Another great AA customer service story

Old Jul 29th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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Another great AA customer service story

Thursday I was scheduled to fly AA and LP from Tampa to Lima on an AA business class award ticket. The schedule:

TPA-MIA - AA First class - 2:31pm
MIA-LIM - LanPeru Business class - 6:45

We board in TPA right on time, but the clouds were getting very dark. TPA and I believe most if not all Florida airports adopted a new regulation few years ago after a ramp worker was killed by lightning, that if there is lightning within 5 miles of the airport, all airport support crews need to stay inside. Sure enough, as soon as we sat down and almost ready to go, the rains and lightning start BIG time. I just assumed that at worst, we would be held up for 1/2 or no more than 1 hour. Well I was wrong. We did not get released by ATC until 5:15pm. In the meantime, the FAs were doing a wonderful job. Any and all drinks were flowing freely and that included economy class, which is not regular ops for AA, as they charge $5 per in economy.

So, we finally depart TPA ~5:30pm and land in MIA at ~6:30pm. I get on the phone to AA executive platinum desk asking them to possibly call LanPeru and let them know I'm at MIA but ~10 minutes walk to their gate. The agent informs me that she can't call as they don't have a direct number to LP airport operations. OK, so I start running from terminal C to terminal A, but about 3/4 way there I look at the monitors and my flight has been closed out and officially declared as "departed". The plane could have still been sitting at the gate, but apparently the LP GA decided that it was time to shut the door. I knew my chances to make the flight were slim to begin with and at that time I realized I was correct. So, I stopped running and looked around and realized I was right next to British Airways Terraces Club. Walked in, presented my BP and my AA card and was welcomed warmly (for a change) by a very nice club agent. I got on the phone with AA as soon as I got situated in the club. The great AA agent gave me the only option available, which was an AA flight departing at 11:50 or so and arriving in Lima early (way too early IMHO) next morning. Obviously I said yes. Suprisingly enough there were seats left in F so I didn't loose anything as far as the class of service, although, LanPeru business class seat is by far the better choice when compared to AA 757 first class seat. About an hour later I moved from the BA club to the Admirals Club to get my new BP reissued and just wait out my time there.

Anyway, I finally did get to Lima and everything is fine. Today, as I'm checking my e-mail, I find one from AA CS with an apology and 20K miles for the delayed flight due to WEATHER. I was not expecting anything and I wasn't going to ask for anything. This was a purely TPA ATC hold, nothing to do with AA, yet for whatever reason they gave me these miles and they did it within 2 days, which never happened before. And this was an award ticket, using 60K miles plus ~$40 in taxes.

And here is the real kicker. When the agent at the Admirals Club in MIA re-issued the boarding pass, she was having difficulty. Something to do with LP not releasing the reservation because I was checked in in TPA originally, or whatever? It took her about an hour and few phone calls to finally get the PNR adjusted and she called me up to the desk to collect my new BP. The new BP was changed from award inventory to full business class boarding pass and I will be getting regular miles plus my elite miles plus class of service bonus miles which should be ~6500K miles. She did it on purpose to make up for my troubles.

So a 60K miles award just got reduced almost in half just because of weather. Sweet!!!

Reporting from Lima. It's very cloudy, but life is beautiful!!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Wow!!! That's awesome. I love AA. After a bad experience I had with United recently in dealing with award mileage, this story confirms why I vow to only fly AA.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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That is a sweet deal. Airlines do take care of their top elite level flyers.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 05:02 PM
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Nice to hear!
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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We already know they take care of Platinum-level elites and Admiral's Club members. (And I'm happy for AAFF that he got taken care off this time.) Just don't see why that means they can't work with the rest of us as well. We all know what would have happened to non-elite status people under the same circumstances.
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Don't forget AAFF is an elite traveler and he gets preferentail treatment. Executive Desk, First Class, club membership...I bet he even gets to use the bathroom anywhere on the plane he wants too.

While I was Platinum for several years, I walked on water. Knew my name, helped me out, special numbers. When I got 'downgraded' to Lifetime Gold, I was one of the pack. Not complaining, just stating the obvious about top tier customers vs the rest of us. All companies do it not just airlines
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Still in Lima, still cloudy but I'm having a great time. Going home tomorrow.

Anyway, I would like to answer some of the comments here.

First, I did not ask, expected and was totally shocked by the CS miles deposited in my account. I have been delayed by weather and mechanicals many times in the last few years and only received some extra CS miles few times and it was never at this level. The highest I received was maybe ~10K and that was for a major screw up by AA. In this case it had nothing to do with AA as it was a purely ATC weather hold and the airport was shut down, so I was very surprised and actually shocked not only because they gave me the CS miles but at the number? I'm hoping that somebody doesn't realize their mistake on Monday morning and pulls the miles..., yet I think that it was a nice gesture and that's the only reason I mentioned that part.

The AC agent was very kind, but some of it was due to her frustration to re-issue a new BP for my later flight. She was frustrated with LAN and AA reservations because both were telling her that the other has to take care of the problem. So, yes, having the AC agent take care of this as I was sitting and enjoying a drink and watching TV, as oppose to standing in line at the CS desk in the terminal is wonderful, but I have always said that if you read some of my past posts. That's probably the best perk of having AC membership but at the same time I believe most make a decision to purchase the membership based on how much they fly. If it's just a very casual flyer, then as I said before, membership is probably not worth it.

The basic point of my post was the fact that I basically felt like I hit the jackpot on a slot machine, but I also did receive some excellent CS and that does not happen all the time, even to EXP. Most of the time, it is great but even we get an agent now and then that is useless. It's a huge corporation and there will always be some bad apples. My motto always was and is, that if I don't get the answer I KNOW is possible, I gently back out of the conversation with that particular agent and try my luck again with another. I laugh at people that start threating lawsuits and become beligerent, because that doesn't get you anywhere and at the end, that customer will probably be the one that's left behind. I respect people I deal with and expect the same, but I'm also a realist and expect few bad seeds in any CS orientated corp. and that includes my phone company, my auto mechanic, etc., and also occasional bad service in hotels and restaurants. It's part of life. Learn how to go around it instead of fighting an uphill battle and you may see better results.

I also disagree with some that AA has generally bad CS. I know, and actually believe that out of all the 6 legacy airlines, it probably has one of the best in the business. AA does not outsource any of it's support staff, as in res, mechanics, etc, etc, so the chances of running into an employee who is totally cluesless or unresponsive to your needs are far less than with the other majors, yet it's only natural that with something like few thousand flights EVERY day, they can't have "special" services for every passenger when their flight goes bad. They do provide a CS desk in the terminal and a 800 CS number(I think they still do, I know they did), so I think that with the right info and right attitude, even the grandma that flies once a year to see her grandchildren, can avoid many problems during irregular ops.

Just my opinion!

One more wonderful, fun evening in Lima and catching a LANPeru flight to MIA with connection with AA to TPA.

See YAs!
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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I have no status whatsoever since I don't fly 1/4 as much as I used to, but I've always found the customer service very good with AA. I don't know that much about the other airlines CS but I've certainly been accommodated well when there have been glitches or problems.

Naturally, AAFF will get more perks - he brings in a heck of a lot more revenue than most others. That's plain good business but they keep my loyalty because of how they treat me.
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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I have no frequent flyer status with AA but I do use them for vacation travel(domestic) whenever I can. My experience has been VERY good. Sure, you can get the odd employee who may be having a bad day (and who doesn't) but on balance I have found them to have first rate customer service-even in the very back of coach.
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 09:22 PM
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I found myself hoofing it through MIA today (Sunday) as well. Flight left Newark way late and came in at terminal D. Connecting flight to Cali is at A. I made it but just barely. Then, they decided to change a tire on the plane before we took off. Good idea I guess.

So, although I had a looong day, the gate agents and flight crews were fine as usual. I am not a regular AA guy, so no special status. Also had a good flight on Continental PIT > EWR, so all in all a good day flying.
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