Working in the field of online reputation management at Elixir we are very familiar with flame sites and I must admit I have never felt like creating one until now. Well actuallt I do not really have the time but I certainly feel like it. Perhaps this will help me to get it off my chest. In the past 6 months I have flown 12 times on American Airlines and my experience has been miserable. I changed from US Airways to AA this year due to their poor performance on punctuality and customer service.
I have been on 6 delayed flights, and one that was canceled. Of the 12 flights I have flown only 5 have been on time. On Tuesday the 4th of December I was flying from Chicago to Phoenix at 0955. The flight was at first delayed then canceled for technical reasons. I spent 7 hours at O’Hare Airport. We were not given a beverage or an apology. I had to walk from one end of the terminal to the other to get information. For anybody who has been to O’Hare you will know that is no fun!
It was amazing that AA did not put customer service reps at the gate where the flight was cancelled to assist us. The reps that were there could not help us. Once again I had to walk to the other end of the terminal. Upon arrival the customer service rep was rude to me. I was staggered when the rep I spoke to refused to re-book me on the next US Airways flight to Phoenix. Her colleague standing next to her was booking passengers on US Airways. When I asked for an explanation I was told there was not enough time. I said I was prepared to try and she told me that her colleague could do what she liked but she was not going to.
I would have had to get back to the end of the line and hope that when I made it to the front again that I got her colleague. And with the length of the line it was obvious that by the time I made it back up to the front again it would have been too late. When I asked if the airport would call me to advise which flight my bags were on since at this point it was anybody’s guess she said “Of course not!! Do you think we have time to call 500 people!!” I was simply stunned by the inconsistency. If I missed the US Airways flights I then had 6 hours to get back to the AA terminal for the 3.15 flight. I think I would have made it!!.
What has happened to customer service? Are these staff being trained at all or has the whole airline industry given up? Airline travel has become a mass produced commodity. I used to work in the airline industry so I fully understand the things that can go wrong but 7 out of 12 flights is a pathetic track record. What is very alarming is that most of those delays were caused by technical issues. It is understandable that the plane has to be delayed to fix a technical problem as we all hope that safety comes first. But why are there so many technical problems? Have they cut back on servicing and engineering?
Traveling through security has become very stressful and is compounded by the fact that if you travel from an international to a domestic flight you have to do it all over again. The airlines have done nothing to help only allowed their customer service and performance to detetiorate adding to the negative experience that air travel gives us. The security measures are understandable and are there to protect travelers from terrorist’s threats. However it almost seems that the airlines are now taking advantage of a traveling public who have accepted delays and inconvenience as the norm.
I am an avid traveler and have been traveling extensively for 30 years now. The US domestic market is wide open for a carrier who can deliver some old fashioned customer service and an on time record to benchmark the rest of the industry and to improve the current dismal situation. Right now I have to go back to the drawing board and hope to find a new carrier to hang my hat on, since American Airlines are permanently off my list. Rant over!!