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.
I've flown countless time with American in many parts of the world, having been an American Advantage Platinum member in the past, and cannot recall an instance of such poor service, and certainly nothing remotely approaching the exceptionally poor service which I received in Rome with two of AA's personnel, one of which was the AA supervisor there. This Rome AA supervisor was arrogant, indifferent, and condescending. Below is my experience:
On Tuesday May 11, 2010 I flew on American Airlines from Chicago to Istanbul with a connection in Rome (AA 110 Chicago-Rome and scheduled TK 1862 Rome-Istanbul). The flight from Chicago was scheduled to depart at 4:55pm but was delayed due to mechanical difficulties. Hence, instead of arriving in Rome on Tuesday at the scheduled 9:15am, it arrived the same day at 11:30am.
As I was disembarking from the plane in Rome, I was intercepted by a local representative of AA who informed me that I had missed my connection but that I was “protected” on a later flight - seven hours later to be exact! When I explained that that was an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a connection and that there must be other routes which could get me to Istanbul in far shorter times than nine hours (seven hours waiting plus two hours flight time).
The AA representative showed me on a nearby screen about four flights. The first of these flights on the screen was my original connection originally scheduled for 11:40am but now set to depart at 11:50am, so I asked if I could not board that one. I was told that there was not enough time. With twenty minutes to spare, I took it that, based on the AA representative's rejection that the 11:50 flight must be in a far-off terminal and gate. The remaining handful of flights presented to me did not appear to arrive in an earlier time in Istanbul.
Having just flown for some nine hours plus delay, I then reluctantly went to the main terminal as directed by the AA. For this I went into the satellite terminal where I had landed, down the stairs to the tram boarding area, waiting for and rode on the tram to the main terminal, waited in line at and went through the security screening checkpoint.
There on the screen adjacent to the main terminal security point, I was to discover that the 11:50am departing flight, i.e. my original connection and the one which I had been told I did not have enough time to board, was not only still boarding but that it had been back at the tiny satellite terminal (circular and only 14 gates, grouped in pairs of two) and just by the gate where I had landed!
Disturbed by having been directed physically away from a connection which I could have easily made, I went back to the satellite terminal to speak with a supervisor. [Side Note: There was not any valid reason for my being directed to the main terminal, because even my seven hour later connection was in the very same satellite terminal].
When I first explained the situation to the supervisor and asked for an explanation, he said that he had to get a flight boarded. So I waited, waited while the supervisor chatted leisurely and jokingly with others. The flight fully boarded and then I saw the supervisor move over to another flight, with not a word nor gesture to me who was by the now empty boarding area waiting for him.
So I patiently moved over to this new gate and attempted a couple of times to discreetly get his attention, wherein he avoided even eye contact with me, let alone giving some indication that he understood that I was still waiting for him. Finally, as this second flight was nearly fully boarded, and the AA supervisor was again holding non-business conversation with others and still completely ignoring my presence, I spoke up and explained that I was still waiting for him. The supervisor then said that he would be with me in a few minutes and I continued to wait.
When the AA supervisor finally came over to me, all he attempted to do from beginning to end is to attempt to justify that the original AA representative's actions. The lies and misrepresentations which came from the AA supervisor are summarized as follows: Falsehood #1, that the AA representative had not known that the flight which departed to Istanbul had been delayed to 11:50am. While he may have not know at the time he rebooked me to the seven hour later flight, he certainly knew when the two of us were looking at the same screen at 11:30am.
Falsehood #2, that there were only the handfuls of trip routing from Rome to Istanbul. Rome and Istanbul are major international airports, only two hours flight apart, and each with flights departing and arriving every few minutes. There were far more options to be routed to Istanbul (or Ankara which I had given as a possible option) than the handful which I was shown.
Falsehood #3, that the original flight AA110 delay was due to weather conditions beyond the airline's control. The final words of the Rome supervisor as he haughtily and indignantly pushed my documentation across the counter back to me were, and I paraphrase: “I cannot help someone who is not able to understand that we are dealing with weather forces out of our control.”
The fact is that I was on the plane naturally when the pilot, before take-off, informed the passengers that there was a delay due to two mechanical difficulties - one that his windshield wiper had to be repaired. Further, the pilot had informed us that at least an equal amount of time, if not more, would be due to the paperwork. Thus the original flight delay which was the first factor in my missing the connection in Rome was due, not to some unavoidable act of God, but rather due to American Airlines.
Thus, naturally, there is no justification for my not having been directed to board the 11:50am flight, nor to being sent to the wrong terminal, nor for AA claiming that they were not responsible for my missed Rome connection, nor for not rerouting me to arrive in Istanbul in less than nine hours.
Further, neither the original AA representative nor the supervisor even gave my any assistance or guidance relative to the apparently re-booked seven-hour later flight. During my time in Rome, I noticed that I was not given a boarding pass for the flight, or directions to obtain one nor told where / in which direction even to go.
The reality is that without Rome AA's misinformation and misdirection, I would on my own have easily located and boarded my original connection, the nearby 11:50am departing flight. Rome AA violated a primary rule which can be applied to customer service: “Do no harm”.
After my seven hour Rome ordeal, I arrived in Istanbul. Rebooked, paid a change fee for, and boarded the last, 11:55pm, flight from Istanbul to Ankara. In sum, I spent over 24 hours en route, due to the incompetence and intransigence of two, ill-mannered and ill-trained American Airlines personnel in Rome.
On Monday December 14th, my fiance, two daughters, and I had a scheduled flight leaving Montreal at 7:45am with one stop in Dallas, Texas. Our final destination was Leon, Mexico at 2:45pm, had everything gone as planned. However it did not, which is why I am now taking time from my holiday to tell you what happened.
We arrived at the American Airlines counter at 6:15am to check in. The line-up was moderate, but we noticed that it was not moving very fast. We did not arrive at the counter until 6:40am. While we were waiting I noticed two things. Firstly, an attendant kept leaving her station to aid those at the E-ticket Kiosk and secondly, there was a couple in front of us who got to jump the line because their flight was being called.
At the counter I was informed that one of my suite-cases was over by 18 pounds and was given the option to remove some items and place them in our other suite-cases to try to lighten the weight. It took me less than two minutes to decide that we were not able to place items in the other suite-cases.
As I turned around to inform the attendant of my decision, I saw that she (**) was preparing to wheel some elderly people to their gate. I approached her and she said she would send someone to help us. My family and I were still standing at the American Airlines check-in counter with no assistance, 15 minutes later. After searching for another attendant, her first reaction was to call people on the radio to figure out what was going on.
Now, at 7:00 am, it was boarding time. After we checked our luggage, she did not offer to try to rush us to the gate. By the time we passed through immigration (and we were given preference as we were traveling with a 7 month old baby) we arrived at the gate, saw the plane and were informed that we had missed our flight by **.
** reaction to when she saw us? "What happened to you guys?" At this point my fiance answered "You left us there." ** immediately was defensive and took no responsibility for what had just occurred. She told us she had sent a gentlemen named ** to help us and called him on the radio. It turned out that ** had gone on break, and very conveniently forgot about the family ** had told him to help with.
After they had contacted the supervisor, the supervisor placed the blame on us, saying that we only arrived at the check-in point at 6:40 and that was not enough time to make our flight. I told them that we arrived there at 6:15, and had waited that long. They then okay'd the crew (**) to find us a flight even if it was with a different airline. They gave us two options, one was Miami ending in Mexico City and then we would have to get to Leon on our own or fly to Chicago, then to Mexico City and finishing in Leon at 11pm.
I feel at this point it is important to note that we booked with American Airlines to avoid travel to Mexico City and to also avoid more than one stop, as I previously mentioned we were traveling with our children. We decided on traveling to Chicago, via Mexico City ending Leon. While waiting for our plane to Chicago, they made an announcement that there was a problem with the plane and that there would be a delay, they did this three times.
After I approached the attendant at the counter and explained that we had a tight connection because of the delay, I asked if they wanted to send us on a different flight. The attendant guaranteed that we would make our connection. So we boarded for Chicago. I think it is extremely important to note at this point that not one of American Airlines employees took the time to apologize to us. On top of that, the supervisor refused to take 10 minutes of his time to speak to us. Working for one of the world's largest hotel chains, I know first hand that this is beyond unacceptable.
We arrived at Chicago at approximately 2:40pm and had to make our connection with AeroMexico at 3:05pm in a different terminal. When I asked for help at the gate they refused to call the other airline or get me any assistant (such as an electric cart to get us there in time). By the time we made it to the terminal at 3:00pm we had missed our flight once again.
So we went back to the American Airlines counter and spoke to a gentlemen named **. After we explained everything that had just occurred, he first asked us to repeat everything because he didn't even believe us. When I went through the story a second time he was beyond embarrassed for what employees of American Airlines had done or in better words, not done.
He began looking for flights for us and informed us there was no flights that night and that we would have to take a plane the following day. At that moment, I refused and told him to look for a different alternative. He said that all the flights were booked and there was nothing until the next day. Then, he found one other option. We would have to fly four and a half hours to LA that night and then take 1:30am flight from LA to Leon arriving in Leon at 6:30am. My fiance burst into tears at this point as our 7 month old was crying and our other daughter was feeling sick already from all the traveling.
I told him it was unreasonable to fly all night with a baby and wanted to speak to his supervisor. The supervisors name was ** and very unfriendly. After he checked on the computer his answer was "You either stay here for three days or you take that flight." At this point, we took the flight. I do want to make a note that one attendant, named **, made an attempt to at least give us one extra seat and she succeeded in doing so. This we were very grateful for and thanked her. However, when we boarded the plane, they had given the seat away.
A couple of things that I would like to mention at this point. I asked ** to look at sending me at a couple of different cities inside Mexico close to our final destination he said "I'm not going to send you to another city just because it is convenient for you." At this point I replied "I don't think you understand, your company had a contract with me to be at 2:45pm in Leon. That was not fulfilled and the least thing you can do right now is try and accommodate us."
** did not seem to understand this. He also did not want to use a different airline. When I requested to try to bump someone on an earlier flight the following morning he simply said "no." I feel it is important to mention I witnessed other companies in the past that when they are in a situation like this they offer a compensation flight for anyone who would give up their seats. They didn't even offer to do that for us. I don't think I need to explain how an overnight flight with a 7 month old baby went. She was crying and grabbing her ears in pain all night.
As a result of all this we lost two days of our vacation. When we got back home we continuously tried to contact American Airlines, we finally receive a response from a ** with Customer Relations. We received a generic apology email and were told we would receive "vouchers" from AA as soon as we provided our mailing address. I emailed back the same day sending our mailing address and asking what the vouchers included.
Over a week had passed and until today I still had heard nothing. I sent another email and included my phone number. I received a call this evening in regards to my follow-up complaint the lady said she was from corporate office and she mentioned that she did not answer my email in regards to my question about what the vouchers included because she was waiting for my address. I told her I had replied with the address and questioned what type of vouchers they were going to send me. She said that she was going to send 3 $150.00 vouchers.
This was not acceptable and when I pointed that out to her she said that she was not calling to negotiate and that my family and I did not give ourselves enough time to catch the plane and she was just sending that as a follow-up. Clearly, I ended the conversation and hung-up. It is clear that customer service is the last worry for American Airlines, and that I can't change that. What I will do though is tell this story to anyone who will listen in hopes that it will at least change a few peoples minds when they are picking an airline to fly with.
I have left many "details" out of my post only to keep this post short. What happened to me on my recent flights on American Airlines should never happen in today's world!!! Certainly NOT after the Delta Holiday bombing attempt on Christmas day!
On December 18th, 2009, my partner and I used American Airlines (AA) to fly from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Guadalajara (GDL), Mexico (#1401). We checked in, and all was going well. We boarded the plane and moved into "take off position." Then we began to sit on the run way.
The "pilot" used the planes PA to state, "we have a bit of a problem because we are loaded with bags from other flights so we have a 'balance problem' with the plane - we have asked a passenger to move from the front of the plane to the back to balance the plane out. Also, some of you will not have luggage when you get to Guadalajara (GDL) because we had to leave it behind to make room for the bags from other flights. Your bags will follow you as soon as possible - we need to make room for the bags from other flights and their passengers. An American Airlines "rep" will be waiting for you to assist you once we land if your bags were left behind."
Once we arrived in Mexico 2 hours later, nearly 1/2 our plane was without bags! One poor lady was having a wedding and her dress was in her checked bag left back at DFW! I had all my medication in my bags-it is real expensive and needs to be kept cold! We began to look for the AA representative to help us with this problem and answer questions and the only person was some 20 year old guy who spoke no ENGLISH! As he filled out the forms he filled it out wrong and NOBODY could offer us any idea when our bags would arrive-all we had were the cloths on our backs!!
We took the paper he gave us and left the air port at 10PM. The next day we began to try to call the "800" numbers to get answers NONE OF THE NUMBERS WORKED! We had to use toll numbers! I FINALLY GOT THIS RUDE WOMAN NAMED **. She kept insisting that I give her a group of "letters" off my form - I told her I did not have them (the idiot never gave them to me). After nearly 20 minutes on the phone with ** the only thing I solved was our bags and my medication "might" arrive in Mexico later that night. Using their website is impossible. We went 4 days without cloths and my medication (about 4,000.00 worth of med's). NOBODY CARED AT ALL!
When our bags did arrive, we were told we could get them "anytime" - that was a lie! We showed up at GDL to get our bags on Wed, December 23rd (we were in a remote part of Mexico and not able to get to the airport). When we arrived we found that AA in GDL has NO "real office" it is a "room" the size of a "closet." The sign reads "open M-F 0800 to 1600." We were there with 20 other people trying to get their bags (even the lady with the wedding dress)! The door was locked.
Again, I called the "toll numbers" and spoke to a REAL PERSON who was not only unhelpful, but insulting and rude. When I asked for a supervisor-I was told "I don't have one." I was able to speak to another person and to make a long story short - I was told to come back the next day! The next day I arrived at 8 AM and got our bags. We were pissed!
During our return flight on 12/30/2009, we were ready for EXTRA security checks due to the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Delta Plane flying into Detroit. Like many we arrived at 4 AM for our flight which left at 7:50AM. We were not first - 30 or so others we ahead of us. Mexican Security arrived and set up tables and lanes for us to file into - then we waited! NO AA PEOPLE WERE READY TO HANDLE THE CRUSH OF PEOPLE trying to fly home to the USA from Mexico!
Once the AA staff did arrive, we went through the security checks. No keep in mind I am a retired Los Angeles Police officer - I know something about searching people and containers. The searches done of our bags and bodies were worthless! I could have had a "land mine" in my bag and the Mexican TSA would have totally missed it!
Now came the metal detectors - I walked through and set the thing off like I always to. I stopped and waited for what was to come next - NOTHING! THE LADY WAIVED ME RIGHT ON THROUGH WITH A SMILE! SHE NEVER CHECKED ME AT ALL! I HAD BOOTS, A BELT, AND ALL SORTS OF STUFF ON AND SHE DID NOTHING!
We just shook our heads and said, "What the hell! This is NOT security!" As we got ready to board the jet we moved towards the door. Now came the "pat down." FOLKS THIS WAS A JOKE! IT IS CLEAR "THEY ARE JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS" and at the best is it "sloppy" and at the worst, it is going to get someone killed! As far as security is concerned at this Airport, 5 days after a major "terror event" on a flight into the USA - this is unforgivable!
They had some little old lady in a chair taking off her shoes, but the rest of us never took off ours and had them checked. When they did the pat down I was watching the Mexican Security - they only checked the arms and legs-and it was FAST! I remind you that the "shoe bomber" and "Christmas Day bomber" carried their IED's onto the planes! THESE MEXICAN OFFICIALS WERE HORRIBLE IN THEIR SECURITY. The Mexican Army was seen around some of the check points - they were "unarmed!" In 1997, I flew to Mexico and saw men with M16's right in the airport - NOT THIS TIME!
There was no reason for American Airlines and Mexican TSA to be so sloppy-they had lots of time and people were waiting and understanding! "safety first" is what CNN is putting out now - I saw that's a joke! The horrible security and searches we went through the airport is down right UNSAFE! It was very clear we were being "rushed through" all of the security check points. We even arrived "early" at DFW and had to wait for our gait to open up so, we had lots of time!!!
I will never fly American Airlines ever again. This was insane. I will probably never fly back to Mexico because of the lack of security faith in their protection of people flying on planes out of Mexico. Terrorist are everywhere - what will stop them from flying into Mexico, only to rushed through a security check, to board a plane for the USA which is only 2 hours away-all the time in PERSONAL possession of a BOMBS! Nope, never again! Security at GDL is a joke! American Airlines - a company based in Texas and that is shocking and sad! I am a Texan, and now won't support this local business!
I have sent my "observations" of this LACK OF SECURITY to my local Texas elected officials and asked them to look into why the flights from Mexico have such sloppy security on flights into our nation - American Airlines should be on top of this also but clearly they are not!
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 acknowledge 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 traveled 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 **, "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. **, 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 passes - printed 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 cannot fully express the fiasco we endured and their blatant apathy and despicable customer care before, during and after our flight. In January of 2009 I booked a round-trip 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 Reservations Department immediately and was informed I would be charged $250.00 per person for correcting the error.
I begged and pleaded to several 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 them of the error immediately upon receiving email confirmation. Hence, I sent an email to 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 e-Tickets to Miami International Airport, arriving at 2:00 PM, three hours in advance of our 5:05 PM flight as per 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, inboxes, spam, trash, archives, we received NO emails whatsoever 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 the counter clerk if we could still have the seats with the most legroom 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 the 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 aisles using tools on seats and floorboards 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, prepaid transfers
. In the VERY LEAST, AA 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 they 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.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- 12 March 2009, I traveled from Washington, DC (Regan) to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX on American Airlines w/ one checked baggage. Upon my arrival to Dallas Baggage Claim, my checked luggage did not arrive. I was told that it would arrive the next morning and received a Claim No. to refer to. I was also told that it would come on the next flight but to my discuss that pan out not to be true.
Needless to say, I spent my entire vacation in pain and agony because each day I received bad news that my luggage had not arrived. I along with a good friend went back and forth to the airport to do a personal search, talk with the employees, etc, etc but still ended-up empty handed. I spoke several times with the airport baggage personnel over phone and they assured me it would probably turn-up or it could have been mis-routed but they would do all they could to locate it.
I asked several employees do they think it was a possibility that my luggage was stolen and they assured me that was very far-fetched because people just want they luggage. Well, upon my return to DC, I went back to DC Baggage Claim to inquire and to look around but still came up empty-handed. I must had spoken with 20-30 people at AA and some were very smog and must have received several different excuses and probabilities.
I started to do a little research on my own simply because I had a lot of valuable in my luggage and this situation has caused me many sleepless nights and tears. Let me say this before I go any further, AA have no Check and Balancing system so they say.
They do not scan your luggage once they receive it from TSA. They rely totally upon individuals to look at your tag and then place it on the corresponding carousel. Also, after doing intensified research, I found that the Airlines has had a great deal of thieves going on not only with the Airlines but also with TSA.
Now, I was told that the percentage of thieves was little to none - they "lied" and they continue to lie. I went back and forth to Regan National just to take a look at their baggage claim area. This is what I noted. Baggage that comes off the carousel waiting on it "rightful" owner is stacked near the claim area and anyone and anybody can just walked and take whatever they like.
There is no-one standing by to check claim tickets but you have several agents sitting at a desk in the claim area for the most part doing nothing when in all actuality they could be standing and making sure people are being honest about luggage. Also, I found out that a thief was caught at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport who had been stealing luggage for 1-2 years from the baggage claim area with no questions asked. He just happen to get caught. This rogue was taking 2-3 bags at a time.
The amount of baggage that is lost or stolen is just absurd. I'm finding there are a lot people like myself that has been victimized and it's just so painful and unbearable and the airlines don't care and they just "lie". It's just unfair. The airlines charge a lot of outrageous prices, they search you, they charge you extra for bags but they can't protect your luggage. It just doesn't make any sense. I think some of this nonsense can be eliminated firstly by: If TSA suspects your bag, you should be able to watch them go through it and then seal it back up and if at all possible be able to give your baggage to the handlers or better yet put cameras in the area.
Also, the airport need to re-install the system where at least two individuals are placed in claims area to check your baggage claim ticket before you are allow to take it out-no questions asked. This would create a few more jobs for individuals. Secondly, I feel that these airlines need to be held more accountable for this lost luggage nonsense and if they can't do a better job of this - then some lawsuits need go into action=RIGHT AWAY. I would be the first to raise my hand to assist.
There are a bunch of thieves working for the airlines. It's a racket. Damage Resulting = This has caused me many, many sleepless night, crying spells, grief, stress and pain. I lost over 18,000 worth of items and it's just gone - just like that and they don't care.
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.
Last weekend was the weekend of hell, sponsored by american airlines. First of all, friday 4.03.09, cid to ewr, I was held up 11 hours in ord. I was told there were problems with cancellations due to weather, but only 25% of the flights were cancelled. Fine, but how come, my flight/destination got canceled about 6 times during the day? If 75% of the flights were going out, why was our passenger group delayed repeatedly? The odds of us getting on 75% of the time, but canceled 6 different times, are minuscule? Who does booking algorithm?
Secondly, my main complaint: delays with american airlines on ** on return flight april 5th. I had set alerts for timeliness for the return portion; called me to announce flight was one hour late, realized I could fly EWR to ORD, but would miss my connection to CID, and then would have to be put up in Chicago. So I called and requested I be put on tomorrow's flight, and that AA issue vouchers for hotel, taxis, food and internet.
They agreed and put in record locater, and told me to go to airport and pick up vouchers. I told them I would do later in the evening, and stay in NYC a couple of hours later, and was fine. The agent failed to mention that the ticket desk at EWR was closed on sunday night, so I arrived too late to get there. No one was at the ticket counter, it was closed!!
Complaint one: couldn't they advise the customer of the sunday night hours of aa so I could have come? They knew I was planning to stay in NYC a couple of more hours, why waste my time? This is total negligence, and wasted 2 hours in EWR airport and with AA customer service trying to get my hotel vouchers. How unlikely is it that a major airline in a huge intl airport is closed Sunday night? When I finally found AA baggage claim, the supervisor (Raymond) challenged my request for a room and I told him just to look at my record locater **.
2nd complaint on return flight : Raymond wasted my time confirming the previously-setup voucher. Why waste both of our times trying to re-negotiate what your phone agent had set up already? This is insulting. 3rd complaint: Never kept me, the customer, informed of their progress to get taxi, meals, and hotel booking. Raymond was the supervisor, his people skills need improvement. They had 3 employees there, one of them was doing nothing. They weren't working too hard on my case.
4th complaint, the major one: Your flight had mechanical difficulties, not an act of nature, and you put me up, eventually, in a hotel.. The re-booking was the following day to ORD/CID at 2:55. When I got to the airport, I was not on the flight, and the american eagle attendant told me I had a confirmed flight at 9:40 pm!! Here I had spent 11 hours waiting for my Fri flight in ORD's wonderful k concourse, now I was asked to wait another 7 hours in ORD waiting to get to CID!!! Shouldn't I be on a higher priority than that?
American Airlines had issued a priority verification card for flt 3903 on 6 April 09 from ORD to CID, boarding time of 2:25. I was told a seat would be issued when I got to the airport. (I flew EWR to ORD on 6 April on AA1025, departed 1225p.) I have that coupon. You might think that a person who had been bumped from a flight due to mechanical problems of the carrier would get priority over standby customers (rather than being hassled by the gate attendant, see below.)
The agent- who shouldn't be an agent, she couldn't communicate, she spoke english very poorly, didn't know the meaning of the word “typical” -- told me the reason that I want on the flight was that I made the booking on April 5th. I explained to her that the booking was actually made on the 21st of March, and she saw a yesterday date for booking b/c of the flight cancellation due to mechanical problems of AA. She insisted I made the booking only yesterday, I repeatedly told her no..... She wouldn't listen. I should have been taken way before the standbys. She claimed she could do nothing for me in the airport, the decision was being made outside of the airport.
Meanwhile, I am checking on my status trying to get someone to help me and was told by an alert AA phone agent to find a gate supervisor who monitors many gates. Even though no gate clerk could find a seat, the gate supervisor found one on the 4:45 flight, saving me 5 hours, but still wrecking my appointments. I still got in 24 hours late after driving 2 hours. It could have been even 5 hours later, with the help of your incompetent gate clerk.
I am extremely disappointed with your customer service and ill-trained and poorly-selected agents. How can I recover the lost time? The last thing I want is a perfunctory form letter, that would only upset me more. Pls investigate these agents. I want a free flight and whatever else you can give.