I pride myself on being a fairly even-tempered and rational person. Resolving airline service issues at the airport with a manager or someone else empowered to do so is almost always the best solution. In the absence of that, I recommend a polite and concise letter or email to an airline if you’ve experienced some kind of service failure.

My time as an airline manager pre-dates things like Twitter and Facebook. That said, I’m pretty sure neither is the best way to manage a complaint. That’s why I am completely disappointed in myself for this.

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First, it served no purpose other than me venting. There are no details or context, it’s just some guy griping via the internet. The #goingfornotsogreat hashtag was just plain snippy. I was not wrong to be annoyed by the service failure I experienced, but I did go about dealing with it in an unprofessional way that likely accomplished nothing. Here’s what should have happened.

Dear American,

On Sunday, July 5, 2015, I was a passenger seated in first class on your flight 4348 from ORD to ATL. I recognize that only two flight attendants are assigned to the E175 servicing the flight which will leave the first class cabin without a dedicated flight attendant during the coach service. One round of beverages was served and one pass of the snack basket was made and then the flight attendant working the cabin retreated to coach with her colleague where she remained until the coach service was finished.

At that point, the flight attendant returned to retrieve a trash bag. When the passenger in the row ahead of me had the audacity to ask for a refill, the flight attendant looked a bit put out, but did fulfill the request. She then left the cabin for an indeterminate amount of time only to return and hide in the galley. Not wanting to be “that guy,” I elected to sit there rather than ring the call button, confident that I would eventually have an opportunity to make eye contact with the flight attendant and request a refill. Unfortunately, no opportunity to do so presented itself. If there was a single interaction or effort to converse with a first class passenger for the remainder of the flight with the exception of collecting glasses and trash prior to landing, I did not see it.

This was far from “seamless” service, and I expect better from American and your contracted partners. If you would like to discuss this with me personally, I can be reached at 404.XXX.XXXX. Thank you for your attention.


MJ on Travel

As #FirstWorldProblems go, this is up there, but I’m going to ask for a do-over on this one. I don’t think it is unreasonable for a customer seated in first class to get one refill or at least the offer of one, perhaps even a “can I get you anything” on a flight blocked for nearly 2 hours. If nothing else, it’s a training issue that American needs to hear about and resolve with Republic. Something was just plain off, and it didn’t feel like a “having a bad day” situation. This service experience left a really bad impression with me, and more importantly my wife, who still hasn’t completely forgiven American for costing us a day in Italy in 2010. That’s unfortunate because the rest of our trip was pretty decent overall.

-MJ, July 7, 2015