Last Updated on May 20, 2015 by Chef Mireille
While you may have a wonderful vacation or business trip, the return home is Russian Roulette, espeically if you are flying American Airlines. As I am evolving as a food/travel journalist, along with my other culinary jobs, I am traveling more often. Great job you think – not if you fly with American Airlines. I am sharing my ordeal with you so that you do not have to go through the same thing – Hope you take my advice and avoid American Airlines, at all costs!!
It started at the airport. I arrived at the Melville Hall airport on the small island of Dominica at 2pm, for a flight departing at 3:45 pm and I was told that I did not have a guaranteed seat on the airplane, eventhough my ticket was bought and paid for since August. Other travelers who had arrived even before me, at the required 2 hours before departure were also told the same thing. Eventhough AA had a booked flight, they were selling more tickets that very morning at the airport. We were all on standby.
In addition, everyone was switching weight in their baggage because we were all under the assumption like all other flights, the luggage weight was 70 lbs. per bag.
American Eagle flights part of American Airlines also, only allows 70 lbs. per person, but this is not written on any documentation I received when I made my reservation. I was lucky and my travel companion and I were able to get the last 2 seats on the plane. A US navy employee who had to be back on base the next day and was traveling with his wife, 2 children and other family members; a party of 7 was told they could not accomodate his whole family, eventhough his tickets were paid for since July and he was at the airport from 1:45pm. On the small island of Dominica, there is only one flight a day that is headed towards the US. Once you miss the flight, you are stuck until at least the next day. The airline made no offers of accomodations or meals, when they were the ones who overbooked the plane.
Finally, we get on the plane and are headed for Puerto Rico, and eventually NY and I think our problems are over. With all the weight shuffling we had to do, a bottle that contained a liquid wound up in our hand luggage and got confiscated. A natural cocoa rum, which it is not possible to get here in the United States. It belonged to my friend who I was traveling with. Needless to say, she was very upset and rightly so. But I am going to play devil’s advocate for a minute and give the airlines the benefit of the doubt and say they are only following procedure to prevent terrorism and they had no choice. OK, but I don’t think theft of personal belongings prevents terrorism. I will explain.
As our bags were coming down the conveyer belt, one of my bags was unzipped. The zipper had been giving me problems, so perhaps it opened by itself. If clothing was missing, I will assume it fell out. However, several bottles were missing. To prevent breakage, all bottles were wrapped in clothing. None of our clothing is missing, which means the American Airlines employees unwrapped the bottles from our clothing, chose to relieve us of the bottles and then put back our clothing. Some of the items I am not that upset about, however, my aunt went through the trouble of making homemade guava preserves for my friend and I. It is irreplaceable and who knows when I would be able to get another bottle; maybe when I go next year again.
If you want to arrive at the airport 5 hours in advance to guarantee yourself a seat you have paid for months in advance and get property stolen from you, choose American Airlines. I do not care how much extra it may cost, I will NEVER fly AA again, unless I have absolutely no other alternative. I think I would prefer to go by boat!!
American Airlines are thieves who are just trying to steal more and more from us – we can’t even get nuts or pretzels with our juice anymore on a 4 hour flight – a candy bar costs $3. Is that ridiculous or what??? Please join me in my boycott of American Airlines unless you enjoy being swindled.
Once I have gotten over my anger and disappointment over my return trip home, I will tell you all more about my wonderful experiences on the nature island of the Caribbean.