02 June 2014

American Airlines and our nightmarish experience

I normally don't post about politics on my blog, but as many people fly with American Airlines and American Eagle..trusting both with their lives, I thought I would post about a recent experience I had in hopes that things change for the better.

The group I was traveling with will never fly with American Airlines again. The emotional trauma we endured during our experience and AA's unwillingness to help in a situation beyond our control is something we will never forget. It is disappointing that a company, now one of the largest airlines in the world and recommended by the U.S. Army, can treat its customers with such disgrace.

Recently, a regional airline by the name of American Eagle was absorbed by American Airlines. We were flying home from attending a military graduation on the 30th of May from Columbia to Dallas via American Eagle. We arrived at the airport early and were informed upon arrival that our flight was delayed and wouldn’t land until 7pm. The employee behind the counter at the airport suggested we catch the connecting flight to PDX and could be booked at a hotel free of charge if the delay caused a missed connecting flight. We promptly boarded our flight, and the pilot landed us at DFW at 8:51pm. As our connecting flight left at 9:20pm, we might have made it just in time. However, there was a delay on the tarmac and we sat for 10 minutes just waiting to gain access to the arriving gate! Our bags were also forced into red-tag so we had to wait for them…which took another 10 minutes due to a jam in the lift. We had to run and catch the train to our next gate…and missed our connecting flight by 8 minutes. There was no one at the gate to help us and two American Airlines representatives directed us to the wrong rebooking center. I was directed by phone to different personnel (and was booked on the next available flight to PDX the next day), and finally gave up and decided to find someone I could talk to for advice on where to stay overnight.

The American Airlines representative informed us that American Eagle reported the delay as a weather delay and that we would not receive a free stay at a hotel, even though the delay was not our fault and there was nothing we could have done! This nightmare consumed three hours and we had a hotel bill to pay on top of it not to mention, no trip home until the next day! A shuttle finally picked us up after an hour of waiting and took us to a run-down Super 8 motel (which cost me $50). After 4 hours of sleep and no dinner (the airport was shutting down after we missed our flight) we finally made it to our plane that would take us to PDX. We could not believe that no one was willing to help us, or at least offer a place to stay free of charge. Later, we learned of the union and labor disputes (many regional pilots are paid no more than McDonalds employees…) concerning American Eagle and just how abused the employees are now that they have been absorbed by American Airlines. Our taxi driver informed us he’s been picking up a lot of AA customers with similar experiences. Of course this is hearsay, but after some online browsing, I found that tarmac and weather delays have increased deliberately among AE flights…I guess you have to get attention to your plight somehow! I hope conditions improve from them…especially since while flying, my life is in their hands.

The treatment American Airlines gives to its customers and employees stands against the very foundation this country was built on and we will never, ever fly with them again. It was a truly eye-opening experience and we hope that others who are mistreated (which it seems, have been many customers as well) will take our advice to fly with another, more compassionate airline (such as Delta…who bumped us to first class after a similar weather delay). Wish we could have known about these problems ahead of time, would have saved us a headache...

23 April 2014

Sew for victory dress finished and some news!

I wasn't sure if I would finish this project before the deadline, but I did...woo! So much has happened that I am not even sure where to begin. First, I should probably start with the most impactful change for us. In a few months...we are moving to Sweden!

A couple of years ago, we traveled around several Scandinavian countries (Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) and immersed ourselves in their lifestyles as much as possible. We loved all of the places we visited, but Sweden really stuck in our minds. I joked that as I was returning home, I was leaving my heart behind in Sweden...and that I would be back for it soon. Once I graduated from University, I applied to several really amazing (better than anything we have here in the states, for my program) universities. I got in touch with professors overseas to learn more about the degrees. Uppsala University was really top notch in terms of their conservation and evolutionary ecology program. I crossed my fingers and hoped I could make it in. It would be perfect for my transfer to SLU's mycology doctoral program as well! I made it into my first choice and my husband is beyond happy to experience his life-long dream of living in Europe. My grandparents were also beyond happy to finally have me in the same time zone. So many adventures await!

18 March 2014

Sew For Victory 2014!


Well it certainly has been a while since my last post! I've been pretty busy again, but more details on that later since it really deserves it's own post. I've since completed a lovely dark teal dress (if you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen it already) and a couple of other crafty side projects. As spring is in full swing here in Seattle (even our cherry trees are blossoming...) I thought it more appropriate to write about sewing something flowery and spring like.

11 February 2014

Coat completion!

I have finally finished my coat project! It has taken me about a month to complete...but it's finally done. As usual, I have been pretty busy with life. Mainly, searching for a job where I can apply my bachelor's degree and planning for my future in graduate research. But that's another story, so let's focus on this super awesome coat; I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out. Sure, like anyone who has creatively constructed anything...I have a couple of issues here and there...but overall (given this is my first coat, ever) I am very, very excited about it!

If you didn't read my past post on the start of this, I'll catch you up by saying this was made using a nylon felt. Close to 2mm thick, it had the wonderful advantage of being extremely forgiving in terms of how straight (or not straight...) the seams were. I also used McCall's 4153 (you can read about the start of this, here) from 1941.

15 January 2014

Building a coat...

That's pretty much how it feels like. I am starting my first coat project and naturally I had to use something heavy like a 70's nylon felt about 2mm thick. I found some denim needles and have been using those...but even so broke one along the way. This will probably be the warmest coat ever and I look forward to wearing it, eventually when construction is complete.

02 January 2014

Happy New year!

Let me start off this post by wishing everyone a happy New Year...here's to hoping all of your dreams come true! This last year was a bit rough for us, but we made it through together and still appreciate all of the difficulties we have endured...as now we appreciate the better times more. It's easy to get bogged down with negative feelings or concerns about seemingly frivolous details...which makes rising above them that much more rewarding (and important). I have a naturally pessimistic viewpoint in almost all cases (opposite of my husband, who is always positive about everything), but one of my goals this year is to overcome that and focus instead on accomplishments (however minor they may be) I make.

22 December 2013

Christmas dress

Christmas at our household is relatively simple. We've sort of combined Czech traditions from my family, with those of my husband's. This means Christmas Eve has more emphasis on celebration, where gifts are opened in the evening after a fancy dinner (I usually make a wild rice stuffed seitan roast, wrapped in puff-pastry and served in a bing cherry/pepper sauce...along with stuffing and garlic-smashed potatoes). Christmas Eve also means we get to finally enjoy all of those cookies I spent hours laboring over a few weeks ago (these Czech sweets are usually made in advance and aged). We prefer to have a more quiet holiday and thus only The Pups, myself, and my better half are present.