Trip Notes: Our 24 Hour Flight To Nowhere ThAAnks To AA Or AA’s Revenge?

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The past day has been…rough. Definitely the worst travel experience I’ve had in my life.

Forgive me if I ramble, I haven’t slept in 2 days.

Less than a month ago I posted a great business class sale from the US to London for just $1,083 because the sale stacked with an AARP discount and a Chase card discount.

The deal got even hotter because you were able to use 30K Avios to bring the cost down to just $446 per person AND you could earn some 36K Avios back thanks to business class promotions.

Pay 30K Avios plus $446 for business class to London (including the usurious APD fee and fuel surcharges) and get back 36K Avios? How could I turn an offer like that down?

Read the entire ordeal after jump:

The deal wasn’t available from Cleveland, so we booked travel for JFK to London from 11/11-11/17 and used 4.5K Avios awards to fly from Cleveland to JFK.

There were 3 flight options on American’s new 77W aircraft. The shortest connection departed at 6:25pm-6:20am. The problem with that flight is that it wouldn’t maximize the kids sleeping time so we took the 7:45pm-7:40am where they’d be more likely to sleep for the whole 7 hour flight. The 3rd flight left at 9:20pm-9:15am, but we were afraid that by 9:20 the kids would be overtired.

That decision would come to haunt us.

After booking I did my usual pre-trip due-diligence and after a few weeks had a very nice looking itinerary for our stay, with all the logistics in place.

Rafi was probably the most excited. He knows about every airline, aircraft type, etc. Pretty cute for a 4 year old. And he couldn’t wait to go to London.

Yesterday we went to the airport equipped with the boarding passes for both the Cleveland-JFK and JFK-London. The checkin agent informed us that she would only be able to checkin the bags to JFK as the next flight was on British Airways.

Shame I didn’t leave it at that.

Instead I explained that it was a BA booked codeshare, but it was an AA operated flight, and there’s no reason that she wouldn’t be able to check a bag through to London. She pushed back, I asked for a supervisor, she told the supervisor that we were flying on a BA operated flight, but in the end the supervisor checked the bags to London.

After an uneventful flight to JFK I had some delicious steak sandwiches and short-rib tacos delivered via Uber from Reserve Cut to JFK. Somehow the driver managed to drive from Manhattan to JFK via the Verrazano. Lucky for fare review.

Rafi and Talia reminisce on the TAM flight to Brazil we took last year when we had the entire first class cabin to ourselves:.

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In middle of eating in the AAdmirals Club kids room the dreaded phone call came. “Unfortunately your flight has been delayed until 11pm.”

I went to an agent in the club right away but there were no other flights on American or British Airways for 4 business class passengers that day. Well, initially she said there was, but by the time she got around to rebooking us they were snapped up. It was annoying, but not the end of the world.

We left the lounge and I called AA to see if they saw any other options. The agent seemed incredulous that we were on a paid business class fare given the price paid, but even once she got over that, she said there was nothing that she could find.

We went to the gate for the earlier 6:25pm flight, but they confirmed business was full, so it was back to the lounge.

I asked about a Delta flight, but the agent confirmed the news that American and Delta no longer have any interline agreement, so there was no longer any way to rebook us on the Delta flight.

So it was back to playing the waiting game.

At 8:45pm we got a page in the lounge. They were moving all passengers from our original 7:55pm flight to the 9:20pm. Business and First were oversold, but if we wanted to for sure fly to London that night it would have to be in coach.

Hardly ideal, but you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em so we ran to the gate and were preparing ourselves for our first ever intercontinental coach flight together. OK that sounds totally pretentious and spoiled, but I don’t play this game full time to fly coach 😀

While the lounge agent promised us 4 seats together the gate agents were not able to deliver on that.

Then came the bombshell.

If we wanted to have our baggage in London we had to go outside of security, pick up our bags from the baggage carousel, recheck them at the ticketing counter, clear security again, and only then we would be able to fly with our bags.

Apparently they had told that to everyone who was rebooked at the gate with plenty of time to spare, but the lounge agent completely neglected to tell us that.

The agent and her supervisor refused to call baggage services to have them try to load our bags onto the flight and as it was already in final boarding there was no chance I’d be able to do all that and be back in time.

And so it was back to the lounge once again.

The agent apologized for not telling us that we were supposed to go to baggage claim instead of sending us to the gate. She called baggage services to locate our bags but they said they’d have to check where they were. A little later we followed up and the lounge agent said that she confirmed that our bags were loaded onto our original flight and were never removed, so even if we had gone to baggage claim earlier we wouldn’t have been able to collect them.

I wondered why everyone else’s bags were offloaded, but she repeated that she confirmed that our bags were on our flight still.

At this point it was time to discuss flight options for the next day.

American didn’t have 4 business class seats on any flight. There were sufficient first class seats, but even after asking for a supervisor they refused to accommodate us on that.

Instead we went with the 8:30am British Airways flight. BA business class is definitely a step down from American’s 77W business class, but at least we’d still get to London on Thursday.

But as we were about to pack up and go to a hotel for the night the agent called the mechanics and they said things were looking good for our flight that night. The part they needed had arrived in LGA and just needed to be driven over to JFK.

So we waited it out. And 11pm turned into a 12:30am estimate.

I started to have some fun on Instagram.

In the end we learned there were just 6 passengers left on the flight. All were in business class and waiting in the club.

While it seemed unlikely they would fly a plane with 6 passengers, they said they did need the aircraft in London or else they would have overbookings, so chances were still decent.

I have to admit at being intrigued at being on a 77W with just 6 passengers on it. I knew in the back of my mind that it would be a long-shot, but at this point it seemed silly to throw in the towel.

Alas at 1am they finally did announce the cancellation.

They handed us a hotel room voucher and a taxi voucher with the 8:30am BA tickets.

But rather than shlep our bags to a hotel for just a few hours rest we had them switch us to a 7:40am BA flight. And we left the vouchers in the club. We’d just collect our bags, make our way to the BA terminal, and kill a few hours until checkin opened there.

So it was off to baggage claim. And surprise, surprise, our bags were nowhere to be found.

No stroller. No Babybjorn Travel Crib that fits so nicely into hotel closets and nooks and crannies. No clothes. There was no way we were boarding a BA flight to London with 2 kids without having any idea where our bags were. It would just be a miserable trip without them.

The bag agent figured that the bags were still in Cleveland, but it was too late to verify that.

Meanwhile, we were exhausted and no longer planned on flying at 7:40am due to our bags being missing. We just wanted a hotel to crash at. Unfortunately our vouchers were left with the club agent and the club was now closed.

The bag agent found 1 agent still in the airport but the agent couldn’t come to baggage claim to help us out. Instead he gave us a hotel voucher, but refused to reissue the taxi voucher. The Airtrain was down, so that would mean taking the kids on 2 buses to get to the hotel.

When we said we wouldn’t be taking the BA flight without our bags at 7:40am he unilaterally rebooked us on an evening AA flight in coach.

We never were able to talk directly with him, everything was through the bag agent.

By this time the kids had fallen asleep in the baggage office. After traveling for 14 hours we were exhausted. We decided the best course of action was just to declare the trip in vain and fly back home.

But there were no agents around that could help us.

 

I hope to never see this room again:

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And for the first time I decided to take up a flight issue on Twitter. I’d heard that American’s Twitter team were actually pretty good, so maybe they’d find a way to help us out:

They claimed the bags would be transferred to the new BA flight, but that would be impossible without any known location on the bags:

Of course then came the tweets from my others followers:

There’s more here. Just scroll down and click view conversation to see what I’m responding to. I let my frustration get the better of me, but it was pretty infuriating.

American’s Twitter team advised me to find an agent.
I’d have loved to.

Finally they promised to have an agent come my way:

Via direct message I gave them all the info and they confirmed once again that a rebooking agent would personally come to baggage services to assist us.

And then they backtracked and played revisionist history. They said they spoke to an agent who already rebooked us in coach to London and that I should go find the agent again if I wasn’t happy with that I should go speak to him again.

Except I already told them I never got to directly speak to the agent and I’d love to speak to a live one.

Then they claimed they were the ones that arranged for that agent…that I never spoke to.

Their only response after that was to go to the ticket counter at 3:30am.

Which I did. Except nobody there has any authority to fix anything until 4am. Finally 4am came around, the kids were up and miserable, and we got ahold of a supervisor at the airport. And finally we were given tickets back to Cleveland at 9:15am from LGA along with a car service voucher. Of course I asked about the earlier Delta nonstop from JFK. I mean, nothing is stopping them from buying us transportation on Delta even if there is no interline agreement. But it’s apparent that agents will pretty much always refuse accommodation on Delta. With just 3 network carriers left in this country that’s a huge problem. United is the only airline that maintains interline relationships with both American and Delta.

We were told that our JFK food vouchers wouldn’t work in LGA but she updated the notes in the reservation and printed up the massive notes and changes to the record locator to show to an agent in LGA for food vouchers.

In LGA we were reissued food vouchers after a bit of resistance and stopped by the AMEX Centurion lounge, which is located before security in LGA. We had a wide open space for the kids to run around and for me to daven shacharis. Breakfast is great with actual small boxes of cereal (compared to the dispensers used by other airlines) and lots of fresh fruit and berries. And the bathrooms are only about 1,000 times better than the public restrooms at LGA where they don’t trust you with paper towels or too much running water. It’s not as nice as some of the other clubs in Dallas, Miami, and Vegas, but it sure beats the 3rd world terminal area.

 

Centurion Lounge LGA:

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And then it was off to the gate, but not before stopping by CIBO and buying out all $96 of kosher sandwiches and snacks from our food vouchers:

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Finally we boarded the flight home to Cleveland. It wouldn’t be until halfway through the flight that we realized that the Samsung tablet that Rafi was using was left behind in the gate area. We called lost and found as soon as we landed and again tonight but it wasn’t turned in.

 

24 hours of torture:

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And of course our bags were nowhere to be found in Cleveland. The agent said that 2 of the bags appeared to be in Chicago and that we’d have them delivered in the afternoon. Are the others in London? In the belly of the plane that had mechanical issues?

Spoiler alert: We’re still waiting for all 4 bags. And AA baggage phone support still has no idea where they are.

The kids were as good as you can expect from kids who travel for 24 hours with almost no sleep. We haven’t yet decided whether to refund the tickets or try to rebook. For now it’s too soon to even think about it.

At least for us. Rafi still wants to know if we’re going to London tonight. Though he asked that we fly on United if possible this time.

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122 Responses to “Trip Notes: Our 24 Hour Flight To Nowhere ThAAnks To AA Or AA’s Revenge?”

  1. dy Says:
    1

    unreal…sorry that stinks!

    ReplyReply
  2. Gam Zu L'tova Says:
    2

    Well, at least you were not stuck in the airport for Shabbos in Spain missing all of your luggage and having had your passports stolen and then needing to wait until Monday to get new ones like friends of mine had on one trip. Gam Zu l’tova, this is your profession and He is giving you material for your livelihood. #Silverlining

    ReplyReply
  3. Dan Says:
    3

    @dy:
    Words can’t describe.

    @Gam Zu L’tova:
    Gam Zu l’tova was exactly what got us through.

    Near the end it was more than evident that Gd really did not want us in London this week.

    ReplyReply
  4. Inasane Says:
    4

    would love to hear AA explanation, you deserve unlimited mileage for life!

    ReplyReply
  5. Gabi Says:
    5

    Oh gosh! No words.

    I highly suggest you to re-book this for next week. You just need a night of sleep to calm down.

    ReplyReply
  6. bob Says:
    6

    Wow, this sounds terrible to do with young kids. Hope you rebook and try again.

    ReplyReply
  7. cholent Says:
    7

    That seriously stinks. But this must be the fastest you’ve ever published a TR 😉
    Hope they give you serious compensation. They didn’t know who they were messing with!

    ReplyReply
  8. @Yehuda Says:
    8

    Thanks for writing it up; boy, we were all concerned this morning and trying to figure out what happened. Really sorry it didn’t work out.

    ReplyReply
  9. ber Says:
    9

    @dan i have a package that needs to get to London, so please lmk when u rebook

    ReplyReply
  10. Sari setton Says:
    10

    Dan! Next time put out an APB. I would have been happy to host you and your kids to sleep and eat until morning 🙁
    Sorry for your experience. I genuinely hate American Airlines. I had an eerily similar experience in Mexico. Never again.

    ReplyReply
  11. Wingit Says:
    11

    What a clusterf&$%! situation. Most important thing is you all are safe and have a nice story for years to come. It’s all good, we all should be grateful for what we have-think of all the less fortunate, such as the thousands forced our of their homes in Syria due to the mess going on there.

    ReplyReply
  12. Amy Says:
    12

    So how is it that the plane was able to take off with your baggage when those passengers were not checked in. Supposedly the airlines claim that the flight cannot take off if the baggage holders are not on said flight.

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @Gabi:
    @bob:
    We’ll see. Could be a while before we recover from this one.

    @cholent:
    Lol.
    It’s the pics that make TRs so time consuming to write. Went light on the pics here.

    @Sari setton:
    Actually several Twitter followers offered as well, was very kind.
    But we just needed to get home after that night.

    @Wingit:
    Well when you think of the less fortunate nothing in the 1st world will ever matter, but I hear ya 🙂

    @Amy:
    They have no idea where the bags are.
    So far I’ve heard CLE, JFK, LHR, ORD.

    If they’re lucky maybe HNL 😀

    ReplyReply
  14. Alan Says:
    14

    This is a nightmare. I can’t believe that they wouldn’t put you in the available First class seats after your ordeal. Definitely a good reminder not to fly AA if you can help it!

    ReplyReply
  15. Joetraveler Says:
    15

    Amazed that you have the stamina to compose such a thorough description of of your escapade. Hope that you decide to rebook for a later date, and that things go smoothly. Our family of four are flying next week lax-mad rt American business class on the same mistake fare (or was it?) for $276 + 30k Avios (with 25k aa bonus miles returned)…..We’ve decided to carry on bags only!

    ReplyReply
  16. Dan Says:
    16

    @Alan:
    Yup, I thought it would be a no-brainer, but the JFK supervisor and AA Twitter team thought I was nuts for daring to ask.

    @Joetraveler:
    It’s cathartic 🙂

    Hope you have better luck than we did!
    Assuming your kids must not be too small if you can pull off carry-on only. Good call there.

    ReplyReply
  17. Search Guy Says:
    17

    Dan I feel so bad for you, I can only imagine what it means this whole story.
    One point you for sure learned, that all these desperate posts on DDF have a story behind them, yup even business class passengers can suffer worse than economy passengers.
    I hope everything works out your way in your future trips.
    I’d really enjoy a juicy trip report rather than a disappointing spoiled trip from CLE to JFK and LGA to to CLE.
    I wish you all the best.
    Rest up this Shabbos!
    A Gut Shabbos!

    ReplyReply
  18. Matovu Says:
    18

    For all the people that dont have a blog to rant, I say thanks for writing down the frustration for us.
    Sorry for your horrible experience.

    ReplyReply
  19. AA Says:
    19

    I hope you tweet this to AA with a page counter as well.

    ReplyReply
  20. Yehoshua Says:
    20

    Wow! I hope writing this post has helped relieve some of the stress, frustration and AAnger caused by this whole escapade. Cheers for sharing!

    ReplyReply
  21. Ben Says:
    21

    תהיה כפרה

    ReplyReply
  22. Scottman Says:
    22

    @Dan aren’t you EXP on AA? Did you try calling the EXP desk?

    ReplyReply
  23. Dan Says:
    23

    @Search Guy:
    I’d much rather be writing a juicy TR as well, trust me 🙂

    @Matovu:
    Thanks.

    @AA:
    I tweeted it at them.
    Doubt they’ll care or bother to reach out to fix things.

    @Yehoshua:
    It was cathartic. Still traumatized though 😀

    @Ben:
    Amen!

    @Scottman:
    Called EXP number, they couldn’t offer any help. Though no, I’m not EXP.
    I’m 1K, but I don’t think they’ll care much about that 😀

    ReplyReply
  24. m65 Says:
    24

    @Inasane:

    he has that already

    ReplyReply
  25. GTR Says:
    25

    Any CC baggage protection in place since this is a 1/100 situation that you actually paid for a fare! GL!

    ReplyReply
  26. Joe Says:
    26

    Wow that’s really frustrating ,but a small point the one hour flight connection makes a lot of problems including your past trip to Israel a lot of people have lost their long business class flights because the one hour flight was delayed or canceled etc.

    ReplyReply
  27. Arnold Says:
    27

    That’s retarded. Hope the compensation you get puts all your cumulative lifetime mileage earnings to shame.

    ReplyReply
  28. Moshe123 Says:
    28

    Wow!

    ReplyReply
  29. Sam Says:
    29

    I flew on the same AA106 JFK-LHR at 7:55pm as you the night before you. Flight took off 5 hours late at 12:45am. But at least it took off.

    ShAAmeful.

    ReplyReply
  30. Iz Says:
    30

    So frustrating and maddening…until I got to the last line. Then I burst out laughing. You finally found someone who is More “Dan” than Dan!

    ReplyReply
  31. Dan Says:
    31

    @GTR:
    There is, will have to look into it tomorrow.

    @Sam:
    Guess that’s a flight to be avoided!

    @Iz:
    He really is, love him.

    ReplyReply
  32. AA Is horrible Says:
    32

    On Nov 10th they delayed a flight JFK to GRU for 12 hours causing 30 ppl to pretty much miss the wedding they were flying to. The AA agents refused to rebook passengers on a TAM flight that hadn’t left yet or other options with a connection because they claimed they can’t accommodate everyone.

    Some of the passengers claimed that AA decided to reallocate the plane for a flight to London (Might be a more profitable route) that was having technical difficulties.

    ReplyReply
  33. Dan Says:
    33

    @AA Is horrible:
    Crazy, we were chatting with people flying JFK-EZE that were also cancelled that night. Operational mess of an airline and their refusal to reaccomodate and lack of Delta interline just makes it worse.

    ReplyReply
  34. Vacationlover Says:
    34

    Am I really reading this? Sounds like a bad dream. Waiting for an update. In a side note I flew last week from MIA-LGA AA 4:00 pm flight was canceled. Waited in airport till I got on a 9:30pm flight, when I finally fell asleep they announced an emergency landing in Charlotte NC. Arrived home 4 am!!! Didn’t get any compensation yet

    ReplyReply
  35. Mark the Shark Says:
    35

    So to keep a short story short, you booked a mistake fare, had a bad flight on AA, and they forgot to treat you like a princess! Well that blows!

    ReplyReply
  36. Joe Says:
    36

    I’m honestly amazed that they didn’t move mountains to get you an agent and find your bags pronto. I didn’t read all the tweets but I’m sure you mentioned what a following you have.

    The mere knowledge that this story would be read (and forwarded) by literally thousands should have put the fire under them to get it fixed.

    ReplyReply
  37. mileagejunkie Says:
    37

    Oh, don’t get me started on British and American canceling flights between London and JFK. I am convinced that they do it just to be able to combine flights that are half empty. However, since I never had problems getting cash compensation or a hotel night in London so I’m okay with it 😀 but I only stopover there when I know I’m in no rush.

    ReplyReply
  38. Dan Says:
    38

    @Mark the Shark:
    What part of the fare was a mistake? It was a sale and an Avios promo.

    Keep up the snark, but that’s weak sauce. You must be having a good day or something.

    @Joe:
    My only conclusion is that nobody’s home and nobody cares.
    Actually CLE baggage folks were quite sympathetic but most agents were appallingly condescending.
    I get that the job is a grind, but maybe frontline CS isn’t your calling in life…

    @mileagejunkie:
    Crazy.

    ReplyReply
  39. Mark the Shark Says:
    39

    I love AA! They’re my favorite airline. They’ve always treated me like royalty! Your experience was an anomaly.

    ReplyReply
  40. Nitantnel Says:
    40

    Wow, what an adventure!

    This is exactly why I hate to fly.

    ReplyReply
  41. MOshe Says:
    41

    These things happen, you just have to go with the flow. Look on the bright side, it doesn’t happen often!

    ReplyReply
  42. Moe Says:
    42

    I don’t know how you’re so calm about all this. I would have already opened a law suit against AA for compensation for this and you’re talking about rebooking! How is that?

    ReplyReply
  43. Welder Says:
    43

    Wow. What a #disAAster. This is the dark side of air travel. No one to talk to and no accountability… Hopefully they see this post 😉

    ReplyReply
  44. make Lemonade Says:
    44

    When you write your Big Book of Dans Deals Adventures you now have a great story to start with 🙂

    Sorry, nobody should ever have such a horrible experience with an airline

    ReplyReply
  45. Shoobi Says:
    45

    Waiting for the upcoming epic single, “American loses bags”

    ReplyReply
  46. savta Says:
    46

    i flew on a flt to london in sept the day after yom kippur on a thurs nite supposed to leave 7 pm left llpm due to a flat tire????seems the flts aren’t to reliabe on aa to london

    ReplyReply
  47. Geezer Says:
    47

    I guess your just gonna have to wait to try kaifengs crispy duck

    ReplyReply
  48. Mark Says:
    48

    About 15 years ago, American Airlines treated me very badly. I used to fly TWA regularly and collected a bunch of miles, then AA bought the failed TWA and transferred the miles over. At that point I started flying AA. It was pretty convenient because I fly out of the Miami area and AA has one of their hubs here. Then I didn’t fly them for a year+ and my miles were nearing expiration. So I did what any savvy person would, I subscribed to a magazine for 1000 miles. And sure enough I received the magazine without any problems. BUT AA said they had no record of 1000 miles being debited for the magazine subscription and they cancelled my miles. I was very angry and I’ve boycotted AA ever since then … I mean not a SINGLE flight with them ever since the day they refused to reinstate my miles. I now fly Delta almost exclusively, and over the last 15 years have flown about 1.4 million miles on Delta, many of those trips in full-fare J to Europe ($5-7k a pop) or to Asia ($7-11k a pop). I’ve been platinum medallion on Delta for 14 years straight, maybe 15 by now. And Delta treats me very well and provides good service almost every time. [Just checked the app, 1.43 million miles on Delta]

    ReplyReply
  49. ilherman Says:
    49

    Wow, what a mess! I truly feel feel for you.

    What bothers me most is the crazy mishandling of the IRROP. Having Mechanical issues is one thing; Losing someone’s back and have no idea where they are (aren’t they being scanned every time they are being moves around?) Is another!

    But what hurts my throat is the fact that they wouldn’t rebook you in F, they would rather leave the cabin fly empty than reprotracting a J pax that was denied boarding. Huh? And its mind boggling because that is clearly NOT the policy. As a business decision its a no brainer to rebook a pax in in F that would anyway go empty than paying whatever the penalties are for denying boarding and flying a J pax in Y. Unbelievable how in this industry even supervisors will always try as hard as possible to be unfriendly. Again, I really wanna see that “supervisor” and ask her to show me where the policy says not to accommodate in F, and for that I wanna smack that supervisor. If you anyway make up your own rules, why not make them up in favor of a tortured customer?

    ReplyReply
  50. Mark the Shark Says:
    50

    Karma for screwing the airlines all these years?!?!

    ReplyReply
  51. berndoug Says:
    51

    @Mark the Shark: seriously? I’m speechless.

    ReplyReply
  52. Yossi Says:
    52

    I was excited till now to go on my 440 Ticket on AA, but don’t know what to think now.

    ReplyReply
  53. Smart guy Says:
    53

    @Dan
    I tried to imagine myself being in this situation and I really really feel bad for you but I guess Hashem wants to show us that if a person has to go through a hassle you can’t avoid it no matter how smart you are and how many connections you have.
    I just thought to myself Now American Airlines can be calm that if their system has a glitch 60000+ people followers won’t jump so fast to catch their deal.

    ReplyReply
  54. joe Says:
    54

    Happy to keep you entertained last night lol

    ReplyReply
  55. Work-for-ur-muny Says:
    55

    Oh man! Maybe they compensate you with a free first-class ticket to where your baggage is so you can pick them up… …and get a free trip… 😉

    ReplyReply
  56. josh Says:
    56

    I’ve had such stories with us airways and aa. It is the worst airline

    ReplyReply
  57. Lev T Says:
    57

    @Wingit: amen. You are the only tzadik in Sodom, all the others being either snarky or having a severe case of selfish entitlement (quoting the Pope, who am I to judge, and forgive me, but Dan included). The word Revenge in the title is suggesting that somewhere, deep inside, Dan may have an empathetic understanding. נפלאות דרכי האל.

    ReplyReply
  58. Jim Says:
    58

    Sadly, everyone has their fair share of bad experiences. Definitely a PITA this time since you had your whole family with you. Had a poor experience with the CSR agents at the baggage claim in ORD. Better to deal with the AAngels, if they’re available.

    Not sure why you left the hotel and taxi voucher at the club. I always hold onto this stuff in case I decide to switch my mind.

    Also, for those of you who mention Dan’s status as a blogger, it really doesn’t mean that much. Unless he has EXP status, I don’t see them offering much compensation in miles (or whatever) to him. They’ve become stingy with compensation in the past year or so.

    ReplyReply
  59. Curious Says:
    59

    @Dan Could it be that the refusal to book you on First was because you were with MiniDan and Talia?

    ReplyReply
  60. Ah Says:
    60

    Is the AA between lax-lhr that muc better than the ba a380? Booked for June with one way aa and return ba

    ReplyReply
  61. ilherman Says:
    61

    @Mark: Yup, I think that DL does the best job to make their premium customers happy followed by United ….and then I guess AA. Just one example, nearly every rep in the EXP line has an attitude as like they were CIA agents VS UA and especially DL where the agents on the premier lines treat you very nice and show respect and appreciation. I’ve spoken to a lot of FF who switched over from UA to AA since UA started going revenue based and requires PQD but they’re all missing UA.

    ReplyReply
  62. Eli Says:
    62

    Reminds me of when I flew American and I was running late to the gate, my wife was holding the gate door open for me and pleading with them to wait one minute for me. I finally got there and ran onto the plane.

    I was delighted and relaxed that I finally made the flight. Sure enough a minute later the gate agent came onto the plane to kick me off, saying I came too late for the flight. I told them apparently I’m on time if I’m on the plane but they wouldn’t hear any of that. After he held up the plane for at least 20 minutes, with the pilot pleading with the gate agent to just let me stay on, they finally called down the supervisor and to make a long story short they booked me on the next flight.
    They were glad my wife decided to go off the plane to join me, since now they put on file that the plane was delayed because a passenger decided to go off the plane.

    I tried explaining to them that the plane left late now because they made an issue out of a tissue, I was bottom line on the plane before it took off, so there was no need for them to kick me off. But they said they didn’t want it to go in their record that they checked me in nine min. Before the flight.

    They didn’t care if the flight left late they just didn’t want to ruin their record.

    The story goes on and on how rude and bad the gate agents were but I think this is enough for now

    ReplyReply
  63. Liz Says:
    63

    So sorry to hear of your troubles Dan. It’s beyond disconcerting to hear that it happened to you of all people —it is frightening to think about the rest of us who would have no clue what to do. Please let us know about the luggage end of the story.

    ReplyReply
  64. yochiek93 Says:
    64

    @Mark the Shark: please just stop posting here and stop following dansdeals for yours and everyone else benefit (and sanity its mind-boggling how people can just bad mouth on this site if you hate it dont come here nobody is forcing you )

    ReplyReply
  65. Joy Travel Says:
    65

    Moral of the story is, its risky to check bags when you have the following combination (even if they finally “agree@ to do it):

    1) different airlines when they are booked as seperate Tickets, even if they are in same alliance.
    2) Always take out extra insurance besides for the CC one, espcially when flying on 2 different tickets. Dan, this is not to be taken as rebuke but I believe every story you share needs to be taken as learning experience especially for your followers to glean from, making us all better travelers… Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyReply
  66. Eric Says:
    66

    Dan.
    I think you should book 10 first class refundable tickets and cancel right before the flight or maybe even better 10 first class 10 business and 40 coach

    ReplyReply
  67. ad120 Says:
    67

    @Dan: I really feel sorry for you and Rafi. However as travelers we do experience these kind of situations at times. This is how the industry has come to be.It’s not just AA. I’ve had negative experience with DL as well. The one airline that has (almost) always treated me well is WN.

    ReplyReply
  68. Josh S Says:
    68

    Dan,

    My deepest sympathies;

    For someone who spends so much time helping others experience the joy of travelling, this does not deserve to happen to u.

    Please PM me I can give u a contact at AA executive customer relations in the head office with a phone number and email etc

    Have a good Shabbos,

    Josh

    ReplyReply
  69. Jennifer Says:
    69

    Welcome to the new world of the American and US Airways merger. I’ve found that the former US Airways’ employees are not customer friendly in my very recent travels. I feel for you, having been stranded at OHare with 2 children under 3 by myself, not fun at all.

    ReplyReply
  70. jim Says:
    70

    I have been advising and I do this myself

    I never ever fly US based airlines internationally.
    No UA,AA,DELTA going out or coming in to USA.

    They suck at customer service and the worst and arrogant people.

    I fly foreign carriers for international travel and it has been million times better

    ReplyReply
  71. Moish Says:
    71

    Dan, I sure hope that you get your luggage returned soon with AA. You say that UA is better accommodating. Beware of losing luggage with them. Their department is in India or Bangladesh and if you need to call them it will be unnecessarily further delayed due to their poor communication skills.
    I flew with UA from EWR on Thursday to TLV for Shabbos Shuva, arrived in Israel Friday morning, luggage did not fly with me for no provided reason, luggage was ultimately sent on Friday flight. I left clear phone and email instructions that if luggage is not delivered to me in Jerusalem on Saturday night, it should be held in airport for my return TLV – EWR flight on Sunday. When I got to the airport Sunday morning, I learned that the luggage was travelling in Jerusalem for afternoon delivery.
    I arrived back home Sunday without my luggage. Despite numerous follow up phone calls, emails, promises that supervisors would call back within 24 hours, etc., my luggage was not delivered back to me until 10 days later, on Wednesday – Chol Hamoed. The luggage was never lost, just unnecessarily delayed again and again due to their poor communication skills. It took forever to get it back from luggage delivery to the flight and from the flight to my home. I could never get a competent American on the phone to solve the problem.

    ReplyReply
  72. Ba Says:
    72

    You get what you paid

    ReplyReply
  73. noturbizniss Says:
    73

    After reading this I am not flying again without some sort of gps tracker in my luggage.

    ReplyReply
  74. BB Says:
    74

    Admiral’club, food delivered by Uber, Business Class, etc. Sound like you’re spoiled

    ReplyReply
  75. ER Says:
    75

    now i know why even though I have a few hundred thousand points I cant bring myself to book a vacation for the family involving planes.

    ReplyReply
  76. Dan Says:
    76

    @Mark the Shark:
    OK. Thanks for sharing.
    Gary loves em too and they can do no evil, so you’re in good company.

    @Nitantnel:
    That’s how my wife feels right about now 🙁

    @MOshe:
    Thank Gd for that

    @Moe:
    I’ll get around to claims soon.

    @Welder:
    Nobody cares.

    @make Lemonade:
    Lol, one day.

    @Shoobi:
    Starring Benny Friedman, 😉
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/49174

    @Mark:
    Delta does seem to do the best operationally out of the US big 3.
    It’s just painful to fly them as their miles are so devalued compared to AA and UA.

    @ilherman:
    I didn’t want to go there, but the supervisor was Hassan.
    And he was arrogant, ride, and condescending as they get. I had zero chance of him allowing an upgrade to F.

    @Mark the Shark:
    To be fair, that is the title of the post.
    Though the mileage game ultimately benefits the airlines. None would have emerged from bankruptcy without it, though it’s easy for them to forget that now.

    Ari is coming to CLE for shabbos. I’ll be sure to pass on the word that you’re as compassionate of a person as always.

    @Yossi:
    Depends, are you booked on AA flight 106? 😉

    @Smart guy:
    Valid point. I do roll my eyes when I hear stories like this and I tell people what they did wrong.

    Though usually those cases do involve people doing something wrong. I’ve looked back and this and couldn’t come up with anything that I should have done differently.

    @Jim:
    The lounge agents were what got us into most of the mess in this case. Definitely no AAngels in JFK.

    The agents said so confidently that they found ours bags on the flight and that they had offloaded them that I didn’t even doubt them. That’s why we didn’t take the vouchers.
    Had it even crossed my mind that we were lied to I would’ve taken them for sure.

    Lesson learned though.

    @Curious:
    Nothing to do with that.

    @ilherman:
    AA is going revenue based too. Can’t escape it.

    @Eli:
    Wow. No words.

    @Liz:
    No sight of them so far.

    @Joy Travel:
    1. Huh? Both flights were on American!
    2. How would extra insurance help?
    The ticket will be refunded if I ask due to the cancelled flight and the bags are covered by AA and the credit card, though I’d rather just have our stuff back.

    @Eric:
    Lol, I’m not that spiteful.
    Spending the full food vouchers did feel good though even if my wife thought I was nuts.

    @ad120:
    Let me know when WN flies to London 😉

    @Josh S:
    I’ll take you up on that, thanks.

    @Jennifer:
    Mergers are awful indeed.
    Still mourning Continental.

    @jim:
    All true, though BA isn’t much better than AA.
    The Asian carriers are amazing though.

    @Moish:
    Actually UA in TLV was pretty good to us.
    2 people have identical BabyBjorn cribs in TLV and I grabbed the wrong one. Shame on me I know, I just have never seen anyone else with it.

    UA promptly delivered ours and fixed the situation.

    But baggage issues happen with all the airlines. I had bad luck with Swiss and Lufthansa in TLV, wound up getting over $5,000 of cash compensation from them, so that made up for it 🙂

    @noturbizniss:
    Not a bad idea.

    @BB:
    I’m the first to admit that I’m a spoiled traveler.
    Said so in the post. “OK that sounds totally pretentious and spoiled, but I don’t play this game full time to fly coach 😀”

    ReplyReply
  77. Avi Says:
    77

    @dan time to invest in a baggage GPS locaded lol 😉 it’s new technology. They just come out with the smart luggage

    ReplyReply
  78. jeremy s Says:
    78

    dan this makes me sooo nervous for my upcoming trip to LHR. this is definitely not the first time ive heard of baggage issues with BA.

    Im sorry you had such a bad experience, it should be a capara

    ReplyReply
  79. EL Says:
    79

    @Shoobi: Starring Benny Friedman?

    ReplyReply
  80. Dan Says:
    80

    @Avi:
    Do they make full sized luggage yet?
    Last time I checked it was just carry-ons?
    Who needs a GPS for that?

    @jeremy s:
    Amen.

    @EL:
    Bingo 🙂

    ReplyReply
  81. Bill Says:
    81

    If there’s a top ten list for worst customer service at an airport, JFK is near the top of the list. I avoid it at all costs, unchecked incompetance run amok. As for AA, it’s the airline of the miles rich and cash poor, the spirit airlines for miles junkies – customer service optional and delays likely.

    ReplyReply
  82. Dan Says:
    82

    @Bill:
    Right, I’d add EWR and LGA to that avoid list. Black holes for delays and surly/lying agents all around.
    IAD, ORD, MIA, and PHL are right behind them though.

    I don’t fly Frontier or Spirit as I’ve heard too many of the horror stories. I know AA isn’t great, but in this case even Spirit would blush at the incompetence.

    ReplyReply
  83. Eli Says:
    83

    Mark the Shark is crazy and stupid.

    ReplyReply
  84. AAdvantage Says:
    84

    @Dan you were able to convince them to xfer the luggage!, I want to purchase a ticket from aa jfk-mad and then elal mad-tlv is there a way to xfer the luggage without having to collect them in Madrid?

    ReplyReply
  85. Dan Says:
    85

    @Eli:
    Eh, just needs some attention. And a few more hugs as a child perhaps?

    @AAdvantage:
    Honestly you’ll probably have better odds of having your luggage if you check them to MAD and recheck them in with El Al there.

    ReplyReply
  86. Avi Says:
    86

    Check out these three luggage new company’s

    1) bluesmart.com

    2) barracuda.co

    3) thus is an isreal company it’s a sick luggage but I don’t see that the integrated GPS but they can always add it and I think they might http://www.fuguluggage.com

    I hope this helps

    ReplyReply
  87. Dan Says:
    87

    @Avi:
    First 2 seem to only have carry-ons.
    And the last has no GPS.

    Who needs GPS on a carry-on anyway?

    ReplyReply
  88. BA Says:
    88

    Making parnasa by teaching thousands how
    To take advantage of others for sure won’t get
    You J or F after 120
    No uber either
    Read what the tanaim taught us about parnasa
    Your life ethics are not making you J or F
    Maybe not even coach
    Not too late to do teshuva

    ReplyReply
  89. shauly101 Says:
    89

    #standwithdan

    ReplyReply
  90. Avi Says:
    90

    The last one I emailed them when they where coming out with it and they said they would put in gps.

    Also you can get gps tags to put in the luggage and track it that way. There was a post from Thepointsguy that had a post about this.

    ReplyReply
  91. Dan Says:
    91

    @BA:
    Your ignorance and self-righteousness are dripping.

    The airlines love it when people use miles. They get paid billions of dollars by the banks for those miles and they only make seats available that would go unused otherwise.

    @shauly101:
    Lol, this tweet was great too,
    https://twitter.com/JMLegendAuto/status/664989619478507520 #millionDANmarch 😀

    @Avi:
    Yup, I’ll definitely be looking into some sort of GPS solution for the future.

    ReplyReply
  92. Luggage GPS Says:
    92

    Dan,

    Keep the luggage you have. Just toss in tracker.

    http://www.geniuspack.com/products/lugloc

    ReplyReply
  93. ari Says:
    93

    not much to say was a pretty harrowing experience and with 2 cranky kids i cud well imagine one things for sure after your saga you’ll appreciate shabbos at home sweet home in your own beds
    rest up guess after all your travel trips it was bound too catch up with you at sometime
    im still waiting for reimbursement from delta for losing my luggage for 5 days and then showing up damaged

    ReplyReply
  94. Schmuie Says:
    94

    FWIW, I bought 2 Trakdots to track my bags real-time after AA lost my bags in MIA when a mechanical delayed us overnight and they wouldn’t retrieve them from the bag room. Three days later and two days sitting on the dock delaying our sailing charter, they found them in different cities.

    ReplyReply
  95. Russ Says:
    95

    Never fly AA, especially for international flights. You may be able to claim compensation per EU regulations since it was an international flight. You can do it yourself, or use a service such as getairhelp.com, but if you do, they take a cut.

    ReplyReply
  96. AAdvantage Says:
    96

    @Dan does it mean that i have to go thru passport control customs elal checkin @ Madrid?

    ReplyReply
  97. Jim Says:
    97

    @Russ – You should learn the EU regulations a bit more before recommending it to others.

    ReplyReply
  98. Rapid Travel Chai Says:
    98

    Speaking as a non-parent and unaware of potential religious nuances to the decision or the luggage contents, if any, I am curious on the preference to not fly ahead without luggage? While a hassle to resupply, it would seem that London has enough retail to manage, and credit card delayed/lost baggage should help, so for me my instinct would always been to grab any flight I can and let luggage show up when it may.

    ReplyReply
  99. Mosh Says:
    99

    Dan, I am not glad to hear of your difficult trip (with your family); however, as I’m sure you are well aware, people go through unexpected challenging experiences and in many cases have no idea what to do, who to talk or complain to. There are time that agents champ it out and really make things right, but let’s be real, at that hour with the people around (and those not around) it is difficult to get the job done and in most cases we the passengers in such cases end up bitter and frustrated – now, being that the person (people) involved happen to be Mr Dansdeals, a representative for team passengers, you can make enough of a stink for the airline to actually pinpoint where they made mistakes and hopefully also learn and grow from this.

    Again, I’m not glad that you went through the frustration that you’ve been through, but I am hopeful for it to turn into healthy results.

    Best

    ReplyReply
  100. Just joking Says:
    100

    I think its revenge for the 800k+ from Executive cards !!!!

    ReplyReply
  101. Dan Says:
    101

    @Luggage GPS:
    Cool, will have to do the research into the best one.

    @Schmuie:
    Crazy.

    @Russ:
    Only for EU airlines from non-EU airports.

    @Rapid Travel Chai:
    Some religious, some parental issues went into play.

    I always have my tefilin that I wear daily in my carry-on, so that wasn’t an issue.

    Without kids we’d have continued without a doubt. It’s the 2 and 4 year old in the equation that made it untenable.

    -Without a stroller there would be no way around the city to buy things or tour. We packed our expensive but excellent UppaBaby double stroller and I have no idea if I’d even be able to replace that in London or if I’d get reimbursed for an item like that.
    Either way, it would take time and be difficult to get the kids around without it.

    -The Baby carrier was also checked.

    -Without sufficient clothes, diapers, and wipes for the kids we’d spend another day repurchasing those necessities.

    -The kids toys (Magnatiles, etc) and books were all checked. I guess that sort of is a religious issue as we would be spending Shabbos in a hotel for 25 hours and all electrical items are forbidden, so you need old fashioned gadgets to keep kids busy. Even if we did replace the stroller or baby carrier we couldn’t walk around outside as you can’t push or carry items on Shabbos except in limited places where an Eruv is created. That wouldn’t work in downtown London.

    Yes, adults can occupy themselves for 25 hours, but it’s not simple with kids. And that means more time burned on rebuying those things.

    Never mind buying clothes for us as well.

    If we took the BA flight we’d arrive lave Thursday into LHR with no bags.

    With Shabbos starting at 3:45pm on Friday in London this time of year we would be very hard pressed to replace those items on time. Even if we were able to somehow, the kids were overtired and would have been a mess on the flight. The flight home to Cleveland was one of Rafi’s harder flights and we were quite happy not to be flying to London with him in that state of exhaustion.

    Adults fall asleep when exhausted, kids just scream.

    The other issue is that I had no confidence in AAs ability to find our bags. I think my instincts were proven right as they still have no clue where our bags are.

    Our return flight was for Tuesday morning. Would it really be worth flying knowing that you definitely wouldn’t have those items with you, having already had 1 day killed, and knowing you would be spending at least until Shabbos, if not Sunday, just to replace the items only to fly back 10am on Tuesday?

    @Mosh:
    Just need to figure out who to make a stink to at this point…

    ReplyReply
  102. Michael Says:
    102

    Sorry for all that happened…please keep on fighting the good fight- I recently wasted 5 hours of my life to get Kitchenaid to honor a $50 rebate…not worth my time and frustration from a financial perspective but emotionally it was a big relief not to get ripped off…please update us on your soon to be success 🙂

    ReplyReply
  103. Mosh Says:
    103

    @Dan:

    That’s what I’m talking about 🙂

    ReplyReply
  104. Greg Says:
    104

    Sounds like the trip went afoul right in Cleveland.

    Agents in JFK could have done whatever you wanted with rebooking, but you would still be without your bags.

    What’s unknown is whether you would have known that fact before you left JFK or ended up stuck in LHR without them.

    ReplyReply
  105. Dan Says:
    105

    @Greg:
    It’s possible, but the lounge agent in JFK said she confirmed that our bags were on our flight and that they were offloaded from the flight at the end of the ordeal when none of that happened.

    And the bags were not in CLE when we called the next morning despite the fact that CLE only has 1 daily flight to JFK (in the afternoon)

    If we knew earlier that the bags never left CLE then we could have done things very differently. Gone right to a hotel and waited a day probably.

    ReplyReply
  106. Rapid Travel Chai Says:
    106

    @Dan: I appreciate the thoughtful reply, an insightful window into a different lifestyle and culture for me.

    ReplyReply
  107. Dan Says:
    107

    @Rapid Travel Chai:
    My pleasure, funny how I take some of these things for granted despite writing for a larger audience than just Orthodox Jews and families.

    Another completely non-factor: No kosher meals on flights unless you order 24+ hours prior to departure. But those usually stink anyway, though occasionally they’re decent.

    ReplyReply
  108. Mark the Shark Says:
    108

    Send Ari my love, and tell him to enjoy the Yeshiva Fair. I texted him to send you my love as well! Btw, the first 2 posts were written by me. I didn’t write the third. Someone must have ghostwritten the third comment.

    If you want me to reach out to my contacts at AA for you, just let me know. Have a good Shabbos!

    The real Mark the Shark

    ReplyReply
  109. Mark the Shark Says:
    109

    Oh and Gary’s thinking of moving to Delta. Maybe it was your experience that is pushing him away from AA! http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2015/11/13/is-it-time-for-me-to-start-flying-delta/

    ReplyReply
  110. Jack out of the box Says:
    110

    @Amy: AA once bumped me (no choice) JFK-ZRH-TLV. They changed me to AA JFK-LHR BA LHR-TLV. Flight to London left late and missed Friday morning connection to TLV. Next flight was Shabbos so I got to meet some nice relatives for the first time. Problem was that my all my baggage sat twiddling its thumbs for the weekend waiting for me until Sunday afternoon in TLV while I had to scavenge for some basic change of clothes. At the time I had also been under the impression that a suitcase may not fly without its owner but apparently that is easily overlooked.

    Compensation? $200 AA voucher after appealing to AA. (If I remember correctly. It’s been over 10 years.)

    ReplyReply
  111. Jack out of the box Says:
    111

    @Shoobi: It would be nicer if they just return the bags.

    ReplyReply
  112. Jack out of the box Says:
    112

    AA recently advertised that you’ll be able to track your bags on their app. What happened to that?

    ReplyReply
  113. Vacationlover Says:
    113

    Any updates?

    ReplyReply
  114. ad120 Says:
    114

    @Dan: I will. However I don’t think that it is likely that you would fly with them considering they don’t have premium cabins. LOL

    ReplyReply
  115. JohnB Says:
    115

    @Dan

    Sorry to hear of this fiasco. I have been using AA since Xmas last year. Sorry to say that AA is almost as bad as UA. Our next set of flights is DL. I had enough of AA. Oh, and I have AA stock. I’m waiting for a good time to sell……

    ReplyReply
  116. Naomi Says:
    116

    So sorry to hear about this mess.
    Am following closely… Update?

    ReplyReply
  117. Stephen Says:
    117

    @Dan- Currently on an AA flight 1419 from MIA to BDL delayed 1.5 hours due to mechanical issues which has turned into needing to swap crews for the flight due to pilot limits. Im beginning to think that AA is worse than United when it comes to delays.

    ReplyReply
  118. Moe Says:
    118

    @Dan: Can’t wait till you file the claims. Please keep us posted about what happens and how you did it (i.e. BBB, Dept Consumer Affairs, TSA?) Good luck 😉

    ReplyReply
  119. Mimi K. Says:
    119

    AA is terrible.
    Rather pay double for United. (less terrible 😉 )
    Then again I never pay double.
    I’m confused

    ReplyReply
  120. clflwrs Says:
    120

    Did you ever get your luggage and stroller returned?

    ReplyReply
  121. Jack Says:
    121

    For the updated version of the story please go to this link: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/84120

    And Scroll down to Number 3.

    ReplyReply
  122. Mike D Says:
    122

    Probably one of the craziest stories Ive ever heard!
    All this with 2 kids , my gd DAN lol

    ReplyReply

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