late spring of this year we found ourselves in a troubling situation that would make any airstream owner's knees buckle. we'd noticed a soft, spongy place in our floor next to the dinette. ruh roh. Y'ALL. it was bad. we feared we'd step right through it. it could only be one thing: FLOOR ROT. needless to say, a 2008 trailer should not have any flooring issues. we've always taken pride in our trailer and bought an airstream because of the quality and craftsmanship of the product. clearly, this was unacceptable and something had to be done, and quickly. we researched a good bit of information online and gathered advice from anyone who would give it – namely, sonny hare from camper clinic in montevallo, AL, and vinnie lamica, of vinnie's airstream repair in the san francisco bay area – both of these guys know their stuff. (and a big thanks to longlonghoneymoon.com for the recos.) clearly, this was a manufacturing defect caused by water leaks that needed to be addressed by the airstream factory in jackson center, ohio.
anyone that knows me well knows i am a crazy woman when it comes to customer service. i'm not a diva and i'm not rude, but if a company doesn't deliver what is promised, i kind of turn into a fire-breathing customer service vigilante, righting the wrongs of consumers treated poorly everywhere. admittedly, the phrase "can i please speak with your manager" has passed my lips a few times. i was a little anxious about dealing with airstream. not because i didn't feel the floor would be addressed, but i was worried about, well, falling out of love with a brand we've come to admire and love. we drank the silver kool aid, you know? we were also terribly concerned about paying thousands of dollars for something that should have never happened in the first place. after a few calls to the service center, we made a service appointment with the factory and crossed our fingers. come on, no whammies.
we hitched up and headed north. weather was calling for a snowstorm to hit ohio just as we were pulling into town. suuuuper. towing in sleet and snow ain't my cup of tea. we counted at least twelve cars off the road in various spun-out formations just within two miles of our exit. keep it slow and low, friends, slow and low. if you've never been to jackson center, ohio, there's not much there. just a small town with a subway on the corner and a few traffic lights. we stayed at the airstream terraport for the night and woke up to a snowcovered factory lawn. (by the way, the terraport is nothing more than some sites on asphalt with hookups on the airstream property. i was kind of hoping for something from the jetsons with a name like TERRAPORT.)
much my relief, i can't tell you how darn nice everyone was. i don't know if it's a small town thing or an airstream thing or a little bit of both thing, but after seeing the floor rot, airstream agreed to replace the subfloor – which involved ripping out about 1/3 of the existing floor – and cover the majority of expenses. to be fair, i will say that there are well-documented cases with the exact same manufacturing issue we were experiencing. our trailer was leaking from the dinette windows and the rear bumper. neither of those things should happen. we knew it. they knew it. we were prepared to do battle. instead, they assigned two super nice, knowledgable techs to "make good on it" while we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate in the (dog friendly!) lobby. that works for me. we also left with a bit more maintenance knowledge about what needs to get sealed and how often.
if you ever find yourself having to take your rig into jackson center, it really is kind of a pilgrimage to the mothership. make the best of it. talk to the techs. they're smart and can offer up some really great tips. chat up the gals at the front desk. take the airstream factory tour. buy some stuff in the company store. take your dog to the community tennis courts and throw the ball. eat cookies in the lobby and check out all the vintage goodies in the glass cases. no one wants to deal with costly repairs, but we were so pleasantly surprised by the service and kindness, we wouldn't hesitate to go back again. we just hope it'll be a good long while before we'll need to.