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Long journey (almost) home by Ann Treacy
March 22, 2010, 9:25 am
Filed under: Chicago, Dublin

OK this is a big long rant – but since I had the platform to say how feel about American Airlines I thought I would use it. (Most regular readers can probably skip it – if anyone with a connection to American Airlines happens to see it, you can know that I will happily pay more to avoid your airlines and I’m very sad that I have two more overseas journeys scheduled with you.)

I left Cabinteely at 6 am on Sunday to go home. When I got to the airport I waited in line for 2 hours because the plane had been delayed for 5 hours. It sure seems as if they could have emailed or texted that info out to people. It sounded as if the plane hadn’t left Chicago so they knew it wasn’t going to arrive in time. (We heard multiple excuses for the delay – starting with maintenance, which is something I hate to hear. If there’s a problem with the plane – please use a more trusted plane!)

Because the flight was delayed I missed my connecting flight from Chicago to Minneapolis. They could find me a flight to St Louis – but I had to point out that wasn’t very helpful since I was going to the other Saint city. I did get an 8 euro credit at the restaurant. A breakfast is 9 euros – it’s that kind of attention to detail that really puts American Airlines on the map. Luckily for me I had plenty of euros and dollars – but the plane was 90 percent Americans. I suspect many of them left the last of their euros at the pub the night before! What I didn’t have was an adapter. I had calculated that with 7 hours on my laptop battery that I should be OK to leave the adapter behind for the kids (with my Irish cell phone). So I had a computer for half of the day.

Also American Airlines flies small planes overseas. They are turbulent and no private computers/TVs in the backs of the seats ahead of you. For folks who don’t travel overseas often this may sound petty – but it makes a long journey to try to watch a tiny TV from the window seat 8 rows back.

So you’re probably think getting from Chicago to Minneapolis would be pretty easy. That’s what I figured. What are there – 40 flights a day?! Nope. They could get me nothing. I am still in Chicago. (I left Cabinteely 27 hours ago.) I have a flight at 11 am. That’s 7 hours from now.

But the worst of it is how absolutely rude the American Airlines staff were. The folks in Dublin were just unhelpful and unapologetic. The flight attendants were fine – but I had a little room for them since I assume they were on overtime. (Of course they were being paid to be on the plane while the rest of us paid top dollar for the pleasure – but still I only saw one rude comment from a flight attendant. So that’s not too bad.)

The clincher really is that they made me line up *again* to get a standby ticket from Chicago – but they wouldn’t put me on standby. They would only book a ticket for the next day. So I have to line up in Dublin and Chicago for the same thing?! And the guy at the counter could not have been meaner. In fairness, I know I got the meanest guy. One of his coworkers moved the barrier ropes – and he started yelling at those of us in line for doing it! (Whacko!) Then when she admitted to doing it – no apology to us. He started by yelling at me for being in the airport on the wrong day. Remember – I’ve just arrived from Dublin. I pointed out that he was looking at my return info. (No apology.) Then he snaps at me because I have no ticket. The Dublin folks said to get one in Chicago. Finally he realizes that my problem was that the plane was delayed – I have not done anything. But still no apology, and no helpfulness. So then I kind of lost it, which always helps but I hate to fly and now I have to do it all over again in 7 hours.

Do you think American Airlines looks for the mean people or trains them for the wining American Airlines spirit?

Luckily Katie was able to get me and I am staying at her house. So it was a fun bonus to see the Lynchs – but I had 3 meetings scheduled tomorrow morning which I may or may not be able to reschedule. (That’s’ assuming I am able to get to home tomorrow.)

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I wanted to follow up to say that American Airlines did send me an email apologizing and included a $200 voucher. I’m still annoyed at the guy in Chicago but I will give AA credit.

Comment by Ann Treacy

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