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American Airlines Responds (sort of) Plus more!

December 3rd, 2009

A short while ago, I blogged about the crappy behavior of an American Airlines  flight attendant during our recent trip back to the US.  Read it here. I made a complaint which can can read in the other post.

If you are following this topic, read on!

I received this canned response from AA:

November 29, 2009
Dear Mr. Lytle:

Thanks for contacting Customer Relations. I’m pleased to respond to your email.

Our goal for every employee is to provide friendly, courteous service. However, flight attendants have an especially crucial role in achieving that goal because they spend more time with our customers than any of our other employees. Therefore, I am concerned about the flight attendant behavior you described and hope you will accept my apology for the disappointing service you and your traveling companions received. We work hard to provide professional, courteous service to our customers, and it is clear we fell short when you traveled with us to Dallas/Fort Worth from Costa Rica. There is never an acceptable excuse for rude behavior, and I have forwarded a copy of your comments to our Vice President of Flight Service for review. Please rest assured, the situation will be addressed.

Mr. Lytle, please travel with us again soon. We’ll do our very best to serve you better the next time we welcome you aboard.

Sincerely,

Stephanie J. Davenport
Customer Relations
American Airlines

What a joke!  I especially liked the part, “…please travel with us again soon”  Clearly she has taken leave of her senses!

However, I waited until today to see if this “Vice President of Flight Service” (her name is Lauri L Curtis), would respond. She has not.  It would have astounded me if she had… but I thought it fair to wait.

Before I post my email response sent today to Ms Davenport, I want to thank those who commented and the many more who emailed me. For the three who actually switched airlines, I bow to you. My readers are GREAT!

Anyway, here is my response sent today:

Dear Ms. Davenport,

Thank you for your canned response.

I am sorry, but I do not accept your apology. It was not YOU that made insulting remarks.

The correct thing is to receive an apology from the flight attendant who was so offensive.  Why are you apologizing?

I would also like to know what disciplinary action was or will be taken. Has she been moved to a route where she will not offend Latinos because they do not speak English? Maybe the Kansas City to Columbus Ohiop route would be a good placement. She would certainly be MUCH happier not having to deal with foreigners.

I have waited a week for a response from your VP of Flight Services, Lauri l Curtis.  I have received NOTHING. I also notice that you did not copy Ms Curtis when replying to me. It seems clear that you neither forwarded my complaint to her as you said, or you have decided to just file the whole issue in the trash.

If you read my Blog (http://blog.therealcostarica.com/2009/11/25/american-airlines-and-how-they-handle-latinos/), which I am sure you did not, it shows a number of complaints from other users complaining about similar lousy service and rude flight attendants. Clearly, AA has an issue and is doing nothing to resolve it.

Additionally, I have receive 41 emails directly either from the blog story or from Facebook.

THREE people have cancelled reservations with AA, and more promised to NEVER fly AA in support of this matter.  Nobody had anything favorable to say about AA.

Small numbers yes, but this is NOT going to go away!

Please send me the email address of your VP of Flight Services, Lauri l Curtis so I may communicate with her directly. It is clear that this matter is not of concern at the customer relations level. She may not care either, but at least I will know she is in the loop and at least knows about this matter.

Thank you,

Anybody offer odds on a response?

Finally, many of you asked about my wife after her recent surgery. The surgery went just great. No issues.

What went terribly wrong was first a serious infection resulting from (apparently) a none-to-clean IV. This showed up about 48 hours later. That resulted in a midnight trip to the hospital where she was given an antibiotic drip. this was followed by three MORE trips to two other hospitals; one for an ultrasound of her arm and the second for a refill of antibiotics.

The ultrasound revealed blood clots in her arm (phlebitis) that grew to the size of a ball bat. That meant blood thinners and MORE drugs.

It was ugly, but I am happy to tell you she is back on her feed, at home, yelling at me, and therfore acting normal!

For the many of you who contacted me via phone, email, and via comments, you are just so cool!  I thank you and ML thanks you too.  I have the classiest readers!


16 Responses to “American Airlines Responds (sort of) Plus more!”

  1. Paul M. on December 3, 2009 8:52 pm

    Tim and Gentle Blog Followers,

    I have not flown AA for more than 15 years since being given shabby treatment by them involving a connecting flight from SJO in MIA. We arrived in MIA on time and I had a 45 minute layover. Knowing that I got a SkyCap and rushed to the connecting flight (also AA) for TPA. I arrived at the desk 25 minutes before the continuing flight, an 18-seater, only to discover that it was closed and ready to roll on the tarmac!

    The AA desk clerk acted totally indiferent to my concern and made no effort to get me back to Tampa in timely fashion, thus I spent from one p.m. until 10 p.m. before getting onto a flight to Tampa. (This was back when there were flights almost every hour between MIA and TPA -and on many carriers, including AA.)

    I vowed never to fly AA again and everytime someone suggests them to me I am more than glad to recount this episode.

    So your shabby treatment by AA, though for a different reason than mine, is apparently nothing new at all.

    Thankfully there are other options from Tampa to SJO. I previously used Martinair very happily and now am very satisfied with Spiritair. Using them I can leave TIA at 9 a.m. and be through Immigration and Customs in SJO and to my apartment in Alajuela by noon or a few minutes past!

    I doubt there will be anything which will induce me to fly AA ever again.

    Paul M.
    ==

  2. Martha Skinner on December 3, 2009 11:58 pm

    I thought the response very good and think it presumptious for you to think she didn’t forward on to her VP. I do agree the VP should have replied.
    Seldom would you have a flight attendant apologize. As far as disciplinary action – that’s between the company and person.

    I travel considerably and find American no worse than other airlines. I’ve had some unpleasant experiences – have written to customer service and
    in many cases didn’t even receive a response at all.

    I understand your anger, but trying to get people to
    cancel reservations or not fly with the airline seems a bit drastic and every bit as bad as the flight attendant’s behavior.

    Giving the airline another chance isn’t such a bad
    idea with the exception of your attitude – nothing they could do would be right.

  3. Tim on December 4, 2009 12:25 pm

    I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

    I believe AA or ANY airline need be responsible to it patrons. More and more people are tiring of the arrogance. I have since found out that AA policy regarding flights to any Latin country is that there must be one Spanish speaker on board. How silly is that? 200+ persons and only one who must speak the language? That is not only stupid, it lacks respect for the Latin customer. Fly TACA sometime, and you find EVERY flight attendant speaks English perfectly. Same with LACSA, COPA, etc. Fly Lufthansa, you get not only English, but German and often three OTHER languages.

    I too have traveled extensively, and though I have seen numerous cases of rude and arrogant behavior, NEVER have I seen this.

    I agree any disciplinary action would not be made public, but I would like to know that something was done. The flight attendants union is very strong, and I am doubtful anything will be done… still, I related the story. How my readers react is up to them. As AA has lost (admittedly not a lot) of business, maybe THAT will get their attention. Maybe not. Thanks for your opinion.

  4. Patricia Simpson on December 5, 2009 7:32 am

    I used to travel frequently and was always amazed by the rudeness of AA staff. My latest experience was visiting AA in San Jose because CR immigration needed a confirmation of a return trip. The boss lady was very unhelpful & rude. The building was empty, my husband passed wind and echoed round the whole building! The secretary was giggling and boss lady then became angry, but motivated enough to give me the confirmation I needed (before he did it again, I guess!)
    Went on to Air Canada for the same requirement, received corteous service

  5. todd on December 5, 2009 10:39 am

    What a misguided sense of propriety Ms. Skinner applies to your monolingual experience in the unfriendly skies of American. First of all, you relieved the ill mannered flight attendant of any obligation to speak or just listen to a dreaded foreign language. She took it on herself to go that extra mile to express her pride in not being able to communicate with a significant number of her paying customers. Somehow this experience is equated… ¨your behavior is every bit as bad as the flight attendant´s¨…..with refusing to put up with a particular airline´s bad policy (no accountability for bad behavior). The bad behavior didn´t stop with the ¨incident in the sky¨ but was amplified by the lameness of the bureaucratic half-response. Ms. Skinner seems to think that you should be grateful that the airline sent you a form letter. A more appropriate airline response would have been to refer to the training that flight attendants receive in regard to zenophobia. I assumed that American doesn´t approve of it, but now I´m beginning to wonder. I stopped using American about 9 years ago after experiencing a laundry list of indignities suffered at their hands. I do agree with M. Skinner in that American is no worse than some other airlines. However, instead of making this bad service the norm (and it is for the most part) we, the traveling public should call them all out on their transgressions and, yes, cancel when necessary and fly more attentive and responsive airlines.

  6. Raymond Poplar on December 6, 2009 11:22 am

    Folks
    I recommend Jet Blue. They have proved to be wonderful, courteous, kind and helpful to my wife and myself on our recent trips to and from Costa Rica. They also proved to be the most economical.
    An airline is a service. If a carrier such as AA cannot provide an adequate pleasurable level of service they should not be patronized. Vote against them by spending your travel dollars elsewhere.
    Sincerely
    Raymond Poplar

  7. heidi on December 7, 2009 6:34 pm

    Yes I agree… My sister flew AA on Oct 29th and got charged extra for nothing…we realized they had charged us 100 dollers for nothing.. having a hard time getting a refund.. They were so rude during the whole check-in ..I fly continental and love them delta also ..tried to tell my sister that AA sucked but she had to learn the hard way.. It is not the individual people but the airline as a whole ..The AA flight crew is just as overworked as anyone else but they should not take it out on us but rather turn to their superiors and demand better service for themselves and the passengers they serve. If you find an airline you like stick wtih them and reward them for their good service by giving them your business.

  8. John E. on December 8, 2009 2:20 am

    It’s very unfortunate that ANYONE would be treated that way on ANY US airline. That is the sort of ugly American attitude that sometimes gives me the urge when traveling to deny that am from the US. And this is someone who chose to work in the travel industry?!

    I have always had good luck with TACA, Continental and Copa. And I’ve always heard good things about Lufthansa. There are choices, and your experience with American Airlines is reason enough to exercise that freedom of choice!

  9. Colleen on January 11, 2010 5:44 pm

    My husband and I have chosen not to fly AA for years. We had a similar experience with an unfriendly rude flight attendant woman over service for water. The standards of service seem to be very poor with AA attendants. The worst part about bad customer treatment on a flight is you are stuck with it. Feeling unable to get service or being rudely treated for a duration of time you have no control over is a very stressful situation. AA doesn’t care about its individual customers. No one should support that kind of attitude.

  10. Chris on January 17, 2010 3:24 pm

    You got a personal apology from AA. What more do you want? You know you are not going to get an apology from the flight attendant. What would that serve other than your ego? AA will deal with her and the issue I’m sure. And if you don’t think they will, you need to crawl back under the covers and keep your thumb in your mouth. Not everyone is against you.

  11. David on February 7, 2010 1:17 am

    @Chris, who said, “AA will deal with her and the issue I’m sure.”

    Why are you sure of this? Do you have any evidence?

  12. José on February 23, 2010 2:29 pm

    Hiya Chris,

    Sounds like you have excellent qualifications for an attendant job with AA. Your “What more do you want?” question may even qualify you for a position in Customer Relations.

    Good work Tim with your complaint. We need to strongly communicate our disapproval if we hope to improve service and employee manners. Up tight, disrespectful attendant responses are becoming increasingly common on airlines. Nevertheless, most do an excellent job.

    I’m starting the process for becoming a “pensionado” in Costa Rica with my wife and two daughters. Thanks for a very informative blog.

  13. Tim on February 24, 2010 9:02 am

    LOL!!!

  14. Mel on May 1, 2010 10:38 pm

    To Martha (from a post dated December 3, 2009)

    What? Do you work for the airline in question? Who the hell are you tell a grown man that he should “give the airline” who insulted another human being, another chance? You admitted that you have complained, and have gotten nothing resolved. Is that how you handle things? Just speak your peace and see what happens? I would hate to have you in charge of anything – my God, nothing would get done. Sweetheart, you are the weakest link.

    Tim, I’m with you. It takes many complaints to get something done. Maybe she is a good person who had a bad day, but it’s called “check your bags at the door.” I’m not allowed to act like an ass to customers just because I’m having a bad day, and neither should she. That is just ignorance at it’s finest level. My mother is a retired customer service rep from Delta, and if something like that were to come across her desk, she would have stood behind her word – it would have gotten to a supervisor, and it is a shame that more people aren’t like her.

    As for Martha, get off your high horse, Darlin. There are some people in this world who CAN get results…I guess – just not you.

  15. doug fitz on June 21, 2010 9:28 am

    Vote with your feet- fly another airline.

    Delta and AA always have “average” service and terrible frequent flier programs.
    Love JetBlue, TACA, LACAA, etc…

    glad your wife is back on her “feed”.
    when I read this, I think this is sad you spend so much energy on a perceived slight. Hopefully you can channel all this energy into something more useful.

  16. Dona Ekross on June 22, 2010 11:26 am

    I received the very same letter in response to a complaint of a ticket counter employee of AA. There was no satisfaction in that, and will never fly AA again. They are rude and uncaring and evidently have enough business, they don’t need mine. so….. they won’t get it.

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