American Airlines doesn't know north from south!

Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 7:34pm CDT by 9193ac45

Company: American Airlines doesn't know north from south!

Category: Other

This is the complaint letter I sent to American

Airlines and their ridiculous response. I am sending

these two items to the VP of Customer Service at the

airline in hopes of a respectable response.

Unfortunately, there is no email address for American



Susanna Zaraysky

10696 Culbertson Dr.

Cupertino CA 95014

Mobile: 415 425 1399

June 8, 2007

American Airlines Customer Relations

P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400

DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

Fax: (817) 967-4162

“I’ve found you a flight on August 6th from New York

JFK Airport to the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s an

early morning flight from JFK to Los Angeles,” the

American Airlines international frequent flyer

(Advantage) supervisor informs me, after having spent

20 minutes trying to book my trip to Venezuela.

“Sir, I need to fly back to the San Francisco area, “

I explain again.

“I did find you a flight to the Bay Area. The only

available flight to the San Francisco area is to Los

Angeles on August 6th,” he answers.

“Los Angeles is in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! I am in

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA! There is an 8 hour drive from my

town to Los Angeles,” I explain, very annoyed with his


“Oh. We have no available return flight using your

miles to San Francisco,” he responds nonchalantly, not

even excusing himself for his lack of basic

geographical knowledge about the most populous state

in the union.

This was part of my conversation with a male

supervisor at American Airlines Advantage

International reservations on Thursday June 7, 2007.

No, I was not watching a Saturday Night Live skit or a

Daily Show sketch. I was really talking to an advanced

staff member at a travel company who thought that Los

Angeles and San Francisco were twin cities. Yes, we

have earthquakes out here in Gold Country, but the

tectonic plates don’t move so much that suddenly south

and north collide. When did Southern California’s

smog-opolis relocate? I am not choking on smog.

I feel insulted that as a long standing American

Airlines frequent flyer account holder I have to

interact with your staff who are ignorant about

geography and where your airline flies. However, this

asinine conversation was just the culmination of a

long attempt to contact your reservation department.

“Welcome to American Airlines. We know why you fly.

This call may be recorded for quality assurance.

Please tell us what you are calling about.

Reservations, Flight and Gate Information or

Advantage Services?” asks the overly cheerful female

recorded voice.

“Reservations,” I say in my clear, standard American

English with no regional intonation or foreign accent.

“I heard Advantage Services, is that right?” the

female recorded voice asks me.

“No, RESERVATIONS,” I enunciate.

“I’m sorry. I can’t understand you. I think you want

Advantage Services”

“RESERVATIONS,” I state again and then press “0” to

avoid the stupid voice prompt system and talk to a

human being.

Finally, I’m connected to a reservation agent after

five minutes of hold time. After telling her my

frequent flyer number, we get disconnected.

I call again and get dragged through the faulty voice

recognition system, where I clearly state that I am

calling for an international frequent flyer

reservation. I get transferred to three people, with a

hold time of about five minutes before each clerk

answer my call, until I get to speak to someone who

can actually make an international frequent flyer

reservation. I ask to speak to this woman’s

supervisor to explain my annoyance with the

non-recognition menu system. Her supervisor spends

more than 20 minutes to find me a round trip flight to

South America’s oil rich socialist haven with a return

to the Bay Area. Besides the fact that there’s little

availability and it looks like I have to linger in New

York for a few weeks before I can get back to

California, your senior reservation specialist thinks

Los Angeles is in Northern California.

Your airline’s motto is “We know why you fly.”


I fly to get from Point A to Point B. Not to Point C

because of the ticket clerk’s ignorance or folly.

Everyone else I know flies for the same reason.

Really, we do like to get to our destination. We don’t

pay hundreds of dollars for bags of peanuts and little

pretzels. Do you know why you fly or where to fly to?

Next time I book a ticket home to San Jose,

California, can I expect to be deported from San Jose,

Costa Rica because I land without my passport because

the American Airline pilot confused the two San Joses?

A few years ago, I called your airline reservations

department because I wanted to use my miles to fly to

Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus, Syria and I knew

American Airlines didn’t have flights there. I asked

the reservation agent about what partner airlines fly

to those two countries. She looked on a map and said

that American’s partner company, El Al, flies in the


“That’s an Israeli airline. The only flights they have

to Lebanon and Syria are on military planes,” I inform

the airline representative.

I don’t fly with a bullet-proof vest or parachute. I

was looking for a passenger aircraft, not a military

target. I don’t look good in camouflage and I don’t

think El Al will fly me on a joy ride to the Levant.

Does American Airlines train its staff in geography?

How about some basic geo-politics? What’s next? Are

you going to book me to North Korea via a Chinese

airline when all flights to Seoul, South Korea are

full? Please, hire people with a clue about the world.

Or at least train them.

These telephone agents are your airline’s front line.

They are the first impression your customers have of

your airline. The impact on me, your customer, is that

I can’t take your company seriously. Your staff is

inept. Your telephone systems don’t work. Your

company is a joke.

Are you trying to go bankrupt like most of the other

airlines? With customer service like this, you’re on

the fast track to ridicule and insolvency.

Last year, I flew about 50,000 miles domestically and

internationally for business and leisure. I used

United, Delta,and their partner airlines. I was never

treated so poorly as I was yesterday. Their phone

systems work and their staff know their heads from

their toes.

Please re-vamp your phone menu system and clearly

state the numbers I can press on my touch-tone phone

to avert your non-recognition menu disaster. World

maps are cheap. Buy some. It’s summer break now and

there are lots of world history teachers available.

Hire some to teach your reservation staff.

By the way, I never did get to make my reservation to

Caracas because there was no availability to fly me

back to Los Angeles… oh I mean… San Francisco, in late

July or early August.

Please don’t send me some form letter stating “we

really appreciate your input and will take it into

consideration for our staff training.” Tell me how you

are improving your telephone menu and personnel

education. Tell me why I should consider giving

American Airlines another chance.


Susanna Zaraysky

P.S. The CA in my return address isn’t for Canada.

It’s for California. No international postage



American Airlines' lame response:


June 27, 2007

Dear Ms. Zaraysky:

Thank you for contacting American Airlines Customer


We received your letter and were eager to send you a

reply as quickly

as possible.

Since we noticed the email address included in your


profile we took the

liberty of responding to you electronically.

We are sorry you experienced difficulty with our

telephone automation

and reservations

personnel when you called us recently. While we're

disappointed to

learn we let you

down, at the same time, we're glad you took the time

to share with us

your experience.

As a company committed to our customers, input such

as yours is

critical to our

continued success.

Accordingly, we have forwarded a copy of your email to

the appropriate


personnel within our company for further review.

Thank you for giving

us this

opportunity to improve.

Ms. Zaraysky, we depend on our customers to let us

know what's working

and what's not

and you have our assurance we will continue to improve

and expand our

automated phone

system's capabilities and the proficiency of our

customer service


We hope you don't mind we've sent our response via

email. Please

continue to send us

your comments through any communication channel most

convenient for

you. However,

we'll get to your feedback faster and respond more

quickly if you

contact us again via This is an

"outgoing only" email

address. If

you 'reply' to this message by simply selecting the

reply button, we

won't receive

your additional comments.


Margaret J. Fevens

Customer Relations

American Airlines

1 Comment

c458eec9, 2009-02-25, 02:18PM CST

I once dated someone who was a flip smart ass much like you are,I broke up with him..ever occur to you some people do have a bad sense of direction..that does not make us stupid as you rudely stated several I could care less where you want to go, but I can as hell tell you where I would like you to end up..

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