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AA Mechanical Delay - Almost Missed Funeral, Saved By Southwest!

Discussion in 'American Airlines' started by Keithred, May 19, 2017.

  1. Keithred

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    American Airlines was not at all helpful or sympathetic over a mechanical problem that would have caused me to miss my favorite Aunt's funeral. Fortunately, Southwest was there to get me to the funeral on time!

    Over a year ago, I attended the funeral of my stepmother in northern California. I left the reception early to catch a US Airways flight 548 from Sacramento to Phoenix, transferring to US 500 to Indianapolis. This was the only flight I could take to get to my Aunt's funeral at 10:00 am the next day in Indianapolis. It was very important for me to attend both funerals: the first was my pastor son was conducting his first funeral and it was for his grandmother; and the second was for my closest aunt, who was responsible for a major, life-changing direction for my life and where I was expected to speak on her behalf.

    Unfortunately, my first flight from Sacramento (US 548) had a mechanical problem and was delayed for well over an hour, which meant I would miss my connecting flight in Phoenix since there was just a 48-minute connection. I called American and was told that American could only get me to Indianapolis after 11 am next day, which meant I would miss the second funeral. I was also told that no other airline with which American had ticket exchange relationships would be able to get me to the funeral on time.

    Fortunately, I found that Southwest Airlines could get me to Chicago by midnight on September 15, so I paid $597.50 for the Southwes tickett, flew to Midway Airport, altered my Alamo car reservation to pick up the car at Midway which cost $217.96 extra, drove to Indianapolis and arrived at my hotel just before 5:00 am. This gave me just over 2 hours sleep before leaving for the funeral, which I made on time. It was a moving and wonderful celebration of my Aunt’s 98 years of life. I was very thankful making the funeral and being able to speak about her.

    I contacted American Airlines by email and also sent all the information and documentation to American Airlines Customer Service
, 4333 Amon Carter Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76155. I requested reimbursement for these extra costs or at least a bonus frequent flyer miles gift of 75,000 miles since the problem was caused by American. My original response was ignored. I contacted them again recently and finally got a response, "While I regret to inform you, we're not able to reimburse personal expenses as a result of off schedule operations. Additionally, we're not able to extend additional bonus miles." - Not very satisfying. But, at least Southwest Airlines was able to get me to the funeral.
     
    #1
  2. VoR61

    Advocate

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    Thank you for a very moving story, and sorry for your loss. Do you need our assistance?

    Your connection window, while technically possible, has no margin for delays. For future flights, and where possible, I recommend at least a 1.5-2.0 hour connection window. Additionally, it's a good idea not to take the last flight of the day as that could be cancelled.
     
    #2
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    Keithred and ADM like this.
  3. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I assume you canceled your AA flight and received a full refund for that flight, since you don't mention any issues with that.

    When there are problems with a flight like you experienced, according to DOT requirement an air line has to do one of two things:

    - out you on the next available flight with a seat
    - provide you with a full refund if that next flight doesn't work for you.

    Once you opt for the refund, their obligations are met and AA owes you nothing further. So their refusal to reimburse you for the extra costs is correct.

    Unfortunately you had strict scheduling requirements that any airline might have had trouble meeeting.

    Glad you were able to make it to your favorite aunts funeral and sorry for both losses- to have two close family members pass away at the same time is difficult.
     
    #3
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  4. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Against all odds, you made it ... thanks so much for sharing this nice story. I'm a little hazy on the two funerals, but if you want to ask American for some compensation on the aunt's funeral flights, please come back to us.
     
    #4
    Neil and VoR61 like this.
  5. Keithred

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    Thank you. I did request some monetary reimbursement or extra frequent flyer points but they chose not to do so. The first funeral was in California and the second one was the next day in Indiana.
     
    #5
    VoR61 likes this.
  6. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Unfortunately your schedule isn't their problem as long as they have provided you with one of the two options they are required to do, which they did.

    And with the second funeral being in a location that might not have as many flight options as going to California, you did the best you could to get there.
     
    #6
    Nancy and VoR61 like this.
  7. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Oh you poor child, I am so sorry to read this. But happy that you made it.
     
    #7

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