July 9, 2008
American Eagle Changes Flight Schedule
By Holli L. Estridge, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas
Jul. 9--Joerg Steiner, a frequent passenger on American Eagle's flights from Easterwood Airport, will have to change travel arrangements to accommodate the airline's new flight schedule.The new schedule -- tied to the sweeping service cuts AMR Corp. announced in May -- debuts Sept. 3, nixing late-evening flights from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to College Station. The change also pushes the earliest American Eagle flight out of Easterwood back nearly three hours, to 10:50 a.m.
"We've scheduled four itineraries, and I will have to stay an extra night in Dallas on every trip," said Steiner, an associate professor for the small animal clinical sciences department at Texas A&M University. "The schedule before was so much better."
Steiner said American Eagle's new early flight will not get him to Dallas in time to board a plane bound for Tokyo on one of his business trips. On a later, home-bound flight from Europe, Steiner said, he will miss American Eagle's latest plane back to Easterwood.
Easterwood Director of Aviation John Happ said he has already been in contact with AMR Corp., relating customers' concerns about the schedule.
"We've been working with them, because it's not a real workable schedule," Happ said. "Still, they aren't going to be able to build a schedule that will make everybody happy."
Despite the service cuts AMR Corp. made at numerous airports, the corporate parent of American Eagle opted to expand capacity at Easterwood. In September, American Eagle will phase out the 34-seat turbo-prop jets serving Easterwood, bringing in more fuel-efficient, 66-seat jets.
AMR spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said Easterwood was lucky to be spared from AMR's most recent wave of drastic cuts.
"A lot of Texas cities saw a decrease in the number of flights at their airports," Huguely said. "We tried to make the best schedule we could for all of our cities."
Huguely said the schedule -- which AMR evaluates monthly -- is tied to every other schedule throughout the American Airlines and American Eagle systems. She encouraged customers who are concerned about the changes to contact Happ or send complaints through the comment section at www.aa.com.
"We do listen to our customers," she said. "If they write us, and we notice a lot of our business folks are unable to make connections, we will listen to what they have to say. But we need to give the new schedule a bit of time."
Steiner said he has already written to American Eagle.
"Overall, they treat their customers very nicely," he said. "And they offer good fares."
While Steiner's flights are set for the rest of the year, he said he doesn't know what choices he will make next year if the schedule remains the same.
Most passengers at Easterwood on Tuesday said they were unaware of the changes.
"I only fly out of here maybe once a year," said Frances Bingham, 27, of College Station. "When I do, I usually fly American, because the schedule fits."
Kelley Sullivan, a 30-year-old College Station resident who works for a Dallas-based renovation firm, said it's already a hassle for him when delayed connecting flights through American Eagle keep him in Dallas overnight.
He said the schedule change probably will make things more difficult.
--Holli L. Estridge's e-mail address is holli.estridge@
NEW FLIGHT SCHEDULE
American Eagle's flight schedule for College Station's Easterwood Airport (CLL), effective Sept. 3
Departing, CLLArriving, DFW
10:50 a.m.11:45 a.m.
1:45 p.m.2:40 p.m.
4:45 p.m.5:40 p.m.
Departing, DFWArriving, CLL
9:30 a.m.10:25 a.m.
12:25 p.m.1:20 p.m.
3:24 p.m.4:20 p.m.
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