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Stranded at ORD -- You'd think they would be prepared for this

Stranded at ORD -- You'd think they would be prepared for this

Old Nov 11, 19, 12:40 pm
  #1  
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Stranded at ORD -- You'd think they would be prepared for this

Of course weather can cause delays. But AA knew days ago about the expected heavy snow. You'd at least think Mr. Parker and team would add some staff at the Admirals Club, at the call centers and at the airport generally. Nope. Platinum call center recorded message said wait time to speak to an agent would be one hour and four minutes "would you like us to call you back?" Admirals Club had only four people at the desks and a line of at least 20 at any given time. Knowing that there would be weather problems, wouldn't it have made sense to beef up the call centers, airport staff and Admirals Club staff? That said, the staff who are here are fantastic. That's what makes a great airline, not cutting corners.

On top of everything else, two hours ago the App started proposing alternative flights that would put me on routes with one or more stops and that made no sense at all (ten hours and up versus my 4-1/2 hour nonstop) and in Economy versus my paid First Class fare. The App has another bad feature. When it offered alternative flights, one said First Class, versus all the others that said Economy, but when I tentatively clicked on it, the system suddenly said Main Cabin instead. Had I clicked "confirm," lord only knows what I was going to get. So I waited in line and finally was able to ask the Admirals Club staff what to do. They called both dispatch and the tower and told me to ignore the proposals on the App. My original but now seven hour delayed nonstop was going to leave before any of the alternative flights, I was going to keep my First Class seat, and I was going to get home five or more hours earlier than what the App was offering.

Mayor Jane Byrne got voted out as Chicago's mayor long ago because she didn't handle snow very well. I hope AA's board keeps that in mind for current management.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
Of course weather can cause delays. But AA knew days ago about the expected heavy snow. You'd at least think Mr. Parker and team would add some staff at the Admirals Club, at the call centers and at the airport generally. Nope. Platinum call center recorded message said wait time to speak to an agent would be one hour and four minutes "would you like us to call you back?" Admirals Club had only four people at the desks and a line of at least 20 at any given time. Knowing that there would be weather problems, wouldn't it have made sense to beef up the call centers, airport staff and Admirals Club staff? That said, the staff who are here are fantastic. That's what makes a great airline, not cutting corners.

On top of everything else, two hours ago the App started proposing alternative flights that would put me on routes with one or more stops and that made no sense at all (ten hours and up versus my 4-1/2 hour nonstop) and in Economy versus my paid First Class fare. The App has another bad feature. When it offered alternative flights, one said First Class, versus all the others that said Economy, but when I tentatively clicked on it, the system suddenly said Main Cabin instead. Had I clicked "confirm," lord only knows what I was going to get. So I waited in line and finally was able to ask the Admirals Club staff what to do. They called both dispatch and the tower and told me to ignore the proposals on the App. My original but now seven hour delayed nonstop was going to leave before any of the alternative flights, I was going to keep my First Class seat, and I was going to get home five or more hours earlier than what the App was offering.

Mayor Jane Byrne got voted out as Chicago's mayor long ago because she didn't handle snow very well. I hope AA's board keeps that in mind for current management.
It was actually Mayor Michael Bilandic who was defeated by Jane Byrne due to his handling of the blizzard of 1979, amongst other reasons.

IME, there are at least as many instances where the city is forecast to get a walloped and it doesnít get scratched. The weather is still unpredictable. The good news is you will get where your going, but everything youíre having issues with is not uncommon. What sucks about early season storms like this, is the ground is warm so you get this nice layer of Slush that hardens into ice as the snow falls and the ground freezes.

Last edited by DataPlumber; Nov 11, 19 at 1:16 pm
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Old Nov 11, 19, 1:30 pm
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It's (relatively) hard and expensive to add more personnel. It's easy to spin up more instances of a cloud computing server that runs algorithms to help people rebook onto sensible routes.

At present, these algorithms are poor, as you have seen. But the rebooking problem should be easy to solve. Computationally, there is no reason passengers should have to wait for a human to get rebooked in routine situations like weather delays.

So, I vote that AA invest funds into the software engineering and R&D that will obviate the need for more frontline warm bodies.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 3:11 pm
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Yeah this is a <bleep>. There isnt much snow on the ground and seemingly every flight (both UA and AA) are getting incremental delays. This was well forecast, doesnt appear that severe, and ORD seems wholly I'll equipped to handle any of this.

Last edited by JY1024; Nov 11, 19 at 9:42 pm Reason: https://www.flyertalk.com/help/rules.php#offensive
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Old Nov 11, 19, 3:29 pm
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I would not describe stranded as a seven hour delayed nonstop, keeping a First Class seat during WX - bit dramatic, OP.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 4:23 pm
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ORD never seems to run efficiently with any kind of weather - especially winter weather. Itís that time of year where booking through a southern hub - if possible - is highly encouraged. I understand thatís not always possible but booking through ORD always has its risk IMO (and 25-35% of my yearly travel does or can include ORD).
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Old Nov 11, 19, 4:37 pm
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. . . no, we're now up to an eleven hour delay. The inbound equipment, supposedly ferrying from Boston, either (a) got diverted to Minneapolis, as American says, because of runway restrictions or (b) was the plane that showed up at our gate, exactly at the time predicted, but suddenly was redeployed for a flight to MIA instead. Just as our prior equipment was re-deployed for other service around 8 this morning.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by WiscAZ View Post
ORD never seems to run efficiently with any kind of weather - especially winter weather. Itís that time of year where booking through a southern hub - if possible - is highly encouraged. I understand thatís not always possible but booking through ORD always has its risk IMO (and 25-35% of my yearly travel does or can include ORD).
Agreed. Everyone complains about CLT, but I'm far happier connecting through there than ORD and NYC.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 4:43 pm
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AA is operationally challenged to begin with. It turns to total amateur hour when wx hits. They are totally useless. Sorry to hear OP. Itís easy for people to say your overreacting when theyíre not the ones in the middle of the delay.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:28 pm
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I wonder if AA even tried to get help or not. Offering OT sounds great but not everyone can support it on short notice, especially if AA isn't offering a work-from-home system. Also, even time and a half might not be enough incentive to get into a queue of back to back angry customers.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:31 pm
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I've had a dozen gate changes and as many separate incremental delays. To go ORD-PHL. Hub to hub and they can't even manage anything other than constant updates of their operational turd sandwich.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:44 pm
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How are the mobile phone boarding pass updates/notifications working today for those booked on AA at ORD for flights today?

Was it AA that has eliminated or is soon eliminating its work from home reservations capability?
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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
. . . no, we're now up to an eleven hour delay. The inbound equipment, supposedly ferrying from Boston, either (a) got diverted to Minneapolis, as American says, because of runway restrictions or (b) was the plane that showed up at our gate, exactly at the time predicted, but suddenly was redeployed for a flight to MIA instead. Just as our prior equipment was re-deployed for other service around 8 this morning.
Unfortunately, at this point, you likely can't really trust any estimated delay time. When this type of situation begins you are pretty much operating open loop at this point and sadly things tend to get worse long before they get better. Hate to say that, and probably not what you want to hear, but that has been my experience.

When this begins to occur I tend to start taking matters into my own hands and drive my own contingency planning (rent car, re-book on other airline where possible, declare "trip in vain" etc.) depending on the situation and my degrees of freedom.

Best of luck and safe travels.

Regards

Last edited by scubadu; Nov 11, 19 at 6:41 pm Reason: grammar
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Old Nov 11, 19, 6:21 pm
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While I sympathize with your predicament, I do't see anything unusual here.

Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
Platinum call center recorded message said wait time to speak to an agent would be one hour and four minutes "would you like us to call you back?"
It happens during IRROPS. Despite my early skepticism, I've found that the call back system works quite nicely, and I'm usually called in less time than predicted, occasionally much less.

Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
Admirals Club had only four people at the desks and a line of at least 20 at any given time.
I've occasionally seen the lines at the ORD Admirals Club >20 people with no weather. It happens. Not often, but it happens.

Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
On top of everything else, two hours ago the App started proposing alternative flights that would put me on routes with one or more stops and that made no sense at all (ten hours and up versus my 4-1/2 hour nonstop) and in Economy versus my paid First Class fare.
If your 4Ĺ hour nonstop wasn't going to operate on schedule, or maybe even operate at all, I don't consider it unreasonable that a connecting itinerary might be the next best thing. Were there other nonstops that you could have taken that had available seats?

Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
The App has another bad feature. When it offered alternative flights, one said First Class, versus all the others that said Economy, but when I tentatively clicked on it, the system suddenly said Main Cabin instead. Had I clicked "confirm," lord only knows what I was going to get.
You would have gotten to your destination. Was an F seat more important to you than getting there? With snow problems at ORD, getting to one's destination is far from a certainty.

Originally Posted by RoadWarrior200 View Post
So I waited in line and finally was able to ask the Admirals Club staff what to do. They called both dispatch and the tower and told me to ignore the proposals on the App. My original but now seven hour delayed nonstop was going to leave before any of the alternative flights, I was going to keep my First Class seat, and I was going to get home five or more hours earlier than what the App was offering.
Again, not surprising. Computer algorithms are often not as capable as human brains of assimilating information, particularly where experience can be a significant factor. Someone who's been sitting behind the Admirals Club desk for a few years likely has a much better idea of how things work at the airport, what's possible, what's likely, than a computer.

While I'm sorry that you were inconvenienced by the weather, sometimes these things just happen. And IRROPS don't always go smoothly. Take a breath. You're flying through ORD in snow season.
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Old Nov 11, 19, 6:26 pm
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. . . now up to a 12 hour delay. And sure enough, our inbound equipment is now coming from Miami, which is where we think they diverted our equipment at the last minute notwithstanding all of us being at the gate to board our already significantly delayed flight. Whoever asked about the app updates: they were pretty good, but the info on incoming aircraft often was wrong, so we went to flight status instead, which usually had it right. As a total backup, I've booked a refundable flight Tuesday morning on Delta since American flights tomorrow were looking quite bleak. Another reason Delta is getting more of my business. Compared to American and United, which together have close to 3 million real miles from me, Delta hardly knows me but lately has been giving me much better service.

Oh yeah, the app keeps trying to re-book me on a few remaining and terrible routings tomorrow and the Admirals Club staff keep telling me to ignore it. They think the incoming equipment is going to take us to LAX tonight and further tell us a new crew is arriving in half an hour for the flight. So why is the app trying to convince us NOT to take this flight after waiting 12 hours for it ?
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