None of us wanted to depart on Christmas. Everyone would rather spend the day with their family. But since the airfare was almost $300 cheaper to travel on Christmas Day, we reluctantly agreed it was worth it. Besides, the flight was perfect: departing at 4:30 p.m. on American Airlines to San Francisco, it allowed us Christmas morning at home before we had to head to the airport. Then there was just a 1 1/2 hour layover at SFO, followed by a direct flight on Swiss Air to Zurich.
But that was all before American Airlines changed our departure 4 times!!!! Yes, 4 times so far. I suspect it could still change again. First AA said sorry, the 4:30 p.m. flight to SFO has been cancelled. We rebooked your party of 11 on the 7:00 a.m. flight. Whaaa?????? Are they, like, insane? Eight young girls and their three stressed out chaperones with an 11 hour layover ON CHRISTMAS DAY??? I objected, and they switched us to a 2:30 p.m. departure. Hmmph - now we have a 3 1/2 hour layover on Christmas Day. Two weeks later came the next email from American: the flight is rescheduled to depart at 12:30 p.m. - now the delay is 5 1/2 hours. One week later: flight rescheduled for 12:00 p.m. I start to cry. There goes Christmas with our families. We'll be leaving pretty much first thing in the morning now just to get to the airport on time.
Can you imagine sitting with 8 teenagers at the airport for 6 HOURS on Christmas Day? How sad is that? Not to mention sitting on an 11 hour flight after that. American Airlines has no sympathy for our situation, however. Although there are dozens of flights every day from here to SFO, even on Christmas Day, American will not book us on another airline, even one of their partner carriers. Their alternative?? "You can just cancel your trip."
Although our American Airlines flight is only one tiny segment of our itinerary (the other three segments are on Swiss Air and Alaska Airlines), our fate is in their hands. Apparently the whole itinerary was ticketed by American (I booked through Vayama) so only American can change it. And they're not willing.
Oh, and now they declared bankruptcy.