Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to customer.relations@aa.com

 

I am writing to you here because the official complaint form would not allow me to send it without a baggage tracking number.  Plus, there was a lot of stuff that needs to be addressed and 1500 characters just isn't enough to say it all.  I'm going to try to give specific details from our conversations and be as thorough as possible.  The whole experience was terrible.

 
The experience started when my pregnant wife and I checked in.  I am an AAdvantage Member with a Citibank AA card that allows me to get up to 4 free checked bags.  I asked the young man (He was pleasant through out, but appeared to be new and unsure of himself as he was being coached by a lady), but I said to him, "I don't know how this works, but I have an AAdvantage card and I'm supposed to be able to get free checked bags with my AA flights"... He said something to the lady with him and she said to him, "No, that's not valid since it wasn't paid for"... He looked up and said to me, "You'll have to pay for them since you didn't pay for your flight with cash"... I said kind of to myself, but slightly loud enough for them to hear, "That's stupid" and then explained that the whole reason I kept my AA credit card was because they advertised the free checked bags.  I paid the $50 for the two bags and went to security.
 
Once we got through security, our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:05.  We waited and finally shortly after 4, they announced that the flight was being delayed due to maintenance issues and they would update us in 45-50 minutes.  Now, I have a pregnant wife.  We didn't eat before arriving because we anticipated being in Chicago in an hour and a half.  We didn't bring any snacks because we figured they would be confiscated at security.  There are NO snacks beyond the security gates at SUX.  The only thing available was a vending machine with 20 oz sodas for $2.  Even the food area outside of the security area was closed.  After about 15-20 minutes, I asked the security guard if there was any food around I could get for my pregnant wife.  He said, "No.... there's a pop machine over there though...." (Thanks).  My wife was getting nervous the flight was going to be cancelled and asked me to see if we could get on stand by for a later flight in case things were cancelled.  I walked up to the counter and when I asked about getting put on a stand by list, the lady (same lady) kind of snickered and said she could put me on for 6:30 AM tomorrow, but this was the only flight leaving tonight.  I said, "Oh, I will just wait then and we'll pray the flight goes through tonight."...
 
Then after about an hour delay, they announced the flight was being delayed until likely 9:30 since the part they needed to repair it wouldn't be here until 9 PM.  Please leave the secured area to get our bags and reschedule for the new flight.  When we got to the counter, I asked the young man if there was any chance the flight would be leaving tonight.  The lady apparently was always listening in because she answered with, "You can stay until then if you want to, but realistically it won't be leaving until tomorrow". We were obviously disappointed to hear that.  I then said to the young man, "What is your company policy regarding people's hotels and such since this wasn't an act of God? I have a $150 hotel that's paid for in Chicago".  He said, "The only thing I can do is give you a voucher.  Is that what you want to do?" I said, "I guess so if that's all you can do."  The lady responded with, "Those are only for here in town.  We can't do anything about your hotel in Chicago".  I said, "Oh, well that doesn't do me any good since we live here." There wasn't a response to that and we didn't say anything else either.  When he finished typing up my itinerary he gave it to me and said that was my itinerary for tomorrow and to be here by 5:30 AM.  I walked over to my wife and we were waiting for our friend to come back and pick us up.  As we were sitting there, we heard others talking about the hotel vouchers and heard them discussing a shuttle to and from the airport.  We figured since we were missing out on a hotel we had paid for and didn't want to inconvenience our friend to drive us in at 5 AM, we would just take them up on the offer for the hotel voucher and ride the shuttle to the airport in the morning.  The line was long so I waited for a bit until another lady asked me about it and said she wasn't given a voucher.  I figured I would just go to the side of the counter and ask the young man really quick if he had registered us for a room when it was brought up or not.  He stated, "No, you said you didn't want it so we didn't sign you up".  I said, "Oh, no that's fine, I'm gonna wait in line then and do that".  Again, the lady chimed in and stated, "You can't get a voucher because you live in town".  I said, "What?  So I'm just out of luck on that?" And she said, "You don't get a voucher since you don't need one".  She was very short and snippy when she said it to.  I said, "Oh... ok, What's your name again?" And she responded with a very snotty attitude, "Jill.... and make sure you tell them I'm the manager"... 
 
She was definitely the rudest person I've ever dealt with at an airline.  The fact that she is a manager when so many people are unemployed is laughable.  There HAS to be someone more qualified to deal with the public than this woman.  I am normally not one to rock the boat, but she pushed all of the wrong buttons today.  I didn't even blame her for the plane issues.  That kind of stuff happens, but she was just rude every moment I dealt with her.  THAT is what I can't stand.  Apologize, do the best you can and move on.  She didn't even try a little to help me out or work with me on anything.  Half the time I wasn't even dealing with her, but she still had to get her opinion in.  Obviously since the young man was new.  Very, very frustrating experience.  To top it all off, I've missed out on 1 of only 4 days we planned on having in Chicago AND I've spent the better part of this evening trying to figure out how to formally issue a complaint.  I couldn't speak to anyone, the complaint form only had space for 1500 characters AND I couldn't even send the form because I didn't have a baggage tracking number.  Our trip has been soured and now my wife feels like she doesn't even want to go.  We're going to go, but wow.  Ruined our last vacation together before our busy season starts for my business and before our baby is born.
 
Here is the information from my flight:
 
Passengers: Shane and Rebecca Monahan
Flights were booked with Avios from British Airways and went through American Airlines as a One World partner.
I will just list the information off of my boarding pass.
AA Advantage number: 44HBT62
PNR Record Locator: MENYEP
Flight: 4211
Ticket Number: 1252490841114 
The ticket also says my AADVANTAGE NUMBER is: BA49833710 (I assume this is because it was booked with Avios)
 
That is all I've got for information.  It was my wife and I traveling.  We might not every fly out of SUX again at this point.  It's convenient, but right now the extra drive to OMA would have been so much better.  Not sure if we'll continue to use American either if this is how we will be treated.  Sorry, that's the end of my rant.  I look forward to hearing back from someone.

Sincerely,
 
Shane Monahan