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Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Lake Crystal...
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625 posts
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Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Not having flown since the seventies, when I was in the Army, I was a bit apprehensive about flying to Argentina (MSP-DFW-SCL-COR) in 2011. But I did my homework, booked directly with AA (codeshare with LAN), single ticket, and read up on 3-1-1 bags and how to pack a laptop as carry-on. I got stressy when my fight out of MSP was delayed by a mechanical issue -- eventually seven hours -- but the AA guy at the gate spent an hour finding me a new way to Argentina, via DFW-LAX-LIM-SCL-COR. While passengers waited to get out of MSP we were given soda pop, juice, fruit, chips, granola bars, etc. I later ended up spending several hours in DFW and was offered a hotel voucher and meal vouchers. And I later had to find my way through LAX (changing from domestic to int'l) as a newbie, but the airport people were very helpful, and the LAN senorita that printed my boarding pass at the ticket counter later sought me out at the gate and offered me an exit row seat. I got to Argentina a day late, but got to see how active an airport can be in Lima at 3 AM, with stores open and musicians playing. The return trip went smoothly.

Last summer I flew to Mexico -- MSP-DFW-BJX -- and back, on AA and my only heart-stopping moment was when my name was on the "come see us" list at the gate in MSP. I was happy to learn that my traveling companion and I had, for some reason, been upgraded to First class. All flights were on time, or early.

I never met a gruff TSA/security/customs/immigration person in LAX, MSP, DFW, Peru, Chile, Mexico, or Argentina. It was all please/por favor, sir/senor, enjoy your trip/buen viaje, and thank you/gracias.

All things considered, I think the "system" did a decent job of transporting me several thousand miles, even though I have friends that tell me my trip to Argentina was a "trip from h-ll" and one should fly only if one "wants to be treated like cattle."

Liverpool, UK
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36 reviews
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1. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

As you have discovered any flight can encounter problems and there is no way of predicting whether it will be your flight or not.

When it happens to me the key issue is how staff deal with it and it seems to have been handled well - at least you were happy.

Anybody who thinks every flight goes without a hitch has unrealistic expectations in my opinion - nobody likes it when it happens to them but as they say "s**t happens sometimes".

Houston, Texas
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530 posts
164 reviews
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2. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Sounds like you had a decent trip to me. Unfortunately, delays happen, but it seems you were compensated fairly well within the guidlines.

In my opinion, this is in no way a "trip from H-ll". I sincerely ask that you have these friends chime into this thread, and explain why they feel your trip was, as they say, "From H-ll". I would really be interested to hear their explanations.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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31,622 posts
6 reviews
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3. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Ron, it looks like you're well travelled and have encountered and dealt with (with patience, well done on that) what most of us frequent fliers have encountered many times.

Other people will do well to value your experience.

When booking, just think "now what could go wrong" and plan for it within reason. If you've never had your bags lost (sorry "delayed") you'd be advised to pack a change of clothes in your carry on.

Happy travels.

London, United...
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4. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Overall, most airports and airlines do a decent job of getting the vast majority of passengers through in a timely and efficient manner. However things go wrong and not many people are tolerant of a several hour delay or want to be in an airport at 3 am, particularly if one has commitments or young children. So I guess much has to do with attitude, as well as individual pressures.

Not all airport staff are little bundles of sunshine, so I would say you hit lucky there, the more often you travel, the more likely you are to see that.

Complimentary upgrades are very rare, and sometimes passengers have to fight hard for accommodation or snacks following a substantial delay. Many stories abound about airlines running out of vouchers and people sleeping in the airport with nothing to eat, as families were given priority on the hotel rooms available.

So yes, overall it's mainly smooth, but it can and does go wrong, and sometimes airline or airport staff don't do their jobs correctly or deliver what they should. Sometimes people have different pressures to you have, and these things can easily change the perception of an experience.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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56,872 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Your friends' expectations are unrealistic.

Planes go tech; unfortunately yours did at the start of your journey. That AA provided food and drink along with hotel and meal vouchers is beyond the remit of some US-based airlines: they did well in that case. That the AA chap at MSP helped sort out a new routing to Argentina was definitely a plus.

In case of irrops an airline may have to sort out transport, accommodation, food and drinks for about 200 people. It's not something that can be done in a few minutes, as an airline can't magic up a spare plane plus crew to fly those people to their destination; the delayed pax have to be taken into consideration with others who have booked tickets on the next flights to that destination.

AA did a good job, your trip to Argentina hardly sounds hellacious. I dislike the use of the phrase 'cattle class' referring to Economy, and whilst onboard service in that class may not be what one wishes it was, pax are still considered important enough to be flown safely to and from their destiations.

Dublin, Ireland
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for Seminyak, Ubud, Bali, Dublin
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106 reviews
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6. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

It sounds like unlike most people complaining here about trivial issues you took it with a smile, never raised your voice to anyone and you got to your destination, late, but somewhat happy to be there and determined not to let this ruin your vacation.

Others might have started screaming and complaining at the first hurdle and then it could have turned out to be a trip from h-ll..

Attitude is always a factor...

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
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79 reviews
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7. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

I agree with Ochervet. Sounds like you were probably singled out for "nice" treatment simply because you seem like a very pleasant, understanding guy with a great name ;-)

People who go through airports shouting and screaming at staff like some tin pot third world dictator with a level of self esteem far outweighing their underwhelming personality generally end up at the back of the plane not in 1st.

Be nice to people in all walks of life and generally they will be nice back.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
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8. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Sounds like you took each event on as part of the journey and adventure and your positivity was rewarded.

Perfect attitude for a traveller - dont leave it too long before your next big trip !!

White Plains, New...
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for White Plains, Aruba
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9. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

Thank you for the post.

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73 reviews
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10. Re: Who has unrealistic expectations? Me, or my friends?

So nice to read a post from someone who doesn't feel that the purchase of a ticket entitles them to a perfect flight experience. Neither machines nor human beings are infallible and sometimes things go wrong.

Nice about the upgrade. Karma?