Thursday, August 12, 2010

American Airlines

Just wow
Just wow...

We left Dulles on the 9th for what should have been a relatively straightforward flight to LAX. Should have been... The plane had a damaged spoiler they decided to tie down which then meant that we had to stop in Tulsa to refuel. The woman at the Admiral's Club reassured us that we'd make our connecting flight as the refuel only takes 20 minutes - HA!

So we're on the plane.
It's the usual bitter, twisted, miserable and rude staff. Dear American Airlines Air Crew if you hate your jobs that much - find a new one! Please!
Everything is too much effort. Mind you were given free headsets rather than being charged the usual $2 for them. The sound on the movie wasn't working properly as Larry was rather curtly informed when he was the 20th person to tell the crew the sound wasn't working.

Sorry I skipped ahead slightly.
The pilot had informed us that they had a choice of kicking 30 passengers off or flying slow & low and refuelling in Tulsa. They took option 2. Ok...
Refuelling took an hour...
We get to LAX an hour late. We obviously miss our connecting flight. We're directed from the international connections desk to the customer service desk. The girl at the customer service desk basically tells us that she doesn't care as her shift is over and there's not going to be anyone to replace her. So we have to go to the ticket desk to be reticketed... (I could have screamed at this point). Told everything is ok and that we'll be put on the next available flight to Melbourne (the following night) so in the interim we're being put up in the LAX Marriott for the night. It's currently after midnight LA time. So we head to the hotel... check in and there's one restaurant open and no 24 hour room service! Beyond that it was actually a very nice hotel.

So the following morning Larry rings Qantas to find out what is going on. They can't help us - so Larry rings American Airlines - they can't help us (this was about 2 hours on the phone). So he decides to head to the airport to talk to the Qantas and American Airlines desks. This was also an exercise in futility. Apparently there's only certain staff from American that are trained in the Qantas system so we had to wait for them to start.

So at 4pm we all track down to the airport (the cute baby factor can help!) to see if we can get home. So all seems well. We have tickets - we have bassinets for the girls. We also have a connecting flight through Brisbane but that should be ok. We ask after the luggage and are assured that everything should be ok.

So we head over to the airport again around 9pmish to wait for our flight. We get on the plane and all is easy. The girls sleep most of the way to Brisbane. And really it is amazing how different Qantas really is. We have to collect our luggage in Brisbane as we have to escort it through customs before flying to Melbourne. We're standing there and standing there and standing there... Larry had made a comment when we were walking through immigration that it would be funny if our luggage was lost.

Still standing there...
Larry wanders over to the lost baggage counter and I'm still waiting. I'm then informed that the last of the luggage is out. Our luggage is "lost".

It was en route to Melbourne on the plane we had originally been re-ticketed on... it actually beat us to Melbourne... The Qantas flight to Melbourne was lovely - all of the air crew were more than willing and happy to help us. So my fellow Australians the next time you whinge about how bad Qantas is - try flying American Airlines.

I really never ever want to fly American Airlines again!