American Airlines is not my friend

I feel really bad. I cheated on Southwest. I flew to DC earlier this week and the person making the arrangements found a good deal on an American Airline Flight from Nashville to Reagan-National. And so, last evening I found myself waiting for an American Airlines flight to Nashville when, after a two-hour delay, the announcement came that the flight was canceled.

While I started making alternative arrangements via the Internet and a phone-call to American Express Travel, an editor from Hammock Publishing who was traveling with me called the 800 number the AA desk agent provided for us. Via the web and phone, within a few moments, I had us booked on a Southwest Flight for 7 a.m. this morning and two rooms in an economy hotel near BWI airport.

However, here’s what the conversation went like with American Airlines: “The earliest we can get you out of Washington is Saturday afternoon.” (This was Thursday night.) (What about a hotel?) “We don’t have to pay for any accommodations because this is weather related.” (What about a refund?) Sorry, I can’t provide you any information about refunds because this is merely a portion of the trip.” (You’re not being all that helpful.) “I’m 3,000 miles away and that’s the best I can do.”

The weather was bad up and down the eastern seaboard yesterday. That I understand. However, this type of attitude is why I avoid flying on anything but Southwest. I’ve been delayed — due to weather — on Southwest, but I’ve never been insulted or harassed or treated like I was doing them a favor by being their customer.

I would rather fly Southwest to Baltimore — and go through all the hassle involved with getting from BWI to downtown DC — than fly on American to Reagan National, which is practically in downtown DC.

In my experience, Southwest seems much better capable of re-booting their system whenever some major glitch occurs. (Note I didn’t use the word “crash.”)

Okay. I’ve got that off my chest.