American Airlines, Again?

Hey bellas! I got back from fabulous Las Vegas this afternoon. More on the trip later. Right now, I need to vent.

This is the third round trip flight I’ve taken on American Airlines this year. This is the second time that they’ve lost one of my bags in transit. And this time, they’ve done gone and lost all of my makeup and hair products and other precious personal items. I am beyond, beyond, beyond pissed. And besides that, I’m frazzled, I don’t have my daily essentials for tomorrow, and it’s totally thrown off my day.
If you’ve ever had a bag get lost in airline travel, you know the feeling all too well. Waiting while everyone else gets their items and floats on out of the terminal. Feeling that sinking weight in your stomach when the carousel turns off and the little gate where suitcase after suitcase came tumbling out is brutally shut. The helpless frustration that washes over you as the inevitably overwhelmed desk clerk listens to your story, a story they’ve no doubt been hearing versions of all day long. Then the waiting. Some wind up lucky and get their stuff back within the week. Judging from the depressing room of abandoned suitcases we saw today at Miami International Airport, many other people aren’t that lucky.

I try to be as sweet and kind to airport workers as possible. We’ve got family friends who are stewards, stewardesses, and pilots. I know from the stories I’ve heard from them, the industry has become a much less enjoyable environment. You hear the same refrain from people who remember the glory days of airline travel — flying isn’t fun anymore. Between figuring out newly implemented and convoluted computerized check in methods, throwing away your liquids and cigarette lighters, removing your shoes through security, and racing to your always distant gate in time for seating, it’s become an often stressful experience. Dealing with an often irate and ignorant public on a daily basis has to take a toll on you. I watch Airline. I get it. People can be crazy. But I’ve had some absolutely insane-making airport experiences and it seems to me that there is a lot the industry could do to alleviate some of its own problems. Start by training your staff to deal with people like they’re intelligent and reasonable human beings. Then try contacting some of those people whose bags are collecting dust in airports across the country.

My friend John came to pick us up from the airport, so he got to drive in circles for an hour plus, while we filed a bag claim report. He also had a bag get lost by American this year, and when they found it, they told him he needed to come pick it up himself. Never mind the fact that they were the ones who misplaced it, and he doesn’t have a car. When we finally left for home, I told John I felt compelled to write about it, to somehow get it out there that this track record of theirs sucks and I’d be completely done flying their airline if only I had a choice in the matter. (I don’t have a ton of choice, especially when it comes to flying to Trinidad). “Go ahead and write about it, but the thing is, nothing you say or do is going to affect American Airlines,” John said. “They won’t ever change because they don’t need to change, and we all just have to accept their shitty service.” He’s probably right. And that sucks.

I called the 1800 automated line, and they say my bag has been found and will be delivered within six hours after the delivery service gets it. There’s an asterix by that “six hours,” because they can’t guarantee the time of delivery. I’m praying it gets here before I leave for work tomorrow morning. It better. Grrrr!
Got an airport luggage nightmare story of your own, bellas? Share it with me!

** edited at 9:50 a.m. – They just dropped off my bag. Woo hoo! And from a cursory check, my stuff seems to be in order. At the very least, my most valuable items are there. And that’s all I care about. Now I’m off to thank the Lord, go to work, and listen to some Stevie Wonder to calm my spirit on the way. Today might not be such a bad day after all!

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Comments

  1. Welcome home Bella! Not a luggage nightmare, but a flight nightmare. I was flying out of Dulles airport in VA earlier this year. I got there 90 minutes early for an 8am flight. There were only two gates open for the security checkpoint and it took the entire 90 minutes to get through the line. Once I finally got through, and ran through the airport to get to my gate, the guy at the desk wouldn’t let me board the plane even though it sat at the gate for mor5 than thirty minutes before it left for the runway! The run through the airport triggered an asthma attack and I could barely breath and the jerk told me that he just wasn’t going to deal with me until I settled down. I was clearly having trouble breathing and he never once asked me if I was ok. Another clerk at another airline desk checked on me and called the paramedics. Of course after an hour, the paramedics never showed up and the dispatcher got all pissed off when I told her forget it after an hour. I could have been dead at that point while her people were taking their time to get there. I found it absolutley astounding how poor the service was at Dulles from the airline personell to security, to the ancilarry service workers there. It is an awful airport and fortunatley, I have more than one choice when I fly to DC. I would rather fly into Baltimore than ever EVER fly into Dulles again!

  2. I HATE USAirways. I flew from BWI to SC in June for my Grandfathers funeral. I left from BWI. I got there 90 minutes early and almost missed my flight. Because I used travelocity.com, they had problems finding my ticket. It was a nightmare. The checkin line was horribly long. Security was a disaster. I almost missed my flight. USair personnell were horrible. Yes, I was extremely nice, polite, didn’t loose my temper, raise my voice, speak condescendingly to folks or demand too see a manager.

    So, I finally bored the flight with literally 2 seconds to spare. We stop over in NC. Were suppose to leave 30-40 minutes later. Well, get this. They couldn’t find the pilot. Yes, they couldn’t find the pilot. Have anyone ever heard such a thing? So, the layover was 4 hours! Yes, I was upset. But the US Airways flight next too us got canceled. They canceled a flight because they didn’t have enough pilots to fly the planes. (Read that twice.) Can you believe that! That’s what the airline personnell told them. You should have seen the people next too our flight, completely loose it. I said to myself, at least my flight wasn’t canceled.

    But I still had to get to a funderal, and there was a 4 hour delay. I actually should have driven from where I was. During this 4 hour delay, I asked politely after 2 hours, what was the delay. You should have heard how the USAir personnel talked to me. This man (brotha, no less) was just as nasty with me. He said, “We don’t have a pilot right now. ok.. I don’t know when we’ll get one. So, you’ll just have to wait. And I don’t know when one will show up.” The way this man spoke to me, his demeanor, his attitude was appalling. I was like never again, will I EVER take USAirway. They are a disgrace. I was going to lodge a complaint. But when I googled USairways out, I got all of these websites of people complaining about their experiences with this airline. The horror stories alone actually calmed me down.

    USAIRWAYS IS HORRIBLE. If you have to go, arrive 2-3 hours early. Realize your flight may get canceled. It will DEFINITELY get delayed. USairways has one of the worse reputations. Google it out, you’ll see for yourself. Understand that the staff (not everybody) have HORRIBLE attitudes.

  3. Last October, I flew from BWI to St Louis to attend a building dedication for my Grandfather. I flew Delta. I had to change planes in Philly, and thats were my bags stayed. My family lives 1 hour away from the StL airport, and someone had to drive back to the airport and get my clothes before the dedication ceremony! Im going to stay away from Delta for a while. The last time I flew, I used Southwest. They werent that bad.
    L

  4. American lost my dog. Yep – you read right – my dog. I was flying hom for Christmas break and somewhere between Little Rock, AR and Ontario, CA they lost my 5 pound Pomeranian. They found him the next day, delivered him to my parent’s home, gave me $200. Quite nice actually. Please note that this was almost 12 years ago – I have no doubt I’d be telling a different version of this story if it happened today. *If I’d known then what I know now, I would’ve never checked my dog as “luggage” – temperature conditions in the luggage holding area, etc.*

  5. Meet the Parents I [the movie], character Greg Focker, played by Ben Stiller, had bag lost by…guess who! American Airlines! It’s so bad, it’s been in a movie.

  6. United Air cancelled my flight from O’Hare to IN, lost all of my luggage, and told me I needed to find my own transportation to South Bend, IN. Mind you, I’m traveling from Los Angeles. Fortunately, I found a shuttle bus across the street and under a bridge that drove for five hours because of a snow storm to South Bend. On top of everything, I had no clothes, underwear, etc. and I was there b/c on an important interview that lasted three days. I shopped at Walmart and CVS for clothes and still managed to look fly. Once I arrive back to LA, they still hadn’t found my bags. In two day, I was flying out to IL. Literally, one day before my trip to IL, the airline FINALLY delivers my bag. Needless to say, I Fedex my things now and only carry 1 bag.

  7. I HATE American Airlines!!!! Last year I went to Puerto Rico to visit my cousin. Coming home I was stuck at the airport for 6 hours!! I had a direct flight to Philly, my flight was supposed to leave at 5pm I didn’t leave until almost midnight. Customer Service never said what the hold up was and were very rude and unaccomodating. People with small children had run out of food and pampers. It was horrible. While, waiting I was talking to a couple who were returing from their honeymoon. They’d been trying to get home for almost 2 days and on top of that the airline lost their bags. They honeymooned in Aruba and their bags ended up in Barbados…go figure!!! After my trip I vowed never to fly American again…

  8. The first time I lost my bag was last year coming from NC to LGA on Airtran Airways. My sister was getting married in a couple of months so she gave me my “Maid of Honor” dress. Her friend had warned me not to check in my dress, but me being hard headed, I did. As soon as I get to LGA,they lose my bag! I have never seen that beautiful dress again! And they acted like they did not want to reimburse me for it! Was I furious. But lucky for me the wedding was a couple of months away, so I had time to get another one. But I will never take AirTran Airways again! They are very ghetto, very unprofessional and they have a reputation for losing and damaging bags.Fed Exing my items doesn’t sound like a bad idea after all!

  9. Another time I lost my bag was this past June coming out of LGA (NY), going to GSO (NC). I don’t know if you all heard or remember when all the flights in NY were cancelled due to the Airline Regulations because something was wrong with the air traffic control. Anyways, I had a direct flight on DELTA coming from LGA to GSO(NC)so I checked my bags in. Then I find out they cancelled all the flights! I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that they were going to lose my bags and turns out, they did! Keep in my mind I was supposed to be in NC from Friday to Sunday. I didn’t receive my bag until Sunday night! I demanded a discount off of my next flight for inconviencing me.

  10. awww bella! not AMERICAN! those are the ones i count on. as airlines go, i suppose you cant put too much faith in ANY of them. delta is the one i have the worst luck on. my last trip on them (booked after i’d sworn them off for such horrid customer service with their partner, airfrance, on a trip to norway) i had no other choice than to take them back & forth thru Brasil, where they promptly left my ONLY bag at the airport in Sao Paulo. i suppose they thought i didnt need any clothes/toiletries/personal effects in the desert over Christmas week…? then, after almost 35 days of calling Delta, their partner in Brasil and the transporation authority (i tried to use anyone who might be able to help), my bag, and thankfully, all it’s contents were returned to me, along with a check for the luggage Delta never ‘found’ (their Brasilian affiliate found the bag, Delta never bothered to look!!), but only after almost 2 months of having 2 beg, plead & threaten.

    Sheer madness.

  11. Bella,

    One last thing I would like to add, you are so right. Gone are the days of flying actually being enjoyable and somewhat of a privelege. People were so different. Nowadays flying is as similar as taking the Greyhound. The Greyhound is even cleaner and often times more reliable than the plane! ( I clearly do not enjoy buses. No offense to those that do). Then you are taking your chances flying because of delays and cancellations! I remember back in the day when they actually used to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner on the plane! I am not talking just international flights either! I am talking domestic flights!

    I missed those days!

    Good Post

  12. ladydandridge says:

    Yup, pretty much everyone i know has given up on American. They used to be a our “go to” airline but lately they have not been up to par. My boyfriend was flying back to LA from Detroit and sat on the plane for 3 hours after the flight was already delayed by 1 hour. The flight attendants barely brought them anything to drink and never offered any food, all the while promising to be ready to leave in the next 30 min. I, like some of the other people here, have had my battles with US Airways. But mine started when they merged with horrible horrible America West. Now, Southwest has always been dependable and I have recently discovered how good Alaska Airlines is. I purchased a ticket on the day of travel for a last minute trip from LA to DC (National, not Dulles)to a wedding and it included a rental car for $400. Can’t beat that and I was always treated as though they were glad to have my business.

  13. american cant be as bad as bwee or air jamaica lmao !!
    for goin home i take american or delta..and im cool. bwee can have a 200-300 dollar round trip to anywhere in the caribeean and im still not stepping on that plane. i have greedy friends who only fly on them and airJA just for the food. but not me..american/delta all the way…maybe usair, but they suck too.
    i travelled this weekend to fl and had my seat given to a standby although i was within the correct boarding time. just got there later than others due to security…keep in mind no pages were sent…and this was none other than airtran. they used to be good. but theyre realll crappy now.
    southwest is by far my fav. airline for domestic flights..cheap, friendly staff and never any delays.

  14. I’m pretty lucky (and knocking on wood right now). I won’t detail my bad stories…just a little advice.

    Never fly an airline that’s in bankruptcy (usairways)
    Finesse the fine art of traveling lighter….which leads to, always carry your MOST IMPORTANT ITEMS in your carryon (Bella, you know you need and love your cosmetics/toiletries etc. like most folks need their glasses, plus replacing cosmetics is expensive). Never check anything that you will miss if you never see your luggage again.
    Ship items back to yourself via the US Postal Service. Went shopping, worried about how your gonna get stuff home without having to pay for your luggage being overweight? Pick up a Flat Rate shipping box, fill it to the brim with stuff, and ship it yourself anywhere in the US for under $9 bucks.

  15. To Angela,
    I had a similar experience at Dulles, I refuse to fly into or out of Dulles, only BWI and National airport.

  16. I think every airline I have flown on has lost my bag at least once, and for someone who flies at least once a month, this is a big deal after about 4 years of that flight schedule. On my last flight they lost my bag coming and going. Yep, that was a mess. But I think that God is teaching me patience, and I have learned just how little I really need to get by. So in the end, it has been a positive learning experience. However, at the end of my last flight I looked at my boyfriend (who picked me up from the airport) and said: I won’t be flying for a while, and I am very happy about that! And, glory be, my bag was there waiting for me (the first time in 3 flight cycles my bag hadn’t been somewhere “special” or at least one flight behind me). Eventually this has to get better though; the system is so inefficient that it has to be expensive paying someone to bring all those bags to customers. I know I had the baggage man bring my luggage to the club once to be placed in my boyfriend’s car. Things have to change!

  17. Our suitcases were lost for almost a week when I visited Cabo Verde in 2005. There I was, sporting my boyfriends’ XXL t-shirts and the exact same jeans I arrived in, every single day… in super hot Africa! The worst thing was that the people at the airport didn’t really care about the situation. They kept telling us: come back later, come back tomorrow, we don’t know what will happen… it drove me mad! I was so relieved when at last, the suitcases were found. After that, it was relaxation all the way.

  18. fly continental, going on 12 flights for the year and never had a problem…..

  19. Continental goes to Trinidad from Houston. I love them and never ever check luggage you cannot afford to lose.

  20. So I arrive in NewYork on American Airlines for my second honeymoon destination.. and lord behold.. our bags and half the flights bags were not there.. due to weather..they would come on the next flight..
    So basically me and my new husband are in NY for our honeymoon with nothing!!
    His bags arrived the day we were leaving.. We spent the whole trip with none of our stuff (mind you I had planed and bought my outfits for this trip weeks ahead)
    A month later…
    I still have not received my bag.. It’s bringing tears to my eyes writing this… I just completed my itemized list .. which I probably forgot a million things on anyways…
    I can’t believe I lost 10 brand new nightie..
    I only wore two of them!
    I lost all my brand new makeup Lancome, Dior, Mac… (I never spend crazy money on makeup, but it was my HONEYMOON! I wanted it to be perfect so I went all out)
    A La roc dress.. French Connection dress, Aqua tops.. Everything gone..
    4 brand new victoria secret bras (like $50 a piece)
    God only knows how much ill get back
    All my shopping I did on the Honeymoon… everything … gone..
    I can’t believe it.. I think I’m kind of in denial..
    Sometimes I randomly start crying when I go to spray my marc jacobs daisy and it isnt there..
    Or when I am showering and my shampoo and conditioner isnt there…
    I dont knwo what to do.. i called them everyday twice for two weeks..
    Nothing..
    I tried being nice.. I tried yelling… They don’t know ANYTHING…
    I AM SO DISTRAUGHT!
    These items are priceless…
    Even if they reimburse me fully (which they wont!)
    All the time and effort I spent looking for and buying the perfect outfits the perfect scents, the perfect colors for my honeymoon.. and for what.. to not get to use most of it.. To never see it again..
    How could they lose my bag? What could they have possibly done with it?

  21. hallo, im from so my english is not that impressive. Please dont blame me. I read online journals to improve my english and say that your blog was perfect readable for me, because the english is really clear and all the article are perfect readable. I will come back, to improve my english even more. Thanks a lot :)

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