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AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:53 am

Does anyone find that AA has bad customer service when you call in and try to reserve something on the phone? All of my experiences, trying to reserve award travel have all been a mess because of the agents attitudes and the way they handle things.

RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:57 am

I can't say that I've ever had a problem with the elite lines. I've found the folks to be especially helpful and insightful.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:06 am

Seems a little vague to me--everybody has customer service problems, it's just whether or not you catch them.... The phone companies are worse.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:09 am

It all depends on who answers the phone. I have had some of the best customer service people in the WORLD when I call AA, and other times I have had the biggest, bad-attitude bastards you can imagine. In a company that large, you're going to get all kinds. It's just the luck of the draw.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:13 am

The only time that I feel I had good c/s from AA was when I called to book some tickets with a bereavement fare. Every other time they were way too pushy in trying to get me to buy right then or seemed to not care that I was on the other end of the phone. I mean, I'm no super frequent flyer on AA, but I am a paying customer.

United 717 heavy, you're facing the wrong way. Any chance you can powerback to get off of my deice pad?

RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:17 am

I will say that I've noticed on the especially great calls I've had with AA that it's when I've phoned in with a specific request. Plus having a knowledge of how things work and a working knowledge of Sabre helps me tell them specifically what I need. Usually gets things resolved very quickly and friendly.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:31 am

We can't please everyone... out of the 7.3 million passengers boarded last month then factor in the number of people that had a contact with AA; someone is bound to complain.

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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:41 am

I usually don't let it affect me too much, and sometimes they're even a little chatty--in a friendly way.

The only thing that really gets me is when I'm asking to check flights into various airports (ie, "I can fly into SNA, LGB, OR LAX) and there are loud sighs on the other end of the phone.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:03 am

I have never had a problem once I talk to someone. In fact, they are very accomodating.

But, try to get someone! I usually have to call the normal # since I'm not AA Gold, etc. I still haven't figured out how to get someone right away - just wade through tons of voice prompts!! Ugh! Can't tell you how many times I had to hang up and try another option to see if I could get someone.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:07 am

American Airlines have one of the worst Customer Service Agent. From the Reservation to ticket counters. They are rude and nasty. Some of those agent really need to retire. American at LAX is the worst. Any airlines at LAX would avoid using AA when they have cancelled flight or delay, or even using their aircraft to expedite bags. You think New Yorkers was bad.....Try AA at LAX. I know this for a fact. We codeshares with them. I feel sorry for One World....
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:12 am

I've never had an unpleasant experience dealing with an AA CSR or any other AA employee for that matter. Now, there was that one time in 1994 that a F/A yelled at me, but that was just because I was being a little 14-year-old shit.

As far as AA customer service policies go, I was pretty impressed when recently, due to weather and an airport diversion, I arrived five or six hours late on a flight to Miami. Well, I arrived back home, checked my email and I had an email from AA apologizing for the delay and giving me 5,000 AAdvantage miles, even though I had neither complained nor been particularly bothered by the delay (it's not like it was their fault, right?)

The impression I've gotten from them lately has generally been one of friendliness and pride, so the short answer is that, no, I don't think AA suffers from bad customer service, and certainly not worse than any other airline I've dealt with.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:16 am

My gripe with AA is not necessarily their customer service but their lack of agents in check-in areas. I fly them on a regular basis for company business and need to have paper ticket for now(until next year when we will implement bilateral e-ticketing agreements) and sometimes the lines at LGA are tremendous and only 2 check-in agents.

I know that the trend is towards e-ticketing and yes most people use e-ticketing but Im still surprised when i see the lines and only a couple of agents checking in. The same has happened to me in Seattle and Chicago.
Visca Barça!!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:20 am

Personally speaking, we have only had the best service from AA
I've/we've been calling them for many years. They have been un-failingly helpful and friendly.

Clear skies to all,

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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:29 pm

My recent experience with AA was not memorable.
I was scheduled to fly from SJC to DFW and then to SDF.
I arrived at the check-in counter only to find that American had rescheduled the flight earlier by 14 minutes. This put me inside their 30 minute check-in interval for checked baggage and they wouldn't allow us on the flight.
So instead of a 50 minute layover at DFW, I got to wander around for over 5 hours. The agent stated that American is not obligated to inform ticketed passengers of schedule changes of under a certain time interval.
I think that that is a poor excuse for lousy communications.
Oh yes, I think I forgot to mention that I am recovering from a broken leg and I'm a little slow is getting around.
SLC is not a good place to try to get to the gate. The drop off for the rental bus results in a 1/4 mile or longer hike (there are electric carts, but you can't tell how to find one very easily) to get to the counter (no curbside check in).
We were also informed that we should have planned to check in 1 1/2 hours early. At SDF, the time interval is 1 hour; yet no one informed us of SLC's requirement.
I will probably have to fly AA in the future, but it won't be by choice.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:36 pm

I don't recall every having had bad customer service from AA, anywhere, even as a non-rev (back in them days). Everywhere I've flown AA (LHR, LGW, BOS, JFK, ORD, DEN, DFW, BZE, MIA, SJU, STT, SFO, RDU) they were always helpful and friendly, even when they've been busy at a gate desk or check-in. Same on the phone, they have always been great.

[Edited 2003-11-05 13:45:46]

[Edited 2003-11-05 13:47:22]
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at, losers
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:44 pm

Training and the treatment that each customer receives should be consistent....
Great Lakes, great life.
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American 767
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 9:55 pm

I never had myself a major problem with American, except maybe loosing once my luggages and getting them two days later. But I wasn't upset for that, the agents were helpful in tracking my luggages and since then I get along well with them. I've been flying American regularly for years and they always treated me right on the ground and in the air. I'm happy with them.
Everything I've read in all of the above posts could happen with any airline, not just American.
Have a safe flight wherever your may go.  Smile

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium
Ben Soriano
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:55 pm

I've never telephoned AA but all I can tell you is that I have flown with them on two occasions in the last two years between JFK and MIA and they have been the worst flights I have ever taken. The flight attendants in particular were awful. They were untidy and surly and gave the impression that they just wanted to get the whole thing over and done with and go home. One of the male attendants was similar to a ex-marine and he was so muscular that he could not even close the top button of his shirt nor do his tie up. He spoke so quickly and in a gruff voice over the PA system that it was almost as bad as rail station announcements in the UK. In other words he was difficult to understand. What a joy it was at either end of those journeys to step into a BA Club World cabin for some real service!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:12 pm

I wonder how the notion that flight attendants are not allowed to have a bad day got started? People act surprised that every once in awhile a flight attendant does have a joker's smile pasted on their face, a wonderful disposition and a get up and go approach to finding a place for you to put your bags, pick up your trash and cater to your every need. If I had a dollar for everyone of you out there that had a bad day at work - THIS WEEK- I could take the rest of the week off. We need to back off flight crews. They have it tough right now, and their job is not easy, especially on a bad day.

That being said, you get good service and bad service everywhere you go. AA777FirstClass has it right, it just matters on which day you catch them. I myself have more often than not had excellent service from everyone at AA. From the time I got a complimentary bump to first class on flight 70 from DFW to FRA, to the myriad of times I have been bailed out by the staff of an Admirals Club - I feel like they are always trying to help make my travel experience better.

But lets be honest Viscount. Critiquing a flight attendant b/c he is muscular is insane. Everyone has good and bad days, and if your job were as public as theirs, you might know what it is like too.
See you up front!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 12:48 am

You know what Azncsa4QF744ER, If your going to comment (very generalized) on how hard it is to work with AA in LAX; you guys are not that great to work with either, and I'm not talking about just LAX.

But, on a positive note (don't want to seem to negative), I always have both positive and negative experiences when working with other airlines.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:15 am

I will always fly AA, and have had great service most of the time. Especially from the Dallas crews.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:25 am

this one is to AIR757200.....  Nuts  Nuts

The Worldwide personnel(AA) I deal with are great people and good employees. Their counter is right next to ours and whenever we(TZ) have any problems they always help our customers get to their destinations(as long as they have seats).

I'm sure you will always find a bad apple working at different airlines or airports. Also, you have to expect that airport employees have more tha their share of bad days dealing with delays and cancellations.


 Nuts  Nuts
KNUK, KNUK, KNUK woowoowoo
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 1:57 am

I've generally had good experiences dealing with AA personnel. The nicest agent did a big favor for us this spring. My wife and I were on our way to SEA, because we were adopting a baby and the birth mother had gone into labor.

Understanding that time was of the essence, the agent was able to move us from the last row (31 on an MD-80) to row 8, despite the kiosk at the ticket counter showing all seats assigned.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:15 am

AA has been really good to me, too. When I call in the people are direct but willing to help. I recently got a pretty good refund on a ticket and I usually get whatever I ask for if I'm nice to them and have done my homework beforehand. But as far as ticket agents go, they are like anyone else - they gauge how you are acting and usually act accordingly. I love to travel to whenever I'm about to go somewhere I'm usually ina good mood and that helps the situation. But ticket agents in BOS, ORD, DFW, LGA, etc. have all been to-the-point but very accommodating and try to help.

However, one of the local sportscasters in Dallas recently was roasted by alot of the Dallas area big hitters, and he tried to get a refund/transfer/credit on tickets for his ailing (cancer) mother and elderly father. He said that AA couldn't/wouldn't do anything to help - his mom couldn't get credit, a refund, travel the same route later or next year, he couldn't transfer the tix into his name or anything. This is not good to do to a member of the media, who was not so shy about bashing the crap out of them. I'm not sure if this situation was just a policy that couldn't be changed or what, but wouldn't this count as bereavement in some sort? It seems like they could do something, atleast give the mother credit for a future flight.

I like AA, and not just because I live in Dallas and it's soooo convenient. It's a huge corporation with thousands of employees, so if one or two are having bad days that sux that some people take that perception and base a whole opinion on it. I say give these airlines a few chances and if they continue to suck, THEN form your opinion. My $.02.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 2:59 am


You folks at TZ are a nice bunch;

I use to work for ATA Leisure Corp. a few years ago before it was dismantled back to just ATA Vacations. If the airline had a DTW CSA base, I think I would be working there now.  Smile

...and I still get some of the mailings for ATA.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:20 am

AA7573E, what are you trying to say? I disagree with you. FA's CAN'T have bad day. They are representing company, they are working on the flights which they get paid for. They supposed to be friendly.
And don't give me that crap that if you would get one dollar for each of us having bad day at work.
Yes, I'm having lots of bad days at work, but I don't show that to my company's customers.
I am representing my company on the front line everyday. If I would act like a 12yo in an adult body they would kick my ass and I would end up in unemployment line.

What do they teach new FAs?
1. Customer is always right.
2. Suck up to customers
3. Smile smile and smile again.

I know that FAs are in the aircraft "only" for your safety. But when they serve you that half a glass of Coke they should smile. Is that impossible?
If Johny D. had unplesant service on XXX flight he wont come back to fly with XXX again. He will choose ZZZ or YYY.
XXX will be loosing customers, which means lost profit. Then they will start reducing labor costs, cutting employees and then member will complain that XXX just laid off another batch of 1500 employees from the hub city.
This is like a chain reaction. People will only fly to places on airlines where there is good customer service and where every employee is doing their best with huge smiles on their faces trying to pamper passangers.

You know what if funny. I purchased a ticket on a flight to Europe and I shared this news in one of the topics about UAL customer service. The ticket I purchused was on Delta. One of the raplays says: "Rafal,
Thanks, from an employee, for going with DL. Hope all goes well!"
Its always nice to hear someting like that.

Coming back to AA customer service. I have flown on AA twice and twice I had problems with CSA. Inflight service was very nice, but what I have experienced on the ground was beyond my expectation. (And I am very tolerant person).
You can see in this case that I would like to fly again with AA because of excellent inflight service. But I wont fly with AA again because of terrible experience with AA check in agents.

Take care,

[Edited 2003-11-05 19:40:12]
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:15 am

No we are taught to stand there and be a punching bag, verbally and physically. See we are mechanical animals, with no emotions. We do not need to eat, do not need to sleep, use the bathroom, hell why even pay us. Get over it, Flight Crews are human too. Yes, they have a bad day, and sometimes they do not smile, its hard when you have been bitched at all day long because after 2 years people cannot quite figure out why they are not getting a meal on a 2hour flight. I like my job, and try to treat everyone with respect, but I have had my fair share of bad days. Remember that the next time one of you loses your cool with someone.. As for the comment about the flight attendant that was muscular, how dare you critisize someone for actually taking care of their body! Now it is not that the flight attendant was fat, it is that they are too muscular, gotta love it!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:28 am


I second your emotion. It is very easy to sit behind the keyboard and be critical of anyone's performance at their job. It is a whole different thing entirely to work a four day trip with three legs a day, and manage to keep the smile you so badly want when these guys get their bevs and pretzels.

I'll say it again, if I had a dollar for every bad day that all non airline employees had, and another dollar for each time they walked down to their buddy's office, the water cooler or the smoking lounge to lament, vent and express their anger - I would not have to work. Don't act like it does not happen, b/c you know it does. Flight crews are captive, and don't have that luxury. They are not there to serve at your pleasure, they are there to provide you with the safest and most comfortable trip as possible. But don't hold a bad day against them.

Lindy I think you missed my point. Everyone has bad days. It could be America West or Singapore Air, you are going to get good and bad service wherever you go. No one is perfect. To expect that all three cabin crew, and both pilots on your MD80 flight from DFW to MCO (or wherever) are going to be in a great mood everytime you walk on that plane - is a bit out there. Give them their due. You have bad days, and when you do you want understanding, not a punch in the stomach.
See you up front!
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:56 am

I agree with AA77MIA and AA7573E, everyone has a bad day. We're all humans that have emotions, and while Lindy does point out that "They [FAs]are representing company...they supposed to be friendly" this might be true, but honestly, everyone, in every work environment has a bad day now and then. It's always easy to point out the shortcomings of others, but honestly, no one is perfect. Some days are more stressful than others, and I feel for FA's, working in that tube for hours at a time, dealing with irate passengers, come on, at some point everyone is going to have a bad day in that atmosphere.

People just expect too much from others, and not just people in the airline industry, but anywhere you go. Everyone is entitled to a bad day now and then.

As for this thread about AA and their customer service, well, I can't complain. I've had good service with American when I've flown with them. Granted I've never called in to schedule a flight, but for the most part, the staff has been friendly. I have had some people that haven't been the friendliest, but instead of over-reacting, I think about how would I feel if I were in the same situation, and think, I could easily stress out too. Therefore, I don't let it affect me, I just go about my life.

Go AA.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 6:38 am

You know, if a CSA treats you badly, get the name from the name tag and write to customer service. A friend of mine works for AA, and he has told me that letters of complaint or compliment go into personnel files.

If a CSA has a file with several letters complimenting his or her performance, that is taken into consideration for annual reviews and promotions. And if there are letters complaining of bad service, that will have the opposite effect.

Unfortunately, we are not as civil a society as we used to be. Part of the reason that we have rude service is because we, as customers, are rude. Since the CSA wasn't the person who decided to cancel a flight, why take it out on him? The F/A doesn't make the catering decisions, so why give her an earful?

A little humor goes a long way. I've had CSAs that have given me upgrades because I may have been the first person who, rather than gripe, actually made an amusing comment.

Customer service people do read letters. Several years ago, my wife was early in a pregnancy. She asked an AA F/A if she could put her wheeled bag in the First Class closet. The F/A told her no, and that she should ask another passenger to help her put her bag in the overhead.

I sent a letter to AA, angry not only as the spouse of a passenger, but as an AMR shareholder that an F/A would take that attitude. I got a letter from Customer Service that not only expressed sincere apologies for the F/A's behavior, but indicated that the scenario would be included in future F/A training.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:05 am

If somebody is willing to host for me a jpg picture (maximum size 250kb) for couple of days, I will show you what kind of brainiacs work in American Airlines Customer service.

BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:24 am


I agree, get the name and write a letter, but do not generalize. As far as when your wife was traveling, perhaps the way the flight attendant phrased what she meant was wrong. Bags in F/C closets are a tricky thing. Sometimes and some planes they can go in there others, they cannot. Regulations says bags can stand and not be stacked, so there are times that they cannot go in there. Also flight attendants are not to lift bags, but find space for them. Stupid! YES! Do you know if we have an injury due to lifting a passengers bag, we are not covered? How logical huh... Who looks bad, the flight attendant, her/his fault, not really. Does the passenger understand, usually not. Rock and a hard place, yes...

RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 7:36 am

I'd be more than happy to host a picture for you. Please e-mail it to the address in my profile.
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RE: AA-Bad Customer Service?

Thu Nov 06, 2003 5:51 pm

OK guys let me just say for the record that my job has been as public as any FA for all my career and still is. I have worked in the hospitality industry all my life and I am now a trainer in customer care in the tourism industry. I have done jobs ranging from waiter to hotel manager etc.

In my book, however bad your day is, you can never stop smiling and being nice to your customers. Your personal problems have to stay at home.

As for my comments about an FA being muscular - there is no problem with this so long as he or she makes sure that the uniform sizes provided fit properly. If any of my customer service employees turned up with a shirt that is two collar sizes too small and a tie that is not done up he or she would have to go away and get it right! As for service announcements. Are most of these not designed to inform passengers on safety issues? If you are going to have a job where you have to speak to people then certain skills are necessary.

Granted it may be argued that it would be unfair of me to judge AA on two flights. But in my book that is two flights too many! I have flown with other airlines many times and the incidence of bad customer service is very low. In my time I have flown with, BA, GB Airways, Iberia, Air France, BMI, Delta, US, America West, Transavia, Crossair etc and not once have I had an experience such as on AA. Oh yes and of course I do have a business we are all tied to global alliances and business bookings. In my case both of my flights were on business where I did not have choice.

I rest my case.

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