A customer's praise for American Airlines

With all the recent negative press about incidents involving major U.S. airlines, it seems appropriate to offer up a story of a job well done. Granted, it’s not sensational and isn't likely to go viral, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

In this case, I’m offering my kudos to American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) with a big bouquet to a customer service rep named Amanda. Here’s my story.

We recently booked two AAdvantage award tickets from Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) to Miami International (MIA) for a cruise we’ll be taking in November.

I chose our flights because they were non-stops and because of the flight times. Our outbound flight would arrive late in the evening, but we would have two nights to enjoy in Miami prior to our cruise.

On Sunday, July 10, I received an email notifying us that our flights to and from MIA had been changed. The return flight would leave about four minutes earlier but our out bound flight had been changed to a flight departing 10 hours later than the one we'd chosen. The delay meant our new outbound flight would be a red-eye that would arrive the following morning.

That change would deprive us of one night in Miami before our cruise. In addition, we would probably spend a good portion of our first full day recovering from the effects of the overnight flight, which we definitely did not want to do.

Determined to stay civil despite my irritation, I called the customer service line and chose the option of getting a return call instead of sitting on hold.

While I was waiting for the call back, I checked AA.com for the dates we would be traveling and saw that American had apparently completely cancelled our non-stop; the overnight was the only non-stop on the schedule from SEA to MIA. We’d have to take a connecting flight, then. Better to change planes than taking an overnight.

Beach Blvd. in the Art Deco district at night
The call from Amanda came well within the six to eight-minute estimate I was given. A good start.

Amanda was the consummate professional, though a little “wow” escaped her lips when she saw that our flight time had been changed by 10 hours.

She advised me of my options, changed us to a connecting flight that leaves earlier in the day than we’d have preferred but which will enable us arrive in South Beach in time to grab some dinner as we take in the neon lights of the Art Deco district.

She was prompt and courteous, and made the changes quickly without fuss, bother or extra charges. In addition, she empathized with my frustration and understood my desire to maximize my vacation time.

Would that all interactions with U.S. carriers were this easy.

Of course, our trip is still four months away and schedules could change again in that time. Even if they don’t, there will be the actual in-flight experiences, which will rise or fall on their own merit. But if my last interaction was any indication, I am optimistic that our experience on American will be at least satisfactory, and perhaps even outstanding.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Photos by Carl Dombek
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