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USA 2013 Pt 3: Almost A Disaster With AA DCA-ORD  
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 13491 times:


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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.


This is the third part of my USA series from April 2013. The previous parts have seen me fly from London to Paris, and then onwards from Paris, back to London and then to Washington. They can be found here:

USA 2013 Pt 1: The Beginning BA LHR-ORY (by jwhite9185 Apr 20 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 2: BA A320/744 WTP CDG-LHR-IAD (by jwhite9185 May 14 2013 in Trip Reports)


This third part is a bit lacking in the picture department, although as you read on it should hopefully become clear why.

The check in process for today's flight was a bit of a hassle. BA.com wouldn't let me do it, which was understandable and upon being forwarded to the AA website, this was also a no go as it said it couldn't check me in as I had no seats allocated - and no option to allocate them either.


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Hopefully this seatmap from expert flyer wasn’t too accurate:



After a lot if backwards and forwards between BA and AA, it was determined I needed to be reticketed and therefore had to go to the airport to do this.

I set off from pretty much where part 2 left off in Arlington cemetery at around 4pm, arriving around fifteen minutes later so giving plenty of time to resolve any potential issues before my 19:20 flight.


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Once inside the terminal, I was surprised to see how airy it was compared to most terminals in the US.



And also the fact it had landside windows!


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Unfortunately, when I got to check in a few moments later I was faced with some pretty major issues. I put my AA booking reference in to a self-service kiosk and it didn't recognize it. So I swiped my payment card and came up with somebody else completely. I got the attention of one of the check in agents and she tried too but without success. I was then sent over to see somebody else. After trying the locator and the debit card trick, this too came up with somebody else, although initially they didn’t realize and handed me a boarding pass. Upon checking it and seeing that once again it had somebody else’s name on it, I handed it back and said this wasn’t me. Then the agent did a manual search for me and it appeared, as far as AA were concerned, I was supposed to be on a flight that left at around 15:00. It was now 16:30. I said that I was supposed to be on the 19:20, but she replied that I had been moved on to the previous flight – Great thanks for telling me! She just shrugged and said I had to go to the ticketing desk to be rebooked. I then made my way over to the ticketing desk, which had a long line. Luckily the priority AAccess line was empty and I saw yet another person, explained the situation, and without really saying much she put me on standby for the flight that I was supposed to go on and that was that. I asked why I was now on standby for a flight I had a confirmed seat on but was given a rather vague answer in not the best English. I didn't really like the fact I was being treated like I had turned up an hour late, so therefore given no sympathy, yet as far as I was concerned, I was three hours early.



Feeling more than a little stressed, I reluctantly headed through security. I was asked for ID and handed the TSA agent my driving license. He looked at it confused and asked for my passport. He then gave that a confused look and said he had never seen one of these before and then let me proceed, but not before giving my standby ticket a strange look also. Guessing not many foreign travellers come through DCA. I also had my first experience of a nudiscope – it worked well too as I’d accidently left something in my pocket, but when I showed them it was just some chap stick, they let me carry on my way without issue.

After security, I made a beeline for the first phone I could see and got on the phone to BA reservations. After being told by an automated machine I had called the wrong number and then phoning family in the UK (where it was getting late) and asking them to look online and get the right number, I explained the situation and they confirmed what I already knew and said I was on the 19:20, and that they didn't know why AA thought otherwise. The guy on the end of the phone didn't really know what was going on as BA had me confirmed on the 19:20, yet AA had me down on one that departed at around 14:00 and the check in staff thought I was on one at around 15:00 - what was going on?!

My view of DCA for the best part of an hour.


After nearly an hour on the phone (and most of that being on hold while they tried to figure out what AA were playing at), it was left as – “well just try your luck and call back if you don't get on the flight… but we close at 8 PM so you’d better hope there isn’t a delay”. I mentioned this was a pretty appalling way to treat a frequent flyer, and then he suddenly had one final idea, and I spent another good few minutes on hold- although I never found out what this bright idea was.

Now I had to contemplate what my next move would be if I didn’t get on the flight. I'd have paid for a hotel in Chicago that I wouldn’t be able to use, no doubt I’d have to shell out again for one in Washington and then make a new booking in Chicago for the Sunday night. All with barely any research as to what is best and where the best prices are, and on a bit of a budget.

I then headed to the gate and explained the situation once more. Slightly amusingly one guy had a look on his face as if to say, "wow, I don't want any part of this mess" and walked off, but luckily the staff that were left generally seemed a lot more sympathetic. She seemed confident I would get on, as there were seats available and not many people on standby. And then a few moments later, just as I was once again on the phone back home updating them on the situation, I was waved over and handed something very useful:



And all without a word being said, other than thank you from me many times - phew! It was an exit seat, however 14E meant it would be a middle seat - although to be honest a seat on the toilet would have suited me, just as long as I was on the flight.

Now that was sorted, I went for a wonder to see what was around at DCA, and grabbed a donut - I had planned to eat something more substantial, but after fighting my way on to the flight I was reluctant to let my boarding pass out of my grip or even leave the gate area. That and the fact boarding time was nearing, so not much time to get anything else.


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After this I hung around one of the adjacent gates to see my jet pull in.


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Then I went back to my own gate. After struggling to get on the flight, I now didn’t want to miss it for the sake of a couple of photos!


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So relieved my name wasn’t on this list!


Boarding was called at 18:50, and due to my BA status, I had priority access, therefore I was the first onboard in economy. Ironic how not so long ago I wasn’t even on this flight, yet ended up being one of the first to board. Interesting how AA let OneWorld ruby status passenger’s pre board, but BA doesn’t.


A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 13545 times:


AA1471
DCA-ORD
6th April 2013
737-823 / N854NN
Seat: 14E / Main Cabin Extra
Scheduled: 19:20/20:25
Off Stand: 19:23
On Stand: 20:19


Once onboard there were no cabin attendants to be seen anywhere - unusual coming from Europe! The flight was completely full, therefore no opportunity to move. Strange how the ground staff said the flight was empty. Glad I did end up with a confirmed ticket. As mentioned though, I was just glad to be getting to Chicago this evening. Due to being in the middle seat, there weren't too many opportunities for pictures so apologies if they're a bit lacking from this part. Also my SLR was in the overhead, so had to make do with phone cam pics.



Legroom, as expected was pretty good.


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Quick view out of the window before Miss 14F showed up


The seat width wasn't overly brilliant though. During boarding near enough all the announcements were automated - were there actually any crew onboard?! Eventually some did show up to ask if everybody sat in the exit row was ok with helping out in an emergency.


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Proved to be handy






The captain came over the PA shortly after and gave a very brief welcome. A couple of minutes behind schedule we pushed back and made our way over to the runway, during which one of the flight attendants gave a flying time of an hour and thirty nine minutes and a cruising altitude of 32,000 ft.

Once at the threshold the captain announced we were just waiting for a few final figures, then we would be off. Why not do this at the gate? Guess the airlines in the US are paranoid about on time departures, so pushback and finish up their work along the way. At just past 19:35, we made a long takeoff roll into the dusk. Shortly after the IFE was started. I didn’t pay much attention to it though – I was just happy to sit and calm down for the next hour or so.

No idea what it was, nor did I have much interest.


Climb was pretty fast, reaching our cruising altitude in just over fifteen minutes.

To pass the time, I purchased the GoGo in flight Internet - pretty reasonable for $4.95 for the duration of the flight.



The drinks service started shortly after and I was pretty impressed to see full sized cans distributed. I was temped to have a beer after the previous few hours I'd had, but as I'd barely eaten all day due to planning on eating at the airport, and then having those plans ruined (and the fact it was a pricey $6) decided it would be better to stick to a soft drink.



Annoyingly, the seatmate that had the window seat spent the entire flight - pretty much right from boarding to disembarking reading her book. What a waste of a window!



The remainder of the flight was spent following our progress on flightradar24, although it wasn’t overly accurate.



Google was more accurate but was lacking in detail



At around 19:45 descent started into Chicago. As it was dark and cloudy, there wasn't a huge amount to be seen. The captain announced that it was windy and rainy in Chicago, and this definitely made for a rough ride in – and I’m pretty sure Miss 14F left a few fingernail marks in the armrest! Out of the other side of the aircraft, I could just about make out the city of Chicago, before turning away and seeing a great light show on our side – how I wish I had the window!

Touchdown was made at 20:12 and we made a lengthy taxi over to terminal 3. The crew thanked everybody for flying with American and mentioned that they were based out of San Francisco.

Once on stand, it was a case of following the signs over to the bus station, stopping for a McDonald's cheeseburger along the way - and it went down a treat! It was actually a pretty long walk to the station, through car parks, corridors etc.


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Once through the exit to landside, it was baggage claim – seems so strange to see baggage claim in the arrivals hall where just anybody could walk up!



It was still a long walk to the bus station however. At least it was well signposted which is more than can be said for other places around the world.



Once at the bus station, I phoned the hotel for the shuttle and before I had even hung up, the driver was there. He was a friendly guy, letting me know how long the journey would take, and telling me about the hotel - the Hilton garden inn. And introducing himself at least half a dozen times!

Upon arrival, it was up to my room and settling down for the evening.




A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 13521 times:

The following morning, the first thing I wanted to do was phone both AA and BA to try and sort the problem with my booking out, ensuring that I wouldn't have the same issue again on the next sector of my trip. Both BA and AA confirmed that the details I had matched up with theirs, so who knows what yesterday's problem was. After this it was out to the train station via the free hotel shuttle to head off into the city.


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A train along the middle of the motorway!


Upon arrival in a chilly Chicago, the place seemed pretty deserted. Mainly due to a marathon going on. First place I headed off to was Union station to grab some breakfast.


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After this it was on to the Willis tower.


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Formerly Meigs field


And currently Midway



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Once of the favorite features of the Willis tower is the skyledge – this was new since I was last here back in 2000. I’m absolutely fine with heights, but I still had a bit of an interesting feeling in my stomach being stood on it… especially when a group of kids turned up and started jumping up and down as hard as they could!


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Seem to remember PalmJet taking a particular liking to this one when I posted it on Facebook…


Once back on solid ground, I made my way to the Navy pier via the magnificent mile and the Millennium Park – also new since I was last in town. Thanks to Leo (LFutia) for the tip!


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Once at the navy Pier, I grabbed some dinner at Bubba Gump’s – pretty busy, but well worth the wait – I love shrimp!



After which, it was back through the city to the train station. It was getting a bit chilly and for reasons unknown, I thought it would be a good idea to come out without a jacket.



I arrived back at the hotel at around 6pm, pretty tired. I spent the evening listening to some music, chatting to a friend back at home and watching TV

That's where this part of the report will end. Tune in next time for my trip down to a warm Florida on a Mad Dog. Once again, things don’t go overly smoothly, but not a patch on the issues encountered in this report.

And as a final comment, I filed a complaint to American Airlines upon my return to the UK about the issues encountered on this sector, and the general attitude with their ground staff. A few days later I received a pretty long-winded email:

Quoting American Airlines:

Dear Mr. White:

Thank you for contacting American Airlines Customer Relations.
Please forgive our delay in not meeting your expectations for an instant reply. We appreciate hearing our customers perspective about any issue pertaining to our business, and we thank you for taking the time to share yours.
Firstly, please accept our apologies for the lack of courtesy and inexpert behavior displayed by our Reservations personnel when you called to have your questions clarified. Our customers should always experience polite and professional service from our employees regardless of the circumstances. We are truly sorry that you have perceived a lessening of the warm, friendly and professional attitude we expect our people to project.
We provide a service in an industry largely dependent on the performance of individual employees. To each customer, the employee helping him or her is American Airlines. Our success depends upon every employee understanding the importance of making a positive impression with every customer. When hiring employees who will serve our customers, we work hard to look for those applicants who demonstrate a friendly, courteous and professional attitude. Our employees regularly attend recurrent training sessions to reinforce the importance of an individualized, caring approach even in the face of the unique difficulties that only an airline can experience. The behavior issues you described will be addressed with our Reservations Department. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to improve our service.
We understand that our apology does not change the inconveniences you endured. However, we would like to make amends in a tangible way and encourage you to give us another opportunity to prove that you can rely on American Airlines. As a gesture of goodwill, we have made arrangements to send a Transportation Voucher valued at 250.00USD under separate cover, to the address provided in your email to use toward the purchase of a ticket. Please allow six weeks for the Transportation Vouchers to arrive at your destination.
The Transportation Voucher may be used toward the purchase of your tickets for future travel on American Airlines, American Eagle or any of the airlines in our oneworld® alliance, provided American Airlines is the international carrier (international flights are defined as transatlantic, transpacific and flights to and from South America). The redemption of the voucher and subsequent ticketing must be handled by American Airlines personnel, or an authorized agent. The Transportation Voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
When you're ready to apply your Transportation Voucher towards the purchase of a ticket, please contact our Reservations Department. You may click on the URL below to determine the Reservation center or General Sales Agent nearest you. www.aa.com/i18n/utility/internationalReservationsPhoneContact.jsp
You will be required to mail in the Transportation Voucher 20 days prior to departure by registered post (AA will not replace Lost Vouchers as they are treated similar to handling cash) to our Ticketing Department at the address below to be applied towards full or partial payment.
American Airlines
Mr. White, we hope this one unfortunate experience will not discourage you from travelling with us again. Thank you for the opportunity to express our apologies for what happened. Please continue to fly with us as we are eager to provide the dependable and friendly service you expect and deserve when travelling with American Airlines.

Well, I guess you cant argue with that, although I would rather things had just worked as they were supposed to, rather than causing me a great deal of stress for those couple of hours. I also feel that they missed the point slightly, as it mentioned me having issues with AA reservations – despite me going almost entirely through BA except at DCA when I dealt with the ground staff.

Previous trip reports

USA 2013 Pt 2: BA A320/744 WTP CDG-LHR-IAD (by jwhite9185 May 14 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 1: The Beginning BA LHR-ORY (by jwhite9185 Apr 20 2013 in Trip Reports)
Comparing The Competition: BA/VS Inaugural MAN-LHR (by jwhite9185 Mar 31 2013 in Trip Reports)
Taking TAP To Portugal: LGW-OPO-LIS-LHR Feb. 2013 (by jwhite9185 Mar 10 2013 in Trip Reports)
Poland On The Dream)liner - LOT LHR-WAW-LHR In C/Y (by jwhite9185 Jan 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
A Speedbird & Titan 767 – LHR-LCA-LHR In C…ish (by jwhite9185 Feb 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
British Airways LGW-AGP-LCY 737/E190 Nov. 2012 (by jwhite9185 Dec 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 2: 5 Flights 3 Airlines MXP-ZRH-DUS-LHR LX/LH (by jwhite9185 Nov 14 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 1: 5 Flights 3 Airlines LHR-BRU-MXP In Theory (by jwhite9185 Oct 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
Cancellations, Widebodies And Iberia LHR-MAD-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Night In Amsterdam - KLM F70/738 LHR-AMS-LHR (by jwhite9185 Aug 28 2012 in Trip Reports)
Trying Out Flybe - LGW-BHD-GLA-BHD-LGW (by jwhite9185 Jul 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Day Trip To MAN (by jwhite9185 Jun 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
Nice, Monaco And The Great British Lounge With BMI (by jwhite9185 May 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
EI237/182 LGW-DUB-LHR And 2 Lounges (by jwhite9185 Apr 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
LGW-FRA-BRU-LHR With LH And SN (by jwhite9185 Mar 27 2012 in Trip Reports)
BA906/8735 LHR-FRA-LCY (by jwhite9185 Mar 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS015/016 LGW-MCO-LGW June 2010 (by jwhite9185 Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS006 MIA-LHR A340-642 June 2008 (by jwhite9185 Feb 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic 747 To BGI - October 2007 (by jwhite9185 Aug 3 2012 in Trip Reports)



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6675 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 13039 times:

Hi James !

Nice to see another report from you!

Too bad you had such issues with the booking but since it was booked as a codeshare flight, it doesn't surprise me that much. When I buy tickets, I always buy tickets on the operating airline, never on a code share and I always buy it directly with airline not thru a travel agency to help avoid such problems.

I'm glad everything worked out in the end.

DCA is a great airport for spotting! I used to go there sometimes when I lived in Northern Virginia.

Looking forward to the next part!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 12654 times:

Hey James,

This sounds like quite the ordeal. Reminds me of a couple of similar situations I found myself in a few years ago. Glad to hear that everything worked out in the end.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I was asked for ID and handed the TSA agent my driving license. He looked at it confused and asked for my passport. He then gave that a confused look and said he had never seen one of these before and then let me proceed, but not before giving my standby ticket a strange look also.

Yeah, most of the time foreign IDs or driving licences don't do the trick and even some passports can confuse TSA agents. So the TSA agent in your case had never seen a British passport before? Was she/he born yesterday?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
but she replied that I had been moved on to the previous flight

Don't you hate when airlines do that? Do they assume that we all have mobile internet access and that we check the status of our reservations every half an hour?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
seems so strange to see baggage claim in the arrivals hall where just anybody could walk up!

I have seen this in so many US airports. I don't get it. Anyone could just drive to the airport, pick a few random bags and drive off. It's simply stupid.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once of the favorite features of the Willis tower is the skyledge – this was new since I was last here back in 2000.


Screw that man, haha. I'm terrified of heights and it's no wonder that despite living in Chicago all these years I have never been up Sears/Willis tower's skyledge. Glad you enjoyed the experience.

Thanks for the nice read and I'm sorry you had to go through this.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1966 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 12255 times:
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Wow, what a story jwhite9185! Thanks for sharing!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Slightly amusingly one guy had a look on his face as if to say, "wow, I don't want any part of this mess" and walked off

What a strange way to talk to a customer who's coming up to you with an issue. How bizarre!

Glad you were able to make the flight and got into Chicago okay. I say, sometimes it takes a lot of concentration and patience when things like this happen. I've had a few of these types of situations occur, and those are the ones you remember!

Looking forward to the next part!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 972 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 12227 times:

Hi James,
Nice read and good pictures. Sorry about you mishapps with AA, that could be very stressful.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once inside the terminal, I was surprised to see how airy it was compared to most terminals in the US.

For that reason it is one of my fav in US. Not to mention the metro to the city right from the terminal.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Guessing not many foreign travellers come through DCA. I also had my first experience of a nudiscope – it worked well too as I’d accidently left something in my pocket, but when I showed them it was just some chap stick, they let me carry on my way without issue

DCA gets flights from Canada, but they have driver's license similar to US. Most foreigns pass through IAD.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I then headed to the gate and explained the situation once more.

I noticed that gate agents are far better to handle most issues...

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Now that was sorted, I went for a wonder to see what was around at DCA, and grabbed a donut - I had planned to eat something more substantial

Should have tried Fuddruckers the world's greatest hamburgers right in the corner behind Potbelly's

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
Once onboard there were no cabin attendants to be seen anywhere

That is very strange as normally the boarding does not start unless the crew is onboard. Not to mention that the FA in first class usually serve pre-flight drinks.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
During boarding near enough all the announcements were automated

Never heard that on AA.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
Guess the airlines in the US are paranoid about on time departures, so pushback and finish up their work along the way

Yes, they are as they are rated on the on-time arrivals. Most add 10 minutes to their schedule to improve the stats.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
The flight was completely full

DCA-ORD is usually full - in fact I can't remember when a seat next to me was empty.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
Annoyingly, the seatmate that had the window seat spent the entire flight - pretty much right from boarding to disembarking reading her book. What a waste of a window!

She prpobably does the flight every other week and could care less about the window.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
it was baggage claim – seems so strange to see baggage claim in the arrivals hall where just anybody could walk up!

A lot of US airport still have the old time walk-up baggage claim area.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
It was still a long walk to the bus station however

ORD allows the shuttles to drop people off, but the pick-up is centralised to that shuttle center, which used to be an old international terminal before T5 was built.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
A train along the middle of the motorway!

Had to be early in the morning as normally this is packed bumper to bumper on both sides.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
First place I headed off to was Union station to grab some breakfast.

Not my first choice, but I guess you can find some interesting choices...

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
After this it was on to the Willis tower

We still call it Sears Tower. If you stop someone and ask for the Willis Tower most people would not know what you are referring to.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
Once back on solid ground, I made my way to the Navy pier via the magnificent mile and the Millennium Park – also new since I was last in town

Very touristy itenary. Next time try some neighborhoods, each has its own flavor and unique scene.


User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 902 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 12048 times:

Sad to say but what you experienced is pretty typical....not just the reservation problem but the total lack of concern/caring/customer service...followed up by a response to your complaint that will do nothing to address the issue but is simply a way to mollify you and basically accept their crappy service in the future when you travel with them again!

At least it was a travel voucher and not a bunch of worthless frequent flier miles (I'm looking at YOU Delta!)


The whole baggage claim being accessible to the general public setup is something quite common here and as you can imagine leads to A LOT of theft! This is another reason everyone is so eager to avoid checking in baggage! The airlines and the airports have little incentive to try to fix the problem as their liability is limited.

Thanks for the trip report...glad it worked out in the end!


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11711 times:

Hello James

Sorry to hear about the inconvenience, must have been an ordeal.
However I find it to be unacceptable that AA/BA treat the elites like this.
Glad you made it to Chicago safe anyway.
Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineSchweigend From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 640 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11698 times:

Thank you, Mr. White for an excellent report! I am looking forward to the next stage.

Regrettable that you experienced unnecessary disruption with your booking and the staff at DCA. Is it something that we could attribute to -- what? -- reservations glitch with the BA-AA codeshare? Most lame, in my opinion, especially since BA and AA have been partners for over two decades now. Hopefully, not too many other BA codeshare pax go through what you did.

The $250 voucher seems reasonable, but is it valid for use on AA only, or could you use it on BA?  

The photos of DCA were nice, and thanks especially for the v.v. nice pics of Chicago. What a city! What views!

And I love that your photos show how the old Roman arches and atrium-style vaults are still good today.

Cheers and warm regards,

Scottie


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 11185 times:

Lars,

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
When I buy tickets, I always buy tickets on the operating airline, never on a code share and I always buy it directly with airline not thru a travel agency to help avoid such problems.

I generally do also, but the convenience of having (almost) the entire journey on one ticket made it pretty easy. And cheaper.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 3):
DCA is a great airport for spotting!

Its one of the better ones I've been to. Shame all thoughts of looking at planes went out the window really.

Stojan,

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
I have seen this in so many US airports. I don't get it. Anyone could just drive to the airport, pick a few random bags and drive off. It's simply stupid.

My thoughts entirely.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
Don't you hate when airlines do that? Do they assume that we all have mobile internet access and that we check the status of our reservations every half an hour?

I did have wi-fi at the hotel and at various points throughout the day, so I was fairly confident this wasn't the case. In fact of the four AA flights I did on this trip, this was the only one that wasn't cancelled/rescheduled!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
Screw that man, haha. I'm terrified of heights and it's no wonder that despite living in Chicago all these years I have never been up Sears/Willis tower's skyledge. Glad you enjoyed the experience.

I've heard many similar comments from people who I've shown that picture to!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 4):
Thanks for the nice read

No problem!

767747,

Quoting 767747 (Reply 5):
Wow, what a story jwhite9185! Thanks for sharing!

My pleasure!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 5):
What a strange way to talk to a customer who's coming up to you with an issue. How bizarre!

Well in fairness, he didn't actually say anything...

Quoting 767747 (Reply 5):
I say, sometimes it takes a lot of concentration and patience when things like this happen.

Yeah, I think keeping a cool head and phoning up BA got me a lot further than shouting and screaming at AA. It was pretty obvious they weren't all that interested really.

WROORD,

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Nice read and good pictures.

Thank you.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
For that reason it is one of my fav in US. Not to mention the metro to the city right from the terminal.

Its one of the better US airports I've visited.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Most foreigns pass through IAD.

I thought that was probably the case.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
I noticed that gate agents are far better to handle most issues...

I did get that impression.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Should have tried Fuddruckers the world's greatest hamburgers right in the corner behind Potbelly's

As I mentioned, I had done my research and saw there were a few eateries there - and had planned to get something, but by the time I'd sorted the issues out there was only 30 mins or so until boarding, so didn't want to risk getting a slow service and missing my flight.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
That is very strange as normally the boarding does not start unless the crew is onboard.

There were crew onboard - they just weren't visible. I think they were in the rear galley.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
She prpobably does the flight every other week and could care less about the window.

She did look pretty 'business' to me, so I think you're probably right. Probably just like catching a bus to her!

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
ORD allows the shuttles to drop people off, but the pick-up is centralised to that shuttle center

I did notice the walk upon my arrival was a lot longer than when I departed.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Had to be early in the morning as normally this is packed bumper to bumper on both sides.

Around 8/9am on Sunday morning.

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Not my first choice, but I guess you can find some interesting choices...

It was the only Cinnabon Google maps threw up at me!

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
We still call it Sears Tower.

So do I actually...

Burj,

Quoting Burj (Reply 7):
followed up by a response to your complaint that will do nothing to address the issue but is simply a way to mollify you and basically accept their crappy service in the future when you travel with them again!

Thats pretty much how I saw it. Even the email seemed like a generic reply.

Quoting Burj (Reply 7):
At least it was a travel voucher

True, but not too sure if I'll use it.

Quoting Burj (Reply 7):
Thanks for the trip report

No problem!

Marc,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
Sorry to hear about the inconvenience, must have been an ordeal.

Pretty stressful couple of hours. On the plus side, it made clearing security seem like a breeze!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 8):
However I find it to be unacceptable that AA/BA treat the elites like this.

Thats what I mentioned to the guy on the phone.

Schweigend,

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
Thank you, Mr. White for an excellent report!

No problem,

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
Is it something that we could attribute to -- what? -- reservations glitch with the BA-AA codeshare? Most lame, in my opinion, especially since BA and AA have been partners for over two decades now. Hopefully, not too many other BA codeshare pax go through what you did.

Seemed like a lack of communication between BA/AA to me

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
The $250 voucher seems reasonable, but is it valid for use on AA only, or could you use it on BA?

I can use it on any OneWorld carrier, provided AA flies the international sector.

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
The photos of DCA were nice, and thanks especially for the v.v. nice pics of Chicago. What a city! What views!

Thanks,



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1843 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10932 times:

Hi James

Thanks for the interesting report. I really liked the pictures of Chicago. I've never been but it looks rather nice. The food pictures look rather tasty. Just out of curiosity, what on earth was that thing that looks like a cinnamon roll covered in melted cheese?

As for your ordeal with American Airlines, sounds like they really behaved disgracefully. Schedule changes happen f course, but at least they could have had the courtesy to inform you that you'd been rebooked to an earlier flight. It's always such a pity when something like this happens, but when you're on vacation it's worse because it kind of spoils the whole experience.

Thanks for posting. I look forward to the next installment.

Cheers,
William


User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2613 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 10761 times:

Hi James

Thanks for sharing your report and im sorry to hear about your experience with AA. So far, I haven't had such an experience like that with them or any other airline that ive flown. Hope you can put that voucher to good use 



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlineFshplns From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 10551 times:

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
Just out of curiosity, what on earth was that thing that looks like a cinnamon roll covered in melted cheese?

That is a Cinnabon. What looks like cheese is actually a very delicious frosting.


Chris


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 19 hours ago) and read 10377 times:

Hi James,

What an interesting writeup and stressful experience. I can’t figure out a sensible explanation about this mess up in your reservation. One would think that IT systems never make mistakes... not! Despite that, good to see you were able to get on the flight, albeit in a middle seat. AA does seem to have at least ‘some’ customer service as seen in the return letter you received upon your complaint.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once inside the terminal, I was surprised to see how airy it was

I love the station-esque feel about it.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I was supposed to be on a flight that left at around 15:00. It was now 16:30. I said that I was supposed to be on the 19:20, but she replied that I had been moved on to the previous flight – Great thanks for telling me!

This for sure must be an IT glitch.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Strange how the ground staff said the flight was empty.

Always take things things with a grain of salt   I guess all the standbys took the ‘empty’ seats.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Annoyingly, the seatmate that had the window seat spent the entire flight - pretty much right from boarding to disembarking reading her book. What a waste of a window!

I know the type of passenger. You didn’t bother to ask to switch seats?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I also feel that they missed the point slightly, as it mentioned me having issues with AA reservations – despite me going almost entirely through BA except at DCA when I dealt with the ground staff.

Indeed they have. Not a word on how the reservation mess has come. Still nice to get a travel voucher for a decent amount.

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 10 hours ago) and read 10088 times:

Yvan,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 12):
Thanks for sharing your report

No problem,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 12):
So far, I haven't had such an experience like that with them or any other airline that ive flown.

I havent experienced anything quite like that before. Sure, I've had delays, cancellations, rebookings etc but at least with all of those I had confirmed seats al all times.

William,

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
Thanks for the interesting report.

No problem,

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
've never been but it looks rather nice.

It was OK, but I seem to remember it bring better. Didn't find a huge amount to do, but maybe it was because I only had the one day there. Back when I was younger, I stayed in a hotel on the outskirts, my parents had a car, so really just a case of following their lead.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
Schedule changes happen f course, but at least they could have had the courtesy to inform you that you'd been rebooked to an earlier flight.

True, but according to BA who I booked through, I hadn't been rebooked, so nothing to inform me of.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
It's always such a pity when something like this happens, but when you're on vacation it's worse because it kind of spoils the whole experience.

Very true - I wouldn't say it ruined the entire trip, but there was a nagging doubt in the back of my mind for the rest of the week as to weather I'd have similar issues on the next batch of flights. Luckily I didn't.

Quoting Fshplns (Reply 13):
Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
Just out of curiosity, what on earth was that thing that looks like a cinnamon roll covered in melted cheese?

That is a Cinnabon. What looks like cheese is actually a very delicious frosting.

Well spotted!

Nils,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
What an interesting writeup and stressful experience.

Thanks,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
I can%u2019t figure out a sensible explanation about this mess up in your reservation.

I put it down to a lack of communication

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
Despite that, good to see you were able to get on the flight, albeit in a middle seat.

Me too! The one occasion where having a middle seat didn't bother me!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
I love the station-esque feel about it.

It's definitely very different to other US airports I'd been in. Shame I couldn't explore a bit more.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
This for sure must be an IT glitch.

Must have been.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
I know the type of passenger. You didn%u2019t bother to ask to switch seats?

No, as most of the flight was in darkness, and didn't want to disturb her.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 14):
Indeed they have. Not a word on how the reservation mess has come. Still nice to get a travel voucher for a decent amount.

As I said, it feels like they have missed the point. But $250 was very unexpected. I was expecting an apology at the



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9679 times:

Hello James! What an interesting story, what a mess. Glad everything worked out in the end though, but shame on AA for the treatment at DCA. DCA is a great airport indeed, a welcome change from the usual US airports. Loved the pics of Chicago too. Thanks for sharing!

User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1384 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9608 times:

Oh my, what a bad experience. This is crazy. I believe this has something to do with codeshares. Sometimes operating airlines rebook you, while martketing airline doesn't etc. But still inacceptable for a passenger, and also the treatment you have received by some of them is pretty bad.

However the reaction about their Customer Relations department was pretty good I think. 250 USD travel voucher for "no damage" in the end is pretty good, and a lot of airlines would have just send you an apology and that's it.

Thanks for sharing your trip anyway  


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27342 posts, RR: 60
Reply 18, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9488 times:

Hi James  

Remember following this at the time and how stressed you were. Really was crazy for AA to not take the situation and get it sorted instead of leaving you sweat to the end. What a waste of time when you should have been chilling and enjoying yourself.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Seem to remember PalmJet taking a particular liking to this one when I posted it on Facebook…

Oh yes but I dont think it was anything to do with the glass.    

Looking forward to the next part.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 9250 times:

Hi Robert,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
What an interesting story, what a mess.

Indeed!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
DCA is a great airport indeed, a welcome change from the usual US airports.

I know, It was very different to most.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
Loved the pics of Chicago too. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, no problem!

Frederic,

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
Oh my, what a bad experience.

It really was. Not what I wanted at all.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
This is crazy. I believe this has something to do with codeshares.

Apparently, but I've been on quite a few codeshares and flights booked through other airlines before and everything went smoothly.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
But still inacceptable for a passenger, and also the treatment you have received by some of them is pretty bad.

Thats what irritated me the most - their attitude was that I was late so that was that and no matter what I said, they were right.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
However the reaction about their Customer Relations department was pretty good I think. 250 USD travel voucher for "no damage" in the end is pretty good, and a lot of airlines would have just send you an apology and that's it.

True - I was only expecting an apology, and hoping to get some sort of explanation as to what actually happened.

Quoting reifel (Reply 17):
Thanks for sharing your trip anyway

Pleasure as always!

Philip,

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
Remember following this at the time and how stressed you were.

Very stressed! Took a good few hours to calm down from that one!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
Really was crazy for AA to not take the situation and get it sorted instead of leaving you sweat to the end.

Exactly - pretty sure it was BA that sorted it in the end.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
What a waste of time when you should have been chilling and enjoying yourself.

That was annoying. I'd planned to get to DCA a little early anyway as I'd seen it was good for viewing and had a couple of nice places to eat - all that went out the window though.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
Oh yes but I dont think it was anything to do with the glass.

I never said it was...



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinekann123air From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1015 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 8706 times:

Very well done TR! The AA 738 is one of my most favorite aircraft to fly on, but I have never tried Main Cabin Extra. I've either been all the way up front or all the way back, nowhere in the middle, haha  .

Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
During boarding near enough all the announcements were automated
Quoting WROORD (Reply 6):
Never heard that on AA.

Isn't it the stuff about placing your carry-on bag in the appropriate place and turning your cell phone off? I think it appears on the TV screens across the cabin too.....



Moving forward with the New American
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1224 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8399 times:

JW

Great report - sorry you had so many problems on this sector of the trip. I remember you mentioning all the hassles. I don't see why things were so messed up. I flew with BA/AA last year to the US and had 5 domestic sectors with AA, and no problems were experienced on any of them.

Interesting to read about some of your "interactions" with ground staff during all the hassles. Yikes. But I can't say that I am overly surprised.

Enjoyed the shots of Chicago too - it looks like a very cool city to visit.

Quote:
Seem to remember PalmJet taking a particular liking to this one when I posted it on Facebook…

Oh yeah - my favourite pic from the trip... or perhaps there were others (still to come)??!

Thanks again P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8243 times:

kann123air,

Quoting kann123air (Reply 20):
Very well done TR!

Thanks,

Quoting kann123air (Reply 20):
The AA 738 is one of my most favorite aircraft to fly on, but I have never tried Main Cabin Extra.

Would have been interesting to try out a normal Main Cabin Extra seat. Although Ideally I would have had a window...

Quoting kann123air (Reply 20):
I've either been all the way up front or all the way back, nowhere in the middle, haha  .

I would have preferred a bit further back. The seat that was allocated to the other J White would have suited - 22A.

Quoting kann123air (Reply 20):
Isn't it the stuff about placing your carry-on bag in the appropriate place and turning your cell phone off? I think it appears on the TV screens across the cabin too.....

Cant remember off the top of my head now. There weren't any automated announcements on my further flights with AA.


PalmJet,

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
Great report

Cheers!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
I don't see why things were so messed up. I flew with BA/AA last year to the US and had 5 domestic sectors with AA, and no problems were experienced on any of them.

I suspect there was another J White on the flight, but cant say for sure. All my other sectors went smoothly (At least as far as the booking went anyway).

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
Interesting to read about some of your "interactions" with ground staff during all the hassles.

None of them were particularly rude... just a little indifferent and unsympathetic!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
Enjoyed the shots of Chicago too - it looks like a very cool city to visit.

It was ok, but cant say it was one of my favourite places to visit. Probably wont be heading back any time soon.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 21):
Oh yeah - my favourite pic from the trip... or perhaps there were others (still to come)??!

Who knows! You seemed to like a lot of pics from that trip. And a certain arrangement of balloons from the VS inaugural...



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7674 times:

Hi James,

what a mess with AA you got, but good pictures and read. Gladly it all worked out in the end.

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1177 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 7655 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello James!

Finally got to reading part 3 here, sorry for the late reply!
Nevertheless another great report with some very nice pictures of Chicago, really enjoyed them!
Sorry to hear about that stressfull experience you had, the rude agents didn't help the situation at all! Glad to hear it all turned out well in the end  
Chicago sure is a great city, been there many times and I always enjoy it  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once inside the terminal, I was surprised to see how airy it was compared to most terminals in the US.
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
And also the fact it had landside windows!

DCA sure looks great, nice and high ceilings and spotter friendly

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I was asked for ID and handed the TSA agent my driving license. He looked at it confused and asked for my passport. He then gave that a confused look and said he had never seen one of these before and then let me proceed, but not before giving my standby ticket a strange look also

I have had many of those experiences with TSA myself, they sure aren't the brightest people out there!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
First place I headed off to was Union station to grab some breakfast.

Cinnabon! delicioius  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once of the favorite features of the Willis tower is the skyledge

No thank you!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
And as a final comment, I filed a complaint to American Airlines upon my return to the UK about the issues encountered on this sector, and the general attitude with their ground staff. A few days later I received a pretty long-winded email:

Good to see they handled it pretty well, instead of the usual automatic reply some airlines use! AA sure are trying their best to be better and I sure hope they succeed  

Thanks for sharing and looking forward to part 4!

cheers,

Brendan


25 PlaneHunter : Hi James, very interesting report about your faulty AA experience. Bad to hear how you were treated, what a mess. At least you got that voucher. Btw -
26 jwhite9185 : Eric, You could say that... Thanks, Me too - There was a slight feeling of relief when I got into my room in Chicago. Brendan, No rush! Thanks, Well t
27 ba319-131 : Hi James, Good to catch up with the next instalment, shame it was not 'smooth' travelling mind. - I'm in love with DCA now! - How bloody odd!! - Grr!!
28 jwhite9185 : Hi Mark, True, but I guess it made for a more interesting read! I'd say it was actually better landside than airside. A case of 'computer says no' I t
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