Two days ago Brooks and I left the house at 9 am for an 11:15 flight out of Chicago O’Hare to Cleveland. I wasn’t worried at all. We’ve flown with him almost a dozen times so far and out of those trips I’ve taken him by myself on 3-4 flights. Besides, Cleveland is barely an hour flight. Piece of cake. We got all checked in and went through TSA pre-check without a hitch. American said the flight was on time and we did board on time. That; however, is where our luck ran out. We were told that the computers were down so they had to do the paperwork by hand. The pilot explained that this should take about 15 minutes. An hour later he got on the microphone to tell us that they still didn’t have it so he was going to de-plane us. Literally, a minute later he got back on and said they got the paperwork. They just needed to refuel and we’d be off. Again, we sat and waited. Another hour went by. At about 1:15, two hours after our flight was scheduled to leave, the pilot told us we were to de-plane. By this time we were all really frustrated. Brooks was tired and crabby. I couldn’t get him to sleep the entire time so I was also tired and crabby. We got off the plane (he was in a baby carrier attached to me) and we walked around for about 30 minutes. And then…they cancelled the flight. At this point I called my mom to tell her to go home (she had already left for the airport) and I cried. They told us since their system was down they couldn’t rebook us so there was nothing they could do. They then told us that our checked baggage would be in baggage claim at carousel 8. I headed downstairs feeling sad and defeated. After about 15 minutes of no bags coming out I went over to ask a representative at AA. The employees there were quite rude. They explained that regardless of what they had told us upstairs they were not releasing any bags. Our bags would be sent on the next flight out to our final destination. Never mind that we wouldn’t be on the next flight out. I explained, with tears in my eyes, to the AA employee that I needed my car seat in order to get my baby home. The guy was very nice to me. He gave me a lender car seat and a heart-felt apology. We left in a cab and got home six hours after we had left. We were exhausted and I was mad.
When I first wanted to write about this experience it was so everyone knew how lousy American Airlines is. While it is true that the last 4-5 flights I’ve taken with them have been all delayed (while we are sitting on the plane mind you) and I think the way they handled the whole situation on Tuesday was completely unacceptable, I also realize that with this week’s tragedies my own inconveniences are just that. My heart hurts for the victims of the Boston marathon bombing. These people’s lives have forever been altered. News today of the fertilizer plant explosion and all of the victims and families affected simply reinforces how trivial my problems are. I pray for all of the victims and their families. I pray that my biggest issues continue to be how terrible American Airlines is.
As a side note, I don’t plan on booking anymore trips through American Airlines and I love Southwest Airlines. They got us to Cleveland ten minutes early despite thunderstorms in Chicago. I fly SWA!