I got quite a few remarks and comments about my American Airlines Sucks post. Some people shared similar stories about being maligned by AA in the past. Some told similar overbooking stories from other airlines - but with a better treatment, understanding and compensation.
A good friend just ran an "American Airlines Sucks" search on Google, and concluded I'm joining the party a bit too late: 219,000 (!) results show that many people out there share my conclusion. Hey, there's even a guy who's taken the time to register a domain! (www.americanairlinessucks.us). I will let you sift through the results and highlight the funniest stories.
I started a twitter hash tag #AASucks and it keeps collecting twits from "satisfied" customers. The funniest comment I got was a request to change it from AASucks to something else, lest someone mistakes it for the Alcoholics Anonymous organization :).
My fellow blogger Damian referred me to a story about a web designer at American Airlines who was fired upon answering a customer's comment about the suckiness of AA's web site.
You can read the full story, reported firsthand, in Dustin Curtis's blog. The short of it is, just like me, Dustin commented on the bad design and usability of the site. A web usability designer at AA read his blog and sent him an email explaining some of the design decisions and promising they are aware of the situation. He asked to be kept anonymous, since he was not officially representing AA. Alas, The AA IT team scoured their exchange server, found the original response and the guy was summarily sacked. They won't even let their own employees alleviate the public's perception of them.
As for me, one of the comments on the original blog suggested I ping Christopher Elliott, a leading traveling journalist working for National Geographic. Christopher replied immediately (thanks Christopher!), and pointed me to a page on his blog listing the addresses of all AA executives involved with customer relations.
I just sent the following email to Sean Bentel, (Manager of customers relations) and cc'd Mark Mitchell (Managing director, customer experience):
So, let's see how this would end. Hopefully, we will all get some closure.Dear Mr. Bentel,
Please excuse my addressing this email to you directly, but I have been receiving, in my opinion, less than adequate treatment from the CR representative I've been corresponding with so far. Furthermore, all my emails to the people
taking care of my case at your department have been ignored and filling and re-filling your online form is quite time consuming. I've also taken the liberty of cc'ing Mr. Mark Mitchell to this email.I will not bother you with the full description of my case. I'm sure you can pull my earlier correspondence from your CRM system. You can also read about my case, along with the detailed back-and-forth, on my blog post (http://www.guyvider.com/2009/11/consumer-rant-american-airlines-sucks.html).I'd like to get a final response to my issue, consisting of a proper apology to the situation I was put in, and a proper compensation. To make it clear that I'm following this matter out of principal and not for monetary gain, I hereby offer that any compensation you offer shall be fully contributed to the charity of your choice. This way, everyone will be happy: I'll get some closure and regain my confidence in your customer service, you'll gain the renewed confidence and goodwill of my readers, and someone will benefit from the compensation.I will publish a copy of this email on my blog (http://www.guyvider.com/2009/11/american-airlines-sucks-part-ii.html) and will await your reply. I ask your permission to post your reply to my blog (either verbatim, or the spirit of it). I will follow up on this subject in 2 business weeks from today (December 5th, 2009).Awaiting your reply and thanks for your time,Guy