Alaboutnothing Official Blog

November 30, 2017

American Airlines Flight 1366 – DFW to Memphis – 2010 Revisited

Over this Christmas holiday I was one of the travelers who took advantage of the low airfares on priceline.com.  I booked a round trip ticket from Memphis TN to San Jose CA and started the trip on United Airlines and the return was on American Airlines (AA).

To begin the United flight had a connection in Denver, which I normally avoid during the winter months, but this trip went great. I arrived on time and spent a great week with my family.

On my return to Memphis, the first leg of the AA flight to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) went fine.  We arrived on time at gate 18 at DFW.  I checked the screen for Flight 1366 and it showed the gate to be A17.  I thought “Great!  I only needed to walk about 20 feet for the connecting flight.”  Because I have taken several (hundred) flights over the years, I know that because DFW is a very large airport and if your connecting gate is in a different terminal it might take awhile to get there.  I also know that at DFW if you need to get to a different terminal they have a “Sky Link” shuttle train that runs between terminals because of the lengthy distance.

So I am sitting at Gate A17 waiting for the next flight and after about 15-20 minutes the desk attendant announced that the flight that was scheduled for a 4:45 PM departure was going to be delayed until 5:35 PM and the Gate has been changed to C27.  That’s it, nothing else was said.  Now this is where my experience at DFW came into play.  I knew I need to simply take the “Sky Link” Shuttle to get there in a timely manner.  The delay was no big deal, but I think the AA Desk Attendant should have given instructions to the other passengers as to what would be the best way to get to the C27 Gate which was very far away.  I would guess that at least 80% of the passengers on the flight were first time flyers and they had no clue other than walking to get to Gate C27.  I estimate that the walking distance from Gate A18 to C27 is about a mile. Even though Terminal C is right next to A, a person would have to leave A17 and proceed to A39 (22 Gates), then cross a walkway from A to C and then continue on to Gate C27 (27 Gates).  Keep in mind this is not a straight line walk, the terminals are curved so a 48 Gate walk is quite a long walk.

When I arrived at Gate C27 I talked to a few of the other passengers and found out that one lady was originally scheduled to take a flight to Memphis at around 2 PM and her flight was cancelled and she was moved to Flight 1366 for the 4:45 PM departure and now that was changed to 5:35 PM so she had been waiting around for about 3 hours.  Then I talked with a young fellow escorting his mother and he told me that his mother needed help to walk.  She was good for a short distance, but long distance was a problem.  He said that on this gate change he got lucky and when they were starting to walk from Gate A17 to C27 he noticed the “Sky Link” sign and asked another passenger what it was.  That is how they made the gate change, and that was a strain on his mother because of the walk.  I told him that if at Memphis he needs assistance for his mother to ask the AA attendant to call for either a wheelchair or for one of those special “Golf Cart” like vehicles for assistance for his mother.  This is my point folks, all these “special” assistance services are available in probably all airports but the passenger must ask the airline attendant or look up the services on the web for a particular airport.  I would think that over holidays when most of the travelers are either first time flyers or people who rarely fly, the airlines would volunteer the information to the passengers when a special circumstance comes in to play.  In this case the American Airline people were mute.

One more final tidbit of information is that when I was waiting at C27 I called an AAN team member that is in the aviation industry and asked him to find out what was going on.  He got back to me and said that flight 1366 originated in Phoenix and arrived at DFW on time and was at the airport a good 40 minutes when we arrived from San Jose.  He surmised that AA needed the plane for something else and did not know anything else.

To wrap up, we did leave at 5:35 PM and arrived in Memphis at approximately 7:00 PM.

I really did not appreciate the “games” American Airlines were playing.  What I think they did was cancelled the 2 PM flight because it wasn’t full and moved those passengers to the 1366 Flight at what was suppose to be a 4:45 PM departure.  Then when this flight wasn’t full, they delayed the flight to 5:35 PM.  AA obviously did not care about the inconvenience to the passengers after the long holiday and decided that their needs came before passengers.

The next time you get the spiel where the pilot thanks you for flying their airline because of all the choices you have, keep in mind that American Airlines really doesn’t care.  American Airlines has gone from the top of my list to the bottom as far as choices for airline travel.  To you folks  out there in cyber land remember that if you need help, just ask.

I have nothing further to add at this time except for you to remember fly AA if you like misery.

December 15, 2013

WestJet Airlines Christmas Surprise

Filed under: Consumer — alaboutnothing @ 10:31 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

westjetA few weeks ago we posted about our experience with U.S. Airways, or what we call “U-Screwed Airways, an airline company that is as lame as it gets.  A “cattle mover”, that we will never book a flight with again.

Then along comes “WestJet” Airlines, a Canadian carrier that did something that just plain blew us away.  WOW! What a great airline and one that if they have a flight that is going our way, we will book it for sure.  Just watch the video that had us smiling during the entire length.  Bravo!  To WestJet and all the employees that participated in the passenger surprise, and the people who came up with this creative idea.  Bravo!

>>>>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SURPRISE <<<<<<<

We have nothing to add at this time except to remind all of you out there is cyberland that The Voice Finals show is on tomorrow night and even though our favorite James W. left last week, we will be watching the closing of this season.

November 2, 2013

US Airways Review

Filed under: Consumer — alaboutnothing @ 2:27 pm
Tags: , , , ,

USairWell folks it’s been about a month since I mentioned my experience with US Airways and here is our review of this not so great airline.

As far as our experience traveling on the airlines, we have probably taken close to 1,000 flights since the 80’s.  Yes, folks, we know the routine and our favorite airline is Alaska Airlines followed next by American Air Lines.  Recently on our travels we have heard some good things about Virgin America from fellow travelers and we are looking forward to checking them out.

So here is our experience with US airways and from the get go we want to make some thing clear to the US Airways Corporation.  If possible we pack a carry-on luggage so we can avoid the baggage claim routine at the airport where we are arriving.  It’s always a 15-30 wait for the first piece of luggage and then you have to weed through all the other bags to find yours.  On this particular trip we had one carry-on.

October 11 at Columbus OH airport waiting at the gate to catch US Airways Flight 686 departing at 5:55 PM arriving at Charlotte NC at 7:17 PM.  It has been a long week and we are looking forward to getting home and we are not feeling very good since we have been battling bronchitis.

The standard announcement that boarding would start in about 10 minutes came and then it was followed by another dreaded announcement, “We are sorry to say the all of our overhead compartments are full and if you are in zone 4 or 5 you need to check your carry-on bags.  Please come over to the podium to my left to check your bags and then you can pick them up at the baggage claim at your arriving airport”.  Needless to say I was in Zone 4 and I immediately thought “)*#$#^@)!__#+#$$$  just the thing I wanted to avoid!”  Followed by several more choice thoughts not fit for family reading.

Now get this, the announcement came before any passengers had boarded the airplane.  So then I thought “Wow!  The Attendants must be physic because they know ahead of time that the overhead compartments are full even before anyone boards. Amazing!”   After several discussions with fellow passengers I went over to check my carry-on and I told the lady what I thought about US Airways and checked my bag.  A few Zone 4 / 5 passengers that did not hear the announcement tried to board, but were forced to check their bags.  They also found this event BS (Bull S=you fill it in).

So when it was Zone 4’s turn to board I took out a pen and paper and as we progressed from the front of the airplane to the rear noted the status of the overhead compartments to see if the gate attendants were really physic or just lying because they wanted to get everyone aboard without a delay.  (If they did not have Zone 4 / 5 check their bags ahead of time and if the overhead compartments filled up during boarding this would delay the departure because the bags would need to be checked at that time.)

So here is the tally:  Row 5 both sides, empty, Row 9 both sides half full Row 11, 13, and 14 both sides empty, Row 15 half full.  So it was confirmed the gate attendants were NOT physic.  If you admit that 5 bags would fit in one empty compartment and do the math it comes out that about 50 bags could have been stored and there weren’t fifty passengers boarding from Zone 4 /5.

So why would they do this and this is what we think.  They didn’t want to delay the flight because most everyone on the flight was catching a connecting flight to somewhere else at the Charlotte Airport (a US Airways hub) and the time between connections was tight.  My flight to San Francisco departed Charlotte at 8:19 PM, which gave me 1 hour and 2 minutes after this flight arrived.

As it turns out when we arrived at Charlotte we arrived at Gate B9 and my connecting flight was a Gate D5 and since I had never been at this airport we decided to ask someone how far D5 was.  We saw one of those electric carts parked outside our arriving gate and asked the young lady how far Gate D5 was. I showed her my boarding pass and she immediately said, “There is no way you are going to make that flight walking.  Hop on and I will take you there.  It’s over a ½ mile away in a straight line, probably a mile with the winding route to get there.”  I hopped on and we left for Gate D5 and it took a good 15-20 minutes zipping along on the electric cart.  We arrived at Gate D5 about 5 minutes before the boarding was beginning.  (I gave the cart driver a big tip and tons of appreciation for getting me to my gate quickly).

So after a month of think about this experience we come to this conclusion.  If the Columbus gate attendants would have said “This is a full flight and we think we don’t have enough space in the overhead compartments for all the carry-on bags and because we need to leave the gate on time to make the connection at Charlotte would the Zone 4 /5 passengers please check their bags etc…”  Instead they did the “physic” routine and basically lied to all of us and this just does not sit well with us. Our guess is that Zone 4 /5 are the cheap seats and US Airways really doesn’t care about the folks in the “cheap” seats so to US Airways we say, “You don’t need to worry about this passenger on future flights because we will never fly on your lame airline again.”  We also tried to figure out what the “US” in US Airways meant ad we thought “United States”, but no, because all their airplanes are made by Airbus and that is a foreign airplane manufacturer, so we came to the conclusion that based on the way we were treated it means “U-Screwed”.  Yes folks whenever you see a US Airways in the future you can say to whom ever you are with “Look!  There is a U-Screwed Airways flight!”

We have nothing else to report at this time except to all the folks out there in cyberland that have future flights booked on “U-Screwed” Airlines we send our condolences.  Also we wanted to note that our flight to Columbus as on American Airlines and they were full flights, but because AA uses Boeing 737-800 airplanes there was no problem with overhead compartment space they don’t have to hire physic gate attendants.

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