Back in 1985, I had decided to leave West Air Airlines. I had been working as the West Air Station Manager, in Stockton, CA. However, I was interested in working with a larger airline. So, I began applying with different airlines.
American Airlines, was hiring one new ticket/gate agent, to work at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The application and interviewing process went smoothly. I met with an American Airlines recruiter. Then, met with the American Airlines Station Manager in San Francisco.
During my interview, I mentioned to the American Airline Station Manager, my long term goal was, to work as an American Airlines flight attendant. She thought that was great! She advised me to work as a ticket/gate agent for a year to gain seniority. Then, apply to work as a flight attendant.
After passing the FAA 10 year back round requirement, I was sent to the American Airlines main headquarters, located near the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW).
The American Airlines training for new ticket/gate agents was six weeks in length. American Airlines flew me from SFO to DFW, to begin training.
Twenty other new American Airlines ticket/gate agents also in my training class. While it was an intense, six weeks, we all had a great time! I met many great people. Yes, we had an exam, just about every day. We had to pass each exam with a 90% or better. However, I had no issues passing each exam.
All of us, stayed in housing, right next to the American Airlines training center. The American Airlines Training Center also conducted classes for new flight attendants, reservation agents, and pilots.
At first, five other men, and I shared a barracks type room. Each bed was a twin size bed. We all had to share one bathroom, with one shower. So, we had to create a shower “Schedule” to enable us to get ready each morning. Despite the rather crowded room, we all got along very well!
During the six weeks of training, American Airlines provided us with free meals. We ate inside the cafeteria, right down the hall from our “barracks” type room. However, once in a while, we took a bus (or taxi), to a restaurant.
The training took place in April and May. The Texas Rangers (MLB Baseball), play their games in Arlington, TX. It was about a two-mile walk from the American Airlines Training Center, to Arlington Stadium. So, I was able to attend several Texas Rangers games, during the six-week training!
Overall, my experience during the six-week training was all positive. Again, I met some great people! Long term friendships were developed. I was the only new ticket/gate agent from the San Francisco Bay Area. All other new hires were from other American Airlines; cities, around the United States.
I was the top rated student in our American Airlines training class. On the final exam, I earned a perfect 100% score! Everything seemed great. I was about to embark on a career with American Airlines!
On the day of the final exam, we had planned an evening Bar B Que, and softball game. The next day, was our graduation day. Many students, had their parents, husbands/wives, etc….flown in to attend the graduation ceremony.
After we had completed the final exam, we all went to have lunch in the cafeteria. Just as I was sitting down to have my lunch, a woman, who worked in the American Airlines’ main office, came up to me, and said, I was to go to the personnel office right away.
My first thought was, I was being congratulated for earning a perfect 100% on the final exam. But, that is not why I was summoned to the personnel office.
As soon as I entered the American Airlines personnel office, I was met by two people. The first was the American Airlines main personnel woman. I had spoken with her a few times, during the six weeks of training. She was a very pleasant woman. However, at this point, she was less than pleasant.
The other person present, inside the American Airlines personnel office, was a taxi driver. The personnel woman got right to the point.
She said, “Brian, I have some bad news for you. Unfortunately, the ticket agent you were to replace in San Francisco (SFO Airport), has decided to remain with American Airlines. She will continue as a ticket agent in SFO. So, for you, Brian, we have no job for you in SFO. We would like you to leave immediately. Please gather your belongings, and meet outside. A taxi has already been arranged, to take you to the airport”.
I was in shock! However, I said, to the personnel woman, I knew American Airlines also had ticket/gate agent openings in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Jose. I said I would be willing to work in any of those airports.
The personnel woman said I would have to go through the interviewing process all over again. She said I would have to submit a new job application. Then, possibly be invited to interview with the Station Manager from any of those airports. She also said, if I was selected, I would be required to attend another six weeks of training, at the American Airlines Training Center.
At that point, I was too upset to say anything else. During the six weeks of training, we were not paid a wage or salary. Yes, American Airlines paid for our flights, housing, and meals. So, I had already gone nearly two months without any income.
I went back to my room and collected my bags. The word of my departure spread quickly. Everyone in our training class met me at the front door. It was a very quick good bye. Most people from our class were crying. No one could believe it!
Three of our classmates actually rode with me in the taxi. They walked with me as far as the security check point. I thanked those three people! We all hugged and exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch.
It was long, sad flight back to Oakland. (My flight to San Francisco had been canceled). After six successful weeks of training, it was over. My career with American Airlines was over before it began.
When I got back home, I took some time, to unwind, from that experience with American Airlines. From that point forward, I have never had anything good to say about American Airlines.
Within two weeks, I attended an open house/group interview with America West Airlines. I was invited to attend the America West Airlines training, held in Tempe, AZ. I began a 6 1/2 year career with America West Airlines.
While I was working with America West Airlines in Las Vegas, one of the students (Brad), who was in my American Airlines training class, came by to visit.
Brad was working with American in Pittsburgh, PA. Brad said, all the students in our American Airlines training class, signed a petition to attempt to allow me to work with American in Oakland, Sacramento, or San Jose. It was such a great gesture, on the part of our training class! I told Brad, I appreciated the effort! Brad said the graduation was very somber. All of the students graduating said it was just not the same without Brian being here.
While I worked with Chautauqua Airlines, I worked American Connection flights.
Chautauqua Airlines was under contract to work American Connection flights, on behalf of American Airlines. Similar to American Eagle, which was owned by American Airlines. We worked flights to/from Chicago or St. Louis.
So, despite what happened to me with American Airlines, I did end up working American Connection flights!
As the saying goes, working with American Airlines, was just not meant to be. Life takes unexpected turns. Thankfully, I went on to have an amazing, incredible 25-year airline career!