Ode to American Airlines - Part 1
Ode to American Airlines - Part 1 Miami Reviews
Oct 02, 2007
If you don't like reading complaints about air travel, just move on to my next entry.
Nobody loves international travel more than me. Unfortunately, that usually requires a visit to an airport here in the U.S., and even worse, a flight on one of our domestic airlines. I started out with very low expectations. American Airlines lowered them.
Checking into my flight from San Francisco to Miami seemed easy enough. Then I found that AA had grouped International Checkin with the Paper Ticket and Ticket Purchase lines. In other words, international travelers (who tend to be more seasoned travelers) line up with people living in the stone age with paper tickets, or people too lazy to buy a ticket before they get to the airport. I couldn't checkin in domestic because my final destination was international. Forget about the fact that I was only trying to get to Miami. Some woman in line started rifling through her bags trying to find the $200 she had pulled from the ATM machine. When she didn't find it, she asked everyone in line individually "have you seen my $200?". I said to myself "I guarantee they're going to Brazil". That's how my journey began.
They did deliver me to Miami on time. I'll let AA milk that compliment for a while because it will be the last one they'll get. Miami may be where Latin America begins. But Miami International Airport is where civilization ends. I have a 3 hour layover before my flight to Sao Paulo. I have to fly through Sao Paulo because I'm using frequent flyer miles. Otherwise I would fly straight to Rio. My flight to Sao Paulo gets delayed for absolutely no reason. Weather was fine, just general incompetence among AA's maintenance staff. They couldn't get the engine to start. In the meantime, a flight to Rio left. They offered to put us on that plane. But get this: only if we didn't have bags. Who is traveling from the U.S.to Brazil without bags except maybe a terrorist? Needless to say, they didn't find anyone. They finally got the plane to start at about 3am.
I arrive in Sao Paulo knowing I had already missed my connection to Rio. Sure enough, there were those morons I saw in line in San Francisco! So I find an AA representative to explain what further adventures are in store for me. Hooray, they had booked me on the next TAM flight to Rio......from the other Sao Paulo airport. They hand me a taxi voucher written in English and told me to present it to any taxi driver for a free cab fare across town. I don't know what cab drivers you have had in the past. But the ones I'm familiar with don't exactly like receiving vouchers in a foreign language versus, say, cash. I hop in the nearest cab with plenty of Brazilian cash in hand, just in case.
After an hour's drive across Sao Paulo, I arrive at Congonhas airport. You've probably heard of Congonhas airport because they had a major plane crash there a couple month ago, and most people consider it unsafe for air travel. Matter of fact they considered closing it several times. Yes, the same Congonhas that I promised my mother I wouldn't be flying in and out of.
Ok I lied, AA gets one more compliment, the taxi voucher actually worked! I couldn't believe it. Checkin with TAM was easy. As I made my way to my flight, I stopped off in the gift shop. Guess what souvenirs are for sale in Congonhas? Samurai swords! That's right, you can buy a samurai sword in Congonhas! Why do they want to close it again?
TAM airlines got me to Rio finally, thank you TAM. Your flight attendants weren't bad to look at either. As for American Airlines...bite me. Plus, you laid off my friend Gustavo. I'm glad your company is bankrupt.
Part of the Rio de Janeiro - September 2007 travel blog
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