How does one bad storm shut down AA?

 
Old Dec 7, 13, 9:33 pm
  #1  
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How does one bad storm shut down AA?

In all my years as a frequent flyer, I've never seen a single bout of bad weather so severely cripple a major American airline. As a result of the storm in Dallas, American has pretty much stopped answering phone calls, even from its most elite members. If a call is answered on the Executive Platinum line, it will routinely take an hour. More often, the phone will go dead after 45 minutes or more. Goodness knows what is happening to passengers without any elite status.

All of the automated telephone systems -- the "recognize me" function, the call back functions -- have stopped working.

The website is virtually non-functional.

None of this bodes well for the "new" American Airlines.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:40 pm
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Let's see what happens when a similar ice storm hits Atlanta. That'll really be the only comparison.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by flyersfo View Post
In all my years as a frequent flyer, I've never seen a single bout of bad weather so severely cripple a major American airline. As a result of the storm in Dallas, American has pretty much stopped answering phone calls, even from its most elite members. If a call is answered on the Executive Platinum line, it will routinely take an hour. More often, the phone will go dead after 45 minutes or more. Goodness knows what is happening to passengers without any elite status.

All of the automated telephone systems -- the "recognize me" function, the call back functions -- have stopped working.

The website is virtually non-functional.

None of this bodes well for the "new" American Airlines.
American has had a double whammy hit them with fact a storm of this kind hit while they were still sorting out a rather poorly thought out (at least by the looks of things) systems upgrade. Having said that, although there are certainly a few issues on the website, my experience with the site (booking flights etc...) has hardly shown it to be "non-functional".
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:41 pm
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:42 pm
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Website non-functional? I ticketed an itinerary today and changed some seats. Seems pretty functional to me.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:43 pm
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To be fair, an ice storm in DFW is a worst case scenario for AA. Does AA not have a twitter account for pax (elites)?
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:50 pm
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I don't know what you're expecting. A severe ice storm in a part of the country that doesn't routinely get winter weather, in the fortress hub for a very large airline. Think about how many flights a day AA has, and think about how many of those planes go through DFW in a given day.

This isn't like a severe thunderstorm where it will pass in a few hours and a couple hundred flights are affected. This is a prolonged, very, very dangerous situation. They're shutting down the interstates in Ft. Worth right now. People can't get to work. I've heard a lot of people bemoan Texans' inability to function with wintry precipitation, but the reality is, few places in the rest of the US are as susceptible to crippling ice storms as north Texas. When you combine its geographic location with its lack of infrastructure, it's a disaster waiting to happen. It's extremely unusual for these parts of Texas to remain below freezing for days upon end, and when it does, voila, shutdown.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 9:57 pm
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I know that hyperbole abhors perspective, but over a quarter-million people homes in DFW lost power on Friday.

Last edited by dayone; Dec 7, 13 at 10:52 pm Reason: Adding a more accurate perspective.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
I know that hyperbole abhors perspective, but over a quarter-million people in DFW lost power on Friday.
So somewhere between 4-8% of people in the area lost power?

Not everyone plans equally well/poorly for bad weather.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
I know that hyperbole abhors perspective, but over a quarter-million people in DFW lost power on Friday.
Correction: A quarter million ONCOR customers lost power (last I heard was over 300,000). A single household is one customer. It's quite likely that there were over 1 million people without power.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 10:33 pm
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At least they answer the phones even if it takes a long time.

When COdbaUA had similar issues with storms the phone line would say "I'm sorry, we're having system issues. Please try your call again later", hang up on you and not provide an option to hold. This was common under CO and for about a year after the merger spread to the combined companies.

I'd say AA is doing a good job under the circumstances.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 10:39 pm
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Since so many of the aircraft and crews are or were in cities other than Dallas/ Ft. Worth, you would have thought that American Airlines could use those assets to travel to and from the other hubs that are not affected by the weather.

I know some will say this is not possible, I would have to respectfully disagree.

Airlines used to think outside the box and get people to their destinations by creating new flights on an adhoc basis. Now, the airlines blame everything on the weather and don't really attempt to resolve the situation proactively.

I do understand the weather is still bad in Dallas/ Ft. Worth, but this storm does seem to be affecting the entire American Airlines system.

I hope all of the affected passengers get to their destinations soon.

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Old Dec 7, 13, 10:41 pm
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Old Dec 7, 13, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Not everyone plans equally well/poorly for bad weather.
Let me know which cities planned well for a similar ice storm. I recall Connecticut and the St Louis area experiencing similar shutdowns. Snow can be planned for. Ice? Not so much.

Last edited by dayone; Dec 7, 13 at 11:08 pm Reason: Typo.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
Let me know which cities planned well for a similar ice storm. I recall Connecticut and the St Louis area experiencing similar shutdowns. Snow can be planned for. Ice? Not so much.
Ice storms are pretty much the worst. I challenge you to name any airport that would be able to sustain this amount of ice and not have major disruptions. It's frustrating, the result of 80-90% load factors mean that we have literally thousands of people trying to find those scattered few seats.

Looks like Monday morning non-stop RDU-SFO on UA.

Last edited by makfan; Dec 7, 13 at 11:23 pm
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