American Airlines Quotes Me $338 for 2 tickets, then charges $2420, Admits Mistake, Refuses Refund

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Apr 23, 2017
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#1
Below is an unbelievable account told through the email correspondence I've had with American Airlines customer service. Does anyone have any recommendations on how I proceed from here?

My 1st Email
April 11, 2017

Dear American Airlines Customer Service,

My name is Dale Allen. I purchased two one-way airline tickets from LAX to CUN on Apr 10th, 2017 at approximately 8:00am.

My girlfriend and I missed our first flight which was departing at 8:35am that morning. I purchased the tickets from the American Airlines counter. The employee who was helping us at the American Airlines counter was named Ann. During the purchasing process, Ann verbally quoted us the price of a one-way airline ticket from LAX to CUN at $169 per ticket. Ann's exact words both times that she verbally quoted the price were, "One sixty-nine." Ann did NOT say "One thousand sixty-nine." She did not say, "One, zero, six, nine." Ann said, "One sixty-nine."

All of the evidence in this situation indicates that Ann misquoted the ticket price, that I was misinformed by your employee, and that I had no intention of purchasing a ticket at the price of $1210.35

Being that the tickets we purchased for the flight that we had missed were $154.44 apiece for a roundtrip (see attached receipt), $169 sounded like a reasonable price for a 1-way ticket at the last-minute. Furthermore, upon cross-referencing the price of $169 with online prices of one-way tickets from LAX to CUN, we found several American Airline prices that were in the $190-$200 dollar range. I would have NEVER purchased two one-way tickets for $1210.35 when I could have purchased the very same tickets online for $190-$200 apiece. NOT ONCE during the process did Ann show us the price of the tickets.

I WAS NEVER SHOWN THE TICKET PRICE DURING THE ENTIRE PURCHASING PROCESS. If I had, then all of this could have been avoided.

Even after Ann printed my 4-page Passenger Itinerary and Receipts, she stapled the receipts BEHIND the itinerary pages. It was not until my credit card company called me the following day to confirm this exorbitant charge that I flipped to the back of the stack of paper and realized how much the tickets actually cost.

Ann seemed very frazzled and hurried during the process of purchasing out tickets, telling us several times, "We've got to do this fast you guys. If we don't do this fast you might miss this flight, too, and there are no refunds, so we've got to do this fast." In Ann's rush she clearly made a mistake and misquoted the ticket price.

I'm prepared to take every legal action necessary to get my money back. I am demanding a FULL REFUND, not just the amount that I was overcharged. I am demanding a full refund due to the severe inconvenience and undue stress that this incident has caused. The excessive airline ticket charge effectively maxed-out my credit card. As a result, I was unable to use this credit card in Mexico, where I was planning on having a vacation. This credit card was the only form of payment that I brought with me on this trip. The entire last 2 days here in Mexico have been a fiasco. I've spend all of my time thus far attempting to fix this mess. Looming over my head for possibly the rest of this "vacation" will be the $2420.70 ticket charge, that I thought was going to be $338.

I want this story to have a happy ending. I don't want this incident to be a social media post about how an American Airlines employee ruined my vacation, and then American Airlines refused to make things right.

Customer service at CUN gave me this American Airlines number to call: 01800-904-6000. I called this number and the representative I spoke with told me that the only thing I could do was to file a compliant at www.aa.com. I asked if there was someone that I could talk to ASAP about this whole misunderstanding. She said, no.

So here I am, filing this complaint on the AA website, wishing that I could speak with a human...
Thank you for your fastest reply.
Sincerely,
Dale Allen

American Airlines’ 1st Reply
April 14, 2017
Dear Mr. Allen:

Thank you for contacting American Airlines Customer Relations.
I'm sorry that your most recent trip with us was less than desirable.
We know and understand that there are many components to air travel; still, our basic product is transportation. While some elements of a particular flight may be unsatisfactory, we do not routinely provide compensation when transportation is provided. It would be an exceptional situation in any business to give a refund when the product is used.

For each flight, seats are made available at different prices based on a number of things including availability, day of travel, cities you are traveling, season, etc. In many instances, the first seats sold will be the least expensive and the fare will go up from there. In some cases we'll have a last minute special that offers the best fare available for the flight. Because prices always change, we are unable to guarantee that a given fare will stay the same or always be available.

I know that this wasn't the resolution you were hoping for, and I'm sorry for that. I do hope that we get another chance to welcome you onboard, Mr. Allen.
Sincerely,
Hailey Berry
Customer Relations
American Airlines

My 2nd Email
April 15, 2017

Hailey Berry,
With all due respect, you have NOT addressed the complaints that I laid out in my letter regarding the service I was provided. Please re-read the letter in case you did not read it thoroughly the first time, which I can only hope is the case. In my letter to AA customer service, I did NOT stipulate ticket price as the primary complaint. My complaint is that your employee - whether intentionally or unintentionally - lied to me - your customer - regarding the price of your service. The complaint is this simple: Your employee lied and as a result your customer was harmed financially. Are we clear? If so, please address the actual issue in your next reply.

This is not a case in which the customer assumed the ticket price was going to be lower, and then was surprised by the actual amount after the purchase upon further examination of the transaction. I did not assume anything, nor did I make a mistake. I am not at fault. This is a unique issue that deserves adequate attention. The issue I described speaks to a serious problem with the way your employee informed your customer about the price of your service. Your template-like response was insulting.

As I said in the previous letter below, I have denied the cc charge for these tickets, and I have explained to my cc company exactly what transpired at the terminal regarding this transaction. They know I have a case, and therefore will also be negotiating on my behalf.
Sincerely,
Dale Allen

American Airlines’ 3rd Reply
April 19, 2017

Dear Mr. Allen:
Thanks for writing back.

Every day we depend on our people to serve our customers well. We strive to train our employees to be courteous and knowledgeable but our efforts are of little value if we fail to provide the correct information to our passengers. We are deeply disappointed that you did not receive the treatement that you deserve when you traveled with us.

We are also sorry that you are still disappointed with the amount that was applied when you booked your last minute ticket. We certainly understand your position and regret that there was a misunderstanding about the cost of the ticket.

We have reservation procedures in place to avoid errors in reservations transactions, and our Customer Relations System acts as a safeguard as well. Of course, no matter how well trained or experienced an agent is, we are after all still human and mistakes will happen. Please know your reservation has been carefully reviewed, and it appears to us that the reservation was booked as requested. Under the circumstances, we are afraid we must respectfully decline your refund request.

Thank you for allowing us to address this matter. We hope this won't jeopardize our business relationship. We would consider it a privilege to have your continued patronage. The next time you fly with us, we'll do our best to make sure that you have a great trip, Mr. Allen.
Sincerely,
Hailey Berry
Customer Relations
American Airlines

My 4th Email
April 20 2017
So what you're saying is that AA doesn't take responsibility for its mistakes. How on Earth is this American Airline's policy? If you made a slogan out of this policy, it would sound something like this:

"American Airlines: If we make a mistake, YOU'LL PAY FOR IT! We look forward to screwing -- I mean, serving you."

It is unlikely that you're able to handle this matter satisfactorily. I would like to speak with a customer service representative who has the authority to do more than just apologize. I have never had to dispute a credit card charge in my entire life. Call my credit card company to confirm this (USAA Credit Card Services: 1-800-531-9762). I am not even a customer who frequently complains. But how AA has conducted itself thus far is so outrageous that I'm finding it impossible to not fight back.

I did NOT make a mistake here. It is more believable that an AA ticket counter employee, who is highly stressed and quoting ticket prices all day long, would make a quotation mistake, or is it more likely that I, the diligent price-conscious customer, the one who's money is actually ON THE LINE, the one who actually cares about the EXACT ticket price, would MISHEAR the quoted price? AA is in the wrong, and AA should make it right. In regards to this comment:

"We hope this won't jeopardize our business relationship. We would consider it a privilege to have your continued patronage."

Are you serious? How can you possibly expect me to fly with AA again if the company stands by a policy of "The customer will pay for our mistakes?" Does AA really mean that they want to keep me as a customer, or is that just empty pacifying rhetoric? If I do not receive adequate compensation, then I will surely never fly with AA again. And not only that, I will tell everyone I know about how AA admitted to making a mistake that cost me a significant sum of money, and then refused to make it right. The amount of money that AA will lose as a result of losing me (and those close to me) as a customer will far exceed the amount that I should be refunded. A company's long-term success is built upon how it treats its customers. For a company to refuse a refund when they are clearly in the wrong is quite simply a very poor business decision.
Please pass this along to your superiors.
Sincerely,
Dale Allen

American Airlines’ 4th Reply
April 20, 2017

Dear Mr. Allen:
Thanks for writing back.
We have received your reply and acknowledge you feel this matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction. It was clear to us when you brought your concerns to American's Corporate Headquarters that you felt strongly about this issue and were escalating it beyond our other customer service teams. In effect, our previous response serves as the supervisory involvement you request. Because we have been given the authority and responsibility to resolve customer concerns of this nature, we must confirm that our position has not changed.
Still, your business is very important to us and it would be a privilege to welcome you aboard again soon, Mr. Allen.
Sincerely,
Hailey Berry
Customer Relations
American Airlines

******END OF EMAILS*******

Wow...Does anyone have any recommendations on how I proceed from here?
 
Last edited:

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
1,155
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St Louis
#2
Please find our company contacts for American located at the top of the page. Under our FAQ's about air travel.... Unfortunately, you've started out with an adversarial position so I'm not sure how much they will be willing to help you. In the airline industry, as with most, you get more flies with honey. That being said, it appears you've already contacted customer service so I would start with the first executive listed. You need to shorten your correspondence drastically. Use bullet points if you can and remove the digs at customer service and them lying to you. How would you like to read this letter if it was directed at your company? Don't write everyone at once, wait a week between moving to the next level. If you'd like us to critique your email before sending, please post and we will try to help.

How do I persuade the airline to review my case?

Airlines operate call centers with thousands of employees whose job it is to quickly answer your questions. About half the customer queries come by phone, and the rest are by email, snail mail, or some form of social media like Twitter or Facebook.

Unless you’re in a situation that requires an immediate, real-time resolution — for example, your flight’s been canceled and you need to get rebooked — I’d recommend sending something to the airline in writing.

Why? Because it creates a “paper trail” that can be saved if necessary. This will show the airline that you’ve gone through all the right channels to get this resolved, in the event that you need to appeal to a supervisor. While it’s true that customer-service calls are logged and sometimes recorded, you’re not going to have access to those files, which puts you at a serious disadvantage when you’re trying to fix something.

1. Always start at the front door. Send a short, polite email to the airline through its website. Every airline offers a “contact us” section. It may seem silly, but you’ll see why this is important in a minute. Offer a brief description of your problem and a desired resolution. Don’t forget to include your name, flight dates, and record locator, the alphanumeric code associated with your reservation

2. Offer a concise, reasoned rebuttal. Most airline systems create a tracking number based on the query. This guarantees that no customer enquiries slip through the cracks. Be sure to include your case number in every reply. If the airline sends you a scripted “no” response after the autoresponder acknowledging your initial complaint, you’ll want to follow up with a polite rebuttal. Include any relevant documentation, such as a doctor’s note, death certificate, or a photo of damaged luggage (with a date stamp).

3. Appeal to a higher authority, if necessary. The names, numbers, and email addresses of the customer service VPs are listed here. While it’s rare for them to become personally involved in a case, your well-reasoned appeal will ensure that a senior customer-service employee will review your request.

What works? Generally, complaints that are tight and polite get the fastest resolutions. If you include all of your specifics and suggest a reasonable resolution, chances are you’ll never have to write an appeal. If you send a lengthy, emotional email, and don’t suggest a resolution, or if you make an unreasonable demand, like “two first-class tickets anywhere your airline flies” or to have a flight attendant fired for being rude to you, your complaint will likely end in frustration.
 
Sep 1, 2015
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#3
A few question that seem minor but could become important in helping you with your case:

- Very briefly, what was the reason for missing the original flight from LAX?
- Did you contact AA at any time before the missed flight to tell them you were going to miss the flight?
- Was the ticket for the flight(s) you missed one-way or round trip?
- I'm confused by what the agent said...the claim is she said 1-6-9 but the ticket is $1210. What am I misunderstanding?
- Were you still in Economy on the new flight(s)?

BTW, was your trip home uneventful? I hope you had a great time in spite of the credit card limits. We can advise you better with these answers.
 
Apr 23, 2017
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#4
Carrie Livingston,

Thank you for your reply. I very much regret the tone that I took from the beginning of these emails. It definitely wont help my cause. I should have only stuck to concise facts and steered clear of emotion. I’ll follow your recommendations moving forward. Thank you for your offer to review future correspondences. I will take you up on this. I’ll write a and send it to the first executive listed in you company contacts for American. I will drastically shorten the correspondence, use bullet points when possible, and remove the slights at customer service.


Kenish,

To answer your questions:

-We missed the flight because my girlfriend had food poisoning from the day before. So we were already seriously considering rescheduling the flight there. Her symptoms seemed to rapidly improve as our departure time neared and, despite me urging her to rest, she ordered an Uber and insisted that we were going to make this flight. To say the least, she’s stubborn. Ehem. So, of course we arrived a couple minutes shy of the 1-hour cutoff for check-in for international flights. The agent insisted, “The system locks me out after the 1-hour mark. There’s nothing I can do.” Our pleading was in vain.

-We did not contact AA to let them know that we were possibly going to be late. This would have been a very smart, common sense thing to do. Maybe if we had, all this could have been avoided.

-The tickets for the flight we missed were round trip. We took the flight back without issue.

-Agreed: How does $1210.35 get misinterpreted as “one sixty-nine?” I have no idea. I share your confusion. Being that my case hinges on exactly what the ticket agent said, I felt it important to be very specific about what her words were. I was not trying to illustrate how I think it might have been misread/misinterpreted. Sorry if I added more confusion to the confusion.

-The seats on the flight we missed were economy seats. And the last minute seats we booked were also economy.

Our trip home was uneventful. I tried to enjoy the trip as much as possible, but I was in shock the entire time. I ran that day over and over in my head, “Did I miss something? Was I crazy? How did this happen?” I felt so violated by the whole experience. I really lost my cool. I’m actually a pleasant, respectful, polite and generally relaxed person, but the stress of this brought out an aggressive side (as you can see in the emails above) that I regret.

Thank you both for your advice and support.
I’ll keep you posted as I move forward.



Best,

Dale
 
Likes: agnostic

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,051
15,556
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
Carrie Livingston,

Thank you for your reply. I very much regret the tone that I took from the beginning of these emails. It definitely wont help my cause. I should have only stuck to concise facts and steered clear of emotion. I’ll follow your recommendations moving forward. Thank you for your offer to review future correspondences. I will take you up on this. I’ll write a and send it to the first executive listed in you company contacts for American. I will drastically shorten the correspondence, use bullet points when possible, and remove the slights at customer service.


Kenish,

To answer your questions:

-We missed the flight because my girlfriend had food poisoning from the day before. So we were already seriously considering rescheduling the flight there. Her symptoms seemed to rapidly improve as our departure time neared and, despite me urging her to rest, she ordered an Uber and insisted that we were going to make this flight. To say the least, she’s stubborn. Ehem. So, of course we arrived a couple minutes shy of the 1-hour cutoff for check-in for international flights. The agent insisted, “The system locks me out after the 1-hour mark. There’s nothing I can do.” Our pleading was in vain.

-We did not contact AA to let them know that we were possibly going to be late. This would have been a very smart, common sense thing to do. Maybe if we had, all this could have been avoided.

-The tickets for the flight we missed were round trip. We took the flight back without issue.

-Agreed: How does $1210.35 get misinterpreted as “one sixty-nine?” I have no idea. I share your confusion. Being that my case hinges on exactly what the ticket agent said, I felt it important to be very specific about what her words were. I was not trying to illustrate how I think it might have been misread/misinterpreted. Sorry if I added more confusion to the confusion.

-The seats on the flight we missed were economy seats. And the last minute seats we booked were also economy.

Our trip home was uneventful. I tried to enjoy the trip as much as possible, but I was in shock the entire time. I ran that day over and over in my head, “Did I miss something? Was I crazy? How did this happen?” I felt so violated by the whole experience. I really lost my cool. I’m actually a pleasant, respectful, polite and generally relaxed person, but the stress of this brought out an aggressive side (as you can see in the emails above) that I regret.

Thank you both for your advice and support.
I’ll keep you posted as I move forward.



Best,

Dale
You need to totally re-write the issue stating facts only and leaving all emotion out and use our company contacts and write to the executives. Start with the first one shown and give him or her a week to reply. Repeat weekly if needed.

The desk agent wasn't lying to you about the computers locking exactly one hour before the flight is to leave. It does and they cannot over ride it.

I am a little curious - when she rebooked you, did she add your other flights on to your new ticket? Otherwise, if you miss the outgoing portion of your itinerary, the returns are canceled as well.

I am wondering if she rebooked your subsequent flights at new prices along with the one way.
 
Apr 23, 2017
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Neil,
Duly noted. Rewrite in-progress. Will send it to the execs in your company contacts per the recommendations.
Regarding the logistics of our flights. We had booked a roundtrip through kayak, the original departure was with Virgin America, and the return flight was with Spirit. The Virgin America desk agent said that our return flight would not be affected by missing this flight. We then asked her if she could look up when the next flight from LAX to CUN. She looked it up and found that American Airlines had the next flight. So we proceeded to the AA ticket counter, and, well...you know the rest.
-Dale
 
Apr 23, 2017
9
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#7
Please find our company contacts for American located at the top of the page. Under our FAQ's about air travel.... Unfortunately, you've started out with an adversarial position so I'm not sure how much they will be willing to help you. In the airline industry, as with most, you get more flies with honey. That being said, it appears you've already contacted customer service so I would start with the first executive listed. You need to shorten your correspondence drastically. Use bullet points if you can and remove the digs at customer service and them lying to you. How would you like to read this letter if it was directed at your company? Don't write everyone at once, wait a week between moving to the next level. If you'd like us to critique your email before sending, please post and we will try to help.

How do I persuade the airline to review my case?

Airlines operate call centers with thousands of employees whose job it is to quickly answer your questions. About half the customer queries come by phone, and the rest are by email, snail mail, or some form of social media like Twitter or Facebook.

Unless you’re in a situation that requires an immediate, real-time resolution — for example, your flight’s been canceled and you need to get rebooked — I’d recommend sending something to the airline in writing.

Why? Because it creates a “paper trail” that can be saved if necessary. This will show the airline that you’ve gone through all the right channels to get this resolved, in the event that you need to appeal to a supervisor. While it’s true that customer-service calls are logged and sometimes recorded, you’re not going to have access to those files, which puts you at a serious disadvantage when you’re trying to fix something.

1. Always start at the front door. Send a short, polite email to the airline through its website. Every airline offers a “contact us” section. It may seem silly, but you’ll see why this is important in a minute. Offer a brief description of your problem and a desired resolution. Don’t forget to include your name, flight dates, and record locator, the alphanumeric code associated with your reservation

2. Offer a concise, reasoned rebuttal. Most airline systems create a tracking number based on the query. This guarantees that no customer enquiries slip through the cracks. Be sure to include your case number in every reply. If the airline sends you a scripted “no” response after the autoresponder acknowledging your initial complaint, you’ll want to follow up with a polite rebuttal. Include any relevant documentation, such as a doctor’s note, death certificate, or a photo of damaged luggage (with a date stamp).

3. Appeal to a higher authority, if necessary. The names, numbers, and email addresses of the customer service VPs are listed here. While it’s rare for them to become personally involved in a case, your well-reasoned appeal will ensure that a senior customer-service employee will review your request.

What works? Generally, complaints that are tight and polite get the fastest resolutions. If you include all of your specifics and suggest a reasonable resolution, chances are you’ll never have to write an appeal. If you send a lengthy, emotional email, and don’t suggest a resolution, or if you make an unreasonable demand, like “two first-class tickets anywhere your airline flies” or to have a flight attendant fired for being rude to you, your complaint will likely end in frustration.
Carrie,

Here is my attempt at a rewrite for contacting the first executive on this website's list of AA contacts. I would greatly appreciate your critique before I proceed. Did I leave something out? Is it still too long? Areas of poor wording? Arguments cumbersome?

Thank you for your help.

(Draft)

"Dear Sean Bentel,

On Apr 10th, 2017 my girlfriend and I missed our flight from LAX to CUN, which we had booked with Virgin Airlines. We were informed that American Airlines had the next available flight from LAX to CUN, so we made our war to the AA ticket counter. The AA ticket agent who assisted us was named Ann. Ann verbally quoted us the price of a one-way economy airline ticket from LAX to CUN at $169 per ticket. I purchased two of these $169 tickets (ticket no. 2123406355 and 2123406356), and we were on our way.

The following day I received a call from my credit card company asking if I had authorized a payment to American Airlines for $2420.70. I explained that I had purchased two tickets yesterday for a total of $338, so there must have been a mistake. I immediately called the American Airlines reservations line (01-800-904-6000) to inquire about the suspected incorrect charge. However, the AA rep assured me that the charge was correct and instructed me to fill out a complaint form at aa.com if I had an issue with the ticket price.

I filled out a complaint form, describing what had happened and requesting a refund for the full ticket price. I requested a full refund since the excessive airfare charge effectively maxed-out my credit card. As a result, I was unable to use the card in Mexico, which was the only form of payment that I had brought with me. This had a significant negative impact throughout the rest of our trip. In response, AA Customer Relations told me that although their employees are well trained, sometime they make mistakes, and that they could not provide me with a refund (AA Ref#1-24321275462).

I understand that whenever a human element is involved in the course of business, mistakes can indeed happen. However, it does not seem reasonable for a customer to incur the financial loss that is caused by a mistake made by an employee.

For this reason, I am requesting that you review this case. I stand by my request for a refund of the ticket price, if not in full, then in the amount that I was overcharged based on the price I quoted by the AA ticket agent. This would come to the amount of $2082.70.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Dale Allen
 
Nov 20, 2015
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#8
Being in a foreign country with very limited available credit would have freaked me out too. USAA does a great job monitoring accounts for unusual charges

I am curious as to whether they've ruled on your dispute yet.

On the AA website, I searched prices for same-day travel between LAX and CUN. $1210.35 is the price of a last minute fully refundable fare. Were you aware of this? (Not that it matters now that you've used it.)
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,051
15,556
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
Being in a foreign country with very limited available credit would have freaked me out too. USAA does a great job monitoring accounts for unusual charges

I am curious as to whether they've ruled on your dispute yet.

On the AA website, I searched prices for same-day travel between LAX and CUN. $1210.35 is the price of a last minute fully refundable fare. Were you aware of this? (Not that it matters now that you've used it.)
Good sleuthing! That would explain the error! This agent did make a huge mistake.
I would also take it one step further and see what the current walk up price today is for the one way in economy. Then you can explain clearly what the agent did - she probably quoted you nonrefundable but charged you the refundable price in error.

Also, it sounds like you had two separate reservations on your itinerary which for the first time I've seen here worked in your favor.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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833
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#10
Good sleuthing! That would explain the error! This agent did make a huge mistake.
I would also take it one step further and see what the current walk up price today is for the one way in economy. Then you can explain clearly what the agent did - she probably quoted you nonrefundable but charged you the refundable price in error.

Also, it sounds like you had two separate reservations on your itinerary which for the first time I've seen here worked in your favor.
That must be what happened. I just looked at AA's website and a one-way non-refundable Economy ticket from LAX to CUN tonight at 11:00 PM is $114 per person. The refundable version of that same ticket is $1206 per person. Include this theory in your email and use AA's own website as your reference. Just word the theory as nicely as possible. Good luck!
 
Sep 1, 2015
1,040
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KSNA
#12
That must be what happened. I just looked at AA's website and a one-way non-refundable Economy ticket from LAX to CUN tonight at 11:00 PM is $114 per person. The refundable version of that same ticket is $1206 per person. Include this theory in your email and use AA's own website as your reference. Just word the theory as nicely as possible. Good luck!
Detailed comments later when I have time, but my question in Post #4 was the possibility the only available seats at virtually the last minute were in Business Class. Fully-refundable Econ is another explanation, and may have been the cheapest remaining fare.

@Dale Allen , what was the date of your flight? I get a sense it was on "getaway Fri/Sat" of Spring Break. That may have been the cause of the super-expensive fare compared to a few days later, or the current fare for today/tonight.
 
Likes: VoR61
Apr 23, 2017
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#13
Being in a foreign country with very limited available credit would have freaked me out too. USAA does a great job monitoring accounts for unusual charges

I am curious as to whether they've ruled on your dispute yet.

On the AA website, I searched prices for same-day travel between LAX and CUN. $1210.35 is the price of a last minute fully refundable fare. Were you aware of this? (Not that it matters now that you've used it.)
You're the man, CCGormand. Thank you for this detective work. I totally missed the non-refundable price when I went back to check fare prices.
To answer your question, I was not made aware that I was being charged the refundable price. I was, however, made very aware that I was being charged the nonrefundable price. At least twice during the purchase process the desk agent said, "Now I have to tell you this: these tickets are nonrefundable, so if for any reason you are unable to board this flight, then you cannot get your money back. Do you understand?" Both times I replied, yes, and she proceeded to process the transaction for tickets at the non-refundable price (or so she thought).
I'll kindly present this theory to AA.
Best,
Dale
 
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Likes: VoR61
Apr 23, 2017
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#14
Detailed comments later when I have time, but my question in Post #4 was the possibility the only available seats at virtually the last minute were in Business Class. Fully-refundable Econ is another explanation, and may have been the cheapest remaining fare.

@Dale Allen , what was the date of your flight? I get a sense it was on "getaway Fri/Sat" of Spring Break. That may have been the cause of the super-expensive fare compared to a few days later, or the current fare for today/tonight.
The date of our flight was Apr 10th, Monday, with an 8:35am departure time. The terminal was not busy. Both tickets were for economy class.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
1,073
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#15
The fact that you were sold a non-refundable ticket right there at the airport as you were getting on the plane is an EXCELLENT point in your case. The ticket agent knew you were buying a ticket to get on a plane right that very moment, not a month from them. There is no reason whatsoever to charge you for a refundable ticket under those circumstances.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#16
The fact that you were sold a non-refundable ticket right there at the airport as you were getting on the plane is an EXCELLENT point in your case. The ticket agent knew you were buying a ticket to get on a plane right that very moment, not a month from them. There is no reason whatsoever to charge you for a refundable ticket under those circumstances.
That's assuming there were cheaper non-refundable seats still available for sale at that point...
 
Sep 1, 2015
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#18
Neil,
Duly noted. Rewrite in-progress. Will send it to the execs in your company contacts per the recommendations.
Regarding the logistics of our flights. We had booked a roundtrip through kayak, the original departure was with Virgin America, and the return flight was with Spirit. The Virgin America desk agent said that our return flight would not be affected by missing this flight. We then asked her if she could look up when the next flight from LAX to CUN. She looked it up and found that American Airlines had the next flight. So we proceeded to the AA ticket counter, and, well...you know the rest.
-Dale
No worries, but I wish you had told us about Virgin, Spirit, and Kayak from the beginning. It affects the strength of your case with AA (and not to your benefit) since you were a walk-up passenger with no reservation history. This explains why I could not find an 8:35am departure on AA LOL!! Was your new AA flight to CUN a nonstop at 11am? I only see an 11*pm* (night) flight; please provide the AA flight #. This also confirms your outbound and return were on TWO separate tickets (no airlines co-ticket with Spirit). That's lucky- had it been on one ticket your return would have been cancelled and forfeited when you didn't notify Virgin and no-showed for the flight. (Not finger-wagging, just educating and providing info that will help). It's good you removed details about the missed flight...it only detracts from your point about the miscommunication of the fare amount

The fact that you were sold a non-refundable ticket right there at the airport as you were getting on the plane is an EXCELLENT point in your case. The ticket agent knew you were buying a ticket to get on a plane right that very moment, not a month from them. There is no reason whatsoever to charge you for a refundable ticket under those circumstances.
If the speculation that the agent sold a fully refundable fare is correct, I think the agent was right. @Dale Allen 's narrative in the very first post: "Ann seemed very frazzled and hurried during the process of purchasing out tickets, telling us several times, "We've got to do this fast you guys. If we don't do this fast you might miss this flight, too, and there are no refunds, so we've got to do this fast."

It sounds like it was coming down to the wire to ticket and check them in. At T-60 minutes, international check-in is blocked and the manifest is transmitted to Homeland Security. At that point, the ticket becomes non-refundable. The policy of all airlines is no refunds after data is transmitted to the government of the departing or arriving country. (If they had not checked in the ticket would remain fully refundable since no data was transmitted).

I purchased two of these $169 tickets (ticket no. 2123406355 and 2123406356), and we were on our way.
These are not valid 13-digit ticket numbers. Are they missing "001" at the beginning?
 
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Aug 28, 2015
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#19
The fact that a refundable ticket was booked does not help. The airline will take the position that this was the only fare bucket available. I had this happen to me with Hawaii. It is nearly impossible to disprove.

Think about it, the guy is desperate and at the counter with his gf packed for his trip. The only scenario where that would not benefit the airline is the one Neil identified earlier, where there were other fare options and the agent inadvertently selected a non refundable ticket.

I agree this is complex and annoying and persistence will hopefully pay off. This is a $300 flight and I would feel similarly shocked by that increase. Very frustrating and unfair.
 
Jan 8, 2015
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#20
The fact that a refundable ticket was booked does not help. The airline will take the position that this was the only fare bucket available. I had this happen to me with Hawaii. It is nearly impossible to disprove.

Think about it, the guy is desperate and at the counter with his gf packed for his trip. The only scenario where that would not benefit the airline is the one Neil identified earlier, where there were other fare options and the agent inadvertently selected a non refundable ticket.

I agree this is complex and annoying and persistence will hopefully pay off. This is a $300 flight and I would feel similarly shocked by that increase. Very frustrating and unfair.
I completely disagree becausse they went for a couple days with an original ticket price of just a couple hundred each. There is NO WAY I see that someone would agree to pay $2,400 when their original tickets were a couple hundred and they were only going for a few days. If it was to Italy for a month then I could understand but not this time. I also agree with the others in that there would be no need to purchase a refundable ticket if you were at the airport and wanting to get on a flight in an hour or so.
 
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