I have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad luck when flying American. I avoid AA when possible and fly them perhaps 5% of the time, but they make up 95% of my flights that are massively delayed or cancelled. I have Executive Platinum status on American, but that doesn’t make their operations any better.
Last month, a commenter asked why I didn’t use Avios to fly on American to NYC. My aversion to American is so strong that I flew United to Newark to get to Queens instead of flying American to JFK.
In 2015, American stranded us in JFK airport overnight when they cancelled our flight to London after countless hours of delays. And then it took 8 months just to get a refund from that fiasco.
I had avoided flying American after that, but was lured back in when Iberia was giving away promotional Avios. But flying American in 2018 on those expiring promotional Avios meant that we missed my grandfather’s 90th birthday party.
Last year, American tempted me back with 30K business class awards in lie-flat business class to Maui. It was an epic fail involving multiple cancelled flights, including one with 8 hours of rolling delays followed by 5 hours of mechanical delays on the tarmac before the crew timed out and cancelled the flight. We wound up having to overnight in Dallas and spent 49 hours in transit.
Why would I tempt fate again?
Well, we flew on United to Fort Lauderdale for our kids’ mid-winter break last Sunday and were booked to fly home on Thursday. However United cancelled their entire flight schedule in and out of Cleveland on Thursday due to the snowstorm.
I had booked American using Avios as a backup on Friday morning in case of issues on United, but before the trip, American changed the flight time to make it too close to Shabbos. I held onto that flight anyway, as having a flight with a schedule change is very valuable. I called British Airways to make a change and they said there was no award space and couldn’t help me. I then called American and they said they couldn’t help me as British Airways sold the ticket, however the AA agent offered to transfer me to a dedicated British Airways desk to resolve issues.
That BA desk was able to switch our flight to a Sunday morning flight that would have otherwise cost $400 per passenger. Score!
So I booked us an Airbnb for Shabbos and planned on using that American backup ticket after all.
I was hoping that I would be able to switch the United flight from Thursday to Sunday to have another backup flight, but there weren’t enough seats available on United’s Sunday flight, so we hoped for the best.
My son Rafi asked me last night which airline we were flying, and when I told him American he was thrilled, as he said that meant he would be back late to school as they would surely just cancel our flight.
And sure enough, I woke up this morning and saw that they got us again:
Their flight to Cleveland tonight and tomorrow morning were full, so they moved us to a flight tomorrow night.
But that will just be a backup, as I quickly grabbed 6 saver award seats on United’s Monday afternoon flight from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland, which was their next available flight.
I tried calling American, but the Executive Platinum line announced there would be a 3-4 hour hold time and the in-app chat wouldn’t connect to an agent. Finally after 3.5 hours, American called back and confirmed there was nothing else they could offer.
How is it even possible to have such bad luck with an airline?!?