Worst Airline For Married Couples

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Sep 7, 2019
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#1
Flight 1220 leaving PBI Gate 9 (8/30/19)

My wife and I arrived at PBI Friday morning for one of the most horrible experiences of our lives. We noticed after check-in that our seats were not together. It never happened to us before. We figured we would get to the gate early and get it easily resolved. Gate attendants Adrian and Darla had a different plan. Adrian said that it could only be done if we paid an up-charge. She said row 30 was available but it was blocked and could not be assigned. Darla agreed with her and proceeded to bill us for the up-charge to sit together. We ordered these tickets three weeks earlier. Is it your policy to do this as a ploy to force married couples into an up-charge? You should be ashamed! Guess where we ended up sitting? Yes, in that “blocked” row 30. Additionally we were forced to check our carryons because the seats were the last ones loading in Group 9.

We ended up sitting in the same row as a crazy young man we had seen earlier. We first noticed him (along with other passengers and AA employees) at the gate cursing and offending everyone around him. He should have been sent to a hospital or police station. NO, AA employees put him on the plane. His antics got so bad on the plane they had to move people away from him and have a stewardess (Cynthia) babysit him the whole flight. She did her best to control his cursing, crawling around on the floor, and nonstop disruptive behavior. He with AA’s help managed to ruin the flight for dozens of passengers. I don’t know what your corporate policy is regarding crazy/psychotic passengers boarding planes is but it needs to be to be updated! Why would you put this fanatic on a plane? Are you trying to create headlines?

To add insult to injury. My wife put her medication in the carryon bag which they took from us moments before boarding the plane. I told her we would be able to get it at DFW. I was wrong our carryons weren’t there, they had been sent to Tucson. She suffered for 5 hours because of your cruel, insensitive and dangerous policies. Whoever came up with them should be waterboarded.

The only “bright side” of trip follows:
At DFW my wife was told by Gail (gate 36 attendant ) Flight 2824 that again we weren’t sitting together (seats 17c and 16c). The reaction from Gail was dramatically different from that of Adrian/Darla at PBI. She put us together immediately with no mention of an up-charge.

Got to Tucson. My wife’s carryon did not make it. After a 30 minute wait in a line of ten people the woman in the baggage recovery center told us my wife’s carryon won’t be in Tucson for another 3 hours. She said it would be delivered by 8pm. It is now 8pm (7 hours after our arrival) we are at my son-in-laws home in Sierra Vista . My wife still doesn’t have her bag. She called the airline to see what happened and was put on hold. After 30 minutes on hold, with tears in her eyes. she gave up. I can’t comprehend how our bags could be taken from us TOGETHER by one of your employees and end up on two different planes. She didn’t get her carry-on until 24 hours later when it was delivered to our son-in-law‘s military base. What happened to the quality professional service? You should be held accountable for these grievous acts against my wife and I.

I just want to go on record saying that this was the worst flying experience that I have endured in over 50 years of flying. America Airlines what happened? You used to be one of the premier Airlines. Now you are one of the WORST! Shame on you!!

Not wanting to deal with the same issues on the trip home, we opted to just go ahead and pay your ridiculous up charge.
 
Sep 7, 2019
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We booked three weeks earlier economy. Got the boarding passes the day before. She didn’t notice the seats until we actually got to the gate. We’ve never had this happen before .
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Suggesting someone be waterboarding — really?

You chose to book a Basic Ecocomy fare which means no advance seat assignments and you get what is left over. BE also means boarding last.

AA has disclaimers as to what you get with Basic Economy.

I dislike Basic economy and do not buy it. Other can make that same choice. Some people do not care where they sit and carry one small backpack that they put under the seat.

All keys and medications and money should be in the personal item which goes under the seat.

AA Basic Economy allows passengers to take a personal item and another carry on with out charge. That does not mean that it will be in the cabin.

Pay the least get the least — Airlines offer different tickets and amenities— the nickel and dime mentality is here to stay and business philosophy emphasizes maximizing shareholder value over passenger comforts. The sentiment is also anti regulation so this is what we have — mediocre service and no passenger protection.
 

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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
As Christina said, you bought tickets that don’t come with a choice of seat assignments- you get whatever seats are available 24 hours before. That’s why they wouldn’t move you. There are many restrictions with those tickets, including being in the last boarding group which frequently means there is no overhead bin space left either

When you book those tickets, you need to make sure you have a carry on that fits under your seat so you don’t have to gate check it. You also need to take anything important- such as meds- out of your bag and carry them on if your carry on has to be gate checked.

In the future- pay a little more and buy regular economy tickets. Basic economy isn’t fit folks that want to sit together or bring a carry on.

You paid the “upcharge” that you would have paid for the regular economy ticket.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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I am in agreement with both Christina, who summed it up nicely, and Neil. To their comments will add mine . . .
  • Buy cheap, get cheap (no insult intended here at all). This a-la-carte model of air products and services is pervasive. It began with Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit and has spread to the three major carriers. And Southwest has no assigned seats at all.
  • Accordingly, we all face the same choice: what class of seating fits our needs, and what benefits/drawbacks come with that.
  • Adding to the complexity is the fact that airlines may check "carry-ons" for a variety of reasons. As Christina said, since airlines allow one item that fits under the seat in front of you, that is the best place for medicines and valuables. We always use a shoulder bag.
  • Even with the best tickets, seat assignments bear constant watching as they can change without any warning. Personally, I check them at the following intervals: 3 months, 2 months, 1 month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week, and the day before. That provides margin to address changes.
  • Seat reservations/selections/assignments really aren't. They are actually "seat preferences". Airlines (all of them) regularly change them for a variety of reasons. You can mitigate some of this by checking in online as soon as possible.
  • My final comment does not sit well with some, but I offer it because it removed a LOT of stress for us when we fly. Unless the flight is four hours plus, you will only be apart for a short time. This is not unlike a couple's work day. Granted that it is not ideal, and I certainly prefer to sit with my wife. But if not, we relax knowing we'll be together again soon.
I hope this helps. Best wishes . . .
 
Sep 7, 2019
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#9
If you had been through what we had been through with the lost carry-on and the psychotic passenger you would understand my reference to waterboarding. DFW Obviously has more consideration for the passengers than PBI. It’s easy to be pompous when you’re relating to the experience of others not yourselves.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#10
Your carry-on suitcase may need to be checked for many reasons. For this reason, you should NEVER put medications, passports, other valuables/jewelry, cameras, documents and any essential items in your carry-on. You need to assume that you will never see any checked bag and it's contents again. And your carry-on will become a checked bag unless you are in first class. This is true on ALL airlines world-wide and has nothing to do with AA.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#11
Thanks all for your input . We will definitely be vigilant in the future . I haven’t sent the letter to American Airlines yet but I plan to.
If you send the letter as posted you can expect no response. You need to pare it down to essentials. Your complaint about your carry-on being delayed is not going to get any compensation.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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This is what I would tell them:
  • My wife and I arrived at PBI for our flight and noticed after check-in that our seats were not together. We then decided to arrive at the gate early and hoped to get it easily resolved.
  • To our surprise, that required an additional charge because our seats were in Basic Economy. Additionally we were forced to check our carry-ons because we were the last ones loading in Group 9.
  • Unfortunately, my wife's medication was in her carry-on bag. I told her we would be able to get it at DFW, but sadly it had been sent onward to Tucson.
  • When we checked in Tucson, she was advised that it would be delivered by 8pm (7 hours after our arrival). However, she didn’t get her carry-on until 24 hours later when it was delivered to our son-in-law‘s military base
  • Additionally, we ended up sitting in the same row as young man we had seen earlier at the gate cursing and offending everyone. His behavior on the plane was bad enough that the attendants moved people away from him and sat with him the whole flight. She did her best, but he continued to curse, crawl around on the floor, and was disruptive during the whole flight. I suppose he might have been handicapped in some way.
  • Considering the difficulties we experienced, we respectfully request $xxx as compensation.
  • Thank you for your time and consideration . . .
Your frustration is understandable and I do think some compensation is warranted. But if you send them what you posted here (which is fine for forum purposes), I am confident that they will be unreceptive and may reject your request. It always works best, think, to state the facts and allow those to lead them to the proper conclusion . . .

When you appeal this. . .
Decide beforehand what a reasonable resolution looks like
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite and professional
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level indicated in the list shown below
Present a brief summary of your case and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

 
Sep 19, 2015
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To add insult to injury. My wife put her medication in the carryon bag which they took from us moments before boarding the plane. I told her we would be able to get it at DFW. I was wrong our carryons weren’t there, they had been sent to Tucson. She suffered for 5 hours because of your cruel, insensitive and dangerous policies. Whoever came up with them should be waterboarded.”

You told your wife the luggage would be available at the connection? What did the gate agent say it would be checked.

Your wife suffered because you did not read or understand what you bought (ie Basic Economy) and were not prepared.

Saying someone should be “waterboarded” is likely not going to gain you much sympathy. All airlines gate check bags if there is no room.

My wife and I arrived at PBI Friday morning for one of the most horrible experiences of our lives
Where there any out of pocket expenses for the bag


If this is one of the most horrible experiences in your lives count yourself fortunate for having such a blessed existence.

The letter as written will likely get ignored.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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Okay guys....let's not verbally beat up on the OP! Two wrongs do not make a right. Obviously, he is/was frustrated regarding the situation.

We all agree that he should NOT send the letter as written to the airline. @VoR61 has outlined what should be sent and the best way to get the airline's attention. @Tech Teacher please follow our suggestions if you would like to receive some sort of compensation for the inconvenience or would just like for the airline to know about your experience. I actually have had great results when writing to AA with a complaint. But I kept my complaint short and polite and stuck to facts rather than emotion.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Okay guys....let's not verbally beat up on the OP! Two wrongs do not make a right. Obviously, he is/was frustrated regarding the situation.

We all agree that he should NOT send the letter as written to the airline. @VoR61 has outlined what should be sent and the best way to get the airline's attention. @Tech Teacher please follow our suggestions if you would like to receive some sort of compensation for the inconvenience or would just like for the airline to know about your experience. I actually have had great results when writing to AA with a complaint. But I kept my complaint short and polite and stuck to facts rather than emotion.
Good advice. The carry on issue is the true issue here and if we can help the OP craft a better letter for them to have the airline do a little something, it’s great.

VoR is our master at cutting down issues and crafting a great response. OP, please use it and let us know how you make out.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#16
I would argue that advocating actual torture for anyone, much less an airline employee who is in no way responsible for the personal decisions of any passenger, is not, in fact, appropriate for this forum, either.
Thank you, and I agree completely R.L. My larger point was and is that I am fine if a guest wishes to express outrage here as long as they exercise restraint when reaching out to company executives . . .
 
May 7, 2019
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#17
“ to be pompous when you’re relating to the experience of others not yourselves.”

I could not agree with you more! Some of the folks on here are awfully smug, arrogant and dismissive when it comes to addressing others’ travails.

Having said that, basic economy fares carry restrictions that, for some, are not worth the savings. Some of those restrictions can be avoided if you buy the tickets using the carrier’s branded credit card.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
“ to be pompous when you’re relating to the experience of others not yourselves.”

I could not agree with you more! Some of the folks on here are awfully smug, arrogant and dismissive when it comes to addressing others’ travails.

Having said that, basic economy fares carry restrictions that, for some, are not worth the savings. Some of those restrictions can be avoided if you buy the tickets using the carrier’s branded credit card.
I am not sure that pointing out the restrictions on a ticket is considered smug. And I suspect that many of us here have had to gate check bags, or had bags delayed. My luggage has been to places I have not visited -- such as Guam.

As for the person with a behavior that including swearing and crawling -- that person may have a disability such as Tourettes. There is a disabled woman that takes cans from recycling to redeem for cash -- and she is in my neighborhood every so often -- she lives in a group home and does this for cash and she has the involuntary swearing and screaming aspect of Tourettes. It was alarming the first times I saw her but now know that she is not violent and that this swearing is part of her disability. If the passenger had such disability the airline had to make reasonable accommodations for the passenger and that may have been what came into play, unless the passenger was a danger to others or themselves. I suspect that a flight attendant would not have wanted to be the position of having to sit next to a passenger to monitor their behavior and there must have been something else going on.

There is no doubt that flying is very stressful and that one has to be prepared for the worst case scenario -- but also part of booking your own travel is understanding what the product is that one is buying. There is a reason that proper travel agents have not disappeared -- because people realize that some sorts of travel arrangement take a lot of work.

One can vent, but there certain boundaries -- for many, suggesting torture is one of them -- does that make us smug arrogant and dismissive? There are some online communities and forums where "anything goes" is the motto but this is not one of them. I am one that believes that words matter and normalizing violent concepts like torture or mass killing is not something to be encouraged.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#19
FYI to everyone posting here, a little reminder on how this forum operates:

The boundaries of posting on this site are determined by Chris and the admins; in the mean time, as per Chris' request, we offer assistance to the OPs without passing judgement. In a case where something may be highly offensive to a reader, the best course of action is to avoid that thread and/or alert the admins of possible misbehavior. It is not our jobs to 'school' the OP in moral issues, the admins will determine if something crosses the line and either edit a post or delete it.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#20
FYI to everyone posting here, a little reminder on how this forum operates:
The boundaries of posting on this site are determined by Chris and the admins; in the mean time, as per Chris' request, we offer assistance to the OPs without passing judgement. In a case where something may be highly offensive to a reader, the best course of action is to avoid that thread and/or alert the admins of possible misbehavior. It is not our jobs to 'school' the OP in moral issues, the admins will determine if something crosses the line and either edit a post or delete it.
Patina is absolutely correct, Tech Teacher. I totally agree with the words and the thought behind them. While part of our job here is to educate our OPs so everyone learns from the situation, we don't need to be quite so curt. We should be starting a response with an empathetic acknowledgement of the situation and a rundown of your options to fix the problem.

Frequent travellers have watched these huge, negative changes in flying grow and grow over the past few years. Someone who doesn't fly all that often is gob-smacked with the whole odious process. And the airlines couldn't care less. The agents grab a carryon to gate-check it and push the pax to hurry up ... because their primary job is to get the plane off on time, not to take care of the paying pax. I totally understand your frustration and I'm sorry all this happened. VoR is a master at boiling and cutting to turn out complaint letters that get positive response. Best of luck, and please let us know the outcome.
 
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