This report is from a short weekend trip to Costa Rica that I took back in May 2013. The previous day I arrived from SFO and stayed at my parent's house.
The following day I left the house later than expected and dropped off my rental car at the airport. During all my travels I never check bags but on this trip I had one to check and arrived at the AA Business counter at barely under 1 hr before dept. I accept the responsibility that this was late and I might not be able to get the bag with me on the flight. The ticket agent informed me that it was too late to check any baggage which I already knew. I said that I was willing to sign a release if needed. What she said next really surprised me. In a flustered tone she said that I had to either get rid of the bag and leave it with someone in Miami or rebook the trip for the following day because all the flights that depart later during the day were full in J and she couldn't confirm me on the later flight. I again asked about signing the release and she told me that they cannot do that. I then pleaded her to check me in and allow me to try to check the bag at the gate. After checking my PNR she relented and issued me the boarding pass, warning me that they might not let me pass security with an extra bag. With boarding pass in had I tried to go through the elite security line and was stopped because of the extra bag. The agent there said that if I was escorted with someone from AA they would allow me to go. Instead of going back to the F/J counter, I decided to try the regular intl counter at the other side since it was empty. The agent there checked to see if there was any later flights that she could confirm me but nothing was available. At that point, she said let me try one more thing so please follow me. She took me to the Flagship check-in area (reserved for intl F) which is a separate partition, talked to a concierge and walked me to the front of the security line with my additional bag without being questioned. Security was a breeze and once at the other side I proceeded to the gate.
I don't blame the first agent at the Business counter for doing her job and refusing to check my bag, but what I find unacceptable is the frustrating and apathetic tone that she used to address a passenger traveling in confirmed J who has elite status and was checking in at the F/J desk. I am not a Do You Know Who I Am type of individual. On the contrary, I keep a low profile and go by the golden rule of treating others as I want to be treated. In addition, I used to work for AA as an agent for 2 years at MIA right after college in 1990 so I can really sympathize with what front line airline employees go through. However, I find that this situation could have been handled better. For instance, the agent could have used a friendlier tone and offered to place me on the standby list for F at a later flight or escorted me through security since the counter was next to the Flagship check-in area.
AA 1561 MIA - SJO EQP 752 - Seat 5A Dept. 12:10P (Actual 12:37P) - Arriv. 12:43P (1:02P)
Once at the gate, I learned that the flight was delayed for 27 min. I believe that the slight delay was due to intl inbound and custom clearance. The gate agent was checking bags and tagged mine without any issues or problem. Once we boarded, pre-dept. drinks were offered and service was done in a somewhat hurried way. I have pre-ordered my meal through AA website and this was acknowledged by the flight attendant.
Cayman Airways - an unusual carrier that is rarely seen around the world.
Good bye MIA.
Somewhere over Cuba
The service started with hot towels, followed by distribution of beverages with warm nuts.
Big salad with olive oil & balsamic vinegar (only choice) served with a choice of breads.
Main dishes were shrimps and scallops in curry sauce served with jasmine rice and vegetable ratatouille OR steak with potatoes. I ordered the seafood curry which was fine if not outstanding.
Dessert was only chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and pecans. No cheese course offered on this flight.
Arriving in SJO where nature dominates and vegetation is lush and green.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is an attraction consisting of five waterfalls accessed through paved trails in the rainforest. It is located about 1 hr from San Jose on the way to Poas volcano. The road there can be a bit convoluted and at some points one can see landslide damages sustained during an earthquake in 2009. Once you get there, you will be surrounded by nature and the waterfall is an impressive site.
Miami - MIA
San José - SJO
An average flight on American. The ground experience was a let down except for the agent that was kind enough to escort me through the Flagship line. I admit that I share part of the fault for arriving late, but a paying passenger flying in business class and with elite status should be accorded more leeway and consideration.
On board, the FA's did their job in a hurried way without much acknowledgement and extra attention. As a matter of fact, when it came to taking the orders of the meal, the FA asked a teenage guy sitting behind me for his choice and he declined the meal. The FA then said out loud the young one does not want to eat while walking back to the galley and I was able to hear her from my seat.
Arrived at destination with about 20 min. delay which was not too bad.
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