Travel Related

Seriously American Airlines flyers – How do you all stand the constant delAAys!

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Is Ben reAAly done with AA?

My fellow BoardingArea blogger, Ben from One Mile At A Time is not pleased with American Airlines. In fact, he is so upset, he is tweeting he is DONE flying them (let’s see if he really stands by this and comes over to Delta). I understand his frustrAAtion!

Welcome bAAck!

AA has just this past summer come back to SBN or South Bend, Indiana (my hometown airport fyi) after a few years away (AA and US Air used to fly from SBN).

Cost to fly cash
Cost with Avios

I have wanted to try their service and when I had a few open days I booked a cheap Avios award (from my Chase BA card) to give me the chance to review the new Dallas DFW American Express Centurion Club. Neither of my flights went as planned.

Delta is across the board on time. AA is tardy!

SBN, trying to be cute I guess, said my AA flight was “tardy” a.k.a. late. The reason was the inbound aircraft was late.

Jet – late. Crew – late!

I got notice in the AA app about delay after delay – but apparently our crew did not. They ended up waiting at the hotel while the pilots, and all of us passengers, were ready to fly.

Please let us onboard!

Half an hour after we were all ready to go they showed up (had they been at the airport we could have made up most of the delay).

AAnother swing and a miss.

On the way back it was even worse. Our jet had landed in DFW hours before our flight (like the Delta app you can track incoming flights). But for some reason AA decided to assign that jet somewhere else and give us, wait for it….

GreAAt. 2 hours late

Yep! Another delayed flight. Our return flight ended up almost 2 hours late. Keep in mind there was no weather either day and this was all due to AA issues.

This I like!

The AA club folks were very sympathetic to our issues but there was little they could do as there are limited flights in and out of SBN (but at least I got to try the AA guacamole – num – due to the City AA Executive card)!

That is greAAt space.

The club reps, due to the delay, were kind enough to move us for free to the CRJ700 exit row and it was really nice with a ton of leg room. As a side note the 1st class cabin was full on the flight down and half empty on the way back.

While I do not fly AA much I know my impression is not isolated. All the BoardingArea bloggers who fly AA know they are, despite all their efforts to put D0, that is, depart on time above all else, nothing like Delta when it comes to performance and on-time flights.

My question to you AA folks is – how in the world do you all stand this each week? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. While I know most bloggers speak about mainline service operations, I have to remark that American’s Envoy regional planes are dramatically less reliable than Delta. Especially in the midwest/Northeast.

    There are two factors to this I suspect. Chicago + Detroit. ORD is shared by United/AA – and a ton of other carriers. DTW is practically owned by Delta. Delta simply is able to better handle all the flight traffic in DTW better, with there being less air traffic compared to ORD, and them owning most of the airport slots, gates certainly helps.

    The last factor is the deicing process. ORD for some reason has it negotiated in a contract that deicing must occur at the gate. DTW and most northern airports will have you deice on a deicing pad. The problem with ORD and their process is that deicing trucks simply operate less efficiently when constantly crossing terminals and gates in attempt to keep move from one plane to the next. This is why you are always waiting at the gate to taxi (waiting to deice), and why you are always waiting for a gate when you have landed (gate congestion due to inefficient deicing process)

    ORD’s air traffic congestion + gate congestion due to poor deicing processes + a small amount of bad weather = massive Envoy flight cancellations.

    Delta and DTW especially – they will have regional flights operating in no time at all, meanwhile ORD is still struggling – and only taking mainline + international aircraft.

  2. AA does not have a large number of delays. They merely have a lot of modified departure times. And if you’re lucky enough to be at an airport with a Centurion Lounge that’s a very good thing!

  3. I fly AA often and I rarely have issues with delayed flights. I am sure some of it depends on the route. I don’t have to deal with a tiny airport like South Bend so I’m almost always on large flights from one major airport to another which may have fewer delays. My preference would be to fly Delta in terms of the planes but I have no desire to pay 20% more and get to enjoy a three hour stop in Atlanta.

  4. “We hope to make it up to you on a future flight?”

    HOW? Are you going to take off 2 hours early?

  5. They CAN make it up on a future flight…

    There once was a lady named Bright,
    Who took an American flight.
    She flew that day in a relative way,
    And retuned on the previous night.

  6. Hi, Rene’, DFW is my home airport as well as AA’s Corporate home. Naturally DFW has a ton of AA flights. I use this site – – to track flights for fun and when I or folks I need to meet at the airport are traveling.

    There are always a lot of late AA flights, including the first flight of the day! To me that is absolutely crazy that the overnighter can’t depart on time. It isn’t isolated to one city; it is all over the AA network on daily basis.

  7. Last year coming home from our Europe trip, we were delayed 4 hours. We flew Bus. class using points and we were given $1300 for the delay, plus hotel stay in the US. Yep, we got back a day later, but a nice check for the inconvenience.

  8. I moved over to delta because of AA’s delays, especially on Eagle flights. I also left because they started pulling upgrades away from me after being given them, ticket in hand. Delta has its share of delay issues, though not as bad as AA. I will give AA credit that they will give vouchers out a lot easier for delays than Delta.

  9. I fly AA two to four times weekly, every week. (Well, since I left Delta about 3 years ago)

    I think I can recall one delay in the last year. Beyond that they have been as reliable as Delta was for me.

    Note: I very rarely fly regional jets. Nearly all of my flights are on the mainline carrier. My main airports are MCO, PHL, ORD, DFW, CLT, LAX and MIA.

    Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve been extremely happy with AA. Also: Their customer service, at least from my perspective, has been much better than I had with Delta. There is rarely an issue I can’t fix by sending them a message on Twitter.

    • @Ellis Z – On the twitter AA support – 100% Agree. Hands down just outstanding! (and that is good cuz with all my delAAys I need them often) 😉

  10. Rene!!!! SSSSHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! We don’t need all those AA flyers overcrowding our Delta Flights anymore than they already are!

  11. I have had 3 horrible experiences with them and technical stuff aside, alot of the issues were poor management and communication. Once we missed our flight because the line to check our bags got congested by ALL the attendants addressing passengers whose flight was canceled just before. Had they just devoted one or two agents to them it would have been okay. Then there were line-jumpers because they had no dividers to organize the lines. When I asked they said they didn’t like “how they look”. We ended up getting stranded overnight. At least they gave us first class seats next day but it didn’t make up for lost work time and having to go back and forth to the airport again. Another time they canceled a flight out of San Diego because they were short one flight attendant but didn’t tell anyone until boarding time!! Because of curfews, the last flights out of San Diego are 10:30pm. Had they let us know even 20 minutes before we could have flown another airline out. Again stranded. Compensation: $200 voucher. I won’t even go into the multiple other delays but so many of their failures are avoidable with better systems in place but they refuse to implement efficiency practices. That is why they are one of the most hated airlines.

  12. Christopher Reply

    I’m hardly ever delayed on AA but every flight I’ve taken on United or Delta over the past 3 years has had some delay. At Delta and United the customer service is terrible beyond belief without fail, at least AA tries.

  13. The AA diehards don’t know what on-time means because they have been brainwashed by AA. All my AA experience involved delays and cancellations. Since I mainly fly with DL, it’s a world of difference. DL’s normal delays mean it actually arrive on time and NOT early, but most of the flights arrive early by quite a bit of time. For AA, if it arrive within 30 mins of schedule time, it’s considered a good day…

    I’d take on a complex connecting flight with DL to make a business meeting but never never with AA. Each additional flight on AA will exponentially increase the odds of your plan getting completely destroyed.

    I will say though, you will get use to the constant delays as you learn it will never take off on time – it does help relax that drive to the airport or that connection run in the airport. Morning commute to the airport in traffic gets me really nervous because I know DL will takeoff and takeoff on-time if not early.

  14. @Christopher — Completely agree with your customer service comments.

  15. I fly American probably once a week and am always amazed when my flights are actually on time. Today, I just dumped my American ticket and bought a walk up United ticket to save myself from a three hour rolling delay. Beyond the delays, the thing that kills me is how they’re communicated. Usually 30 minutes at a time. Having spent several years flying delta, I’d say American is noticeably worse in this department, for me. But they have better routes out of DCA, where I live, so….

  16. When I started flying regularly between Des Moines and Cincinnati, I tried flying AA, but quickly learned to just pay more and fly Delta. No direct flight from anyone on that route (I beg all the airlines for this in the future and I will pay anything), and I missed about 50% of my connections on AA. They often lost gate priority in Chicago, I suspect due to late takeoffs / landings, and we’d have to wait on the ramp for a new assignment every time. Trying to catch a connection was also like playing hide and seek (due to the above condition) – which gate is my connection at now? repeated every 5 minutes. Sometimes, they’d decide not to fly to Des Moines because darn it, it’s just HARD. I got stranded overnight in a lot of airports around the country. Eventually I decided they were either unwilling or unable to provide a viable means of travel, and I needed something much more reliable. BTW, ditto these comments for United. I learned the hard way with a lot of miles.

  17. The difference in on-time performance between AA and DL is only a few percentage points. So its not like all AA flights are late and all DL flights are on time. I’ve had delayed flights on both

    Is anyone sure what the actual stats are because they are reported by the airlines themselves. We all know DL is integrity challenged. It goes through all kinds of gyrations to avoid reporting flight cancellations even when the flight is actually cancelled. This is what DL said in a footnote to a press release bragging that it had no flight cancellations in a month in which I was on one of its cancelled flights:

    “Delta operated 16 mainline international flights on a delayed basis during the month via substitute flights using Delta aircraft with an alternate flight number.”

    If DL can get away with that, what other foolishness are they using to compile on-time stats?

Write A Comment