Earlier in the week (in my commentary), I mentioned my recent unfortunate travel experience with American Airlines. Alas, a response:
I have been able to talk to all parties involved and unfortunately not everything was handled the way it should have been, for that I do apologize. As far as the out and back several times, and with a crew change, I know that your experience was very trying. I was also in DCA on July 29, and was assisting our DCA folks until my delayed flight left at 9 p – the original time was 630p. We were handing out cereal and granola bars as well as water to those waiting in the lounge. The unexpected thunderstorms make it for an extremely difficult operating day, the ramp opened and closed more than 5 times. And, as you probably know, there cannot be any employees on the ramp when that happens and operations get backed up very quickly – we are at the mercy of the ATC.
It is common for gate agents to advise customers to stay in the boarding area and to listen closely for announcement, because once the plane is refueled, the aircraft door needs to be shut or we could miss our “slot” to get you all on your way. It is not common – or appropriate – for our agent to say to our customers that they’ve been “here for 12 hours.” Please know, that our GM in DCA has addressed this issue with this agent.
Unfortunately, you did have further delays after your second trip back to the gate because of the weather in the area, as well as a flight attendant crew running out of duty time for the day.
As far as the food, we have granola bars and water for these type of situations – and I do see that that was offered. The meal service was not offered because once out on the tarmac, the flight attendants should remain seated for their safety once out on the active taxiway. As far as short supply, yes, there are not enough meals for each passenger, this is why the crew does not offer them on the tarmac (in addition to not being up and about the cabin on an active taxiway) – they are to offer the granola bar and water (per the DOT.) However, I do know that in extenuating circumstances our crew are allow to make exceptions – especially for children, elderly and customers who might need a bit more help.
And, you should have had your bag that evening when you arrived in DFW. It may have taken a while but you should have been advised of this and should have been allowed to make the decision on whether or not to wait for your bag.
I hope that answers your questions, I have forwarded your letter to our customer relations folks. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.