Once upon a time there was a man who loved his family very much. But, this man was also a soldier and had responsibilities to the Army. This meant that he had to leave his beloved family for two weeks to attend training in a far-away state. In order to get to this training he had to fly on American Airlines (because the Army bought his tickets and purchased American Airlines tickets). He made it to the far-away state without incident and attended the training, completing his soldierly duty. During this training, his loving wife suggested that perhaps he should check with American Airlines to make sure that his flight was on schedule for the trip home, because his wife had watched CNN and knew that American Airlines was cancelling thousands of flights because they failed to do their inspection duties when they should have. The husband called American Airlines 48 hours before his flight home to confirm the flights and was told everything was a-ok. Whew!
On the day of his departure from the far-away state, the loving husband arrived at the airport EARLY to see if he might be able to get on an even earlier flight, because he was missing his wife and adorable children. He knew there was another flight leaving earlier, because another soldier was booked on that earlier flight back to his home state. When he arrived at the airport at 8am, however, the not-so-friendly or productive people at American Airlines were not working at the counter. No one would help the frustrated husband. No one would try to re-book his tickets because he had military tickets. So, he waited. And waited and waited and waited...until 10:45am when the people at American Airlines FINALLY started working at the counter. At this time the husband knew he could no longer get on an earlier flight, so he went up to the counter to check in. When he got to the counter, however, the not-so-friendly American Airlines worker informed him that his flight had been cancelled. How could she help him? Umm...get him on a new flight perhaps? Preferably one that wouldn't force him to miss his family even longer.
She typed away at her computer for a few minutes and announced she had found a flight home for him. First he would have to fly all the way to Dallas (from Virginia) in order to catch his flight to Iowa. Oh....and you won't get home until MUCH later than you had planned.
The husband was frustrated, but what could he do? He booked the flight and got ready to spend ALL day traveling all the way across the country just to get home. His loving wife and children were so looking forward to picking him up at the airport at a reasonable hour, having some dinner together, and having a family movie night. You see, the wife and children were supposed to leave town the next morning to visit family in another not-so-far-away state. So, they all knew their time together would be short and they'd have to make the most of it.
The husband said some not-so-friendly comments to the not-so-friendly American Airlines customer service person (I think it went something like "my wife and children thank you all") and he made his way to find some food and make a phone call to his wife to let her know that plans for the day have changed.
Oh, how I love air travel. And oh, how I love airlines that don't do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it, forcing everyone else to just deal with it. What other industry could possibly get away with this kind of customer service? Will I ever fly American Airlines again? Nope - certainly not on purpose.
Feeling a little sorry for myself right about now.
It turns out that the new flight from Virginia was delayed as well. But, because he had a fairly long lay-over in Dallas, that didn't matter so much. But, after the boys and I left to head to DesMoines to run errands and head to the airport I got a call that the flight from Dallas to DesMoines was delayed as well. So, unfortunately, the boys and I had to stay in DesMoines way longer than we had planned. We all finally arrived home around midnight. It was late and we were all exhausted, but we are all together. Thankfully.