LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- My child had an unaccompanied minor flight scheduled for Saturday, December 15, 2007, flight 258 to JFK Airport in New York, leaving from home, Las Vegas, Nevada. This was to be the second year she was flying unaccompanied to visit her elderly grandmother, aunt and cousins. A special trip to New York City's Radio City show had been planned for Sunday, the 16th, with tickets that had already been purchased.
What happened at the airport by insensitive and uncaring employees of American Airlines was inexcusable. We live in Las Vegas and have been there many times since our family lives on the east coast and travel often, although this was the first time we have ever had anything like this happen to us.
We arrived at the airport at approximately 6:30 a.m., but there was quite a wait in line at the check-in counter, with only two employees handling the line. By the time we got up to the desk it was 6:50 a.m. Her flight was scheduled for 7:35 a.m. As we approached the desk the woman just asked, “What time does your flight depart?” We replied 7:35. She said, “You missed your flight. You need to check in two hours prior.”
My daughter had NO BAGGAGE to check, nor was she flying international. It was just a flight to New York, and your website “recommends” arrival at the airport “60 minutes prior if baggage is going to be checked.” It does not state that you “must arrive 60 minutes prior,” and we know there was plenty of time to get to her gate and on board that plane prior to takeoff as we have traveled often from McCarran.
A conversation then took place about putting my daughter on the next flight for the day, but she replied there were no other seats for Saturday. She then suggested Sunday, but there would be a stop over in Chicago, then another suggestion for Dallas. At that point she left us (she did not even ask us yet for ** last name, or ticket reservation number, or flight itinerary). She said she was going to speak to her supervisor.
When she came back to the counter she then spoke to us some more telling us her supervisor did not recommend the Dallas stop-over flight on Sunday because bad weather was expected. She then suggested flight 258 for Monday morning - the same flight as Saturday, same time. At that point she got on her computer terminal and started to ask for our information, which was approximately 15 minutes after we had stepped up to the check-in counter.
I have explained the course of time to you because when I arrived home, I immediately called American Airlines and asked for a supervisor. I told him what had happened and he too was so indifferent that all he could keep repeating was that it indicated on the computer that we “checked in at 7:04 a.m." I tried to explain that that time was incorrect because we had been there about 15 or 20 minutes prior to that time having conversation with the employee at the desk and she with her supervisor before she actually went on the computer to reschedule my daughter's flight.
I find your employees' manner of dealing with the public offensive and unprofessional. My husband and I both feel my daughter was bumped off that flight because AA probably overbooked it originally and gave my daughter's seat away even though we were there well within the time constraints of getting on that plane on time. If your phone conversations are recorded, as it advises when someone calls AA, you can listen to my conversation with your employee who I was told was a “supervisor.”
It should be embarrassing to a company to have employees who practice this kind of deceit upon its customers. I purchased this ticket months ago, and my 10-year-old daughter was crying she was so upset that she could not get to New York to visit with her grandmother and missed the show with her cousins, and she lost two days of her vacation time. I feel this should not happen to paying customers. You should also change your website to be more user-friendly.
The verbiage it currently indicates is not accurate because it uses terms such as “recommend” instead of notifying customers they need to arrive before a certain time or they will not be allowed to go to the departure gate before their flight departs because employees make up new rules when customers arrive to check in without taking into consideration the time someone has spent in a line because of lack of employees handling customers at the check-in desk. The practice of overbooking, which is what I believe happened to my daughter's seat, is bad practice and gives an airline a bad reputation.
Also, the Monday that my daughter finally departed, she was given two boarding passes, one from Saturday's employee and one from Monday's employee, both bearing different seat assignment numbers, and when we went through security, the security agent was all confused and questioned me why there were two boarding passes for my child. I told him that's what I was given, and he said he had never come across that before, which indicates more evidence of disorganized/unprofessional employees on your staff.
I would also like to advise you of the problems encountered in New York's Kennedy Airport when my daughter finally arrived there. The person picking her up was at the airport over one hour before her plane was due to arrive. The ticket agent would not issue him an escort pass to get through security to be able to pick up my daughter at the arrival gate (as was done last year when she flew by herself).
The agent told him to go to security and they would page him. On the other end, my daughter was being held after the plane had disembarked and the stewardess told my daughter that her “uncle was late.” In fact, her uncle was not late, but was being told to wait in a place that obviously the stewardess had not been informed of.
When they finally paged him, they told him that he was waiting in the wrong place (which was where the ticket agent told him to go), and the stewardess told him to go to another area, where he waited another 20 minutes in front of one of the shops in the concourse. My daughter's plane arrived at the gate at approximately 3:10 p.m., but he did not retrieve her until 4:00 p.m.
Obviously, your employees are not organized and should be retrained so as not to cause such chaos, such as designating ONE AREA as the pick up for minor children flying alone. I was very worried that something was wrong when I was told **'s uncle did not have ** yet by 3:45. I have also been told by other friends and family that have traveled AA in the past that your company is very disorganized and caused problems. If you want to please your customers, which should be a primary goal, you have to earn it, and certainly not by these practices.
ALABAMA -- I am writing to let you know how deeply disappointed I am in American Airlines. I plan to never again fly on American Airlines. I am also planning on letting every person I know hear my story and telling him or her not to fly American. I work for a company that flies weekly on American and I will let them know what I think. It is a shame because I am a young person who loves to travel. I have flown with American before numerous times, never having a problem until now. One flight changed my whole opinion forever. I will give you examples of what happened.
When we got on return flight from Salt Lake City to Dallas, we were in the emergency exit aisle. We had stuffed each of our backpacks under the seat in front of us as far as they could go. The attendant kept on coming by to tell us to put our bags under the seat. They were totally under the seat except for the back strap that was laying flat against the seat in front of us. It was not sticking out or in the way of anything. Across the aisle sat a man with a briefcase leaning against the emergency exit door that no one even said a word to him about.
A group of attendants not working sat in front of us on the same flight. They kept on talking loudly about going to get drunk. I thought it was highly inappropriate especially while they were in their uniforms. Not to mention, when we were finally off the six-hour flight (it was supposed to be three hours but was delayed due to the weather) one of the attendants was sassy with a passenger. She was getting her carry-on from the overhead compartment when he stepped in the aisle. She said “Excuse me, but I am not finished. Don't even mess with me.” The man had done nothing and said nothing but just stepped in the aisle to wait to go next.
We went straight from the plane in Dallas to talk to the first American Airlines person we saw to ask about a flight since our original flight, from Dallas to Birmingham AL, had been canceled. The lady we talked to did not mention that there were three other flights scheduled to leave that night. She failed to mention that we could only get on standby for one flight at a time (causing someone to act like we were stupid later in the night). She put us on standby for a flight leaving the next morning to Birmingham. She did not let us know that there was an earlier flight to Nashville after we had told her that we could fly into Birmingham, Nashville, Huntsville, or Atlanta.
We asked her about our luggage and she said it would go to Birmingham (where our original flight was going). She never said anything about filing a claim if we arrived in any other airport other than Birmingham. She knew there was a possibility that we would go to Atlanta since she had booked us on a for-sure flight to Atlanta the following night. I had never had this experience before of missing a flight, so I had no idea what to do or what the process was. She gave me no direction.
After we left her, I saw there were three more flights we could try to get on leaving that night. We tried two of them, but they were cancelled. The third one, going to Huntsville AL, we were able to wait in line for standby. The computer froze, so a lady put all of us waiting to get on standby in a separate line so she could help other people. Her manager came over to help unfreeze the computer. She started yelling at all of us because we were standing in a separate line. She was not being nice about it at all. We happened to be the first people in line, so she told us to get back in the line that we were originally in before the computer froze.
We walked up to the counter because we were the first people in line before the computer froze. She told us we had to go to the back of the line. A guy explained that we were the first in line originally. Then she looked at us and said in a not so friendly voice, “What do you want?” As nice as I could be, I asked her if we could get on standby. Of course the flight was cancelled. We stayed overnight in the airport since no hotel rooms or rental cars were available.
The next morning we went to the gate for the Nashville flight, got on standby, and actually got on the flight (no help to the first lady). I thought it was all over. I was wrong. When I got home all I wanted to do is sleep since I only had one hour of sleep in the airport. We had to find our luggage though. I called the American Airlines baggage number I found online. The first person I talked to told me that no flights had come into Birmingham yet and to call back in an hour. I called back, and another person said it had come in but the baggage had not been unloaded.
Each time I called, they had asked me for a delayed baggage claim file locator number that I did not have (no one told me I was supposed to have it). When I told them I did not have it, they would tell me to call back. The third time I called they said they did not see my luggage by looking up my bag number, so I would have to wait until the next flight. I waited and called back, only to be on hold forty-five minutes, and then I was hung up on.
At this point we decided to drive over an hour to Birmingham to look for the bags ourselves. We found all but one bag. The lady at the baggage department in Birmingham said that it was illegal for American Airlines not to give me a delayed baggage claim number. I called the baggage people back. I waited for thirty minutes when this lady answered. She asked for my file locator number, and I told her I needed one. She asked me what my flight number was. I tried to explain to her that my flight number via which I flew to Nashville that morning and the flight that my bags were on to Birmingham were two separate flights, but she would not let me finish.
I tried literally three times; each time she would cut me off. Then I finally had enough. Almost in tears I asked, “Why do you have to be so mean?” She just laughed a fake laugh and said “Ma'am, I am just trying to ask you a simple question.” I told her I flew into Nashville and gave her my flight number. I had gone through this process with the other people earlier in the day each time I had called, and I knew that was not the information she needed. She would not listen. Then she put me on hold and then actually hung up on me. I had to get my boyfriend to call. Of course when he called, he talked to someone extremely helpful and nice that gave him a file locator number.
It took a week to get my luggage. My dad finally had to call Birmingham because when I would call the American Airlines number to receive an update, I would talk to another rude, snappy person. When he called, they found my luggage an hour later, and it was at my house by that night.
I am glad this is over. An almost perfect vacation was ruined. I was ashamed and unimpressed with American Airlines. I have worked with the public before, and I know there were mad people there that night. I know customers were yelling at your employees, but your employees had no reason to disrespect me. I was not disrespectful to them, just confused and not sure what to do. I only needed help. What happened to pleasing the customer? What happened to customer satisfaction? What happened to the “friendly and convenient air transportation” you promise on your website? I was not satisfied at all with American Airlines.
I was not one bit mean to a single person. I did not raise my voice. I did not get an attitude. I expected the same in return. A majority of the people I talked to working for American Airlines from the moment I stepped on the plane to come home were rude, impatient people. I am not upset about the weather delay. I understand that. I am sorry many people were stranded. Our flight out of Dallas on the way to Salt Lake was even two hours delayed, but I did not mind. I am astonished with the way I was treated. At least I learned two lessons. Try to avoid flying through Dallas, and avoid flying American. Thanks for listening.
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- On September the 25th I flew American Airlines from Seattle to Dallas Fort Worth, and arrived in my home city of Columbus, Ohio at 12:30am. We were supposed to get in around 9pm, but the flight had been delayed. When my head hit my pillow at 2am that morning, I was totally exhausted.
Waking up on the morning of the 26th I started to unpack my bags to hand out souvenirs, and start my laundry. Much to my surprise, my laundry bag was missing. It contained a week's worth of my favorite outfits, some brand new that I had purchased for my trip. I hopped online and got the number for the Seattle Branch Airport right away, letting them know about my missing items. I explained that I found a TSA notification that my bag had been searched, that I thought that they pulled out my laundry hefty bag and just dismissed it as trash and did not return it to my bag. They told me that while the items may very well be at their airport, the policy was for me to report it in my destination city.
I called port Columbus and let them know exactly what happened. The man on the phone said since it was Sunday there was not a lot they could do, but he took an initial inventory and promised that the staff that handles these issues would call me the next day to get the rest of the information. They didn't call. I started to call regularly on the 28th, but received an answering machine message about delayed bags and the number to call to check on my claim. I didn't have a delayed bag, and I had yet to get a hold of someone who would give me a claim form, so after leaving messages to call me back and receiving no answer this seemed a dead end.
I went online to look for a place to claim missing items, but there was no link to be found for this information. Customer reviews repeatedly mentioned that there was nothing to do for missing items via the web, and that they were given the run around when they called to inquire. Calling more baggage numbers online, I continued to run into the wall of a pre-recorded message for delayed baggage expectancies, or was asked to enter a claim number to check the status. Getting a hold of a human being was next to impossible, and when I did they told me there was nothing they could do and that I had to call my home city.
On the 10th of October a woman finally called me back from Port Columbus and left a voice mail. It explained that the search would be a ten week process, and that she hoped I had reported the missing items within 24hrs of my arrival or they would not be covered if they weren't found.
I called back several more times and finally got a hold of a man that took down my information and sent out a claim form to my address. After spelling my name a letter at a time "**," the letter that took two weeks to arrive was addressed to "**." The mail man almost did not deliver it, but my roommate was there to tell him that we were expecting a letter from American Airlines, and they must have mis-addressed.
I sent the letter back priority mail, having just a week before the cut off day for them to search. Around the ten week time I called to find out the status of my claim. They told me it would be a little more time. Three weeks after that I received a letter explaining that I could not be reimbursed because of my unusual delay in reporting the missing items.
I honestly feel that every step along the way - from having to report the lost items in my home city, not being called back in a timely fashion, having no way to report the items online, being left a voice mail with no further solution, to having the claim sent to the wrong name, were road blocks set up to make it impossible for me to follow the procedure that would allow me to make a claim in which I could receive reimbursement. I am going to write a letter to this effect and send it to baggage and customer service. Based upon other reviews I don't expect much. In the future I will do everything I can to avoid travel with American Airlines, and suggest you do the same.
I put my 75 year-old mom on a first class flight with American Airlines from DFW to LAX on Jan 5, 2011, then connecting with Cathay Pacific from LAX-HKG-KUL. AA DFW-LAX flight was delayed by more than 2 hours due to mechanical problem at DFW airport, resulting in my mom missing her Cathay flight at LAX.
We were told by AA agent at LAX that the baggage were tagged to transfer to Cathay Pacific, so she couldn't retrieve her bags at baggage claim at LAX. The next day, my mom checked into her Cathay flight at LAX and was told her 2 bags couldn't be found because AA never transferred them over. She was told to check with Cathay Pacific at final destination in KUL Malaysia if the bags were there.
Obviously she arrived and the bags were not at KUL. We filed a lost baggage claim with Cathay Pacific in KUL. I called the Cathay Pacific baggage services at LAX to follow up and was told based on their log, AA never transferred the bags over to Cathay at LAX on Jan 5 and they had telexed the message over to AA and had not go any response. We contacted AA directly and were told the 2 baggage tags were closed out from AA system since the flight had arrived in LAX.
They do not have baggage tracking system, so they can't tell me where the bags are or whether they were even on the flight from DFW to LAX. I called AA Baggage Services at 1800-535-5225 and AA Central Baggage Service at 1800-866-4010 (after the baggages have been missing for 5 days). I got the same response - the 2 baggage tags were not in AA system at all and they were not responsible to trace them because Cathay Pacific was the carrier to the final destination, so Cathay was responsible.
I told them the bags were lost under AA control and were AA even bother trying to trace the baggage? No, not their jobs. They only deal with claims filed with AA. So basically NO ONE is looking for the lost baggage for my 75 year old mom.
I have called and tried to get information for 6 days now and is getting increasing frustrated and helpless. I know AA's customer service sucks but I didn't know they just don't take responsibility at all for lost baggage. If they don't show up, too bad for you. No one cares to look for them.
We paid a lot of money for my elderly mom to feel comfortable about the long haul international flight but it ended up being the most stressful flight in her life. She has had sleepless nights for a few days now worrying about the baggage. She is a 75 year old lady and has lost everything she has got in those bags. I am extremely disheartened with what is going on. My suspicion is the bags have been stolen but AA is taking no action to investigate on how 2 bags can disappear into thin air.
As a former Agent for AA, I have heard it all from the flying public and I have to say, most of it is justified. However, the person you are screaming at is by design meant to act as a firewall for the people you really should blame. MANAGEMENT. The flying public needs to concentrate their anger for whatever happened to them where it belongs. Management.
The rank and file agent, counter or reservation, in flight personnel, bag room person, etc., is a sitting duck by design. They are given training on situations that are made to save the company money and dump the wrath of the public on the employee all the while the Management Personnel just makes judgments on the employee while sitting at a safe distance away from and by design not contacting the customer.
This is all written in a soon to be published book about AA from a rank and file, insider perspective. Things the public should know and that the company doesn't want you to know. Those beautifully done commercials of a dad holding his daughter's hand as they board a gleaming Aircraft with Red White and Blue stripes is one giant manipulative gag reflex. The real problems are manufactured and governed by all levels of Management.
Sadly, level 3 Managers, lowest of low, make most of the decisions that make the public furious. Most of these "Managers" were promoted not for their intelligence or for their skills. They have towed the line despite things which average people would either call down right stupid or even laughable. Everything is geared for goals by Management so they get their bonuses. The book has stories from many front line employees.
Here is but one example... One agent who got no support from her supervisor for a bad call she was on, so, she took her break, called the 1-800 Res No. from the lunch room. Gave the agent the record locator, identified herself as the customer, and CANCELLED some very hard to get tickets to ASPEN during Spring break! There was no way the agent could be traced to the cancellation. She had the locator. The agent taking the call was just following the customer's direction. Wow!
Can you imagine that family when they get a confirmation of cancellation AND the re-banking of the miles to their account AND the fee for re-banking them! Omigawd! This was not an acceptable thing to do. It does show, however, the result of employees not being supported by the Supervisors or the Company. Being hung out to take the beating from the customers. It's all about being in Management. Even the lowest form of Management look for the inside info AA does not want you to know. The book is called "Something's in the Air.”
Until then, keep them honest and keep complaining but go to the Management not the front line agents or in-flight crews. They are just the bait for you to feed on. Oh, and by the way. Managers sit around and laugh at some of the scenes that take place with the rank and file employee if not in tears then boiling mad. Is any wonder that you get people at the counter or gate or on the phone that you find difficult to deal with? God bless them all.
TAMPA, FLORIDA -- On July 18,2010, flight #1786,I was travelling to out of country with my wife and 2 kids (2 years and 4 years) and I was checking in from Tampa going to New York JFK to tranfer my international flight. At checking desk, they couldn't find seat for my daughter's reservation therefore they checked us till JFK instead of international destination which were about to miss the flight. We were the last ones got into plane before the doors closed and we noticed they gave us 2 seat at front and 2 seats in the back of the plane since they couldn't get us seat together due to waiting almost 45 minutes at check in counter. We had 4 carry on luggages since we were travelling with 2 kids international and once we got in the plane there were no space to put those luggages. my wife and my 2 year old son sat at front seats and place the luggages under the seat in front of them and I moved back and placed 2 luggages under the seats as well. after we all sat our seats (which I was sitting by window with my 4 years old daugter) one of the male flight attentant asked my wife to move her 2 luggages to front of the plane. She was also sitting by window and was trying to drag those 2 carry on luggages underneat her seat and leaving 2 years old kid on a seat by herself. I called the flight attentant and ask if he can help her since I had my seat belt on and holding my daughter, I asked them if they can move those luggages to front for her. He responded back to me "no sir, she will her own luggages" I told him if airline will be responsible for if something happens to my daugther if she falls down and is it not flight assistants job to help passenger especially if they are a woman with an infant." he repeated the same thing back to me..my wife continue to drag those 2 luggages which we were going to need during our trip anyway due to diapers, milks, etc. Then, he told me if I continue to talk, he will get me off the plane. I said, all we want is a service from you to help a woman and you cannot ask me to be quiet. I told him this is not acceptable for a airline crew to threat a customer like that and I asked to talk to captain since he start yelling at me in front of my 4 years old kid. My 2 year old was also crying at the front since his mother was stacked at from trying to find a space for her luggages. When captain came back, of course flight attentant was making up a totally different story and he was telling captain that I was rude to him and he wasn't feeling safe to be in the same flight with me. I couldn't believe that he was using "flight safety regulations" as a tool against to a simple help request from a customer. nothing else. Then they called the airport security to ask me to get off the plane..I was shocked but no one in the plane act like they care either, everyone was too quiet and was watching the show placed by flight attendant. he exactly knew how to get around his wrong attitude and make it seem like I was a problem passenger creating problems. Then captain asked me to apologize from him otherwise they were going to take me off the plane. I kept quiet and apologized from this person who did everything but providing service to a female customer. And I was wrong because I said that it is not right and I got penalized by American airlines which I have paid $7,000 to buy 4 tickets to overseas.
I will never use this airlines again. Poor service, poor management..And flight staff does know how to use those new security laws against customers when they needed. Watch out, you may get kicked off the plane, if you ask for customer service..it is unacceptable..
I booked a last minute package with Travelocity for me and my wife to see my sick grandmother (lax->bos). a few days after I received a call from my mother, who told me my grandmother would not still be alive on the weekend. I attempted to change my outgoing flight. Travelocity told me only American Airlines could do it, and American told me only Travelocity could. Travelocity promised to try to change it and to call me back, and failed to do so.
I booked an additional one-way flight so that I could see my grandmother, but, alas, I was too late. The funeral was several days later, and I planned to take my original return flight. However, when my wife flew in several days later for the funeral, she found out that I would be unable to use my return ticket (bos->lax) because I did not use the lax->bos flight. despite the fact that the airline essentially pocketed the money for the seat, and undoubtedly sold it to someone else.
I spent 2 hours on the phone with Travelocity and American airlines. Travelocity customer service was nice but uninformative. I can not say the same thing for American airlines. each claimed only the other had the power to allow me to keep my original flight. the last manager I spoke to at American was rude and condescending. he simply said it was my fault for "deciding to be my own travel agent", and when I begged him to just get on the phone with me and Travelocity together to hash out just who has the ability to change my ticket, he said it was not his job. he said no one at American airlines had the ability to let me keep my original flight.
the next day I went to the American airlines ticket counter. I explained the situation to them, and they let me keep my original itinerary by paying a $150 change fee (contradicting the rude manager). so, in the end I paid for a roundtrip ticket and a $150 change fee to fly a single one-way flight from Boston to LA. oh and hours of my time, and the stress of having to deal with terrible people while grieving for my grandmother.
American airlines should be ashamed as a company to employ people of the sort I had to deal with. they should be ashamed of their byzantine computer systems that allow all their employees to pass the buck and to lie to the customer. they should be ashamed that of their less than fair fare rules that do not allow you to take one leg of a roundtrip flight even when there is a death in your family. and the biggest shame of all is that our taxes have repeatedly bailed out this and other airlines - failures as standalone businesses, instead of letting these failed businesses fail, and paving the way for better-managed companies like southwest.
all I can do is stop flying American. I hope others follow suit.
DFW, TEXAS -- I flew CX BKK-HKG-SFO, then transferred to AA SFO-LAX-IAD (AA1923/144) on 11/04/2009. I received my bags at SFO for customs examinations before re-checking to the AA segments.
My SFO-LAX flight was late, making me miss my LAX-IAD segment. I was not rebooked on the next flight, but rather on a flight more than 24 hours later. I opted to stay in LA as I would be missing my event in Washington, and I have family in LA who I could visit in the meantime.
AA sent my bags on to IAD, however, and closed my reservation. One bag with personal effects was returned 48 hours later, but AA denied that it possessed the second bag - a bike box - until that time. I had to physically show them the baggage check ticket for them to awknowledge their possession of the box. In the meantime, I was offered no compensation for the suitcase that was delayed, even though it had all of my personal effects, because I live abroad, and my address with AA was registered as being in LA where I had scheduled to have my bags delivered.
When the bike box did arrive, it arrived in shambles. I am not understating this. I took pictures because it was so shocking. The box had been ripped apart, and items inside had been taped to the remainder of the box to keep them from spilling out. There was so little of the box left that it was amazing the baggage clerks could offer me the box with a straight face. It goes without saying that my $3500 bike was damaged - about $150. As a side note, I've travelled many times both trans-oceanic and trans-continental with my bike, and never had so much as a scratch on my bike as a result of baggage handling.
Keep in mind that I was the customer who was not yelling at the baggage claim people throughout the four days my box was lost. I was cooperative and respectful, and I spent hours both on the phone and at the baggage claim office at LAX resolving the issue. Even with this, I was never even offered an apology.
The baggage office suggested I contact Customer Service, which I did, and the agent offered as compensation 2,500 A'Advantage Miles, but denied responsibility per the contract of carriage, which states the AA does not assume responsibility for sporting goods unless packed in a hard case shell. Bikes are sent in bike boxes, hence relieving AA of any responsibility.
Even with this, I was told by the central baggage office when I was still waiting for the box's delivery that AA would absorb the cost of damages. Naturally the agent did not document such a promise in the baggage claim file.
After getting nowhere with AA Customer Service, I filed a Better Business Bureau report, which also got me nowhere. The same people at Customer Service reiterated their lack of interest in resolving the issue.
So be it. If this how AA handles it customers - albeit in a spectacular situation - others have a right to know about it. I used to fly AA all the time years ago, but one bad experience after another led me to slowly cash in my miles and call it quits with them. This last experience underlines my decision to never pay for an AA ticket again, and the sad thing is they could have redeemed themselves if they had just shown a bit of remorse for royally messing up.
A bit of fun regarding AA's response. Per AA's Barbara Russell, "Although we let you down, we are glad you took the time to let us know." Oh, thank you. I took the time to let you know so that you could be 'glad'.
Read on, "Mr. Roberts, I hope that your disappointment over that experience won't keep you from giving us another chance. I assure you that we intend to make a better impression the next time you fly with us." Oh, OK. I'm sure I intend to book another ticket on AA just to see if they can provide good service. After hundreds of thousands of miles of experience with them, I know the answer all to well.
4255 AMON CARTER BLVD MD 2400, TEXAS -- I purchased tickets to fly from Wisconsin to Texas (Nov.2-Nov.9)back in July of this year. Three days before my flight a family member offered to pick me up in Dallas (my layover destination) instead of in Austin so that we could have time to drive north to Oklahoma City and spend 2 days visiting with my 86 year old grandmother. This was especially exciting since I was traveling (alone) with my 4 year old son. I knew she would be excited about getting to see one of her great-grandchildren.
When I arrived at the airport I politely let the ticket clerk know that we were not continuing all the way to our original destination, but that there was no change to the return flights. She stated that I would have to pay a change fee of $100 to $150 per ticket since we were not continuing on to our original destination and although I was shocked and argued that I did not understand why this was an issue for them I conceded so that we could still get on our original flight.
Then, when the check-in clerk was entering the information into her computer she then told me that, actually, it was going to $576 per ticket instead of the originally quoted $100-150 per ticket. When I asked her to explain why the increase in price she said that I was now having to purchase a completely new itinerary showing that we were getting off in Dallas and that tickets purchased 'same-day' as travel are a lot more expensive. I was furious, but still acted in a polite manner hoping to find some sort of compromise in this matter.
After 10 minutes of polite arguing my young son and I had less than 30 minutes to get on our flight and when I asked to speak to someone else in customer service I was told that no one was currently available and that I had no choice, but to pay the additional $1152.80 in order to board our flight that day.
I agreed and said that I would be dealing with the airline's customer service as soon as we landed to clear up this issue. I truly belied that I would be able to discuss this with someone. However, it seems as though I should have stayed, missed my flight and missed the chance to see my grandmother so that I could stand in person and somehow throw a fit in person. I do not do things like that very well, as I feel like it's important to try the rational way first.
After multiple phone calls to a variety of customer service reps and their supervisor the only explanation I have received is that I changed the itinerary so I had to purchase new tickets. My problem is that I know of other examples in which people have done the same thing and have only been charged the $150 per ticket. I feel like I was taken advantage of and asked to pay an obscene amount of money (including the original $600 I paid for the tickets in July).
I have been very polite and courteous and have tried everything within my means to explain that this is terrible customer service on their part. I have also written letters to Gerard Arpey and the customer service department showing copies of all of my information.
In addition to all of this on our 2 hour flight from WI to TX we were originally signed seats 14B and 14C. They were even printed on our new itinerary, however, on our paper boarding passes it said seats 18B and 18C, which ended up being the last row of seats right next to the on board bathroom. I do believe there is a possibility that for some reason they shuffled the seats around, but part of me feels like this was an intentional move done by the check-in ticket clerk. It does not make sense that the seats printed on the new itinerary would be different from the boarding passesprinted at the same time.
I am still looking for a resolution to this problem and am looking for help in my effort to move to plan B. I now regret not staying at the check-in counter and working this out before we flew. It is just so difficult to travel alone with children that I didn't think it would work to stay and miss our flight.
If you or anyone has any additional suggestions I would be grateful to hear them. Thank you for your time!
We recently traveled to Europe on American Airlines and words can not fully express the fiasco we endured and their blatant apathy and despicable customer care before, during and after our flight. Following is an excerpt from one of three letters I composed which were answered with lame excuses followed by a telephone call by a customer service representative who tried at every turn to blame us for our trouble and hung up on me when I told her she should be ashamed of herself and the company she represents.
"In January of 2009 I booked a roundtrip flight with American Airlines for myself and my husband from Miami, Florida to Madrid, Spain nine months in advance. When I received our email confirmation I realized the return date was incorrect, whether due to human or computer error I have no idea, but I called your Reservations Department immediately and was informed I would be charged $250.00 per person for correcting the error. I begged and pleaded to several of your employees and, in the end, was charged one $250.00 change fee instead of two, but was hardly satisfied given the amount I was paying for my tickets to begin with, the amount of time I was booking in advance and the fact that I noticed and notified you of the error immediately upon receiving your email confirmation. Hence, I sent an email to your Customer Relations Department and received a form letter in return that basically said, “Sorry for your luck.”
Fast forward to September 12, 2009. My husband and I print and carry our eTickets to Miami International Airport, arriving at 2:00 PM, three hours in advance of our 5:05 PM flight as per your instructions, stand in line with our luggage to check in with Iberia per our itinerary and, when we reach the counter, are told we are not in their computer or on their flight. After much panic and discussion, we run through the airport dragging our luggage to the American Airlines counter where we are informed that our flight was changed and we should have been notified. (By the way, I have checked all email addresses, in boxes, spam, trash, archives, we received NO emails what so ever from American Airlines in regard to a change of flights.) Thank God the new flight was an hour later than the old, or we would have been up the creek. I then asked your counter clerk if we could still have the seats with the most leg room that I had so carefully chosen nine months prior (as my husband has knee and circulation issues) and, again, was told “Sorry for your luck.”
On to the boarding gate where, uh oh, there is no airplane, but wait, the flight is listed as “on time” on all the departure display boards! What is going on? Finally, an announcement, the plane is being serviced, that's all, no more information, could be five minutes, five hours, five days . . . no more updates until the plane arrives an hour later yet remains listed as “on time”.
Well, we board your disheveled airplane, no, seriously, it was filthy, and sit for two more hours on the runway with one, and only one, short announcement claiming weather issues as other airplanes arrive and depart around us, a maintenance man walks up and down the isles using tools on seats and floor boards and, after about an hour, the flight crew pass out small paper cups of water. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!
We finally taxied out at about 8:30 PM, six and a half hours after being dropped off at the airport, three and a half hours after our original flight was scheduled to depart, and my husband stood in the back of the plane during the entire eight and a half hour flight because he was unable to sit in the seat we were given. Upon arriving in Madrid, Spain, we had to find our own transportation to a strange location in a non-English speaking country as we had missed our pre-arranged, pre-paid transfers.
In the VERY LEAST, you owe us a $250.00 per person change fee, oh yes, what's good for the goose . . . AND a refund for the two $50.00 transfers we lost PLUS cab fare and that doesn't even include time, trouble or a refund for the insultingly ridiculous $250.00 change fee you charged us or the seat my husband booked nine months in advance and NEVER USED!!!"
We all know customer service certainly isn't what it used to be, but I believe American Airlines has taken it to whole new level of low which borders on downright abusive and I intend to post my experience anywhere and everywhere I possibly can to warn others and hopefully, in the end, thwart their cocksure attitude.