An upbeat story about air travel



American Airlines is the largest airline in the world by passengers carried.
Photo: The Business Journals

Recent studies of customer satisfaction with airlines have placed American at the bottom of US carriers. My wife and I recently made a round trip to Yuma, Arizona via American with a connection at Phoenix. The following is our personal experience.

We were scheduled to leave Indianapolis at 7:50 am (actual departure 7:48 am). On the Phoenix leg we were served a very nice breakfast of a hot omelet, fruit cup, croissant, yogurt, juice, and coffee. The flight was smooth and pleasurable. Now the story has an unusual twist. We arrived in Phoenix slightly early, but, to our chagrin, an hour delay for the next leg was posted. The reason was astounding- the airport at Yuma was closed because of a rare event – heavy rain! Yuma advertises 308 days of sunshine per year and average February rain of 0.3 inches! When we finally took off from Phoenix and arrived near Yuma, the runway was still obscured. We circled for about 25 minutes before the rain finally abated so a safe landing could be made.

Many parking lots in Yuma had at least several inches of standing water! My sister who was meeting us arrived looking like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain between her car and shelter. Except for Mother Nature’s historic “welcome”, the flights themselves were excellent. My bag was the second off the plane and my wife’s appeared shortly thereafter. Absolutely no problem with American then. Our flight was smooth and safe, the attendants were pleasant and attentive to all our needs. I would give AA an A or, better yet, an AA plus!

On our return from Yuma, we departed a couple of minutes early as everyone was on board and the flight was smooth. Our 2-hour layover at Phoenix was as scheduled. We boarded on time and were offered a drink while we waited during boarding. Again, we left a few minutes prior to posted time since everyone was onboard. The pilot introduced himself and hoped that this flight would be one of our most pleasurable. The flight was mildly bumpy over the Rockies but, before it started, he advised us that he had asked for a smoother altitude from flight control, but none was available.

The attendant was very conscientious and friendly. She served us wine as soon as the takeoff stabilized and then the meals we had requested as soon as the bumps were over. She was attentive to our every wish for the entire flight. There was a slight mechanical problem with my tray being very difficult to open which I reported. At the end of the trip our flight attendant advised me that she had added 1000 miles to my frequent flyer account because I reported and tried to fix it! The wait for bags in Indianapolis was a bit lengthy but still acceptable. And our return trip rated another AA plus for all services provided.

As a final note I should say that my wife and I had decided to give each other early birthday (hers in March and mine in April) presents of flying first class. Perhaps the flight in coach may not have been quite so pleasant, but for us, our choice was well worth it, and we could not ask for more from American Airlines! Thank you, American Airlines!


Contributed by:  Ed Koskie

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