• Report: #167843

Complaint Review: American Airlines

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  • Submitted: Tue, December 13, 2005
  • Updated: Mon, July 31, 2006

  • Reported By:Kentfield California
American Airlines
www.aa.com Nationwide U.S.A.

American Airlines Refuses to assist women with babies by refusing to allow pre-board assistance San Francisco Nationwide

*Consumer Comment: Calling Earth

*Consumer Comment: Calling Earth

*Consumer Comment: Calling Earth

*Consumer Comment: Board last!

*UPDATE Employee: No, you are not ENTITLED to this privilige

*Consumer Comment: Thank you all for sharing your opinions

*Consumer Suggestion: Preboarding Parents of Small Children is for the OTHER passengers' convenience

*Consumer Comment: Okay Clay, point to the flaw in my statement

*Consumer Comment: Pushing and Shoving?

*Consumer Comment: There is no right to preboard

*Consumer Comment: Have some class

*Consumer Comment: Response for Lela

*Consumer Comment: Speak up for your RIGHTS also

*Consumer Comment: Let 'Em Pre-Board

*Consumer Comment: Let 'Em Pre-Board

*Consumer Comment: Let 'Em Pre-Board

*Consumer Comment: Let 'Em Pre-Board

*Consumer Comment: Not taking sides.

*Consumer Comment: '...we in the psychiatric world ...?

*Consumer Comment: Soory, fold, get your facts straight..and AA wrote to me to apologize

*Consumer Comment: Huh? discrimination

*Consumer Comment: Sorry you are WRONG

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American airlines refused myself with a baby, and my 7 month pregnant sister with her 2 year old, pre board. They stated that this is their new policy since a poll was taken, which passengers agreed that assisting women and their babies was unesscessary.

This is discrimination, and disgusting. I called AA customer service and they said it was not their policy. When flying back to SFO from Miami, again the agents refused pre- boarding to all the parents with babies (4) on this flight. WHen I told the agent that I had spoke with customer service and they said it was their policy, she looked nervous and said, " Yes it is, there was a poll taken, and we no longer can assist passengers with infants or small children.

Major reason for pre boarding is that a parent has to not only carry the baby down the aisle, but also a car seat and a bag. STanding in a long line of people taking their time to stow carry ons, and find their seat, leave the parent under extreme stressors.

I have heard that Delta has also tried this new policy, and that airlines are following suit to please their child-free passengers. There is no written policy stating this new discontinuation of assistance to those in need on AA's website.

There needs to be advocacy here, I was in extreme pain from standing there with a 14 month old crying in my arms, carring a heavy car seat on my bag, and a bag full of baby supplies for 6 hour flight. No flight attendants offered to help either.

And to think I paid hundreds of dollars for for this? If I had been informed of this new rule, I would have never of flown in the first place, at least not American Airlines or any airline so cruel and rude.

Karen
Kentfield, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/13/2005 11:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Airlines/nationwide/American-Airlines-Refuses-to-assist-women-with-babies-by-refusing-to-allow-pre-board-assis-167843. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Calling Earth

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry, but pre-boarding a mother with infant/small child is NOT only for the convenience of mom, but for the comfort and convenience to others on the flight. With a carseat, diaper bag and baby, it's a difficult trip down the aisle, and the items being carried tend to bump into EVERYTHING. I'm all in favor of having her seated prior to my boarding so that I don't have to wear a face full of carseat or diaper bag, or even get a childs foot shoved in my face.

It amazes me to read some of these posts, and realize how far our country has declined. We used to teach our children to give up their seats for a pregnant woman, elderly person (male or female), and anyone else that was older than they were. Our children were taught to step up and lend a hand when seeing someone in a more difficult position. To ridicule and make snide comments brought bad karma. I worked in an airport terminal for 2 years as a rental rep. When someone needed help, either with children, large amounts of luggage, being differently abled or elderly, or even finding the correct gate, SOMEONE was there to assist them and make their trip a bit easier, both for them and other passengers. This included the rental reps, security, AND airline staff. I never heard anyone complain, not those that were lending assistance nor other passengers.

Forgive me, but I fail to see how this is a 'privilege', but instead a simple courtesy that the world has become to busy to extend.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Calling Earth

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry, but pre-boarding a mother with infant/small child is NOT only for the convenience of mom, but for the comfort and convenience to others on the flight. With a carseat, diaper bag and baby, it's a difficult trip down the aisle, and the items being carried tend to bump into EVERYTHING. I'm all in favor of having her seated prior to my boarding so that I don't have to wear a face full of carseat or diaper bag, or even get a childs foot shoved in my face.

It amazes me to read some of these posts, and realize how far our country has declined. We used to teach our children to give up their seats for a pregnant woman, elderly person (male or female), and anyone else that was older than they were. Our children were taught to step up and lend a hand when seeing someone in a more difficult position. To ridicule and make snide comments brought bad karma. I worked in an airport terminal for 2 years as a rental rep. When someone needed help, either with children, large amounts of luggage, being differently abled or elderly, or even finding the correct gate, SOMEONE was there to assist them and make their trip a bit easier, both for them and other passengers. This included the rental reps, security, AND airline staff. I never heard anyone complain, not those that were lending assistance nor other passengers.

Forgive me, but I fail to see how this is a 'privilege', but instead a simple courtesy that the world has become to busy to extend.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Calling Earth

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry, but pre-boarding a mother with infant/small child is NOT only for the convenience of mom, but for the comfort and convenience to others on the flight. With a carseat, diaper bag and baby, it's a difficult trip down the aisle, and the items being carried tend to bump into EVERYTHING. I'm all in favor of having her seated prior to my boarding so that I don't have to wear a face full of carseat or diaper bag, or even get a childs foot shoved in my face.

It amazes me to read some of these posts, and realize how far our country has declined. We used to teach our children to give up their seats for a pregnant woman, elderly person (male or female), and anyone else that was older than they were. Our children were taught to step up and lend a hand when seeing someone in a more difficult position. To ridicule and make snide comments brought bad karma. I worked in an airport terminal for 2 years as a rental rep. When someone needed help, either with children, large amounts of luggage, being differently abled or elderly, or even finding the correct gate, SOMEONE was there to assist them and make their trip a bit easier, both for them and other passengers. This included the rental reps, security, AND airline staff. I never heard anyone complain, not those that were lending assistance nor other passengers.

Forgive me, but I fail to see how this is a 'privilege', but instead a simple courtesy that the world has become to busy to extend.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Board last!

AUTHOR: E - (U.S.A.)

If you cannot handle waiting in line with a bag, baby and car seat then you should board last! You can SIT out in the gate room till everyone is boarded. PROBLEM SOLVED. The poster who said the apology letter is just a generic one to appease you is right.

Since when did having a child become a handicap??
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#5 UPDATE Employee

No, you are not ENTITLED to this privilige

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

No, you are not entitled to this privilige. It is a privilige, nothing else.

To be "entitled" to something is to be qualified by right, according to law. There is no law entitling you to preboard because you have children.

The airline wrote you a generic letter to appease you, nothing more. They don't have the power to entitle you to this, they can only establish a policy.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Thank you all for sharing your opinions

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

Well everyone, as the person who originally filed the complaint, I thank you for your opinions. Many of them are quite determined to express outrage at having parents with samll children pre-boarded, a once standard practice before 9/11. Allow me to express some facts which have nothing to do with your opinions. My report was NOT intended for those of you who are outraged and opposed that babies needing carseats need extra time to install to Fedreal Airline requirements, and mothers having to wait in long lines holding toddlers weighing over 25 pounds, and a 25 pound car seat need assistance. The report was intended for those parents who should consider avioding American Airlines. Yes a parent having to do these special requirements such as installing a car seat, is entitled, and as stated before, American Airlines wrote me a response stating that PARENTS ARE ENTITLED TO THIS ASSISTANCE. The rip off report was also questioning that various ticket agents were saying that there was no preboarding, WHICH ACCORDING TO THE AA LETTER OF APOLOGY TO ME STATES THAT THOSE AGENTS SHOULD BE REPORTED< AND ARE UNDER NO AUTHORITY TO DECLINE A PARENT SPECIAL ASSISTANCE. This report is not about debating whether children are loud, or annoying, or should even fly at all. If you wish to debate about that, or wish to exclaim that you are a parent who feels they dont like having help getting on an airplane with a baby/toddler, then feel free to start your own blog about it. This is a report that agents were deciding on their own accord that they didnt want to preboard babies, which is against the American Airlines policy and procedure, as stated in tehir letter of apology to me. Discrimination is a fine line, and I still stand by the fact that it is done throughout all airlines, with entitlement in some cases, for our protection and safety after 9/11. But, if agents are to take things too far, and in one city you are able to gain assistance with your car seat, and another you are not becasue the agent didnt feel like it, then there is no proof it is not discrimination. You just simply cant prove it either way, it's all about how you as the customer feel you have been treated after paying alot of money to have no help. Many airlines have stopped pre boarding people with small children for another reason too in my opinion, and that is that air marshalls are pre boarded, and allowing others to pre board would give up their anonimity. There are many airlines which allow pre boarding, and offer assistance with pleasure. I will be logging off of this site, and care never to read any of the responses regarding your opionions that are negative and derogatory regarding the rights of parents, babies and children. The Airlines are a SERVICE INDUSTRY, let's remember that. For those of you who are parents seeking the best Airline to choose for customer satisfaction when flying to see family or on vacations, just simply choose to possibly avoid American Airlines at this time until they get their agents together and re-educate them on their policy to pre-board with special arrangments, and all other who fail to provide assistance. If you wish to find out which airline will assist you in pre boarding, call their customer service dept first, get the name and ID number of the agaent you spoke with, and use that if you encouter a ticket agent at the gate who refuses you. You then can report the agent who refused you, as I did, and they will have a complaint strike on their record. Complaint strikes can prevent them from getting promotions, which would seem appropriate if they are that poor in customer service.

I wish all you parents of babies and toddlers safe and happy flights, and to the rest of you, I wish you luck on your future blogs focused on a passenger's right to fly a plane without children or babies. Good Luck. Other blogs you can start up could maybe be, "I have no happiness in my life so lets attack people trying to protect babies, moms, and kids" or "If I have to wait for mom's to get their babies in a car seat, my whole life will fall apart", or "Parents should never feel entitled to ask for help, they should just write off their family to visit , or their vacations" and "I'm a mom who likes to pay $1500.00 to suffer on a plane, and get treated horribly; I hope to pass that on to my kids so they too should never know the the true meaning of humanity". Good luck in your blogs.
Farewell!
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

Preboarding Parents of Small Children is for the OTHER passengers' convenience

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

I am the mother of a small child and 9 months pregnant with my second, and I can say that flying with a child is, to say the least, an inconvenience.

But I think it is absolutely ridiculous for the complainant to think that they are entitled special treatment by the airline because they have children!! Traveling with children may be difficult, but it shouldn't mean that you are given special treatment along the same lines as those who are disabled or elderly. If preboarding is given, it shouldn't be for the parent's convenience; it is usually intended as a courtesy to the OTHER passengers so that the parents may stow their things without bumping into others' seats with their carseat and stroller.

I also agree that many people these days do not discipline their "little darlings" when it is obviously warranted! I myself have been stuck next to a little monster on many flights whose mother thinks his/her behavior is cute!
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#8 Consumer Comment

Okay Clay, point to the flaw in my statement

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

So far, it has not been done in ANY thread.

The woman claimed she was discriminated against by being treated EXACTLY like everyone else.

Words do have meanings.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Pushing and Shoving?

AUTHOR: Lela - (U.S.A.)

I don't know where all the 'pushing and shoving' perceptions are coming from.

This year alone I flew to Mexico, Key West and the west coast.

There was no 'pushing or shoving' anywhere. And yes, I flew from the very busy, very full Philadelphia airport.
And...um....no, I did not see the elderly or disabled allowed to board earlier than anyone else. They did it by the row number.

Maybe you all who get pushed and shoved need to try a different airline.

And I stand by my statement; elderly and disabled should be allowed to board earlier. People with children (unless there are truly extenuating circumstances) should be treated like the rest of the folks who paid to fly.

I think my title 'entitlement minded parents' really needs no explanation.
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#10 Consumer Comment

There is no right to preboard

AUTHOR: Aafes - (U.S.A.)

There is no right for anyone to preboard. In the case of the elderly or disabled it is appopriate. The gate area is generally crowded, and typically has uncomfortable seating in the best airports. Often there are far less available seats at the gate than passenger.

Elderly and disabled persons often have trouble being comfortable in ideal situations, and should not be made to suffer.

First class passengers pay for the privilige. If you are willing to pay exorbitant prices to fly first class you have the privilige of special treatment - preboarding is only one.

As for mothers with babies or children, you chose to have a child. The remainder of the passengers did not choose for you. If it is so difficult to board because of the pushing, shoving, crowding etc. then instead of "preboarding" perhaps you should be required to board last.

Imagine - you are not allowed to board until other passengers are seated - NO ONE is in the aisles, all other passengers have their carryons stowed. You can easily walk up the aisle with your carseat, bag and assorted children to find your seat. The only inconvenience may be a passenger seated on the aisle that might have to get up to let you into the interior seating. Suprise, you are stowing your bag in the overhead and a passenger offers to help, as they are already seated and see a mother struggling!!!

A much better alternative. More comfortable for everyone.

BTW while you are flying. Have courtesy for other passengers. If your baby cries - it needs attention now - diaper change, feeding etc., don't let him/her cry for 10 minutes while you pretend to sleep. As for your toddlers, the back of the seat in front of them or the one they are sitting in is not a toy. Those of us seated in front or behind don't think it is cute for them to hang and stare at us for 20 minutes. It is also not cute for them to run amok in the aisles. Control your children, keep them polite and quiet. Everyone will enjoy the flight more.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Have some class

AUTHOR: Clay - (U.S.A.)

Some of you need to have just an ounce of class and not pounce on everyone!

Having people pre-board small children saves TIME. It is also just common courtesy!

Discrimination was not the right word, but I know what you meant. The policy makes no sense and it is not like Southwest where you may get "better" seats. Pre-boarding was always done well before actual board times and never bothered anyone.

Of course with small children you will never sit in the exit row anyway.

Having read many posts here over the years, and some of you showing up on every thread, some of you need to grow up! See jacksonville!
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#12 Consumer Comment

Response for Lela

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

Lela,

You said: "Why not let the elderly board first? Surely those with arthritis, back pain or fatigue would benefit from an earlier boarding time."

Um, if I'm not mistaken, most airlines already DO let the elderly board first. In fact, I know for certain that Southwest allows them first boarding in front of everybody else, parents with small children included. I flew them twice last year and witnessed it firsthand.

"Entitlement-minded parents?" Well, it was in your title, but you make no mention of that in your post. You know what I'm tired of? People who push and shove their way into line to board in front of as many people as possible. They still have an assigned seat that does not change by boarding sooner than anyone else (Southwest Airlines excluded of course). And the plane still leaves at the same time.

I do agree that parents who do not control their unruly child during the flight should be reprimanded by the flight crew. There is no reason a child should be kicking seats, or running up and down the aisles uncontrollably. I hate those kinds of parents.
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#13 Consumer Comment

Speak up for your RIGHTS also

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

Cory, I would have said a WHOLE LOT MORE. And I wouldnt worry about offending her mother. I would have probably had a few choice words with her after deplaning. I had some OLD BIDDY a while back tell me I WASNT ALLOWED TO RECLINE MY SEAT AT ANYTIME CAUSE IT BOTHERED HER. Well I told her, well I am bothered by your breathing, so if you will refrain from breathing for the next 2+ hours, I wont recline my seat. Otherwise I will recline it like it was designed for. And then later when she tried kicking it to annoy me, I had the flight attendants & the captain all over her. Believe me, FLIGHT CREWS hate passengers like her & families with TERROR-KIDS. They will bend over backwards to help Frequent Fliers & Non-Revers cause they know, we know the rules !!!!
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#14 Consumer Comment

Let 'Em Pre-Board

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

If you let them pre-board, then you'll know where they are. You can sit as far away from them as you can. Had one little princess kick the back of my seat for several hours when she wasn't hanging and swinging off of it. Her mother was "offended" when I said something.
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#15 Consumer Comment

Let 'Em Pre-Board

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

If you let them pre-board, then you'll know where they are. You can sit as far away from them as you can. Had one little princess kick the back of my seat for several hours when she wasn't hanging and swinging off of it. Her mother was "offended" when I said something.
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#16 Consumer Comment

Let 'Em Pre-Board

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

If you let them pre-board, then you'll know where they are. You can sit as far away from them as you can. Had one little princess kick the back of my seat for several hours when she wasn't hanging and swinging off of it. Her mother was "offended" when I said something.
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#17 Consumer Comment

Let 'Em Pre-Board

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

If you let them pre-board, then you'll know where they are. You can sit as far away from them as you can. Had one little princess kick the back of my seat for several hours when she wasn't hanging and swinging off of it. Her mother was "offended" when I said something.
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#18 Consumer Comment

Not taking sides.

AUTHOR: Patrick - (U.S.A.)

I won't take sides in this argument, but I will say this:

What is wrong with society these days that everyone has a "me first" attitude? I can only imagine how bad things will be in the future if society continues to degrade in this fashion. There is no more compassion for your fellow man (or woman). And if there is, it is a rare thing.

Now, as far as airline travel is concerned, I have never been able to understand why people feel they need to get on the flight ahead of as many people as possible. I mean, you have an assigned seat, right? It's not like the quicker you get on, the closer to the front you get to sit. The only exception I can think of is Southwest Airlines, as they do not have either First Class, or assigned seating. And they so happen to be my airline of choice as they have always treated me and my family better than any other airline out there.

To me, it only makes sense to have all those needing assistance (including families with kids under 4) board first, so that they can get situated and out of everyone else's way. Your seat is not going anywhere, and the plane will not depart later because of it. I would much rather sit in the waiting area in comfort (even if my row boards first) than to fight everyone in that section who is also trying to board.

C'mon people, have a little compassion.
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#19 Consumer Comment

'...we in the psychiatric world ...?

AUTHOR: Pete - (U.S.A.)

At least you're making a step in the right direction--admitting you need 'help.'

Discrimination? You had the fun making them, now take care of them and quit your whining. Don't subject the rest of us to your b****ing when everyone doesn't curtsy to you simply because you're a mother. We all pay the same airfare. We all should wait our turn. And I'll just bet your little darlings were the perfect angels on that flight, just sleeping away or cooing melodically which is enough to drive a saint to cursing. My sympathies to your fellow passengers.

So AA sent you an apology letter? I'd believe the sun comes up in the west before I'd believe that made up yarn.

You are not special just because you didn't keep your legs crossed! At least you didn't toss in the usual 'single, low income' so prevalent in today's society.
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#20 Consumer Comment

Soory, fold, get your facts straight..and AA wrote to me to apologize

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

Never did I make a scene, so sorry, your rebuttal was inaccurate. AA customer service wrote me a letter, which I am glad to post, that states they apologize for not pre-boarding me, that the attendants should have done so fo ANY person traveling with small children. So, my clever rebuttal freinds who write as iff they need serioes psychological intervention for what we in the psychiatric world call self defeating behvaior ( that you seriously think traveling with childfreen, while in pain has never warrented you the decades old tradition to pre board women and infants), I think you are sadly mistaken in your efforts. How are AA's helath plans by the way? I am sure that youmust work for them, or want to work for them, based on your words. If you dont wish to work for them, may I suggest you consider moving yourself and your poor children to the countries that do not believe in freedom, where human decency and AMERICAN VALUES do not exist. That way you'll be in your own company based on your pathalogical comments in your rebuttal. I hope that whatever your parents failed to display in love and smotional support as children will no longer effect you judgment on a very simple situation such as a flight attendent decidining who with a baby can pre borad one day, and another who cannot. May today Chinese baby and mothers will get to, and tomorrow people with blond hair will not. Again, it is not up to the attendent, especially if she has made up the rule herself. And this, my firend, I base on AA letter to me admitting that there was a mistake, and aplogy thrown every other word to me.
I am sorry for you and hope you can look within to turn your heart from what it is now, to something more full of compassion and love. Then, you might find the happiness that seems robbed from your words.
Good luck to you, and I'm sure you will find many friends in self hate orgaizations to support you.
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#21 Consumer Comment

Huh? discrimination

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

How exactly is NOT giving you special treatment that they give nobody else, discrimination? It sounds to me, and I am from EARTH, like they are treating everyone the same.
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#22 Consumer Comment

Sorry you are WRONG

AUTHOR: Shelley - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry but I fail to see how this is DISCRIMINATION. Before you jump down my throat I have 4 children and 2 grandchildren so trust me I have taken small children out more times than I'm sure you have. Try being 9 months pregnant and taking out a 2, 8 and 10 year old ANYWHERE. So yes I do understand what a pain it is to have to carry everything you need PLUS watch your other children. But it's a pain when I travel and I have a cold. Should I get to pre board then? Where is it written that JUST BECAUSE you have children, car seat, diaper bag etc, you DESERVE help and to pre board? Yes it would have been NICE if they offered to help but do you DESERVE it? NO!! There is a REASON the Airline took a poll and people said traveling with a small child didn't warrant special privileges. You choose to travel with a small child. Maybe you didn't have much of a choice in having to travel that day, but you did decide to have children.

I think you have a right to fly, go to a restaurant a movie etc BUT it doesn't give you RIGHTS or special PRIVILEGES. You say you paid hundreds of dollars for this flight? Well so did EVERYONE else waiting to board that plane. I have a bad back and traveling waiting in the lines with my carry on etc HURTS should I get special treatment? NO. I know it will hurt but I (note the I) made the decision to travel so I have o take the consequences of MY decision. I ALWAYS went out of my way to do EVERYTHING I could to make sure my children weren't an annoyance to others in any public setting. Was I always successful? NO but at least I tried. Must have done something right because my older sons do the same thing with my granddaughters. They NEVER expect special treatment and when the girls act up (and ALL children do at some point) they do their best to keep them from annoying others.

That's what you should have been focusing on rather than creating a scene when they wouldn't let you pre board. I guarantee when you got worked up your child became more upset. Take RESPONSIBILITY for your children and the decision you make to take them ANYWHERE. When you decided to become a parent that meant you got the bad along with the good.
Stop thinking it gives you "RIGHTS" and save the cries of "discrimination" for something that really is discrimination such as if they didn't let you board the plane at all SIMPLY because you had a small child with you.
I think it's great the Airlines are listening to the preferences of ALL their passengers and going with the majority choice.....Remember that you are the MINORITY thinking you DESERVE special treatment because you are traveling with a small child. Be more worried about NOT allowing ANYTHING related to your child to become a annoyance to others.. Who know when you become more considerate of those around you them I bet they will become more considerate of you. Sorry this is so long winded.
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