The Charlotte Experience: A Tale of Two Companies

Friday, May 6th the plus3 Ireland crew gathered for dinner as we prepared for our departure for Dublin. As we reviewed the itinerary for the next two weeks Liz Adams, our Advisor/Chaperone/Instructor/Mom for the next few weeks, warned us to keep flexible because of the inevitability of something not going to plan and having to make changes to our schedule on the fly. Little did we know just how true those words would be at the time.

Out the gate, literally, from the time we landed in Charlotte N.C., things began to deviate from plan. Which brings me to the tale of our experiences with American Airlines. To be fair the initial problems we experienced with the airline where out of their hands, we landed right ahead of brief but crazy powerful storm that would disrupt all the flights in and out of The Charlotte Douglas International Airport Saturday afternoon and on in to the evening. The first sign that there was going to be some trouble was when they moved our departure gate 3 times while we waited for our 6:55 p.m boarding time. About 15 minutes before we were to board we were moved for the third and final time. With all departure boards still showing that our flight was on time. Over the next five hours we waited, and waited, and waited. There seemed to be a complete break down in the Operations management and logistical side at American Airlines as well as a complete lack of communication and transparency as to what was going on. Between the information on the Departure boards, the American Airlines website that tracks flight information and the little information we could get out of the attendants at the gate, none of the information was adding up. “At this point, I’m actually just guessing” was overhead being said by one of the gate attendants. By the time our flight was officially cancelled most of us had already lost track of what time it was, all I know is that it was entirely to late for us make any effective plans on how to recover our lost ground. Tentatively, we will, finally, be departing for Dublin Tuesday evening. Luckily, we’ve had Chris Reye and Liz Adams with us to handle the heavy lifting, finding us a hotel that could accommodate us for the next few days as well as dealing with the airline to get our flights rebooked and more importantly getting our luggage back, while we were stuck here. From what I’ve heard American has been less than pleasant or helpful the last few days, and I don’t envy them the work they’ve been putting in to hold this trip together.

This brings me to the second company I’d like to highlight, The Hyatt Place Charlotte, They have been godsends for we weary travelers. They have gone above and beyond what you would expect out of a hotel, to accommodate us and make sure we had a place to call home while we are stuck in N.C. As I write this, I sit in my hotel room on a floor that was supposed to be blocked out this weeks so that the carpets could be steam cleaned, but rather than put us out and force us to change hotels for one night they decided that they could make it work and to extend our stay with no fuss. Every person on staff I’ve encountered while we have been here has been incredibly and genuinely kind to us and constantly making sure that we are being taken care of. The way that we’ve been treated here leads me to believe that They Hyatt Company has impeccable hiring and training resources and they must treat the employees well to inspire such dedication to guest satisfaction. Unhappy employees do no act or perform like this. When I have a little more free time I’m curious to dig a little deeper in to who is guiding their practices and what the principles they believe in are. Because, my experience here leads me to believe they know what they are doing!

We’ve also had some other experiences using the services of companies such as Uber, Top Golf, and Jeni’s Ice Cream and they have all been overwhelmingly positive. Over all Charlotte is not the worst place in the world to be stuck, and it would be a great place to visit intentionally!

Final thought: Get it together American Airlines.

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