First ever flight on AA: broken planes, bad luck or par for the course?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by jlin17, Sep 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

?

Is this a typical AA flight experience?

  1. Yes

    11.8%
  2. No, just bad luck

    82.4%
  3. No, it gets worse

    5.9%
  1. jlin17

    jlin17 Member

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    My wife and I flew AA for the first time this past weekend BWI-DFW-DEN and it was definitely an eye-opening experience. Previously we've mostly flown Southwest or Airtrain for domestic flights, and after flying AA it's almost inconceivable why anyone would want to subject themselves to so much hassle:

    1. Our flight out of BWI was delayed due to mechanical problems which would cause us to miss our connection in DFW so I called up the reservations line and an agent was able to put us on a Delta flight.

    2. When we got to the airport, we had to go back in forth between AA and Delta check-in because Delta agent couldn't see our ticket in the computer system. Eventually, a supervisor had to come out to print out boarding passes.

    3. On our flight back to BWI, connecting through DFW, we board and are about to take off until the captain informs us one of the planes turbines won't start up. So we head back to the terminal, and after a half-hour of sitting without AC, they tell us that we can try to get on the next flight which has about 60 empty seats. Now it is a mad rush of people trying to deplane to get on the next flight. We don't get on the next flight and we have to spend an extra night in Denver and have to miss the next day of work. AA is gracious enough to give us a meal and hotel voucher for our inconvenience.

    4. So the next day our flight from DEN-DFW arrives late and we are rushing to make our connection, which of course is on the other side of the airport. However, we should have learned from our previous flights that we didn't have to worry because when we arrived they hadn't yet started boarding because the computer system was down!

    Is this a typical AA flight experience? Everyone is always raving about how the AAdvantage program is so great and the miles are so valuable. It seems to me that the only reason to fly AA is to be able to redeem the miles on other nicer OW carriers. However, missing a day of work effectively wipes out the value of the miles that I've accrued. Not too mention all of the stress and long hours on the phone. I am very hesitant to take another AA flight since they seem so unreliable. Unfortunately, I've already booked BWI-ORD-PVG (Crossing my fingers that we'll be able to make it there).
     
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  2. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP jlin17.

    You've written a lot and my response could be really long and drawn out as well as we discuss each point....but at the end of the day I think you, and most travelers, already know the answer to the question you've posed: all airlines have technical issues. You could remove "AA" and insert "Southwest/JetBlue/United/Turkish/etc" and the story would still be 100% believable. This happens, unfortunately, to all travelers at one time or another. Yours just happened to be on AA. If you keep traveling with AA, or you switch to another carrier, chances are in time something similar will happen again. It's the name of the game we play.

    You had some bad flights. I've had about 40 flights with AA this year. None had mechanical issue and only two were delayed. I've been lucky so far.

    AAdvantage is a fantastic program (with some faults), which is why many of us fly with AA. The service, overall, has been pretty good from the airline and its staff as well. Hopefully your PVG flights go better. :)
     
  3. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I think you just had bad luck. Over the years, I've had excellent service on AA, with some exceptions. AA is not the 1972 Miami Dolphins, they're going to mess up on occaision.
     
  4. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I definitely see more mechanicals on AA planes, but I fly mostly on AA (3:1), so I expect to. Add to that DFW with old planes and summer heat (which is why virtually no MD-80's seem to have functioning APU's) and it's a MX recipe.
     
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  5. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Yep, this exactly. I avoid MD's like the plague. They're an MX waiting to happen (just ask G4). I specifically plan AA flights around this fact and go for the 757-767's (for me, that means connecting through MIA to most destinations). Their fleet will get incrementally younger as they phase those MD's out, but it takes time. I've had some delays on WN, but the worst delays I've experienced have been with DL and Airtran, mainly because of the ATL hub.
     
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  6. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  7. LookingAhead

    LookingAhead Silver Member

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    Sounds like a no good very bad day(s). As for problems viewing tickets across airlines, that is always an "adventure" with one airline always blaming the other. Their systems do not interconnect very well. Your experience is certainly not typical, but I don't have hard stats to back that up. My experience on AA has been very good with only two serious (overnight delay) mechanical delays in the past five years (one AA, the other AEagle). I hope your next trip goes much, much better. You can always express your concerns to AA Customer Service through the web site. If you and your wife are an AAdvantage members (you should be), include your AAdvantage IDs. Nothing may come of it other than knowing that they have heard about your travails - on the other hand, they may issue some miles to your account as a token of their apology. I have seen it both ways.
     
  8. gamecock

    gamecock Silver Member

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    A YMMV thing.

    Two years ago I flew 125K miles on AA and only had one 20 minute mechanical delay. That's it.
    (And multiple waether delays, but that's the way it goes.)

    I suspect you just hit them on a bad day.
     
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  9. jlin17

    jlin17 Member

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    Avoid MD80s. Lesson learned. The flight to PVG is unfortunately an older 777. I have a flight in November to Seattle on the newer 737 so looking forward to that.
     
  10. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Are the AA MD80's as loud as the Allegiant ones?
     
  11. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    If you're in the back, yes they're fairly loud.

    The MD80s are a YMMV type of thing as well though. Yes, they're older and might break down more, but I actually have great rides in the MD80 and haven't had a delay yet this year on one.
     
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  12. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think MD80 are really noisy & really shakey
     
  13. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    When you go for the upper case U in ULCC on G4, you always sit in the back, so the experience is always loud to the point of practically needing earplugs. That, plus if am MX occurs, they have no local planes (unless at LAS perhaps) to replace it, so almost all MX are overnight MX.
     
  14. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    That sounds way better than my most recent experience with United! Mechanical delay, they couldn't get me on another airline so I took another United flight, still missed my connection by 3 hours, then spent the night in the San Francisco airport because they were out of hotels. American sounds way better.
     
  15. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Like I said, remove "AA", throw every other airline in existence on to a roulette wheel and spin. It happens to everyone. :)
     
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  16. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I fly AA every month and have only ever had one problem with them. When I used to fly Delta, the problems were much more frequent.

    I think you just had one bad experience and probably will not have another for a long time.
     
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  17. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Normally I would agree, but I dunno. My record with UA this year is pretty bad:
    3 significant MX delays, 3 cancellations, 2 missed connections, and 1 overnight in the airport
    That was out of 5 trips
     
  18. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    My worst issues with an airline have also, interestingly, been with UA. Last 3 flights I've had with UA were all MX. The one before that was WX. It's been about three or four years since I've been on UA though.
     
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  19. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Stuff like this is why I am lurking in the AA forums. Anyway, I didn't mean to totally derail the thread. Sounds like OP had an unlucky day, my point is there are worse airlines out there. ;)
     
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  20. jlin17

    jlin17 Member

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    Having to spend a night in an airport definitely sounds worse. I can't believe that they can get away with not giving you a hotel room!
     
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  21. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    For mechanical delays, they can't. Get a room on your own and you'll get reimbursed, but it may take a DOT complaint.
     
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  22. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I would have booked one myself and gone that route, but sadly I had a dead cell phone battery (my bad for not packing the charger). The CS agents at SFO didn't even want to help me look. At 1am I was the only one there with at least 5 employees standing around doing nothing. Typical. The DOT is going to hear about it.

    I really want to switch to AA
     
  23. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    I only fly AA and AS. Never had a single problem with AS, but with AA, I could say 45% of my flights were delayed due to mechanical issues. And about 70% of those were an international flight, mostly on the leg MIA-GIG. I believe that happens due to the age of their aircraft, and with the fleet renewal things might get better. At least, I hope!
     
  24. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    I quit flying AA during the DOG DAYS of a could years back, when all their planes seemed to be going MX, or being grounded, leaving people stranded in DFW or riding buses. No thanks. I was treated so bad, will never return. I am not airline loyal anymore, I basically go on price, but I avoid AA if at all possible
     
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  25. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    The benefits are gradually diminishing and even the most loyal clients are starting to look around for other options on air travel, such as price!
     

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