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Coffee, Cattle, and Sardines

  • Jul 17, 2000
  • by
Pros: We arrived safely; Beth was really nice; Better than Delta

Cons: Late; bad food; rude service representatives; dumb flight attendants; no care for the customer

The title of my review is the three words that come to mind when I think of American Airlines. My mother and I flew on American Airlines during our recent trip to New Orleans. It was not the worst flight that I've ever taken, but it was much less than good.

We had four segments during our trip. First was from New York (JFK) to Miami, then Miami to New Orleans. Coming back was the same route. Unfortunately, the way my mother and I were treated went from mediocre to terrible with each leg we flew.

We arrived at the airport two hours to our flight, and I noticed that our awful travel agent (not the usual one I use) didn't arrange our seats together. Since the flight was supposedly overbooked, my mother and I volunteered our seats. The woman at the counter was really nice, and upgraded us to Business Class. We were stoked! We went to the gate and waited a bit, reading and chatting. Soon, it was time to board.

Mom and I took our recliner seats (it was an international flight making a stop in Miami), and couldn't help smiling. It was wonderful-- I love sitting in First or Business Class. Then, the flight attendants began making their rounds with a continental breakfast. It consisted of a banana and a bagel. My tray wasn't down, so the flight attendant put the little tray in my lap. Then, she handed us our cups of coffee. My tray started to slip, and I went to grab it. SPLASH! Piping hot coffee all over my mother. Mom shrieked, and the flight attendant just smiled. I had to ask her for napkins three times. I couldn't believe it! She offered no assistance of any sort, and wouldn't move so Mom could get to the bathroom. Mom went the rest of our flight to New Orleans smelling like a 7-11, legs burned. Not pleasant.

Once in Miami, we deplaned and went to meet the American Airlines representative that was supposed to meet our plane. Where was she? Talking on the phone behind the counter, of course. Was it a business call? Nope. She was chatting with her boyfriend or husband, so far as I could tell. ("I'll see you tonight, honey. I love you!") She was so rude, and offered no assistance to give us directions to our gate.

We found our gate and hung out there for about 45 minutes. I went to the desk to report the coffee incident, but the woman told me I was supposed to report it on the plane. Not cool. Instead of an incident report, she gave me an address to write a complaint to. Terrific. I plan on enclosing a copy of this review as well. I took the address, and Mom and I boarded the plane.

Thankfully, this leg of the flight was quiet and uneventful. The plane was practically empty, which was nice. Mom and I actually napped, although she still smelled like Juan Valdez.

After our stay in New Orleans, we arrived back at the airport an hour and a half early. We spoke with a wonderful woman, Beth, and told her our awful story about the coffee and rude gate representative. She sympathized with us, and moved us to the bulkhead of the plane so we had a lot of room. She even upgraded our flight from Miami to New York to business class. Needless to say, we were happy.

Again, our flight from New Orleans to Miami was uneventful. Again, there was no one to meet the plane. I couldn't believe it. So, we made our way to our next gate, where I went to the counter to volunteer our seats, as the plane was totally packed. The person at the gate decided to rearrange our seats for us. Mom and I wound up in coach, crammed between a really heavy, stinky woman and a woman with a cold. But, we'll get to that in a minute.

They make the announcements to board in English. Now, as ethnocentric as I am, Miami has a large population of people that speak Spanish only. As soon as they made the announcement for First class to board, about ninety people ran for the gate. it was nuts! Mom and I stepped back to watch the chaos. It was a complete mob scene! people were pushing forward, trying to get onto the jetway. Announcements were being made for people to board only if their seats were called, but no one budged. It was completely out of control. Mom and I waited at the end of the line so that we wouldn't get crushed.

Mom and I were very upset that our seats had been changed. Get this-- They were changed because flight attendants wanted to sit up there, and they somehow knew that we had been upgraded for free. Then, we were crammed between these two awful women (the one next to my mother sneezed and coughed all over her; the one I sat next to was HUGE and completely stunk). It was awful. Food was served - Mom and I both had a steak sandwich instead of a chicken salad. It was good at the time, but later that night we were sicker than dogs. It was definitely the airplane food.

You're gonna love this one: As Mom and I were sitting on the plane, a man comes up on my right and signals a flight attendant, holding a bag of some sort. He proceeds to tell the flight attendant that he found the bag on his seat, and didn't know what was in it. As soon as he sat down, the flight attendant rushed the bag off the plane. A man comes out of the bathroom next to me, and goes to the back of the plane. He comes back up, and asks about the bag he had left on his seat. The flight attendant then had to deplane, get the bag, and reboard. Good grief.

Wait. It gets better. As we're about to pull away from the gate, a man comes running up the aisle, yelling, "Wait! I'm a mechanic! Wait!" Would you feel safe on this flight? After about fifteen minutes, the captain made an announcement: Ladies and Gentlemen, nothing to worry about. We're just going to have a little delay. There's a problem in the cockpit, and the mechanics are taking care of it. We'll be off the ground in no time! Later on, we were waiting on the runway. The captain then made an announcement saying that we were 15 - 18 in line, and would be taking off in about 20 minutes.

Once at JFK, it took us nearly an hour to get our bags. On top of that, we were horribly late. i had enough of flying for a long time. Unfortunately, I'm flying to Alaska on August 8th.

Dionne25 and I will be flying on American Airlines this December, from New York to London, England. I don't know what to expect, but I'm very, very worried about the way we will be treated.


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About the reviewer
Candice Cain ()
Ranked #405
I own the Candy Cain Travel Co. in Brookhaven, NY. I am a certified Professional Bridal Consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants and my agency is certified by IATA and CLIA. I specialize … more
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American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major airline of the United States. It is the world's largest airline in passenger miles transported and passenger fleet size; third largest, behind FedEx Express and Delta Air Lines, in aircraft operated; and second behind Air France-KLM in operating revenues. A subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, the airline is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American operates scheduled flights throughout the United States, and flights to Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and India. The Chairman, President, and CEO of AA is Gerard Arpey. In 2005, the airline flew more than 138 billion revenue passenger miles (RPM). 
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