Praise and Blame

April 06, 2006

American Airlines Responds

Kudos to the airline for a personal letter and explanation. I'm no longer angry.

April 6, 2006

Dear Ms. Noggle:

I'm sorry that your trip from St. Louis on March 30 didn't go very smoothly. It must have been frustrating when your flight was delayed in Raleigh and then again in Chicago. There is no question that you were inconvenienced.

Probably few things are more annoying than having to wait for an available gate after your aircraft has landed. While normally every incoming flight has a gate designated, operational difficulties can sometimes cause us to change these arrangements. For example, if a flight arrives earlier than expected, its assigned gate may still be occupied by a departing aircraft that is boarding customers. Unfortunately, since airport space is limited we frequently do not have the luxury of "spare" gates to accommodate such situations. At the worst extreme, a severe off-schedule operation caused by bad weather may result in lengthy delays as too many aircraft on the ground wait in line for the next available gate.

Regardless of the situation, we expect our employees to be courteous and helpful at all times and especially in situations such as you described. Please accept my sincere apology.

As more tangible evidence of our concern and regret for your disappointing experience, I've mailed each of you a transportation voucher. The vouchers may be redeemed within one year of the issue date toward the purchase of a ticket for future travel on American Airlines or AmericanEagle.

Thank you for writing. The next time you fly with us, we will do our best to restore your confidence in our ability to get you where you are going -- as planned| We will look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon. It is a privilege to serve you.

Should you wish to correspond with us again, please feel free to do so via One of our representatives will be back to you within a couple of days. Just click on the Contact AA button on the top navigation bar. Select the 'AA Customer Relations' link on the left side of the page. Then click on 'email AA Customer Relations' to access our on-line form.


Fredia Luckey
Customer Relations
American Airlines

Posted by hln at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2006

Dissed by American Airlines

So I just returned from a business trip, and I had a pretty big complaint for American Airlines. It failed to respond, so I feel the need to punish it. I was gentle in the letter - didn't mention, oh, yeah, by the way, I'm 7 months pregnant and you treated me this way.

Greg Clark
Managing Director
American Airlines Inc.
Customer Relations Dept.
P.O. Box 619615/MD2400
DFW Intl Airport, TX 75261 9612

Dear Mr. Clark:

We were given your name as the contact who handles customer inquiries and dissatisfaction. Yesterday, your airline exhibited examples of both excellent and hideous customer service. You should know of both.

Flight 597 out of Raleigh/Durham to Chicago on 3/30/2006 was late in arriving (and therefore leaving) due to earlier maintenance problems. Many passengers on this flight were set to connect to other cities for their final flights, and when the gate agent learned of the possible delay, she notified the passengers congregated around the gate and booked us on the Chicago fight to St. Louis the following morning as a pre-emptive measure. She was pleasant and even at one time brought one of us water from the American Airlines cooler because the water supply was subjected to construction and therefore not advisable to drink. She instructed us that vouchers would be available should we need to spend the night in Chicago and that it would actually be prudent to plan this course of action.

In flight, the pilot was very pleasant and communicative. He managed to have us on the ground at 9:45 p.m. or thereabouts, and there's where the nonsense began. Though O'Hare was aware of our imminent arrival, no logistics had been planned to accommodate the plane at a gate. The connecting flight was at 10:26, and had passenger dispersal commenced at a normal pace (use Southwest as an example of how to expeditiously put passengers into an airport), I have no doubt that we would have connected with our flight, which was scheduled to depart from three gates away.

We waited on the runway for more than 30 minutes. The pilot kept us apprised of the status of the situation and was both obviously embarrassed and highly apologetic.

And it only got worse from there.

Not only was the gate not prepared for our arrival, but the customer service gate agents were neither friendly nor accommodating. A member of our party had to become nearly belligerent in order to secure us vouchers for a hotel in the evening. We were not allowed to get to our luggage. We were essentially treated like cattle – not a way to win customers in an industry where your competitor Southwest shines in customer service. The hotel at which we were placed was 20 miles away, and the shuttles to the hotel were few and far between at this time of night. One member opted to stay in the airport to avoid further hassle.

None of this is acceptable. While unplanned maintenance is a fact of life, the handling of same by professional staff makes all of the difference. American's professionalism in the whole affair was absent save the RDU gate agent and the communicative pilot.

You now have unhappy customers. Your flight attendants constantly remind passengers that they have a choice in air travel. Yes, we do. The remainder of your staff should be enlightened of that fact.

Disappointed passengers:
(list of 3 of us)

It's April 4th - birds they are a chirpin' on a response.


Posted by hln at 01:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack