Airline Staff Lack Customer Service Skills

February 1, 2014

in Flying Hell Commentary

Since this is mostly a North American blog, here is an outside view on U.S. transfer regulations and American Airlines customer service. AA asked me for an evaluation – so they got it:

The U.S. of A. is the only country I ever experienced to neither provide gate-to-gate-transfer nor check-through of luggage to the final destination. They make you pick it up and endure all immigration formalities just to change planes on transit (which you hardly can achieve due to all the above mentioned).

AA check-in staff is well aware of the fact that some passengers (paying good money to AA) did not expect to enter the U.S. of A. and have no ESTA Visa before check-in. In my experience this awareness does not inspire them to recall the spirit of Customer Service but gives them a nice feeling of superiority. Eventually the janitors at San Jose International Airport Juan Santamaria have been more helpful to me than American Airlines employees. Or else I did not recognize the helpfulness of an arrogant sneer. In the end a sympathetic lady from the airport administration saved my day.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel K. February 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm

What has been your experience when connecting on other continents? Does the actual airline matter? I flew through Frankfurt to get to Prague, and the airline made me go through passport line, get my bags, re-check in with desk agents, go back through security (only to have to take a train to a bus to my plane)… it was one long day.


James February 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

The only time I've ever had to collect luggage has been when I had tickets on different locator codes that were not connected, or when I arrived in the United States from overseas. I would need to clear immigration at the arrival airport.

The locations where I was able to change planes without collecting luggage include London, Vienna, Oslo, Milan, Cairo, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpor, Phnom Penh, Taipei, Tokyo, Sydney, and Sao Paulo. The locations where I had to collect luggage when changing planes were Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Newark.


Ryan February 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm

You went through immigration in Frankfurt because Prague which is in the Czech Republic signed the Schengen Agreement which abolished immigration and passport controls barriers between the 26 signatories. A visitor clears immigration at the first port of arrival. You didn't mention that you did not have to go through immigration upon arrival at Prague did you? That's a big difference than the immigration & customs nightmare that international travelers experience when transiting the USA.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: