American Airlines  - AAL

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American Airlines - AAL

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Review of "American Airlines - AAL"

published 24/01/2017 | snow_drops
Member since : 20/07/2016
Reviews : 209
Members who trust : 22
About me :
I mostly review products such as books, toys, and household items. Thanks for all the rates and comments! :) I always try and give you one back.
Not for me
Pro none
Cons terrible customer service, old planes, ill informed staff
very helpful
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Food Quality
Customer Service
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"American Airlines AAL - extremely poor customer service"

American Airlines – AAL


Flight routes: international, transatlantic, and within the United States of America
Price range: mid-range flight prices


I used to travel, using transatlantic flights more frequently than I do nowadays, as I lived in South America for several years, but came back to visit family, and for work reasons, to the UK. I made the cross-Atlantic journey using different airlines and flight routes, some of which I have already reviewed for Ciao. On one occasion, in 2010, I purchased a return flight from London to Lima in Peru, using American Airlines. I had to take an internal UK flight to London first, then caught an American Airlines plane to Florida, finally catching a third flight - a connecting flight to Lima. This was a long journey, but I had done it before, so had plenty of experience and knew what to expect (or so I thought!).

My experience of booking

I found it easy to book my flights with American Airlines. I compared various airlines, then booked through a face-to-face travel agents (Student Travel Advice, STA) which was specifically for people aged under 25, as they offered lower prices than booking directly through AAL. I received the information and tickets on time, but this was due to STA rather than American Airlines. This AAL flight cost more than other occasions when I flew this journey with competitor airlines, such as KLM and Air Canada, so I was expecting a high quality service.

The Aeroplanes

I found the AAL planes felt old and worn. Having made this journey many times, I have usually found that airlines use their more modern planes for transatlantic flights, so I would expect newer planes to be used. I am quite a petite person, so had enough room in my seat, but I could see that some larger or taller passengers looked quite uncomfortable and squashed. The plane had that stale, stuff smell inside, like it needed a good clean and airing out.

The Food and In-Flight Entertainment

I found the food to be of a lower standard than on other airlines I’ve flown this route with. The main meal was a meaty (chicken-esque) blob in sauce and a dry bread roll. There was also no offer of additional drinks or small snacks, as there often is on transatlantic flights. I find I get very thirsty when travelling by plane, and since security means we can no longer take on our own bottles of water, I think airlines should make drinks available for passengers.

The Problems Started

Although I found the plane and food below par, I was happy enough with the customer service, until it came towards the end of my second flight (from London to Miami). First, we were told that due to weather conditions, we would have to land in Orlando instead. We landed at Orlando airport, and there was no communication from the pilot or air crew as to what was happening – I didn’t know if we would be transferred to Miami by bus, or fly there. Eventually, after over an hour of sitting on the tarmac, with no communication or refreshments offered, we were told that the weather had improved as we could fly on to Miami.

Once we had landed at Miami airport, again, there was no communication about what was happening. The aeroplane doors remained closed, and the likelihood of me catching my connecting flight was getting slimmer by the second. I tried asking aircrew staff what was happening but they were rude, ill informed, and dismissive. I remember being given one message over the annoy, in which the crew laughed about the situation. I didn’t find it funny in the slightest. After waiting for an hour, they told us that the AAL ground crew “couldn’t locate aeroplane stairs” to allow us to disembark, and that was why we had been waiting for so long. Eventually, some stairs were found and we were allowed off the plane.

We were greeting by long queues in the airport, and I had to collect my luggage as in the USA they don’t check bags for you on to connecting flights. This process took a couple of hours. Coming out into the main area of the airport, I was met by total chaos. It seemed that lots of passengers had missed their connecting flights, and I struggled to find a AAL staff member to ask what was happening. I had no USA Visa as I hadn’t planned on spending any time there, just catch a connecting flight. It did cross my mind that I could have very easily disappeared at that point, and decided to live illegally in the USA!

I finally found an AAL staff member, and they said that the next flight they could get me on to Lima would leave in 12 hours. The earlier flights were all full. It was around 9pm, so asked what I should do in the meantime and they were very dismissive. They provided no water, food, suggestions of hotels, or anything in the way of an apology. I had very little American currency as I hadn’t planned on being in the country. Luckily, USA dollars can be used in some South American countries, so I had about $20 on me.

By this point, there were very few passengers, and no staff around in the terminal, so there was nobody I could ask for assistance. I found a mini bus which was going to a “nearby” airport hotel, so decided to take that. The hotel was half an hour away and cost me over $100 a night, and internet use cost me $1 a minute. American Airlines provided no vouchers for a hotel stay, a meal, or internet use, so I had no choice but to accept this.

I should add, at this point, that this happened before smart phones were common. I had a mobile phone which worked in the UK, and another which worked (for calls and texts) in South America, but neither worked internationally. So I was reliant on the internet and phone boxes to keep people at either end informed of what was happening and why I hadn’t turned up on the plane I should have been on!

In the morning, I took a taxi back to the airport, in plenty of time to check in my luggage and so on, as I didn’t trust American Airlines to do it quickly. Luckily, this flight was fairly uneventful. The plane was old and worn, without the personalised screen for films I have had on other flights. But at least it managed to arrive at its destination on time. And the airport staff managed to get us off the plane.

Customer Service and How the Problems were Resolved

I experienced extremely poor customer service from American Airlines – from the aircrew and airport staff. They were dismissive, ill informed, and rude. At no point was I offered an apology, complimentary bottle of water, or any compensation. I wrote a letter of complaint to American Airlines, detailing what had happened, and how out of pocket I was due to this. I didn’t even receive a reply from them.

Overall

It was a very expensive flight, more than the competitors I’ve flown with (such as KLM and Air Canada) cost, so I had high expectations from American Airlines. They performed below par on everything, and had such poor customer service that I would never fly with them again. Since then, I have actively avoided flights with American Airlines – I would rather spend more or have a longer wait time in an airport, than take another flight with American Airlines.

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Comments on this review

  • mikemelmak published 26/01/2017
    Abysmal service and to not even get a reply - they obviously don't need our business!
  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 26/01/2017
    I've used AA a lot for internal USA flights and found it shocking how the crews varied - some were dreadful!
  • euphie published 25/01/2017
    e :o)
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Product Information : American Airlines - AAL

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 25/06/2000