Worst. Airline. Ever.

Before we headed to Aruba for sand, sun and fun, we had a less than enjoyable experience at JFK courtesy of American Airlines. We were all packed up, got to JFK early in time for our scheduled 11:45 am flight, and got into line to check in, excited about our getaway. The line was lengthy but we remained patient, knowing that it would be just a matter of hours before we were sipping pina coladas.

However, once we got to the front desk we were asked by the attendant if we knew that the flight was delayed. “No”, we responded. Down but not out, we asked: “For how long?” She replied, “It’s scheduled for 6pm.” Are you kidding me??? 6 hours later?! Who could believe that our vacation would be spent for an additional 6 hours in the airport? No reason was given either. Actually, we received the lame reason of “equipment change” or something to that effect.

We weren’t alone. Many other couples and families received the bad news that their hard-earned dollars and time off from work would be taken away from them from American Airlines for this so-called “equipment change”. It certainly wasn’t weather-related and they didn’t pretend it was. Most likely, just poor management on the part of American, overbooking flights and not having enough supply to meet the demand they created.

For our inconvenience, we were graciously (sarcasm here) given $10 meal vouchers each! Whoa, can’t spend the $20 fast enough, can we? It was like adding insult to injury. Is that how much American Airlines thinks our time is worth? We essentially lost a day due to their ineptitude and there was very little empathy shown.

Despite the bad news, we tried not to let it get to us or ruin our moods, so we read magazines, listened to our iPods, had a snack and drinks at the airport bar/restaurant, and damn, I even broke down and bought a Swatch watch. Hey, you get bored at the airport after several hours. But we all resigned ourselves to the fact that the plane was leaving at 6pm and we would be on our way.

Then came the announcement: The flight was now scheduled to take off at 7:30! And we had to go to another terminal, which meant that we had to go through security yet again! People we’re absolutely pissed off. And justifiably so. Furthermore, it didn’t help matters that the desk clerk showed little compassion. One guy yelled: “This is horseshit!” Finally, it took her forever to start giving out more $10 meal vouchers but it was too little too late (with an emphasis on too little).

The airlines have no incentive to treat their customers well and when problems do arise, they do not address them with any immediacy, concern or commensurate value to the time and money that consumers lose as a result of their fuck-ups. American Airlines demonstrated their severe lack of customer service by their inefficiencies and missteps.

As the weary travelers finally made it to Aruba at 1:00 am (instead of the scheduled 4:55 pm arrival time), we had the bittersweet knowledge that we could’ve been enjoying our vacations several hours earlier had it not been for the mismanagement and ineptitude of American Airlines.


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