It was my airline, but it done me wrong.

When I landed in SFO, my stroller was delivered to me with a wheel broken off. I had […]

When I landed in SFO, my stroller was delivered to me with a wheel broken off. I had gone to sprain with no stroller, and bought one the next day, as Seville was way too hot to use a sling. This cheap (<20 euros) stroller was the best stroller I'd ever had.* As I rolled across Seville's endlessly under construction rocks and mud and cobble stones, it took the abused, and kept Amelie comfortable and more importantly, in place. It folded flat, it was light weight, it had a strap so once folded, I could throw it over my shoulder to carry, which I did when we climbed the roman ruins at Italica. If you aren't a parent, think of your favorite digital camera, or car, or bike. It's not what it cost, but how well it suited who you are and what you wanted to do. I couldn't not believe the wheel had come off, the strolled was well made despite the cost, and I had an almost physical reaction to the abuse I imagined it must have undergone to pop off the wheel. I had come to love this stroller. It was a friend. And when I said to the gate attendant, my wheel is missing, you know what her first words were? "We aren't liable for strollers gate checked." Not, "I'm sorry", or "I'll see what I can do." No matter that this was the first I'd heard of their waiver of liability. And she worked hard to shunt me down to the baggage claim center, saying she'd send a manager down with the stroller after they finished looking for the wheel. At the baggage claim desk, I started explaining that my stroller wheel came off and the clerk interrupted me... "We aren't liable for strollers gate checked." Would you let me finish my sentence, for f*ck's sake? No one told me that, my strolled is supposed to be brought down, my husband is waiting, did they find the wheel-- so many things I could have said, many things I did say, and no way to get a manager, and my husband wanted to get back to work for a meeting, and no one bringing the remains of my stroller down to me. I filled out the forms to have it delivered, just for the pleasure of them having to pay to have my strolled brought to me. They I went out to the luggage area, and had a good cry while my husband changed our daughter. A long flight with a small baby, and an airline that not only doesn't give a crap, but actively takes that disdain out on you. American Airlines, you lost my luggage going to Spain, you lost my luggage going back home, and you broke my stroller and scraped the holy hell out of suitcase. American Airlines, you stuck me in a bad line and made me miss my flight, and then tried to charge me for a new one. American airlines, your stewards chided me for not picking up after my baby fast enough when getting off the airplane, and your people care more about liability than repeat business. American Airlines, I have many miles with you, but I will never redeem them because I will pay more to fly anyone else. Not for your actions, but for your attitude. Because when you've flown six hours with a baby, you don't need denial, you need reassurance and apologies. I never got an apology from anyone. You could have acted like the imbiciles you are and gotten away with it if you had taught your people to say "I'm sorry." But you skipped that step. And guess what. This is the age of information, and I'm happy to share this story on every website I find. And American Airlines, I'm gonna to dance happily on your bankrupt corpse. * The stroller is BBY, bought at El Corte Ingles... I cannot find it anywhere on the web, more's the pity.


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  1. 1

    Sounds like a similar reason I will not fly Air Canada if I can avoid it, and why I will always bemoan the death of Canadian Airlines.

    I haven’t had these sort of traumatic experiences, but the attitude among Air Canada employees is very much what you’ve described of AA… but throw in a pinch of snobbiness for good measure.

    I feel your pain.


  2. 2
    George Girton

    You will be happy to know that when American Airlines overbooked my family, not giving a boarding pass when we got to the airport obviously intending to bump us, I threw a calm and quiet fit. I brought my young son with me to the ticket counter: he was in tears. And here is what I said. I said, “Look at what you have done. You never get a second chance to make a lifetime brand impression. Please let us on the plane.” I actually said this and they actually did NOT put the three of us on the plane. However, I will say this. They did issue three vouchers good for travel anywhere American Airlines flies. And that is the story of how I took my family, by that time no longer in tears, (and a certain person’s book on information architecture) to Paris.

  3. 4

    I’m sitting at the table glancing through the RSS feeds on a lazy Saturday afternoon. When i saw this post, I commented out loud, “Uh oh. American Airlines made Christina Wodtke mad.” Our four year-old said, “Why did American Airlines make Christina Rocky mad?” I explained they broke her stroller and asked what should you say when you break something that isn’t yours? “I’m sorry.” was the answer from a four year-old.

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