In a previous post, I discussed the (lack of) service in Northwest Airlines' first-class section. Over the Christmas holiday, I put my wife and myself in American Airlines' first-class from IND to SMF...and found it was also lacking.
As I've mentioned, I fly first-class from time to time for the space AND the service. Maybe I'm old-school, but I expect to be treated well when I'm spending top dollar, whether that's in cash or frequent flier points. However, AA fell a bit short on two of four segments we flew, and dramatically short on a third. Only one of four -- 25 percent -- were what I'd call truly "first class."
What do I mean? To me, First Class means being greeted warmly by the flight attendant (F/A). That was the case on three of our flights, but on a fourth, the F/A was more interested in gossiping with her fellow F/A than greeting us.
First Class also means being fussed over. OK, I'll admit it: I like that. That means taking my coat, offering me a pre-flight beverage, and calling me by name. Sadly, all these things happened on only one of four segments.
I wrote AA to point out the inconsistencies, and got this rather non-committal reply:
I'm sorry we did not provide the quality first class service you expect and we want to deliver. Our goal is to provide a gracious service that is pleasing to the most discriminating customer, and I am concerned that we disappointed you.
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We are eager to demonstrate the on-time flights and high quality service you expect and we want to deliver. Please travel with us again soon. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.
Stephen R. Jeffery
I wasn't out for any recompense like a refund of miles; I just wanted AA to know -- and acknowledge -- that their service was not up to par.
The food was pretty good. In any case, it was a diversion from the long, tedious, coast-to-coast flight, so all was not lost. And we did enjoy the legroom. But if U.S.-based airlines are to survive -- and even thrive -- they have GOT to pay more attention to good, old-fashioned customer service.
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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