No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • JFK-Nowhere, JFK-SXM-SJU-JFK on AA/MQ


    I was headed down to St. Maarten for vacation. Since I was (supposed to be) heading down on a Wednesday and coming back on a Tuesday (during the off season), I couldn't get non-stop flights on either end without booking on two seperate carriers. So in the interest of easing connections (plus the fact that one of my travel companions had already booked her flights), I booked on AA the whole way, stopping in SJU both ways. If only it ended up being that simple.

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
    John F. Kennedy Int'l (JFK)-Luis Munoz Int'l (SJU)
    Scheduled Departure: 8:05 AM
    Scheduled Arrival: 11:55 AM
    Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
    Reg: I wish I had the oppurtunity to find out-I wasn't that lucky.

    Luis Munoz Int'l (SJU)-Princess Juliana Int'l (SXM)
    AA5170 operated by American Eagle/Executive
    Scheduled Departure: 2:50 PM
    Scheduled Arrival: 4:00 PM
    Aircraft: ATR-72-500
    Reg: Again, I wish I had the oppurtunity to find out.


    I arrived at the Terminal 8 at around 5:30. I walked inside to find a skycap/contract security guard/ticket agent who asked me what flight I was on. When I told him I was on the 8:05 to SJU he informed me that the flight was cancelled due to "damage to the aircraft" (a great thing to tell passengers). We were put on a long, meandering line to rebook. About 20 minutes later my friend (who was on the same ticket) arrived. Since he was AAdvantage Gold, he went onto the business class line, and at around 6:15 made it to the front. Since we were on the same ticket, I went over to that line to rebook together. The agent put us on standby for the 9:25 (AA699) along with the entire 767 worth of people on our original flight. We were also confirmed for the non-stop JFK-SXM flight the next morning. She was very nasty, and acted like she was doing us a favor by putting us on this flight. She was also completely unwilling to help our other friend, who was on a seperate ticket (she ended up getting down that day, in first class on Delta no less). When we asked about our checked luggage, she said that if it were put on the plane, we would have to put a claim in for it once we arrive to SJU, a totally unacceptable option (we got many different versions of what would happen to our bags during the day). We checked our bags and headed to the gate.

    We went through security and arrived at the gate at around 7:00. Since we still had two and a half hours till we might have gotten on a flight, we went out of the sterile zone for breakfast. We returned to find a completely chaotic scene at the gate, with everyone clamboring to see if they would make the flight. The agents wouldn't tell anyone their position on the standby list. They also refused to help anyone rebook until the already overbooked flight boarded and they could see who would make it off standby. This proved to be costly, as any available seats on another carrier became hard to find. I started calling all of the airlines, trying to see if there was anyway to get to SJU from any of the NY area airports (HPN, JFK, LGA, EWR). One thing I notice about airline phone lines is that they all ask you for O & D cities before you even get to an agent, only to have an agent reask you. My search came up empty. Meanwhile, my friend was on the phone with his travel agent, who found us a way to get there through FLL and SJU, part of the way on DL. After the flight pushed back with no standby passengers on board, they started calling the passengers up one by one to find other options. Half the plane went on standby for the 1:45 flight. When we asked the agent about the Delta option. She said she couldn't access DL booking info (which I believe to be BS)

    We returned to the check-in desk armed with a new set of flights, which again included DL, this time in first class. When we got to the front of the line, we were greeted by the only nice agent we saw all day. She went to check with her manager about the DL option, who said he couldn't book us on first class because we had a coach ticket. When I got him to come over, he was, like many of his employees, very nasty. He refused to budge on the first class issue, and when I said I'd never fly AA again, he replied "maybe that's what you have to do." The FLL-SJU flight had filled up, so there was no sense in pushing it any further. We were confirmed to be heading down non-stop tomorrow (I must admit, I was disappointed a little that I wouldn't get to connect). I called the AA baggage line later that day who informed me that my bags were in SXM. Things were looking up.

    Thursday, June 28, 2007.
    John F. Kennedy Int'l (JFK)-Princess Juliana Int'l (SXM)
    Scheduled departure: 8:15
    Scheduled Arrival: 12:20
    Aircraft: Boeing 757-223
    Reg: N639AA (delivered 02/91)
    Seat 11E

    Check-in, Security, and Boarding

    I arrived at the airport at around 6:00, staying conservative in case I were to get unlucky two days in a row. My flight was from the new Terminal 9, and as soon as I walked in, I was very impressed. It was my first time in the new terminal, and all I can say is, WOW, AA did a great job on this one. I was already checked in, so I headed straight to security, which was quick and painless. I headed down to the underground walkway to head to gate 34. I arrived at the gate to find N639AA, the plane that happened to be parked next to flight 699 the day before. I went to grab some breakfast at Au Bon Pain, and returned to the gate. I went to the gate agent to double check my seat, as my boarding pass and the online reservation said two different seats, one of which had me in the emergency exit row. When I approached the agent and explained the situation, she barked back at me, "how old are you" to which I replied 15, and she told me I had to be 16 to sit in an exit row. I said I thought it was 15, and she replied nastily, "you thought wrong" and that I would need to come back so they could move me. It turns out I was right-15 is the minimum age, not to mention I was probably one of the few passengers on the plane who had ever opened an over wing exit (on an A320 mockup). She never called me back. Boarding started on time, but was paused due to mechanics coming on board to fix an F/A jumpseat. When I went to board, the agent I previously dealt with took my boarding pass. She told me I wasn't in an exit row, based on the seat on my boarding pass. I reexplained to her what it said to me online, but she didn't seem to care. Nor did I really, I was finally on my way.


    I made my way to seat 11E. The aircraft looked well worn from the inside. The appointments were tired, my seat back pocket was falling off, etc. I had assumed it was an ex-TWA bird and that it would soon be getting a great new interior, but I was wrong. From inside the plane, boarding seemed very chaotic. Everyone finding a place for their carry-ons, etc. The chaos was broken by the Captain's welcome aboard message, which came before the purser's. He informed us that we would be heading south (obviously) over Bermuda to St. Maarten at FL330. Before we pushed back, we were given customs and immigrations forms for St. Maarten. Pushback was on time. We were shown the safety video as we taxied out (I'm not sure the runway). There was not a long line for takeoff, and we were soon airborne.

    The in-flight service was the usual drinks and buy on board (A Turkey Sandwhich and snacks). I didn't purchase anything. The IFE was CBS's Eye on American and then "Wild Hogs." I didn't watch either. The F/A's were unexceptional, not particularly friendly but not nasty. The flight went uneventfully, and we were soon in the pattern for SXM. We made the famous approach, which isn't as spectacular from the air as from the beach. It was a short walk to immigration. We got our bags (which had arrived and were waiting for us at the lost luggage stand. Customs was non-existant, and we walked right out. We had finally made it.

    Return trip to follow. I apologize for the lack of Pics.

  • #2

    Wow, seems to me AA's employees don't really mind losing passengers (at least NYC area employees), especially when they say:

    "maybe that's what you have to do."
    My experience with Continental last month was a complete 180 compared to this. This kind of puts me on guard 'cause I'm flying AA between OKC and DFW in this coming winter (only for connecting purposes) when I fly out to India and back. Thanks for posting this review! I enjoyed reading it (except the parts where you got treated badly).


    • #3
      Originally posted by Foxtrot

      My experience with Continental last month was a complete 180 compared to this. This kind of puts me on guard 'cause I'm flying AA between OKC and DFW in this coming winter (only for connecting purposes) when I fly out to India and back. Thanks for posting this review! I enjoyed reading it (except the parts where you got treated badly).
      My pleasure. As for CO, Im not surprised. There is a reason I usually fly out of EWR. .


      • #4
        Sorry this is so delayed. It's been a crazy couple of weeks.

        Tuesday, July 17, 2007
        Princess Juliana Int'l (SXM)-Luis Munoz Int'l (SJU)
        AA5041 operated by American Eagle/Executive
        Scheduled Departure: 9:45 AM
        Scheduled Arrival: 10:45 AM
        Aircraft: ATR-72-212
        Reg: N529AM (delivered 10/97)
        Check-in, security, and boarding

        I arrived at the airport at around 7:00. Check-in was pretty quick. I went to grab some breakfast. I went through security at about 8:45, and proceeded across the terminal to the downstairs gates. The aircraft hadn't arrived yet, so I took a seat. At about 9:00 (scheduled boarding time) The plane arrived (sans passengers, most likely it was RON) and boarding began at around 9:15. Boarding was quick. Once on board, they asked for volunteers to move to the back of the plane for weight and balance. They finished loading the bags, closed the doors, and the engines started. We taxied around out to the taxiway (no pushback) and headed out rather quickly to runway 9. The F/A's did the safety demo as we taxied. We pulled out on to the active and took off for the 48 minute flight to SJU.


        We climbed to our cruising altitude of 10,000 feet. Cloud cover was light, and the Caribbean sea was visible the entire way. After we had leveled off the F/A's came around with a complimentary snack. The snack was a small bag of Special-K vanilla snack bites (or something like that) and were quite good. Next was a drink service. The F/A's were unexceptional, however they were a bit better than the ones on the flight coming down. About 20 minutes out of SJU we hit pretty bad turbulence, and the fasten seat belt sign remained on for the rest of the trip. We landed in SJU without further incident and we taxied over to the ATR ramp. We were then bused over to the terminal to clear customs, which was not a big hassle. We rechecked our bags for the flight to JFK and proceeded to security.

        Luis Munoz Int'l (SJU)-John F. Kennedy Int'l (JFK)
        Scheduled Departure: 2:45
        Aircraft:Airbus A300B4-605R


        After grabbing lunch at San Juan we headed to our gate. The gate area was crowded as it is nowhere near big enough to hold an A300 worth of people. There we were told that our plane was late due to traffic in NYC (shocking, isn't it?). The plane arrived about 45 minutes late, and about 45 minutes later boarding began. Boarding went reasonably quickly. We pushed back and then did a quick taxi out and before long we were airborne for New York.


        Shortly after we leveled off the IFE was started, which was the usual Eye on American followed by Breach if I'm not mistaken. The flight attendants came through the cabin with Buy on Board, which that day was a turkey wrap and the usual snacks. I bought the wrap for $5. It wasn't terrible.

        The interior of the aircraft, was, like the 757 that had brought us down to SXM, tired. It wasn't falling apart like the other one, but it was definately showing its age. I guess there are other aircraft serving other routes that AA might have on higher priority.

        I passed the flight with the greatest remedy for in-flight boredom-sleep. I woke up about an hour and a half out of New York. We soon began our descent. The approach went smoothly, and before long we were on the ground. We had a long taxi across the airport to Terminal 8. We pulled up to gate 1-the very same gate where flt#699-the one we were standby for-departed without us. Talk about coming full circle.


        When I booked the reservation, I was excited to be flying AA for the first time in 2 years. I was very disappointed. From the handling of my canceled flight to the customer service (I use the term loosely) agents along the way to the cleanliness of the aircraft, AA failed to meet my expectations with the exception of one thing. Their new terminal 9 at JFK is world class. Too bad there isn't a world class airline making use of it. Fortunately, I know of one that isn't too far away. C


        • #5
          That's too bad, the few times that I have flown American out of PDX I have always had great experiences. Their MD-83 aircraft are very nice and clean and the agents were very friendly.

          I'll make the note not to fly them to JFK though.

          I do have to agree that Continental is much better, though I do prefer Alaska/Horizon personally


          • #6
            Reading BOK's story confirms to me why I have one set-in-stone vow for my lifetime......

            ....I will never, EVER fly AA, even if it means not being able to ever fly again !!

            ....and United come a close second.
            If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


            • #7
              AA's people in the New York area have attitudes the size of Mount Everest, both at LGA and JFK. I'm not sure what the issue is compared to the other airlines but they just do things piss poorly.


              • #8
                .....but they just do things piss poorly.
                Oh so true. A slightly modified version of the rule of 6 "P"'s comes to mind..

                Piss Poor Personality = Piss Poor Performance.
                If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


                • #9
                  Alright guys I have got a question. Im finally complaining to Customer service. I don't however, want them to just give me the 6000 bonus miles they normally do, as that is a miniscule amount and will not fully repay me for the inconvenience. I would like to ask them for elite status, but then again I don't want to fly AA to begin with. Shoud I be bold and ask them for Onepass miles? just kidding, but seriously, any ideas?


                  • #10
                    An update for you all...I sent a 2 page letter to AA Customer service, and several high ranking managers (including Mr. Arpey). My letter discussed not how I was not upset that AA cancelled my flight, but how poorly their employees handled it and how rude it was. They sent me back a long letter about how cancellations happen and it was not their faul (ie they didn't really read my letter so much as just assume I was another customer pissed off that their plane went MX). They said they would send me travel vouchers as a matter of "Goodwill". I e-mailed them back saying that I understood that flights got cancelled, and what my main concerns were. They e-mailed me back with an e-mail about how CSA's should treat the customers better, etc. Anyway, I got the vouchers today. They sent me and my travel companion $200 each. So for loosing a day of my vacation, giving me 5 hours sweating my balls off running around T8 at JFK, having to deal with rude employees, I get $200? American is a joke, no way around it. The use of these travel vouchers will be the last time I fly AA. And maybe if I'm lucky, Ill be able to apply it towards a codeshare and bypass this effigy of a once great airline altogether.


                    • #11
                      Well I think we should rename this thread to Reasons Why Never To Fly AA. I've flown them from RIC-DFW-PHX and PHX-DFW-RIC and had no problems. Now the service wasn't as good as Delta's or JetBlue's but it wasn't worth a complaint.