Wednesday, July 16, 2008

American Airlines: The TAAG of US airlines

I like to think I'm an easy-going person. Living in the developing world has taught me a great deal of patience and appreciation for people who have to work with limited resources. However, it has not taught me patience for American Airlines.

For the second time in 3 months, American Airlines has lost my luggage. The first time was during my tranfer from Angola to the DR. Apparently it was "lost" in Miami, which is pretty strange considering the flight there had been delayed over 5 hours, so they should have had plenty of time to put it on the plane. I didn't get it until a few days later which, in their defense, was due to a ticketing error (too long explain) that was made by British Airways in Angola, but would not have affected the arrival of my bag.

This time was much more frustrating. In spite of calling ahead the day before to make sure my flight was leaving on time, I arrived at the airport at 6:20 for my 7:45 flight to discover that the flight had been delyaed until 12:45. It wouldn't have had made sense to go to the office for just one hour, so I just sat in the Santo Domingo airport. (There's not much there, but they do have decent coffee and free wi-fi, so I was happy.) We finally left and upon arrival in Miami I picked up my bag as is required, went through customs and set the bag off to Kingston. Again, apparently 4 hours is not enough time to sort baggage and my bag did not make it on the flight. Hopefully it will show up today.

Since I only had one bag and I arrived much later than was scheduled (6 hours) and everything was closed, I asked the representative about the free hygiene kits I had seen him pass out to people in the line ahead of me. (There were at least a dozen other people in my situation.) He shook his head and said that he had run out. This was frustrating because I had lost my only bag- with all of my toiletries, clothes and work papers- but the people who had received hygiene kits had lost only one of a number of bags. I don't want to deny anyone their generic toothpaste and plastic comb, but to be turned away with nothing at 10:30 at night was a little frustrating.

In theory the bag will arrive today on the first flight, which arrives in a few hours. I checked the online located and according to the site the bag has still not been located. Wonderful. Hopefully this is not the case and the computer is wrong! Otherwise I will have to shell out some money for clothes, because I really can't wear this shirt for another day!

UPDATE, 2:30 PM: After repeated calls to the airport, can't get through to anyone. However, according to on-line baggage status, the bag has arrived in Jamaica. Good news, but I'll believe it when I see it!

1 comment:

Kate said...

I'm not surprised. These days I pretty much refuse to fly BA or American (or their code shares) because it's pretty much guaranteeing a lost bag. And their customer service is horrible - BA also doesn't answer their phones.

My experience though is that the computer systems are rarely updated - trust in what they tell you over the phone, not what's on the computer.

Still blows my mind that I can know what minute my packages leave the country, but not even which country a lost suitcase is in...