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Why so many terrible reviews of AA online?

Why so many terrible reviews of AA online?

Old Mar 14, 2023, 8:43 pm
  #1  
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Question Why so many terrible reviews of AA online?

I am flying with my family soon on AA economy internationally from JFK.

A bit amused at the number of very negative 1-2 star reviews about the AA experience on Tripadvisor and other sites, including international flights (which I think are usually better run and financed, have free food, drinks, etc.).

I usually fly Delta from JFK or United from EWR internationally - both of these have much more positive ratings and reviews.

Why is AA getting so many negative reviews? Is it really worse (on the whole & on average) than United and Delta (focusing on the international flights from the US)?
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 9:06 pm
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I've always been of the opinion that the differences between US-based airlines are pretty minor. They all have their own minor annoyances but they are basically the same You are definitely going to get better inflight service on an Asian or Gulf State airline. Honestly, the same cannot be said for European airlines any more.

Having said that I don't really fly international in economy (that's what miles are for) so maybe I'm not the best judge of that. But realistically you are going to cram yourself into a tiny seat for far too long and they are going to bring you enough food and water to keep you alive. What, exactly, is the differentiating factor between AA and UA here? It's all the same.
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 9:31 pm
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As a non-elite, I have to say that AA is kind of a bland airline. I feel like DL and UA at least puts more effort in their marketing, and they both have much better apps (with UA being the clear winner). AA also doesn't really offer much pizzazz for the economy, non-elite flyer; it's pretty simple and sterile. Get in, deal with blah gate agents, poor IRROPS (especially with the app), sit way back in one of the few scattered free Y seats, get okay service, okay snacks, Dasani water (ew), whatever. It's just very blah.

DL and UA, conversely, at least makes the experience just a bit more enticing. DL's good with snacks and their FA's are, IMHO, friendlier. UA's app makes it more "exciting", kind of feels like you're taking a big adventure. It's hard to explain clearly here, but with UA, there's this fleeting feeling of excitement and mystery. With AA, it's just your typical workhorse airline that gets you from point A to point B, but with poorer IRROPS recovery and less comfortable seats/Oasis. Add in gruff employees to the mix, and there you go.

That's my perspective as a non-elite flyer who switches between all the big 3. Perhaps pmAA before the merger was a bit more exciting and had more pizzazz, but I remember flying in Y on pmAA and didn't come away particularly impressed, unlike DL.

Last edited by MrAndy1369; Mar 14, 2023 at 9:42 pm Reason: grammar cleanup
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
I've always been of the opinion that the differences between US-based airlines are pretty minor. They all have their own minor annoyances but they are basically the same You are definitely going to get better inflight service on an Asian or Gulf State airline. Honestly, the same cannot be said for European airlines any more.
truth
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 9:35 pm
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People who are upset are probably 1000x more likely to post their thoughts online than anyone who had a remarkable or even an adequate experience with anything.

Last edited by 355F1; Mar 15, 2023 at 2:09 am
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 9:42 pm
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Yes, but somehow many more such people among the AA fliers than among the UA and DL fliers.
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 10:46 pm
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Ive had my share of surly AA transatlantic flight attendants. One anecdote here:

Flight attendant fills overhead bin with personal items, rude to passenger

and here I discuss specifics of how much better I have come to find BA cabin crew compared to AA:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31192118-post5.html
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 10:58 pm
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At least you're consistent.

Why so many terrible reviews of Austrian Airlines?

Originally Posted by LeoNYC10
I am flying with my family soon on AA economy internationally from JFK.

A bit amused at the number of very negative 1-2 star reviews about the AA experience on Tripadvisor and other sites, including international flights (which I think are usually better run and financed, have free food, drinks, etc.).

I usually fly Delta from JFK or United from EWR internationally - both of these have much more positive ratings and reviews.

Why is AA getting so many negative reviews? Is it really worse (on the whole & on average) than United and Delta (focusing on the international flights from the US)?
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by LeoNYC10
Yes, but somehow many more such people among the AA fliers than among the UA and DL fliers.
I think it would be hard to really gauge whether AA fliers are posting more often than UA or DL fliers about their bad experiences. There are truly so many people who fly these airlines every day.
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369
It's hard to explain clearly here, but with UA, there's this fleeting feeling of excitement and mystery.
the only excitement and mystery flying UA is if you will be Dr. Dao-ed out of the flight and what the payout will be Flying UA out of EWR is a self reflection moment of what has happened to my life.
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Old Mar 14, 2023, 11:48 pm
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Usually it's the kettles who fly once a year for the annual flight to MCO for $300 in basic economy that moan and groan.

Remember that site untied.com?
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Old Mar 15, 2023, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by nk15
the only excitement and mystery flying UA is if you will be Dr. Dao-ed out of the flight and what the payout will be Flying UA out of EWR is a self reflection moment of what has happened to my life.
I stay away from EWR just as much as I try to stay away from CLT. I do agree with the sentiment here. UA app is so advanced that it brings this completeness to the adventure ones looking for. It really not one feature of the app but its collectiveness.
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Old Mar 15, 2023, 12:12 am
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Originally Posted by flyexp
I stay away from EWR just as much as I try to stay away from CLT. I do agree with the sentiment here. UA app is so advanced that it brings this completeness to the adventure ones looking for. It really not one feature of the app but its collectiveness.
quick tangent....Charlotte airport is way out of hand....I was there last week and I've never seen anything like it. The walkways are too narrow for so much traffic. There were hundreds of people moving at a snails pace just to walk to a gate. I've never seen anything like this before. What the hell? Did the city of Charlotte not plan on expansion? This airport is clearly WAY past it's operational limits. Avoid at all costs.
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Old Mar 15, 2023, 1:29 am
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You're right, CLT has really grown faster that was ever planned. We first "moved there" in 2009 and for several years I worked in Arizona but "lived in" in NC or WA - I was back-and-forth to CLT at least monthly and loved the airport then - slow-paced, not crowded, you could rock in the rocking chairs.

Now the airport is crazy crowded and the traffic in the city itself is totally out of control with eternal airport construction. Getting to the airport is different every single time even if it has been only a few weeks since my last trip there. I don't like PHX or EWR so I have been flying more on Alaska out of SEA.
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Old Mar 15, 2023, 2:01 am
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A large number of complaints are genuinely from people who dont know the rules (e.g., bought a Basic Economy ticket and realized they cant sit with their partner, wants a hotel reimbursed when the airport is shut down in a blizzard). Every major airline has their share of these complaints. Then there are complaints about things that go wrong where the airline is in control. I dont perceive AAs track record is obviously worse than similar competitors.

The problem with AA, in my recent observations, is that service is less actually less friendly on average than the competition. AA surveys ask if their agents are empathetic and polite. For a great extent, they are not. Fewer ticket counter agents smile and welcome the paying customer as a first touch point that would leave a positive impression. When something goes wrong, agents tend to put their shields up and go into business mode, which is much more intolerant and objectively worse than the TSA or my states DMV. It is also consistently worse than Southwest, Delta, and JetBlue three other choices I often make.

Multiple studies have shown that if you show just a little bit of empathy, people will complain less even if the problem is identical. Even hospitals have found malpractice suits drop when they express empathy instead of putting guards up when something goes wrong. So my conclusion is that AA gets worse complaints because their staff (overall, there are some good ones) is on average more surly, guarded, impatient, and unhappy than the competition.

Now, something horrible happened to me with an AA agent at an elite desk. I dont wish to post details yet, but trust me it was bad enough that Im planning to take most of my business elsewhere when Ive been elite since 2001, if they dont acknowledge the interaction. I dont want compensation, this is not a DYKWIA moment, but they need to be aware of the incident. Who at AA should receive this complaint? Just through the web form? Through Doug Parkers email? In my case, it has far less to do with the problem itself, but the staffs lack of empathy and politeness.

Im like John Mulaneys bit, I usually roll with the punches and ignore when theres bad service. It wasnt until last month flying with my girlfriend, I was so proud of showing off my airline VIP status that she pointed out, wow that agent was kind of impatient and rude or wow, there was no turbulence and they the FAs didnt serve any drinks at all. We got drinks on Southwest or dang, she kind of snapped at that lady back there. My partner is actively showing me why AA has built up little grace from customers, so that when things really go wrong, they deserve the complaints more.

Last edited by bryanb; Mar 15, 2023 at 2:10 am
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