Why American Airlines won’t let me fly with them

I mean, being upset with an airline for having useless customer service is kind of like — a total waste of energy. But this was a new low and since I have a few hours to kill at the airport, 4 to be specific, here’s why I will never fly with American Airlines again;

I was booked to go with the 7AM flight to Miami. When we check our bag, the lady by the counter reminds us that the door closes 10 min prior to departure — this is further emphasized on the boarding card as pictured below;

We appreciate the reminder and make our way towards the gate. We grab a spot in a cafe nearby, at 6:40 we settle the bill and at 6:45 we arrive at the gate.

- I’m sorry sir, we’ve already released your tickets

- I’m sorry, what???

- your tickets have been released, you’ve missed your flight.

I’m stunned. With the flight patiently waiting on the runway I struggle to understand why I’m not allowed onboard. This seemed to be confusing even to their Twitter support staff:

So this is the thing, apparently the 10 minute cut-off time noted on your ticket and called out by the women at check-in has nothing to do with when you need to be at the gate — it’s a completely irrelevant number.

Six more people missed the same flight for the same reason, clearly there’s a discrepancy in what’s being communicated and what’s being enforced. “Seats can be released sooner” as stated by the support staff, how much sooner however is still a mystery. American Airlines are setting up their customers for failure by expecting us to understand their internal guidelines.

They now offer us two options; to be guaranteed seats at the next flight for a $75 fee or to be placed on the flight wait list. We secure our seats for the 8AM flight.

It’s now 2 hours delayed, scheduled for a 10AM take-off.

… It’s now delayed again, scheduled for an 11AM take-off. Fingers crossed our checked in luggage will be there when we arrive.

My issue is not that a flight was delayed — these things happen. What make me so frustrated is how this wide gap in their communications is accepted by American Airlines and made into my responsibility, how easily they blew off my frustration as a mistake made entirely on my part, how a paying customer is denied service before doors close with the flight still on the runway and how this is all treated as business as usual. For these reasons I’ve become a detractor of American Airlines and will remains until the issues described above have been addressed and resolved.

As an entrepreneur it’s shocking that this business practice is being accepted by their company management.