Dear American Airlines,
I don’t think we should see each other any more.
I know that’s hard to hear. But you’re not the same airline I met a few years ago. You’ve changed. And not for the better. Sure, you say you love me… that you’ll take care of me… that I am “Elite” in your eyes… but those words just seem empty now. I need you to show me that your love is genuine.
This is a difficult letter to write because we’ve been together for a very long time. We celebrated our “Gold” anniversary… and now we’ve reached our “Platinum” years. It’s a shame really, because we’ve been through so much together. I don’t want to give up on you… but it seems you don’t care anymore. Maybe I need to move on.
I’ve not asked much really. Honestly, it’s the little things that prove your love for me. Showing up on time. Not canceling on me… especially at the last minute… leaving me stranded and forcing me to be unfaithful with another airline. Sometimes, you even pass me off to a different carrier… which leaves me feeling rejected by you… and unfamiliar in the seat of another. That hurts… because it’s you, American Airlines, that I’ve loved. You… that I’ve wanted to be with… not some lesser airline too eager to accommodate my every need.
I know things come up. But you used to be such a planner. If you knew we were getting together… you’d make sure all the “mechanical issues” were taken care of… and that there was actually a crew to get us where we needed to go. But even when I’m with you… you often forget the little things that make me know you care… like, a personal phone call… or smiling. You don’t smile any more. Or maybe treating me to a little snack once in awhile. Call me old-fashioned… but I believe that the one doing the “courting” should pay.
Admittedly, my heart is starting to wander. I see other airlines treating their passengers with such care. As I sit, lonely in the terminal, exhausted from running back and forth as you switch gate after gate changing your fickle mind as to where I should board… I can see Delta’s passengers smiling and laughing as they easily board their on-time flights… being ushered through the jet-way by equally jovial employees.
Then suddenly you call me! I get so excited.. “AA is calling! Maybe to surprise me with a lovely upgrade!” But alas, you’re only calling to tell me that you have to cancel. Again. And this time, I have to wait until tomorrow morning to see you. You didn’t even call me personally… you had your pre-recorded secretary do the dirty work. Have you ever thought about my schedule? Maybe I can’t meet you tomorrow… I do have a job, you know.
So… fatigued and bleary-eyed, I’m once again the broken-hearted, jilted lover. And I have to wait until tomorrow morning… you’ve left me no choice. I came all this way, in hopes of a connection… but now I have to get a hotel. So, I attempt to maneuver my way downstairs to ticketing, stumbling zombie-like down the concourse, my aching, toe-dragging feet plodding through a well-worn path… dazed and distraught, I clutch my hotel voucher and what’s left of my dignity. Then there they are – those giddy Southwest passengers – lining up in their little numbered rows, happily organizing themselves. They, too, are smiling and laughing… because they are confident in their relationship… and they know that they’re about to spend some quality time singing and joking their way through the skies. They know they won’t be canceled on… or over-sold… or mechanically failed upon. It’s hard not to be envious. It’s hard not to be swayed when they flirt with me… wooing me with offers of direct flights, on-time departures and drink coupons. It’s tempting to be unfaithful… very tempting.
Did you want specifics? I don’t want to hold grudges or harp on the past… but you have failed me time and time again… with little or no apology. Things seem to have taken a downward turn ever since your MD80 incident in early April. Crisis usually bonds and strengthens a relationship… but we seem to have drifted further apart. Maybe it was more than you could handle. Perhaps the stress has caused you to just give up on us. Regardless, the following are merely examples of how you have failed or neglected me since April… my hope is that you will learn from this and treat the next relationship better.
• Our Fresno trip in early April: I was canceled and re-booked 5 times before actually arriving in Fresno (from Nashville)… at 1:30am. Which was really 3:30am central time. Making my 6:00am work schedule really difficult. You gave me 2 upgrade points to compensate. Thank you. But it took 4 points to get an upgrade for that trip. Besides… you re-booked me on a United flight on my last leg so I couldn’t really use them.
• Coming home from our Spokane, WA trip the following weekend: Delayed. Canceled. Delayed. Delayed again. Re-routed. All due to mechanical or no crew. Or no MD80 craft available.
• Columbus, OH the next weekend was equally disappointing: So close… and yet so far. More delays. More cancellations. Again, due to mechanical or no crew. Why must it take 11 hours to get to such a nearby destination? 4 more hours and I could have flown to Africa… or Australia. It was 2:00am when I finally got home. 12 hours after scheduled.
• Then there was Rochester, NY. Granted this time it was weather in Chicago that caused the problem. But nine hours in the Rochester airport and you couldn’t fine another route? Once on the plane… we sat for 2 and a half hours on the tarmac… waiting for an opening to take off. Then I finally got to Chicago… only to sit on the tarmac… for another 3 hours waiting for a gate. You could have at least offered me some water while I waited. And of course, I missed my connection to Nashville… and had to stay the night. But you wouldn’t help me because you said it wasn’t your fault. No hotel voucher. No food voucher. Even though I hadn’t eaten anything in 10 hours because I’d been stranded inside your plane with staff who ignored us. The only available hotel I could find was $200 a night. My employer was kind enough to reimburse me… because you wouldn’t. But that’s not really a good thing… since I work for a non-profit who cares for children in Third World countries. $200 is a lot of money in Africa. But don’t worry, I’ll call Kenya and tell them they’re getting a little less grain next month. Thanks to the hotel bill. I finally got home the next day… at 7:30pm… 31 hours after scheduled. Again, I understand weather related set-backs. But we’re in a committed Platinum relationship. I had just hoped that you would have taken better care of me during the whole dilemma.
• Oh, and don’t forget St. Louis last weekend! That was fun… what should have been a direct 1 hour and 12 minute flight… turned into a 15 hour travel day… re-routed through Dallas… all because of mechanical and no crew. Again. Seriously… you can’t fore-see this and make other arrangements? It’s the same old excuse, time and time again. I don’t want to sound completely ungrateful. You did give me a $10 food voucher for the airport. I was able to buy a whole bag of cashews with that! So thank you…
• But the ‘final straw’ was yesterday… trying to come home from New York City. An hour before the direct flight to Nashville you had promised me… you called to cancel. Well, your pre-recorded secretary called anyway. It was because the “plane was not in service”. Really? Did you not know that sooner? So, I was told we’d meet in the morning instead. But then, shortly after… you canceled that, as well. I was then re-booked through Atlanta for last night… but told I’d have to run to another terminal to… gulp… have Delta Airlines take me the rest of the way home.
But I never made the Delta flight last night… because you had mechanical problems again and I boarded in New York an hour and a half late. But oh, if only that were the end of it! I ended up sitting in the plane on the LaGuardia tarmac for another hour and a half while you waited for someone to sign paperwork for the mechanical repairs that had just been done. Then, once we actually arrived in Atlanta… there was no gate agent to open the jet bridge door and we sat in the plane for another 45 minutes… waiting for someone to open the door.
This time, you did put me in a hotel for the night (a rather seedy one I might add and with no food voucher)… and asked me to come back in the morning… for another Delta flight that would take me directly to Nashville. I arrived… to find Delta on-time, free from mechanical problems and willing to pick up where you left off… with a smile. A tempting affair indeed.
My beloved AA… we have another 3 flights planned together in July… and one scheduled tomorrow for Seattle. Will you keep your promises? Or am I in for more disappointment and a broken heart? I have 17 more dates I need to book before the end of this calendar year. I have been flying with you about 30 times a year. Have I just been looking for love in all the wrong places? Do I need to date around? Or are you willing to commit to me… and woo my heart back?
Breaking up is hard to do. I do want to stay in a committed relationship with you… but I need to know that you, American Airlines, are chivalrous and will fight for my love. If you feel the same way… give me a call or drop me a note and let me know of your plans to win my affection back.
Yours very truly,
Platinum Member # 131R5V8
*this is a copy of the actual letter I sent American Airlines today.