This was my worst travel experience ever. I left Tuesday for a business trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Although getting to the Austin airport was a challenge (there was an auto/pedestrian accident that blocked traffic for a while), the flight from Austin to Dallas was on time and okay. Then in Dallas, my flight to Charlotte was delayed an hour. This part of the flight was not too bad, it's the return home that became the nightmare.
I arrived early at the Charlotte airport and started noticing that all of the flights out of my terminal were delayed. So when my flight took off on time, I was pleasantly surprised. Then the fun begins. About 45 minutes in to the flight, we begin smelling something that smelled like a cross between burnt food and cigarettes. Just about that time the pilot announces we are turning around and going back to Charlotte because if this unknown smell. When we land, our plane is instantly surrounded by firetrucks. When landed really hard and they actually escorted us in. They wouldn't let us off the plane until they knew there was nothing on fire outside. Then several firemen come on board and ask us to get all of our luggage and get off.
Once off and back in the terminal, they didn't tell us anything for a long time. When several of us started asking and complaining, they started trying to find us other options. One option they did offer me was a US Air flight that was leaving in about an hour. It is now about 9pm and our flight originally left at 7:15pm. Even though American and US Air are technically one company now, the person helping us couldn't book us in their flights, so we had to go over to the US Air terminal to see if there was an opening. There wasn't. So, we had to go back to the American terminal. About that time they tell us another plane is coming and they will get us to Dallas tonight, put us in a hotel, and find us connecting flights on Friday. They were supposed to feed us on the plane, but that didn't happen.
We arrive in Dallas at 1am. The Super 8 hotel they booked us in never came to pick us up. When I called to complain, they said the shuttle stopped running at 1am and the airline told them we would be there by 12:30pm, so when we weren't there, he left.
It is now about 2am and I am beat. I have been up since 6. The flight they booked me on was to board at 7:50am .I would have to be back at the airport in 3 hours. So, by the time I would get to the hotel, I would have to come back.
I checked for flights on other airlines, but nothing was available. I thought about renting a car and driving the remaining 3 hours, but they were all closed. I called our company travel agency emergency line, but no one answered.
I decided to book a flight on another airline at another airport. Southwest Airlines to the rescue. I booked the flight, called the cab to take me to the other airport. and am now waiting for my 6am flight home. When I got to the new airport, Dallas Love Field, everyone was super nice. One of the security guards showed me to a new lounge they just opened and are letting me and a couple of others hang out until it is time for our flight.
I can definitely say, I will NEVER fly American again. In addition to this horrible experience, their flight attendants are not very friendly and they don't seem to be very good at handling situations that don't go as planned.