I should’ve kept my mouth (fingers??) quiet about the relative ease of Thanksgiving travel on Thursday. Sunday made up for it in spades. Certainly some of the problems we experienced are just things that happened, but the troubles were definitely exacerbated along the way. Ultimately we got home safe, which is the most important part, but the 4 hour delay and various missteps along the way don’t make me particularly keen to travel with American Airlines again.
The day started with an attempt to catch an earlier flight. Sure, not a highly likely event on Thanksgiving Sunday, but the flights had seats for sale, so there was a chance. We got to the airport in plenty of time, made our way through security and made our way into the Admirals Club to wait out the standby list. When I asked at the counter they said no chance. And we missed the flight, but only by one position. In talking to another agent after missing the standby I learned that apparently our standby status was mis-coded by the agent in the lounge. Apparently we should’ve made the cut with room to spare.
Missing that first flight, combined with weather in St. Louis and New York meant no standby to be had. Fine, we’ll just wait for our original flight times. At least we got decent seat assignments out of the deal.
And wait we did.
Our flight eventually left St. Louis two hours late for Chicago. That shouldn’t have been too much of a problem as our connection was well delayed, too. Right up until we boarded in St. Louis. They managed to pull out a spare plane and crew to get the Chicago-Newark flight slightly back on time. We still had plenty of time on our connection and eventually started boarding the flight in Chicago with expectation of a departure only two hours late. Not horrible, but we didn’t miss our connection, and the flights to LaGuardia were much, much worse.
And then we sat. And sat. And sat. About 30 minutes after scheduled departure for the flight they finally made an announcement. Apparently the replacement crew that they had found for us actually wasn’t at the airport, and the pilots were over their FAA maximums for flying. Eventually they found another set of pilots, but that took a further two hours. We finally departed just over 4 hours late, including a bit of a wait while the taxiways around O’Hare were overcrowded by the volume of planes trying to take off at 11pm, all several hours later than they should’ve been.
Yes, flying through O’Hare was a mistake, one that I really try to avoid as often as possible. In this case I should’ve just paid the extra cash for the flight that didn’t involve Chicago. And flying on Sunday probably wasn’t a great idea either. Bad weather in both Chicago and New York certainly didn’t help the situation. Still, this is a pretty good reminder of the pain that can come with Thanksgiving weekend travel, and the way an unpleasant experience with a crew can bias someone badly against an airline for future flights.
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.