Deterioration of service SFO-ORD on AA

Old Aug 3, 19, 1:13 pm
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Deterioration of service SFO-ORD on AA

I have not paid too much attention to this route (SFO-ORD) since I often fly out of SJC to ORD. It is now summer. AA is only running 5 non-stops on the route, one of them a red-eye. Fortunately, there are 3 SJC-ORD, one of them a red-eye. UA, by comparison, has 12 each way (UA has long dominated this hub-hub route).

I don't know how much the 737 Max thing has contributed to this, but thing hit rock bottom for me 2 days ago. I had booked an AAirpass ticket, SFO-ORD, on the first flight of the day, 7:30AM departure, over a week ago. Had to interview a prospective hire.

Then, as I was going to bed the night before at 9:00PM, my phone buzzes, with a notification from AA that my flight was cancelled. The first flight of the day between 2 busy cities. I called the Exec Plat line immediately and explained my issues, but got little help and suggestion. Called UA. They had nothing. So, I drove myself to the SFO airport and pleaded with the agent at the counter. She dug deep and got me a routing SFO-PHL-ORD, starting with the red-eye to PHL which left within an hour.

Got to ORD actually in enough time to do the interview, although I wasn't 100% prepped after a 13 hour journey.
Aftermath: AA had no explanation for the cancellation. It couldn't have been weather, or they would have gladly volunteered that, IMO. My guess was no crew, or maybe an aircraft out of place, or just plane mechanical. At any rate, these flight disruptions, particularly without a weather etiology, have gotten old. 5 non-stops a day on a route that AA once flew proudly are not enough to take up the slack on a cancellation of the first flight of the day. Airline has seen better days.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
I have not paid too much attention to this route (SFO-ORD) since I often fly out of SJC to ORD. It is now summer. AA is only running 5 non-stops on the route, one of them a red-eye. Fortunately, there are 3 SJC-ORD, one of them a red-eye. UA, by comparison, has 12 each way (UA has long dominated this hub-hub route).

I don't know how much the 737 Max thing has contributed to this, but thing hit rock bottom for me 2 days ago. I had booked an AAirpass ticket, SFO-ORD, on the first flight of the day, 7:30AM departure, over a week ago. Had to interview a prospective hire.

Then, as I was going to bed the night before at 9:00PM, my phone buzzes, with a notification from AA that my flight was cancelled. The first flight of the day between 2 busy cities. I called the Exec Plat line immediately and explained my issues, but got little help and suggestion. Called UA. They had nothing. So, I drove myself to the SFO airport and pleaded with the agent at the counter. She dug deep and got me a routing SFO-PHL-ORD, starting with the red-eye to PHL which left within an hour.

Got to ORD actually in enough time to do the interview, although I wasn't 100% prepped after a 13 hour journey.
Aftermath: AA had no explanation for the cancellation. It couldn't have been weather, or they would have gladly volunteered that, IMO. My guess was no crew, or maybe an aircraft out of place, or just plane mechanical. At any rate, these flight disruptions, particularly without a weather etiology, have gotten old. 5 non-stops a day on a route that AA once flew proudly are not enough to take up the slack on a cancellation of the first flight of the day. Airline has seen better days.
When it comes to filling seats, they’re doing quite well so there is more capacity discipline than in years past and less slack during cancellations or interruptions.

When it comes to profits and satisfying stakeholders (as well as customers), maybe not so much.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
I have not paid too much attention to this route (SFO-ORD) since I often fly out of SJC to ORD. It is now summer. AA is only running 5 non-stops on the route, one of them a red-eye. Fortunately, there are 3 SJC-ORD, one of them a red-eye. UA, by comparison, has 12 each way (UA has long dominated this hub-hub route).

I don't know how much the 737 Max thing has contributed to this, but thing hit rock bottom for me 2 days ago. I had booked an AAirpass ticket, SFO-ORD, on the first flight of the day, 7:30AM departure, over a week ago. Had to interview a prospective hire.

Then, as I was going to bed the night before at 9:00PM, my phone buzzes, with a notification from AA that my flight was cancelled. The first flight of the day between 2 busy cities. I called the Exec Plat line immediately and explained my issues, but got little help and suggestion. Called UA. They had nothing. So, I drove myself to the SFO airport and pleaded with the agent at the counter. She dug deep and got me a routing SFO-PHL-ORD, starting with the red-eye to PHL which left within an hour.

Got to ORD actually in enough time to do the interview, although I wasn't 100% prepped after a 13 hour journey.
Aftermath: AA had no explanation for the cancellation. It couldn't have been weather, or they would have gladly volunteered that, IMO. My guess was no crew, or maybe an aircraft out of place, or just plane mechanical. At any rate, these flight disruptions, particularly without a weather etiology, have gotten old. 5 non-stops a day on a route that AA once flew proudly are not enough to take up the slack on a cancellation of the first flight of the day. Airline has seen better days.
Why are you still flying AA if you know about all of their issues? I’m only booking regional partner flights until they get their act together.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 3:16 pm
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Definitely hit and miss. I have to say I had one of my best experiences flying AA in a -long- time on this past monday's CLT-SFO flight. Outstanding service by the FA crew, decent meal, good comms from the flight deck crew, and a hand written note thanking me for flying with AA that day.

Gives me hope.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post


Why are you still flying AA if you know about all of their issues? I’m only booking regional partner flights until they get their act together.
Please, try and cut me a break. I purchased a lifetime AAirpass from them. They got my money up-front and put it in the bank. I went to use the product I had paid for.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 7:07 pm
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Here's the deal it's summer time and that throws everything out of whack. Not that AA does a very good job of recovery but when a/c and crew are out of position it may be beautiful weather where you are but the knock on effects might impact your flight.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
Please, try and cut me a break. I purchased a lifetime AAirpass from them. They got my money up-front and put it in the bank. I went to use the product I had paid for.
Still your decision as to how long you want to continue to put up with substandard service in the hopes of "getting your money's worth" vs. acknowledging obvious reality.

(and that's not even -touching- the question of how much value you may have already received from the purchase.)
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Old Aug 3, 19, 7:21 pm
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As far as I know, having only seen one of these (so not a great data population), there aren't any actual commitments as to the quality/standard of service, routes available, etc...

Even if they were revoked, the years of flying on what is now recognized as a pretty awful business mistake by AA certainly outweigh the current negatives.

In the future an acquisition or bankruptcy proceeding may see these go away entirely if their holders don't beat them to the punch.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 11:55 pm
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
Please, try and cut me a break. I purchased a lifetime AAirpass from them. They got my money up-front and put it in the bank. I went to use the product I had paid for.
It’d possibly had helped if you’d disclosed that up front.

Did you use any of the tools available to determine the cause of cancellation? AA operations has stunk on toast the last several months. Sorry you got caught up in the mess.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 12:39 am
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If I bought an AAirPass, I would have to make a difficult decision. Fly non-stop and pay or fly on AA with a connection but it would be "free" (no cost other than the initial very expensive AAirPass).

I wonder if it would be worthwhile if one took, over a space of 50 years, 20 domestic trips per year that were necessary and 20 unnecessary trips, 5 of them international? $250,000 would be $700,000 in 2019 dollars????? That would be 1000 necessary trips ($700 round trip value) or 2000 necessary and unnecessary trips ($350 round trip). Going to Europe for $350 round trip in First Class is sweet. At least before, you'd get miles so that's worth something more. Conclusion: barely worth it for moderate use, worth it for heavy use.

The value would be greater if one lived near ORD or DFW because of the many flights. Not as useful if one lived near ATL because a connection would often be needed. Not bad if one lived near LAX, PHX, CLT, PHL, JFK or a city where no airline had a hub or focus city.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 1:35 am
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Originally Posted by enpremiere View Post


When it comes to filling seats, they’re doing quite well so there is more capacity discipline than in years past and less slack during cancellations or interruptions.

When it comes to profits and satisfying stakeholders (as well as customers), maybe not so much.
There's a difference between filling seats and capacity discipline. Filling seats isn't the best metric of their performance at managing their capacity. If I run 3 flights a day and fill all the seats, but there is demand for another 250 seats, I'm missing out on potential sales by not having those seats available. Not to mention if I'm so capacity constrained/have no slack capacity that a single cancellation requires 2+ days to reroute I'm losing substantially because most non-leisure travellers aren't waiting around for that next flight. They're taking the refund and rebooking on an outside airline that can get them to their destination sooner, and most likely booking away from me in the future because of my crap performance at reliably getting them to their destination.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 3:22 am
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
There's a difference between filling seats and capacity discipline. Filling seats isn't the best metric of their performance at managing their capacity. If I run 3 flights a day and fill all the seats, but there is demand for another 250 seats, I'm missing out on potential sales by not having those seats available. Not to mention if I'm so capacity constrained/have no slack capacity that a single cancellation requires 2+ days to reroute I'm losing substantially because most non-leisure travellers aren't waiting around for that next flight. They're taking the refund and rebooking on an outside airline that can get them to their destination sooner, and most likely booking away from me in the future because of my crap performance at reliably getting them to their destination.
They are very closely aligned but a difference is in the data. AA has the historical/forecast data to justify or not the addition of that additional flight. A few seats "going to the competition" on a non-premium domestic route isn't going to make an additional flight happen on its own merit.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 5:48 am
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And here I thought that the deterioration of service was related to the absence of a pre-flight cocktail.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 7:34 am
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OP has no idea why the flight was cancelled. Complaining about the cancellation without any knowledge is not a particularly fruitful exercise. But, the bottom line is that AA presumably routed OP on the best routing available at the time. If it was 13 hours, including flying a total of 1,800 miles out of the way, that was it.

As to frequencies and capacity, the metric is PRASM. Anyone can fill any aircraft it it charges a sufficiently low price. But, that may not be financially viable.

Presuming that there were other and better routings on carriers other than AA, OP has presumably made a business decision to purchase travel interruption insurance to hedge the Pass deficiency, made the decision to eat the cost, or decided to lump it (as he chose).
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Old Aug 4, 19, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by FullFare View Post
I have not paid too much attention to this route (SFO-ORD) since I often fly out of SJC to ORD. It is now summer. AA is only running 5 non-stops on the route, one of them a red-eye. Fortunately, there are 3 SJC-ORD, one of them a red-eye. UA, by comparison, has 12 each way (UA has long dominated this hub-hub route).

I don't know how much the 737 Max thing has contributed to this, but thing hit rock bottom for me 2 days ago. I had booked an AAirpass ticket, SFO-ORD, on the first flight of the day, 7:30AM departure, over a week ago. Had to interview a prospective hire.

Then, as I was going to bed the night before at 9:00PM, my phone buzzes, with a notification from AA that my flight was cancelled. The first flight of the day between 2 busy cities. I called the Exec Plat line immediately and explained my issues, but got little help and suggestion. Called UA. They had nothing. So, I drove myself to the SFO airport and pleaded with the agent at the counter. She dug deep and got me a routing SFO-PHL-ORD, starting with the red-eye to PHL which left within an hour.

Got to ORD actually in enough time to do the interview, although I wasn't 100% prepped after a 13 hour journey.
Aftermath: AA had no explanation for the cancellation. It couldn't have been weather, or they would have gladly volunteered that, IMO. My guess was no crew, or maybe an aircraft out of place, or just plane mechanical. At any rate, these flight disruptions, particularly without a weather etiology, have gotten old. 5 non-stops a day on a route that AA once flew proudly are not enough to take up the slack on a cancellation of the first flight of the day. Airline has seen better days.
Before clicking to read OP's post, my immediate reaction to the title of the post was, what was not deteriorated in AA?

I am surprised you had energy to type a long post after 13 hours of detour and hours long of interview. Take some rest, and the day would get better.
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