American Airlines = Worst Flying Experience EVER – for Pets, too

It didn’t surprise me when I heard that American Airlines was rated one of the worst in the industry. It made me laugh out loud when I read that it was one of the most hated businesses in the U.S., because in my opinion, it’s true.

Whoever designed the seats on American Airlines’ Boeing 747 apparently did not have comfort on their list of qualities. I have taken two flights on this plane cross-country and have never in my life been in so much discomfort – and pain. The seats are designed to curve inward – a very unnatural way for any human to have to sit for any amount of time. After doing some research, I see that I’m not the only one that feels this way about American Airlines seating.

This is a seat the goes back all the way. Imagine sitting for 12 hours in a seat designed like this that does not. Notice how the headrest leans forward. With the seat upright, your head leans forward for the entire flight. Even with the seat reclined your head is tilted forward.

And let me tell you – I weigh less than 130 pounds and am a size 6, so at my size I should have had plenty of room to move, right? Not on American Airlines. The first time I took this airline I ended up in the center seat. There is ZERO leg room. By the end of my flight I was literally in tears because I couldn’t move and was becoming numb from the waist down.

The second – and the last – time I flew American Airlines I thought I was lucky to get an exit seat, because they had far more leg room. However, the seats in the first exit rows do not tilt back. The seats in the second row do, but guess what? Mine was broken. So you have to sit tilted forward in the same way the seats are built.

Of course no one at American Airlines seems to give two birds on a naked pony fence about customer service. I informed the flight attendant of the broken seat, and I got a mere thank you for letting her know. No upgrades, no nothing.

Something else I didn’t know about exit rows is that they are freezing cold. I’m talking big, grown men are freezing cold sitting in them as well, and if you’re on a night flight, you can guarantee super freezing cold.

No food, water, or bathroom break for 22+ hours for your pets with American Airlines.

But my very worst experience during my last ever flight with AA was flying with my pets – 3 cats and a large dog. First of all, flying from Hawaii with a large dog has its limitations, so AA is only one of two airlines that will accept them. Upon leaving Hawaii, first we were told that our dog weighed too much and would have to fly cargo. This wasn’t the case when we flew into Hawaii, however. Then we were told that our dog’s crate was not large enough and that it would be cruel to allow him to fly with it. Now this is a crate that was purchased 5 months prior and arrived in Hawaii without any issues. Our dog is about 7 years old and didn’t grow within those months. He was able to stand up and turn around perfectly fine – and to be honest, he had more room in his crate than I did in my seating area on the plane. We were stuck leaving our mostly new crate with AA and purchasing one of theirs for another $99. The other issue is that the size of the crate wouldn’t fit on the flight we were scheduled to fly, so the dog had to be shipped to separate locations and on separate flights. Cha-ching!

Because of the crating issue, our flight had to be changed and was 7 hours off schedule. If you’re counting hours that our pets sat in the crates, yes, so far the cats – which had already been checked in – had been sitting in their crates so far for  a total of 7 hours without food and water. They were scheduled to be watered and fed within 12 hours of our layover. All in all, we flew and had layovers for more than 22 hours. Our pets sat in crates for 22+ hours, and when they arrived through the gate to us, it was very obvious that no food or water had been given to any of them. The food had been taped to the top of the crates and was INTACT when we arrived. Their water bowls were dry as a bone. It was obvious the dog had not been let out to pee as instructed. I was furious.

I never made a formal complaint to AA because the entire ordeal was simply exhausting. Plus, I figured all I’d get is an apology letter which really wouldn’t make a difference to me one way or the other. Blogging is the best way to allow people to know which airline not to use when transporting pets. Never again will I fly my pets on any airline, and I will never fly American Airlines myself again either.

“American Airlines sucks!” yelled the cat.

Moving to Hawaii – a dream come true

I guess you could say that the last year of my life has been one huge transition – and it hasn’t ended yet. Last year my husband decided that he wanted to retire this year – in Hawaii. When he asked what I thought about it, I said, “In your dreams.”

But he was serious. He’d lived in Hawaii as a child, and it was his dream to retire there. It sounded like a dream to me, too, because it was a place I’d always wanted to visit.

Me being the sensible one, I asked my husband how could we possibly make this happen? We’d have to sell our home in Florida during such a bad market and come out with money to move – not just to another state – but to the other side of the world! He said we could put the house on the market and see what happens. We put our good thoughts into everything and little by little, things slowly fell into place. We sold the house, vehicles, and had two garage sales. Nine months later, our plan was in motion.

Getting to Hawaii wasn’t quite as easy as that, however. We had pets, and each had to be microchipped and tested for the rabies FAVN virus, which took 120 days prior to arriving on the island without them having to be quarantined. Their records had to be impeccable, so finding a veterinarian that knew what she was doing was a big plus. Airfare isn’t cheap for pets, and neither are the airline-approved crates. There are many other factors involved in shipping your pets to Hawaii, but I will go into that on another day.

We kept one car that had to be shipped, so we were left without transportation for a period of time. We needed to pack everything we would need for at least a month, because our household goods wouldn’t arrive for up to 8 weeks.

Luckily for us, we already knew people on the island. Our friends had a spare bedroom and allowed us to stay with them as long as we needed until we found our own place. This was extremely helpful, as hotels in Hawaii are not for the budget-minded or pet lovers.

Everything was set to go. Our dreams were coming true.

hawaiilanding
Landing in Honolulu at sunset