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Passengers Get Apology From American Airlines for Delays

February 13, 1988|ROBERT E. DALLOS | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — When large numbers of American Airlines passengers are delayed these days, they get an apology and are told why the delay occurred.

Under a relatively new policy, the airline is writing letters to the inconvenienced travelers. Passengers across the country this week have been receiving such letters in connection with a Jan. 6-8 ice storm that disrupted operations at Dallas/Ft. Worth, the airline's major hub. Effects of the disruption rippled through American's system.

"The weather created a variety of problems: late flights, cancelled flights, lost baggage, long travel delays, missed connections--a great deal of frustration," Michael W. Gunn, American's senior vice president for marketing, told more than 34,000 customers in a six-paragraph letter.

The letter explained that, during ice and snow conditions, every aircraft must be de-iced before it takes off. It takes 1,000 gallons of a compound called glycol to de-ice a wide-bodied airliner and 250 to 300 gallons for a narrow-bodied plane.

The storm was so severe that glycol supplies ran out and delivery trucks were ordered off the road by police because glycol, a liquid similar to auto antifreeze, is classified as a hazardous substance.

Gunn acknowledged that "while we can probably never handle a storm of this severity perfectly, we can overcome some problems." He promised that American would triple its glycol storage capacity at Dallas/Ft. Worth.

He added: "We failed to meet our standards and I apologize."

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