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southwest1675
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Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:54 pm

I’ve flown countless flights on AA since the US merger, and have had a lot of good experiences. However, it seems like many people can’t say the same. I know no airline is perfect, but I have always been under the notion that AA isn’t first choice to many business and leisure travelers. I know a lot of this has to do with frequent flyer plans, and personal preferences, but I can simply say I don’t think American is as bad as people make them to be. I’ve had many good experiences with helpful employees, clean aircraft, and reliable service. I did have a maintenance delay last summer, but what airline doesn’t have one of those? I do think other carriers like DL are going the extra mile to improve the customer experience, but I believe AA could/should do the same. That won’t happen unless they have a big management change. I do think Doug Parker should step down because he’s really holding back the potential of a solid airline. I’m sure it’s been discussed before, but what are your thoughts?
Herb Kelleher 1931-2019
 
RICBWI
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:58 pm

I find AA very transactional.....I've never had a bad experience (I bad above the average on AA) but compared to Delta or even UA, to a lesser extent, it is a less polished product with less enthusiastic employees.

As you allude to they don't do anything to go the extra mile, but they are fine.
 
IFlyVeryLittle
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:10 pm

Helpful employees, clean aircraft and reliable service. In other words, they did their jobs. Not trying to be a wiseguy here, but this is the threshold now for praise?
 
NYCSKYGUY
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:13 pm

They are a commodity. If you live in one of their hubs or you have some frequent flyer status with them you fly them. Otherwise if the they’re the cheapest you take them. Nothing particularly special going on .
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:14 pm

AA is an airline that will get you from A to B but not make the experience memorable or even very pleasurable. American has the best hubs IMO and has the best combo of a solid domestic and international network but the onboard product absolutely kills them. The interiors on even the newer jets look dated compared to Delta combined with employees that are demotivated leaves a lot to be desired when flying with them. It feels like on the domestic side that they are slowly morphing into an ULCC rather than a major carrier.

I have no problems flying with AA but there are some changes that need to be made in order to bring American back to being a legacy carrier.
 
EMB170
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:14 pm

I have friends who fly for AA and I know that they go the extra mile to help passengers...like one FA who noticed that a little girl left her teddy bear behind on a flight into PHL, found out where the family was connecting on to, and raced down to their connecting gate to find the family so that the little girl wouldn't be without it.

I also have friends who fly for UA and DL who do the same thing, day in, day out. I'm not sure what it is as I don't work for an airline, but if I had to guess, I'd say that DL (and to an extent UA) empower their employees to do this- and encourage passengers to shine a light on employees who go above and beyond for them. DL, in particular, frequently has Instagram stories where they encourage customers to share out their experiences.
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southwest1675
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:41 pm

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Helpful employees, clean aircraft and reliable service. In other words, they did their jobs. Not trying to be a wiseguy here, but this is the threshold now for praise?


I mention it because I’ve heard some stories on not just Anet of people saying AA has miserable employees, dirty cabins, and horrible on-time performance.
Herb Kelleher 1931-2019
 
dfwjim1
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:55 pm

I fly on AA fairly often and lately I have noticed that their flight attendants have been much nicer and helpful than in the past.
 
FriscoHeavy
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:00 pm

Are they perfect? No.

Are they half as bad as a lot of people on here make them out to be? Absolutely not.

People like the drama of saying how bad something is, unfortunately.
Whatever
 
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LH748
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:29 am

Tbh, I can't quite understand the bad reputation AA got among customers. Had several domestic and TATL flights with them and they've always provided a decent product and good customer service.
Even when my bag got damaged and they offered a repair service which I couldn't use because I was doing a road trip I was reimbursed for the price of a new bag.
Delta in comparison has completely ignored multiple messages about a similar bag situation and flat out lied to me about their responsibility (one customer agent claimed Air France would be in charge of all international customers even if they flew Delta). Ever since I try to avoid Delta because of their ridiculous customer service.
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IPFreely
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:58 am

southwest1675 wrote:
I’ve flown countless flights on AA since the US merger, and have had a lot of good experiences. However, it seems like many people can’t say the same.


Who are the people who can't say the same? If you go by posters on here, AA would be flying with 1% load factors and would be going out of business tomorrow because of the rotting hell that customers endure on their planes and in their terminals. Most of these posters are fanboys of other airlines and have rarely, if ever, flown AA. (Ironically one of the biggest fanboys doesn't even fly, not even on his own beloved airline!)

Is AA perfect? No, but they're on the same level as all their competitors. I would go by your own experiences and not the made-up experiences of anonymous posters with warped agendas.
 
RJNUT
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:20 am

their domestic 1st class food service is better than DL's , I can attest after three trips on both recently.
 
speedbird52
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:31 am

Isn't long haul AA Business nation leading? I have never flown long haul on a US carrier so can't comment.
 
max999
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:30 am

The most profitable customers for the airlines are the frequent business travelers. Those who pay high fares week after week. I was one of those travelers for three years so I can speak from experience.

The thing that frequent business travelers value above anything else is to get to their destination on time reliably and consistently with as few delays and cancellations as possible. And if there are disruptions, the airline should fix the problems as efficiently as possible. It's just plain operational reliability.

Delta exceeds in this and American not so much. Looking at the publicly available on time and cancellation stats, Delta is at the top and American near the bottom consistently.

Time is money. Me and my fellow coworkers agreed that Delta does the best job at getting us to our destinations on time. American has a reputation, proven by data, that they can be disruptive to the schedules of their most profitable customers.
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PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:08 pm

If you have ever experienced IRROPS at DFW, you wouldn't have to ask the question.

Flight crew: total professionals. If you are lucky enough to actually get on board an aircraft, these people have been wonderful.

Ground crew: either survivors of the zombie apocalypse, fleeing the airport in an every-person-for-themselves mentality, or zombies just figuring out how to move their limbs. Every evening connection I have made there has been with IRROPS, and every time it has been a disaster thanks to uncaring and fleeing employees. In fact, since 2007, I have never NOT experienced an IRROPS, much less an avoidable one. I will NEVER fly through DFW again unless it is the only conceivable way to get to my destination.
 
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chepos
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:31 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
If you have ever experienced IRROPS at DFW, you wouldn't have to ask the question.

Flight crew: total professionals. If you are lucky enough to actually get on board an aircraft, these people have been wonderful.

Ground crew: either survivors of the zombie apocalypse, fleeing the airport in an every-person-for-themselves mentality, or zombies just figuring out how to move their limbs. Every evening connection I have made there has been with IRROPS, and every time it has been a disaster thanks to uncaring and fleeing employees. In fact, since 2007, I have never NOT experienced an IRROPS, much less an avoidable one. I will NEVER fly through DFW again unless it is the only conceivable way to get to my destination.


You are extremely unlucky if you experience IRROPS everytime you fly through DFW (since 2007).

Based on the accounts by some here that seem to regularly vent, I guess I must count my lucky stars that on my SJU-PHX-SJU (via CLT) trip last week I made it to and from in one piece and on time on AA.


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CV990A
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:16 pm

A DC-based AA FF here - with one exception where I flew Spirit (1/4 the price of AA all-in and a N/S flight vs. a CLT layover on a holiday weekend) - I've only flown AA for the past 6+ years. From my experience AA is a fine airline, but when IRROPS happen, things do tend to go to hell in a handbasket (especially at DFW, but CLT's no picnic either).

That said, I can think of many times when agents at DCA, DFW, CLT, MHT, and STL have all gone above and beyond in these situations to re-route me in the way that is most beneficial to me, not the airline. And yes, I've encountered some of the nicest, friendliest F/As on their planes and also some of the grumpiest F/As.

In the end, they're average - they've got good days and bad days, but they are a convenient option that gets me where I need to go when I need to go. And I miss the MD-80s already.
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DeltaConnection
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:00 am

As my username tells, I mainly fly Delta however most of the other time I find myself on AA, and other than maybe a grouchy gate agent here or there I have never had an unpleasant experience or even "eh" experience on them. I've found their employees to be helpful and cheerful. If one of my flights with them is delayed/cancelled, I get re-booked with no problem and they always give a reason for why it happened like Delta does (I'm looking at YOU, United).

Are they perfect? Absolutely not, and I don't see much positive change happening until they give their drunkard CEO the boot.

IMHO, I find them to be better than United, where I never know what to expect as their product is a mess and their employees are very "hot or cold".
 
spacecadet
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:30 am

I don't know about the higher classes, but economy is just very bus-like, and moreso than other airlines. Less legroom (and getting worse), bad (or no) IFE, bad (or no) food, etc. The flight attendants are fine. My flights have been reasonably close to on time. The planes I've flown on have been clean. But I would never choose to fly them if I actually have a choice.

Typically their fares from and to where I want to go are cheaper than everyone else, even for regular (non-basic) economy. They seem to be going for those looking for the lowest possible fares. That's not the kind of airline I'm looking for.
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alo2yyz
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:46 pm

I've not been on AA enough lately to comment on the in-flight product, but imho that's part of the problem with AA - to/from YYZ, AA schedules just aren't competitive with AC/UA or WS/DL to where I travel (southeastern USA and Pacific northwest USA).

Redeeming FF miles is noticeably more difficult than on UA, even on domestic USA tickets.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:25 am

I fly AA maybe 50 times per year, and have done so most of the last 15yrs and frankly have never experienced anything that could be described as terrible. Admittedly 99% of the time I'm in First/Business and my top tier oneworld status helps avoid the worst but I think AA are, for the premium cabin flyer, especially for someone such as myself who has NYC, and more specifically JFK as their home base, the best of the US3.

Flagship Check-In means I essentially cut to the front of the TSA PreCheck line which rarely takes more than a few minutes to clear. The Flagship Lounges are the best US3 lounges available to domestic/elite status passengers (I think Polaris have the edge by aren't open to domestic Polaris or elite status) and as a bonus the Flagship First Dining is pretty world class in terms of lounge dining. For a good 18 months now AA have served $180/btl Krug Grand Cuvee as their house champagne in these lounges for example! It also helps that one the JFK bartenders (admittedly not an AA employee) knows my wife and I and makes our "usual" as soon as he sees us come in the lounge. For some time now AA have had direct aisle access on all longhaul widebody aircraft in business class, and the A321T on premium transcontinental flights is excellent. For those flying in the front of the plane

I've had my fair share of IRROPs in the past few years and can't really complain too much given the circumstances (weather related) although my wife had a less happy event that resulted in a hefty wedge of compensation going her way.

Initially I was swayed to AA by my BA Emerald status but was a Star Gold for a few of those years as well and United was reliably solid and not too different from AA either. I did a spell of flying DL quite a lot and can't complain too much about them either. Frankly, from a 30,000ft view are the US3 really that different? I've had some amazing crews on AA the same I have on any other airline I've flown with regularity, and I've had some mediocre crew the same way I have had on any other airline I've flown with regularly. The way some people broadbrush an experience with one FA/GA or other airline employee to taint the whole airline as if all employees are that way is ridiculous, frankly.
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StormRider
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:45 am

NYCSKYGUY wrote:
They are a commodity. If you live in one of their hubs or you have some frequent flyer status with them you fly them. Otherwise if the they’re the cheapest you take them. Nothing particularly special going on .

Exactly. I lived in the DFW area till last weekend and had no choice but get on AA. The flight crew are professional and on-time performance is good except for notorious TX storms. But if I needed a reminder why I am not a fan of AA or DFW they proved it last Friday. The FAs are some of the most disinterested and in a few cases downright rude people I have come across.

As for domestic the product is dated but decent (I have been on 321 and 757 mostly and once on a 787).
This past Friday I flew 7:30 (transatlantic so not a 3rd world country) on a 767 with no personal tv screens and overhead bins about to fall apart.
 
waynewhite
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:49 am

AA is a major American airline and providing good service and their employee are too good.
 
Curiousflyer
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:44 am

NYCSKYGUY wrote:
They are a commodity. If you live in one of their hubs or you have some frequent flyer status with them you fly them. Otherwise if the they’re the cheapest you take them. Nothing particularly special going on .


I could not agree more. I fly AA when the price or timing make it obvious. If DL is only a little more I take DL. Changing flights in DFW is not a fun experience, this year I have bought UA flights just to “enjoy” DEN and ORD instead. If everything goes well, it is an average but not horrible experience, they have improved since the hell years that followed 2001 and the financial crisis, but they have a long way to go still.

The US airlines are generally bad from a global point of view, due to a crumbling infrastructure, a nickel-and-diming mentality and lazy staff that are badly paid / unhappy / classless / sloppy. So saying DL is better does not make them stellar at all.
 
buzzard302
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:37 pm

I'm not real impressed with AA. Had a tough time last week, but some of it was due to crazy amounts of holiday traffic (and an airplane that went inop). A few of their staff were very friendly and accommodating, but most were not very pleasant during my interactions. Have had decent flights in the past. It's really all about price for most people. AA would be far lower on my list if I have choices of other carriers.
 
DFW17L
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:57 pm

Great airline with great service. I read the negative comments and wonder if these folks are flying the same airline.
 
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stl07
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:23 pm

I think this thread basically sums it up, not the best, nowhere near the worst. If they are cheap or you have status on OW, take them. If you have a credit card that gives you free bags or lounge access, take them.


Not at all as bad an airline certain users on this website make them out to be
Instead of typing in "mods", consider using the report function.
Love how every "travel blogger" says they will never fly AA/Ethihad again and then says it again and again on subsequent flights.
 
B6JFKH81
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Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:51 pm

I fly AA every month to get to work (yes, positive space, I am AAdvantage Platinum) flying TPA-MIA-SAL-MIA-TPA on a mix of A319s and B738s and find the experience just fine overall.

Interiors:
- I haven't found the interiors to look "worn' on any of my flights, they are clean and well kept for the most part.
- You can get a mixed bag for seats. Some planes have in-seat IFE still, some don't, some have tablet holders, some don't. The IFE via WiFi is nice if you have the tablet holder on the seatback in front of you, nice selection of stuff. All seats have some type of in-seat power available but again varies depending on what seat is installed in your plane.
- Legroom in everyday economy is pretty tight. I only bring a laptop backpack on the flight with me, everything else is checked, but I make sure I take anything I will need out of that bag before locking myself in because once I slide that bag underneath the seat in front of me, I'm not able to maneuver it back out until we land.
-Overhead bins are still a mixed bag as well. Some can fit carry-ons on their side to put more in the bin, some can only have them horizontally still. Doesn't matter to me, I don't bring anything to put in the overhead but I'm sure can be annoying for those that do.
-Economy snack selection is a bit of a joke, a cup of complementary beverage and a bag of pretzels. Anything else will cost you, but the selection of BOB stuff is not too shabby.
-Their business class is comfortable. I don't need lie-flat seats on my trips since they are so short. Their food selection is fine for me.

Service:
-Their service is average onboard. Nothing particularly special, most seem to do what they have to do and not go much above and beyond. Age range is a mixed bag on my flights along with where they are based, it's fairly consistent across the board.
-The boarding process is silly. 9 boarding groups and it is still an absolute mess. I have found that the boarding groups are called much too quickly by the gate agents which leads to a backup in the jetway on each flight.
-Meanwhile, I had a wonderful experience on the phone with the AAdvantage line. A flight attendant had seen me on the SAL-MIA flight a few times and wondered why I am usually in coach/no upgrade. I really couldn't tell her because I don't know how AA's process works, she asked to see my app and noticed that most of my flights were not showing up under my account. She advised that I should call the AAdvantage line once I get home and see if they could link my missing flights to my account. I had the nicest lady on the phone, explained the situation, and we spent the next 1/2 hour going through all of my previous flights for the previous 13 months. I went from a nothing AAdvantage member to a Gold Member in one phone call, got tips on how to monitor that information going forward and ensure the account is applied to the reservation even if being made by a 3rd party, etc. Very nice lady, very helpful, and even congratulated me for my status upgrade which she was pretty much responsible for.
-We have had a few issues on my last leg getting home (MIA-TPA) which is normally on the last flight of the night. It is routinely delayed, and some of the maintenance delays (as someone in the technical field) I found to be surprising to take so long for a resolution. But delays happen to all airlines.

Airport transfers:
I find most of my transfers are seamless due to the amount of ground time I schedule. I will admit, MIA is confusing to me when it comes to airside aircraft movements. We spend more time taxiing around and holding short of the runway than my MIA-TPA flight lasts. The airport does not look that busy but seems to just take forever to get out of there but it is a large international airport so I just roll with it. They also seem to have quite the problem with gates being occupied and aircraft needing to hold in the penalty box until it opens up. Their lack of charging stations in the waiting areas at MIA is kind of annoying though. If you look at TPA, there are chargers every few seats, it is a great way to recharge before the flight or work before the flight without draining out your battery.

Overall, I don't find them horrible at all. Exemplary? No. They get the job done though and I have mostly enjoyed my experiences with them...and that's coming from someone who works for a competing airline LOL!
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2519
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: Is AA as terrible as people make them to be?

Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:32 am

DFW17L wrote:
Great airline with great service. I read the negative comments and wonder if these folks are flying the same airline.


The truth is they usually aren’t flying at all. This is always clear when their rant against a particular airline is based on “attitude” of an agent or FA, “not quite as friendly as my favorite airline”, “I had to ask to get the whole can of soda instead of a glass”, or some other trivial and subjective thing that has basically nothing to do with providing reliable transportation.

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