This is a (very) true story. Unfortunately.
I cannot help but be compelled to write this as I sit in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport at 5 past 9 at night. I was supposed to be home three hours ago. So here’s what happened…
I had a flight leaving Destin, Florida on American Airlines at 1:20pm today. I was eager to get home and see my kids, as this was the first night I had really ever been away from them. Tomorrow is mother’s day. I miss my family. Pretty simple. So I show up at the airport two hours early for my flight. I know that doesn’t actually help me get home quicker, but I figured I would give myself a buffer in case there was a hiccup with returning my rental car and I would give myself enough time to eat lunch before I boarded.
So Destin has a small airport. There’s only two gates for American Airlines. There was another flight going out a few hours later. No big deal. So our plane arrives and nothing much happens. Everyone is fairly laid back just waiting. Then as 1:10 pm nears, we realized there has been no one, and I mean NO ONE working at either of the American Airlines desks. 1:20pm rolls around and we’re all trying to figure out why our flight doesn’t even have a gate number assigned to it yet. Not rocket science, it has to literally be one of the two in front of us… so I text American Airlines and it says I’m on time. Ok… so I call America Airlines and they say I’m on time. At 1:30pm. Ok… so I tell them no one is here. No one is working. There is no one here to talk to. Please help. She told me to go find someone. Literally. Literally!!!! OMG!!! I was so mad I hung up. I should have got her supervisor on the phone. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
As almost two o’clock rolls around a young man in a tee shirt comes out and says that our plane needed maintenance and it was going to be another 45 minutes. Several of us, including me, had a close-call connecting flight. Three people in their yellow airway vests and earplugs start assigning us for later connection flights. I get another one that is almost two hours later than the first. I have to make it, right? So 2:45pm rolls around. No one has heard an update. Not a squeak. People are pushed up against the window trying to see what is going on with the plane. The door remained closed. Finally around 3pm we hear we should be ready to go in about 15 minutes. 20 minutes later nothing has happened. Then we hear the same exact thing over again. So almost another 45 minutes has passed. No one gives us an update. The people in their yellow vests come back an stand behind the computers. I ask if there are other flights because I feared I would miss my connection, again. The girl told me after looking in the system for five minutes that she was very busy. Then as she walked away from me without solving my problem, she handed me a card with an 800 number on it. The same freaking 800 number I had called and the girl told me to go find someone…
Meanwhile my text messages are coming in slowly, telling me my flight is delayed. Well no $#!t. Eventually, FOUR HOURS after my anticipated departure time we board. I know it is getting dangerously close and that I may miss the next connector. But I have to hope I will make it. We sat on the runway another 15 minutes or so. I stared at what looked like dried vomit dribble on the backing of the seat that was in front of me. I figured for sure that if I had to wait that long for a darn plane it would be clean as a whistle, but, no. They handed out pretzels before we took off. I declined. Too little, too late for me.
Three screaming infants and a little over two hours later we land. We sit again on the runway for an extended period of time. I get the update to my phone saying the other connector flight is on time. It is exactly that time. I see an American Airlines plane pass us on the runway, and I pray it is not my flight. My husband texted me and said the flight departed. I finally get inside of the airport of where I am supposed to connect and speak with a young man who tries to help. Only to find out there are no more flights for tonight. I can leave tomorrow morning at 8:58am.
He gives me a blank ticket and gives me a vague description of where I need to go to the service desk, where they can help. When I walk up, this other young man proceeds to verify that my plane was delayed for maintenance purposes. Then he says they will pay for a hotel. An American Eagle hotel. You’re not going to be thrilled when you hear this, he says. Super 8 he says. 10 miles down the road he says. This is a 2-ish star hotel depending on the review you read. I decline. I said I would rather stay here, because I sure won’t be able to sleep in some crap motel being as annoyed as I currently am. Then he tells me that I can ask someone for a cot, and hide it behind the wall if I want. Weird. He then proceeds to give me two 12 dollar vouchers for food. One for dinner and one for breakfast. Lucky me.
I walked up and down the A-wing hall a few times. A total of about 2 miles back and forth. Several places didn’t accept the voucher. The restaurant meals averaged more than what the voucher was worth. So I finally found someone helpful at Starbucks. I guess that was better than eating/drinking nothing at this point. It has been a freaking miserable day. I’m sure I won’t sleep. Just read and people watch and pray my flight in the morning doesn’t get screwed up.
I just can’t help but wonder why they didn’t even offer some basic things. How about a pass for the Admirals Club? Or upgrading my seat to first class on the morning flight? Nope. Not even a thought that crossed their mind. Then I figured I will try myself online. Nope! System is down.
Yes. Your system is having serious trouble.
I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BEG FOR GOOD SERVICE. That is what I am paying money for to begin with.