American Airlines


First world problems.

American Airlines has screwed me over today.

5 a.m.  I get an automated call from American Airlines telling me that my flight is cancelled.  I’m given a number to call.  And when I do, the wait time to talk to a person is 20 minutes.

I get on and find a flight that works, and then I wait.

American tells me that they have me booked to Chicago on Saturday, one day later than the original flight.  I ask them to put in my record that I’m taking a different airline, but will definitely be on the return flight on American, and they assure me that I won’t have any issues.

So I book the Southwest flight, and I go back to bed.

What I DIDN’T do on American today.

Tonight, from my hotel in Chicago, I try to check in on-line.  And I get an error message.

After 20 minutes on the phone with the American Airlines reservation center, I’m told ‘you have a seat, and it’s confirmed, but not assigned, and there’s nothing we can do about it.  Please show up at the airport early.’

How can a computer system book my ticket, but not give me an assigned seat, and then not allow a phone representative to put me in a specific seat?

I have to wait to get to the airport?  After they canceled my flight this morning?  And after they gave me no explanation for the cancellation?  And after they told me they couldn’t get me to my two-day conference until tomorrow?

First world problems.

All of my firm insistence, ‘I prefer flying American over other airlines and this is why I’m a loyal customer’ pleading got me nowhere tonight.  I’m losing my touch when up against faceless bureaucracy and nameless technology.

Yes, there ARE reasons to fly Southwest.

For tonight, American Airlines is on my **** list.


An update, as of Sunday, May 24:

American Airlines did indeed have a seat for me on the inbound flight, and even got me on an earlier flight.  I was home before 8 p.m.  But I received a vague ‘integration of systems problems” explanation, no apology, and still no word at all about why my initial flight was canceled.  I try to be a loyal customer, but American Airlines seems to be joining other carriers in making that a difficult thing to do.


Las Vegas holiday

As of this morning, I’ve spent the last three days in Las Vegas, where I took a brief respite.  The purpose of the trip: to see my wonderful Charlie Ingram in his first national show.

With Charlie in Las Vegas.

With Charlie in Las Vegas.

Sadly, Duck Commander: The Musical received closing notices two weeks ago, and I caught the next-to-last performance, with Charlie (as a swing) not in the show at all.  But I saw Charlie three times!  (Truth be told, the show itself suffered from a horrible book, self-indulgent and self-reverential self-references by/from/to the Duck Dynasty clan, and a completely generic quasi-country/pop score that blasted us out of the theatre.)

K accompanied me.  We trekked on Saturday out to Boulder City and the Hoover Dam, which is pretty much as massive as you might think.  From its base to its top, the dam is almost as tall as the Gateway Arch, and at its base it is also pretty much as thick as the Arch would be if on its side.  We toured a bit of the dam itself, including one of the old diversion pipes and one of the turbine rooms, and we walked across the dam into Arizona too.

Nevada weather was unseasonably cool.

And the casinos?  They are cruel, unforgiving mistresses.  And filled with smoke, as if from fires that burn mammon and souls.

On Friday evening we ventured to old Downtown Las Vegas, with its very different vibe, decidely lower-rent in character.

Our rental car, a Camero convertible, was in a word, divine.IMG_8239

Bellagio.  Paris. Caesar’s.  Bally’s.  Rio.  New York-New York.  Golden Nugget.  These are places I’ll be delighted to say I’ve visited, and in which I’ve done my part for the local economy.

Sunday held a special treat as I toured an exhibition of Fabergé eggs and other items from that workshop, at the art gallery at the Bellagio.

And now, sufficiently salved from the sores of the past semester, I fly back today to Saint Louis, to the real world, without neon, slot machine bells, show girls, and free drinks.


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