JFK – MIA: What a long, strange trip it’s been. Part 3.

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Next calamity is that of disembarking and a realization of sleeping through take off and landing. Now, sleeping through take-off and landing is not alien to me.

For close to 30 years now I worked for part of AT&T organizing travel for our employees and execs. On another, but this time memorable, trip down to our office in London, I was on the first shuttle from Edinburgh to Heathrow when there was a bump and I realized that I’d nodded off during the flight. The bump was our arrival at Heathrow but not only had I nodded off, I’d cuddled into the lady next to me on the plane. While I was wakening, I realized that my head was on her shoulder and I was tightly cuddled into the curve of her shoulder and neck. A very vivid memory of a charming lady in a red suit and the only thing redder that the suit was me when realizing I was availing myself of some uninvited cuddles. Thankfully “Me too” didn’t exist back then and this very charming lady took no offence at my rookie mistake.

Back to disembarking. It what might have been the shortest plane ride ever, we were not in Miami but back at the gate in JFK. With the ongoing delays the crew had gone overtime and therefore couldn’t take us to Miami.  We disembarked and the gate agent, who was fantastic, was trying to help everyone. The delays were getting longer and longer and we decided to swap back to American and their 6am departure. Unfortunately, we could not obtain our luggage as it was still on our Delta flight and that flight was eventually going to take off, with our luggage on it. We decided to abandon the luggage and left the terminal to go back to American. 

Trip three to the American Airlines service desks. Availability was changing by the minute. We grabbed the one remaining business class seat on the first departure and the same on the second departure. We were both going to Miami, albeit just not together. A very helpful customer service agent explained that she couldn’t reissue our tickets as she didn’t book the business class seat. In her system that wasn’t possible. We questioned that and she called a help desk who confirmed what she had told us. We questioned her again and a supervisor was called. To the embarrassment of the customer service agent, the supervisor confirmed that as we knew, the ticket could be re-issued and helped make it happen. My annoyance here is not at the customer service agent or the helpdesk, who offered wrong advice, but at American for keeping their staff in the dark on how to effectively help people. I haven’t yet figured why front line staff is not fully empowered.

After a while my colleague’s ticket is re-issued and he rushes off to catch his plane. My ticket is being worked on and they put me on standby on the same flight with a confirmed coach class seat on the next one. After the ticket is sorted, I rush to the gate and am handed a coach class boarding pass. We’re on the same plane, just not in the same cabin. The flight departs pretty much on time and Miami is our next stop.

Arrival in Miami and we head to the Delta Airlines baggage office, since our bags are still with them. Their App shows that the plane is still on the ground in JFK and the delay is getting longer. So now we are in Miami but our luggage is still in New York. The most helpful lady in Delta’s baggage office explains that as we flew on American, we had to register the missing bags with them. She fully explains the procedure and is very apologetic. 

Back to AA and an even more helpful lady fills in our missing bag reports.  She assures us that the bags will be expedited and we’ll have them ASAP.  She even offers to call at the end of her shift so that we have an update on their progress.  The Delta flight continues to be delayed and is eventually cancelled.  Our hopes for our bags sink despite the regular contact from AA. 

Out to purchase the essentials and then on off to dinner.  The bags arrive the following day and as promised, American follows up every step of the way. Delayed baggage is far from ideal, but I will say that AA in Miami gets five stars for customer service and follow up, the best I’ve ever experienced. Thank you to Joyce McFarlane, you are nothing short of amazing.

@AA Lost Luggage
@DL Lost Luggage