Cheap fares, busy signals, long lines
Frustration awaits those seeking American Airlines dealsFebruary 15, 1997
Web posted at: 12:22 p.m. EST (1222 GMT)
(CNN) -- Travelers rushing to benefit from American Airlines discounts can expect long lines at airports, lots of telephone busy signals and a clogged American Airlines Web site. (119K/10 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
"You want to bring a lot of patience to the endeavor," said Frank Bruni, author of "Consumer Terrorism."
Bruni and other consumer analysts said consumers should anticipate numerous inconveniences when trying to get through to the airline. But, they emphasized, the wait is worth it.
American also announced lower fares, extra frequent-flier miles and free upgrades on all domestic and international flights to lure back customers scared away by the threat of a strike.
Yet trying to take advantage of the deals is a difficult task. The airline's phone lines and Web site were jammed Saturday, and lines at airports were growing.
Bruni said the best route -- no matter how long it takes -- is trying to call the carrier directly or logging onto their Web site. Another option, which he doesn't wholeheartedly endorse, is going to the airport to buy a ticket. (128K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Parsons, however, recommends using alternate Internet Web sites, like Easy Sabre or Travel Web, where fares could be discounted up to 80 percent.
"I'd go to the Internet, look at the Web and see what they're going to be doing," he said.
Both Parsons and Bruni cautioned consumers against purchasing American tickets after the 60-day "cooling off" period. Parsons said tickets with other airlines after that time period, beginning in mid-April, would be competitively priced and customers would be guaranteed a flight. (255K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
"If it's my money right now and they told me to buy something for April 18, I probably wouldn't buy it on American," Parsons said.
Bruni added, "I'd have to agree with him."
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.