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American Airlines - Flight 5583 Review from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Me wife and I were traveling to the capital for a two day trip. My flight was arranged through a travel agency and hers we booked through AA website after I logged on and picked the seats for my flight so I got her a seat next to mine. All set correct. The day before our first flight we both independently checked in and we're both offered. 1st class upgrades for $55 and both took it. Two days later after a nice uneventful flight to Washington DC we again each logged into AA and tried to check in. This time she easily checked in and again was offered first class upgrade for $55, but when I checked in the app not only was I not offered an upgrade but I wasn't even given a seat. I called AA and they told me that there 6 seat available in first class and many seats available in coach but they were unable to assign me a seat. I was told I had to wait until I got to the kiosk at the airport to get a seat and an upgrade. At the airport two hour prior to my flight the kiosk told me it couldn't give me a seat either. So I went to the customer service rep and they tried to give me a seat but said for some reason the computer was not allowing them to give me a seat or upgrade. They advised me to go to the gate. They assured me someone would be at the gate and they would take car of me. I got to the gate and there was no staff there. About twenty minutes later a gate attendant arrived talking on his cell phone but instead of going to the gate and working he went into the corner and sat in one of the wheel chairs and sat on his cell phone for the next 20 minutes. One hour before the flight he came up to the gate. By now I have been standing at this gate patiently waiting for over forty minutes now. The agent did not acknowledge that I was there or say hello but preceded to type his keyboard and review print outs for the next 8 minutes then he finally asked me what I needed. I told him that I had not been assigned a seat and not only did I want one but would like to pay to upgrade to first class just like my wife was able to. He told me I had to go to the kiosk across from the gate to get an upgrade. There were about 10 people behind me all with tickets with unassigned seats despite the flight not being full. *In the end coach had 11 empty seats and 6 in 1st class.* The lady behind me told the agent the kiosk was not working or at least not giving out seats or upgrades. I asked the agent if he could do it and he told me no. I asked to talk to his supervisor and he told I had to walk customer service down the hall and on the left. When I asked for more specific directions he told me it was down that way and I could find it. The entire time I talked to him he was rude and displayed some of the worst customer service skills I have ever seen. By this point I was pretty upset but walked to the end of the terminal and found customer service. His name was Jean Claude .. At customer service I waited in that line and then told them my situation. At first they told me that it was now within an hour of the flight's departure time and the flight was completely under the control of the gate agent and they could do nothing. I told them the agent told me he could do nothing and they had to help me. They said he had to help me. By now I was irate and told them I had spent two hours now trying to get a seat I had already had weeks earlier. They said well maybe I had asked the gate agent earlier than an hour prior to the flight at which if true he would not be able to help. I told them i was sure when was at the gate it was less then an hour to departure. They again told me to go to the agent or again try the kiosk. I asked them what do I do if he refuses to help me. They said I had to request that he get me his supervisor. I asked them are they not the supervisor as the gate agent told me they were they were not and the gate agent was needed to request one. On the way back to gate I stopped at the aforementioned kiosk Ana sure enough it said it was unable to assist me. I went back to the gate and the gate agent had a ticket in the back of the plane waiting for me. I asked him again if I could upgrade to first class or move closer to the front. He said no. I asked why not and without even checking with the computer he told me because the computer would not allow him despite notice even trying the computer. I asked to talk to his supervisor and he told me no. I would have to wait until my destination to talk to a supervisor about a seat on my current flight. I really don't know how that would help since by then the flight would be over. I told him that and requested to talk to one there. He told me to sit down and maybe one would come. None ever did and I doubt he ever called one. I know the agent knew he did something bad because when I first met him at the gate he wore a name tag. When I finally received my ticket from him the name tag was replaced with a generic AA customer service badge without his name. My wife told me that while I was at the kiosk he received a photo be call then printed out a ticket which he set aside and then gave to me. She knows it was the same ticket because she was 1 foot away the whole time. Prior to the departure I called AA customer service and described the above situation and after a few minute pause they told me the flight was under the gate agent's control and they couldn't help me. They went on to say there were many reasons why the 1st class seats were not being released by the gate agent, such as he could be waiting for all the elite members who were eligible for upgrade to do so. I told her the sign said no one was waiting on the upgrade list. I asked her how many seats does her computer say are open. She said 6 but she did not have access to the most up today's information. I told her only one person entered the flight when first class was called to board and that person was my wife. She told me there was nothing she could do but when I landed in Lansing I could file a complaint there. I asked why I couldn't file a complaint with her since it was my reason for calling. She told me I had to take the flight then after landing call customer service and they would give me a website to file a complaint. If I was going to be given a web address anyways why couldn't the customer service representative I was talking too not give me it at that point instead of make by me call back and wait on hold then give an explanation of why I wanted to file a complaint. So I got on board and not only where there seats available near the front of coach, 6 of them) but first class had indeed six empty seats. I don't know where the breakdown in AA ticketing system occurred but I can tell you the gate agent was laziest and rudest agent I have ever met in 25 plus years of flying. I can tell you every person at AA I talked to kept passing the buck to the next person and not a single person took ownership of customer service. The only bright spot was the flight attendant seeing my wife and I were at two different ends of the plane was super wonder and allowed me to sit in one of the six empty fist class seats with my wife. She was a shining example of what everyone before her should have done. Prior to her and even now my blood pressure is hovering in stroke territory because of this whole craziness. I normally fly Delta and after this I think my family likely will keep flying them. My wife and I are both physicians so we really don't care about any kind of compensation but for absolutely ruining my day and the end of my vacation I would like an apology and explanation on 1) why your systems and people broke down, 2) why everyone passes the buck 3) why the gate agent has so much control no one in all of AA can override them. (Photo of 5 empty seats in first class. There would have been six but the flight attendant gave me the sixth one.)O
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#929753 Review #929753 is a subjective opinion of poster.
American Airlines Flight 5583
Reason of review
Poor customer service

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