Friday, November 4, 2011

American Airlines Steps Up Their Customer Service Game

After getting stuck in Philly airport tuesday night waiting for a new plane to replace the original MD83 with the bad pitot tubes, AA (without any call to Customer Service) sent me this today today.

Impressive.

My last several trips have been particularly bad with AA. All but one of them has had a significant delay. Of those, 70% have had a flight leg fully canceled. And most of those cancellations have been mechanical issues. There's nothing quite like sitting at a gate, looking out the window, watching the mechanics tear apart the engine. Kinda glad when they cancel the flight when that happens, but when I see it, I always wonder what it would be like to fly on an airline that doesn't rely so heavily on 30+ year old airplanes.

I'm getting tired of being stuck at airports (particularly Newark/EWR) because AA can't keep their aircraft in the air. They simply can't replace them fast enough.

But this latest incident was particularly well handled. They kept us up to date on what was going on -- both on the plane and at the gate. Usually within 5+/- min after (and sometimes before) the automated AA Status Updates were sent out. And they did it when it a sympathetic smile no less.

They put as many people as they could on the US Airways flight to DFW 2 gates down. Many of those passengers were catching international connections and AA Gate Agents acted proactively and transferred them over from our flight while we were all still sitting on the plane waiting for the mechanics to figure out the problem. Never seen that happen.

And they had a gate agent in DFW waiting with information and hotel vouchers for those on the plane who had to be rebooked for the next day. I've come in late on delayed flights several times in the last few years -- can't remember the last time I saw a gate agent actually waiting to help with disrupted plans either.

AA corporate seems to work harder on their marketing message than they do their employee relations. A decision resulting in a significant service level decline in recent years.

Hopefully this is a sign that they have finally found an internal balance and a sign of better service to come.

From: American Airlines
Date: Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Subject: About your Recent Flight: A Message from American Airlines R2011/11-04
To: Christopher J. Marcinko


November 4, 2011

Dear Mr. Marcinko:

We know that the delay of your recent flight was an inconvenience to you (not to mention disruptive to your travel plans), and we apologize. At the same time, we'd like to offer a more tangible gesture of our concern. Accordingly, we've credited your AAdvantage® account with 5,000 bonus miles. This mileage adjustment will be visible in your account in just a few days. You can view your account via http://www.aa.com/aadvantage .

Thank you for flying with us, and for your business, which we never take for granted.

Sincerely,

B. J. Russell
Customer Relations
American Airlines

This is a one-time email being sent to you in relation to your recent experience with us, and it is not a marketing message. It does not represent a change in any privacy options that you may have with American Airlines. For security purposes and to protect your privacy, our process does not allow for replies to this message. If we can assist you further, please let us know by clicking www.aa.com/customerrelations .