I’ll Never Fly With American Airlines Again

300px Pinot grigio Ill Never Fly With American Airlines Again

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Sunday night, Nic, Dre, and I were sitting downstairs having a few drinks at hotel bar while we caught up on life, kids, and the like.

We asked our waiter, Patrick, for another round and he brought out Nic and Dre’s glasses of wine.  He apologized to Nic; they had run out of the Pinot Grigio she had been drinking so he substituted a different one for her.

She took a sip. “This is a chardonnay.”

Patrick looked confused. “No, it’s a pinot grigio.”

Nic took another sip. “Nope. Definitely a Chardonnay.” She handed the glass to Dre for her opinion. “Definitely a Chardonnay” agreed Dre.

He paused. “I’ll be right back,” Patrick said, disappearing behind the bar.

A minute later he came back with another glass and a bottle of wine. “You were absolutely right. It was a chardonnay. I am SO sorry for the mistake.”

We all had a great laugh and high-fived Nic on her stellar wine tasting abilities.

Patrick poured her a fresh glass out of the bottle of pinot grigio. There was about a quarter bottle left. He put it on the table. “I’ll just leave that there for you,” he said with a smile.

This was a simple mix up. Not a big deal in any way. But the recovery from the mistake? Amazing. Two days and and a few drinks later, I still remember our waiter’s name. We even tweeted the Hilton telling them that Patrick needed a raise (and he really does). That quarter bottle of wine probably cost them $5. Good publicity? Priceless.

This is the area where a lot of companies in the customer service industry fall flat.

Issues happen. They do. Nothing ever runs smoothly all the time.

But it’s how you recover that will make or break your reputation these days of social media.

Take for example my flight to get home from NYC on American Airlines.

All I wanted all day was just to get home so I could cuddle Vista, and smother her in kisses, and tell her how much I missed her. I’d been away from her for a whole week. That’s about 6 days too long for me.

It was going to be a late night (my flight wasn’t due to arrive until after 9pm), but Bil and Vista were going to make the drive into the city to pick me up. I couldn’t wait to see her. I breezed through my flight from Newark to Dallas. And then the day started going downhill.

First one gate change. Then another… …and another… The depart time on the flight kept getting later. 6pm…. 6:40, 7:00, 7:10, 7:50, and on and on.

With each time bump I got more and more upset.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.

I was tired. I missed my daughter. I missed my husband.

By the time the depart hit 8:30pm, I did the math. By the time the plane lands + get my luggage + make it through customs, carry the one…. and…. it was going to be to late to bring Vista into town to pick me up. And no way I could afford the hour and a half cab ride to our town, IF I could even find a cab to take me. I was heartbroken. I sat in the airport wiping away tears of frustration.

I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.

Resigned, I called my parents, and asked if I could stay at their house in the city until Bil could get in to pick me up in the morning.

Another gate change.

A change in terminals.

Another delay.

The flight got later and later.

And through all this there was no communication around WHY our flight was so delayed.

Finally at 9pm, we got on a plane. And sat there. We all looked around the plane. We’re we EVER going to get home?

The plane did, eventually, take off. By the time we got in, it was almost midnight.  I had left the hotel at 9:30am.

And what did American Airlines do to make up the huge delay and hours of treking around the Dallas airport?

Nothing.

Not One Thing.

Not the offer of a complementary beverage. Not even a cookie.

Not only that, but they didn’t even bring enough customs declaration forms on board. Not even enough for half the plane.

Don’t you think during the HOURS of delays they might have been able to get that one thing together?? Yeah, you would think. But no.

As we say on twitter. #EPICFAIL

How much does a cookie cost? Weigh that against all the tweets that went around with their ID in it complaining about the flight delays, lack of explanations, and lack of recovery.

Service companies take note.  Social media rules these days.  Put your best foot forward and when things do go sideways make sure you have a recovery plan in place.

 Ill Never Fly With American Airlines Again
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12 Responses to I’ll Never Fly With American Airlines Again

  • Lesson learned: American Airlines needs to start dishing out free booze for fuck-ups… or something along those lines.

    Jenn Reply:

    @nic

    LMAO! Something like that. Or fly your ass up to see me. That would make me happy. ;-)

    nic @mybottlesup Reply:

    @Jenn, i’ll check out what kind of deals American Airlines has right now.

    actually no… i should just start driving, i’ll get there quicker that way.

    Jenn Reply:

    @nic
    *dies laughing*

  • Heather says:

    One time, when J was V’s age, we flew home to see my parents on US Air. When we arrived at the first stop on our voyage, they told us they were putting us on a BUS to drive us to our destination. I was pissed. I called, I complained, I wrote letters and emails…and eventually, they gave me a free ticket. But it should NOT be that hard. I mean, my husband runs a large hotel. If someone gets upset over something, he usually just gives them the room free for that night. It’s so easy to suck it up–it makes you look like a jerk when you do nothing.

    Jenn Reply:

    @Heather,

    And I’m not even saying they owe me a free flight or something like that. Sometimes even a small token gesture is enough. But when a company sticks it’s head in the sand to pretend it didn’t happen and hopes it just goes away? It pisses me off.

  • Sounds a lot like my trip home on Amtrak. It was horrible and took nearly 20 hours to get to Cleveland from NYC. I understand why there was the delay but the customer service had much to be desired. I have a post in my head brewing after all my tweets, but I haven’t done it yet.

    Glad you made it home & it was so great to meet you!

    Jenn Reply:

    @domestic extraordinaire,

    20 hours?!?! OMG, I would have been beside myself. You must have been exhausted!!

    domestic extraordinaire Reply:

    @Jenn, It was crazy and YES totally exhausted. I am just feeling like myself today.

  • Tricia says:

    OMG you couldn’t have picked a topic closer to my heart than this one. I know it’s those little things (like what Patrick did with the wine) that will make me a returning customer. Just an apology and attempt to fix the problem is usually enough for me. Politeness. Taking responsiblity. Apologising. That would be nice too. You’re talking American and I could talk United. In fact most airlines in the USA could do with learning about customer service. It seems to be non-existant.

    When I flew to my Dad’s funeral, I got to the airport in plenty of time even after having to drive my kids almost an hour away to my friend and back to the airport. I had to stand in a line that was about two hours long, only to reach the check-in and be told very nonchenantly that my flight to Newark was CANCELLED. I was headed to Ireland from Newark that evening and I HAD to get on that flight. Did they give a darn? NADA. Did they explain why and try to help me? No. Even after I burst into tears and said my Dad had just died and I HAD to get to Ireland, the customer service rep who didn’t even look me in the eye simply said : “There’s nothing I can do”. Not, I understand, I’m sorry I’ll try and fix this, just nothng. In the end, I got so upset they were forced to put me on a flight to London but I had to wait for another four hours this end and another five hours in London to get to Ireland. I was sickened by the way they treated me with disrespect and I don’t give a shit attitude. It’s sad.

    Then this week with Bank of America. They made a mistake. Owining it and fixing it would have been nice. Instead the bank manager claimed : It’s a tough economy and we all have to make money any way we can”. That’s a direct quote. After they STOLE my hard-earned money that’s all she would do to fix it. So I feel for you. I really do. I think the social media is a great way to expose these companies and I think it could work if you can get people behind you. Maybe this could be your next product seeing as you’re a tech genius? (ha ha) Thanks for letting me vent on YOUR blog. : )
    Tricia

  • becky says:

    this is exactly why i refuse to fly them again too. i did JUST ONCE and got screwed IN DALLAS. i think most their flights go through dallas since it’s their hub and their hub SUCKS. they are so unorganized and do NOTHING to make up for it. never again. i’m sorry jenn.

  • Kellee says:

    Ugh, what a nightmare. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be stuff. Sometimes it just needs to be genuine apology, and not being made to feel like cattle, etc. Get a clue, companies.

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