I tweeted to @AmericanAir once that evening, and throughout the night. They assured me that it wasn’t the experience they wanted for me, and I assured them I did not want that experience either.
After exchanging a few DMs on Twitter, a very professional AA Customer Service representative name James L. contacted me on the phone.
I relayed my experience and he was suitably and appropriately responsive to my experience. I think he was a little surprised to find this, amidst complaints about delays and lost luggage I’d imagine, and when I explained how Robin (the flight attendant) kept threatening me–first, to remove me from the plane, and then to put me on some mythical “list” that would impede future airline travel–he said she sounded like a bully. “Like, how a bully would say ‘I could take your money, but I’m not going to.'”
As though she was an altruistic doyenne, permitting me to complete my flight, instead of a flight attendant who, in choosing to align herself with a colleague about a dispute she was not present to witness, escalated a situation twice to harass and threaten me.
He promised an internal investigation, and informed me that if any other passengers called in with additional information, their accounts would be included. I said I thought it would be even better if he actually reached out to passengers for their accounts, but his relatively vague reply suggests that would not be part of the investigation. Certainly, they would be discussing it with the flight attendants themselves, and he suggested that the issue would be raised with the Director of Flight Attendants, or a person with a similar title.
I requested a follow up after the investigation was complete. James explained that I was not privy to the outcome of the investigation, because it was an internal matter.
He offered me a $300 voucher, which I denied and informed him, “I will never fly American Airlines again. Ever.” I think I was disappointed to hear that I just had to trust that this would be handled appropriately–or at all–and he was, I like to think, disappointed to hear I would never travel AA again. “You mentioned you were traveling for business, right? Well, maybe if they booked on you on American you might want a voucher?” And I said, “I will tell them never to book me on American, so no thank you.”
He gave me a number to call if I ever had a problem with which he could help.
I can’t give James L. enough praise, truly: He was the first professional person working at American Airlines that I have encountered during this debacle. I don’t know if my interaction with him was the result of his training–say this to make the customer feel better, offer a small token of apology–or if he was a human being responding to a terrible situation. But he was very good at his job.
The problem, now, is not James: it is the fact that I am unwilling to accept an apology from a customer service agent, no matter how effective he is at his job. I am not complaining about a delay. Or a dented suitcase. Or any of those flight annoyances that have made airline flight all the more unpleasant, but ultimately not the kind of thing that keeps you up at night, or makes you get stopped by fellow passengers to share their outrage. For simple matters, an apology and a voucher are perhaps an appropriate response.
I was targeted for harassment. Threats. And intimidation–such treatment merits more, from someone high enough in the hierarchy to realize the deeply troubling (and probably actionable) experience I endured, and who could initiate an appropriate response. And that person is not working the phones–or the Twitter account–at American Airlines.
And so, I continue to wait.