This is a copy of a posting I made over at flyertalk.com — WyreNut
My experience that horrible day:
Left Fresno at 7:30am (PST), and the ride got really bumpy entering Texas. “Well folks, this is the Captain. We’ve been diverted to Austin due to the weather”… Oh no.
Landed at Austin, and lined up next to 5 other AA planes. After about 2 hours they announced “A bus is coming to the plane to take the passengers who have Austin as their final destination”. A lucky few deplaned, and the weather looked like it was clearing up (sun came out, etc.).
Then the promises began. “Well, they’re going to make a decision in about 30 minutes”. This mantra was repeated about every 60 minutes. Thirty would go by, nothing at all was said, then another half hour the captain would repeat it again.
My Palm TX helped me pass the time, and I was able to go online and look at weather reports for the area. Everything kept horribly dangling a happy ending in front of us – the captain’s promises, the weather clearing up then storming over again, etc.
After about 4 hours, we were really beginning to get upset. The stewardesses announced “We’re passing out what we have left – if you’re not allergic to peanuts, please take them as we have more peanuts than pretzels!” The passenger behind me (who kept repeating over and OVER – “We’re never going to go to Dallas!”) accurately observed “GREAT! They’re giving us peanuts, and now we’re all going to be thirsty as HELL!”.
The liquids began to run out. “Diet Sierra Mist? Diet Sierra Mist sir?” That’s all they had left. People began to grab whatever they were offering, whether they liked it or not. More empty promises came over the speakers.
Now things started getting serious. The lady next to me announced she had Diabetes, and began to beg the stewardesses for something to eat. She was shaking uncontrollably, and her husband looked really concerned. Her meds were in her luggage. The stewardesses found an old crusty bagel, and a milk (which she spit out instantly as “spoiled!”). Three babies were screaming at the top of their lungs for the same lack of food.
I had been suffering from claustrophobic nightmares for 3 weeks prior to this ordeal. I continually had to talk myself down from the feelings of being trapped in my window seat by staring out the window at the storm…
I began to flash S.O.S. out the window from my cell phone (it has the function built into it) in hopes to attract attention, or possibly cheer up the other passengers in the plane also held hostage next to us.
BAM! Lightning. All the floodlights go dead that were lighting the area around us. Now all the planes are in total darkness outside. I’m still flashing the SOS and suddenly, there are Fire trucks and cops outside our plane. Turns out we have a disabled man on board who needs to deplane. Fire crew personnel board our plane and discuss ways to help him exit the plane. After a long discussion (during which I’m yelling “WE’RE BEING HELD HOSTAGE!!”) they leave, and finally we hear “Well, we finally have a gate to go to!”
Cheers finally ring out from our bedraggled bunch. We begin to move, leaving the other AA planes on the tarmac. I’m just guessing 1348 was one of them.
As we taxi toward the terminal, we start to notice “HEY! There’s an open gate! There’s another one! AND ANOTHER ONE!” I counted about 5 in a row with no planes attached. WTF??!!
As we deplane, the flight crew tells us, “Don’t go far, we might just take off!!” Another stewardess informs us, “You might want to rent a car…” I ran for a restaurant, with two other co-workers as we were starving. (Umm, chopped brisket sandwich…!) We decide to cut our losses, and rent a car for the 3-4 hour ride to Dallas. We turn in our boarding passes, and they immediately sell our seats to other stranded passengers! (The plane never left Austin that night).
No compensation was ever mentioned to us, or offered. “You’re on your own if you leave!” was our warning.
Made it to Dallas at around 12pm CST.
Tried to get our luggage at DFW the next day, after speaking with AA on the 800 line. Informed our luggage would be flying into DFW at 8:45am. At 8:30am we arrived and asked the nearby AA luggage agent where the flight would arrive.
“Um, that flight was canceled!”
“Yes, we know, we were on it!”
“Oh. Well, there ain’t no flight comin’ in till about 6pm.”
“We were told by AA it’s coming in this morning at 8:45!”
He then had me fill out a lost luggage form. Had me tell him 3 items in my bag. Finally said, “well your bags are probably back in Fresno” and I reiterated FIRMLY that
1. I was on the flight, and so were my bags.
2. The flight overnighted in Austin.
3. Where the hell is the plane and my bags?!
He finally found the flight on the phone. “Gate C15, it’s just arriving!”. We thanked him and went to C terminal.
Found C15. Spoke with the baggage clerk there. “Nope, that plane’s not coming in here!”.
Oh God, here we go again. Continued to speak/tell/argue wit
h the agent that we were directed here. Suddenly the carousel starts up. My buddy says, “Hey! That looks like my wife’s bag!”. He goes over to check, and then whistle’s for me. “They’re all here!”
.The agent has the nerve to continue to ARGUE WITH ME!!! “That can’t be your plane!!”. I was ready to blow, but was just glad to find my bags and was happy about the thought of being able to brush my teeth, shave, and take my meds!
If there is any legal action contemplated, I welcome someone contacting me. This whole affair was inhuman. I’ve emailed AA customer service and received a $500 voucher from them with an apology.
WyreNutFlight 534 from Fresno