By Tristan Forget
Every day, millions of people fly in airplanes, whether it is for business or pleasure. It is our fastest means of travel and arguably the safest. Although it can be a stressful or overwhelming experience for some being in such a big place with thousands of people waiting to get crammed into a pressurized metal flying machine that goes 30,000 feet in the air. I have been flying my entire life it is essential for adapting to divorced parents who live in different states. I have never had I problem with flying in fact I enjoyed it as a young boy. I always got to meet new people; I was catered to, and was small enough to find the airplane seats comfortable. Recently my opinion was skewed on this subject while on a trip to Louisiana. It was my first time flying with American Airlines and will surely be my last!
December 20th, 2013, I left the Minneapolis airport destined for Shreveport airport with a layover in Dallas. My first flight was peaceful and short since I slept the entire way, but it had been delayed due to weather and the previous plane’s engine exploding. Before landing the flight attendants announced that gates had unexpectedly changed. They announced the new gates for about 40 flights (mine being one of them).
Now what follows isn’t American Airline’s fault but is still irritating. I landed about 30 minutes before my next flight’s departure. If you have ever been to Dallas airport, you would know that is quite the sprint. Once I made it to my gate it was too late; I had missed my first ever flight. and luckily I did not have a cellphone. So with my dad eagerly waiting my arrival in Shreveport and me not having a phone or knowing his number I concluded I needed a payphone. The nearest payphones were not very “near” and to complement the kind of trip I was having my mom didn’t pick up her phone all six times I had called. Anyway I barely made it on the next flight due to a kind gentleman who forfeited his standby spot to stay in Dallas with his mom. The importance of this wasn’t realized until my girlfriend called my dad from Dallas airport the next day having the same exact problems.
The real fun began on my trip home! Oh, and my stay in Louisiana was great (thanks for asking). In American Airlines defense the weather didn’t make the airport experience ideal with flights being delayed and cancelled due to weather up north. Well as soon as I arrived to catch my flight I picked it up right where I left off. While trying to check my bag at the gate I realized that there was probably was no gate attendant since it was ten minutes past boarding time. So I went to find someone who may have flight information to make sure there was another flight going to Minneapolis. Apparently nobody has access to vital information such as that. I couldn’t be the only one in history to have this problem, how has no one found a solution for that? Are you just supposed to blindly get on a plane not knowing if there is another connecting flight? About 30 minutes after time of departure someone had showed up at the gate. This man quickly boarded the impatient passengers while I waited to get in a question. As soon as everyone was on board I approached the tardy attendant hoping to find the answer to my question. He proceeded to take his frustrations out on me which wouldn’t have bothered me if he had taken the time to listen to my question. So at this point I realized help was unavailable and I would need to take a chance and just get on the plane. I handed the man my ticket and all in one motion without making eye contact he scanned my ticket and said “Place your bag on the valet cart”. Now I have good news and bad. Bad news is my bag didn’t come with me to Dallas. Good news my flight to MSP had been delayed and I didn’t have a heavy bag to carry.
If you are looking for cheap airfare and a comfortable seat, American Airlines may be for you. But if you want a smooth problem free trip it may not. Most travel websites rate it below 3 stars! Just remember to expect the unexpected when flying with the “value” airline.