Monday, July 11, 2011

american airlines

I don't love to be a Negative Nancy, but I wanted to share a really frustrating experience with American Airlines that we had on the way home from Portland.  Because of their 1500 character limit in their complaint box, I had take out and trim a lot.  I know, 1500 characters.  Really??  That's no room to complain about anything!  In the words of Chris Crocker,"... This is a messed up world and the more we complain, the liklier we are to change it.  If we don't complain, the world's gonna stay the same ... Find something to complain about.  Don't find nothin' to rejoice about.  Find something to complain about until this world is the way we need it to be, okay? Complaining is a beautiful thing ..."

(Please know that I'm half joking when referencing the wisdom of Chris Crocker.  The other half is me really wanting to complain and feel okay about it.)  Anyway, so you can get the full picture, here is the original letter:

To whom it may concern:

First, please do not read this email as venting.  I know you, the reader, are not responsible for the experience I’ve had.  I am writing to inform you about an inconvenient and frustrating experience with American Airlines.

My husband and I traveled from OKC to Portland with United on July 1st and did not check any bags.  On July 10th, we traveled from Portland to OKC with American Airlines and were required to check our carry-on bags. 

As were waiting in line to board the plane, my husband walked through with his carry-on.  Then, I was asked to try and fit my carry-on in the size check bin, which is definitely smaller than the actual overhead bins.  It did not fit all the way and at that point, she asked me to pay to check my bag.  My husband and I were upset as we had already traveled with these bags as carry-ons.  In the midst of talking with the American Airline employee, she decided to ask my husband to fit his bag in the size check bin.  Keep in mind, she had already let him through.  His did not fit all the way either.  She, then, asked us to pay $50 to check both bags.

Being in seating group three to board, my husband and I watched several bags, much bigger than ours and bigger than the said allowed 45 linear inches (22" x 14" x 9"), go on to that plane in seating groups one and two.  Because of the inconvenience of checking our bags, we were the last ones to board the plane.  As we walked down the aisle, I noted that there was still plenty of overhead space left for bags like ours; some were even empty.  I also confirmed that there were bags on that plane that were bigger than ours.  I believe that because we were in the last group to board, they decided to check ours.  This is a contradicting system and I will not tolerate it.

Just before boarding, the airline made the announcement that there may be difficulty fitting everyone's carry-ons in the overhead bins.  They allowed us all the opportunity to check bags free of charge in order to free up some space.  I wish we would have taken them up on that offer instead of paying $50 for bags we could have carried on the plane.

The reason we did not want to check any bags was to save money.  When we arrived in Portland, we spent only $30 on toiletries; toiletries that could not be in our bags.  Compared to the amount of checking two bags both ways, it was a small fee.  If I would have known that your airline would not let us check our bags on the way back while allowing larger bags to go in seating groups one and two, we would have figured our situation differently.  It was a waste of our money and time.

By the time we boarded your plane in Portland, we had waited for an extra hour, due to your delayed departure, and paid to check bags that we were not planning on checking.  When we finally arrived in OKC, our bags were not there.  They made it to our connecting airport, DFW, but did not make it from there to OKC.  This is also frustrating because our plane from PDX came in at gate C2 and our plane from DFW to OKC took off from C4. Our bags arrived at our home on July 11th at 1:45 p.m..  This has been an unbelievably frustrating experience and all of this should have been avoided. 

I am asking you for a full $50 refund and voucher for such an unpleasant experience with your airline.  I will choose to never fly American and never recommend it unless I feel you have done your part in this issue.  Unless you can redeem American Airlines, we will not use your service again and will be sharing this negative experience with anyone we can. 

My husband and I have an online presence on Twitter, Facebook, and blogging.  We’d love to share that American Airlines made right with us what they had first wronged.

Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.  I'll let you know if anything comes of it.  And, don't worry, happy/positive Portland posts are still to come. :)


  1. Ugh! So frustrating, and so sad. Flying used to be such a fun experience. I'm flying American in August and hoping not to check a bag, so I'll be prepared for a fight :)

  2. I have a lot of "less than nice" thoughts in my head right now towards American Airlines... but I liked your very polite post to them. :) This is so ridiculous... and ironic. Let us know what comes out of it!

  3. That is SO frustrating. You must have been fuming the entire flight - I totally would have been! Reading it did make me appreciate Southwest even more, though.

  4. Oh Claire, I am so sorry, that is ridiculous!!! I just read it out loud to Ward and he just kept shaking his head with his mouth open. I just can't believe that 1) they had already let Colt through and THEN decided to pull him back and 2)that your connecting flight was only 2 gates down???? how crazy. If it makes you feel any better I complained the ENTIRE plane ride about the leg room, I really can not believe that American expects people to pay an arm and a leg (okay maybe not a ton, but definitely not pocket change) for a flight that requires a 5'4" person to have their knees shoved into the seat pocket and their nose practically touching the seat when the sweet man in front decides to recline his chair in such a tiny space. . . . but that is a rant for another time. :) i've already decided that we will be using united or continental for all international and southwest as much as possible for domestic. blah. very well written letter, can't wait to hear what they say. In the words of Mike Elmore, They damn sure better right their wrongs!! ;)



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