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Ten hours of boredom aboard American Airlines Flight 49

bored in airplane

Ever been on a 10 hour transatlantic flight where the audio system does not work, the reading lights do not function, and you do not have any in-seat entertainment system ? Welcome to American Airlines Flight 49 from Paris to Dallas yesterday. Ten hours long on board a full flight, unable to read a book or magazine, unable to watch a movie or listen to the music programming... and on top of all of this an hour delay. Sounds like fun ? I don't think so.

american airlines

What is even more serious... I was on the same flight just two weeks ago (flying from Dallas to Paris, Flight 48, on Monday August 27th) and before departure American Airlines had to call in the maintenance crew because the in-seat passenger call and light buttons were not working... so obviously the issue didn't get fixed properly, and two weeks later the plane still flies without a working in-flight communication and entertainment system. Does American Airlines still take the maintenance of their planes seriously ?.

Clearly American is using an aging set of planes to serve their European routes. I recently took American flights from JFK to Brussels, between London and Dallas, and between Dallas and Paris - and on all routes they fly planes without any in-seat entertainment system - i.e. no personal videoscreens. I know American Airlines as a company is struggling and has many things to worry about, but if they continue to server their customers this way, they won't have much reason to emerge out of the bankrupty procedure at all.

I just wrote to American Airlines customer service... and we'll see what they will respond. I find it just rude that they didn't even pro-actively compensate the passengers. 10 hours without any distraction ? Without any entertainment ? I'm not claiming here that they should have solved it like Vietjet Air, but they could have made an effort to do something for their customers : free cocktails, voucher, frequent flyer miles, upgrade certificates, etc. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and would have at least made the point they felt sorry.

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Jürgen's picture

So... on October 12th 2012 I

So... on October 12th 2012 I did get a reply from American Airlines responding to my complaint submitted on September 9th related to my flight on September 8th. A courteous response, to the point and with references to the actual comments I made - and offering a token of appreciation (but not pursuing the compensation I had requested: provide me with a better experience by offering me an upgrade on my next trip on the same route).

So... case closed. My next flight to Paris is just a bit more than a week from now... Hopefully it will be better this time around !

Jürgen's picture

Still no reply 4.5 weeks

Still no reply 4.5 weeks later

To recap...

On my 10 hours long transatlantic flight Paris-Dallas on September 8th, the readings lights, the audio system and the video system were not working - so 10 hours of not being able to read, listen to the audio channels or watch any video/entertainment - or complete boredom and subpar service of American Airlines. The on-flight crew was unable / unwilling to do anything about this or provide any compensation.

On September 9th, I filed a complaint with American Airlines online (reference ) and I have yet to receive a reply.

On September 21st, I filed another complaint / reminder, and I have yet to receive an answer.

On October 9th, I decided to abandon American Airlines when possible - tired of awaiting any response to my complaints. I just had a four hour flight out of DFW using Jetblue and experienced a personal in-seat entertainment system which works. Much different than the non-existing in-seat entertainment system on the European transatlantic flights of American Airlines, and the non-functioning broadcast systems for the coach cabin on American Airlines.

If this is how American Airlines treats their Platinum customers with more than 80,000 flight miles in 2012, then I wonder which service the occasional passengers on American get. Really poor customer service is the most polite description which comes to mind.

Very sad. Very bad. Shame on you American Airlines. I have more than 2,000,000 miles with you on record, and when I finally file a complaint because I truly believe your service levels and equipment failures have become unacceptable, the I at least expect an answer in less than 4 weeks !

Jürgen's picture

Two weeks later... and AA

Two weeks later... and AA plays dead

After filing my complaint with American Airlines on September 9th (for which I received an automated reply with a reference number), I haven't heard anything back. Two weeks and counting, and no sign of live. Did American lay off their entire customer service department ? Well, that how it seems.

On Friday September 21st I did send them a reminder... but up to now no response to the initial message or to the follow up (leaving the automated acknowledgements aside) - and we are 9/24 already.

One bit of good news... I just took the same flight to Paris, and this time the reading lights and entertainment system was working. Still very strange to be on a 10 hour flight with no personal video screens / entertainment system (something invented in the late 90s) - but at least the broadcast movie feature and audio channels were working !