My airline rant for the day

Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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My airline rant for the day

First just let me say ARRRRRGHH!

I was scheduled to leave at 9:40am this morning, the 19th. At around 8:00am my emergency contact (not me) got a voice mail from AA that my flight was canceled due to mechanical difficulties and that I was going to be rerouted. After spending about 25 minutes on the phone with AA, he said I would need to work with Alaska Airlines rebook the flights. He knew it was booked with FF miles in the first place, so why did it take me a 1/2 hour to find this out? Who knows. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with Alaska, and they were very helpful. Once they put in the request for changes it took about 2-1/2 hours to hear back.

In the meantime, I had a 5:30am pick up for Tortuguero tomorrow, the 20th. Bad move to schedule that tight. The chain of reaction from just a one day flight delay is simply amazing. LOL!

Basically, I've replanned my trip in a matter of a few frantic hours by sending out e-mails changing hotel reservations, tour changes for Tort and rafting and Nature flight. It doesn't really sound like much, but it felt like about 3 hours of working on a puzzle with the clock ticking down. Ugh.

Anyway, just felt like posting since I'm spending the day at home wishing I was in Costa Rica! The good news is, I've been reconfirmed for a flight out tomorrow at 7:30am so keep your fingers crossed all goes well.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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Sorry for your trouble HVC

American delayed me at SJO for 12 hours

due to mechanical problems with an old dodgy plane

paid me nothing...things could be worse...

Good luck,have fun,
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:18 PM
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Oh Hip, you are in my thoughts !! Sending good Karma your way.

But that is the pits for sure!!!

Hope it all works out for you, safe travels and looking forward to a great report!
Tell all of the Fodor GTG at BdC I want you all to have a wonderful time. I actually checked air prices yesterday just to see if I could do a quick trip back, (even tho we have just been home 2 weeks!! ,)But alas too much dinero.

Have a great time, hope it all works out. Toni
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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hip - that's really inconvenient and I'm sorry you had to go through that! Still, reorganizing your entire trip in 3 hours under deadline is no mean feat and I'm glad everything's back on track. I'm sure something will happen on your trip that will make this delay worthwhile - or at least a dim memory - by the time you get back home. Maybe by getting to Tort one day later will give more turtles time to get there and meet you. Have a safe trip throughout!
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 01:47 PM
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hip, that stinks - what an inconvenience! Good job getting everything reorganized, but what a pain. I know you'll have an awesome time once you're finally there. I hate when one thing goes awry and the rest of the trip starts getting impacted - it's like dominoes. Are you going to post at all during your trip? Can't wait to hear about Tortuguero and your adventures. We'll be following in your footsteps.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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Thanks all. I'm finally starting to relax a bit.

qwovadis - Thanks. I usually fly AA out of Seattle to most places and this is the first time I've had a problem, so hopefully it's a rare occurrence!

eressea - I'll actually be in Tort July 4/5th now, vs June 20/21st. Couldn't just delay a day because I need to fly to Dominical on the 22nd. Hope you're right though, that there will be better chance for turtles.

parrmt - Would have loved it if you could have surprised us! Well, I have noticed the good airfares are sparse right now, but maybe another time!

volcanogirl - Definitely an inconvenience and hard to stay in vacay mode. LOL! Everything was zipped up and I was literally walking out the door. It will all work out, I hope. I had to switch rafting with Tort, so now I'll be rafting the first day I get there. I'm excited for that!

I should have internet tomorrow night, so if I get the chance I'll at least post back to let ya'all know I made it!
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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I want to hear about the rafting too!

Do you think BdC is ready for you guys?!
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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Have a nice safe flight tomorrow morning
Percy is online now  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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Sorry to hear about the delay -- ugh! But at least you're taking off not too far from the original. Hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly!!!
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 08:15 PM
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Sorry for your delay - happy trails!!
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:25 AM
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Here's hoping everything works out for today. I'm sorry to hear about the delays.

¡Feliz viaje!
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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That is certainly frustrating! I'm glad you were able to work everything out and I hope you're there, or at least on your way there by now! I hope you all have a blast!!!! I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's trip reports!
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Sorry Hip. I hope you are on your way now!

I usually try to keep it positive on the boards. I enjoy flying, and am always upbeat when I am on my way to anywhere. I just love to travel, and take International trips three or four times a year.

But I have to say I hate American Airlines. Hate em, Hate em, Hate em!

Especially when you have to connect through Miami. Rude employees, and a total disregard for customer service or schedules.

I could literally write pages on my own personal poor experiences with AA. I could write more even more pages about my clients getting screwed over by AA.

I have to guess that whoever said that "getting there is half the fun", didn't fly AA.

I do have to say that this doesn't extend to the flight crews. They are usually very professional and friendly. But the reservation, ticket and gate agents must be very poorly treated by their employer. They always seem to be in a foul mood.

Every once in a while, I will bite the bullet and fly them because of a great fare. But I have to prepare myself for the gate nazis at the airport, and try to focus on the good times coming.

That's MY rant.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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Interesting that AA and Miami got mentioned. They once kept all our luggage (two week vacation) in Miami saying they had no record of us flying with them. We spent almost a week on Margarita Island begging for our bags. We showed all our paperwork to the airport staff on the island and they made call after call for us saying "yes, they flew with you, I'm looking at their paperwork right now". Initially AA made one attempt to help and sent a Chicago family's bags to the island-the woman had the same first and last name as me. Should have seen us watching that luggage belt thinking we were finally going to have clothes and gear only to see all these bags we did not recognize. Airline staff eventually pulled out the bags they thought were ours as we explained these were not ours, we weren't from the Chicago address on the luggage tags, etc. At one point, the airline employee who helped us the majority of the time (we went to the airport daily per their instructions) asked why we would ever fly with AA and that we should have known better. I finally got through (collect-this was years ago and we weren't prepared to make international calls) to my sister-in-law who has a pilot friend. He called AA and we had our bags the next day. Whew! I guess we did actually fly with them. I quickly learned one needs to be very careful of how your bags are marked and don't just believe that old "your bags will follow you-just go get on the plane" line. Maybe asking one of guys moving bags within the airport wasn't so bright either.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Pat, I agree with you too...AA is terrible & I would do almost anything to avoid connecting in Miami. I travel a lot also & have never experienced the type of rudeness displayed in Miami anywhere else. I think your title of "gate nazi" says it all! lol

Hip, I hope the rest of your plans go smoother...enjoy!
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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This one of our experiences out of Sea-Tac with American Airlines. Unfortunately we almost have to fly with them because the times suit us.
We drive down from Vancouver and enjoy 2 days shopping and then leave for San Jose.
This is from this year:

December 27th
AA Flight 1050 Seattle to Dallas
All ok and flight uneventful

AA Flight 2167 Dallas to San Jose Costa Rica
• Due to leave from Dallas at 6:10 pm
• Delayed due to high winds resulting in runway closures; at no time did anyone inform us of this problem. We just sat at the gate waiting. Delay approx 40 minutes.
• Once on board, pilot announced that there was a piece of checked baggage with no matching passenger, so a search had to be conducted to find and remove the baggage.
• Delay was about 45 minutes so take off was now about 1 ½ behind schedule.
• This was to be a dinner flight and everyone was probably quite hungry by now
• As we were taking off pilot announced that due to turbulence, he was ordering attendants to remain seated
• My husband was feeling somewhat uncomfortable – he is a diabetic and was feeling the need for something to eat. He asked an attendant if it would be possible to get a cracker or some nuts to tide him over, explaining he was diabetic. Her name – Dina – responded very rudely by saying, “you’re a diabetic and didn’t bring any food with you?” She then walked off.
• About one hour into the flight meals were served, and Dina made no move to come anywhere near us; she just proceeded to serve passengers in the normal fashion. As it happens our seats were near the rear of the aircraft and we were served last.
• This behaviour – despicable!!!! Just lucky my husband did not go into any kind of reaction.

On our return from Costa Rica, things were much worse:

AA Flight 2166 San Jose CR to Dallas
• Due to leave at 10:15
• Mechanical problems resulted in cancellation of this flight after sitting on the runway for about an hour
• We were told we would have to retrieve luggage and go through customs as if arriving in CR
• I guess because we had been bussed to the aircraft, which was a long ways from the gate, and because this was an unscheduled ’arrival’, we had to wait well over an hour for our luggage.
• Announcements indicated there was a special line set up for us to have our flights re-routed. The line-up for this – almost 2 hours. Understandable that it would take a while to process the entire list of passengers, but at no time throughout this whole day of waiting was there an AA agent coming by to keep us updated on how long it might be, offer us a coffee, some water, or anything else
• When we finally had tickets in our hand it as now almost 4pm and our new flight to FT Lauderdale was at 5:30. We, at this point had not eaten all day, and had very little time to get through security and to the gate, but managed to gulp down a burger before boarding.
• The agent who had handled the re-ticketing process actually did a good job (we told her that), and had included a food voucher for our meal.
• Once on board an agent did come on with a package of vouchers for ground transport to & from hotel in FT Lauderdale, hotel stay, and a food voucher for dinner there for $20 (you heard me right $20 for dinner for 2)

AA Flight 2112 San Jose CR to FT Lauderdale
• Flight arrived about 15 minutes late in FT Lauderdale (9pm)
• Then came the fiasco of everyone trying to get taxis to the hotel; at least the voucher was accepted and we arrived at our hotel around 10:30
• Our hotel was a Holiday Inn Express on N University Way about 45 minutes north of FT Lauderdale. I’m not sure who at AA does the research on where to put up customers, but this was definitely a no frills alternative in a ‘not-so-great area’ with no restaurant near with the exception of a Denny’s about 2 blocks away. So we walked. Dinner was horrible (actually it was more like breakfast) and our food voucher was not accepted so we paid ourselves. Turned out we were among the lucky as there were people there from our flight who had not even been offered food vouchers – you only got them if you asked. Nice!!
• No breakfast in the morning at the hotel because all of our flights were leaving too early to enjoy that. So we decided to get to the airport 3 hours ahead so we could get breakfast there. Thank goodness we did!

Alaska Flight 17 Florida to Seattle
• So we took a taxi back to FT Lauderdale airport in the morning and the taxi fare was covered by voucher
• At the AA check in counter, we dealt with a nice, but kind of confused agent who was asking a lot of strange questions, eventually leading to the fact that we in fact were at the WRONG AIRPORT – our flight today was booked from Miami!! I guess it slipped everyone’s mind to tell us this and why would we think we were flying from Miami, 45 minutes south of FT Lauderdale, when we were housed overnight 45 minutes north. She wasted quite a bit of our time trying to find out why this had happened, even when we asked her to get us transport to Miami as quickly as possible.
• Finally out of there and it was like the Amazing Race to get a taxi to Miami; once again we had vouchers in hand for breakfast but no time to eat! So we loaded up with food to go and raced to the gate, only to have another delay.
• Now we are flying Alaska on this leg, and I know AA cannot be held responsible for thie delay; however when we are finally able to board this flight, we find that we have been assigned seats in row 30 on an aircraft that only has 29 rows. Whose fault is that?
• Luckily this is now in the hands of some very friendly Alaska airlines attendants who calm us down and wait until all passengers are on board. They then have the stand-by’s leave, find us a very comfortable row of seats (one vacant between us), let us know that food, drink and entertainment on board will be complimentary, and lo and behold!! Just before take-off an agent comes on board to apologize profusely for the seat mix-up and handed us each 1000 air miles for Alaska Airlines!
• This flight was the best one of the trip and all of the staff treated us like they wanted to make up for the inconvenience.
costarog is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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I'll put in a good word for AA here. I love them. My work takes me all over Latin America, so it's the obvious airline of choice for me. Sure, there have been mechanical difficulties and delays and bad weather (that last one is not an airline's fault), but all in all, the service has been terrific.

Pat, if I remember, you are in New Orleans, right? The nightly flight from Dallas to San Jose would be an option. I find DFW a lot easier to negotiate than MIA and try to connect through there whenever possible.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 07:46 PM
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Just saw a facebook update by hip -- looks like she made it. Maybe she couldn't connect to Fodor's, but here is what the update says:

"Ah the good life. I'm sitting here listening to the gecko on the ceiling chirping away. Trying to get to bed early for my 5:15am pick up for class IV rafting on the Pacuare tomorrow."

Glad you made it. I'm living vicariously through you right now...
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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Go, hip! We can't wait to hear all the details!
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:52 AM
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I agree with Jeff. Dallas is much easier than Miami. Not only AA but the customs and security too.
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