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Forced to fly Business on First Class Award ticket

Discussion in 'American Airlines' started by LiliasPastia, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. LiliasPastia

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    On 2 September, my wife and I were involuntarily downgraded from First Class to Business Class due to AA changing equipment for AA111 from FCO-ORD. We were not informed of this equipment change until we were actually standing at the counter at Fiumicino with our (now worthless) F class boarding passes in our hands. We offered to change routings, make connections in different cities (increasing total travel time significantly), fly on AA's different "partner" carriers (BA, IB, Finnair, etc.and pay their fuel charges which we didn't have to pay with AA metal), even fly on a different day (and overnight at our own expense) in order to be accommodated in a First Class cabin--and fly on AA metal--which is what we were entitled to. All these suggestions were refused out of hand. We were going to fly Business...right then and there...whether we like it or not. And AA wasn't going to do anything to change what they'd already made their minds up that "we" were going to do.


    What's your desired resolution? I would like only what American promised us, what we paid for in miles back in February (before they raised redemption levels), and what they subsequently deliberately took from us without our consent and through their own action: namely, two one-way First Class tickets from Europe to North America...or, the equivalent of those two tickets in the CURRENT number of AA miles necessary to purchase the same again (85,000 per person) is acceptable to us. They have refused, offering only 12,500 plus 7,000 "to make us go away." Can you please help? Thank you!


    What's the value of your claim (in US $)? 13200


    Date of transaction/travel date: Feb2106. 2September2016
     
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  2. johnbaker

    johnbaker Moderator
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    @LiliasPastia Since you were flying out of Europe, EU261 applies. Under Article 10, you are entitled to 75% of the cost of your ticket refunded (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/doc/neb/questions_answers.pdf_reg_2004_261.pdf).
    Under Art.3 (3), EU261 does apply to FF tickets (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004R0261:en:HTML)

    Here's an email address to AA's EU261 claims office AA.ECClaims@aa.com that I found online

    Depending on what you paid for your ticket will depend on what you are due.

    FYI... Make sure that you don't reach too far with your compensation request. There's a chance that AA will just ignore your claim.
     
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  3. johnbaker

    johnbaker Moderator
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  4. Just A Guy

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    As noted above, you should have the right to EU261 involuntary downgrade compensation. It would presumably be 3/4 of the miles you spent on the return portion of the ticket.

    I don't see how you're going to get the tickets entirely refunded, though - you did fly, in business. If you have refused to take the downgrade, then you would have had the right to get all your miles back.
     
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  5. Joe Farrell

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    AA probably substituted a newer interior 777-200 for the standard configuration 777-200 used on the route.

    AA 777's have two standards - one has first class and the other is all brand new business class seats.

    The ONLY difference between F and C on AA in the 777-200 is the quality of champagne and the pj's. Thats it. The 'new' business class seats are actually much better than the old first seats in the 777-200.

    Now - you can make a stink and prob should - but I would accept double the difference in miles between F and C - for example, if you used the lower 'Saaver' level award at 90k miles- and the original was 57.5 - then its 65k per ticket = it's 67.5k miles refund [75% of 90k miles] for Eu 261 and by doing it my way - AA does not admit EU261 applies to it -

    BTW - if AA's seat supplier got the seats done you would not have had a choice of F - AA is going to end up with only the C class seats internationally . . . .
     
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  6. LiliasPastia

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    I am a bit confused. We booked before AA's redemption levels increased last March. We booked two nonstop roundtrip F saver awards on AA metal (ORD-FCO-ORD) at a cost of 125K miles and $70-some dollars per person. That same saver award ticket now costs 170K per person in F. (I don't know what the dollar amount is now, probably more?)

    All I want is what AA is obligated to provide (or at least should be obligated to provide): the one-way F class travel we are entitled to but deliberately were denied due to AA action. It wasn't weather, a mechanical, a delay...they absolutely refused to consider any of the other (quite reasonable and flexible) solutions or avenues we were suggesting in order to "help" them fulfill their obligation to us. We didn't ask for Business, we didn't want to fly Business, we suggested we'll fly on another day when they DO have a F class cabin in order to NOT fly Business. Nope. You're flying Business and you flying it right now...today. End of story.

    I have already hit a brick wall with AA Customer Relations. They refuse to do anything more than what I have already stated (12,500 and 7,000.) I have also emailed the above address regarding EU 261 based on your suggestion. I don't think asking them to fulfill what we were promised is unreasonable.
     
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  7. johnbaker

    johnbaker Moderator
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    @LiliasPastia All AA is obligated to do, because you flew, under their COC is refund the difference in fares which is apparently what they did. If you refused to fly, you could have gotten a full refund, which is what you are asking for, but would have had to make your own way home.

    Be happy, EU 261 is going get you much more. Be even happier that you didn't pay for the ticket and have this occur outside the EU, then AA would get to apply "airline math" and only refund you the difference between what you paid and the walk up fare for the seat you rode in. Completely unfair but what you agreed to under the COC.
     
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  8. Joe Farrell

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    Wanting them to pay you $13,200 is utterly unreasonable.

    Wanting them to give you the difference between the mileage you paid and the mileage for the cabin they transported you in IS completely reasonable.

    I could easily write you a letter confirming your claim and probably get them to honor it with 10k on top of that for your trouble.

    But you insist on being unreasonable.

    AA did not transport you in F because they substituted an airplane that did not have F.

    You wanting to spend more time in Italy just to fly home in First Class seems incredibly entitled as an attitude. You offered. They said no. End of story.

    You want what you want because you were so horribly inconvenienced flying 9 hours in a business class seat that was of higher quality than the old tired first class seat you would have gotten.

    I'm happy to represent you in your claim against AA for cash compensation. Hourly. $5000 retainer. Assuming we can represent you based on your state of residence.
     
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  9. LiliasPastia

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    You misunderstand. I am not asking for any money at all. I only put down the cost of an F class ticket because that is what the form I filled out asked for. We flew on Award tickets.

    I am not asking for ANY money at all...only the miles necessary for AA to fulfill its obligation to have flown us F class from FCO to ORD. That it. Nothing more. No money

    And certainly not unreasonable.
     
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  10. sas80

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    here is the problem with your reimbursement request....unless I am mistaken and you never arrived at your destination, YOU FLEW ON THE AIRPLANE.

    How is AA responsible for reimbursing you 100% of the miles for an F class ticket when you used a portion of those miles to fly in business economy?

    Right off the bat I would say that you are entitled to the difference in MILES between the F class ticket and the business economy ticket ONLY. And YES, it IS the difference that was present at the time you BOOKED the ticket....not the day you flew.

    All that said, you are missing the VERY important point that my colleagues have made - under EU regulation you are ENTITLED to a 75% REFUND of the miles you initially used to book that ticket. Does that make sense?

    You are not entitled to a full refund, however, if you pursue a refund using the EU regulation, you WILL be coming out ahead.
     
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  11. LiliasPastia

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    Evidently I have not made myself clear. And yes, the EU portion makes complete sense. And I have already written them. By my calculation, we are both entitled to either 46,875 miles each or 63,750 miles each (less what has been already offered) based on either the old chart (62,500) or the current chart (85,000). Does this make sense?
     
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  12. sas80

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    Okay! So your real beef is that they have already offered compensation, but they are undercompensating you?
     
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  13. Patina

    Patina Moderator
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    Guys, let's ease off a bit and get some more information from the poster to clarify the situation.

    @LiliasPastia can you confirm that the original flight you were booked on had three classes of service: economy, business and first. Did the aircraft that was swapped only have two classes of service: economy and business? Or did it also have three classes of service?

    I understand your frustration that your willingness to be flexible was not equally met by the agent handling your flight. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask to be placed on another flight on a later date that has first class seats available. I wonder if the airline is phasing out the three class flights so that your request was unable to be accommodated. Since you could not force the airline to seat you in first class, what you are entitled to is the difference in miles between first class and business class. Unfortunately, you will not get the miles based on today's chart but on chart when you booked the tickets. Airlines are very one-sided this way. That is not to say you cannot request it. Use the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum and write to one exec at a time. Be as polite and brief as possible. Whomever is reading your email is someone you want to go to bat for you. Write in a way that endears them to you. Good luck and let us know your progress!
     
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  14. sas80

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    From what I have read, it seems that you can 'prove' what the difference in miles for the two tickets were on the day you bought them AND the day you were downgraded, the day you flew?

    Here is what I would do....

    Turn around and say to them, "no, here, look....on the day I flew the award miles cost of a first class ticket was XXXXmi. Since you downgraded me, I am owed 75% of that value, per ticket,which would be YYYYmi. Thank you for depositing that back into my account.

    They are going to come back to you and say "oh no, you are only allowed 75% of the difference of the award miles cost on the day you purchased, which is ZZZZmi."

    You can then ask to see their math and/or show them your proof of miles difference and that should help you get closer to resolving.
     
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  15. sas80

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    @Patina
    If I am reading her posts correctly, she's not even being offered the difference in miles as calculated on the day she booked, she's being offered far less.

    Im wondering if she has cited the EU regulation and that is why they haven't ponied up the correct amount of miles?
     
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  16. LiliasPastia

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    As I stated above, they offered 12,500 and 7,000 to drop it. I knew about EU261 but wasn't sure it applied to award tickets. I now know it does.
     
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  17. Patina

    Patina Moderator
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    I do think that the EU regulation is a vital part to reference in the request to AA. I should have included that in my post above. Thanks for pointing it out!
     
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  18. sas80

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    Yes, gather the info on EU261 and email the CS agent with the details and the amount of miles you would like refunded per ticket, citing EU261.

    If you are rejected completely, work your way up the ladder. Typically when passengers are able to cite regulations, they get quicker service.

    Airlines prefer not to offer compensation based on regulations. They hope that the passenger will be pleased with what they offer and go away. If you cite regulations they should be forthcoming.
     
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  19. sas80

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    good luck and let us know how it works out!
     
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  20. LiliasPastia

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    Patina,

    Yes, both of our flights were 3 class cabin flights, AA 110 and AA 111.
     
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