not sure why i did it, but some years ago i choose american airlines as my airline of choice. that’s where i had my miles & i continued to use american airlines to accrue more miles in hopes of one day getting a “free” flight or two.
there have been a few occasions in recent years that i’ve taken southwest & other than southwest’s relatively cheap fare i wasn’t too impressed with their service. i’m not complaining about southwest, i’m simply suggesting that it wasn’t so special that i would walk away from american airlines & more importantly the many miles i had with american. i will openly admit that i don’t like southwest’s first-come/first-served approach to boarding; probably because i’m typically running late to my flights.
this past weekend it finally came time to cash in some american airlines’ miles. kristin is joining me on a trip to dubai next month & we are paying for her ticket with miles. a few things in particular really ticked me off about the american airlines’ mile redemption process. first off, the mileage cost just increased from 75K miles to 90K miles on october 1, 2008. second, even though we aren’t flying during a peak time, only a small number of advantage spots exist on their schedule so we were forced into a flight itinerary that neither of us really wanted. lastly, because the flights that american had available include a british airways flight we had to call our reservation in & as a result we were charged a $20 booking fee because an operator booked our reservation. i complained about this $20 booking fee as high as i could go in the american airline organization & no matter who i spoke with i couldn’t have the fee waived. how ridiculous is it that there are no other options for booking these flights & then american charges you for it?
today’s flight on continental really had me wondering why i have put up with such poor service from american airlines. both my flight to houston & to new york were practically empty. i had an isle to myself on both flights in fact. the interior of the continental planes were much cleaner & better kept than any american airlines’ plane i’ve been on in 5 years & i’ve been flying a lot & have seen my fair share of american airlines’ planes. both of my flights on continental were on time today, while almost every american airlines flight i’ve flown in the past year has been delayed for some reason or another. continental offered a movie on the longer flight from houston to new york, a “free” lunch (cheeseburger & salad that i didn’t take), & the flight staff toured the cabin 4 times asking if i wanted anything else to drink.
the service that i received today on continental was the total opposite of the service that american airlines offer. not only does american ding you for every little thing (baggage, food, booking fees, etc.), they are for the most part rude & could care less about making you a happy customer.
going forward i’m going to try & not marry myself to any one particular airline & i plan on doing some airline “shopping” so i have the right perspective on what level of service i’m getting when i fly. i can already confidently say that american airlines does *not* know how to do it.