How To Lose Business, Guaranteed!

My mom and I recently took a trip to Memphis to visit family. It had been a couple years since we had flown and had our last terrible experience with American Airlines. So we didn’t really look too much into the semi-cheap tickets we found via Expedia. Supposedly, we were booked on US Airways. That’s where things went downhill.

Our friend dropped us off at the US Airways terminal about two hours before our flight was scheduled to board. Good thing, because we couldn’t get the self-check kiosk to scan our tickets or find our reservation at all. Same sort of deal that had happened previously on American. So we headed to the counter where we were informed that, despite our tickets saying, “Sold by US Airways,” we were actually holding American Airlines tickets. We had to trek back down to the American terminal, three terminals back.

We made our way through the crowds, both inside and outside the building. We were finally able to check in and everything was going smoothly. Or so we thought.

The first flight went ok. We left LAX on time (pretty amazing, really) and made it to DFW with plenty of time to make it to our other flight and stop for dinner in between (also an astonishing feat for that airport). Turns out, we had all the time in the world.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 9:30, so we settled into the gate around 8-ish and prepared to wait. Soon after, a gate attendant made the announcement that our plane was still in Memphis on maintenance. No big deal, though. It would be arriving in Dallas at the time we were originally supposed to land. We would just be a little late getting there.

I got us donuts/ice cream and coffee/hot chocolate (Mom had the coffee/donut combination, I had ice cream and hot chocolate. I’m just barely insane.) from the Dunkin Donuts we were luckily seated across from while my mom heard the horror story of what the airline had been doing to the kid sitting across from us. He was supposed to fly out for Michigan at 4 in the afternoon, but they had changed his gate at least four times. They called for one more gate change while we were sitting there, and then we didn’t see him again. We hoped he really had gotten on a flight this time, and that it was a hopeful sign for us as well.

A little later, the gate attendant announced that our plane was in the air and should be arriving soon. A few minutes later, as I headed off in search of water, I decided to check the flight board to see what our updated departure time was. CANCELLED.

I texted this info to my mom, who told me someone else had just relayed this information to the group sitting at the gate. We got in the miles long “rebooking” line (they had cancelled a total of seven flights that day, I think), until they finally re-opened our gate as well.

No one had any information on why our flight was cancelled. The airline employees even asked us if we knew. The only thing we knew was that the attendant had made the announcement that the plane was in the air, threw on her little backpack, and practically ran down the corridor away from the gate.

This should be the part where I tell you we all got booked onto a new flight in the morning with hotel vouchers for the inconvenience. Instead, they told us there were no flights out until Tuesday, we would have to purchase those tickets, and they don’t do hotel vouchers.

American Airlines, this is not how you treat customers. At least, not if you want repeat customers. And we definitely won’t be ever again. My mom never even got her money back for that flight, because the process was so ridiculous. She was on hold for over an hour before she finally gave up. Guess we know how they manage to stay in business, though.

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