Friday, August 15, 2008

Open Letter to American Airlines

To whom it may concern,

I understand today's business environment. I understand that the ever increasing price of fuel is squeezing your margins and ability to operate profitably. I understand the costs incurred for additional security measures and safety protocols. I even understand the need to maximize revenue through baggage fees, snacks and ticketing assistance.

That being said, I truly believe that the problem with your airline and the huge operating losses that you are incurring has nothing to do with the above - it is a result of your totally and completely inept management.

During the past several months, I have been inconvenienced by your airline like no customer should ever be inconvenienced - yet, I continue to purchase your service. At this point, I must begin to ask myself why I remain loyal to your airline when I know that my loyalty is not returned. I know that my loyalty stems from the fact that I feel invested in American Airlines. For the last ten years, I have flown American Airlines as exclusively as possible, earning over 1.2M program miles. This year I have already flown American sixty times for over 85,000 elite miles. Yet, today, I find myself asking why.

Several months ago, I was stranded in Raleigh, North Carolina as your airline cancelled hundreds of flights to reinspect and repair your MD-80 fleet. You blamed the FAA for more stringent requirements, but we all realized the truth. You mismanaged the process and had to do it all over again. Every other airline seemed to manage this better than American, yet I remained patient, stuck away from my family, and waited for you to accommodate me. It only took three days.

Last weekend, I was stranded in Anchorage, Alaska with over $1,200.00 of thawing halibut as you cancelled my flight home. Correction - you didn't cancel the flight, rather it had been delayed for twenty four hours. Again, a situation of complete and utter mismanagement. We received no information for three hours while we waited. We then were instructed to claim our bags and go to ticketing for meal vouchers and lodging assistance. We claimed our bags, but when we went to ticketing, it was dark. After waiting for thirty minutes, we decided to get lodging on our own. I'm not sure what everyone else did, but I heard nothing about complaints about the rest of that evening.

The comedy of mismanagement continued as we reported for our "delayed" flight. Although reimbursed for our meals, taxi, and lodging - we were denied the storage charge for our fish. I presume the airline rather reimburse for $1,250.00 worth of spoiled fish rather than $29.00 for freezer storage.

Then, the crew arrived at departure time. Instead of boarding however, the captain wanted to test the engine for himself. I applaud his thoroughness, but I question why he didn't report early to the plane so that he could test and we could still leave on time. More mismanagement.
When we finally took off, I noticed that there were eight empty first class seats. It got me to wondering why the airline wouldn't review the passenger list and proactively upgrade it's executive platinum and then platinum frequent fliers. Inept management is my only answer.
Clearly, customer service is not as important as American Airlines communicates. It's clear in the state of the fleet, your management and your employees - some of the most bitter people I have ever run across.

Although I appreciate the 20,000 program miles that I received for this recent screw-up, and the $500.00 voucher I received for the inspection issue, I don't believe that your airline has done enough. I've been in customer service for well over a decade. Should I ever provide a service as poorly as American has provided, I would refund the customer completely.

Therefore, I respectfully request:
1) A $750 travel voucher to act as a refund for my round trip flights between DFW and ANC
2) Immediate designation of Executive Platinum status within the AAdvantage Program
3) Four VIP system wide upgrades
4) An additional 80K program miles
5) Your fervent pledge to replace all operational management with more able resources
and, finally, your immediate cessation of blaming September 11 for the airline's problems.

Clearly, 9/11 had nothing to do with your troubles. Your problems are of your own making.




Robin said...

SMACK!!!! Did you send that to them? If not, do so this very second...and keep us posted as to their answer!

I used to fly a bunch when I was "on the road" and I'll never forget when I flew into Raleigh on Southwest, which was bizarre enough! I think I was on their third flight to that airport. Anyway, they had gotten 17 inches of snow so we landed on the farthest runway and it took over an hour to taxi to the terminal. The flight attendant came on and did his usual spiel of "we know you have a choice when you fly, thank you for choosing SW..." but then added, "This is why we have the lowest fares folks, we fly halfway and drive the rest..."

Air travel ain't what it used to be...wish another upstart like SW would pop up and give us more of a choice in the matter, now SW isn't the new kid on the block and acts just like the others...sigh...

ChefMichele said...

That is awesome bro!!! Immediately send that if you havent already. See you in NY xoxo