In December 2012, I booked my tickets for July-August 2013. At that time, I requested a bassinet for my baby. When I received my ticket, I called American Airlines to make sure I would have a bassinet. When I checked in to my flight, I requested a bassinet. At the gate, I requested a bassinet. Every single person I spoke to told me that they cannot reserve a bassinet for me and that I would need to speak to the next person involved in getting me onto the plane. At the gate I was told that not only is there no bassinet for me, I was not even sitting in a row in which having a bassinet was an option. The AA representative at the gate informed me that someone checked in 13 minutes before me and reserved the single bassinet available on the entire 777 300 plane. They explained that although there is space for an additional bassinet, since the plane is new, it is unequipped with a second one and it is not possible to obtain one from another aircraft. My baby does not sleep unless she is lying down and we were about to board a 10 hour overnight flight.
At the gate, they changed our boarding pass to be in a seat with a bassinet option, but that there was no way we would have a bassinet. The AA representatives at the gate called in their superior to tell us this.
We further discovered that my husband was not on the same flight as myself and the baby on our connecting flight. Apparently, the tickets I ordered through the American Airlines agent on the phone (for which I paid extra money) were not the tickets that had been issued to me. (I can provide proof of this.) I had explicitly stated that I was ordering through an agent to ensure that we would be sitting next to each other, something I could not do this online because our outgoing flights were on different dates. Not only were we not booked to be seated together, we were booked for different flights - my husband on El Al and myself on British Airways - that were flying from London to Tel Aviv at the same time.
The AA agents in LAX offered to rearrange our flight so that I and my baby would join my husband on his El Al flight. They said that this would create a problem for the suitcases that were checked in on the British Airways flight. However, they promised that if, upon our arrival in Tel Aviv, we filed a lost baggage claim, that the suitcases would be on the next flight and delivered to our home within 24 hours.
All of the above transpired at the gate in LAX for the flight to London Heathrow.
On the airplane, I asked for an extra blanket for the baby. The flight attendant said that she could not give us one, as we only had two seats. After five hours of holding my baby, who was overtired and struggling to fall asleep, I went to walk the isles of the airplane in an effort to help her sleep. At this time, I realized that no bassinet was in use, so I asked the flight attendant to get us one. She berated me lightly for not requesting the bassinet at the start of the flight. For the last 4+ hours of the flight, my baby slept happily in the bassinet, while myself and my husband could rest. I am furious that the AA superior misled me to believe that there was no way for me to have a bassinet on that flight.
In London, we had an eight hour stopover, so we left the airport to visit some family. When we returned to check in on our El Al flight, the agent told us that she has my ticket as well as my husband's, but that there was no ticket issued for my baby. She sent us to the ticket counter. There, the El Al agent spent over an hour searching for the baby's ticket in the system. It no longer appeared in the British Airways file, and did not appear as an El Al ticket. The American Airlines counter in Heathrow was already closed. She persevered, however, and finally managed to reach AA through the telephone reservation service in the U.S.A. Once on the phone, she was able to reissue the ticket. We arrived at our gate just in time for boarding.
In Tel Aviv, we went to the baggage claim, as instructed, and filed a claim for our two pieces of luggage which had not arrived.
Now, more than two days later, our suitcases have not only not arrived, but it appears, after numerous phone calls, that no one can locate the suitcases. We agreed that the suitcases would be delayed on the condition that they would arrive shortly after us. I have items in the suitcase which I need for work, the lack of which has already created problems for me.
My experience of American Airlines in this trip is one of deplorable lack of service and information from AA representatives in Los Angeles airport that was just plain wrong.
Product or Service Mentioned: American Airlines Flight Attendant.