American Airlines Crapped On Me And Then Overcharged My Credit Card
To: American Airlines "Customer Service" Department,
I am writing to complain about the terrible service my boyfriend and I received from American Airlines. Other issues I am complaining about include the over inflated additional charges I received from the company, the fact that American then overcharged me on these over inflated prices, the lack of a “customer service” department, and how I have received nothing but the run around since attempting to get my money back. The issues stemmed from a missed flight from Paris, France to Dallas, Texas, with an ultimate destination of Orlando, Florida. The original flight was AA 49 and scheduled to depart on April 2nd, 2009, with the new flight (also AA 49), and many service issues, occurring on April 3rd, 2009.
On the day of our flight, there was a breakdown of the Paris metro system leading to the airport Charles de Gaulle. After paying for a taxi in hopes of making our flight, We arrived 50 minutes prior to departure. We were then informed that check in was closed. The employees asked if it was related the metro system. We told them it was and were told to quickly rush to ticketing so that we could be transferred to and make the Chicago flight which would be closing soon. Here in lies my first complaint. We were not informed first of all that check in closed almost an hour before take off. Second of all, if American Airlines was aware of this metro issue, why did they not leave the check in time open for an additional twenty minutes? As the day progressed, I met several other people who had also missed flights from American Airlines by a few minutes. Was American simply taking advantage of a poor situation to receive even more money from its customers instead of doing what was best for them?
We rushed to the ticketing desk and stood in line for over thirty minutes and missed the Chicago check in. Our agent was incredibly rude, impolite, spoke over me, and did not answer my questions. The Chicago flight was the last flight of the day to the U.S. I asked her if there were any other possibilities such as flying in to London and then going from there. She told me no without checking. I asked her if we could fly with another airline in the One World Alliance. She told me it was impossible and that American did not do that. Not understanding this because I had been under the impression that the One World Alliance was there for that reason, I asked her to explain. She just snapped that it was impossible and told me she did not understand what had given me that impression.
After much time, she told me that she could arrange for us to fly out the following day on the same flight out of Paris. We were told the cost would be $280 if we decided to do this. She then explained that by doing this ticket change we would not be guaranteed a spot and if we wanted to have one, it would be an additional fee. I asked her what this fee would be. She told me she would have to call to find out. After another ten minutes of waiting, she told me the total cost would be $408. We took some time to think about it but then decided to confirm our tickets and pay the $408. We returned to the counter and to a different agent. She typed our information into the system and had all of the information as typed in by the previous agent. We explained we were planning on confirming the flight. She asked if we already knew the rates. Having been given a quote about half an hour before, we said yes. After being rung up, we left and then looked at our receipts and realized we had not been charged $408, but $475. We also noticed that our connecting flight in Dallas only afforded us an hour and twenty minutes before our following flight departed. We returned to the counter again and asked about the charge and the connection time. The salesperson just told us that the system charged us $475 and that was what was in the system. I explained that we were quoted a charge of $408. She just restated that the system showed we were charged $475. I decided to not argue the point further and accept the ridiculously high cost of $475. I also mentioned the time to her and she assured me it would be more than enough. Before leaving though, I double-checked and asked her whether the charges would be in dollars or in euros. She assured me the charges were in dollars. We left the airport.
The following day, check in went off without a hitch. As we checked in, I asked two separate employees if an hour and twenty minutes would be enough time and was again assured it would be. We boarded the plane. Upon entering the plane, we discovered that we would not have a seat in front of us and would have to store our belongings. The flight attendant was very helpful. We had three bags between the two of us. After storing the first two in the compartment closest to us, only my purse was left. Not wanting me to have my purse far away, she asked the person behind me, who I happened to have gotten to know the previous day in line at the ticket counter, if it was okay if I stored my purse under my seat during take off and landings only. The woman agreed, and I did this. However, I was getting something out of my purse prior to take off and a different attendant noticed me storing it there. He told me I had to put it in an overhead compartment. As I began to explain that a different attendant had told me it was fine, he cut me off and told me I had to store it. I again tried to politely tell him the situation, and he not only cut me off, but told me that I had “no right” to that storage spot and I was “wrong” in putting it there. I was of course livid, not for having to store my purse, but his actions, his aggressive tone of voice, and his word choices. I just shut my mouth as my purse, which included my wallet, passport, digital camera, and connection tickets was placed five rows behind me. I did not appreciate being treated like a petulant child, being snapped at, and being cut off. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the attendant.
Towards the end of the flight, I asked another attendant about the short connection. I asked if there was anyone I needed to speak with to receive quicker transportation to our gate. She assured me that we would have plenty of time. I was still doubtful that we would have enough time to exit the aircraft, go through the first set of customs, pick up our luggage, go through the next customs check point, check our baggage, go through security, and make it to our gate on time.
We landed and, after doing everything I just mentioned, ran to make our flight. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 4:40 and we arrived at the gate at 4:35 after sprinting the entire time. Luckily for us, the plane had a mechanical issue, thus delaying the flight. Had the plane not been delayed, we would have missed our flight, and our bags, which I saw handlers load at 4:55, would not have made the flight. On this plane, we had been moved to first class, which I was appreciated and made me feel as American perhaps really did care about its customers, until I discovered that we would not be sitting next to each other. The flight attendant informed me that we had been split up because another couple had requested to sit together. I was not surprised because American Airlines was just further proving how little it valued its customers.
Once we arrived home, I was grateful to be done with American Airlines and figured that they were done screwing me over. Then I saw my credit card statement. Instead of charging us the already inflated $475, American decided to charge each of us $571. Of course American Airlines was going to nickel and dime me and take complete advantage of the situation.
In order to get the difference back, I attempted to contact American’s customer service department and apparently, I cannot contact this department because no one is there. I have called reservations twice and been told the same thing. I sent e-mails to American and after waiting three days for something that should have been resolved by phone in five minutes, I instead received an e-mail telling me I should have been charged for $505. Wow. How the number has grown and grown. American just keeps pulling numbers out of thin air.
I am completely disgusted with American Airlines and have already told everyone I know how terrible my experience was. I have posted a copy of this letter on several different consumer report websites, among them ripoffreport.com. I can assure you that I will never be flying with American Airlines again. I also am going to avoid any airline in the One World Alliance at all costs. I feel that any airline that is willing to associate itself with someone as appalling as American Airlines does not deserve my business. I have also forwarded each airline a copy of this letter.
I fully expect American Airlines to return my $96 and believe I should also be given the difference between the quoted price and the (believed) charged price ($67). I have our receipts for the $475 still and have attached it to this letter. Due to the poor treatment I have received overall, I also expect American to refund all of the additional ticketing costs to both of us.
While I have spent a majority of this letter complaining, I did want to commend the one good person I dealt with at American Airlines. I do not know her last name, but the flight attendant named (NAME WITHHELD) of AA 49 on April 3rd, 2009 was incredibly kind and helpful and reassured me during the plane landing when she noticed I looked nervous. I appreciated her kind words and wish I could have properly thanked her. Please let her know she was the only bright spot of my trip with American Airlines.