You know it’s a bad week when you’re the butt of a Spirit Airlines joke. And that’s the least of American Airlines’ worries. This week, the airline earned all five nominations of the Icarus Award. From major nationwide delays to minor altercations, keep reading for Lily J. Kosner’s roundup of American Airlines’ top five recent travel failures.
ETD–Estimated Time of Delay
Nothing says failure like being the industry leader in flight delays and cancellations. The numbers are out and they are not good. In the past 30 days, American Airlines had 16,588 delays and 1,067 cancellations. In September, just 59 percent of American’s flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time and 2.7 percent were canceled according to FlightStats.com. American had the highest amount of delays and cancellations for the month of any North American airline. In second place, ExpressJet had 12,142 delays and 876 cancellations. In the last two days, American Airlines was forced to cancel 94 flights to deal with the loose seat situation.
Crying over Spilled Soda
Last week the headlines focused on American Airlines’ horrible on-time record, and this past week, loose seats were the source of a much of the airline’s trouble. Three flights had a row of seats come loose. In two out of three of those instances, planes were force to make emergency landings. The company has cited a combination of “wear, poor design and even soda spilled into the tracks caused pins to pop out of the grooves.” All 48 of American’s 757 that use these particular seat models are being inspected.
Want an airfare deal? If you were shopping for a flight on October 3, Spirit Airlines offered a 7.57 percent off sale on their website. The promotion was designed to poke fun at American Airlines’ loose seat fiasco. And in case, you didn’t get the 757 connection, the airline hammers the joke home in the copy stating in all caps, “WE LET FARES LOOSE, NOT SEATS!” As of October 5, the airline is back to offering a credit card promotion to all web visitors.
It Started with a Cell Phone Spat
Back on September 19 when American Airlines’ labor troubles were just starting, the airline had one of the most egregious and laughable delays. That Wednesday saw a 4-hour flight delay on a 1-hour American Eagle flight. Flight 3823 was delayed on route from JFK in New York to Reagan in Washington, DC, after two flight attendants got into a fight. One attendant was using her phone as the plane was preparing to take off so her coworker announced, “Everyone needs to put their phones away, and electronics and so on, including the flight attendant.” The subsequent bickering got so intense the cockpit crew decided to turn the plane around. Passengers then had to wait 4 hours until a new crew was available for their flight.
One Spring Loose
The cell phone spat was just the start of American Airlines questionable delays. Just yesterday, Flight 469 from Philadelphia to Miami was delayed because of missing springs in the pilot’s seat. The flight was delayed an hour as springs were found throughout the airport. The pilot kept passengers in the loop making announcements like “we’re starting a search around the airport to try and find another spring.” As expected, passengers were irate.
For more American Airlines’ labor trouble and bankruptcy proceedings, check out:
- American Airlines Update: Maintenance Troubles and New Contract Talks
- Peter’s CBS This Morning Report New Trouble With American Airlines and our news report American Airlines vs. the Pilots What’s Really Going On
- Peter’s Blog: What a U.S. Airways & American Airlines Merger Would Mean and Peter’s U.S. Airways & American Airlines Merger
- Peter and Terry Maxon look Behind the Scenes of American Airlines’ Bankruptcy
- Peter’s Travel Detective blog on American Airlines’ Bankruptcy, Mileage Programs & Industry Changes
By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com