American Air travelers react to bankruptcy news

November 30, 2011 • Business

Passengers wait in line at an American Airlines ticketing counter at Dallas Fort Worth Airport Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, in Dallas. American Airlines and its parent company AMR are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as they seek to cut costs and unload massive debt built up by years of high jet fuel prices and labor struggles.(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

American Airlines’ trip to bankruptcy court on Tuesday had passengers talking about what they like and don’t like about one of the most iconic carriers in the U.S.

Corina Fallbacher, 47, had just flown American home to Chicago from from Orlando, Fla., when she found out about the bankruptcy filing.

“I would definitely be less likely to book with [auth] them,” she said while waiting at baggage claim. “I would be afraid they’d be less likely to keep their flights.”

Sue Kronich and Edward Shumsky were traveling together from New York back home to Miami Beach, Fla. Kronich remembered a time she left an art catalog on a flight on purpose, because she was finished with it. An American employee found the catalog, and three days later someone met her with it at the American ticket counter in New York.

“These are good employees who give caring service,” she said.

Shumksy compared American’s service to rivals.

“I think it’s better than the other domestic airlines, probably not as good as some of the foreign and Asian airlines.”

Other travelers’ opinions ranged from appreciative to “cattle cars.”

Ove Leander, a retired teacher from Sweden: “They are just like Delta, Continental. They’ve all had their problems. To me, it’s just a big airline. What I like is, getting off (American in Dallas) and on to British Airways. Same terminal and (we) don’t see our bags until Stockholm. There’s nothing I don’t like.”

Steve Varraso, 39, an event planner from Boston, speaking at baggage claim at Chicago O’Hare: “Their service is OK. Nothing that exceeds expectations. I find a lot of their front desk people a little bit weathered, a little bit tired.”

Amy Hughey of New York, standing at American’s first-class ticket counter at LaGuardia airport in New York for a Dallas flight: “They’ve got a great rewards program and good service on the flights.”

Mary Eubanks of Marion, Ohio, after flying on American to Dallas: “They’re consistent, and that’s what I like about them. There’s no anxiety about getting a seat or whether I will get there on time.”

Mike Baird of Westbury, N.Y., at LaGuardia: “Flying on every airline has changed. They cut everything. The legroom is smaller, seats are smaller. They pack you in tighter.”

“They’re all cattle cars,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what you fly.”


Associated Press reporters Frank Eltman in New York, Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, and Danny Robbins in Dallas contributed to this report.

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