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AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:09 am
by amtravels
Lifelong AA flyer here. Plat on AA last year; 1K on United this year. I struggle to understand how and why AA is so bad at communicating with its customers.

Today was a reminder of why I, sadly, try to avoid them. I flew LGA-DFW-ICT on AA — a route that I typically fly weekly on United (substituting DFW for IAH or ORD depending on the week). The first flight left LGA late with no explanation as to why. The second leg was delayed incrementally and once we finally boarded, we sat at the gate for 40 minutes again with no explanation.

I’m not sure about other airlines, but United has a whole group of people dedicated to updating passengers as to when and WHY they are delayed (see BMB video at :22 here: https://youtu.be/HOfuVjszDZw). I do not understand why AA hasn’t been able to devote the resources to do the same. Simply telling the customer WHY their flight is delayed can do wonders to improve their attitude towards gate agents, fellow passengers, and American as an airline.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:52 am
by Miamiairport
Agreed AA is not good at communicating delays, and was that way pre merger. I fly AA every week and sitting at the gate past departure time (when the app says the flight has departed) with no explanation from the Captain is not uncommon. It seems as though after 20 minutes or so the a/c finally pushes back or there's a delay notification pushed to my phone which then is followed by an official announcement from the Captain. It seems as though the pilots aren't even properly informed.I suspect the same with GAs that don't feel inclined to make an announcement until they're told something from Operations.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:56 am
by EFHK
Who even cares, or needs a reason for delays less than 20 minutes?

It's aviation. Delays less than 30 minutes are non-events, unless you have a connecting flight to catch.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:56 pm
by amtravels
Miamiairport wrote:
Agreed AA is not good at communicating delays, and was that way pre merger. I fly AA every week and sitting at the gate past departure time (when the app says the flight has departed) with no explanation from the Captain is not uncommon. It seems as though after 20 minutes or so the a/c finally pushes back or there's a delay notification pushed to my phone which then is followed by an official announcement from the Captain. It seems as though the pilots aren't even properly informed.I suspect the same with GAs that don't feel inclined to make an announcement until they're told something from Operations.


Exactly. In my case yesterday, the captains of both flights were mum about why were delayed. Passengers in the cabin were quite annoyed.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:01 pm
by iflyalexair
EFHK wrote:
Who even cares, or needs a reason for delays less than 20 minutes?

It's aviation. Delays less than 30 minutes are non-events, unless you have a connecting flight to catch.


The OP did have a flight to catch. Also, this isn't in enroute delay. Sitting at a gate, with no information, with no idea of when the unexplain delay will end is certainly anxiety inducing and easily remedied with a simple annoucement.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:06 pm
by catiii
EFHK wrote:
Who even cares, or needs a reason for delays less than 20 minutes?

It's aviation. Delays less than 30 minutes are non-events, unless you have a connecting flight to catch.


According to the DOT, delays less than 14 minutes are non events. 14-20? That's a different story...

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:11 pm
by AMALH747430
EFHK wrote:
Who even cares, or needs a reason for delays less than 20 minutes?

It's aviation. Delays less than 30 minutes are non-events, unless you have a connecting flight to catch.


The paying passengers sitting on a plane parked at the gate 20 minutes past departure wtime ith no information...

I agree this is a chronic problem with AA. If my flight is delayed on UA I usually get a push notification through the app that includes the reason for the delay. WN flight and ground crews are (usually) good about making announcements. AA is a different ball of wax. My colleagues and I have many examples of delayed AA flights where no announcement is made and gate agents are completely in the dark about the delay.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:27 pm
by kabq737
Yup. I definitely think it’s a pretty chronic issue.

On my most recent trip with AA we sat 35 minutes past scheduled pushback time before we were informed that maintenance was on the way to look at our A321.

Being a pilot myself and a pretty reasonable person I would be understanding of this if kept in the loop. I get it. Airplanes break. I just wish they would communicate that to their passengers when it happens as it gets very annoying not knowing especially when you have something very important to do at your destination (as I did that day).

Based off of my reading here and my other trips with AA it doesn’t appear that this is an isolated incident.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:51 pm
by AirMatt
I'm a lifetime gold flyer with AA and have always been updated when there's been a delay. I can't think of a time I was ever on a plane (any airline for that matter) where there was no communication when delayed.

Counting my lucky stars......I'm probably due.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:00 pm
by kbmiflyer
I would argue if they could actually reduce their maintenance delays communication issues would be less of a problem :)

That said, another example from last night. On 5989 DFW-BMI. Our 6:57 flight delayed till 7:15, no big deal. Poor new GA is trying to handle questions, with the help of a trainer. Boarding time of 6:45 comes and goes and not one announcement from ground staff. I know from app that our arrival plane is delayed from BHM and will arrive at 6:50.

App updates the flight time to 7:22, again, no big deal. Finally at 7:00 she does the standard "welcome to flight" announcement that she was supposed to do 40 minutes before boarding. She then starts boarding process like normal.

Fast forward 25 minutes to 7:25, we are now on board and FA announces boarding is complete. Captain comes on and says we are ready to go but we have a "quick" maintenance issue with a broken overhead bin, and we should be on our way in a "few minutes". Not 60 second later, the AA app updates our departure time to 8:00.

Maintenance lucky arrives quickly and applies duct tape to the broken bin (not kidding), typical 10 minutes of paperwork follows and we finally leave at 7:45. Luckily we have a good tailwind and only land about 20 minutes late, so the flight delay was not terrible, but the lack of communication by AA was once again apparent.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:13 pm
by MSPNWA
Whenever I've been delayed on AA, they've been very good at providing the reason and the outlook. Obviously UA is the one with reason in the app though.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:19 am
by amtravels
kabq737 wrote:
Yup. I definitely think it’s a pretty chronic issue.

On my most recent trip with AA we sat 35 minutes past scheduled pushback time before we were informed that maintenance was on the way to look at our A321.

Being a pilot myself and a pretty reasonable person I would be understanding of this if kept in the loop. I get it. Airplanes break. I just wish they would communicate that to their passengers when it happens as it gets very annoying not knowing especially when you have something very important to do at your destination (as I did that day).

Based off of my reading here and my other trips with AA it doesn’t appear that this is an isolated incident.


I agree with you completely. I think passengers would be a lot more understanding of delays if they were told what was going on, why, and maybe even given an approximation for how long they can expect the delay to last.

I only fly UA and AA with a random WN or DL flight here or there a couple times a year. Are all airlines as bad with delay communication as AA? I have to say, the poor communication was certainly a factor in me switching FF programs and from a training standpoint, it seems like a pretty easy problem to solve...

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:53 am
by OneX123
Does communication always make it to the gate agent (I do believe it should).

I'm a happy AA FF but was very annoyed one flight from ATL-ORD. We were delayed one hour and when I politely approached the counter and asked if he knew why we were delayed (aircraft was at the gate), the agent (clearly annoyed) pointed to the screen behind the counter and said the one hour delay was due to a fast approaching t-storm at ORD. I was honestly amazed/quite irked at his answer as the storm was still in South Dakota.

We boarded one hour later and the pilot announced the delay was due to AA trying to 'catch-up' on delays due to early morning storms that day at ORD. it was now 8pm EST and the pilot confirmed the weather was nice at ORD and would be nice and smooth our whole trip up.

Re: AA’s Communication Problem

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:50 am
by txjim
This issue does go back many years. In the 90s, every delay was exactly 10 minutes. "We'll be boarding in 10 minutes." 10 minutes later: "We'll be boarding in 10 minutes." Repeat over and over.