Friday, September 10, 2010

Planes, Shuttles, a 100-yard Dash, and Automobiles

Here are the reasons I wish there was some market to sell all the American Airlines miles I have:

1) They seem to have problems timing their crew's breaks. I know there are weather delays and all those "acts of god" they aren't liable for, but I keep hearing over and over about how American flights are delayed because the crew had to clock off. Now of course, I don't want to fly with a tired crew, but do you think they could have a contingency plan? The rest of us have to when they screw up!
So here is the story: We show up, Thursday before Labor day, at 6:00 a.m. to catch our flight to Dallas and then to Pensacola, FL. From there we will be going to beautiful Destin, FL for my sister-in-law's beach wedding. The way our flights are scheduled, we should arrive in Destin by dinner time. We get to the airport and discover that the 7:00 a.m. flight has been delayed for 3 1/2 hours due to crew unavailability. After waiting for an hour in line, the ticket agent asked where we are heading. He typed for a bit, and then said he could get us there by Saturday!!! So then began a 30 minute process of looking for 5 seats on a flight to somewhere near Destin. Mobile, Alabama? Biloxi, Mississippi? In the end, the only way to get there that day was to fly to LA and then to New Orleans and then drive 300 miles. Not much to do but accept that and hustle up to where our flight was boarding to LA . . .

2) No food at all on flights. When you have had to run across 3 terminals at break neck speeds with 3 kids in tow and have had no time to buy food, it would be nice to get a pretzel.

After negotiating and trading seats with fellow passengers, we are now all sitting relatively close to each other on this full flight to LA. We will have an hour and a half in LA to get seats, get some food and get on the plane. "This is your captain speaking . . ." Crap. Fog in LA. We sit on the tarmac for over an hour. Yes, you do the math - we now have less than 30 minutes to switch terminals in LAX. I spend the flight trying to hum myself into calm, "Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be..." Yeah...that worked. We land, grab the back packs, rush the girls, push past everyone and STOP. We are at American Eagle's commuter terminal which is all the way past terminal 8 (where our flight is leaving from incidentally) and now we have to wait 10 minutes for a shuttle. It was all I could do not to just make a dash for our plane. But being arrested in LA wouldn't do do much for my career, not to mention it might scar the children. When the shuttle comes we drive past our plane all the way to terminal 5. And then we ran. I am so proud of those girls. They ran like I have never seen them run. Even so, we would not have made it without those 2 "Excuse the Cart" drivers that gave us a ride when the terminals allowed it. I cannot believe we made that plane - they literally shut the doors right behind us. Of course, no time to fill the empty water bottles I had so cleverly packed. Or buy the lunch we were planning on buying on our layover. . .

3) No movie on flights. Again, when you have to run across the airport, it would be nice to get some entertainment to distract from the fact that you smell like you've had a workout and then sat in the sauna.

Did I mention the running?

4) No reimbursement for ground travel issues caused by American Airlines screw-ups: Like when you are rebooked to fly into a city 300 miles away from where you were supposed to land, do they offer to pay the one-way rental fee? No, they offer to rebook your return out of the city 300 miles from your destination. So on our last day of travel, we had to do the entire drive again. Across 4 states. With Labor Day traffic. To a flight they actually forgot to finalize our booking on so we had to wait for reissued tickets and then run through the airport. Again.

The poor kids. . . when we got on that flight in New Orleans, after running again and negotiating with fellow passengers again, LittleBug said, "Mama, for our next flight are we going to have to run?"

Despite all of that drama and the fact that I swear I will never fly American again (until they offer a good fare and I have suppressed all of the above memories), the wedding was beautiful, Destin was gorgeous, and the time with family was irreplaceable. Plus the girls have now been to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida!


  1. Stories like this are why I keep saying, "Maybe next year"! Yikes!

  2. I loathe. . .LOATHE. . . American Airlines. I'm probably on some special list of passengers to be afraid of because I've yelled at them so much.

  3. Oh my goodness, on the drive back we had to buy a pail and garbage bags because Peanut caught somesort of stomach thing. Hooray for travel!

  4. I can't say I have any experience with American Airlines (I think we flew with them on one flight when we were visiting the States, but all the trips blur into one these days after such a long time!). I, for one, am impressed that you have flown at all with three kids.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comment on Twins in school was really valuable.

  5. Found you on the world's worst mom site, and thought you were funny. I am following you now!
    Keep it coming!


  6. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! There are three reasons I am so thankful that you put up with American Airlines shenanigans. ONE is that you have active children with LONG legs that got them there in time (I don't think my stubby legs would have made it!) TWO is that having you and my brother and my nieces in/at the wedding was just PERFECT, I mean the city of Destin had fireworks for my wedding(I tried to convince the girls of this), I mean the kind of perfect where all the puzzle pieces just fall into place and make an amazing, dazzling and spectacular series of moments. THREE is...well...I love you guys and it meant so much that you made the dizzying trip to stand and witness my life/love on that white sandy beach. Just INCREDIBLE!