An Open Letter to “American” Airlines

Dear American Airlines,

I tried to give you money yesterday but you refused to accept it. I wanted to upgrade my daughter and son-in-law’s flight home from their honeymoon to business class. Yet, no matter how I tried, you wouldn’t let me.

You just didn’t want my money.

First, I followed the advice of one of your customer service reps. She said that within the twenty-four-hour period before the flight, when I checked them in, I would be offered an opportunity to upgrade them.

That was lie number one. Not only was I never offered the opportunity to upgrade, I was only able to check-in one of them, my new son-in-law. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I like the guy. But I didn’t think I’d have to choose between him and my daughter having a return flight.

Such choices might make the holidays uncomfortable.

But I was hopeful. I called customer service. The first representative, located I believe somewhere on this planet but clearly not within walking distance, tried to help. He couldn’t. But he did connect me to someone he assured me would help me.

This was lie number two.

This person, also on a different planet, claimed she could not understand me. I thought she was being ironic.

She wasn’t.

After a number of “thank you too many for the privilege of speaking at you but my sincerest apologies as I do not comprehend you,” she gave up.

I am an optimist. I called back.

This time, I spoke to another individual. The accent sounded familiar, I was hopeful until I realized I recognized the accent from a Star Trek movie. It was not a crew member of the Enterprise.

They said, and I quote, they were “sincerely apologizing for the problem to fix my unability to accomplish my goal” but they could not provide the requested assistance.

On a positive note, they were very happy to speak with me and thanked me for using American Airlines. I began to have doubts.

Now I do not have an issue with globalization. As a matter of fact, I embrace the concept. But, since for the foreseeable future there will be language differences among humans, I don’t think it too much to ask that you offer some reasonable chance that I can speak to a representative that actually understands English, not parrots certain memorized phrases.

I suspect the problem would not have been any better had I been able to speak Spanish and “presione dos” as the accent was clearly not Spanish.

Either that or change the name of the airline. American Airlines does carry a certain expectation.

Needless to say, I never was able to give you my money. My daughter was left to her own devices to check in at the airport. I am sure she will make it onto your flight home from Chile. Cramped and squashed into seats designed for hobbits.

Thanks, American Airlines. You’ve made their honeymoon a most memorable experience.

Sincerely yours too many,

Joe Broadmeadow