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American Airlines - a "just so you should know" rant

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I recently traveled to Colorado from SC a week ago and a few weeks ago before that. This is the first time flying by myself and that plus Autism any airplane and busy airports (savannah, dallas and denver) are describingly horrible and personally horrifying. My parental #2 called the airlines (american/american eagle) after buying my tickets online and set up a "courtesy meet and escort" in Dallas and in Denver. "Everything is fine. Everything is set up" my mom was told after telling them my special needs.

A few days later when I travel I get to dallas...nobody. Get to Denver...nobody. Call parental #2 and shes pissed. Called the airlines and gets a "sorry" and another "everything is set up" for next time. Two weeks later I get to Dallas...nothing. I get home and my mom calls again. She then gets a "we're sorry I dont know who you spoke to on on either occasions but we dont have anything special like that".

So American Eagle/American Airlines does not have special requests for special needs. But when I got home and my mom called they did tell her there was special meets for children 10 and under with an extra 100$. My parental #2 told them them off, for one, lying twice. She asked them why they couldnt escort me if they happily paid a fine if they were told earlier. They didnt have a answer.

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I'm sorry that you had to go through that without any support

and shame on them for being so deceptive and unorganized ;)

but you made it, right? it may have been an ordeal but it sounds like you managed on your own for the most part, so give yourself some credit for getting through a rough trip on your own!

I'm not even gonna start in on airlines and airports (every other time I fly--*without fail* my whole life, I get stuck overnight. been stuck in most of the major airports on the east coast. it's to the point where if my friends are having any trouble with delays, etc. they call me and I can refer them to specific people or places in the airport they're in.) but I'm with you in your frustration and sorry that you had to deal with that. sounds like maybe next time you'll have to choose your airline on who has the best track record with this stuff, rather than other things like times and fares.

vent away,


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Your mom tried to do the right thing and some assholes totally lied to her. I hope she went as far up the chain of command as possible and went off. If that kind of service isn't available, fine....but why freaking LIE about it! Especially after the fiasco with the mom and the autistic 5 year-old, you think they would start to get half a clue!!!!


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I'm sorry you didn't get the service you expected. Air travel has changed so much. I could tell you tales of linen napkins with metal utensils, complementary wine or champaign, waiving the cost of a mixed drink, selection of a dozen magazines, closet space to hang your suitbag, and that was just in coach! Several employees in red vests would meet the plane and happily direct you to your next gate. There were plenty of little shuttle trams to help elderly, ill, and families needing assisstance.

Those days are gone. Customers want the cheapest flight. Service doesn't matter, so it gets cut to lower the cost. Heck, the blooming airline execs can't even figure out that they need to charge enough for a seat to cover their costs.

"...Courtesy meet and escort..." Those are key words. The airline provides that as a courtesy, not as a paid service. There is no guaranteed contract of service. They may or may not be able to assist you.

How long did you wait? Did you go to the neares gate agent to ask for assistance? Even if they intended to provide an escort, planes get delayed, passengers are slow, they could be reasonbly delayed and not at any fault for not meeting you. I have been in the same situation once when traveling after being in the hospital. Did you contact a gate agent on your return flight. BTW, did you confirm at check in both directions that you would be recieving an escort? That's not only good thinking but common practice to confirm special arrangement at each check in. Triple checking would be to let the stewardess know about the arrangements as well. They can confirm by radio before arrival.

I it seems confusing, and that you are not an experience traveler. That is the world. You learn by doing.

There is a guaranteed way to get assistance when traveling. "Skycaps" are gents who provide it in airports. They wear blue caps and usually have a handtruck for baggage. In train stations they are called "Redcaps" because they wear..... you can figure that out. ;)

You can hire a Skycap when you first come into the terminal, or find one walking around or go to a gate agent and ask them to page one. Skycaps will help in loading your lugggage, carry it for you, fight the crowd at the carousel on arrival and retrieve it, give you directions and escort you to your gate, obtain a wheelchair and push you where you need to go.

There is no set fee, but let your concience be your guide. For handling your bags for a few minutes a couple dollars per bag is reasonable. If you engage them from your car to the gate for 45 minutes then you should pay them what the better part of an hours work is worth in an airport. Probably $20 or such.

I suspect that there was a misunderstanding at what level of services the airlines typically provide and how you can confirm/request it. Now, you know that you can always get help from a Skycap, the professional at assisting travelers.

I agree that the positive side of this is that you learned how to negotiate terminals and get to your destination on your own. A great feeling for any new traveler. Nothing is as exciting as starting on a trip with a fresh ticket in your hand. One thing for sure, every trip is different and interesting.

Cheers, a.m.

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flying & navigating airports has always been difficult for me...even though i got a lot of "practice" by going to a college on the opposite coast of my family. flying back and forth for holidays & breaks.

since security has changed so drastically...i start at the front check-in area and say something like "I have a disability and i need help." and then i attempt to see if there will be any issues...or if there are already issues that the check-in people can inform be about.

I never use the kiosks...i can never get the damn things to work...regardless of how "easy" they proclaim to be.

i also always ask for a private security screening from the TSA agents. and ive never had a problem with this request. i much prefer a private screening to being in that security line and worrying that i get through ok.

thats my story,


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At the very minimum, they should have told your mother and/or you that the courtesy greet/redcoat service will NOT be a guaranteed thing.

You do need to write them and inform them that they should be more clear in this when dealing with sardines customers passengers.

And just so you know, SAV isn't a busy airport. ;) Though DFW and DEN, yes, those are pretty nasty places to navigate. That said, for me, the worst offenders in terms of navigation are metro NYC's Newark airport (EWR), Houston's Bush Airport, and Minneapolis' airport. Unsurprisingly, those three are hubs for my two frequent flyer airlines, Continental and Northwest. (Well I keep the miles on one account since I can, but yeah.)

However, Houston (hub for Continental) happens to have a very good system of automated trams (between terminals) and cart trolleys (those wheeled indoor vehicles that carry passengers and their carry-ons within terminals). Unfortunately, for some reason, Houston's wheeled trolleys don't beep to warn pedestrians of their existence, so the operators often shout "BEEP BEEP BEEP!".


Personally, I prefer the kiosks since they involve less human interaction. Just punch in your numbers, show ID, drop off your luggage, yank out boarding pass, and go. Then again, I'm an HFA-type, so maybe it's just me.

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