Sunday, December 26, 2004

..And we're back.

Thanks to Judy and Dick for yet another fabulous Christmas in sensational Lawton, Oklahoma (home of Lawton High Wolverines!). Jamie and I had a great time and it was all-around Christmassy.

Our first day in Lawton, the ground had a thin layer of snow so we suited up and went out to chuck hunks of snow and ice at each other. Judy (The Shark) McBride now has a pool table, and we spent a good amount of time around the table. I am no good at pool, and I demonstrated this numerous times throughout the weekend.

We had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Eve night was spent touring Lawton, OK and checking out the sights and lights. Christmas morning was great, and I have to say that I did, in fact, rake in a great deal of Christmas Loot. I got a few books, a kick-ass DVD collection I'd been eyeing, and a great game from Doug (I cannot repeat the name here as it is French and I am sure to misspell it).

Followed that up with an adventurous viewing of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (the audience habits of the patrons of the Lawton Mall need some work).

Now, all of that was the fun part. The troublesome part came into play during our travels. As you might know, the major airlines have been having some financial difficulties tied to fuel costs, security costs, etc... and I would propose that many of our problems stem from a cutback of resources at the sub-management level (always first to go, but usually more needed than the pencil pushers.).

Firstly, a week before our departure I received an e-mail informing me that my flight had been cancelled and we were rebooked for a flight two hours later. I called in to see what the story was and was told it was due to a faulty aircraft. I did not then, nor do I now believe this was true. The airlines did their usual thing and cancelled flights which were not booked solid. I noted that our connecting flight was only 45 minutes after our new flight time, and I suggested that I change my second flight's departure time to a later time.

I was assured that we would be able to connect (American insists that 35 minutes is enough time to connect between two domestic flights). I asked what would happen if we were late (given that Expedia was stating the flight we were taking was only 60% on time). They were willing to change my connecting flight to a later flight.


1) Our flight from Phoenix to Dallas was about 45 minutes late arriving (despite perfect flying conditions leaving Phoenix)
2) Being rudely told by the clerk at the desk in Dallas that incidents of Easter 2003 could not have occurred when I made an inquiry to avoid a similar situation.
3) Our flight being delayed from 4:15 to 5:00.
4) Having to change gates.
5) Our 5:00 being changed to 5:35
6) Our 5:35 being cancelled with no explanation
7) The new clerk being unaware of our cancellation and having to leave the desk twice to don coat and go outside to deal with some situation
8) Our new 6:15 flight being bumped to 7:00
9) Our 7:00 being bumped to 7:35
10) Changing gates a total of no less than 8 more times (I do begin to exaggerate. We lost track). We changed gates at least every twenty minutes until they quit posting a gate around 7:00.
11) Being told at 7:35 that we had a plane, but no crew
12) Our flight falling off the boards with no explanation at 7:40.
13) multiple people from our flight being told different stories regarding our situation, none of which seemed to really match up.
14) actually witnessing people in line being yelled at by clerks for just asking when we were leaving
15) Finally getting a crew and then being chastised for not already being on the plane by the desk crew
16) Sitting at the gate for about 30 minutes once on board
17) waiting for about 45 minutes to be de-iced

Well, that was nice. I hate American Eagle and it will be a long, long time before I fly them again. I was feeling pretty bad until I heard a story about a family friend who was caught in the Delta Airlines computer crash. He was stranded in the Cincincatti airport for two entire days before being picked up and returned home without ever making it to Houston.

On our way home, I pinged off the security system in multiple ways. My watch (in my backpack) was believed to be a bomb. My wallet had a security swipe card which set it off, and something else pinged it, too... but I cannot remember what it was.

We left Lawton more or less on time. In Dallas (with 45 degree weather and clear skies) we were delayed for more than an hour from departure.

On board, we learned some chip in the instrument panel wasn't working, so we had to sit on the airplane for an hour while the diagnosed and then repaired the problem. Eventually we did get to leave.

On the ground in Phoenix, we reached our gate to learn the skyramp was broken down and we could not deplane (this isn't to mention the douchebag who GOT UP AND WAS WALKING AROUND WHILE WE WERE TAXIING. I was convinced that they were actually delaying until they could get a cop to arrest the moron when he stepped off the plane. The fact that this jerk wasn't arrested is not a mark in the plus column in my mind.). We had to sit on the plane for an additional twenty or more minutes while they located a truck to move the plane. No stair-car. No roll-away stairs.

We spent more than four hours on a plane for a 1 hour 45 minute flight. Not to mention the people who were going to be late who needed to use that plane next.


Anyway, that was frustrating. Don't fly American for a while, not until they hire enough people to run their damn airline, anyway. What a nightmare.

I could write a letter, but the past two letters I wrote to American ended with a form letter non-apology declaring taking their airline to be a crapshoot at best. So, suck it, American Airlines. I don't need to write you, I just need to tell every single person how incompetent you are and that America West and Southwest never do this shit.

No comments: