American Airlines Complaint - The Customer Does Not Come First!
ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO -- To whom it may concern:
This letter is to complain about service I recently received from American Airlines representatives; ******* ******, General Manager- Roswell, NM and ***** (last name not provided), Supervisor- Dallas, TX call center.
My fiancé and I were scheduled to return from Roswell, NM to DFW on Friday December 26, 2008, at 3:35 pm. Upon arriving at the Roswell airport at approximately 3 pm we found no employees and no lights on at the American Airlines/American Eagle ticket counter. After waiting for approximately five minutes we walked to the only gate at the airport and spoke with the only employee we could find, the TSA Security Officer. Because we could not go through security with our luggage, which needed to be checked, he would not allow us to speak to an AA employee (who were all in the gate area past the check point) we asked him to please let the American Airlines employees know that we were waiting at the counter to check in for our flight, he agreed. After waiting another five minutes we went back to the TSA Officer and asked him if an AA employee had been notified that we were waiting to check in to this flight, by this time our plane was beginning to board.
He advised us that the counter employees had been notified, that they were assisting the customers who were in the gate area and that they would be right with us. Ten minutes before our flight was scheduled to take off we had still not been helped and no one had come to the ticket counter. At this time we went for the third time and spoke with the TSA Officer who again advised us that the AA Agents had been informed that we were waiting and would be right with us. Finally at 3:32 P.M. ******** ******* arrived at the ticket counter.
I explained to her that I had luggage to check for the flight that was about to take off. She was immediately unaccommodating, her response was that she was unable to get us on that flight and the next flight left early the next morning. I gave her all of the details of what had happened from the time when we arrived at the airport, and although the plane had still not left she told us that the flight closed at 3:30 and that we would not be able to get on the plane. I then suggested that she allow us to board the flight and fly our checked baggage to DFW the next day.
I further explained that in New Mexico we were visiting family who lives two hours from the Roswell Airport and that my fiancé and I live only fifteen minutes from the DFW airport. She refused and was extremely discourteous. Her justification for refusal was that we were required to check in an hour prior to scheduled departure. I let her know that we were there at 3 P.M. no later than 3:05 P.M. and that there was no one available to check us in, also because the Roswell airport is so small (AA/AE is the only airline flying in/out three times a day, one gate and one ticket counter) that I had never experienced a problem before when arriving thirty minutes prior to departure.
She told me that had I actually arrived thirty minutes prior to departure there would not have been a problem, but that it was impossible that I was actually there at that time because they do not close the counter until thirty minutes prior to departure. ***** became increasingly impolite and argumentative, accusing me of being incorrect about our arrival time at the ticket counter. She even went as far as saying that she would have security pull surveillance videos to “prove” it. I suggested that she go ahead and pull the surveillance videos and she could also ask the TSA Officer to confirm the times that we spoke to him. ***** attempted to phone the security desk and informed me that they were closed for the weekend and would not reopen until Monday.
She went on to let us know that she could book us on the first flight the next morning and explained that we would need to arrive at the airport at 6:30 A.M. I explained again the distance that my family lives from the airport and asked her to put us on a later flight or to put us on a flight departing on Sunday. She stated that the only way she would be able to do that was if we paid to change the ticket and that the fees would be approximately $600 per passenger. I told her that I would not like a reservation on the flight that departed early the next morning and was unwilling to pay to change our reservation as there was no error on our part. At this point ***** became increasingly belligerent and told me that my “watch must be wrong”. I asked her if, as the manager, she had the authority to waive the $600 change fee.
She told me she did, but that she would not waive the fee and my only option was to “find someone to override (her) decision”, she went on to let me know that she was the highest level manager at the airport so in order to speak with someone else who had the authority to waive the fee I would need to call customer service. While another AA employee was making an effort to speak to me, ***** interrupted him stating that there was no need to try and explain anything to me…I just didn’t understand. I articulated my concern regarding her lack of customer service. She would accept no responsibility and did not make any attempt to accommodate us and never once apologized.
Prior to leaving the Roswell airport I called your 800 number and spoke with a customer service representative. After explaining the situation this representative offered to book us a flight leaving out of El Paso, TX (three hours from where my family lives) to DFW on Monday December 30, 2008 for $212. Rather than having to be placed on hold, wait for a manager and explain the entire ordeal again I agreed to go ahead and pay the change fee and end the nightmare. Prior to confirming the charge I asked the representative repeatedly, at least three times, to verify that the fee I was paying was for both my fiancé and I. She affirmed that it was.
Upon arriving back at my family’s home I went on to the AA website to confirm seat assignments for our flight. After searching my account, my fiance's account and checking my email I was unable to locate a confirmation for my fiance. It appeared as though only I was confirmed to fly out of El Paso. I again called your 800 number and immediately requested to speak with a manager. I was transferred to **** (Last Name Unknown), supervisor. I explained to **** the entire incidence as it occurred in Roswell, I also gave him the details of my conversation with the previous representative who confirmed that the fee I had paid was for both parties. He reviewed my reservation and let me know that only I had a reservation to fly out of El Paso and that I would need to purchase another ticket for my fiance to fly.
I repeatedly attempted to explain to **** that my fiance and I were on one reservation originally, that the prior representative guaranteed the change fee I had paid was for both of us and questioned why a new ticket needed to be purchased. **** was of absolutely no help. He continually cut me off as I was speaking, tried to rush our conversation, was unable to locate even the original reservation for my fiance and made zero attempts to accommodate us. Once more accepted no responsibility and did not apologize. I again expressed my frustration with the lack of service I was receiving; he could not have cared less. As I realized that ****’s customer service approach was similar to what I had experienced with ******, I asked to speak with a manager. He told me that there were no managers available. I let him know that I would not accept that and that I would hold while he found one.
I explained to him that after working in call centers for four years that I knew there was a manager somewhere. After placing me on hold for several minutes, **** let me know that a manager would call me back. I offered to hold until the manager became available. I also asked him to provide me with his last name or ID number. He said that he would not give me his last name, that he could be identified as ****- Dallas. He then let me know that I was unable to hold and that he would have to disconnect the call.
Not long after speaking with **** I received a call from a manager named Leslie. After the awful experience I had with your company that day it was nice to finally speak with someone of her character. Leslie immediately apologized for the lack of service that I had experienced, confirmed my fiance on the flight leaving out of El Paso on the 30th and even refunded the $212 I had paid earlier in the day. Had any of the employees I dealt with previously placed the same level of importance on customer service as Leslie I could have avoided this entire horrendous experience entirely and there would be no need to write this letter of complaint.