Horrible Experience as “First Class” Passengers on American Airlines

American Airlines SignThis post is a little different (and way longer than usual – sorry) as I want to share our recent horrible experience as “First Class” passengers on American Airlines. We had 100,000 miles left with American because it is so hard to try to make reservations using an award ticket. Plus we have been screwed by American in the past and started earning miles through another carrier. The straw that broke the camels back was when we had a non-stop flight from LA to DeGaulle in Paris and about a month before our flight they discontinued that route and we had to go from LA, to San Jose, then to Dallas (fun), and then on to Paris. Added about 4 hours to our flight out and then on our return, we had to stop and change planes in Chicago with a 7 hour delay there. That was real fun. I have actually tracked the top 4 U.S. carriers, and found that American is the worst in flight cancellations. Please check out the link to that post if you are interested. I for one was shocked, not. Needless to say we are tired of AA and decided to use all of our 100,000 miles on a domestic flight and go first class just to use them up so we didn’t have to deal with booking 9-10 months in advance. So on Jan 28th of this year 2015, we booked flights from Denver to Newark and returning from JFK.

aacancelledAs in typical AA fashion, on August 1st we received an email that there was a minor change to our flight. I was not shocked, but thought it might be an hour or so. However, our return flight route out of JFK had been discontinued and they rescheduled us on a flight that left 7 hours earlier than the original flight. I don’t know what you consider a minor change, but 7 hours is not a minor change.  Surprisingly we were able to reschedule our flight, but had to leave out of Newark and change planes in Dallas (again, fun).  It wasn’t ideal, but at least we were able to leave close to our original flight times, minus the change in Dallas.

AA PlanesWell the day of our flight came and everything was fine even though we arrived about half hour late (not shocked about that).  However, the wheels fell off on the way home. We got to Newark two hours early and set there waiting for our flight. However, about an hour or so before our flight was supposed to take off, we found out that there was a maintenance issue and our plane was not going anywhere. So instead of calling all of the first class passengers up first and getting them rerouted, etc we had to stand in line for almost an hour waiting to talk to one of the two unhappy gate agents while the agents at the gate next to us, set around chatting. On top of that we found out we were going to miss the last flight out of Dallas and had to wait until the next morning. Ugh, Dallas, the last place I wanted to be. To add insult to injury, they booked us apart on two window seats on separate rows. This is how they treat “First Calls” passengers, separate them? Utterly ridiculous.  I was fuming, but it only got worse.

inside aaI asked one of the grumpy agents to make sure we got our checked bags off the plane in Dallas otherwise we would have any toiletries, clothes, etc. I usually try to make sure to have extra stuff with us in case, but there were two flights after our flight, so I thought we would be ok if we missed our connection.  I guess I learned my lesson and will always carry extra.  Anyway, the agent supposedly took care of this and I was happy because I had been on the phone with AA for over an hour trying to deal with it, but kept getting hung up on or transferred or both. It was absolutely pathetic. So we finally had as much taken care of as we could in Newark and set around for another hour and a half until our plane took off, 5 hours after we had arrived at the airport 🙁  At least we were a little bit closer to getting home.

luggageAfter a few drinks on the plane, I was feeling a little better until we get to Dallas, and guess what? NO LUGGAGE. Which meant no clothes, no brush, toothpaste, etc. We had already been sitting around for about 8 or more hours and I was suppose to sleep in the same clothes and then wear them home the next day?  I don’t know about you, but that is disgusting!  But no one at the airport seemed to care, especially the even grumpier Dallas gate agents. My husband said he wasn’t even going to take a shower to show people what AA did to us, until I pointed out that no one would know that he smelled because of AA’s incompetence.

hotel roomThe other wonderful thing that AA did to us in Dallas was give us a hotel in an area that was almost a half hour away from the airport instead of the hotel right at the airport. It just added more time to our already long and annoying day. I guess First Class doesn’t mean anything to AA except that they charge you more money for the convince of being treated badly.

TSAWe got to the airport early the next morning and had to deal with TSA crap again (always my favorite part of flying, NOT), but at least the line wasn’t that long and we didn’t have to wait too long. What we did have to wait on was our plane again. It was delayed a half an hour. Granted it was only half an hour, but it was another half an hour of a nightmare experience I would never want to repeat.  All said and done, we landed in Denver 24 hours exactly from when we were suppose to have taken off from Newark. As I said, I should have carried on extra clothes and toiletries, but I thought we would be ok.  Boy was I wrong, and I should have known better with AA. Lesson learned, but none of this would have happened had AA not been incompetent, and it wouldn’t have been as bad had they treated their passengers better, especially their “First Class” passengers.

aa breakfastThe only bright thing I can say about the whole experience was the fact that the flight attendants on the flight to and from Dallas were very nice. Especially Eric on our flight from DFW to DEN. He was friendly and went out of his way to make our flight better after hearing about our nightmare, Kudos to him! Thank you Eric. Wish the rest of AA had his caring attitude. If you have any other choice, PLEASE DO NOT FLY AMERICAN!!!!

UPDATE:  Finally heard back from AA who thought that a good will offering of a $200 voucher would be satisfactory.  This is not acceptable in the least! The last person I talked to said that they compensate for delays, maintenance etc, but not for personal inconvenience etc.  However, they will make a note of it and see if they can get some of these issues addressed. Well how does that help us? It doesn’t. I thought that was very unprofessional and rude.  You screw up, you do your best to fix it. Just proves how crappy a company AA is and that they don’t care about word of mouth.  I gave them time to make this right before I shared this post publicly, but apparently they don’t care. I will use these vouchers asap and then be done with them. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, DO NOT FLY AMERICAN IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CHOICE!


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11 comments on “Horrible Experience as “First Class” Passengers on American Airlines
  1. I had a very bad experience on American Airlines as well! I was flying with a lot of military members and the stewardess was so rude to one of the soldiers! I had never witnessed anything like it before! I wrote a letter as well as sent a picture of the stewardess and was told they were looking into it! I will never fly American again!

  2. I had a friend who was ticketed to fly on a business trip from DFW back to SNA (John Wayne Santa Ana). My friend tells me a story of being on the flight and being told that the plane had to land in Ontario instead of SNA. The passengers disembarked and had to find their own ground transportation to SNA from Ontario. AMR did not provide ground transportation to the final destination. My friend had to go get his luggage where passengers were scrambling to locate taxis and ground transportation to Santa Ana, which is a good 1hr and 30 min drive from Ontario. The flight landed at around 10 PM at night and no apology, no staff support, no customer service, and just a bunch of lost passengers looking for help.

    American Airlines said that they aren’t obligated to get the passengers to their final destination when weather complicates things. This situation happened about six months to a year ago and I’ve never considered American Airlines since this story.

  3. Crystal, thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad that we used them up (even though it was horrible) and don’t have to deal with AA anymore. The only people that were nice or helpful were the actual flight attendants. Sorry about your sisters nightmare. Good luck using the last of your points 🙂 I now us a cash reward credit card from US Bank and get money which I can use anywhere. Don’t like being stuck with any particular airline anymore. Thanks again for the comment.

  4. Sorry about your awful experience. I also have over 100,000 points wit AA, but I don’t want to use them with AA because I fear all the horror stories I’ve been hearing. My sister and friend recently had their luggage lost by them and they were very rude and basically blamed THEM for not double-checking with the agent at check-in what their final destination was. EXCUSE ME!? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. On top of that, the agents were all lazy and unprofessional. Get your stuff together AA!!

  5. Hi Neil. thank you for your comment. It is a shame that we are at their mercy once we go through security. Unfortunately, you’re right and it doesn’t seem like there is much we can do. If we want to travel we have to put up with it 🙁 I always have tons of e-books on my kindle just in case. Thanks again for your comment, and happy travels to you.

  6. Wow, you really had an awful experience with AA! I’ve never found them to be great, just average, but actually we have had poor treatment by United too (not as bad as yours though). And here I thought that those able to pay for First Class were really getting better treatment. Guess not.
    Airline travel seems to just get more and more difficult and there is always lots of waiting. We just surrender to it and make sure to bring our Kindles with lots of books, a tablet with some video and plenty of snacks.
    Unfortunately, there is no other way to enjoy the many wonders of traveling, so I guess we are stuck with it.
    Thanks for sharing your AA information. We will stay away…if possible.

  7. Yeah, I learned my lesson. especially with AA. Sadly they have been like this since at least 2006 which was the last time we flew them internationally. I was hoping things would get better after the merger, but I guess not. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Very inconvinient, lets take some hand baggage with extra cloth and toiletories next time, or just a small bag of it… well I hope AA improve their service too(:

  9. Sorry you had such a terrible trip. Anyway you have a great blog and keep up the good work. Your Pinterest site is really nice too.

    If you would like to get the word out you can write a blog with us at ExploreTraveler.net there is about 20 of us talking about our travels. Link to your site is allowed.

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