Day twenty seven: 08:15 Miami International Airport

We are back from the hotel…It was called the Chateaubleau and I have to change my rating system to get it right…From now on I use a 10 scale…10 being best and 2 being the Chateaubleau, but I am getting ahead of the story.

When I left you last we were still in St. Thomas waiting for the Miami flight. We did finally get away at 9:40. The flight was smooth and the staff on the plane was apologetic and professional. I have never had an issue with American Airlines flight crews.

If you don’t like my rants then stop here and have a coffee…

American Airlines has forgotten who the customer is. The staff seem to go through the motions without any regard to outcomes. For example in St. Thomas with a planeload of people that had been in the airport for 9 hours and 75% of them had missed connections the staff were vacant. At about 6:30 when they announced that the plane due to leave at 6:30 had in fact just left Miami they also made a quick announcement that if anyone wanted a food voucher to hurry up and get one as they were going on break. Which is what they did until the started the boarding process. For three hours they abandoned the departure counter. Lots of passengers had no information about what was going on. I had an American Airlines App and people were coming to me for updates. American could learn lessons from whomever designed their APP related to providing customer service.

Prior to the desk people going on ‘break’ they were telling everyone that meals, transportation and hotels would be arranged by the time we arrived at Miami.  The reality was something different. Nobody on the plane mentioned anything other than we had to report to D14 for rebooking assistance. When we arrived there they had two staff working and 150 passengers to deal with. The first 20% of the passengers were given meal vouchers and told that no hotels would be vouchered.

Then after several heated exchanges the apparent in charge (brown jacket) person whispered to the agents and suddenly hotels were being booked and the attitude changed, with the exception of Maria. Maria was a bitch from the get go. One passenger who she manhandled came back and asked her what her name was and she reluctantly said Maria. Maria would be a great addition to an American Airlines training video as a how not to. As the passenger left after getting Maria’s name she was chased with snide and rude remarks and attitude from Maria.

After standing in this long line and going no where one of the passengers asked if someone would talk to the group and explain the process. Maria categorically stated that no one was going to do that. You would think that in the 6 hours of the Miami flight delay, someone could have planned for our flights arrival.

It gets worse, their system of vouchers for transportation put us into lines as cattle again while a bizarre and absurd accounting system was done by the Shuttle people. It continued as the shuttle left then stopped 100 feet down the road and the driver did his paper work. One of the passengers complained and the driver told him the company mandated the paper work so we waited. Then at the gate to the airport we went through the same accounting again.

The drive to the hotel was relatively uneventful except I noticed that on every street at least one police car was stopped with lights going and a Perp’ was against the car or whatever. Nice neighborhood.

The hotel was tired and in bad repair…Mary Lynn slept in the bed so it was ok and the bathroom was very clean for its condition.

I know some of you are thinking that I am being overly dramatic…my standards are not that high. If we don’t complain or point out bad service it will get worse and it is getting worse. American Airlines is getting bigger with their acquisition of U.S. Air and it will get worse.

Passengers that were at the end of their ropes, missing connections not getting home were met by even worse attitudes and treatment by the American staff.

We were pulled out of our line and called over to an adjacent gate where a glorious lady helped us with all of our needs with a smile and understanding. I am embarrassed to have been treated so nicely while our cohorts were abused.

The really sad part is that providing good customer service is usually easier than not. Show a little understanding. Young travelers with no extra money were turned away with a $12 food voucher and likely spent the night in the airport.

Lets not forget that for us American Airlines had two equipment failures…that’s a little telling on its own. You expect that sort of thing with Caribbean airlines but not so with ‘the new American’ as their ads purport. If it were weather related it is understandable and passengers must then make their own accommodation but this was equipment failure

On February 28th American Airlines failed to provide  customer service to our flight.

American Airlines (St Thomas) **________

American Airlines (Flight Crew) ********__

American Airlines (Miami D14 (12:00 to 1:30) __________

Shuttle Service ***_______

Chateaubleu Hotel ****_______

Cheeseburger in paradise **________

 

Pictures to follow when I get to Toronto.

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