Monday, 26 November 2007 LGA
/ KLGA), USA - New York">LGA
American Eagle Flight 878/American Airlines 4878
Scheduled/Actual Departure 1115/1120
Scheduled/Actual Arrival 1300/1248
N700LE, Seat 11C
Departure Gate C4, Arrival Gate A5
Departure Taxi H, B, P, hs Rwy 4/22, Rwy 13
Arrival Taxi Rwy 6L
, S, J, ramp
Planned Route ELIOT J60 DIMMO J60 PSB PSB292060 YNG CXR1
I arrived at LGA
the prescribed two hours early and after checking in received my boarding pass for seat 9C
(this will come up later.) With plenty of time to spare and little traffic at the security checkpoints, I headed up the escalator between the B & C concourses (where the sign says "Dentist -=Volunteers of America - Parking"). There I was treated to a view of the intersection of Rwys13/22 and although there were no seats in the upper level I stood there for about 45 minutes watching aircraft depart 13 and arrive 22.
This being LGA
nearly every major airline was well represented - AA
738, 757, mutiple MD80s; various American Eagle ERJs; UA
757, A320, and a 737 in old colors with a mismatched new-colors nose cone; US 737, A320; CO
A319, E175; AirTran 73G, 2x717; ATA 738; DL
MD80 and a 757 in Song-green; Spirit A319 in new colors; USAirwasy Express Saab 340, B1900, multiple DH
-8-100s, CR2; Delta Connection multiple CR2 and CR7; and most unusual but expected for LGA
, a Trump 722 sitting on the ramp.
Our flight was listed as on time but we were told that the estimated arrival of our aircraft from BOS
was 1120. The aircraft actually arrived at 1100 and we were boarded quickly. When I turned in my boarding pass, the gate agent scanned it and then handed me a conventional ticket stub in return, telling me to consult it for my seat. It wasn't until I was on the aircraft that I realized I had been reassigned to 11C.
Once boarded, I found that not only had I been reassigned, but other passengers had been assigned my original seat 9C
. I was upset and after stowing my belongings I returned to the front of the aircraft and asked the flight attendant why I had been reassigned without consultation. She stated that I would have to ask the gate agent, and she asked the pilot to call the gate agent to the aircraft. Meanwhile, a maintenance technician boarded the aircraft and the flight attendant sent him to the back of the plane "to check on a passenger service module that isn't functioning properly." (This is also important later.)
The gate agent did not respond to the pilot's call, and as there were still passengers boarding, the flight attendant told me that I could go back up the jetway to talk with the gate agent. I did so immediately, and found the door closed at the top. I opened it and the gate agent was not happy that I was back. She stated that my seat had been changed because the aircraft had been changed. Then she rushed me back down the ramp, as another gate agent took the manifest to the plane. I got back on, and meet the maintenance technician halfway up the aisle as he returned forward. I realized that I was not going to get my exit row seat after all, and I tried to settle in.
Then the flight attendant came back and announced to those of us in Rows 11-13 that there was a problem with our air vents, and that if we were too hot or cold we should tell her, since the maintenance technician had not been able to solve the problem. I said to her, "that wouldn't be a problem for me if I wasn't sitting where I was assigned in the first place!"
We taxied out behind another Eagle ERJ and took off without a problem, making two steep right turns and climbing through 10000 ft. in what seemed like about 2 minutes. Our flight attendant announced that we would be cruising at FL340. Then she announced that American's "buy on board" policy included a $5 charge for a blanket and pillow. By the time she was doing cabin service, I was getting cold and I asked her for a complimentary blanket, since I had been reassigned to an undesirable seat affected by a known mechanical problem. She refused, offering only to adjust the temperature manually from the console up front. I stated that I needed the cool air on my face, and that a blanket would be more comfortable than hot air. She refused again, and I grudgingly sought another means.
I had stuffed my winter coat under the seat, so I pulled it out and put it on backwards. My legs were still cold, but I found some comfort and dozed for about 1/2 hour. Then I woke, sweating and hot, and discovered that the flight attendant had indeed changed the temperature setting and I had hot air blowing on my face. This left me hot on top but still cold at the bottom and I took off my coat and draped it over my legs. Luckily we were making our final descent and the misery was nearly over.
It had been cloudy below and around us during the entire flight, and around 5000 ft. we began seeing breaks in the clouds. In one gap I identified our descent over the Ohio Turnpike and about two bumpy minutes later we landed on Rwy 6L
My impression of the flight was mixed. We took off nearly on time and arrived early despite a delayed aircraft. We did not have turbulence. However the service left much to be desired. If my original ticket said Seat 9C
on an Embraer 135, I confirmed with AA
.com the day before that I was in Seat 9C
on an E135, I checked in two hours early receiving a boarding pass for Seat 9C
on an E135, and our flight equipment was an E135, then I find "we changed the aircraft" a poor excuse for having my seat changed without even a moment's consultation. Furthermore, Eagle's E135s only have one seat configuration, so "the seat map changed" is also a poor excuse. Finally, since I had already protested my seat change, and the flight attendant knew
that there was a heating/cooling problem in my new seat, she should have given me a complimentary blanket, at the least. Additionally, the gentleman in 11A and the couple in 12B/C had not been reassigned from their original booking, so I'm wondering if I was the only one who was switched, with the couple who ended up in 9B/C.
When I spoke to a customer service agent, she told me that Row 9 is usually not assigned until the aircraft is full, because it is an exit row. However I have proof that this was my assignment from the beginning, and I felt that I could meet all of the requirements and restrictions applied to exit row passengers. If I had felt the least bit uncertain, I would have asked to be reassigned myself. It's a fact that I am cool under emergency conditions, but that if you change my plans at the last minute without asking me, I will get very agitated. This was not an appropriate move in the first place, but at the least they could have called me up to the desk before boarding to advise me of the change.
I did write a letter to American Airlines but I have little hope that I will get any response.