American Airlines Fiasco

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Jul 17, 2019
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#1
My son and 14 year old grand daughter booked a trip from July 7-13 from Philadelphia to Nassau. All went well on the trip until their scheduled departure on July 13 Flt AA1912 departing @1:27. The 1:27PM Flt was changed to 2:30PM then 5:00PM then cancelled to July 14 @3:00AM then 6:00 AM then 9:00AM then12:00PM then 1:00PM then 2:00PM then 2:36PM then 3:30PM then 4:00PM then 5:00 PM then cancelled. They spent the entire day at the airport constantly being told it is leaving. Finally they departed on July 15 on AA1914 at 2:36 PM a full two days later. AA cannot blame weather as flights left both days for east coast cities. We heard AA was having problems with their mechanics. AA put them up one at The Beaches hotel and then a Marriott Courtyard. Their generous food offering was Quizno's and Wendys. My grand daughter missed her high school orientation and my son had to cancel an important doctors appointment.
What is truly disturbing is AA made no offer of compensation to us. Our grand daughter is now reluctant to fly again after this traumatizing experience. We feel AA at the least should offer $2,000 inflight vouchers or $1,500 cash. Seems they don't care.
Please help us make this right.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
Unfortunately, when an airline cancels flights, the airlines is responsible for doing one of two things - putting passengers on the next AVAILABLE flight, or providing a refund. AA did put them on the next available flight and they did what they are required to do because this had nothing to do with weather - they put them in a hotel and gave them food vouchers. And that ask is way too much when the airline did absolutely nothing wrong and did what they were required to by law.

They could have asked AA to cancel the return flight and give them a refund and they could have bought a ticket on another airline to get home. That was the option they could have taken to make sure your granddaughter made it to her orientation.

AA is the airline we get the most complaints about here so this doesn't surprise me but I am glad that they at least did what they were required to do.

AA did exactly what they were required to do. There is no other compensation due, but your son can write to AA using our company contacts and this thread on how to write and ask if they would give him miles for a future flight. I would recommend you (or he) greatly tone down the ask because they may not reply at all when a consumer is unreasonable.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

I also am giving you a link to the DOT Passenger Rights Rules so you can see what AA was and wasn't required to do. https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
 
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Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#4
What part of their experience was traumatizing? Annoying, yes. Frustrating, yes. But traumatizing seems a bit of a stretch. They were provided sleeping accommodations (sounds like for two nights) and food (although, Quiznos and Wendys is not what I would eat) and returned safely home.

Best bet is to follow @Neil Maley's advice to request some miles to use toward a future flight but as @justlisa mentions, be reasonable in your expectations. By the way, your son needs to be doing the writing since he was the passenger.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#5
I'm looking at Wednesday flights out of Nassau to PHL and they are almost all AA. But there are many different airlines which go to Newark and New York. If it was that important for your son to get home, why didn't they get on a plane to New York and rent a car?
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#7
AA did make it right. Your son and granddaughter were placed in a hotel and given food vouchers. They put them on the next flight home. Writing AA may give you a gesture of good will such as miles or a $50-100 voucher, but that's about it.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
It does sound like something that would try one's patience, but I would think the term traumatizing is a bit much -- but I also realize that when one is 14, there is a lack of perspective.

AA has had a difficult time -- between the 737 MAX and the contract problems with the mechanics --

The airline did put them in a hotel and did give an allowance for food ---

To ask for "at the least" $2000 flight vouchers or $1500 cash is just too much and just looks greedy -- Did the two airline tickets even cost $2000 round trip? I think you need to temper your expectations.

Legally the airline did all it is required to do. You can write and maybe get 5000 miles as a good will gesture.
 
Apr 9, 2019
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#9
Have your son write the letter. If it isn't important enough for him to write, it must not be that important from the airline's point of view.
I do think it would be close to traumatic to be stuck at a gate for hours on end, get up in the middle of the night to try again, only to have further delays. I'd rather be told no flights for 2 days, come back then and here are your vouchers than to have to endure hour after hour of delay. I think they owe your son enough miles for at least one RT ticket to the least "costly" place to which miles can apply. In retrospect another airline or very creative thinking would have helped, but who knew? It's only hindsight that shows the best solution. A courteus letter, by your son, with requests for compensation via voucher or miles can't hurt, but I agree the compensation you are seeking is "not going to fly." Pun intended
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#10
My colleagues are all correct, and they've given excellent advice. A little perspective ... what happened to your son and granddaughter happens every day around the world. Of course I'm sorry that they had to endure this, but they had a place to sleep and something to eat and I assume your son had some resources to obtain whatever they needed. Dining at Quizno's and Wendy's is hardly the end of the world. Going without food because you didn't get a voucher and have nomoney is quite another situation. Frequent travellers all have horror stories; you fly often enough and it will happen to you.

What bothers me most is your last paragraph. Your granddaughter is reluctant to fly ... please find a well-travelled friend or family member who can explain the situation without emotion to her. There is absolutely no reason she should have negative feelings about flying ... indeed she should proud that she and her dad managed quite well and got themselves home. Emotional support in the form of making much of the negatives is really very much misplaced. Please let us know the outcome, I hope your son is successful in receiving some reasonable compensation.
 
Sep 1, 2018
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#11
jsn55, this was an excellent response, particularly about the gdaughter advice. I was thinking the same thing, that she needs to see flying from a different perspective, yet you put it in a much nicer way than I could have. However, I don't see that the son is entitled to any compensation beyond what they received. I'm still a little shocked they got put up in a hotel and food vouchers from AA. : ) They got them home, albeit at a huge inconvenience, and that's what they needed to do.

It appears the OP is more upset than the son but to call the experience traumatizing is way over the top, as is their request for cash or vouchers.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#12
jsn55, this was an excellent response, particularly about the gdaughter advice. I was thinking the same thing, that she needs to see flying from a different perspective, yet you put it in a much nicer way than I could have. However, I don't see that the son is entitled to any compensation beyond what they received. I'm still a little shocked they got put up in a hotel and food vouchers from AA. : ) They got them home, albeit at a huge inconvenience, and that's what they needed to do.

It appears the OP is more upset than the son but to call the experience traumatizing is way over the top, as is their request for cash or vouchers.
AA actually did what the DOT requires when a cancellation is not related to weather. I think people are surprised that AA did it without prompting but that’s the DOT rules.

But you are correct- the son is not due anything else and he could have bought tickets on another airline if he needed to get home right away. AA would have refunded him what he paid for the one way value of his AA ticket. Not what the new ticket cost, but the remainder of his original ticket.
 
Sep 27, 2018
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#13
jsn55, this was an excellent response, particularly about the gdaughter advice. I was thinking the same thing, that she needs to see flying from a different perspective, yet you put it in a much nicer way than I could have. However, I don't see that the son is entitled to any compensation beyond what they received. I'm still a little shocked they got put up in a hotel and food vouchers from AA. : ) They got them home, albeit at a huge inconvenience, and that's what they needed to do.

It appears the OP is more upset than the son but to call the experience traumatizing is way over the top, as is their request for cash or vouchers.
Yes perhaps the adults in the granddaughters life can use this as a learning experience, that if there is something you have to be at, don't cut it so close with the flights. Yes 2 days seemed like enough time, but these days there is no spare capacity in the system if delays pop up.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#14
if there is something you have to be at, don't cut it so close with the flights. Yes 2 days seemed like enough time, but these days there is no spare capacity in the system if delays pop up.
Curious; what do YOU think is "enough time" to allow? I typically fly in the day before an event, a cruise, etc... 2 days is plenty. This wasn't "cutting it close" at all, IMHO if they allowed 2 DAYS. I'm not sure if you have unlimited vacation time, are retired, etc... but most people can't allow 5 days on either end of a vacation as a "buffer" for delays to make sure they aren't cutting "it so close with the flights." I think the OP is a little over the top here with her compensation request and the whole "my granddaughter is traumatized by this experience" nonsense, but blaming the travelers for not allowing enough time is inaccurate and unfair here.
 
May 28, 2019
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#15
Unfortunately, this is the way that air travel goes. Stuff happens and inconveniences everyone. In this case, due to repeated rescheduling, a great inconvenience. As others have noted, AA seems to provide less than stellar customer experiences. They will not give your son the vouchers or cash that you are requesting. Just curious as to why your son (the affected traveler) does not appear to be the initiator. If your 14 year old granddaughter is traumatized by this, your son may want to consider looking into counseling for her to help develop the ability to deal with life occurrences like this . She will be faced with situations like this going forward in life.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#16
Curious; what do YOU think is "enough time" to allow? I typically fly in the day before an event, a cruise, etc... 2 days is plenty. This wasn't "cutting it close" at all, IMHO if they allowed 2 DAYS. I'm not sure if you have unlimited vacation time, are retired, etc... but most people can't allow 5 days on either end of a vacation as a "buffer" for delays to make sure they aren't cutting "it so close with the flights." I think the OP is a little over the top here with her compensation request and the whole "my granddaughter is traumatized by this experience" nonsense, but blaming the travelers for not allowing enough time is inaccurate and unfair here.
A very good question, Mel. You are correct on "enough time" ... in THEORY. They were travelling over spring break. These kinds of "Mobbed Airport Holidays" can really max out an airline's capacity from Point A to Point B. If I recall, spring break is when everyone goes somewhere warm and sunny, then they all come home. When I fly over a big-demand holiday, I make sure there are LOTS of other flights going where I want to go, and I always try to take the first flight out. Avoiding connections is rarely possible for most travellers, but it does simplify things to some degree.
 
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Sep 27, 2018
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#17
Curious; what do YOU think is "enough time" to allow? I typically fly in the day before an event, a cruise, etc... 2 days is plenty. This wasn't "cutting it close" at all, IMHO if they allowed 2 DAYS. I'm not sure if you have unlimited vacation time, are retired, etc... but most people can't allow 5 days on either end of a vacation as a "buffer" for delays to make sure they aren't cutting "it so close with the flights." I think the OP is a little over the top here with her compensation request and the whole "my granddaughter is traumatized by this experience" nonsense, but blaming the travelers for not allowing enough time is inaccurate and unfair here.
They did not have two days to spare only one day since they had appts on Monday and were originally going to leave on a Saturday. Is that enough time? Depends on how important the appts were. However, I notice that during the summer American is a virtual monopoly on that route or as Neil stated they could have gone to EWR and then rent a car or take a train. Each person must decide on the risk/rewards for their travel as it intersects the rest of their life events. Right now the operations at American are so dysfunctional that it is equivalent to them getting hit with a hurricane or snowstorm on a daily basis. If I were flying them to an important event like a cruise, I would be putting in a big buffer, but that is my risk tolerance.
 

Neil Maley

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#18
Normally a day would have been enough but this shows sometimes it’s not. From our experience over 18 years, AA has the most canceled flights and schedule changes and we avoid booking it whenever we can. Sometimes that’s not an option nor are direct flights.

Stuff happens but this is unusual for AA not to have two available seats for 2 days. They have been affected more than other airlines with the grounding of the Max8 because they had 24 of them and are still scrambling because of the continuation.