Disappointing AA Response

 
Old Apr 27, 15, 10:00 pm
  #1  
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Disappointing AA Response

On my last flight home, MIA-SJO on April 6th, I was carrying my 100% legal-sized carry on, laptop case and CPAP. The CPAP is much smaller than a laptop case, and I always make sure that it is stored in such a way to prevent inconveniencing any other passenger with regard to overhead space.

Although I would have almost certainly received a CPU as an EXP who books early, I chose to pay for my Business Class seat to insure it, as usual. That really shouldn't make a difference in how I'm treated, but it does make a difference in how I feel when an employee steps out of bounds. And no, I'm not a DYKWIA type. Far from it. I treat all airline employees with patience and respect.

As I was boarding the gate agent told me that I could only carry on two items. Doh. This happens a lot with AA, but I'm used to it. What I'm not used to is explaining that it's medical, pointing to the name on the case, "ResMed," and being told, "Open it." Seriously?" I asked. "I have to SEE what is in it," she said.

I was already later than desired in boarding, as I didn't feel like fighting through the gate lice, so they were into Group 2 by the time all of this started. So after she sees it, I end up standing in a hot jetway, waiting to board. "OK. Forget about it," I thought, "and just enjoy the flight."

So we land. I'm among the first off the plane, zip through Migración, get a skycap and proceed to the baggage carousel. There is nobody waiting at Aduana (Customs), so I know I'm going to be outta there in no time. Not so. My bags were the very last ones off the belt. By that time, everyone on my flight and several others had filled all of the Aduana lines, and it took a while to exit. I lost at least 30 minutes.

So I get back and write two separate complaints, as now I'm ticked off, and they are two separate events. Until today, I was thinking that they were just ignoring me. I wish they had. It's deja vu. Their reply irritates me as much as the combination of unnecessary inconveniences. I have posted it below:
April 27, 2015

Dear Mr. KenInEscazu:

Thank you for your email to Customer Relations.

We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our passengers. This includes implementing all of the security measures that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put in place.

In accordance with the most recent directive issued by the FAA, we have changed our carry-on baggage policy to limit our customers to one carry-on and one personal item (briefcase, purse, laptop or small backpack). Items allowed above and beyond this restriction include: outerwear such as coats/wraps/hats, books or newspapers, small bag of food to eat on the flight, approved safety seats for lap or ticketed child, pillows or blankets, umbrella strollers for lap or ticketed child, diaper bags for lap or ticketed child, and assistive devices for passengers with disabilities. This change in policy does not alter our carry-on maximum size requirements. Further, our policy states that the dimensions of any carry-on item cannot exceed 45 linear inches. The combined weight of the carry-on and personal items also cannot exceed 40 pounds. Each carry-on must fit under a seat or in an overhead bin. Also, we may require that passengers open carry on bags to ensure that passengers are complying when traveling with assistive devices. With heightened security, the travel experience has changed for all of us.

Also, although we do have special handling procedures for priority tagged bags, these bags are not immune to all of the factors that can lead to a bag being delayed. Still, we are always disappointed when one of our most valued customers experiences a bag delay, and we are sorry to hear that you were inconvenienced.

According to CFR 14 Part 382, carriers must train employees with respect to awareness and appropriate responses to passengers with a disability, including persons with physical, sensory, mental, and emotional disabilities, including how to distinguish among the differing abilities of individuals with a disability. Based on what you said, it appears our employee could have handled your situation more appropriately.

In this instance, American Airlines agrees we were not in violation of Part 382. Despite what you described occurred, American Airlines provides sensitivity training to all personnel. Please be assured your feedback is very important to us since it provides us with a measuring tool for customer satisfaction. You have the right to contact the Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division about the difficulties that occurred if you so choose. Please know that your comments have been documented and forwarded to the appropriate station manager for internal investigation and handling. The intent here, of course, is to address these issues so we may serve you better in the future.

Mr. KenInEscazu, we hope to have your patience as we work to make your trips with us secure and convenient. Rest assured that your safety is our number one priority.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe
Customer Relations
American Airlines
What irritates me:

1. Citing passenger security and security to rationalize this nonsense. How does looking at my CPAP make us more secure after I have cleared security. It weighs about 3 pounds - case and all.

2. Citing all the regulations, not only by number, but in verbiage. I fly 150,000 miles/year. I know all that stuff.

3. Brushing over my baggage delay. It was a work day, and I lost at least half an hour of productive time due to their contractor's incompetence. Not even going to throw me a bone of 3 or 4 thousand unneeded, seldom used miles for it? Tightwads.

Having lived in Dallas all my life until 2007, I have plenty of experience with AA. They have always been horrible when it comes to handling customer complaints. I hated them for years, even though I flew them often, but they ran me off in 2009 over a REALLY stupid reply to a "suggestion," that led me to write to them again, which resulted in my being seriously insulted by their absolutely rude reply to that.

As we all know things have changed. Now all airlines stink, but each one for different reasons. AA has improved in some significant ways, and I'm glad I switched back overall, but it's really disappointing to see that they still don't know how to handle a complaint without citing safety, security, regulations and, "write to the DOT if you don't like it." (paraphrased) At least I now know about FlyerTalk so I can vent.

I never accused them of breaking any regulations, but I did express my disappointment. A genuine expression of their regret for my unpleasant experiences, minus all the regulations and safety gobbledygook would have been fine, even without throwing me a bone. They manage, however, to insult my intelligence, making excuses, telling me things I already know and offering zip for compensation. They make me very proud of the way I run my company.
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Old Apr 27, 15, 10:12 pm
  #2  
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With all respect; I personally find each and every one of your complaints to be.... trying to think how to put this... well, trivial, thin-skinned and more than a little DYKWIA.

Apologies if that's not the kind of reply you were hoping for, but I see absolutely no reason for you to be even remotely fired up over this set of circumstances -and- think their answer was actually pretty good-- surprisingly so, in fact.

BIG YMMV as to what others might think, needless to say.
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Old Apr 27, 15, 10:18 pm
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I Agree with Jon NYC. It is amazing that you would take the time out of your obviously busy schedule to complain about something so trivial, and even more amazing that you would take the time to write it up in such detail on a board like this.
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Old Apr 27, 15, 10:27 pm
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I knew I was setting myself up for this. LOL

You guys, of course, weren't there. Almost everything I write is pretty wordy. I just needed to vent, as it really bugged me.

For the record - My interrupted busy schedule was during business hours. Venting here was not.
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Old Apr 27, 15, 11:37 pm
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So - you try taking 2 items on board and the agent wants to verify that the 2nd item is something permitted to be taken on in addition to the 1 permitted piece and somehow this is bad?

You claim not to be a DYKWIA , yet the complaint seems to not support this claim
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Old Apr 27, 15, 11:50 pm
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Originally Posted by KenInEscazu View Post
3. Brushing over my baggage delay. It was a work day, and I lost at least half an hour of productive time due to their contractor's incompetence. Not even going to throw me a bone of 3 or 4 thousand unneeded, seldom used miles for it? Tightwads.
Ken, I've been in Costa Rica long enough (and I thought you had too) to know that 30-minute delays happen all the time. I'll always be the punctual gringo no matter how many years I've been here, but I've learned that a half-hour is nothing. Brush it off and move on.

Citing all the regulations, not only by number, but in verbiage. I fly 150,000 miles/year. I know all that stuff.
Do you? You're allowed a carry-on and a personal item. The gate agent wanted to verify what the third thing was. Show her and move on.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 2:26 am
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I'm reading, Gate AAgent does job correctly and bags came out a bit later than would have been preferred. No idea what the size of the other carry-on, class of ticket purchased, status etc has to do with any of this.

The AAgent certainly wasn't 'out of bounds' and should be praised for appropriate diligence, the bags being last on the belt is just one of those things that happens from time to time, average it out with the times they are first on the belt and all is good.

People are always complaining that AA responses to complaints are generic and automated, this one seems to be entirely on point, well written and addressed all the 'complaints' that were made even if they were frivolous.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 5:08 am
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Originally Posted by KenInEscazu View Post
Not even going to throw me a bone of 3 or 4 thousand unneeded, seldom used miles for it? Tightwads.
I don't see why you're agitated they've not given you something you don't have a use or need for?

Originally Posted by KenInEscazu View Post
Having lived in Dallas all my life until 2007, I have plenty of experience with AA. They have always been horrible when it comes to handling customer complaints...it's really disappointing to see that they still don't know how to handle a complaint without citing safety, security, regulations and, "write to the DOT if you don't like it." (paraphrased)
Not my experience. I find AA to be pretty good at responding whenever I've had cause to complain...thankfully it hasn't happened for quite some time though so perhaps they've gotten worse in the last few years? Whenever I've called they always seem pretty receptive.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 6:24 am
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Sometimes I'm wrong in my interpretation of things. Considering that everyone so far thinks I'm the one out of bounds, this is probably one of them.

Time to step back and reconsider. Thanks for your feedback.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by KenInEscazu View Post
Sometimes I'm wrong in my interpretation of things. Considering that everyone so far thinks I'm the one out of bounds, this is probably one of them.

Time to step back and reconsider. Thanks for your feedback.
Just want to say kudos to you for recognising that you might have over-reacted and for being "big"enough to admit.

Hope the rest of your flights are smooth and easy
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Old Apr 28, 15, 9:17 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
Just want to say kudos to you for recognising that you might have over-reacted and for being "big"enough to admit.

Hope the rest of your flights are smooth and easy
I'll second the motion; definitely more Escazú than Coca Cola.

But AA was IMO defensive and possibly wrong with their "382" statements.

I think the agent was perhaps slightly officious and possibly trying to exact some payback for being caught wrong, but no harm was actually done ascertaining the case contained a CPAP and not See's candy or ? I think we've all seen occasional abuse from those taking balikbayan to the Philippines, "regalitos" to family in Latin America, etc.

OTOH, I've seen lines being stepped over by over-zealous "security" bleating personnel when they asked a woman to disclose the batteries of her infusion pump, etc.

Priority bags can surprise - being out last, etc. on one recent itinerary, we checked two bags at LIS, where the agents for IB had no priority tags. They were checked through MAD and JFK to SFO, and when they came out on the JFK carousel they were about halfway (estimated) through. Customs, re-check at Terminal 7, off to check in at Terminal 8. I was extremely surprised the bags were very nearly the first out at SFO. (The surprises are usually the reverse...)

Happy travels.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by KenInEscazu View Post
Sometimes I'm wrong in my interpretation of things. Considering that everyone so far thinks I'm the one out of bounds, this is probably one of them.

Time to step back and reconsider. Thanks for your feedback.
Well this certainly is refreshing after yesterday's thread!

Good on you, OP!
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Old Apr 28, 15, 10:22 am
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You know what really annoyed me the other day?

I was first one off the plane and the first one through immigration. Then I got to the luggage carousel only to find it overflowing and my bag not on the belt coming in. And it looked like the bags were from a previous flight and so I started pulling some bags off hoping it would open up space for my bags to come off.

Nope. My bags never arrived. Turned out it missed the connection.

Yeah, I sent an email, but was told basically to F off.
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Old Apr 28, 15, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by alphaod View Post
You know what really annoyed me the other day?

I was first one off the plane and the first one through immigration. Then I got to the luggage carousel only to find it overflowing and my bag not on the belt coming in. And it looked like the bags were from a previous flight and so I started pulling some bags off hoping it would open up space for my bags to come off.

Nope. My bags never arrived. Turned out it missed the connection.

Yeah, I sent an email, but was told basically to F off.
There's a thread for that : http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...solidated.html
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Old Apr 28, 15, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by alphaod View Post
You know what really annoyed me the other day?

I was first one off the plane and the first one through immigration. Then I got to the luggage carousel only to find it overflowing and my bag not on the belt coming in. And it looked like the bags were from a previous flight and so I started pulling some bags off hoping it would open up space for my bags to come off.

Nope. My bags never arrived. Turned out it missed the connection.

Yeah, I sent an email, but was told basically to F off.
Is this a joke?
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