Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

Missed flight in DFW due to Skylink skipping D terminal

Missed flight in DFW due to Skylink skipping D terminal

Old Jan 5, 18, 9:18 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Stilllwater OK (SWO)
Programs: AAdvantage ExecPlat, World of Hyatt Globalist, plain "member" of Marriott, IHG, enterprise, etc.
Posts: 1,194
Missed flight in DFW due to Skylink skipping D terminal

On Jan 3, I had an flight that came into DFW at 2PM, with an outgoing flight departure at 4:55 out of terminal A. With 2 hours (and then some) to kill, I went to the Admirals club in Terminal D, since the one in A is closed.

At 4:10, I made way to the Skylink to get to my gate in time for boarding (which was starting at 4:25). I got to the Skylink in terminal D at 4:15, and waiting about 10 minutes with a growing crowd of passengers as the Skylink trains zipped by without stopping. At 4:20, an agent of the airport comes in and tells everyone that because of a 'security breach', the skylink wasn't stopping there (how that makes any sense, I really don't know), and directed everyone to walk to terminal B's skylink station. I held back and confirmed with the agent that the second stop in D was also closed, and was told yes, we had to go to B.

So, family in tow, we hoofed it over the skybridge to C and grabbed a truck-operator to drive us to A20 with a few other passengers going on a different flight. When we got to our gate, the agents had the door closed when we arrived at 4:45 at the gate. Not sure how long it was closed (technically, we should have seen them close it if they actually followed the 10 minute rule), as there was already two parties that were out-of-breath and in mid-argument complaining at the gate agents.

The gate agent told the family in front of us, that because they originated in DFW, it was their fault for not being in the gate on time and they had no priority on rebooking and would have to 'standby' low on the priority list until they could get on a plane. Apparently, they had the audacity of eating in Terminal D and got stuck hightailing it to B where they catched the skylink to get to A.

The gate agent told us, that because our incoming flight arrived at 2, we should have been at the gate by no later than 2:30 and would have made the flight so it was our fault (his words, seriously) that we missed the flight. (by the time we got done arguing and got our standby boarding passes, the plane was just then leaving the gate at 5:05).

All told, there was about 8 parties/15 passengers that missed this flight because of the same reason. After us, the gate agent told everyone else to go to customer service (a line, that looked about 45 minutes long).

We got on standby for a flight an hour and a half later (at a gate in Terminal D, just two gates from the admirals club where we started). On the skylink back to D, the one stop was still closed but the other one (to the south) was open (not convinced it was ever closed to begin with). I met a nice ederly lady who was going to high D gate for an international flight, and we couldn't convince her that she needed to get off at the stop on the low D gates (after zipping by the closed stop) -- I hope on her second time around she finally got off!. I talked to the admirals club agent once back inside to see if we could get seats confirmed, and she, at least apologetically, couldn't and told us to go down 10 minutes before boarding. Other than this disappointment, the admirals club staff was on their A game.

We ended up being three of the 4 passengers cleared out of list of more than 20 people long on that flight, and the plane left with at least three open seats still! Oddly, they removed a random guy seated in front of me just before we left the gate. (why?, was the plane too heavy?)

So, I guess a few lessons:

1. At DFW, if the skylink fails you, AA claims it is your fault for not being at the gate hours in advance of boarding and doesn't give two yulelogs about it.
2. The skylink stations can close for 'security breaches' and nobody may tell you for 10 or more minutes if at all.
3. The doors will close earlier than 10 minutes prior to departure if that is what the gate agent wants to do.
MarkOK is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 9:58 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: AA, Hilton Honors
Posts: 4
Thanks for the lessons learned. Most AA!flights seem to be boarding early if the crew and equipment is in place. I try to be at the gate 45 minutes prior. Only once has an agent ever opened the doors after they were closed because there were a couple of terminal/gate changes and I was running back and forth- usually you are out of luck.
jprajesh is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:06 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Programs: DL 1 million, AA 1 mil, HH lapsed Diamond, Marriott Plat
Posts: 28,192
There's quite a variety of reasons why passengers might not be at the gate.
  1. Backup on the freeway
  2. Delayed rental car bus
  3. Taxi went to the wrong entry door
  4. SkyTrain nonsense
AA is responsible for none of these.

AA doesn't ask passengers to be at the gate 'hours in advance' for domestic flights. Given the length of the OP's post I don't think he has learned the right lessons.
Markie, CPRich, tucsnaz and 4 others like this.
3Cforme is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:12 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New York
Programs: AA, CX, Hyatt, Marriott
Posts: 1,484
Originally Posted by MarkOK View Post
So, I guess a few lessons:

1. At DFW, if the skylink fails you, AA claims it is your fault for not being at the gate hours in advance of boarding and doesn't give two yulelogs about it.
2. The skylink stations can close for 'security breaches' and nobody may tell you for 10 or more minutes if at all.
3. The doors will close earlier than 10 minutes prior to departure if that is what the gate agent wants to do.
4. Go to the airport a little earlier, or take your own risk.
andersonCooper is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:21 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TYO
Programs: AA EXP 1.8MM, PC Spire, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
There's quite a variety of reasons why passengers might not be at the gate.
  1. Backup on the freeway
  2. Delayed rental car bus
  3. Taxi went to the wrong entry door
  4. SkyTrain nonsense
AA is responsible for none of these.

AA doesn't ask passengers to be at the gate 'hours in advance' for domestic flights. Given the length of the OP's post I don't think he has learned the right lessons.
AA is responsible for bad customer service and closing the door before T-10. There were several ways AA could have handled this a lot better.
* The Agent knows that there are 15 people not making it on several different PNRs. They could wait until T-0 to close the door or ask if logistics if something is going on.
* They should have treated the displaced passengers as a priority. They don't kick off anybody on another flight, but they should become top priority as if there was a mechanical failure
* Most importantly, they should never close the door before T-10 if there are outstanding passengers and if what the OP said is true, then this is AA's responsibility and not just a customer service failure. (This pisses me of more than anything. I am very good at going through airports and on late connections I have made it with more than T-10 and the door closed. Once I made it at T-20 and they had already closed the door)
nutwpinut is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:26 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TYO
Programs: AA EXP 1.8MM, PC Spire, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by andersonCooper View Post
4. Go to the airport a little earlier, or take your own risk.
What about #3 , closing the door before T-10? That is a failure on AA if that happened.

I wouldn't be surprised if it did close early with so many passengers not making it they were probably done quickly and after waiting for 5-10 minutes and nobody there I could see them closing the door at T-15. I've made it to flights after a late inbound connection with the doors fully closed at T-15, so they closed at T-20 saying, "oh we didn't think you would make it." The doors should never close before T-10 if there are outstanding passengers.
chrisny2 and TSparky like this.
nutwpinut is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:30 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: AUS
Programs: AA PPro (12yr EXP) - 2.1 MM, Admirals Club, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, National Executive
Posts: 1,355
Originally Posted by jprajesh View Post
Thanks for the lessons learned. Most AA!flights seem to be boarding early if the crew and equipment is in place. I try to be at the gate 45 minutes prior. Only once has an agent ever opened the doors after they were closed because there were a couple of terminal/gate changes and I was running back and forth- usually you are out of luck.
Yeah, particularly at DFW, boarding seems to be early and flights closed early. I routinely in 2017 arrived at my gate 3-5 minutes before boarding time to find them calling Group 8 and getting stuck with no overhead. Pissed me off to no end. So now I try to get there 10 minutes before. On the flip side, I've shown up early many times to find no inbound plane and no delay posted even though the flight boards 30-40 minutes late, also pisses me off, so I regularly check the inbound, and if the inbound looks delayed, I ask the Admirals Club staff to let me know. They often call the gate and will confirm that inbound equipment, and I can enjoy another drink.

That said, the OP definitely experienced a combination of factors which need to be chalked up to mostly bad luck but certainly lessons learned. The A terminal club being closed, staying at D club (the furthest club) which makes for a long transfer, the D terminal security/skylink issue, the family, etc. Granted, Skylink is usually reliable, it's just bad luck, but any particular incident would've made a delay. I've been stuck between security doors in LAX during a security incident and nobody could get anywhere despite my gate being right on the other side. Fortunately, it was resolved in 10 minutes and boarding hadn't completed.

Somewhat related, when I travel with my wife, I add a lot more cushion to everything. She seemingly needs to go to the bathroom 5 times as often as I do, she walks half the speed, she packs her bag slowly (and then decides again to use the restroom). Suddenly what I thought would be 1 minute is 10. December 23rd we arrived into DFW late from EGE. We get parked at C37 and had a connection at B48. Worst possible scenario (distance/time wise), then we had to wait 5 minutes for a tow into C37 given it's the last gate. My wife and I sprinted to Skylink, I made it on a boarding Skylink train, but she decided she needed to walk up the stairs rather than run. We stared at each other through the glass like a horrible movie good bye scene from a war-bound train. I made it to B48 15 minutes before departure, I begged the lady to hold the door for three more minutes as my wife was exactly one skylink behind me. She refused, and said with a tude, "Honey, you either ditch your wife or I'm closing this door." She closed the door, and this nice kid (early 20s) next to me, said, "Excuse me, you never called my Group, I've been standing here this whole time.". He literally was standing right next to the ticket swiper machine. He got royally screwed in the ordeal. He was Group 8, and the monitor said Group 4 and she never called it. She scolded him for not saying anything. I stepped in and said, "Why not final announcement, why did you stop at Group 4, why are you shutting the door so early, the bridge is still open and the plane door is still open." My wife arrives, and nope. Took 10 minutes for the bridge to pull back. I was upset, but I realized the young man really got a raw deal. I took him to the admirals club where we waited the 2.5 hours for the next flight to HOU.

Last edited by BrianV; Jan 5, 18 at 10:37 am
BrianV is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:36 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New York
Programs: AA, CX, Hyatt, Marriott
Posts: 1,484
Originally Posted by nutwpinut View Post
What about #3 , closing the door before T-10? That is a failure on AA if that happened.

I wouldn't be surprised if it did close early with so many passengers not making it they were probably done quickly and after waiting for 5-10 minutes and nobody there I could see them closing the door at T-15. I've made it to flights after a late inbound connection with the doors fully closed at T-15, so they closed at T-20 saying, "oh we didn't think you would make it." The doors should never close before T-10 if there are outstanding passengers.
How does that contradicts with going a little earlier? I've also made it at CLT last minute and they closed the door at T-5 (I was at college back then so no status), but I was taking my chance and can't blame the traffic at CLT. There's little merits arguing I've made it/not made it to flights that closed at T-0/-5/-20, as they could work on your favor or against.

They could do a better job in waiting for a group of late comers at T-0 but what if there are 20 pax on the plane waiting to catch a tight connection and they close at T-0 and lose their position in line for takeoff?

Last edited by andersonCooper; Jan 5, 18 at 10:49 am
andersonCooper is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:58 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TYO
Programs: AA EXP 1.8MM, PC Spire, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by andersonCooper View Post
How does that contradicts with going a little earlier? I've also made it at CLT last minute and they closed the door at T-5 (I was at college back then), but I was taking my chance and can't blame the traffic at CLT airport.
Why do I have to schedule extra time for someone who isn't doing their job instead of expecting them to their job properly and not close the door until T-10?

This isn't a case of someone pushing it close, it sounds like someone who did leave the lounge early to give themselves a buffer, but not expecting something drastic to happen. Yeah I leave early to get to the airport in case there is traffic, but I don't plan on a 3 hour traffic delay because of a catastrophic accident closing the highway (this has happened to me, ughhhh, entire highway closed, nowhere to go)

There is a big difference between closing the door at T-5 and T-20. I would have been ok if they closed it at T-5 and I had arrived at T-1.
IndyHoosier likes this.
nutwpinut is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 10:59 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TYO
Programs: AA EXP 1.8MM, PC Spire, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by andersonCooper View Post
How does that contradicts with going a little earlier? I've also made it at CLT last minute and they closed the door at T-5 (I was at college back then so no status), but I was taking my chance and can't blame the traffic at CLT. There's little merits arguing I've made it/not made it to flights that closed at T-0/-5/-20, as they could work on your favor or against.

They could do a better job in waiting for a group of late comers at T-0 but what if there are 20 pax on the plane waiting to catch a tight connection and they close at T-0 and lose their position in line for takeoff?
Agreed, but they didn't even wait until T-10 before closing the door. I thought that was AA policy?
nutwpinut is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 11:01 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: AUS
Programs: AA PPro (12yr EXP) - 2.1 MM, Admirals Club, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, National Executive
Posts: 1,355
Originally Posted by nutwpinut View Post
Why do I have to schedule extra time for someone who isn't doing their job instead of expecting them to their job properly and not close the door until T-10?

This isn't a case of someone pushing it close, it sounds like someone who did leave the lounge early to give themselves a buffer, but not expecting something drastic to happen. Yeah I leave early to get to the airport in case there is traffic, but I don't plan on a 3 hour traffic delay because of a catastrophic accident closing the highway (this has happened to me, ughhhh, entire highway closed, nowhere to go)

There is a big difference between closing the door at T-5 and T-20. I would have been ok if they closed it at T-5 and I had arrived at T-1.
Traffic, tire, longer security lines are expected and planned for, broken Skylink is not, so this is still more of a confluence of bad luck. Perhaps next time the B club would've been slightly safer, but it's not normal to plan for skylink to break, so still more bad luck than anything else.
BrianV is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 11:38 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New York
Programs: AA, CX, Hyatt, Marriott
Posts: 1,484
Originally Posted by nutwpinut View Post
Agreed, but they didn't even wait until T-10 before closing the door. I thought that was AA policy?
In OP's case it's right at the T-10 mark - could be just closed.

I agree you don't need to allow extra time for someone else not doing their jobs, and AA's policy is 10 mins. But there are too many factors in operations (which AA is usually the worst among 3), and I have not yet seen an airline never closes door early at least once. Not everywhere operates like Japan.
andersonCooper is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 2:02 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: TYO
Programs: AA EXP 1.8MM, PC Spire, Hertz 5*
Posts: 1,013
Originally Posted by andersonCooper View Post
In OP's case it's right at the T-10 mark - could be just closed.

I agree you don't need to allow extra time for someone else not doing their jobs, and AA's policy is 10 mins. But there are too many factors in operations (which AA is usually the worst among 3), and I have not yet seen an airline never closes door early at least once. Not everywhere operates like Japan.
I love the Japan inclusion A train company in Japan apologizes because it left 20 seconds early even though nobody complained and nobody was affected. I feel like Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are about the same level when it comes to timeliness.
IndyHoosier likes this.
nutwpinut is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 2:20 pm
  #14  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, Travel Safety/Security & Texas, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: AUS / GRK
Programs: AA, HHonors, Hertz
Posts: 12,184
Originally Posted by BrianV View Post
Traffic, tire, longer security lines are expected and planned for, broken Skylink is not, so this is still more of a confluence of bad luck. Perhaps next time the B club would've been slightly safer, but it's not normal to plan for skylink to break, so still more bad luck than anything else.
I've posted this story before, but I'll post it again... A friend told me how the Skylink broke near the E terminal. As everyone knows, there isn't any other way to get from E to A-B-C-D air-side... He ended up going landside, found a taxi, and made his way to D, re-cleared security, and ran to his flight. He made it, but just barely. It doesn't sound like this is an isolated thing.

Ever since I heard that story I've walked DFW. Heck a similar thing almost happened to me once, I arrived at D from an international flight, went to the D lounge. Got to talking to some people, and before I knew it I was cutting things close. The nice thing about the bridges/walkways connecting A-B-C-D is that hardly a soul uses them, and you can move unimpeded. I made that flight; wasn't there when they started to board, but I had enough time to stow my roller bag.
Especially before a long flight to Asia, a walk from A to D gives me a chance to stretch my legs a bit.

With a long connection and a family in tow, perhaps the OP could have played a game. Count the different shops, airplanes out the windows...something. And a walk between gates is a great way to tire kids out so they'll hopefully sleep on the next flight.
silverthief2 and TWA884 like this.
aztimm is offline  
Old Jan 5, 18, 3:03 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NYC, USA
Programs: AA EXP 3MM, Lifetime Platinum, Marriott Platinum, HH Gold
Posts: 10,600
That's why I NEVER ride the SkyLink. Never. I always walk. Every terminal at DFW is walkable except E. The way I see it is that I want to be in control of my own progress through the terminal. I don't want to be subject to the whims of a train that might break down. If that means I have to sprint the whole way, I will do so. But I also plan ahead and book extended layovers so that I can be at the connecting gate early.

Plus, I'm about to board a long flight. Might as well get some more steps on the Fitbit while I can! If I'm about to board DFW-HKG, I will walk for a full hour around the terminals. 10,000 steps in the terminal make me feel better about being immobile for 17 hours on board.

Last edited by ESpen36; Jan 5, 18 at 3:16 pm
ESpen36 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: