I've flown AA about 9 RT since I got hired by them last June and 2 times before that in my entire life. I always thought that they sucked because the had a bad CEO and constant labor problems, they bought poor Reno Air, and what really took the cake was fighting the Jetstream one afternoon on a ORD-SFO Super 80 back in 1994 which lasted about 5.5 hours. That hurt. So I always ascociated them with bad things. Pretty easily to manage...it's all psychology. But after working with them and seeing first hand how many hundreds of AA personnel I know of, and that we all share the same common thread...make this the best damn flight for our passengers, and if they got bumped from UA's CXL ORD flight, we really have to stick it to them. No, but seriously, AA is really trying hard these days to wow all the doubters from the 90s. Every single one of my non-rev flights to date have been suberb. Flights into and out of ORD have always been early...the outstations i've been to have a similar track record. Even LaGarbage has been good to me the 3 times I have been there (once during the summer...and we all know how the summer was there, and twice over the Christmas holiday). I've flown postive space only once since June 2000, and unfortunately is was a pretty horrifying experience. But AA was in no way, to blame.
We were on our A300 from JFK-SDQ (Santo Domingo, D.R.) back in August, and the plane was late getting to the gate...it showed up about 45 minutes after posted departure time cuz it was in the MX hangar. So we boarded, blah blah blah. The crew was finishing up there pre-departure checks when a problem arose with the climate control system. One of the valves wouldn't open. They said it wasn't a flight-threatening situation, but we wouldn't have any A/C when we landed in the hot-ass Caribbean. The Captain said that they would fix it, and 45 minutes later we were ready to shut the main cabin doors again. We pushed back, and started No.1, this time, the engine bleed valve which sucks in a sufficient amount of air to get the turbines going, which then turns the bypass fan and compressors, would not close. This was more sensitive to the safety of the flight, so we deplaned because they didn't know how long it would take to fix. So there we were, about 270 angry Dominicans (-1, which was me) at gate 40-something at the first port of entry in the United States in the height of the travel season with no plane to take us on our vacation. To make a long story short, we had to suffer 14 hours at that airport because sometimes, airplanes have bad days and don't feel like working for you. AA was very courteous even in dealing with some of the most trifling behavior I have seen from an aircraft full of adults. In the end we each got vouchers and several coupons to eat whatever was in the concourse.
Basically it's like this: don't hate the player, hate the game. Understand that consequences suck, and be prepared to be inconvienced. AA's aircraft have Pratt and Whitney, Rollys Royce, and GE engines, not Carnot engines...they are not 100% efficient. The weather is the biggest reason for delays in the entire world. Flight attendants, gate agents, and flight crews are humans, not robots. We have feelings too. And of course, something that should not even need to be said....AA is in it for the MONEY! They are an airline, and every airline who is any airline makes money their top priority no matter what they say. All you corporate america people who work on the 50th floor have to have SOME idea of economics. The whole industry is a gritty and grimy one, and AA is just making sure it doesn't fall behind on the power curve.