Bereavement cancellation

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Jun 8, 2018
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#1
Dear Sir or Ma'am,

I was scheduled to fly from LAX to ATW roundtrip 14 - 21 Jun 2018, to visit my Father, when I received word from the family that he was taken to the hospital and would not make it.
Airline confirmation: XXXXXX; Ticket No.XXXXXX

On 5/30/18, I called American Airlines and booked a 1-way flight immediately and while driving to the airport was delayed by traffic jam, soI called them and asked for a later flight. I made the later flight just in time. We taxied out and then were pulled off the runway to wait out weather in Chicago. Then we were given permission to fly. Once in Chicago areal. we were put in a holding pattern until weather was clear enough to land. Then they informed us that they had canceled all connecting flights to ATW. I was stranded AGAIN!

I took a bus from Chicago airport to MKE at 8 PM for $31:00, Once in MKE I rented an auto 1-way to ATW.
I drove till midnight to get to my sister's house.

I informed the airline that the prior ticket I booked with you I would not be on from LAX to ATW. They informed me that my entire ticket would be canceled with no refund and I would not even have my flight back!!! They could have rebooked that flight a week ago. I didn't ask them to cover the rental car or bus ticket I had to take when they cancelled my connecting flight. I was really only concerned at the time with my return flight. I have booked a return flight with my family who will join me for the funeral 16 Jun on United Airlines, I was so upset with American Airlines treatment of my situation.

Reservation XXXXX
Ticket XXXXX

NOTE: Edited by moderator to remove personal information
Can you please help me recover some of the costs incurred for my reservation I booked through you from American Airlines.

Sincerely,

Mary Beth Haugen
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Unfortunately, every airline will cancel your return flight if you are not on the outgoing. The assumption is if you aren't on the outbound, you don't need the inbound. You can tell them thats what you want but that isn't how any airlines work - if you don't take the first flight out, the rest of your ticket is automatically canceled.

You needed to cancel the original ticket, have them apply their cancellation penalty and book you a one way ticket to return home if you left earlier to go to your sisters. Is that what you did? If you didn't they mark you as a no show and no refund is given.

Did you have travel insurance? That would help if there was a death in the family causing you to cancel the flight.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
This is just awful Mary Beth, I'm so sorry about your father. Did you cancel your original res before the departure time? If so, you should have a credit at AA for a future flight, less the fee. If you didn't cancel the res, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I'm so sorry that this happened.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Mar 14, 2018
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#4
This is just awful Mary Beth, I'm so sorry about your father. Did you cancel your original res before the departure time? If so, you should have a credit at AA for a future flight, less the fee. If you didn't cancel the res, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I'm so sorry that this happened.
Her original departure was June 14 2018, so there is still time to cancel the first ticket. As Neil said, she can apply this credit to her new ticket.

She should also be able to get a refund for the ORD-ATW segment of her one-way ticket, as the airline cancelled that flight.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#5
This is just awful Mary Beth, I'm so sorry about your father. Did you cancel your original res before the departure time? If so, you should have a credit at AA for a future flight, less the fee. If you didn't cancel the res, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I'm so sorry that this happened.
I did, and they told me they would not give me a damn thing in compensation!!!
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#7
Unfortunately, every airline will cancel your return flight if you are not on the outgoing. The assumption is if you aren't on the outbound, you don't need the inbound. You can tell them thats what you want but that isn't how any airlines work - if you don't take the first flight out, the rest of your ticket is automatically canceled.

You needed to cancel the original ticket, have them apply their cancellation penalty and book you a one way ticket to return home if you left earlier to go to your sisters. Is that what you did? If you didn't they mark you as a no show and no refund is given.

Did you have travel insurance? That would help if there was a death in the family causing you to cancel the flight.
Who are you? It is only feasible for Customer Service to assist passengers put in distress by the company "procedures"!
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#8
I talked to a representative that I had taken an earlier flight and they could cancel my departure. They told me that they would then have to cancel my entire itinerary, including my scheduled return flight that I was hoping to still take home, 2 Jun 2018, for my 14 Jun departure. They could have rebuked the ticket to anyone and still kept my payment as well. Then to say I would not even have a return flight, really hurt!

No one has contacted me on procedure for any reimbursement.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#9
This is just awful Mary Beth, I'm so sorry about your father. Did you cancel your original res before the departure time? If so, you should have a credit at AA for a future flight, less the fee. If you didn't cancel the res, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I'm so sorry that this happened.
No credit offered
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,024
12,256
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
If you did not have Travel insurance there is no obligation for a refund for a nonrefundable ticket.

Every airline cancels the return flight if you don’t show up or cancel the outgoing. In most cases, there is no reason to return if you didn’t get on the original flight. It is not just this airline.


If you come here to abuse us for being honest with you - you’ll get no responses.

We have company contacts on top of our page that include the Executives. You should escalate this to them. That is our advise for all who come here- we teach you to advocate for yourself and if the CEO of the company doesn’t see it your way, if we think we can get a different outcome or if you have been wronged by the company we try to help further. Request they refund your cancellation fee.

Read the information on how to write on the company contact page (one at a time with a week in between letters) and let us know how you make our.

Threatening us - who are UNPAID VOLUNTEERS who are experts in travel - isn’t going to help you.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#11
I am so sorry for your loss. I think you need to go to this link: http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/ and start at the lowest level of contact and write a short concise letter asking for them to refund the airfare due to the circumstances, I believe the term has been phrased as artful begging. You are asking for an exception, so you need to be super polite.

Just to be clear, we are all volunteers. This is not a direct contact with the airlines, we just assist in helping you formulate a letter and help with customer service contacts, we do not go to AA for you, you have to do that yourself.

I think I am still unclear as to some of the facts. You had made a reservation, due to father's illness/death, needed to get there sooner. On the new flight to ATW, weather caused flight cancellations. AA owes you a refund for the cancelled portion of this flight. It may not be much, but they owe you a refund. Check your credit card, there may be a credit there.

You wanted an earlier flight, but wanted to keep your existing return flight, but were told this was not an option.

Generally, when a non-refundable ticket is cancelled, there is a fee and then you get to have the rest of the credit. Now, if your fare was only $250 and the fee is $250, then you have no credit to use. However, due to the death, I think you have a strong case for asking AA for an exception to their normal policy.

For your original flight, what I would ask for in the letter is a waiver of the cancellation fee/rebooking fee.

The others have been correct in stating that if you cancel one portion of a round trip flight that the other flight will also be cancelled. It is annoying, but it is the airline policy. If AA will waive the cancellation fee, then it does not matter.

Since you purchased a non-refundable fare, the fare is just that, non-refundable. I think asking for a full credit of the fare you paid on AA should be enough compensation. I realize you do not have warm fuzzy feelings for AA right now, but this would be the same outcome on most airlines with the purchase of a non-refundable ticket. I do not think you have a strong enough case for a full refund, but it is your letter and you can always ask, the worst that can happen is that AA says no and you are no worse off than you are currently. But I think asking for the fee waiver would serve you well, not a refund, but at least a credit to use on a future flight.

I would also advise to keep the emotion out of your letter, even though it is going to be hard right now. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
I am sorry for your loss, how terribly stressful.

Was the June ticket a basic economy fare? Those fares are highly restricted, no change, no credit, basically use it or lose it.

And as mentioned all airlines automatically cancel the return if outbound is not taken.

Was the May 30 ORD to APL canceled due to weather? That was a difficult day at ORD. According to FAA reports, heavy thunderstorms caused delays. The FAA restricted movement and kept planes at gates. Some arriving flights were delayed up to 3 hours and 54 minutes and departures delayed for at least an hour. This may be why the flight was ORD to APL was canceled.
If so this is something outside the control of the airlines.

Did the credit card used have any travel insurance benefits? If so that may cover the rental car.

With non refundable tickets I have had success with getting the change fee waived when a family member has died. One has to check but usually these requests are done online. I still had to pay fare difference even though the change of return date had to do with waiting for the funeral to take place. I did have to send documentation.

The airlines do not reach out to customers for these things; customers have to initiate the the request.

From the airline standpoint they sell expensive fully refundable fares; cheaper fares have restrictions and one has to do a risk assessment.

I also agree that asking for a refund is asking too much and likely to get a no as a response. Asking for credit and waived cancellation fee is more likely to get a positive response.

You need to contact the airline.