Those four words from the title of the George Clooney movie of the same name would sum up my position on ever flying American Airlines again.
Our Florida trip to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday got off to a bit of a shaky start. Though the first incident had nothing to do with AA (Troy’s carry-on accidentally contained a pocket knife that was confiscated by security – don’t ask) our flights were delayed by almost an hour on both ends: in L.A., we had to taxi back to the gate so a ceiling panel could be fixed and in Miami (another questionable choice for an airport to fly into, especially with small children, but more on that shortly), we sat on the runway so a cargo “weight balance” recheck could be performed. I understand both issues are ultimately for our safety, BUT WHY WHEN WE’RE TAXIING, with three kiddies who just want to get airborne for a 4-5 hour flight that would now be 5-6 hours.
Once at 37,000 feet, I will begrudgingly admit that the flights were generally pleasant, what with the individual screens built into each seat and featuring a variety of programming (I actually got to enjoy the terrific “Life of Pi” in its entirety on the Florida-bound flight). But when it came time to fill out my voluntary touch-screen survey, AA received low marks overall.
On the ground in Miami, I was rethinking my choice of airports as we took a train from the reassigned gate (a distant one, thanks to the L.A. delay) to the main terminal and then a second train to the car rental center. Envision leading three kiddies with Buzz Lightyear & Dora roller carry-ons in tow on that Pied Piper trek and you get the idea.
To be sure, Fort Lauderdale International would have been the much better choice, not to mention the fact that MIA makes LAX look like a shoebox.
Thanks to my dad, the trip back from MIA was much smoother. Two things that dads are adept at is packing a trunk and planning the perfect airport pick-up/drop-off. So he advised that I drop off the famiglia curbside and return the car myself.
That wisdom wound up paying off in spades because after I got off the train from the car rental center and went through security, I checked the departing flights screen and saw that our gate required me to take the Skytrain to the correct concourse, a scenario best handled solo.
Good-night and fly safely (just not AA).