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March 22, 2010

American Airlines Still Sucks

I didn't want to detail all of the reasons American Airlines sucks in my last post because most of it would have come off as petty. How can I genuinely complain about not getting any food on a 5 hour flight when there are people starving. What gives me the right to complain about not getting accommodation assistance after a canceled flight (in terms of either money or suggestions) when I have the protection of an airport roof to keep me warm.

I really wasn't going to complain about AA, but I changed my mind because of something that happened yesterday on my return flight from SFO that really annoyed me.

I was getting off at NYC for a layover and was followed off the plane by one of the stewardesses and a elderly man holding a sign that said, "I can't speak English. Please help me make my connection ... [flight information] ... " I asked an AA employee behind the gate counter if I had to recheck my luggage since my next leg was international. The stewardess cut in and asked if the man behind the counter could call for an escort for the passenger that didn't speak English. The passenger was an older naive-looking man, standing off to the side, completely oblivious to the noises in his surroundings. The AA employee said that AA stopped the escort service and that not speaking English is not considered a disability, so they couldn't call for an escort. The stewardess was a bit flabberghasted at this (good for her) and asked if they could call someone from the airport. The man looked calm, rationalized the policy, and suggested the passenger try to follow the signs. More back and forth between the two, and when it seemed like they were just going to let this poor man wander through the JFK jungle in search of his gate (which was in another terminal), I interrupted and asked if they could call him a wheelchair that could take him. The AA employee thought on it and proceeded to call one. I didn't stick around to find out what happened because I had to get to my own terminal, but I assume they went the wheelchair route.

This is not how you do customer service.
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