My Stressful Journey with American Airlines
I needed to get to Meridian, MS by the evening of Monday, August 14th in order to be at work in Livingston, AL by 7:45 AM the next morning.
I had a delay from SAT to DFW. We were told it was because there was no crew to work the plane, so we were waiting on them to arrive at DFW. I wound up needing to use “hurry up” mode in order to catch my connection.
I was scheduled to fly AA3128 from DFW to PIB and then on to MEI, arriving at 3:09 PM. We’d been waiting in the takeoff line on the tarmac for a good 15 minutes when the captain announced that a light illuminated on the instrument panel, so it needed to get checked out. We were on the plane for about another 10 minutes as we taxied back to the gate and waited for maintenance. Then we were told to deplane with our carry-on luggage, but the valet-checked bags and regular checked luggage would stay on the plane while maintenance figured out what was wrong.
While waiting, I met a gentleman from my flight who’d been scheduled for the exact same flight yesterday, but American Airlines delayed and delayed until they finally cancelled the flight, forcing him to spend the night at an airport hotel. This did not bode well. I walked to our gate every 30 minutes to check on the status. I got nothing but, “I don’t know.”
My Plan B option was to get to Jackson on a flight that left at 4:30 and then drive 95 miles to Meridian. Just before 4:00, I decided this was it. The gate agent was clear with me that I had a choice to make – leave on the other flight without out my checked boxes or valet-checked rollerboard or wait on this flight. I opted to arrive for sure in Meridian without any supplies rather than be a no-show for my contracted job. The gate agent said that my belongings would be flown to Meridian.
A fellow passenger who also switched flights and I hoofed it over to the Jackson flight – now leaving in 20 minutes, but thankfully only 10 gates away. He told me that his “informant” let him know that mechanics hadn’t even looked at our plane yet, so we were not going to leave any time soon. That flight would likely get cancelled. I’m so glad that I listened to my gut instinct and made the change. When I checked later that evening, I saw that the flight never left. I don’t understand why you string people along like that.
When I arrived in Jackson, I asked the woman at the AA ticket counter about my bags, and she also said that if they’re tagged to Meridian, then that’s where they’d be taken. Her system showed that they were still on the plane in Dallas.
Next, I got gouged at the Budget rental car counter. My $55 reservation in Meridian turned into a $229 car rental because I was leaving out of Jackson – all because of American’s delays.
I made it to Meridian shortly before the only mall in town closed. I was able to get a suit for my presentation the next day, as well as underwear, socks, a blouse and nightshirt. I bought the least expensive items that would fit me for a total of $246.31. My bags had still not shown up at MEI.
Once I checked into my hotel, I tried to check-in online for my return American Airlines flight on Tuesday, only to discover that some genius had removed it from my reservation. Great. I called American’s reservation line, and the agent added me back to the system. She then transferred me to the baggage department. I was told by that agent that I should’ve filed a delayed baggage report at the airport. I did my best not to be snippy, so I replied that maybe one of the two American Airlines employees who told me that my belongings would ship to Meridian should have told me that. It took about 30 minutes for the agent to get these reports filled out. She told me that my stuff might not arrive in Meridian until Wednesday since we were filling out the form so late in the evening.
The confirmation email for the report did not state clearly the delivery instructions, so I called the baggage department to speak with someone else. That agent read all of the correct information from his screen and explained that the automated emails don’t share everything in the report. That would’ve been good to know in order to prevent this latest round of frustrations.
Next, I attempted to check in online again since my flight had been added back, only to find out that my originally requested seats were no longer assigned and that the only seats left were premium seats which required additional payment. You’ve got to be frickin’ kidding me! Then an error message popped up that stated that I could only check in at the airport.
I called American Airlines AGAIN and asked for help with checking in. The agent called her supervisor because she couldn’t override the system. According to both of them, the local airport now had “control” so I needed to check-in in person. Oy vey.
At 6:30 in the morning, I checked my luggage status. The boxes showed that they were still at DFW. The valet checked item didn’t exist in the system. Oh well. Nothing I could do at that point. I needed to get centered for my workshop and hit the road to Livingston.
During lunch, I did a quick check of my American Airlines app, and it showed that no flights existed for me. Seriously? I called the reservations line and the robo-man who answered said that my flight for the afternoon out of Meridian was still on time, so at least I got confirmation that I was in the system.
I went through so much stress and unexpected expenses over a 24-hour period because of American Airlines.
American Airlines, how would you like to remedy this situation?