Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Blogger fighting airline delays

Blogger and real estate broker Kate Hanni is angry - and with every right. She and 100 other passengers were on diverted flight AA 1358 from San Francisco to Dallas. The flight ended up in Austin Texas due to bad weather. The plane, passengers and crew were stranded on the tarmac with no way out or off for more than 8 hours. Bottled water and substantive food quickly ran out and it was down to pretzels and that crappy water in the toilet taps. Kate is leading a charge in the US for legislation to protect consumers here. Here is her blog and here is an article in the NY Times on the story. The airline says
“There is some dispute over exactly how dire the circumstance were on that flight. I do have flight attendants reports saying no toilets overflowed. We ran out of bottled water but we still had plenty of drinking water.”
Another piece of brilliance in airline customer service. You are a customer stranded on an American Airlines plane - no real food, no bottled water, no way off, surrounded by screaming kids, receiving irregular updates on what may or may not be happening, dreading the stench from the toilets and the passengers etc etc etc - but according to the airline there is uncertainty as to how bad things were.

I have almost been there. On a trip last July from Sydney to New York I had the "pleasure" of AA from San Fran to NY. We landed in NY ahead of a storm but were stranded on the tarmac for three and half hours waiting for the lightening to clear to allow the ground crew to return to work. That was a tough period - especially as we were 50 meters from our destination - I can only imagine how bad it would have been for more than twice that time. On a good day you cannot find a seat on an AA flight that anyone would describe as good.

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