03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Tale Of Two Americans

Lord knows I complain enough about things. Maybe we all do, but I'm a master at it. I complain about American Airlines (AMR) all the time, since I am their prisoner half a dozen times a month, if you count a round trip as two trips, which it is. It's possible that it should count as three in certain cases, like last night.

For some reason, they have a hard time with the red-eye at the San Francisco airport. The "equipment" comes in from New York late, of course, God forbid they should actually have a plane on the ground ready and waiting for people to board, no, they have to use those poor mothers incessantly until their wings fall off, I guess. So the plane comes in and it seems like, you know, a complete surprise to the airline that it needs to be cleaned before it's boarded again. I've taken the 10:30 PM several times and each time there's a total fire drill as the grouchy American gate agent runs around looking for a phantom cleaning crew. Last night, he thanked us for our patience no fewer than four times. I don't know about you, but as soon as somebody thanks me for my patience I lose mine.

Anyhow, last night the situation seems to have been that on the incoming flight a service dog had befouled the aircraft and somebody needed to clean up the mess. Nobody appeared willing to do so. They all ran around like maniacs for about half an hour, which made us just late enough into NY Kennedy that we hit the guts of rush hour and it took me 75 minutes to get the ten or so miles into Manhattan. So here's a note to American:

Hello, American Airlines. Pleased be advised. Every Sunday night at 10:30 PM, a red-eye flight leaves from San Francisco Airport. The equipment that is utilized for this regularly-scheduled flight comes in at about 9:30 or perhaps 10:00 PM, depending on weather and other considerations, including the fact that it comes from Kennedy Airport in New York, the worst airport in North America. When this equipment arrives, it will need to be serviced, re-catered and prepared for boarding. In advance knowledge of this, you might have a cleaning and catering crew on hand as a matter of course, rather than not. Thank you for our patience.

There. That felt pretty good.

But I don't want you to think I only report the aggravations and incomprehensible shortfalls. So I will tell you the story of Bobbi at Washington Reagan Airport. She works for American Airlines, too.

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