Million-miler sends critical letter to American Airlines execs

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

DALLAS — For criticism to really count, it has to come from lucrative and loyal customers — like Laurie Appelbaum.

"It's never been like this," she said.

Appelbaum isn't just another frustrated flyer; she's traveled almost one million miles aboard American Airlines.

She spends more money buying tickets on American every month than anything else in her professional life.

But after four troublesome flights in the last week, she let executives have it.

"I didn't call names; I didn't use cuss words," Appelbaum said with a chuckle.

But she did stamp and mail a four-page letter to 51 of American's top executives, officers and directors which detailed diversions, delays and unhelpful employees.

"I think it has just become a situation that nobody has control of. I think management is in shambles," Appelbaum said. "They don't want to bargain or negotiate with some of the unions. And I think all of these entities need to come together and decide what they want to do, because they're losing customers."

She added that if the airline does not quickly improve, she might soon switch airlines.

But American says it's seeing signs of change. In the last 48 hours, its on-time arrival rate has already started to improve.

"There hasn't been a lot of good news for our passengers of late," said American spokesman Bruce Hicks. "We understand the operation the last few weeks hasn't met the standards of American Airlines or our customers, and that has to change."

Appelbaum isn't asking for anything in her letter to American's leaders except for a personal acknowledgment... and a simple promise that the airline's flights will leave and land on-time.

E-mail  jwhitely@wfaa.com

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