Customer Service

American Airlines

On Wednesday, Nov 27, I booked a flight from Atlanta to College Station on American Airlines. The record locator was SLEWCL. The first leg of the trip was flight 242 from Atlanta to Dallas. That flight was uneventful. Pleasant, even. The second leg was flight 3502 from Dallas to College Station. The AA iOS app said that this flight was to depart from gate E29A at 8:26PM (screenshot below). As my 3 week old grandson had been rushed to a hospital in Texas, I was engrossed texting various family members when I noticed that boarding should have started. I was informed that the departure gate was B3. I had fifteen minutes to get from the farthest E gate to the farthest B gate. I had to run through the airport to make it with a minute to spare. On the one hand, I just signed up for Medicare so I'm too old for this. On the other hand, I did manage to outrun the young Asian lady who was in the same predicament as I.

Today I contacted AA customer relations (AA Ref#1-28844590539). The gist of their response:

That is why we ask our customers to please check the Flight Information Display monitors.

Blithering idiots. First, I was sitting at a gate where if there were any information display monitors, they weren't readily visible. Second, the system that posts updates to the information display monitors should also update the information in the mobile app.

To add insult to injury, the customer service rep (who I don't fault -- they're powerless to do anything but use a script) wrote:

I have made your comments available to the appropriate management personnel for internal review and to serve as a focus of discussion on how to better serve our customers in the future.

Is AA management so out of touch that they don't already know that their IT system needs work? Do they not "eat their own dog food"?

Hey, American! I flew United back (their prices were cheaper that day). United had updates in their app in a timely manner.


Goodbye AT&T

[updated 3/15/2022 to note removal of video]

The June bill for our AT&T landline increased from $34.03 to $38.49. The difference was a $2.00 "minimum usage charge", a $1.99 "carrier cost recovery fee", plus a $0.47 "federal universal service fund fee." The ostensible reason for this was because we hadn't chosen a long distance carrier.

However, we didn't use the land line for long distance calls. Aside from the target it gave the thrice-damned money seekers, we used it for our security system.

We called AT&T customer service and the agent was of no help whatsoever. He was unable to answer the question why we had to pay for a service we weren't using. After several fruitless trips around the circle, we asked to speak to a supervisor and were put back into the interminable "wait for the next agent" state.

So I drove to the nearby AT&T store. The rep was very professional and, after being on hold with AT&T customer service himself, removed the charge and supposedly waived the fee on future bills. But it was not to be so. The fee was back on the next bill. This time my wife dealt with AT&T and, again, the charge was removed from our bill. When she asked if the charge was gone for good, the agent couldn't give any assurance that it would be.

So we asked our security provider to go wireless and then dropped our land line. I would have been happy to keep the land line, but not with a junk fee, and especially not with such incompetent service. I may switch to Verizon or Sprint for mobile service, especially since the iPhone is rumored to be available for all three in October.

Two days after canceling our service, Clark Howard came out
speaking against this fee.

More years ago than I care to remember, Lily Tomlin was in this Saturday Night Live skit about AT&T. The technology has changed, but corporate stupidity abides.

[The link to the Lily Tomlin "phone company" skit on Saturday Night Live is deprecated]