Again I apologize about the lack of photos from the way there
Return journey MCO-DFW-SAN
AA1413 MCO-DFW 17 MAY
Much to my surprise we got upgraded MCO-DFW leg but not on the DFW to SAN. ¾ was pretty good I thought, particularly for a SUN return.
I didn’t know we got upgraded until we were checking in, so I used the self serve machines. That bit went really fast but then I told my partner, well we can use the 1st class line to drop the bags. So we grabbed the boarding passes and then went and stood in the 1st class line. Again 1 agent on this and we waited and waited. Once again it seemed the agent had a big problem with something . Luckily they had a person who went between lines and directed people so she grabbed us & sent us to another agent that was servicing main cabin passengers. I asked if we could be sat next to one another and I was bluntly told “no.” Once again, no smile and a cold as ice person at AA. Great start I thought.
We had some decent time to kill at Orlando as we arrived way early. We looked around the terminal and I must say they have done a really nice job with the place. The “landside” areas were good. Nice amount of retail and great wooden seats with lots of power points for computers, plus a really good food court.
Hyatt as part of the terminal complex
Walkways/wooden seat area
Closer Departure screen showing DFW flight
After security, you take a transit over to the gates. It looks like Space 1999.
The gate area was under construction but I managed to get this pic of our aircraft.
Boarding called and so we got on. Note the older seats on this plane.
1st class AA boeing 757
The purser was another miserable person who didn’t want to be there. We only got a smile from her as the flight was coming to an end and so she must be off work for the rest of the day. Dinner was served. It was a choice between chicken teriyaki or cheese tortellini. I chose the chicken as you can see. It came with a salad and a slice of lemon cake as you can see. Food was really average. Chicken wasn’t Teriyaki but some form of mysterious sauce.
When we were about to land at DFW the connecting gate info was given. The purser must have held the gate list at an angle, because we were told C3. We landed at C11 and then schlepped over to C3 only to find out that gate was for a Boston flight and that our flight was actually leaving from C11 ! We met other people from our arriving flight going to other gates only to find out they were told the wrong information also.
So we made our way back to the gate and waitied.
AA855 17 MAY DFW to SAN
And waited and waited. The crew was late. At this point it becomes very apparent that AA suffers from the syndrome of “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.” The crew were over at the A gates. If an on time departure was important, surely a car should have been sent to pick them up to get them over to their next set of gates with as much speed as possible? Eventually they trudged through to a round of applause from us all in the waiting area.
The boarding fun started. Again the “Priority Access” lane was a joke as you have to mountaineer over passengers to get to it so we gave up. Got on the plane and then we waited. Fatsen seat belt sign went on but still no movement.The Captain came on and said a hydraulic leak had been found and they needed to fix it. Mind you we had just flown this exact same plane in from MCO.
Wingtip as seen from my seat:
The FA’s starting handing out headsets and a 3oz ration of water as we were pretty thirsty by now.
The video screens were put on after 30 mins and we watched the “Office” and an episode of “Top Chef” all the while wondering what was going on. After 45 mins silence from up front, we got word that they were still fixing the problem. They didn’t know how long they were going to be, they told us to sit & wait. Why a cockpit or ground person couldn’t go down the stairs & talk I don’t know.
Finally after the telly-viewing the Captain said the aircraft was not flight - worthy and we all had to get off the plane. They were trying to find another aircraft. Now this was after 10pm which conveniently meant all other west coast bound flights had gone. We'd had 2 updates in 1.5 hours
Tired and hot we all got off the plane only to find out that some AA grey jacketed supervisor was making an announcement to the waiting area even though only 50% of the aircraft has disembarked. I asked him, "what did you say" and my answer was “go sit over there!”
Concessions were closed and everyone was desperately trying to find power outlets to charge their devices. I really felt like we were going to have to overnight but finally the word came to move to another gate. Everyone did this like a herd of sheep. People were getting really frustrated by this point. They then went through the same mountaineering procedure of boarding. The aircraft was dirty but I didn’t care. We took off after 1100pm and got into SAN for around midnight. They had the gall to charge people for drinks on board. I was really tired so I slept most of the way.
I took the photo below because if something happens at AA you are on your own. Beneath this tacky sign were 4 red phones. Customer service has to be nonexistent now. You can really understand why people get so annoyed. As a compensation I got 5000 miles from AA because of this. I was shot the next day at work and you have to ask yourself how has it got this bad? I know I could not and would not run my business this way. I am also amazed about the poor communication we got throughout this trip.
Cytz_pilot From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 565 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6107 times:
Thank you for your effort in writing your first trip report. Sounds like AA, like other domestic carriers, isn't quite up to the same standards they were a decade ago. That's too bad.
I wanted to offer a few food for thought items which might help with future trip reports, in getting more interest and feedback from people. Firstly, it really helps to add personal details about the trip, above and beyond the flight. You went to Florida, how was the Kennedy Space Center and Disneyworld? Any stories or anecdotes? Most people on this forum are just as much into travel and seeing new sights as they are into the flights.
Secondly, it might be more prudent to post flights from the same trip together...especially if there is only a few days between posting them. Otherwise, it kind of looks like you're trying to hog the forum. Note that I'm referring to your two postings as one trip.
Lastly, and I think most important, was the tone. You started with a subject line insinuating that you flew on American Airlines, and it was terrible. Then, in the first few paragraphs, mention that you at least occasionally non-rev, and for the first flight of this trip, were upgraded to first class on both legs. I certainly don't mean to offend but this comes off as arrogant and entitlement-minded. Hearing about what great perks you get, and then paragraph after paragraph of complaints was a turn-off for me, and I think most people, who don't get these kinds of traveling benefits. I feel that being appreciative of these perks first and foremost is a much, much better focus then how awful the airline was. I think you'll get more positive feedback if you take this to heart.
In any case, those are my 'IMHO' thoughts after reading (and writing) trip reports over the last couple of years. Thank you for the effort and I look forward to seeing more trips of yours. Best of luck!
EC001 From France, joined Jan 2009, 92 posts, RR: 7 Reply 2, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5987 times:
Great trip report! I loved the pictures! Orlando's terminal sure looks good! That huge patio is incredible!!
Well, so from what I understand, American Airlines has lost some of it's grandeur? I'm sure not all the F/A and staff are like what you said! but, again, some Air France staff are like that as well...and it's really annoying... and lets not talk about some AF F/A. I thinks it"s the companies policy to make them have this "I'm higher than you attitude"... not only because they're French! (lol, I'm joking, being french myself).
I have to admit that AA's livery have always been my favorite (even if I'm not a big fan of their cabin service as well). And that Boeing B757 yo pictured...what a beauty.
TDubJFK From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5902 times:
Quoting Cytz_pilot (Reply 1): Lastly, and I think most important, was the tone. You started with a subject line insinuating that you flew on American Airlines, and it was terrible. Then, in the first few paragraphs, mention that you at least occasionally non-rev, and for the first flight of this trip, were upgraded to first class on both legs. I certainly don't mean to offend but this comes off as arrogant and entitlement-minded.
Oh come on .. what bull. It was a terrific report because he told it exactly as he saw it. So what if he was upgraded. Upgraded to what? Some luxurious first-class experience? No. Besides if you read his report thoroughly, you would have noticed that he was not non-revving on this trip. He purchased tickets and was upgraded due to his status on AA. In other words, he was a revenue passenger who obviously does a good deal of business with AA. Who happens to be a travel agent.
If you consider his honest statements about the sh*t attitude of the people he encountered as arrogant and entitlement minded, then I ask you ... how do you explain the bad service those employees provided their passengers? Do you condone that form of "customer service"?
Following your logic, anyone who is upgraded should sit there in their seat like a dog and wag his tail and lick the leg of the customer service people who grudgingly throw them any scrap. No. Bad service and bad employees should not be tolerated under any circumstance and I hope the letter he wrote to AA was a scathing one - mentioning flight numbers and descriptions of these crap FAs and agents.
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3197 posts, RR: 45 Reply 4, posted (4 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5879 times:
That's a shame. I can imagine that must've been very frustrating. It certainly could've been aided by a friendlier airline crew. I've found that the DFW AAgents (though certainly not all of them...I usually have good experiences, with smiles returned), are the least personable of all.
It's a shame that there was not more communication about the delay, I find that is the most important thing of all. It seems to me that you understand that delays/mechanical problems happen, which is nice. A lot of people don't get that. But an effort to keep the passengers in the know in a helpful/respectful way is what could've improved the situation a great deal.
Sorry about the cabin crew. This is the most often-heard complaint here and elsewhere about AA. Fortunately for me, I do not recall at all the last bad flight attendant I've had with them. Some are friendlier than others, to be sure, but I've found most to be great!
Hope you give AA another shot at some point!
In any event, the report was great! Really nice pics (BUT YA GOTTA GET A WINDOW!!!!!!!! ), and I think you did a great job!
...the situation was such that there wasn't much development in a case of a hydraulic leak. What did you really expect them to say? That the leak has somewhat lessened? That the leak stopped, oh no it started again? That the leaking was not stopping? A leak is a leak and looking at the situation, I think 2 updates in 90 mins was pretty much up to scratch which would mean an average of an update every 45 minutes. Bearing in mind this is America, I think this was rather above and beyond the norms, no?
While I am not condoning the way AA treated you and your partner and yes, the customer service was somewhat lacking, sometimes it takes a little understanding for certain situations and why they happen.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
I thought awhile about what you said and I'd like to retract my comments on the matter, especially if it's going to lead to misunderstanding.
From my own personal experiences, from reading news links about aviation experiences, and from hearing from other forum members, I've learned that when someone's upset about a bad experience they had traveling, more often than not the event quickly starts getting skewed by exaggeration.
Now, I have no reason to believe that this was the case. But the reason I mentioned this was to say that even if you have trouble seeing them, try to accentuate positives within the negatives. It's a more effective writing style. I, for one, like hearing about the good stuff as much, if not more than how incompetent xxx airline is. Is that wrong? I guess I'm blessed to have never experienced what some would call a 'really awful' experience traveling, but of course that doesn't mean it can't happen. For any offense the OP might take from my remarks, I do apologize and I'll gladly take back what I said.
Brittrvl From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 12 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (4 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5380 times:
thanks very much for the feedback.
In response to Cytz_Pilot...I should have been more explicit. TDubJFK knew where I was coming from. I am a million miler with AA. I have been gold for the past 5 years because I hit the million mile mark. In that past 5 years, this was the very 1st time I had listed for upgrades. Yes I am an agent, but in my 22 year career I have NEVER flown non-rev as an agent on AA. When I CAN go (as I run a busy agency), its when everyone else is flying, so I have to put the plastic down along with the rest of them, and pay. This is exactly what I did for the FL trip.
I am a very fair person. I see a lot of positive whenever I can. You will see this when I do my upcoming reports, I call a spade a spade. I have to say though, I thought overall my experience on AA was very poor. I could not run my business this way, from what I saw.
I may be doing another trip in the next week due to a family event that I need to attend. If so, sit tight and hopefully it will be a good one!
EIPremier From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1539 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (4 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 5326 times:
Honestly, the fact that they gave you 5,000 miles is more than adequate compensation, IMHO. I have had similar delays on other airlines and gotten exactly squat. The way it was handled sounds fairly normal and maybe customer service could have been better, but there is nothing very unusual about it. This kind of stuff fortunately doesn't happen too often these days as on-time reliability is the best its been since immediately post 9/11.
Very good trip report. I am sorry you had a bad experience on AA. I hope someone from AA mgmt was reading this as the staff needs to learn the ethics of customer service. Thank you for the pics and the wonderful TR.
OffshoreAir From United States of America, joined May 2009, 177 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (4 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5213 times:
Just as a foreword, I usually post a lot more in the negative TR's so that maybe I can offer insight into the bad experience, or maybe try to understand someone's reasoning.
Quoting Brittrvl (Thread starter): We hang around the boarding area and see there is a “General Boarding/Priority” Lane in operation here at DFW. Why AA don’t invest in one of those “theme park style” videos that show you “how to board and why we do it this way” for people to watch while they are sitting bored out of their minds in the boarding area, I do not know.
I am not sure I can think of an airline that has a video explaining how to board an aircraft. I know airlines that have brief announcements saying they are going to start with people needing assistance or children, then onto high status members, then general boarding, but I can't think of any theme park videos.
Quoting Brittrvl (Thread starter): When we were about to land at DFW the connecting gate info was given. The purser must have held the gate list at an angle, because we were told C3. We landed at C11 and then schlepped over to C3 only to find out that gate was for a Boston flight and that our flight was actually leaving from C11 ! We met other people from our arriving flight going to other gates only to find out they were told the wrong information also.
Gates change sometimes. It can be due to an endless number of reasons why the gate changes, and a lot of time it happens at the last minute and can even be unforeseeable until the aircraft coming to park pulls up and stops at an ill-fitting gate. Surely this isn't the norm though.
Quoting Brittrvl (Thread starter): If an on time departure was important, surely a car should have been sent to pick them up to get them over to their next set of gates with as much speed as possible?
I'm not sure (but you may be) you are aware of how much mediation goes into Pilot union agreements (CBA's) in the specific issue of pilot accommodation. Some even go as far as to specify who must be driving the vehicle between the airport and crew hotel, the maximum time allowed to elapse between crew hitting the curb and being in the van, and what creature comforts are available in the vehicle. If the airline were to just call a taxi, it could violate the Union's CBA with the airline resulting in a lot of headache.
I think what Cytz_pilot may have meant by his statement of your tone was conveyed to the choice of words you used. When you used the word "mountaineering" did you mean to suggest that the boarding process was comparable to scaling a mountain? I think you were exaggerating here, and because of the borderline extreme overstatement, it comes off as arrogant and elitist.
Quoting Brittrvl (Thread starter): I took the photo below because if something happens at AA you are on your own. Beneath this tacky sign were 4 red phones. Customer service has to be nonexistent now.
I thought that sign was very tacky as well. And only 4 phones? I miss the days of skycaps and redcoats.
Quoting Cytz_pilot (Reply 1): I certainly don't mean to offend but this comes off as arrogant and entitlement-minded.
I'm afraid it did it bit.
Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 3): Oh come on .. what bull. It was a terrific report because he told it exactly as he saw it.
Yes, he did, and that includes his coloring of how he felt. Don't get me wrong, this is imperative on writing a good report, but when over-painting the report and using such exaggerations, you can sometimes lose credibility in your TR.
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5): I think 2 updates in 90 mins was pretty much up to scratch which would mean an average of an update every 45 minutes.
Quoting Brittrvl (Reply 7): I could not run my business this way, from what I saw.
May I ask, for a frame of reference, what kind of agency you run?
Quoting Brittrvl (Reply 7): I am a very fair person. I see a lot of positive whenever I can.
I think your title is incorrectly named then, as it seems to go against this statement.
CairnTerriAir From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 388 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (4 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4919 times:
This was a very interesting trip report to read, with some clear realities of the ugly side of air travel. It's a shame that you had to experience what you did on your trip, and that is all I can say.
First off.....the picture of of the banner that pretty much tells people that they are on their own in the event of the airline failing to deliver a promised product sums up the sad state of affairs. Either the carrier can't afford to staff any form of customer service, or the airline just does not care and has simply lost the plot of their mission....to provide reliable air service. That sign pretty much tells me as a customer that the carrier is saying "we stink and admit it, oh well".
Second off.....additude of the staff (flight crew and ground agents). It stinks. No excuse for bad service. While one may grumble at passengers "not paying a reasonable fare".....two words for that "TOUGH S**T!" Without those low fares, how many passengers would be flying? No passengers, fewer flights.....fewer flights, fewer jobs for crew. Clear? One takes a job which involves facing the public, they should know what comes with it. Don't like a job facing the public, get a job on an assembly line, a lab, or a morgue or something. I work in a very customer service related job, I see some of the worst that the human race has to offer. It comes with the job. One jerk out of fifty, tick off fourty nine with a bad additude and I go nowhere in the career.
Third and final.....The original poster paid for his flight and got an upgrade. Even if he was flying nonrev.....word of mouth goes a long way. His friends and family, all potential customers...revenue for the airline...money to go towards the employees paychecks....may be going to another carrier, simply because he told them about his experience here.
Times are tough at the airlines....but the customer, the ones who FEED the employees should not be punished for various factors which are causing the airlines harm. If anything, blame the economy, blame the unions, blame the CEO's who are businessmen, not avaiators, blame 9-11, blame the greedy oil men. Don't blame the poor guy just wanting to go someplace on a plane.
OffshoreAir From United States of America, joined May 2009, 177 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (4 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4904 times:
Quoting CairnTerriAir (Reply 11):
Second off.....additude of the staff (flight crew and ground agents). It stinks. No excuse for bad service. While one may grumble at passengers "not paying a reasonable fare".....two words for that "TOUGH S**T!" Without those low fares, how many passengers would be flying? No passengers, fewer flights.....fewer flights, fewer jobs for crew. Clear?
I'm not clear here. Yes, that is an immediate repercussion for less passengers and fewer flights and fewer jobs, but think of it in the long run: If every airline had almost no passengers, and all the airlines had fewer flights, this would create outrageous prices for passengers having to pay in the long run. The few airlines that would be able to survive your theoretical scenario would end up having the rights to the entire airline industry in the US and would be able to charge whatever they want. You would pay much more for tickets in the long run, so your tirade here is a moot point.
Quoting CairnTerriAir (Reply 11): First off.....the picture of of the banner that pretty much tells people that they are on their own in the event of the airline failing to deliver a promised product sums up the sad state of affairs.
I thought it told them to call that number if they had a re-booking issue? We don't know the full story behind the banner, it could be something temporary due to extenuating circumstances, it could be their permanent modus operandi in MCO, point is, we aren't sure. And sometimes flights are canceled and people have to re-book because of issues that are outside the control of the airline, ESPECIALLY in Florida where the afternoon severe thunderstorms that happen almost every day. Sure, I agree, it is tacky and not ideal in the least, but it is not the airline purposely trying to make people mad.