….and we’re off…..
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 Southwest.com 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.
American Airlines has cancelled all flights to/from Wichita tomorrow, so I cannot get to KMEA. (They tried routing me through other places, but the earliest possible arrival was late Friday afternoon, and since the conference ends on Saturday at noon and I return here later that day, I have thrown in the towel.)
I will, with sadness, miss KMEA this year.
And I won’t get to see my friend Ken after all.
But I will get to see my students here, and that makes me very happy.
I’m humming the tune right now…..
I arrived at Lambert Airport this morning at 7.30 for a 9 a.m. flight to Cleveland and then on to Montreal.
As I neared the gate, the flight was showing a 9.40 a.m. departure. A United agent very helpfully transferred me to American through Chicago. I’d arrive only an hour later in Montreal. All is well.
But then . . . .
American is on another concourse. This meant that I would need to transit through security again.
After walking to Concourse C and swiping my passport, the American kiosk kicked out a slip for me to take to a ticket agent. So I did.
The ticket agent got my boarding passes and ominously said ‘hurry.’
I soon found out why. The TSA checkpoint at Concourse C was backed up into the hallway. The agents had only one metal detector open, and only two screening lanes. They were either woefully unprepared and understaffed, or willingly causing major delays for travelers. And of course the summer travelers – those who don’t travel often – slow down everything because they have no idea what to pull out of bags for screenings, how to deal with a computer, or what to do with belts, watches, and other metal things.
My traverse was 40 minutes from entering the line to walking away with my bags. I missed my 8.45 a.m. departure. (There’s nothing like standing in a security line and hearing your name called by the airline: “American Airlines is paging passenger Jeffrey Carter. Your flight will close in two minutes.”)
Fortunately, I knew already that American had another departure near 11 a.m. that would still allow me to make my Montreal flight on time. A very helpful gate agent was kind and smiled at me. All is indeed well. I’m drinking a coffee, blogging, and not worrying. This is vacation, and I have nothing planned in Montreal today except for strolling the streets and trying my poor French. I’m not stressing over this little hiccup!
But ‘my Lord, what a morning’ indeed!