I wrote the below piece before departure from the cruise ship. Interesting, because they lost my luggage, including a piece I paid $60 to go. American proved me correct. The flight attendants and pilots are the very best in the business. Their customer service could use a complete revamp; they don’t care. They won’t even do the minimum to make your travel easier. That’s what it’s all about: making the travelers life easier.
American doesn’t get that, or rather, no longer gets that.
Last night, our bags didn’t come off the aircraft. We went to the lost baggage section at San Antonio. While I searched for the baggage claim tags we got in Barcelona, she looked it up with their computerized system.
Why didn’t she do that in the first place instead of making us dig for our claim tags? Of course, San Antonio airport is another blog post entirely; it is the headquarters of nepotism. You can’t work there unless one of your incompetent relatives does as well.
I am actually hesitant to write this because I’m flying on them tomorrow.
I’m making this Europe trip using an unnamed airline we’ll call “AA”. I’ve flown AA for over 25 years now. AA is making it hard to continue flying with them. You see, AA has forgotten what made them a great airline to fly on.
That, my friends, is CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Why AA? More room in coach. Actually helping their customers. Discounted FF miles. A few tiers of customer loyalty program, instead of every precious metal and gem under the sun. A reservation system that made sense.
We’ve mentioned Southwest is no longer the low-fare leader, but they are consistently profitable due to their focus on customer service. Except in San Antonio where the Southwest focus is on hiring every slothlike relative of yours to work at the airport so you can get ticket vouchers. Anyway, Southwest hasn’t forgotten where they came from. AA has, and that’s why they are having trouble.
I like flying on AA because they have great pilots and crews. They ensure your safety, as our delay from DFW showed. But the rest of AA is awful. Sucks.
Today, I tried to check in for our flights back to the States. AA’s system wouldn’t let my wife check in because her name didn’t match their database. Are you serious? It’s the same name she flew to Europe on? I tried to check in myself, and AA had deleted my personal information so I couldn’t check in either. It was just as difficult when I tried checking in online before departing the States.
AA has another concept called the Admiral’s Club. I have used it before, and it was okay. Now, it’s awful. It’s an interrogation to get into the place and if you’re a short term member, you get treated like garbage. It was funny at Heathrow, there were like three guys running around the entrance like federal agents; meanwhile the crone at the desk makes your life difficult.
Another neat maneuver is their approach to baggage fees. Since they charge to carry your bags, they want to make you check them. So they decreased the carry-on luggage space to make you either check them or check them in at the gate. One of their biggest jets, the 767, has less room for carry-ons than the MD-80 or 757.
Southwest has bag fees rolled into your ticket. No one really minds because it just works.
Now AA is in bankruptcy. Another airline is trying to merge with AA. That airline is the horrible, worst thing in the air not named United, US Airways. The government ought to step in and force US Airways to rename itself something other than US…like Sewage Airways, because they treat you like crap. If US Airways merges with AA, I’ll do everything I can to avoid that crapline.