effectively they need to be fired. If they openly try to harm their employer they should be fired and lose their pension if they have one.

    We’re at full employment in this country. If they’re not being paid enough they could easily find a new job that fixes that problem. If they can’t do that because they’re being paid enough already or because nobody else would hire them then they need to shut up and get back to work.

  61. For those of you wishing that people lose their jobs i have some information for you. I work for AA as a ground worker and not a mechanic but i also waiting for a contract for over 2 years. A short time after the events of 9/11 AA came to the employees and said “we are on the courthouse steps to file bankruptcy unless the employees help us” and so we did. We have up 20% of our pay,1 week vacation, 5 sick days per year, 7 paid holidays per year and many other work rules. A few years later with over $4 Billion in the bank AA took advantage of the system and its employees and filed bankruptcy anyway. Till this day we are waiting on the sacrifices we made to be returned. As for today money is not what the unions are fighting for its our jobs. AA wants the ability to outsource our jobs to vendors and our maintenance to foreign countries . Foreign countries do not have the same safety standards as we do in the United States. The next time you board a flight for a family vacation or an important business meeting you might want to be thankful that a qualified mechanic serviced the aircraft you are on instead of wishing that he lost his job.

  62. I was in Shreveport for work several years ago and was scheduled to fly home via Dallas. Storm delays the 5:45pm departure. Fine, whatever. Storm clears around 6:30pm. They send the 7:15pm flight on time LESS THAN HALF FULL, with all us 5:45ers sitting around. We finally left around 8:00, conveniently missing the last Dallas-Denver flight of the day. Why not just send everyone on the 7:15 flight? We’ll never know…

  63. AA is and their union is an absolute joke. The worst. Without a doubt it was done on purpose.

  64. Charles
    I understand what your union gave up. I have been a union member myself. I myself didn’t care for the outsourcing of heavy maintenance, nor the other unions being silent on the matter. I would personally love to have the wages and benefits your mechanics get.

  65. Folks,
    There were a lot of reasons that the airlines were once regulated — you know, before the all-holy deregulation.
    Yes, safety was supposedly paramount, but the airlines were considered integral to a well-functioning national transportation and communication system.
    The airlines existed for the same reason as highways, to tie the nation together and guarantee that ALL other businesses could operate nationally and reliably in the public interest.
    The airlines were not just one more forum for one more engorged ego to act-out on a world-wide platform. We have lots of those egos and platforms now and I do not see that the nation is any better for that.

  66. @64Wing

    I am so honored to be mentioned in your tl;dr rant.

    So, are you saying that this is like Trump justifying it as “locker room talk?”

    Sorry, but going on to public blogs and calling your CEO (despite the fact I don’t even like him) a “felon and alcoholic” in less than articulate language is not “shop talk.” It says a lot about the culture and the intellect of those behind the nuts and bolts of an aircraft.

    Here is a quote from one of them in the comments of Live and Let Fly: “Only if He Stops drinking we heard he is a 3 times felon but still have a Job or else employee get fired.” Huh? Yeah, articulate, not. I feel totally comfortable knowing that’s how someone who keeps the complex wiring of a 1000 moving parts together talks.

    The mechanics may have a valid issue with their contract. But, jfc, can they not voice in public forums and come across like they are just out of the coal mines of Kentucky circa 1928. I don’t need them to recite Tolstoy. But at least just keep quiet or sound a bit like you have teeth.

  67. Why don’t we all (those of us who want to play the blame game) start blaming the real culprits? Management of the new AA is abhorrent, and clearly unable to successfully manage the world-class airline American used to be. Management takes historical bonuses (“earned” for what, we don’t know) while continually stripping their labor force of money, work rules, etc. Stop blaming the people you see instead of the people who cause the underlying problem. The people we are NOT blaming are the ones who have the power and resources to fix all of these issues and actually take care of customers and employees alike. I have switched preferred carriers because I don’t see the management at American Airlines doing the right thing any time soon. My employees would revolt if I ran things the way AA does.

  68. @ Ben — Please just switch to Delta. You could become the DeltaPoints expert, since we don’t have one at BoardingArea.

  69. I had the same problem a few weeks ago. I booked first domestic AA Phx-Smf. What a mistake. The pilot’s oxygen mask wasn’t working so there was a delay. I didn’t know that fixing an oxygen mask would require 2 hours and about 4-5 mechanics to fix. We sat in the plane for 2 hours waiting and waiting and waiting.

  70. As it should be. Do you know how long those mechanics have been WITHOUT a contract?
    I’m with the mechanics! GOOD for them! They need a contract finally AND a good one! The Flight Attendants are next and they will call in sick, so all this will be going on for awhile. Get used to it or fly another airline! Wink Wink! I’m just giving you forewarning!

  71. Lucky made a point about AA’s rolling delays. I was recently delayed on United during several days of storms on the east coast. United let us know hours ahead that the flight would be delayed and accurately predicted the actual departure time. They also accurately predicted how much time we could make up and even escorted the one group of passengers who were in danger of missing their connection at Newark off the plane before the general deplane deluge. United’s IT is far above Delta’s or American’s. It was so totally different from American and their delays of mystery. I live in Phoenix, so cutting the ties to American hasn’t been easy. But I’ll live. Beginning at the end of this year Admirals Clubs only allow access if you are flying on AA. At that point I’ll cut the Citibank AAdvantage Executive Card and be done with the whole American and Citibank experience. AA has lots of great employees and I’ve had lots of great experiences with them. But the negative experiences have just become too frequent to make it worth it.

  72. Is ORD particularly bad for mechanical delays and cancellations at the moment?
    I had both a cancellation on 5/25 for my flight to LHR, as well as a delay for the in bound plane that cost me my connection on the 5/31 return. I grew up and live in Minneapolis, so I just assumed this was how airlines work…given my Northwest Airlines upbringing.

  73. According to Glassdoor for aviation mechanics hourly pay:

    $13-$45 per hour – American Airlines
    $25-$44 per hour – United Airlines
    $21-$49 per hour – Delta Airlines
    $29-$50 per hour – Alaska Airlines
    $27-$42 per hour – JetBlue

  74. I don’t know about you guys, but I find that the taking planes out of service on purposely, causes way too much collateral damage. Making people miss their connecting flights, making the lives of AA staff a pain, and stressing everyone out is a bit extreme for getting your point across. You’re not just hurting management, but people just trying to get on with their lives AND your fellow co-workers(staff who arnt in maintenance). Flying at a lower altitude to burn more fuel is petty, but at least you’re not affecting your fellow co-workers and passengers.

  75. @Lucky, every so often you get comments with people telling you to stop writing this or that, or to only write this or that. I, for one, enjoy the range of articles on this site, including the more obscure rants and observations. People don’t have to read what doesn’t appeal to them.

  76. This might be hard for you to believe, but management is THE problem at American Airlines. Not the mechanics, nor any other front line workgroup.

    FYI, it’s management that’s takes an aircraft out of service, not a mechanic.

    You should also know that the TWU mechanics are still working under the contract that was forced on them by a bankruptcy judge in 2012. The reason the mechanics haven’t reached an agreement with AA in contract negotiations is because AA is pushing to outsource thousands of jobs, many to foreign facilities where non-certificated workers will do the maintenance on the aircraft rather than the mechanics in the U.S. who hold an A&P certificate.

    Click the link at the end of this comment and you’ll see what’s really going on.


    FORT WORTH, Texas (May 21, 2019) — On Monday, May 20, American Airlines management announced it had filed for a preliminary injunction against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Transport Workers Union of America. Allied Pilots Association President Captain Daniel F. Carey released the following prepared statement in response:

    “If American Airlines management really wants to know what’s wrong with this airline, all they have to do is look in the mirror. The problems at American Airlines are not caused by the proud, hard-working men and women of the IAM and TWU.

    “For the past five years, the IAM and TWU have been engaged in good-faith negotiations with American Airlines management. Throughout this time, management has continued its insistence on offshoring even more of our airline’s maintenance work in the future. APA does not believe that represents the best approach to ensuring the highest standards of safety and reliability.

    “All of the union-represented employees at American Airlines continue working under bankruptcy-era contracts, years after the conclusion of the merger with US Airways. Meanwhile, the executives at American Airlines continue to enrich themselves through myriad ‘incentive’ programs that are wholly disconnected from our airline’s lagging financial and operational performance.

    “If American Airlines management truly wants to build a world-class airline, they need to take a hard look at their priorities. Rather than engaging in intimidation and litigation, they should be focusing on ways to deliver the culture change they have long promised.

    “We stand with our IAM and TWU brothers and sisters in their efforts to maintain a safe operation and secure a fair contract.”


    Wednesday, May 22, 2019


    Statement from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants
    National President Lori Bassani

    The following is a statement from Lori Bassani, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, on American Airlines’ accusing the Transport Workers Union and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers of engaging in an illegal work slowdown:

    Euless, TX (May 22, 2019) – “Despite the constant problems that have left it ranked last among the major airlines, American Airlines continues to scapegoat and attack its hardworking unionized workforce, who sacrificed much to build the world’s largest airline.

    The working men and women of the IAM and TWU are critically important assets to the airline, not the problem. But for the past five years, American Airlines management has treated them that way in contract talks by pushing to offshore more of the airline’s maintenance work, critical work that we believe should be accomplished by the highly trained professionals of TWU and IAM, workers who put safety first for our crew and customers.

    This unnecessarily aggressive litigious attack on its workers is only the latest example of the lack of respect the airline has shown its longtime, dedicated employees. It does no one any good — not the airline, the workers or the passengers — for American to attack the IAM and TWU, who are fighting for fair wages and working conditions, at the same time AA handed out lucrative bonuses and compensation packages to its management.

    Unionized employees invested in the future and viability of their airline with substantial givebacks and sub-standard contracts during mergers and bankruptcies—now it’s time for American to invest in its workers, its fleet and its passengers to stop playing games with its Unions.

    We stand wholeheartedly with the hard-working men and women of TWU and IAM.”


    CWA: American Airlines Mechanics Need a Contract, Not an Injunction

    Tuesday, May 28, 2019
    Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement from Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of Communications Workers of America District 3 and Chair of the CWA Airlines Council, in response to news that American Airlines has filed for a preliminary injunction against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Transport Workers Union of America. The TWU-IAM association has been attempting to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for mechanics and ramp workers at American for five years.

    CWA’s passenger service agents are united in support of the members of the TWU-IAM association at American Airlines and their fight for a fair contract. Our passengers deserve to travel on safe and reliable aircraft, and sending more maintenance work to offshore contractors does not meet the high standards that American should be striving to achieve.

    American Airlines earned nearly $2 billion last year in pre-tax income. Instead of investing that money in its dedicated workforce and to improve the passenger experience the company is spending billions on stock buybacks to line the pockets of shareholders and executives.

    Mechanics at American Airlines need a fair contract that protects their jobs, their health care and their retirement security, not an injunction.

  77. They have been without a contract for many many many many years and they can’t strike, what do YOU suggest they do?
    It has nothing to do with how much money they make! There are sooooo many other things! Of course all everyone thinks of is money like the drunk CEO of American Airlines!
    Greed will bring them ALL down!
    Oh and they won’t be getting fired anytime soon, sorry!
    If it inconveniences you, fly another airline!
    I stand with the mechanics and I hope this continues until they can finally get a contract!
    If you aren’t in this situation, you need to just shhhhhh!
    It’s not always just about money! There are many, many, many things that come into play here!

  78. The aircraft are not being taken out of service for minimal issues. If it goes out of service it’s because there is a safety of flight issue! Every write up is legit. There are many other airlines that you can fly if you are ok with flying an unsafe aircraft.


  79. I remember in the early 90’s when mechanics for Eastern Arlines “killed” Eastern as a result if their protracted strike. When Eastern finally ceased operations, I remember the mechanics in their red t-shirts standing outside the MIA terminal chanting “we won..we won”!
    They killed the airline and their jobs. What did they win? No one wins in a strike.

  80. This is exactly why after almost 10 years of faithful (unreciprocated) loyalty to American, I have switch almost entirely to Jet Blue. American Air should be named UN-American Air.

  81. What I find very disturbing of the trend of people these days. And just how lead by the nose of corporations they are. If said corporation says the blame for some problem, then it must be! If some corporation says something is good for you then it must be true. No matter if their lobby group paid for some Senator or Congressman or President even to say it is.
    Funny people complain about their jobs all the time but continue to make a wage that doesn’t keep up with things.
    Then we have this person who obviously has a strong bias against Unions in general and is looking for any and all reasons to blast and make hear say claims against them.
    I’d say his yellow journalism is guided purely for selfish reasons and polluted by rewards from American Airlines corporation’s guided hand.
    Whatever happened to real reporters of truth?

  82. I would PERMANENTLY avoid American Airlines. Yes, they’re currently in a dispute with their mechanics. And yes, that problem will eventually be resolved (it’s gone on WAY too long already!). BUT… the manner in which American Airlines employees AT ALL LEVELS, from gate agents all the way up to a Vice President I’be Communicated with, interest with customers is HORRIBLE. THAT is not going to change once the mechanic’s slowdown is resolved. GREAT domestic airlines are, unfortunately, a thing of the past, but you can at least avoid the WORST ones – like American.

  83. You might get to your destination faster on a connecting flight on Delta or JetBlue, than you would flying non stop on “delay ridden” AA.

  84. My last four connecting flights (through Charlotte) on American have panned out the same way:
    1) Delayed boarding.
    2) Board plane.
    3) Vague maintenance issue announcements.
    4) Deboard plane.
    5) Wait for 30-45 minutes for an update.
    6) Plane is taken out of service.
    7) Told an alternative plane is not available.
    8) Told to move to a different gate— we’re getting on another plane.
    9) Wait 30-45 minutes without updates.
    10) Announcement that boarding will begin shortly.
    11) Board plane.
    12) Arrive hours later than the scheduled time.

    On the upside, the captains and flight attendants have handled the situations with class.

    I fly often, and I have never experienced maintenance issues in this way. It can be very unsettling.

  85. I have only ONE AA flight booked this summer (thankfully), a one-way out of Europe. I won’t be surprised if that gets delayed, but at least I’ll get EU compensation out of it.

    Minor correction (pet peeve of mine): FAs and pilots do NOT get paid when the door closes. They get paid when the plane is ‘off the blocks’, meaning the brakes are released and ACARS is updated.

  86. Operational impacts have been a tool in unions’ arsenals for decades. Pilots unions are every bit as guilty of using these as mechanics unions, and neither gives a damn about impacts to passengers when they happen. Signed, 31-year airline operations retiree.

  87. Maintenance is not delaying anything on purpose. They said Maintenance is taking it out of service because American Airlines has a policy to not state why it is to not scare passengers. Sorry for the sake of making news go get your facts straight. Also American Airlines outsourced most customer service and using smaller planes domestically so there employees do not have a chance to get on flights easier without purchasing tickets. Also American changed the pattern of complex scheduling to bank turns meaning all Aircraft come on at the same time which is a US Airways policy. American Airlines is now run by America West management who feel employees are a burden and outsourcing everything.

  88. Lucky sounds like you’re complaining without knowing all the facts here. If the plane needed maintenance then obviously something was wrong. Would you rather be safe or have something happen to the plan.

  89. You got this all wrong. American Airlines is outsourcing Aircraft Maintenance overseas where FAA does not over see the maintenance. Also most customer service emoloyees are from outsourced companies. American also changed the way American Airlines brought there Aircraft in to a gate. They changed it to bank turns meaning they all come in at the same time. When this happens you have to wait for a gate to open up or a gate agent to be around to accept tge aircraft.

  90. Sitting through at least an hour maintenance delay at O’Hare. We may be leaving after midnight.

  91. You got this all wrong. American Airlines is outsourcing Aircraft Maintenance overseas where FAA does not over see the maintenance. Also most customer service emoloyees are from outsourced companies. American also changed the way American Airlines brought there Aircraft in to a gate. They changed it to bank turns meaning they all come in at the same time. When this happens you have to wait for a gate to open up or a gate agent to be around to accept the aircraft. American also wants to outsource jobs that will cause a massive lay off to employees.

  92. Today’s flight to LHR (AA80) was delayed an hour. The pilot once we were all aboard waiting the pushback said. “We are not exactly sure what the mechanics were working on the aircraft but we are clear to depart”.

  93. @Jackie – AA management has jerked the mechanics around for 5 years without a new contract. In context pilots are negotiating their 2nd contract in the same time that mechanics have been waiting.

  94. Obviously this can all be solved by tipping. If passengers lined up on the tarmac, shook hands with each maintenance crew member, thanked them for their service, and each slipped them, say, $50 or so, these delays would be history.

  95. @ Adam: I really want to respond to this Adam guy. Your comment doesnt make sense when you say AA makes more profit and has to share more. Did mechanics took paycut when AA lost money. This game mechanics union is trying to play is going to come back and bite them. If corporations make more profits doesnt mean employees are entitled for double salary. They also invest money in research, development and hiring more people.

  96. Funny article in the sense of my father was head of aviation maint for American AND TWA when it was still in business. He went to American after TWA went under. He worked his way up from cleaning aircraft to putting himself through aviation maint school and worked his way up. If TWA or American had issues with aircraft they called my dad because no one else could figure it out, but my dads reasoning for at least 90% of the problems were pure lack of work ethic because the non management are UNION. He always told me NEVER join a union unless I wanted to not work much and get paid. Makes total sense today as unions continue to complain about the EXCELLENT benefits and complaints about not making enough even though they make $25 per hour or more!! Unions are full of lazy whiners. The one thing they did happened so many decades ago and that was worker rights. They take and take and take and take and its NEVER ENOUGH!! I am a proud EX-union worker because I got tired of working harder than everyone else who were making the same amount. Ford Union workers are the worst! If you saw photos of the factories I promise you would NEVER buy a Ford. They are the definition of trash.

  97. I haven’t been flying on American for 10 years now. Those delays are common practice from as long as I remember. The last time I flew American was a trip to Peru. The waiting time got almost the same flying time to Peru. After that I completely stopped flying American.

  98. I agree with Dealgragger
    Its not like any mechanic is getting starving wages. I am told time and time again, that they are a profession. Professionals don’t act like spoiled brats and make it miserable for those that pay their bills. Profits are what it takes to reinvest into the company.

  99. I was shocked reading this after hearing the exact comment from the pilot that we were “waiting on maintenance to sign off on some paperwork called in on the lavatory earlier”. This flight was already delayed coming into NY but we still had a slight chance of making our connection in Dallas. We sat waiting for over 45 minutes on the plane waiting to push back. Missed our connection and couldn’t fly out until the next day. I could go on about the way the weather delay was handle at the airport but this was the really the reason we missed our connection.

  100. What a load of crap. To the people who wrote this article you know nothing about what a mechanic does at AA. You should have educated yourself before you wrote this. You should have taken the time to reach out to the TWU @AA and maybe you would have learned something about how much it takes to maintain the aircraft you flow on. A licensed A&P mechanic that signs that logbook it responsible for that aircraft and if anything where to go wrong with it would be held accountable for it. That aircraft you flying in is not some automobile you can just pull over to the side of the road if something went wrong. As far as asking the pilot what is going on no disrespect to him he is not a mechanic and dose not know what is going on. Just like a mechanic doesn’t know what a pilot is doing during flight.

    @dealgrabber . The mechanics at AA gave back more than any work group even management to keep them out of bankruptcy and now that it’s time to pay it back. To speak of something you know nothing about is disgusting!

    I am a mechanic at AA this article garbage!

  101. And here you’ve already formed your opinion based on hear say!
    There is no clear evidence of any “spoiled brat” mentality. Only what AA executives preach! Well and people like this Adam that for all we know could be on their payroll! Maybe instead of going off half cocked and laying blame somewhere on hearsay take a look at the upper management and where AA was, and where it is now as to the reasons for the airline taking its nose dive!

  102. Lucky do you know if this kind of disruption has happened for international AA flights as well, as often or not at all, or just domestic?

  103. This flight was VERY disappointing to say the least. Originally the flight was scheduled to depart at 7:40, then an hour delay to 8:33, next 10:15, then 10:45. As I type this the time is currently 10:50 and no plane in sight. The gates changed from K13, to K9, to K 15 back to K9, then K5. As I sit here at K5 still no plane. I have missed paid tours and possibly a train ride to my next destination because of this. I want to be compensated MONETARILY. As I continue to type a departure update states 11:50 which means I will miss a 3rd paid tour. This was a horrible trip and a nightmare! I’m missing irreplaceable and valuable time with family and friends. A FULL airfare REFUND AND FULL refund of my ENTIRE Italy trip that I could no longer attend, would greatly be appreciated!

    *UPDATED INFO* Thursday May 24, 2019
    The next time change happened at 12:15 am, then another gate change and another time update to 3:30. As people began to get even more frustrated supervisors with green badges, one being Mr Gentry, come out and just stood in silence. No info, no words, NOTHING. As the supervisors stood silently with frustrated passengers yelling, asking and demanding an explanation, we finally hear our flight to Venice has been canceled. This was at 1:26 AM. Information was given on who to contact for refunds or rebooking. I called the number given and spoke with Penny. As she searched there were no more flights going to Venice to get me there before my friends left. She then suggested to get me to Florence. However, this would take many transitional stops, airline and plane changes. Chicago to JFK to Madrid then finally to Florence would STILL have me missing one of the two days in Florence. Additionally, I do not travel multiple stops in unfamiliar countries alone. Therefore, the customer service representative Penny asked if I would like a refund and proceed to book me on a nonstop flight back to Dallas. As I began to cry uncontrollably and in disbelief, I was booked on the 4:12 flight back to Dallas.
    American Airlines Representative responded by email and told me they couldn’t honor my request of a refund in full therefore gave me an e-voucher in the amount of my flight. I declined. Explained to her I wanted the refund returned back on the card I purchased the flight. Many emails transpired for her to tell me she can only suggest to the refund the segments I didn’t use and would be given a $177 e-voucher. The refund department has up to 7 days to “review” my case and make a decision. STILL no word as of today, June 9th!

  104. Well, I’m not a frequent flyer, though I put 23yrs in the military. My first family trip to Greece after my first military trip 20yrs earlier was screwed over by British Air leaving Denver an hour late. Oh it was summer, so no deicing. The second trip for my son’s graduation present, 4yrs later was screwed over by AA, making us wait 8 extra hours in the airport, then my son got bumped to a different seat so crew members could sleep once we finally boarded. Caused us to miss our connecting flight, so they put us up in a flea ridden motel in the hood for a night. I would have much rather stayed another night in Greece. And after United has taught us that we really are just cattle, cant wait till they go under BTW. I found Turkisk airlines actually treats you like you matter, like the old days, hot towels to refresh with, the works and that’s in the so called cattle class. BTW, how much did United pay the doctor its huns beat, bloodied, and drug off the plane. I’ll never fly United, I’d rather walk or crawl if I have to.

  105. I’d like to see what @dan said if he gave up 20% of his salary to “save” the company to then have the rug pulled out from underneath him anyways in a later bankruptcy proceeding, and after your contract terms are finished be forced to work under the same terms for another 5 years because management can choose not to have good faith negotiations

  106. I work for another airline as an aircraft mechanic. Typically when an aircraft comes from the hanger whether it was overnight or heavy check, there is a lot of paper work involved. There are also flight checks that may be required before passenger service to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly. When an aircraft is released for service, it is released to maintenance control. If the paperwork requirements are not in order due to management’s rushing to get the airplane the airplane cannot legally fly. As for the crew the pilots get paid from the time they check in. The flight attendants get paid from the time the brakes are released to the time the brakes are set upon arrival.
    As for the Labor disputes at an airline, it falls more into the management hands as to the delays in contract negotiations. When the mechanics contract is settled it will be the flight attendants turn, or the rampers turn, or the pilots.

  107. “American Airlines is outsourcing Aircraft Maintenance overseas where FAA does not over see the maintenance.”
    Perhaps it has not been noticed in parts of the USA, but the 737MAX certification (whether spineless or corrupt, the FAA delegated to Boeing) has ruined the reputation of the FAA for safety.
    Moving to a location where the FAA does not oversee the maintenance sounds to me like a good thing.

    And if the mechanics do wolf-crying, everybody loses faith in whether a “Not safe” assessment is genuine, and in a non-truth-based environment, errors and crashes become more likely.

  108. Ben, your article is a waste of cyberspace. I work as a mechanic for AA at DFW. I can assure you we do not run around randomly taking planes out of service. If we need to, it is with the knowledge (and approval) of the supervisor on duty. In the case you cite, there was a issue written in the log book, we don’t know what it was. That is the end of your story. AA did a poor job of communication/coordination to be sure, but your allegations ring hollow.

  109. I read the article and I admit I skimmed over the comments but I don’t see any factual information that these planes were delayed or taken out of service because of aircraft maintenance.
    I am not on anyone’s side and dont have skin in the game but I am fully aware of the procedures for working on a few points for the public.
    The aviation maintenance industry has changed so much in the 10 years. The FAA is Primary oversight of all procedures done on the plane and the regulations have been enforced more than ever.
    The Mechanics are called aviation maintenance technicians or AMT’s and every document they sign regarding a discrepancy either writing it up or signing it off as air worthy.they are legally responsible for and risk prison time or fines or both for false statements.
    Having said that the airline has a rule book if you will called a minimum equipment list or MEL.
    This MEL book allows the airline to allow certain discrepancy’s on the plane and still fly safely.
    So if the airplane was broke and the reason it was broke was not allowed by the MEL book it’s not the AMT’s fault. I am sure there are rules to the exception and all AMT’s are not the same just as there different people in every job,but don’t judge one reporters assumption about the way things work and group more than 10,000 AMT’s for one article. I do hope they resolve there issues but I think the public should realize the scrunity I am sure if there airline wanted to prove that something was falsely done they would but I have not heard in a long time about prison time for any of them. Happy flying

  110. Last week my AA flight DFW-TPA the captain made a PA “We should just be 5 minutes as maintenance has to sign off on a minor issue on the log book”. An hour later we took off. No big deal we arrived TPA 50 minutes late. The plane turns back to DFW with 70% of the passengers connecting! Not a union guy but with AA making 3 billion in 2018 why must jobs be out sourced (done by contractors) or done overseas?

  111. Perhaps my mood is colored by the fact that my AA flight is delayed because the incoming flight had a maintenance delay, but:

    1) The tactics of the union are illegal. They will result in an injunction, damages assessed against the union and its leaders, and will likely not be paid because the union will negotiate with AA not to pay them as part of the contract. In other words, the mechanics will end up with a worse contract because of this (All of this has happened before);

    2) Anyone fired over this will end up being put back to work. Incidentally, it’s illegal to take someone’s pension no matter what they do;

    3) American has outsourced less overseas than its competitors. That’s likely what the holdup in the contract is about. AA would like to get closer to its competitors in outsourcing so that it’s costs are competitive. While current members and stations are protected, the unions will not agree because it would mean fewer future members (less money for the union) and less leverage in future negotiations (less ability to cause future disruptions as they are more replaceable). Personally, I don’t think that first reason is legitimate but that second one is.

  112. If there’s one thing American airlines customers can count on, it’s that you’ll be treated like a cash pinata at all phases of flying… Booking, pre-boarding, bag fees and of course the inevitable delays associated with flying this 3rd world airline. Whether delays or flight cancelations are due to delayed maintenance, management incompetence, lack of leadership or perhaps something else, you the customer will be left holding the bag for lost time, productivity and time away from your families and your friends because AA can’t get their act together. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to believe that AA is a start up airline instead of one that’s existed for decades.

  113. Coins,

    This reminds me of the Summer From Hell, when UA and pilots had issues. That was in 2000. I’m flying a regional to PIT, and I hope there are no issues.

  114. I work for AA and am front line aircraft maintenance management at DFW. This is anecdotal and although possible, it is very unlikely that the mechanics were the problem here. Airplanes break all the time. You obviously have no idea how an airline runs. You made no valid points that should sway anyone to believe your opinions. Every situation is complicated. I would compare your statements to that of someone who said it was dark because their eyes are closed. You are part of the problem.

  115. Yesterday, June 8th was the worst experience ever in flying for me all due to American Airlines. For a flight that was scheduled to leave around 11AM to get me to ft. Lauderdale at 1:20 was changed 6 times starting at 7:45 AM. When we arrived in Charlotte, NC (coming from ATL) we were told the flight was delayed due to maintenance not weather as we had assumed. Even looking at the weather report FLL was not expected to receive heavy rain until around 3. We stayed in CLT until 2:50 for a flight that was supposed to leave at 2:30 and get us to FLL by 4:20. When we finally arrived in FLL it was 5:30 and our cruise had left 30 mins prior (with an original departure of 4PM) When we talked to an agent they informed us that the system said our flight was delayed due to weather not maintenance. Cover up? So stuck in FLL, no cruise, no amazing honeymoon we spent $$$ for, and to top it American did not want to offer us a flight home due to our return flight being scheduled with another airline in a week. Last week I had an aunt that missed a funeral because of AA “maintenance” issue. My sister was delayed from a 12pm flight to a 6pm flight on yesterday

  116. Some of the people complaining in the comments about airlines are the same people who show up to the gate 2 minutes before departure time with a Starbucks cup in their hand wondering why their seat was given away.

  117. My AA flight from Rome to JFK was continually delayed in small increments of time over approximately five hours for a “technical issue” on 5/19. There was no opportunity to switch to a different plane, so the flight ultimately timed out and was cancelled. I thought at first the worst part was not being given an explanation. But it continued to go downhill. The bag collection, waiting for buses and lengthy check-in at the hotel was not well organized. They served a mass meal at the hotel that resulted in food poisoning. Thank goodness I was rebooked onto a Dallas flight as I noticed the JFK flight was being delayed again the next day. I didn’t know about the mechanics slowdown until arriving home, but am quite sure this was at play on our flight even from an overseas location. A friend had his AA flight from Chicago to Dublin cancelled two weeks ago and knew it was due to mechanics. He saw them moving slowly, taking breaks, etc. in full view of waiting passengers. The disruption to hundreds of lives at a time is immense.

  118. This whole article sounds like a lot of speculation, because you didn’t talk to anyone who directly had control over what was happening with the situation. The captain isn’t given any much more information than anyone else when a plane is taken out of service for maintenance all he knows is that it’s taken out of service. don’t go blaming the maintenance crews if you don’t know what the freaking problem really was. All you’re doing by posting articles like this is exacerbating the problem

  119. I’m flying lax->nrt in four days. Rather than fly direct with American, I am paying slightly more and connecting in Vancouver. That’s how much I dislike AA.

  120. This is very interesting! I flew from MCO to Charlotte. Flight was canceled from thére to PHX. Re-booked to DFW, after a few delays got on the plane and flew to DFW, with another delay flying to PHX. On one of the planes the pilot said they were working on the plane but should get it signed off shortly by mechanics. All in all tho, customer service was awesome in Charlotte, and all 3 flights were great!

  121. I had a very similar experience with AA in May of 2019, however, my flight was cancelled after sever hours, of like you said, minute delays.

  122. Thank you for confirming my suspicions why all of the 78X multi hour delays / cancelations long haul out of ORD. OK. I’m switching to AA codeshares on BA and AY for Europe and CX/JL for Asia! This will bypass the mechanic union’s antics and provide better on board service.

  123. I agree that this article is speculation stated as fact. It sounds like the pilot you spoke to did not know the whole story either.
    As for the amount of time it takes to make a repair, the FAA has very rigid rules about how repairs must be done and how long they can be deferred. Something that could take 10 minutes at home may take 45 minutes because of the required process and spot checks.
    I’m not trying to make excuses for AA’s issues, just suggesting that it’s easy, but not always right, to assign blame when you only know one side of the story.

  124. Looks like you sold yourself for AA miles, union professional mechanics take their job serious and would not jeopardize your safety for any reason.

  125. We had the exact same issue on June 1 at O’Hare AA 42 to Venice. Plane on the ground since 5:45pm for a 7:40 flight. 2 hour weather delay. At 9:30 it turned into a “Maintenance delay.” That delay lasted til 1:30 am (with 30 min updates saying we would leave any moment). At 1:30 they lined us up saying the plane was ready, have boarding passes and passport ready. At 2 am they announced management was in discussion with the crew. Then, they cancels the flight outright bc the crew “timed out.” Many other stories flying around. They did not rebook us – many had to wait 48 hours plus for a flight. (To Venice, Italy). The customer service was terrible although the gate agents seems to all they could with no information. I’m curious if my trip insurance through AA covers the lost hotel room in Venice and other increased fees due to the delay. I did rebook and made it eventually, but it seems unfair they don’t owe something for the lost time and money the canceled flight caused.

  126. It sounds like the mechanics aren’t operating under a current contract, and it makes perfect sense they want a contract.

    Isn’t this their union’s fault? The union is delegated by its members to negotiate a contract on behalf of its members. If the union is unable to negotiate a contract, then union has failed their members. Time for the members to elect new union leadership.

  127. I mean, maintenance is always blamed for any delay in the few years I’ve been flying across all brands. You never actually see maintenance, you can’t talk or argue with them, it’s a perfect scapegoat.

  128. Sorry, I forgot that we were also told around 10:30 that the mechanics were at “lunch”!!!!

  129. There’s is no excuse for not doing your job because you unhappy. If you hate the job then quit. If you go out of your way to destroy your employer you’re ruining the lives of other employees and customers

  130. I am a 2 million miler with AA. Still have over 500k miles sitting on my account. Last time I flew AA? Well over 15 years ago. If you have the choice to fly Delta why would you fly AA?

  131. @Bagoly. I tend to agree with you but for different reasons. United as an example has been outsourcing maintenance for years to overseas locations. Central America and Philippines are two areas I recall hearing about. I have never in these years heard of any issues or problems with their work. They are still required to follow FAA guidelines and, as told to me by a friend who is a pilot with United, these workers are highly trained and do a great job. American’s unions though would have you think that these offshore facilities are decrepit shacks with $2.00 an hour workers whose only experience is fixing old trucks in small villages.

  132. I’m one who has spoken with my wallet. My last two flights were first class with connections in Detroit on Delta instead of non stops on AA. Better experience, lounges and service than AA.

    All the airlines have issues but it seems like AA has stopped trying. At some point management will have to be changed.

  133. Modern unions = legalized racketeering. It should be criminal. This is synonymous with the proverbial window smash or “mysterious fire” that the Mafia used when someone didn’t pay their protection money – except it doesn’t just hurt the airline. It hurts the passengers and the employers of the passengers too, due to delays in getting employees where they need to be.

  134. A. Quick – First off, why were you connecting from ATL to CLT to get to FLL? Delta flies numerous direct flights daily to FLL from ATL.
    Secondly, anyone who books a flight to arrive at 1:20pm the DAY OF a cruise departure almost deserves to miss the ship. Even the cruise line warns against this. Let alone having a connection….you were basically guaranteed to not make the boat if the tiniest thing went wrong. Most folks are on the ship by 1:20, not still in the airport.
    I’ve done 15+ cruises in my lifetime out of Port Everglades. Flying in a day early and paying for a cheap hotel in Dania Beach or Hollywood is always worth not missing the ship. Sorry you missed your honeymoon, try and keep this all in mind next time.

  135. Great article Lucky, if only for the brouhaha it spawned in the comments. Reading this has been a hoot.

    Couple of points:

    1. I have no doubt there are work slowdowns and disruptions caused my mechanic strife. The union heads have admitted as much. However, it’s unlikely your experience is connected. The decision to take an aircraft out of service is done at a supervisory level at the Maintenance Control Center. The opportunity for line mechanics to disrupt comes in performing their work… say when they decide to meticulously perform extra troubleshooting steps when they know very well what the problem is and what needs to be done, or in taking extra time to sign paperwork.

    Another area for disruption may come from base mechanics taking longer than anticipated to release planes from hanger maintenance. It will be interesting to see if anyone reports an aircraft shortage at AA beyond that caused by the MAX and Oasis retrofits.

    Yes, each individual mechanic is liable for determining the air worthiness of a plane, but there is a normal mode of operation and AA’s disrupted mode. The idea that AA mechanics are providing extra and/or unique value over their counterparts at competitors where it’s business as usual, as some have indicated upthread, is nonsense.

    AA will win an injunction and it will be back to business as usual with the AA mechanics soon enough.

    2. As much as I believe AA to be very poorly run these days, it’s not wrong to want to match your competitors in costs and efficiencies, especially when there is equilibrium at the revenue management side of the business. One question I’ve always had about maintenance @ AA is why they have their maintenance hub in Tulsa… If I was Doug and really wanted to mimic the best in my industry (DL TechOps by a long shot,) I would think hard about negotiating a move to DFW. I would plan for the capital expense and I would concede a bit on outsourcing. The operational gains had by colocating your maintenance HQ with your HQ fortress hub are significant.

  136. Today is Sunday. My AA 11:56am direct from O’Hare to Miami was cancelled due to “mechanical issues”. No other flights until tomorrow, Monday, which totally screws up my work schedule. Fortunately, I was about to check out of my hotel when I got the message and re-booked for 1 night. I don’t know what the AA reimbursement policy is, but I fully expect AA to cover my $600 a night hotel room for this ridiculous inconvenience. It is a real hassle to drive to FLL (MIA is 12 minutes vs 50 minutes) for morning flights but it looks like that may be the new way forward. I have an AA direct to LAX in a couple of weeks and fingers crossed this doesn’t happen again. Is there any time frame for resolution? Maybe green cards for mechanics from other countries is the answer….

    Another loudmouth writer incites anger and blame through shared personal experience. Sadly, a day-in-the-life-of-Brian is only one person’s perspective (and hardly newsworthy.)
    More importantly, events surrounding this selfish post ARE newsworthy, and I truly appreciate the excellent fact-based responses that followed.

    Usually I avoid commenting on personal “experiences” craftily written as “news reports” (intended to pull in readers to sell ads no doubt.) For years we could walk by the shocking headlines found in grocery store checkout lines and shake our heads and wonder “who would believe this stuff?”

    Now the lines are blurred.
    People tend to believe emotional posts and actually add to the frenzy by sharing and posting their own complaints.

    My sincere hope is that we can each take a minute to appreciate the untold stories… the perspectives of other humans involved. I prefer empathy over ignorance.

    Objective and factual responses are best. I appreciate what little I read of Brian’s post because he prompted professional and knowledgeable people to respond. Thus, I decided to do so myself.

    American workers who keep the place running choose to earn an honest wage, do right by their children and work together for the good of the cause. The vocal minority who cry the loudest most certainly do not represent us all.

  138. My dad traveled for Chevron his entire life. He instilled a love of flying in me as a toddler, some of my earliest memories are of watching him wave to us as he crossed the tarmac to his PLANE while we waited for him to depart, just outside the fence next to the run way at MSY. When ever I had troubling childhood issues he’d take me to get a milkshake and talk it over outside that same fence as we watched the planes and jets taking off…
    We moved to SFO when I was 10, in the early 60’s and I can still remember complaining to my mother about having to ‘dress up’ in our Sunday clothes to travel anymore that I’ll be able to forget stepping out onto the air-stairs (in August) in our light cotton MSY clothing right into an SFO fog banks rolling in HARD…longest walk across a tarmac I ever made.
    Eventually, went to work for HP and CO, never protected by a union and look at where BOTH those airlines are now…
    Met my wife tossing bags and boarding planes in TUS…our record setting 12 min turn around has yet to be beat I believe?
    No union, no benefits, minimum wage and still we set records that lead to poverty and bankruptcy…says about all you hear about corporate greed.
    My love for all things connected with flying should be obvious to you by now and so you are probably wondering what my point is here.
    Well…let me just say that, with all that history, I would rather cut off BOTH of my feet and walk through the rest of my life on bloody stumps before I EVER set stump in any airport ever again!!!
    The industry has seen a lot of changes since I first…fell in love…all those many years ago and as I see it NOW the vast majority of those changes have been for the worse.
    Changes that have come from all sides…passengers, employees and management have ALL completely lost respect for each other to the point where I don’t believe that it’s ever going to return to it’s former glory. It’s only going to get worse and worse for everyone as long as the leaders and citizens in America comes to grips with the unchecked corporate greed that has always had the upper hand here.
    Instead of demanding better the public has devolved into a Jerry Springer version of civility and except, no EXPECT their leaders to lie to them as long as they are told what they want to hear. The CSR’s , ever since Regan threw the Air Traffic controllers under the bus, are all getting paid minimum wage, are forced to work part time with little or no health benefits and forget about even thinking about retirement…so please remember that the next time your flight is late and you want to take it out on one of them!
    I worked in Baggage Service…you better NEVER screw with one of them! Especially if you’re one of the countless individuals not smart enough to understand that THEY are the ones who are going to FIND your bags!
    The next time you are ‘locked in a hub’, waiting on a delay just remember the NEXT time you’re there…it will be worse and do what I do when life’s hardships force me to be in your position…open up Google Maps and see how long it would take to make the trip by bike…better yet on foot.
    Driving a ox drawn wagon on your cross country trip would have taken several months not so long ago in the big scheme of things.
    “My problems may be meaningless…but that won’t make them go away!”
    I sure miss that ol’ owl…his was the ONLY way to fly!

  139. I live in Dallas after 3.2 million on AA I switched in 2015. They honestly have never been good at any communication for delays. Ben I believe you make over $1 million a year from this blog. You can be a free agent. No reason to stay with AA.

  140. Funk the airline they are making mucho$$$$. The mechanics make the planes safe BEFORE the pilots and FAs even get on . AA drags their feet because they know it is difficult for the mechanics to strike because of the railway labor act. Look it up.

  141. I totally trust your story in this issue Ben. Your suspicions sound well-grounded. I just would like to add that the US government has part responsibility for the collateral damages of this fight. In the European Union a 3+ hour delay (which you nearly had) implies a 300-euro compensation per passenger. If American were losing $50,000+ per deliberately delayed plane this dispute would come to an end much sooner

  142. I sympathize with the passengers who are inconvenienced but also applaud the union for standing up in protest. The voice of the common man is only heard when the privileged are pressured. Viva la resistance!

    Oh… Also…AA sucks

  143. I’m a mechanic at American. When I take my car to the dealership. I never get it back in 2.5 hours. Our job is to get you there safely. Safety has no schedule. USAir brought a terrible maintenance program to AA. After doing it there way all this time. Our airplanes are raggedy like there’s . There shoddy maintenance program is catching up when them. And now they are trying to blame us. 6.5 miles above the earth. At over 500 miles a hour. Which step do you want me to skip so you can leave on time?

  144. Good for American Airlines mechanics. Every worker in America should be this tough on management.

  145. Didnt have this problem at AA til USair showed up. They have single handedly ruined AA and it has become quite embarrassing to say the least!!!! Not a single doubt in my mind why America West and USair are no longer in business. Ow they are taking this once great company down the same path!!!!

  146. While the mechanics may be working w/o a contract, they are NOT working w/o a paycheck. Or their benefits. They are, essentially, ‘at will’ employees, like most of us. If they continue to take the paychecks every week, then the mechanics are obligated to follow the rules laid down by their employer. Don’t like the rules? Don’t like your boss? Find another employer w/rules & bosses you do like. Otherwise, do the job you’re getting paid for & stop taking your grievances out on your coworkers & customers-that’s what a ‘professional’ would do.

  147. Recent flight from DFW-PHX.
    Delayed departure from the gate for 1 hour and the pilot announces overhead “I’m not sure what’s going on, 3 mechanics said they were working on an issue and then walked away.”

  148. I say get rid of all unions..Their interference is the root cause of why so many of our companies cannot accomplish their goals..The unions tie up everything with frivolous grievances that consume time and energy..In fact, they do not look out for the best interests of their members..They just want money and to control the show.That would be a disaster..

  149. @ Doug. That is a pretty serious accusation. You should be ready to back that up with actual examples and documentation. You are saying, without any subtlety, that as a mechanic with AA you are witnessing lapses in maintenance that are being directed by management. Do not assume your identity is private here. Accusations like that can be met with a subpoena to this website to get your ISP and location.


  151. AA Managers and executives are going to bring down one of these planes. It’s happened before, with Flight 191 in ORD.

    We can pretend that this is “the Union,” or the “mechanics” being uppity. It’s not.

    Any mechanic that is not doing good work can be disciplined at any time by any manager. No, “the union” cannot help a mechanic escape discipline if there is just cause for a reprimand. If there is so much evidence for a mechanic-created work slowdown, then where are all the write-ups and terminations? A work slowdown is a crime. There should be a mountain of manager-employee paperwork detailing concrete examples. Where are they?

    I think I’m being reasonable to say that, if these mechanics are not being written up or fired… and there are no attempts to write them up or fire them… then they must not be guilty of any work slowdown.

    Again, managers and executives are playing games with AA Passenger’s lives.

    In December 2018, AA Representatives and the union representing thousands of these employees both attended the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Worker’s Safety Conference, held in Seattle. At that conference, AA Reps and union activists both agreed to follow the book as precisely as possible, to ensure that AA would become as safe an airline as United and Hawaiian.

    The mechanics have kept their word, and have stopped cutting corners and overlooking “minor” issues in the name of profits. It seems that executives are not keeping their word to respect safety at the airline. It also looks like executives cannot figure out how to operate an airline if they have to do it safely.

  152. Thank you for not skipping any steps. It is tragic that keeping the flying public safe requires an act of courage on your part. Thank you for putting your reputation and career on the line to protect the passengers that trust your aircraft to get them to their destinations safely.

    For executives at AA, profits matter. Not lives. I am certain that AA Executives have careful calculations made up that will help them know exactly how many people can die on their airline before the shareholders start to get upset. I am also certain that the number of acceptable deaths for them is not zero.

    If you see a problem on the plane that my daughters are flying on, I’m telling you now: I do not want that plane to fly until you think that it will get them there safely.

  153. To Jackie . A robot crashed 2 737 into the ground. Before you criticize a airplane mechanic. Take your car to the dealership and see if you get it back in 5 minutes.

  154. Boy sure sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about and would rather fly on an unsafe aircraft. It is a FAA certified mechanics job to make sure that aircraft are airworthy. That being said management does not have a problem trying to “push metal” and its the mechanics job as a last line of defense to stop that and make sure you don’t fall out of the sky. Some issues could very well be deferred, but that depends on what the issue is and or if there is history for a particular problem. Maintenance control will then pull an aircraft out of service, it isn’t always directly related to the mechanic who went on the gate call.

    The other portion that I see everyone focusing on here is money and that is not what is holding up the labor negotiations (completely anyways). There is the issue of healthcare for legacy US mechanics which if brought onto the legacy American Airlines health care plan will cost around 6-7,000 dollars more a year!!!! If that healthcare plan was good enough for a bankruptcy contract then why isn’t it good enough when the company is making billions of dollars??
    The real issue is that of outsourcing. The company is trying to take jobs away from the union members and outsourcing it. This means no upwards movement in seniority. For those that don’t understand seniority is everything! Better vacations, better days off, and better shifts!

  155. aa flight 2047 tucson to dfw. redirected to austin for weather. been sitting in a hot aircraft for the last 4 hours waiting for a fuel truck. seemes someone thought it best to refuel aa planes last. taking it out on crew and customers

  156. I just had the same experience at DFW today. It was announced that flight to Atlanta was cancelled because maintenance was taking the plane out of service. In line I heard of 2 other flights with same reason given.

  157. I love it when people that dont have a clue use their postition to slander other people making assumptions about things they know nothing about witch is obvious here but clearly belittle the mechanics as though we are not deserving of our fair share just because our job is not as glamorous and preppie as the others. Maybe buddy it’s the only one hour turn around that’s the real problem as we are given no time to work on the plane and everyone else in our way. Just a thought.i dont think your too smart……safe travels…

  158. Please don’t tell me they finally let USA airlines outsource their maintenance?
    Now I know I’m never flying again!!!

  159. I HAVE to hope your tslking about DOMESTIC out sourcing?
    I remember United pushing to have their maintenance outsource to the Philippines but I thought that was never approved?

  160. This is how the mechanics are treated

    Context: This aircraft mechanic worked during his shift on several issues, fixed them, then found another one (corrosion) towards the end of his shift. He wrote it up, but wasn’t able to do it as it’s a 3 hour job, and this management guy goes up to him and gets really upset that he wrote up an issue he couldn’t fix that day, screaming at him.

    However I’ve seen a lot of bashing and hate on the mechanics in this thread, so it’s whatever I guess

  161. Our flight from LAX to Boston was delayed by 6 hours today. We had many mini delays and gate changes, which made us think initially that our flight was just a little late. Then I noticed that there were 36 delayed AA flights on the departure board! The longer we waited the more people accumulated in Terminal 4, and soon there were literally thousands of people affected by this “work slowdown”. Once we finally boarded our plane after six hours of waiting, our captain came on to tell us that we were waiting on fuel. That took another half hour! Despite all of this everyone we encountered was so positive and professional. The concessions were making a killing on selling food, drinks, and treats, and the customer service line was hundreds of people deep, since many flights were also cancelled. Those gate agents should be wearing superhero capes! I’m happy we have finally arrived, and am hoping for a better experience on our return flight.

  162. Stuart I guess you don’t understand what preventive maintenance is. Don’t get it twisted.

  163. As a mechanic for AA I will put my five cents into this forum. The FAA, the manufacturer and American Airlines dictate how I do my job. My priority is safety, making sure that aircraft is airworthy for flight each time I look at it. Nobody is going to come to my defense if for some reason something mechanical happens to that airplane. American pays me for making sure that I follow the stablished rules and that the flying public makes it from point A to point B.
    Until you know exactly what was the reason your flight took a delay, please do not make comments like these. There are very good mechanics at American and there are bad mechanics at American. Most of us do not like what management is doing to delay a contract. Most comments here make it sound like we are just looking for money and that they wished American would just fire us and throw us to the street. The thing is that if we do not get a fair contract that is just what American is planning to do. There are cheaper places in South America and Central America where American would like to send the very airplanes you fly on so they can get fix. To all of you who wished that I would lose my job for trying to keep my job here in the U.S. I hope that you never have to face the same thing. Is all about the bottom line, and the bottom line is that American management just wants more money in their pockets. They want safety at a cheaper price.

  164. Now I know why our plane was mechanically delayed after reading this post. We were set for LAX to Philly… and it was “mechanically delayed” from
    8 am to 2 pm… which makes us miss our connecting flight and messes up our business meetings on the east coast. This is all union doing and not caring about the people.

  165. Why are you flying on AA out of ord? There are much better options in ord . In 15 years aa will not even have a base there anymore .

  166. @James. Honestly, I think people could care less about your plight when their flights are being targeted by mechanics and trips ruined. This is where you start to lose sympathy from the public. You may have solid points and you might be completely justified to have your union fight for a better deal. But to do it at the expense of the American traveling public is where all empathy is vanquished.

  167. This issue is so old and ubiquitous across all industries that I don’t see any way that the America that I was born into in 1953 can exist much longer…in fact, with so much of it already gone at this point, for me anyway, America exist in name only.
    It’s just a matter of time before they change our Constitution to read what it really means…of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.
    In the 80’s the Air Traffic Controllers WERE NOT fighting for MORE MONEY! They were fighting for safety conditions that had gotten so bad they could not longer do their jobs. It was in the 80’s remember? Computers were changing the world…FAST…and the ATC’s were being forced to work in an analogy world because the tax money that come out of EVERY ticket you and I buy that is intended to go to them and the technologies was, instead, being syphoned away by the government for much more worth while endevors…such as buying guns from Iran to tip the balance of power in Nicaragua.
    They fought for YOUR SAFETY and got fired for it and to this day people applaud Regan for doing it!?
    Today is no different.
    We have been told to hate China for ‘stealing’ our jobs but it was our GREEDY corporations who willingly rushed to them with open arms, willing to GIVE UP their intellectual property rights…hell they’d sell their mothers if it improved their bottom lines!
    Now we sit ‘locked in hubs’ beating up on gate agents while billionaire CEO’s fly around us in private jets paid for in part by tax dollars we have given the richest of them in the form of subsidies!
    I’m old. I’ll be dead soon. I’ll be gratefully so to have lived when I did as those who are growing up now, in whats left of America, are in for one hell of a tough row.
    “Hey, hey ain’t that right? The workin man’s in for a hell of a fight!”
    That was sung in the 70’s. I’m sad to say…looks like they lost the fight.

  168. Am in PHX-waaaaaaay too many delays & cx’d flights for this hour of the morning to be a coincidence. Fortunately, only 2 more AA flights between now & Oct booked; have just backed up 1 of those on DL since it’s a connection thru MIA on a 767 which don’t have a great track record under normal circumstances.

    To the mechanics & your union reps involved in this slowdown-you want to be viewed and treated as professionals? Act like it which means keep your grievances with Doug Parker et al out of the workplace. Remember when the pilots pulled this BS when they were trying to force Horton out & the merger to go thru? Remember how PO’d you were that they were writing up stupid things like the handle on the coffee pot was loose & you were chasing your tails trying to clear all of those things so the planes could fly? Further, if you force enough of us paying pax (aka ‘self loading freight’) to move our business elsewhere, whether short or long-term, how long before someone decides to start cutting the schedule? Fewer planes flying means fewer staff, including mechanics, needed. But, hey-keep cutting off your own noses.

  169. the workers and the public should retaliate against AA. It’s the only way this gigantic behemoth can be made to listen – shame on AA management.

  170. What a shame! This is clearly the problem with the United States these days. We are clearly a nation of individuals with individual thoughts…..that is until someone we think is the reason for upsetting our own selfish Apple cart, then like primal animals we will jump on said reason, by said speakers to beat on, degrade them and get our cell phones out to film the carnage…..then try and make self gains themselves because people only see one thing in today’s world themself.

    Instead of hammering blame on the Unions or people who work under them, try to remember just how screwed up the company you work for when you complain about it and it’s greed, or inept management. Maybe you’ll understand things better. Maybe not. One thing is for sure Americans no longer want to fight injustices anymore, they expect someone else to do it. That’s why this nation is going where it is. Individuals want an individual nation, what’s in it for me… hell with being in a Union of countrymen… hell with the United States and what it stands for when I don’t get my way!

  171. Same experience at LAX on Sunday, June 9. LAX to Kona, HI. Boarded on time and had to de-plane in order for maintenance to inspect the aircraft for over-water certification (ETOPS).

    Once back in the terminal, the gate agent announced that the maintenance team now had to inspect the engines due to a bird strike report. We watched as the mechanics opened the engine, etc. They even had the co-pilot outside with them. I was impressed with the diligence on the part of maintenance, however the buzz in the terminal suggested this was happening at most of the other gates, as well. Philly and Miami, specifically.

    Passengers for multiple flights were stacking up at gates. The customer service line was 200 people long. Phone service wait times were 90 minutes. Total chaos.

    Our departure time was bumped out in 30-45 minute increments until 1230pm (4 hours later). At that point, the gate agent announced that maintenance was taking the plane out of service. We started to book a United flight for later that afternoon…

    30 minutes later it was announced that they found a new plane at a gate in the next terminal over (terminal 5). My fellow passengers, family and I sprinted the distance of several football fields to wind up at a gate where passengers waiting for a flight to Maui were lined up to board. The poor gate agent had no idea that we were all coming. A few moments later, it was announced that Maui was cancelled. We stole their aircraft! The Maui passengers went ballistic.

    I applaud the very professional gate agents and managers that calmly dealt with screaming, irate Maui passengers demanding compensation for missed hotel room bookings in Hawaii.

    2pm. We boarded extremely swiftly. Our luggage was properly transferred. And the aircraft sped out to the runway and took off smoothly.

    Once airborne, as drinks were being served for free, the flight attendant said that we were 5 minutes away from having to find a new flight crew due to time-related legal restrictions. Wow.

    The flight crew maintained a positive and professional attitude. We did note, however, that a formal apology and acknowledgement of the 6 hour delay was never issued. Upon announcing our final descent into Kona, the captain said “sorry for the long day.”

    If I were a member of any other team that supports flight operations at American Airlines, I would be irate with my teammates in maintenance. It is clear that they were deliberately upsetting operations at LAX yesterday. And they don’t have to face passengers, who are all getting inconvenienced. Easy for them.

    Yes. First world problems. Totally agreed. We noted during the debacle yesterday that if this is the worst thing that happens to us all day, week, year… Then we’re incredibly blessed. I understand it’s not the end of the world by any means.

    From a business angle, this is fascinating. Look at the economics of the situation. The extreme cost to passengers who sacrificed a night of accommodations, the cost to American of lost customer relationships (I’m done with this airline) and other compensation, as well as the charges they’ve incurred by stacking their planes on the ground at various airports. The increased revenue at the LAX restaurants and bookstores. Fascinating.

    I hope this dispute is resolved swiftly. I need to get home next week! Clearly the mechanics are winning.

  172. Been having an issue trying to get home to Dallas since AA cancelled all the flights to Dallas the evening of June 9th 2019. I have been sitting at Reno since 1am this morning on the 10th where the agents thought I could get a flight to Dallas. It started on the 9th with the cancellations, then it went to the flight from Chicago to Reno which was delayed for maintenance issues. Now trying to get back to Chicago because there are no flights to Dallas and hoping to get a flight home to Dallas there, but the flight that supposed to have left at 7:30 am is now been delayed till 2pm. I am now going on 30 hrs with no sleep. Today is June 10th 2019 at 9:35 am been up since 3am June 9th 2019

  173. This blog post is poorly researched and purely speculative. Look in the comments for additional information about pilot support for mechanics and issues mechanics have when they do try to make sure planes that need maintenance stay on the ground until fixed.

    If contracts mean nothing to you, then you can definitely side with AA management on this issue. They’ve been in breach on theirs with the mechanics for years.

    I agree that if you find that flights are consistently delayed at AA (terrible inconvenience for us all), then you should patronize another airline. Maybe the AA management will start to pay attention to the employees they rely on for the safety of their airplanes and treat them with respect for the value they bring the airline.

  174. I found this article searching for answers on why my boyfriend is currently stuck in Philadelphia’s airport. He should have landed in Hungary 12 goddamn hours ago, he was supposed to have a day of rest before going back to work but no, he’s stuck on that bloody airport and has no idea when he’s gonna get home because the 6PM flight he was supposed to take instead of yesterday’s, has no free seats left (according to the app or website or whatever).

    His flight from LAX to Philadelphia took off 5 HOURS LATE yesterday. He was supposed to miss his connection because of this but because the connection was also delayed he managed to get on. Only to be told that the flight is canceled because airconditioning isn’t working. Yesterday he was told the same bullshit excuse that only a few bags were needed to be loaded but now I see that all of this is just empty excuse and it’s infuriating.

    He got a crappy hotel room for the night but he’s tired, he only had one change of chlothes in his backpack while his suitcase is god knows where and I’m getting sadder and angrier every minute because I haven’t seen him in 3 weeks and it’s slowly stretching out to be a month because of this godforsaken airline.

    There are 5 hours until 6PM in Philadelphia so I’m hoping that he’ll be able to board that flight and that flight will be able to get to Europe because if it doesn’t, I have no idea when he’ll be able to get back home.

  175. @Adam — Actually, AA makes significantly lower profits than other USA airlines largely because, after the recent round of industry consolidation, they were stuck with many more mechanics than are employed by their competitors. AA now wants to overpay these mechanics compared to their peers at other airlines (and guarantee them lifetime employment at their current locations), but the union instead prefers that they maintain more workers than are needed and are economical.

    But don’t let reality get in the way of your ideology.

  176. I fly American Airlines every week for business. Not because I love them…I have actually grown to detest them over the last year. For the exact reasons described here in this post. I fly them because I live in the DFW area and they are based here. I can get direct flights everywhere I need to go and usually cheaper than any other airline. Also, let’s face it…flying as much as I do, I’m a slave to the points too.

    For the last two months I have not been on ONE flight that has not been delayed. I think the minimum delay was about thirty minutes and the maximum delay has been upwards 7-8 hours.

    Yesterday is an excellent example. I was on a 4:54 PM flight from DFW to Orange County, CA. I was in the Admiral’s Club waiting for the flight and about an hour out I get a delay for about thirty minutes. “no big deal” I think to myself…par for the course. This happens again, then again, and again all by thirty-minute increments as we get 30 minutes closer to boarding time.
    I also noticed the club was getting PACKED with people. I start hearing the clamoring of delayed flights with NO REASON or INFORMATION given to the other frustrated passengers.
    After the third delay, I called the Advantage desk to see what was going on. Also, to no surprise, there was almost a 27-30 minute wait for someone to get on the line. They have an option to have someone call you back when they are available, so I took that and went back to working on my computer as I waited for me turn.

    To my surprise, I actually get a call from a rep in 30 minutes after TWO MORE delays had been announced on my AA app. She immediately says Mr. Gibbs, you are in the wrong department hold a second while I transfer you to the right place and immediately puts me on hold before I can even get a word out of my mouth. Where I’m told a rep will be available in about 18-24 minutes! LAUGHABLE!!

    Not one to be defeated by a long hold time…I wait it out. After about 10 minutes I get up to go to the Admiral’s Club reception to see if they had some answers. There was a line of 20+ people standing there trying to sort out there issues. Mind you there is normally only 2 or three people (if any in these lines on a normal day) I give up there and go back to my seat to wait it out on the phone. “I should only have a few minutes left here and will be talking with someone before I could reach the front of the line in the club,” I think to myself. 18 minutes, then 24, then 32…I finally get close enough to boarding time that I hung up and start my journey to the gate.

    There are people EVERYWHERE in that airport. Flights delayed ALL over the place. I have a hard time actually making my way through the people so I can get to the gate! When I finally get there I find out about these mechanical delays happening and there were 19 flight impacted ALL at the same time last night in DFW.

    I verify that we are going to board at 8 with the boarding stewardess and get inline. Low and behold…we did board. Then waited another hour for pilots!!! All I can say after weekly being treated this way by American is:

    Hello United! What’s your program looking like!

  177. Pilots can play this game too. I was on a UA PS flight earlier this year SFO-EWR late afternoon – boarded on time, then magically had a part written up. Pilots went overboard talking about how we could walk around, take it easy. Left an hour late. Looked up minimum equipment list and the particular part is one cleared to fly without if pilot signs off.

    Looked at flight status and the other eastbound afternoon transcons took delays right after departure time.

    Weather perfect – all chalked up to maintenance. If you’re going to delay some without ripping the system, those are the flights to do it, since they overnight on arrival in EWR.

  178. It just happened to me. I’m in DFW leaving for BOG and just as we were ready to board an announcement came that the pilot refused to fly the plane citing safety reasons. We are being sent to a different gate where another plane will take us down to Bogota. We’ll see when. I”ve been EP for over 20 years and I’m about to cut the cord. It’s no longer worth the hassle.

  179. @EJ Your experience is eerily similar to mine this past weekend. We were traveling from back from our family vacation in Hawaii. We booked our entire flight through AA, of which our return flight involved a labeled AA flight operated by Hawaiian Airlines (HNL to KON). We were scheduled to be on AA for the duration of the return trip (KON to DFW then the MFE).

    The maintenance issues we experienced were described by some gate agents as being related to communication issues involving GPS and satellite systems, while other times it was just “maintenance.” We were bumped twice in Hawaii until finally Hawaiian airlines booked us from HNL to LAX directly on their airline and then on a Delta flight from LAX to DFW. Both of these flights occurred without issue.

    In fact, in addition to being on time, I found the Delta entire team to be extremely helpful and professional. Due to only having AA and United available in my hometown, I had never previously flown Delta. Now I wish they were an option, particularly after the harrowing 33 hour travel ordeal of June 9th and 10th!

    @Ronnie Gibbs witnessed the same utter chaos that I witnessed at DFW, as one after another, flights were being cancelled due to “maintenance issues.” Long lines to rebook with service agents existed EVERYWHERE, and forget about reaching them on the phone, as waits were 11/2 hours or longer, and one would still not hold a boarding pass if a flight was found!

    At any rate, we were delayed over 9 hours at DFW alone, as we were moved from gate to gate, stood in multiple customer service lines for hours, finally culminating in a departure out of DFW to another destination 1 1/2 hours away from home and arriving home at 2:30 AM, as our initial destination options ran out (we just wanted out so we took whatever was realistically feasible).

    I have read all the posts to this thread , but no one has provided a specific explanation of what occurred at DFW over the past two days, including the mechanics. Again, it was utter chaos. I don’t know if the following is true, but for their sake, I hope it is so; as I find it abhorrent if the A&P union is causing these massive delays in such a coordinated fashion. Experiencing maintenance delays upon maintenance delays causing literally thousands to be adversely impacted significantly, you want there to be a rational explanation.

    However, not one provided a specific explanation. Having experienced the issue firsthand, I was seeking a plausible explanation, so I did a little research. I came across one possible explanation that the problem was due to massive GPS and ADS-B systems quality issues. Here is the link that explains in much greater detail:

    Could the lack of quality of the data be intentional? Obviously, I cannot say for certain. However, having previously been a COO, testing of the types of upgrades of mentioned in the article should have taken place long before the crew and the plane are at a gate awaiting passengers.

    Regardless, the situation I personally experienced yesterday requires an explanation, as what I witness was very disconcerting, both from an operational and human perspective. If the union is truly organizing these “maintenance shutdowns” that can lead to a real disaster, it would be further evidence and a sad testament to the degradation of our society as a whole.

    I can’t imagine what I witnessed being intentional, but no one explained how an AA hub was practically shutdown . The option the AA system gave me, until I resorted to booking a new destination after a long wait in another service line, had me and my family leaving two days later! And this is for an 1 1/2 flight!

    My only option other than AA is United, which is not much of an option. Consequently, I hoping that whatever is plaguing AA will be remedied soon and what happened this past weekend is not repeated by ANY airline, regardless of the cause!

  180. @stuart

    it’s telling that you so readily believe the claims by executives of a corporation trying to back out of contract promises to their employees, then proceed to turn to an individual mechanic doing his labor Jon and try to intimidate them about the veracity of their accusations against management.

    your whole position is a bad, classist joke.

  181. It happened again at LAX on 9-JUN-2019. Five planes cancelled at LAX over the course of the morning, one of them mine (AA760). One, yes one, customer service agent in the glass booth at T4. Five hour wait in the customer service line.

    For me this was the final leg of a HND->PHX flight. I had been up for nearly 24h straight at this point already (just due to the nature of the flight itself, nothing to do with AA). There was one woman for whom this was the final leg of a trip originating in Vietnam!

    The earliest they would rebook me was 4:30PM on 10-JUN-2019, more than 24h AFTER my original flight was scheduled to depart.

    They did not honor request to rebook me on another airline, any other airline. Southwest had seats, I checked. Requests for hotel and meal vouchers were denied.

    Out of options I rented a car for the 4 of us to drive the remaining 400 miles, giving a lift to two other people stranded in LAX as well. When I asked about luggage, I was told to go and recall it at the luggage service center. At the luggage service desk, I was told the wait would be 2-3 hours. I had no choice but to wait, especially since I’d refused the rebooking and needed the meds that were in the luggage (yes, I’m stupid).

    Stood for 3 hours behind the ropes at baggage claim 3. I didn’t see anyone’s luggage successfully be recalled except for one woman who (literally) came unglued and threw a fit. One woman who had actually been rebooked on another airline (and who was also given instructions to recall her bag) left without it after 3 hours because her Delta flight was about to leave.

    After 3 hours, I try again, after I told them there was medication in the bag, I was given a lecture (which I could have done without on hour 36 of my 24 hour day), and the supervisor in the baggage area was involved. Ten minutes pass and she comes out to tell me the bags were en-route to PHX. Really? Bag tracker said they were still in LAX. We left without the bags, figuring that if they were en-route, there’s nothing we can do.

    Drove 400 miles to Sky Harbor. Drop off our passengers and the rental car, go to American baggage service desk and a lady known as “The Queen” (it was taped on the back of her chair), proceeded to lecture us on both recalling the bags and leaving without them at LAX. It was fortunate my (numb at this point) wife received the lecture and not me or else I would have been spending the night in the 4th street jail facing assault and battery charges.

    Grab my own car at the airport and finish a 42 hour day at 23:45 (yes, it was 9-JUN-2019 the entire time).

    You didn’t need to be a trained therapist to see that Pilots and FAs were visibly upset and trying (and mostly succeeding) to be both stoic and professional.

    However, bedraggled (non-union) AA employees and contractors were not so stoic and were openly confirming this was due to AA mechanics and not “real safety issues”. (Yes, I know about the leap-second ADS-B issue)

    This was 100% preventable and AA management chose to ignore it. If you’re going to pick a fight with your mechanics make sure there are sufficient employees to clean up the mess.

    Regardless of the fact that I live in a hub city for them, I will never willingly set foot in another AA plane again.

  182. BTW: In case it wasn’t clear, I fully support the mechanics and what they’re doing and their quest to keep from being outsourced to foreign maintenance outfits.

    Management could have had dozens more gate,CS, and ramp workers in, but they chose not to plan.

  183. Lucky is the least hub captive of us all cuz he lives full time in hotels (used to be the case dunno about it now)

    CLT is the highest %fortress of any mega airport, and effectively meaningless LCC presence if any. I pity those there being gouged everyday and 10x on thanksgiving Wednesday.

  184. @geoff : Jesus Christ some people can’t even read topline figures without misinterpreting. Op Inc is less than $4B annually.

  185. A few things, as not a maintenance worker but a ground handling agent at one of the smaller airlines contracted to American:

    1. There was a misconception several times in this thread that maintenance handles the refueling of the aircraft. This is wrong. That is handled by a third party company contracted to us (who is contracted to American). The company that handles this probably differs from airport to airline to terminal, but it’s not the mecanics.

    2. In my time as a ground handling agent, I’ve already seen countless delays for countless reasons, but nine times out of ten it’s no SINGLE PERSON’S fault. Mechanics sometimes take a long time to show up, management sometimes makes calls regarding things that aren’t actually issues, gate agents sometimes miss inbounds flights, ramp agents sometimes have problems with equipment – there are literally countless things that can go wrong in this job. The chief thing people need to understand is that even though we’re unionized, these companies are ALWAYS looking for ways to nail us to the wall – ALWAYS. I came to work running a 105 degree fever, arrived two minutes late, and was issued a “point” on my record because I was tardy; and that’s what it’s really like to work for these companies.

    There is no regard for your health and your contribution, and management as well as passengers are very good at making sure you never forget it.

    I have seen mechanics dilly dally on a plane for several hours, and I will tell you that in every time I’ve seen this happen I witnessed these people tell the manager supervising them that the plane was safe to fly, and each time the manager refused to sign off on it until they fully serviced the aircraft. I will also say that I’ve seen flight attendants and pilots force passengers to stand in a jetway for over half an hour while they asked for a “security sweep” because we started boarding a delayed flight at midnight – only to then ADMIT to these people that they were actively trying to time out because they didn’t want to make the barely an hour flight from Charlotte to Huntington.

    American sucks. That’s quite true. Nobody agrees with that more than the people who work there. And yes, there are people in their employ who actively try to fuck passengers over, but most of us just want to do our jobs and go home at the end of the day, and 9/10 times what’s stopping us from doing that and causing you delays are circumstances or management beyond our control.

  186. Husband has basically had similar issues this week flying with AA. Flight from DCA-DFW on Wednesday cancelled for “maintenance” even though the plane supposedly was at DCA since Saturday. That ruined his whole first day of a business trip. Flying back today, flight from ELP-DFW was delayed for an hour and a half for another “maintenance” issue. Flight from DFW -DCA was delayed due to “paperwork” as the captain called it. Not sure how AA can continue to just grin and bear it. People who fly for business will get tired of this BS and walk away and not come back. This has to be cracking into their bottom line.

  187. I’ve been flying on Delta from FLL to GSP for work, twice a month, for the last three years. I saw AA had direct flights to GSP from MIA. So, tired of layovers in ATL, I decided to switch airlines. In the past month, THREE of my four flights have been cancelled, two from MIA-GSP and one from GSP-MIA. I’ve never had a cancelled flight with Delta or Allegiant (hard to believe) in the previous three years. Unfortunately, I can no longer trust AA to get me to and from SC in a reasonable time frame. I guess it’s back to Delta and layovers in ATL.

  188. in this case what is Dough Parker doing he is relaxing and collecting the pay check from our hard earned money and nothing is getting addressed all they want is more money for tickets and the miles and buy miles and be a member to get reward but at the end it is really not worth it to spend money with American airlines better switch to united or southwest or jet blue is the best option

    dough parker should be removed from CEO

  189. We are in the last week of June and this issue still persists. Had to spend a night in Charlotte because AA cancelled at least three flights on Sunday, 23 June. Last night, had a two delay due to crew swap because of another maintenance delay on a inbound CLT flight. Bottom line, I am leaving AA until this gets resolved. Unfortunately, I have to travel from DFW to CLT this Friday, I am expecting delays and will consider myself lucky if I get home on the same day. I’ve flown airlines both domestic and overseas, and this is nothing less than a sh!7 show. AA deserves to lose lots of customers over this…

  190. I’m not going to take a side on this, I don’t know any of the details, but, I will add, it seems like Chicago is the issue here… I’ve been flying AA out of Boston for years and never had an issue. In my experience, and I used to travel 50%, I’ve always enjoyed flying AA as much as you can enjoy an airline; professional, and good equipment, hardly ever delays, and always weather related… but, I think it’s funny that I too just had to deal with a gate change and 2 hour delay due to a mysterious “mechanical issue” that the mechanics refused to inform the gate attendant what it was or how long it would take to fix on my flight out of Chicago on 6/20/19… same airport as the story here and apparently other people who’ve posted here.

    Hope both sides come to a solution soon.

  191. Fellow business travelers out of CLT and DFW are reporting higher than usual delays and maintenance cancellations over the past two weeks. This isn’t a seasonal phenomenon or coincidence, and it seems to be getting worse. Most of us are jumping ship to DL or UA until they get this resolved. I was ( and still am) a frequent AA flyer and would like to continue with them as I found their service just as good or better than the competition. However something is happening beyond the control of pilots and gate crew control that is causing a lot of undue angst and suffering for passengers. I get being upset with management but you’re only hurting everyone else when you purposefully cause situations where passengers are leaving your airline to spend their money elsewhere.

  192. So I was supposed to take Ann American Airlines flight to Seattle June 19th (last week) from PHL (Philly). AA1671. I bought the tickets maybe in Jan. In Feb/March, they changed the flight time to three hours earlier. (6:15pm). En route to the airport, I got a text stating the departure was delayed for 45 min. We got to the airport at 3:30 and security was hand checking many of the men (including my teenage son), stating they detected metal in the groin area. Of course, that was not the case. We got to the gate and the pod was unairconditioned. We sat outside in the airport hallway which was air conditioned. The gate attendant made an announcement that she would not be helping SEA travelers because another flight was boarding first. This happened several times. The plane departure kept getting delayed further back. We were told that the plane was from Arizona and after circling for 45 min, had to fly to Baltimore for more gas. That the plane might not fly back because of bad weather. I looked at Baltimore’s weather online. There were no weather alerts. I went back to the gate attendant. She backtracked and said there was bad weather and good weather…some places had bad and some good. Very evasive. Then I went to customer service. One pointed to a dark gray cloud and said “see that?That’s bad weather.” Note there was no rain where she was pointing. Having gone online I asked her if it was because of the unofficial mechanics strike. She moved her head left and right like in a theater and said “oh, what do you mean?!? No one is on strike”. I went back to the gate and the gate attendant had changed her story. Now it was that the plane was waiting for gas. That there was no gas available and it had to be driven in. Waiting….now went back to AA customer service and one accuses me of being antagonistic when I question why she didn’t even look at her screen to check for the answer to my question if there were any additional flights earlier? She said it was AA policy not to put passengers in a different airline. Whether plane was delayed for weather “or other reasons”, ….went back to gate. now it was a gate change from C wing to the B wing. Not five minutes later it was a gate change to the A wing. AA thought free sandwiches and snacks should keep everyone happy. It is now 9:30pm. I am with my two children. We are tired and go to the A wing. 10:30. Another plane is boarding (shouldn’t that have been our plane?). We are told to wait in line for new boarding passes and seat issues. Then the gate door opens and the people who just got on the plane get off the plane. Word is the pilot has maxed out his flying hours. Isn’t that something AA would have known? The digital screen comes blank. It is now 11pm. We have now been in line for boarding passes and it becomes a line to reschedule our flight. AA person starts giving out flyers to call a 800 number to reschedule, saying the help would be faster. Waiting. Another AA person comes with the same flyers and starts yelling that we’d better leave because she is not staying late. That AA is sending her and others to a different part of the airport. We stay. AA sends more people (5) to reissue flights. Get to the counter. Man is very kind. Looks at computer and says he could get us there in two days. I say a trip of three days is not worth in shorted to one with four days spent in the airport. He nods. I suggest his putting us on a different airline. He finds one for the next day. I say ok. He can’t get computer to say yes. Goes to his manager. Comes back and says he can’t do it. We leave the airport. On our way out there are other AA kiosks and all have people dazed and in line. Go home and find out alternate flight on different airline next day is $5k total round trip. I demanded a refund and was told go online to ask. I am now in refund process. I rebooked the trip with Alaskan Airlines instead. And I’ve since talked to a mechanic at American who says he’s not on strike but is under tremendous pressure from his supervisor to overlook items that would pose a safety threat to passengers. Enough said.

  193. Flying out of Salt Lake City leaving 6/26/19. Flight delayed due to maintenance issues. First 30 minutes, then 60 minutes, now 90 minutes, soon to be 120 minutes. Missed connection. With the help of customer service they got me on a flight out the next day to Chicago. 40 minutes after rebooking, flight was cancelled. I was told due to weather in Chicago. Called a friend living in Chicago, weather is beautiful. No issues other than strong breeze. Now booked on a flight leaving out of Salt Lake City 6/27/19 @ 2:19pm. What are the chances this flight might be delayed or cancelled? As a frequent flyer I worry about getting to my destinations and home again these coming months. American Airlines get your act together! Maybe Doug Parker should sit on one of his planes for one or two hours at the gate, deplane, get rebooked the next day and do it all over again??? Things might change for the better then. I’m a loyal customer who followed Doug Parker from US Airways. Seriously considering another Airline.
    Thanks Doug Parker!

  194. My flight was supposed to be from PVD to DCA, June 27 2019. Was supposed to take off around 2:53. As stated, every 5-15 minutes before the flight, it was yet again delayed, up until its cancelation around 6pm. Guess who the only one that didn’t get a seat on the 740 pm was, and couldn’t find anyone to help? Oh, me. It’s now 3:30am, they scheduled me a flight leaving around 530am, but you’d NEVER guess what happened. Oh, a delay. Now not supposed to leave until after 830. I missed a tournament yesterday, I’m going to be late to where I need to be today, and what was the reason? “Maintenence issues.”

  195. I wondered how the 6/14/19 order for Ametican’s maintenance unions to cease the slowdown would be enforced. Sounds like it’s not. Trial is supposed to begin 7/1/19. I hope they create some leverage to end the stalemate between management and the workers that is causing such disruption in the lives of innocent passengers.

  196. My experience was almost identical to Ben’s. I was flying with 2 small children. My flight was supposed to leave at 9:00 pm. We finally flew out at 10:30 am the next morning. We chose to fly so we had more time to spend with the children’s great grandmother, but it actually caused us to lose a day with her. I am sure the mechanics have valid arguments but they are hurting innocent families. How unfair to put these children through an excruciating experience to use as pawns against management.

  197. Ben – you are spot on – this a a major issue for American. My last five flights have all had major delays or cancellations (and thanks aa for shaving 1.5 days off my vacation). I wrote a lengthy email to Doug Parker telling him he’s lost my business until this is resolved (and I’m a long time ExPlat, former CK customer). This will be AA’s summer from hell – I’m just surprised it’s not getting more media attention – they all seem too distracted by 737MAX)

  198. Boarded one of those crappy 737’s w/no seat power yesterday in MIA for my flight to PHX. This is the plane where the tray table is supposed to pop out of the right armrest if you pull up on the little flapper. Well, guess what? Mine wouldn’t. 4 hours w/no functioning tray table which made lunch even more fun (leaving aside how overcooked it was). Since the FA didn’t bother to ask me to put the tray table up when she brought lunch or offer to show me how to use it, that tells me they knew it was broken before we boarded & made the decision not to report it, likely because of the behavior of the mechanics. While I can appreciate not wanting to inconvenience everyone else on the plane, it really PO’s me that it’s come down to this. But hey, thanks for giving me another reason NOT to fly AA.

  199. Things like this are why unions have lost so much public favor in the past 40 or 50 years. They have to realize that public favor is extremely important to their cause — so when they take actions which create problems for the broader public, those actions come at a much bigger cost than any lost wages, etc.

    Not smart.

  200. I had the exact thing happen to me at DFW on June 8th trying to get the STL. The circus me and my wife went through stuck at that airport the next 3 days was something out of a nightmare. But trying to get anything out of American Airlines is what finally caused me to send an official complaint to the DOT. They treated us like animals! My wife had a PTSD attack waiting in that 6 1/2 hour line on June 9th. Eventually so many flights got canceled, that we had to take a GD train to reach STL. Ultimately I feel AA has botched the entire thing with labor from the start. All they do is deny deny deny anything is happening and screw screw screw innocent people.

    American Airlines is a bad actor of this industry.

  201. I flew from Barbados to Pittsburgh yesterday and had a 2.5 hour connection in Miami. Plenty of time, right? No. It took AA exactly TWO HOURS to get the bags off our Barbados flight. I don’t know if this is related to the mechanics or not but I missed my flight while I waited for my bags. The worst part was that AA said they couldn’t help me because my flight landed on time. I had to call a travel agent to get a new connection. And no one at AA sympathized or even tried to help. Awful experience – going to avoid flying them at all costs.

  202. I just got hosed TWICE, on both the outbound and homebound portions of a business trip, trying to get to and from SAT to DFW and onto SAN.

    On both flights, there were “mech” delays. The first one was delayed overnight, so at least I got to stand in line for 2 hours to get my voucher for a whore-motel by an industrial park. I knew where I stood.

    But on the return they did the “creeping delay”. It’s in 30 minute chunks…15 times. Had to rebook my connection but as an elite member it wasn’t too hard to just do it through the AAdvantage call center. Still, it burned following an already difficult trip where I lost a nights sleep and half a day of meetings.

    And after it was all said and done, and I was sitting in my seat, they took my predeparture drink order and then forgot to serve it. REALLY? After all that?? The little things too? I know it sounds like first world problems..but it seemed to cap off a completely incompetent and disruptive experience all around.

  203. Cities we have been stranded or severely delayed in this year by a American: Bangor, ME/ Louisville, KY/ Nashville, TN (twice for 2 DAYS)/ Dallas, TX/ Denver, CO/ Dayton, OH/ Indianapolis, IN/ Las Vegas, NV/ Houston, TX….it is ALWAYS weather, but only the kind that impacts American Airlines so they don’t have to compensate their stranded customers

  204. On July 2nd in Philadelphia, American cancelled/delayed 3 major flights(Denver, LA, and SF). My family was scheduled on the LA flight. Our flight was delayed 2 hours with no plane in site. Then we were boarded. We were first told that we were waiting for a new Exit sign that needed to be velcroed on the plane before we could go. Then the second message from Captain Mike was that a problem needing external starting of the engines needed to be done. After over 2 hours of sitting on the plane with the threat that if we left, we could not get back on, they cancelled our flight as the crew was timed out with no extra crew available. The Captain actually said, “get everything you can out of the American Airlines” for your trouble. We then went with 2 other sets of plane passengers to service to get another flight. We stood in line for over an hour only 2 find out that they could not fly us home for 2 days!!! We had to book on Delta ourselves for the next day just to get home as we needed critical medication for 2 family members. They were not sorry and couldn’t help us. Not gonna fly with them again.

  205. Just finished a trip from Buffalo to Reno. Spent 6 hours delayed total, with threats that we would miss our flights and “mechanical issues”

    I will NEVER fly American again.


  206. I spent 16 hours in the Denver airport yesterday. My originally scheduled flight was originally 5 hours delayed because they wanted to replace a valve. I missed my international connection and got rescheduled. Then we boarded the plane again, and after a few minutes they told us they had a flat tire!!! Was it so impossible to discover and fix a flat tire during the 5 hours that the plane was on the ground waiting for a part to arrive??? I ended up missing my new internetional connection, and the result is that I have to fly to europe 57(!!) hours later, hopefully…like many on this comment list, I also have status with american, and was wondering what airline and airline alliance would you recommend switching to if I fly from DIA? im ready to give American up (though Qantas and Qatar air on one world have been fantastic!) I have flown United and dont particularly like them either..

  207. My trip today (7/25/19) from DCA to RNO has had 3 cancelled flights and I’m hoping to leave PHX in 90 min. The very helpful and nice customer service rep told me the cancelled flights were due to the mechanics union. Whatever that means. Then I found your blog so I wanted to share.

  208. My cousin and I went to Washington DC for her son’s white coat ceremony and we are supposed to fly back in Indianapolis Sunday 8-4-19 through American Airlines at 7:45 pm , as we are waiting for us to board my cousin got a txt that our flight is going to be delayed for two hrs , then 30 min later she got another txt saying that it will be another 2 hrs , so we are so mad because it will be a total of 4 hrs delayed then got a txt again that we will be flying at 1:00 am until it became 3:am already and it is so uncomportable seating in the airport ,can’t sleep and to think that We have to go to work that Monday morning with out sleep , my cousin is a Physician and her patients are waiting. So I have to missed my work that day and she need to re schedule all her patient because by the time we got to Indianapolis is already 4:40 am and have to drive to Lafayette for another hr , so almost 6:am when we arrive home. So American Airlines should compensate us from that terrible experience with them.

  209. I had a flight that was supposed to leave Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 11 am. About 5 minutes or less before we were supposed to leave for the airport, around 9:00 am, we got a text that the flight was moved to 1:30 pm, then 2:30, then 3:30, then 7:30, with our connecting flight needing rescheduling. Then it was totally cancelled. The American Airlines person said there wasn’t one I could get out of Rochester until Tuesday. I was on the phone with American and other people for over 6 hours trying to fix this. Plus I found that a couple times I rescheduled it with the rep on the phone, right after I hung up with them (and it’s about an hour wait to talk to someone), I got a text that the flight was moved or canceled. Very weird. I wound up arranging to drive to Philly, staying overnight at a hotel, and then catching our connecting flight which was changed to Monday at that point. I had to cancel our original hotel reservation Saturday and Sunday and then extend our vacation by a day over the next weekend. It was a stressful nightmare. Plus I had to drive 8 hours and back to Philly, store the car at the airport, and fix our car rental, which was really expensive at that point. This was the worst traveling experience I have ever had. And American sent me a voucher for the half of the flight we didn’t take, but I really dread flying with them again. Just shoot me. I hope this gets fixed, because it’s a nightmare. I’m still very stressed about the whole trip and I’ve been back a couple weeks.

  210. The writer is making a few mistakes here. Some of them are serious.

    First, he is accusing the mechanics of a serious crime, one that the airline has absolutely no reason to hide or protect the mechanics from. The very fact that the mechanics in question were not fired and held criminally liable proves that the people that know what happened to this flight better than the blog author do not think that they intentionally delayed his flight. Meaning, American Airlines (the company that is suing mechanics to prevent them from reporting safety issues) took no meaningful action in this case, and they have a hair-trigger.

    So, no. According to the airline, your flight was not intentionally delayed by any mechanics. If it had been, airline executives would have gleefully tried to bankrupt their union and pressed charges against the mechanics in question.

    A far more reasonable explanation? The aircraft that you flew on was a rickety POS that has a long history of maintenance issues that executives and managers will fire mechanics for trying to repair.

    Yes, if mechanics try to repair your plane, they are subject to termination and lawsuits and possible prison sentences. A judge in Texas has all but promised to jail mechanics for repairing these old planes – many of which are long past their planned lifespans. The same judge and the same airline would like nothing more than to bankrupt every union or employee group they cannot control.

    I do not have the tail number of the AA plane that you flew on. But, the one the airline used for the same flight yesterday is nearly twenty years old and has undergone several close calls. Including unscheduled landings and declared emergencies.

    So, no terminations or histrionic lawsuits. That’s proof that the airline couldn’t find any reason to think that you are telling the truth. But, plenty of evidence that the mechanics were right to look hard at the old aircraft before they risked your life on it.

    You can look at some of the maintenance records here:

  211. I looked up your flight to see if there were any mechanical issues that might give a mechanic a legitimate reason to take a hard look at the plane you would be flying on.

    This aircraft was used for the same flight recently, although I don’t know if it was the same plane you flew on. It is about 20 years old. I thought you might like to see some of the mechanical reports that have been filed in connection with that particular aircraft over the years.

    Some examples:

    Report Date: 2014-08-21


    Report Date: 2015-07-16

    Report Date: 2015-10-27

    Report Date: 2015-11-12

    Report Date: 2014-03-06

    There’s a lot more. Emergency lights not working, cracks in the floor. Corrosion of critical parts of the aircraft. Things that mechanics are paid to take seriously. Things that American Airlines and a Texas judge want to blame on unions.

    Here’s some words of wisdom. It’s better to be down here… wishing you were up there, than to be up there wishing you were down here.

  212. If the mechanics union is getting worked and this is their leverage, good on them.
    Little about AA would lead me to believe the TWU-IAM isn’t getting worked.
    So make us wait.
    We shouldn’t have to wait though, right? Because AA or UA or whatever other airline we assume should be paying their safety sensitive positions appropriately.
    Ticket prices have risen, and one would assume some of that have gone to the Unions who make sure the plane is safe.
    This reminds me of Teachers Union battles. Grossly undervalued, underpaid, and overworked.
    What is surprising about this outcome besides the frustration?

  213. 18 September 2019

    W. Douglas Parker
    Robert Isom
    Derek Kerr
    American Airlines Executives
    4333 Amon Carter Boulevard
    Fort Worth, TX 76155

    RE: Saga of Flight 754, PHL-CDG, August 27, 2019
    Dear Messrs. Parker, Isom, and Kerr,
    If you are executives who care about your airline, I believe you should read this letter to get an idea of how your airline is presently operating amid your disputes with the mechanic’s union. This story borders on unbelievable, but I assure you is true with no hyperbole.
    In May, a friend and I booked a 14-day (August 27 – September 9) trip to Bayeux, France (via CDG) and England from August 27 – September 9 flying American Airlines, of which I have always been partial, including when it was US Air. We dutifully reported to PHL airport 2 hours before our departure time which was scheduled for 9:10 pm on August 27. While waiting at the departures gate, we started to hear announcements about the plane being delayed, even though it was there at the airport, but being stocked and maintenanced. As we waited and waited, the next announcements, now about midnight or so, reported that the crew had “timed out” (a new expression I had never heard) and that they had to get another captain. More time went by. At 3:30 am, a pilot walked into the area and boarded the plane. Everyone clapped and cheered. We have now been in the gate area about 7.5 hours, but we were finally going to leave, or so we thought.
    As we continued to wait at the gate, at about 4:00 am, the pilot and the crew de-planed and we were moved to another gate. We assumed they had to use a different plane at this juncture. The crew boarded the new plane at the new gate, and about another 1/2 hour passed and the passengers finally boarded the plane. Yea!! It was about 4:30 am at that point, but we were finally on our way! We fastened our seat belts, the plane pulled away from the gate and headed to the runway. We were all waiting for the roar of those engines to take off, but instead, the captain came on the PA system and announced “Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to announce that this crew has timed out (that term again), we are returning to the gate, and this flight is now CANCELLED. Please claim your luggage at Baggage Claim and book yourself on another flight.” WHAT???? After all this time, we were just DUMPED!!! I can tell you this did nothing for the reputation of American Airlines in the minds of every passenger on that plane. You now had 300 people who, given any future choice at all, would never book on American Airlines again.
    We returned to the gate, deplaned to find only ONE ticket agent available to rebook 300 livid passengers at 4:45 am. Many passengers had children and had already missed many other connections to final destinations which included cruise ships. How do you get on your cruise ship when you have missed it??? My friend and I took one look at this furious group of passengers trying to rebook with the one poor ticket agent and we decided that going to the departures gate outside of airport security was probably a better option. So we first went to baggage claim to retrieve our luggage as instructed, and then went to the original departures desk where you check your luggage when departing – where we had started some 12 hours earlier. It’s now about 5:00 am, and we only have a few people in the line ahead of us. Finally, we get to an AA ticket agent, we explained what had occurred, and she said let me see what I can do for you. She got on her computer and said ok, here’s what I can do for you. I can book you on a 10:30 am flight to Detroit, MI (what? – that’s 1500 miles in the wrong direction) and then you will have a 4-hour wait in Detroit for a Delta flight, #96 to CDG. Honestly, we wanted to cancel the entire trip at this juncture, but we chose to stick it out and accepted her option. We flew to Detroit, waited another 4 hours in Detroit, and finally boarded Delta flight 96 at 4:00 pm on August 28 to CDG airport. This was 23 hours after we had left home the previous day. Delta 96 arrived on time at CDG, but we had lost a full day of our vacation. In Philadelphia, we had each been given 2 meal vouchers which were not good in the Detroit airport where we waited 4 hours for the Delta flight and where the vouchers would have really come in handy.
    Besides the incredible inconvenience and total loss of one full vacation day, we also suffered financial losses which were NOT covered by our trip insurance because the delay was the airline’s fault and not due to our illness or bad weather. So the $400 we each paid for trip insurance only covered flight delay and paid us each $100 which was automatically triggered when the delay exceeded 4 hours. We each had a $100 check in the mail when we returned home on the 9th. However, our other financial losses included $400 paid to a driving service called Daytrip who was scheduled to pick us up at CDG and drive us 165 miles to our hotel in Bayeux, near the Normandy beaches, our final destination. We also lost an additional $193 that we had prepaid for our first night in the Bayeux hotel. Both of these fees were non-refundable because we were not able to give 24 hours cancellation notice as a result of the American Airlines delay out of PHL. So even with travel insurance and the $100 we received for the delay, we still lost $500.
    I had to rebook a new Daytrip pickup when we arrived at CDG, finally arriving in Bayeux, at about 1:30 pm on the 29th of August, totally exhausted, and approximately 35 hours after we had left our homes in Philadelphia on the 27th of August. We had had NO sleep. So, given any future travel plans, is it surprising that I would probably not book with America Airlines again? That’s a pity because it’s an airline I always loved. I flew US Air weekly (before US Air bought American) when I worked in San Francisco in 2012-2013. I have always felt badly for American Airlines for the terrible price it paid on 9/11. But I’m not sure I will ever book American again given other viable options.
    I have recounted this story to any number of friends who are experienced travelers and they are astounded at how poorly it was handled by American. I have done some reading about America Airlines’ long-suffering dispute with its mechanics union. I read about the mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, who tried to sabotage a flight recently and fortunately has been arrested. I also read comments at and they are absolutely scathing about the airline.
    Thank you for taking the time to read my missive. I hope it gives you added perspective to the daily operations of your airline amid the prolonged and unfortunate mechanic’s union negotiations. Let me be clear, I am not asking for any reimbursement. We were greatly inconvenienced, but eventually reached our destination. Rightfully or wrongfully, I believe that flight 754 was a victim of uncooperative airline mechanics and possibly flight crew. But, I believe you (airline executives) need to resolve your disputes with the mechanics union promptly so that the safe operation of your airline is not compromised.
    Sadly, travesties like flight 754 negatively impact the reputation of American Airlines in the minds of the traveling public and will continue to cause business losses for you going forward. I feel quite sure that everyone who was scheduled on American 754, PHL-CDG on August 27 will never rebook with American Airlines as long as they have other options.

    Kind regards,

    Janice A. Bryson
    6437 Woodcrest Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19151
    (215) 473-5392

  214. What a lot of people seem to be forgetting, is that the same thing is happening with Southwest, and it’s a lot worse than the corporations claim it to be. As it turns out, all the planes being taken out of service are on the cusp of falling apart: loose rivets on structural panels, turbofan blades cracking from metal fatigue, loose pins that have a chance of leaving a hole in the aircraft if left unchecked… the list goes on. It’s a case of corporate intimidation against the people who are in charge of keeping the planes in the air. This sort of thing has happened before, and at least one major aviation accident has occurred because the big wigs at the top of the corporate ladder have pressured mechanics into skipping key maintenance steps. This kind of corporate greed-fueled negligence will only lead to more deaths, and the FAA will be furious at the airlines as a whole for causing what should have been a preventable accident. As a pilot trying to earn his wings, I will not be flying for Southwest Airlines or AA anytime soon, unless they get their act together, cease the pointless litigations and conflicts, and allow the mechanics to do their jobs properly without fear of repercussions from management.

  215. Ben,

    Thank you for reminding everybody to keep their frustrations to themselves and avoid at all costs sharing them with cabin crew, cockpit crew, reservationists, and just about anybody else. I must say I’ve no distinct memory of gate agents, or check-in staff behaving in a blatantly disrespectful manner towards me.

    But there are those who have been subject to that. It seems the agents are just baiting the passenger to react so they, the agent, can take action and retalitate.

    This is completely off topic, but turning on your phone to at least record the audio of your transaction may sound draconian, but it could aid you immensely if you choose to escalate a situation where you feel you were treated inappropriately.

  216. My flight was delayed out of Abilene TX on 9 Nov 19 for 3 hours, causing me to miss my connection to Honolulu through DFW. The cruise ship left without me….lost $3,300. Never again.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *