If you're considering making a booking with Qantas' oneworld partner American Airlines -- including as part of a Red Roo ticket across the Pacific -- you might want to watch out.
American's pilots are locked in a labour tussle with the airline's management, and even the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that readers "book away from American this fall; pilot feud has made airline too unreliable".
The long and the short of it is that on Tuesday, only 45 percent of the airline's flights made it to their destinations on time.
It's been a similar (and sometimes worse) story across the week, as pilots spend extra time taxiing slowly, making sure that every single piece of admin paperwork's Is are dotted and Ts crossed, and so on.
But what should you do to make sure that the airline's problems don't make you late for your meetings in the US, or delay your return trip home on Qantas?
1. Try another airline
The obvious thing to do is to fly with someone else. Virgin Australia, Delta and United all fly direct to Los Angeles (plus San Francisco for United), with Air New Zealand also offering stops via Auckland.
2. Head out a day early
If you're heading out on serious business, the idea of being late for meetings with colleagues, contacts or clients because you got stuck in LA, Dallas or New York will make you see red. Consider flying out a day ahead of time. Your jetlag will thank you too.
3. Fly earlier in the day
Avoid flights late in the day, when your alternatives in the event of delay and cancellation dry up. The earlier you fly, the more opportunity you have to pick another flight if things go wrong.
4. Avoid checking luggage
Late flights, tight connections, cancellations... sounds like like a recipe for your bag going on a nice extended holiday while you're making your presentation wearing the clothes you flew in. This is one time to make like an American and lug an enormous carry-on bag with you.
5. Add extra connection time
When booking your flights, be wary of tight connections, especially coming off an AA flight. There's a significant chance that you won't make it. If your flights are already set, Aussie-accented pleas to a reservations agent or lounge staffer may bring you rebooking joy even if the flights are officially non-changeable.
6. Prepare before you leave for the airport in case you're delayed
Don't forget our smart traveller's checklist of things to do when you know that flight disruptions are on the horizon. A few simple bits of preparation in the office or at home can make a world of difference.
Have you flown American recently? What was your experience -- and were you delayed? Share your story with fellow business travellers in a comment below.
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