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Reports From the Forum

FlyerTalk’s Favorite Complaints About American Airlines

FlyerTalk’s Favorite Complaints About American Airlines
Jeff Edwards

The FlyerTalk Forum is a pretty big place, so, when a particularly good piece of FlyerTalk comes across our desks, we put it on the front page for regular Reports From the Forum. Want to read more? Check out the Reports From the Forum tag, or head to the forum yourself to see what the FlyerTalk is about.

In the summer of 2010, Flyertalker Blumie set out to create “one of the most valuable and important threads in the history of FT.” Nearly a decade later, this visionary’s dream has come to fruition. The comprehensive list of the “stupidest, least substantive thing you can complain about” has not only brought joy to countless frequent flyers over the years, but has also given us a safe space to get some minor grievances off of our chests.

The Petty Gripe That Started It All 

Although the “What’s the stupidest, least substantive thing you can complain about?” thread was conceived as a way to collect Flyertalk’s pettiest complaints in one place, rather than having to search the forums for eloquent belly-aching about seemingly trivial matters such as “the ceiling height at JAX to the font, ink and paper used to print boarding passes,” the founder couldn’t help, however, but to include a personal grievance to kick things off. 

  “I find it really annoying the way the napkins are fanned before being put out at the Admirals Clubs. Is this supposed to make us feel like the place is uber-fancy?” thread-founder Blumie wrote. “Why don’t they just forget about the fanning and put out some real napkins instead of the flimsy cocktail napkins they use?”

A Whiter Shade of Pale 

Admittedly, the Flyertalk member who lodged a complaint about the American Airlines livery has a point. Rather than calling for a return to the shiny, polished fuselages of yesterday, Peter T quibbled with the color palate moving the objection decidedly into the niggling category. 

“I think American Airlines’ new livery would look a whole lot better if the new gray paint for the fuselage was a few shades lighter in color,” he wrote. “Right now the shade of gray they use is too dull and bland.”

Fruit Envy

Sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side of the street. Perhaps those with elite status should be offered the option of choosing their neighbor’s lawn instead of their own.

“My neighbor got raspberry yogurt on his meal tray from YYZ, but I got strawberry. Shouldn’t Super Elites get first choice?” expert7700 wrote, keeping very much in the spirit of the thread. “We both got butter on our trays despite no bread/rolls being offered (perhaps the bread was too fresh/soft to meet AC Skytrax standards).”

You Shut Your Mouth

“Am I the only one that finds this retro livery weird?” one Flyertalker queried. “Painting planes in the livery of long gone airlines? Really, would you want your new Jeep/Chrysler to have an AMC Rambler emblem on it?”

Yes, newyorkgeorge, yes, we would.

Bloody Carnage 

Bloody Mary enjoyment is serious business, especially on a Monday in an airport lounge. Any obstacle at all to said Bloody Mary enjoyment barely qualifies as a petty complaint. 

During my visit to JFK’s Flagship Lounge Monday morning, I felt like sipping a Bloody Mary so I headed over to the station with all the fixings,” BigOAir wrote in a lighthearted post about a very weighty issue. “There were no glasses there so I had to walk all the way over to the general bar area to get a glass and then walk all the back to the Bloody Mary station. Unacceptable!” 

Flyertalk member AANYC1981 had an even more substantive issue with occasional onboard Bloody Maries: “When you don’t get a lime or lemon with your Bloody Mary (I’m happy with either).”

Enough to Drive One Nuts

If you are going to call something by the name “mixed nuts” then there obviously should be an assortment of different kinds of nuts. This would never happen on Korean Air!

“My nuts today had ZERO walnuts and only one pistachio,” Flyertalker dp4m deadpanned. “The rest were almonds and cashews.”

On the other hand, others in the forum found a much more serious flaw in the American Airlines mixed nut game. Nominating a legume for inclusion in the mixed nut bowl, however, remains controversial in its own right.

“I bemoan the lack of peanuts,” Antarius posted. “Unquestionably the most superior nut.”

“Yet not actually a nut,” user zpaul quickly corrected. “It’s the imposter nut.”

Seems About Right

Sometimes, a petty beef can be more than just a trivial matter and can be downright prophetic of things to come – in this case, ashes to ashes, dust to dust and an amenity kit that will all too return to whence it came. 

The FA handed out the amenity kits from a big garbage bag!”georgeroads complained. “Don’t they have trays at least?” 

International Terroir-ism

A wine connoisseur on a transpacific flight made a valid, but minor complaint about the wine service. Fortunately, American Airlines has a rotating staff of celebrity sommeliers to field just this sort of issue.  

“The wine list LAX to AKL listed a New Zealand Sauv Blanc,” oenophile rtowingman wrote. “The caterer substituted a South African Chard. Oh, the horror!”

Meanwhile, one Flyertalker had to think long and hard before coming up with the perfect frivolous criticism: “I finally have one… not all sparking wine is champagne.” Well played, jacobguo, well played.  

It’s Like Ten Thousand Spoons When All You Need is a Knife

Sometimes, even good news when flying can be cause for consternation. Thank God there’s always room for first class Jello.

“I bought a sandwich in the terminal and had already boarded and finished eating it when the FA came thru with my cleared upgrade boarding pass 10 mins before departure,” one Flyertalker lamented.

Salty Service

It is entirely possible that the menu planning committee at AA is either made up entirely of androids or else humans who subsist on nothing but nutritional substitutes and have never actually eaten food. That doesn’t mean that everyone taking part in the age-old tradition of poking fun at airline food has a valid complaint – sometimes the inflight snack is served in a way that is harmlessly puzzling. 

“The snack I had on my PHL>LAS this week had a vanilla yogurt, blueberries, and a granola bar………as well as a packet of salt and pepper,” Flyertalk member Uncle Nonny offered. “Who is putting salt and pepper in their yogurt?”

Hipster With Status

It will probably come as no surprise that the American Airlines Club lounge is doing avocado toast wrong – after all, according to BuzzFeed, we are all doing avocado toast wrong. Points to IAHtraveler for his surprisingly practical reason for bemoaning AA’s failed attempt at the hipster staple (with extra credit for quite correctly coining the term AAvocado Toast). 

“When the AAvocado toast in the club has crumbled things (cheese/eggs/tomatoes/etc) on top of the salmon,” the frequent flyer foodie explained quite reasonably. “They belong under the salmon so more ends up in my mouth than on the floor.”

Color Me Impressed

Much like reaching Nirvana, attaining elite status can be a hard-earned achievement. Is it too much to ask that every single aspect of a frequent traveler’s contact with the airline acknowledges this very special relationship? Well, yes, probably. 

“The AA website has no style elements that change color according to your elite status,” mcww00 points out. “The app has only a thin vertical bar by your name. I would like to be visually reminded of my loyalty upon logging in the way DL and UA flyers are.”


What is your smallest, pettiest or most trivial complaint about air travel? Chances are someone in the American Airlines AAdvantage forums has already beat you to the punch, but as they say, mildly inconvenienced loves company. 

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