American Airlines take customer effort to new level…as they take the “Expectation versus customer experience reality test …and score 3/10”

Arrived in Miami airport to take a flight to Costa Rica and came across the worlds worst airport staff and to be fair to American Airlines that included the Miami airport staff.  Combine this with the latest airline cost cutting that sees even more effort heaped on the paying passenger and it was frankly a nightmare


First issue was getting a ticket out of the self service machine – the only way to get a Boarding Pass it appears.  So with five people in our party we approached the machine and of course it didn’t recognise the passports so we had to manually enter all of the information for each passenger to get the Boarding Pass but then it asked us to pay for hold luggage so the debit card was inserted.  It didn’t register and so we were kicked out of the system and yes…we were back at square one input ALL the passenger information again.  So we asked for some assistance from the AA staff, they assisted but failed to give us one vital piece of information…as you will see below…and we got the Boarding passes and left to join the queue for bag drop.  Whilst in the queue a particularly unhelpful AA staff member said “get out of the queue you don’t have bag tags”…now we didn’t know we were supposed to as at every other airport I have ever been in (100’s) that is done by the airline staff.

Despite our pleas for assistance she just said we had to go back to the check-in terminals again and print out labels and then out them on ourselves….so we again enlisted help from the same AA staff member who had not pointed out the label issue when we were there the last time, input information for a third time and finally had baggage labels spew out of the machine.

Stress levels were very now very high and we had to go to the back of the queue to finally drop the bags.

Having done that we headed for security and as pre-approved Travellers we needed the expedited security queue, “which one is it” we asked a Miami airport customer service person – “down that way” waving an arm in a general direction, so we go to the most obvious security queue, wait a while in line only to be told nope it is another one 250 yards away.

This appears to be an American Airlines terminal where the have a lot of control ver the experience but they managed to stress us so much during the check-in that we made note to avoid AA wherever possible in future – given the choices that now exist in terms of airlines that should be pretty achievable!!

As a footnote the only good part was the TSA as I am Global Traveller they treated the whole family as trusted passengers and we sailed through phew!

What do we learn?  Well the airline journey is all encompassing as the smarter airline shave understood like Emirates, Virgin, Singapore and the rest and in todays world of ever expanding choice you don’t get the second and third chances you might have enjoyed before.  All of the issues raised were controllable, resolvable with minimal or not cost and the experience could have been superb – even when the Airlines is loading more effort on to the poor old fare paying passenger – but they ignore the basics of attention told detail and recognising the customer needs at key points of emotional overload.



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