American Airlines refund issue

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Aug 6, 2018
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My sister and I were returning home to Boston from Lafayette, LA, via Dallas on AA. Because of bad weather in Dallas, our flight was cancelled. We were re-booked on a flight the next day. Since I am a nurse and my sister is a teacher, we could not wait another day. We asked the AA counter person for help booking a flight on another airline or even from another airport. He told us there was nothing he could do.
We ended up booking flights on United, at a cost of $1200 for the 2 of us.
We later found out that AA has a reciprocal agreement with UAL that should have resulted in our getting booked on the UAL flight at no additional cost to us.
When we asked AA about being refunded, we were told we were not eligible for a refund because we bought the tickets on our own. Had the counter person helped us, we would have been eligible.
How is it that we aren't eligible for a refund because the counter person refused to help us and we did what he said to do, which happens to be contrary to the agreement that AA has in place with UAL?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#2
There is an interline and endorsement agreement but it is not mandatory that they book you on another airline. The airlines have prenegotiated rates and restrictions with each other when there is an agreement. There may not have been availability for an endorsed ticket on the UA flight -- UA may not have wanted to accept the ticket, or it would cost too much for AA to do it (ie your fare was very low). These are complicated agreements. AA is obligated to refund the money or put you on their next available flight.

Passengers have few rights.

Did you have any insurance, perhaps on the credit card used to book the trip? Did you get the unused AA flights refunded?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Aug 7, 2018
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#3
I too am having the same issue with AA. On 7/29/18 myself, sister and mother were travelling from the Bahamas to Philadelphia. After many delays and 2 cancellations, the AA Flight 1914 was cancelled for the second day in a row. Passengers were advised to book their own way out. When passengers were demanding to speak to a supervisor, AA agents called for more airport security and police. The police arrived, and were yelling at passengers. It was a very chaotic scene. The agents told us there were too many of us for them to rebook everyone. We booked 3 flights on Delta via Priceline. AA did however, put us up in a hotel for the 2 nights we were stranded. The AA supervisor told us we would be reimbursed from AA for ANY expenses we incurred, including tickets, extra childcare/dog care, parking fees etc. Since I 'm home, I've had no luck. I do get responses from AA, but they are just apologies and scripted lines. AA did issue 3 $200 for our "troubles" and will issue a refund for the unused portion of the AA tickets. We both missed 3 days of work, and spent 27 hours in an airport over the 3 days we were stuck there. Is there anything I can do to get these tickets refunds?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
They told you to book in your own??? That’s outrageous.

Click on the company contacts tab above and read the information on how to use the contacts. Find the contacts for AA and start writing. You will probably have to go up to the executive level to get more assistance.

Let us know how you make out.
 
Jan 5, 2015
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#5
I too am having the same issue with AA. On 7/29/18 myself, sister and mother were travelling from the Bahamas to Philadelphia. After many delays and 2 cancellations, the AA Flight 1914 was cancelled for the second day in a row. Passengers were advised to book their own way out. When passengers were demanding to speak to a supervisor, AA agents called for more airport security and police. The police arrived, and were yelling at passengers. It was a very chaotic scene. The agents told us there were too many of us for them to rebook everyone. We booked 3 flights on Delta via Priceline. AA did however, put us up in a hotel for the 2 nights we were stranded. The AA supervisor told us we would be reimbursed from AA for ANY expenses we incurred, including tickets, extra childcare/dog care, parking fees etc. Since I 'm home, I've had no luck. I do get responses from AA, but they are just apologies and scripted lines. AA did issue 3 $200 for our "troubles" and will issue a refund for the unused portion of the AA tickets. We both missed 3 days of work, and spent 27 hours in an airport over the 3 days we were stuck there. Is there anything I can do to get these tickets refunds?
No airline will reimburse for missed time at work or childcare/dog care. Parking and taxi fees may be covered but it isn't guaranteed.

If you find yourself in a similar situation in the future, get something in writing from the gate agent/supervisor rather than relying on their verbal statements. Airlines won't pay unless they have proof.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
Warren is correct. We have seen time and time again where the agents promise you anything just to get you out of their faces.

The airlines have to do one of two things when they cancel a flight- get you on the next available flight (which could be days later) or provide a refund. So it’s going to be tough to prove they promised what they did without it being in writing.

However, they did make accommodations paying for two nights in a hotel so you have proof something big occurred.

Warren is right about about missed work and child care. That should taken into account when booking a trip- leave yourself a cushion of one day between coming home and going to work in case things like this happen.

Ingrid I still urge you to write the way we advise on the Company Contacts. You need to escalate about Customer Service
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Ingrid did AA give $200 vouchers or checks? What was the difference in air fare?

I have to wonder about some of these agents and their promises. Are they telling people what they want to hear? Being sarcastic? Working for a subcontractor so they are unfamiliar with policy or just do not care?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#9
What a rotten experience. I was once at the gate in Toronto when a flight to Manchester England was cancelled after HOURS of delay, and they had to call police as well. I had been walking around chatting with the airport ops manager, and he warned me to "go over there behind that column and watch this". The loudest screamers were the Manchester United soccer players, it was an experience I never want to repeat.

My advice may be hard to follow, but your letter should be very polite, concise and businesslike. The person reading it did not cause your problem and is in a position to help you. Now you're aware that airlines don't pay any personal expenses as a result of your arriving home days later ... and agents just keep telling passengers a bunch of baloney to get them to go away. The agents see these scenes nearly every day, and their only goal is to get through their shift alive. An airline is very reluctant to part with cash, but a voucher towards a future flight would be appropriate here. I would ask them for a voucher equal to half of what you paid. Polite, patient and persistent can often get you some compensation for a truly horrible experience.
 
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Aug 6, 2018
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#10
They told you to book in your own??? That’s outrageous.

Click on the company contacts tab above and read the information on how to use the contacts. Find the contacts for AA and start writing. You will probably have to go up to the executive level to get more assistance.

Let us know how you make out.
Neil,
The response from AA has been underwhelming. I wrote to Sean Bentel, SVP of customer experience. He just kicked it back down to a customer relations person.
Her main thought is that this experience will be a good teaching point for their customer facing employees, but they are anxious to welcome us aboard another AA flight soon. Having been treated like this, we will never fly with AA again.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
How much were the Delta tickets— I am a little confused— did you get the 200 in vouchers or cash? AA refunded the unused tickets, so how much money are you out?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
It was United, and the cost of 2 tickets was $1200+

Sorry I got confused as there is another complaint on the thread with AA cancellations.

You have a bit of a challenge because you were booked for the next day rather than 2 or 3 day delay. UA may not have wanted to accept an endorsed ticket from AA for the flights, these agreements are complicated.

I understand the need to get back.

Did AA refund the unused ticket? Did you have any travel insurance from a credit card?

The truth is passengers have very few rights in the US — next available flight on that airline or a refund.

How far up the contact list have you gone?
 
Mar 17, 2015
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You are due a refund of the flight not taken with AA. You very rarely see anyone getting interlined nowadays. So, if anything, your reimbursement from AA will be the $1,200 less the amount of refund from the cancelled AA flight. I have a rule, if I have to be back at work on a certain date, I do NOT fly the day before, too many things can happen. Of course, if it is a work trip, then that is a different matter, and sometimes no choice, but you have a choice with leisure travel.
 
Aug 6, 2018
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#15
Sorry I got confused as there is another complaint on the thread with AA cancellations.

You have a bit of a challenge because you were booked for the next day rather than 2 or 3 day delay. UA may not have wanted to accept an endorsed ticket from AA for the flights, these agreements are complicated.

I understand the need to get back.

Did AA refund the unused ticket? Did you have any travel insurance from a credit card?

The truth is passengers have very few rights in the US — next available flight on that airline or a refund.

How far up the contact list have you gone?
I understand that UAL may not have accepted an endorsed ticket, and that would have been fine. My issue with all of this is that the AA counter person did absolutely nothing to even try to help. His only response was "there's nothing I can do." At that point we were totally on our own. That is absolutely deplorable customer service.
I reached out to Sean Bentel, SVP of customer experience. He immediately kicked it back down to a customer service person, who has been very responsive but otherwise unhelpful.
We have received a refund for the unused flight, but as I told the customer service person, this experience makes it very unlikely that I will ever fly with AA again.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,373
13,044
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#16
When a flight is canceled, the airline must do one of two things. Put you on the next fllight with available seats or provide you with a refund for the unused ticket. The counter agent was correct- he couldn’t do any more than he did nor is AA required by law to do any more then they did.

That’s it. Many airlines don’t have interline agreements with others so they can’t put you on another airline unless the other airline accepts what you paid AA for the ticket and most don’t because walk up rates are much higher.

Unfortunately, AA isn’t required to do any more for you then they did. They only owe you a refund for the portion of the flight you didn’t take.

You should use this as a learning experience - never book a return flight if you have to be at work the next day. The weather structure is changing and there are many more weather issues than there were even five years ago that can cause delays and cancellations for airlines. Give yourself at least an extra days cushion when returning home from a trip.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
There likely was nothing more the counter person could do. With bad weather in Dallas it must have been a mess. What do you think the rep should have done? UA likely did not want to accept the AA ticket as it was better from a business point to sell it.

We have the ability to fly across the country with economy trips running 350 (random dates in September, not including seat or check in bags)— but the low fares come at a different cost. Contract workers, not great pay for frontline check in workers, and the minimum amount of staffing — all done so people can have low fares.

This summer has been terrible in the NE with thunderstorms and delays and the FB pages of the airlines are filled with angry customers.

Low cost is what matters to buyers otherwise Spirit and Ryanair would not exist.

I dislike what travel has become.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Mar 23, 2015
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#19
[QUOTE="but as I told the customer service person, this experience makes it very unlikely that I will ever fly with AA again.[/QUOTE]

Once you say it's "unlikely that you'll ever fly with them again" you've given very little if any incentive to try to assist you and keep you as a customer. Also, don't forget that your flight was cancelled due to "bad weather" which means you have even fewer rights than usual. I had issues with both United and AA over cancelled flights over the last couple of years and I engaged immediately on Twitter and then when I got home, via their contact us pages to request refunds. I got everything I was asking for PLUS "goodwill vouchers" and I think it was because I was polite, provided screenshots where necessary and kept my letter about the experience rather than my "feelings" about the experience.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#20
@Linda Brockway
Late to the discussion, but after reading the responses over the last 2-3 days, I am curious...
You state "I understand that UAL may not have accepted an endorsed ticket, and that would have been fine. My issue with all of this is that the AA counter person did absolutely nothing to even try to help. His only response was "there's nothing I can do." At that point we were totally on our own. That is absolutely deplorable customer service. "
Sadly, there may not be anything the agent is empowered to do. If he was unable to find another flight and unable to endorse the ticket to UA, what would your expectations have been? It was a weather related event and outside the control of the gate agent, the pilot, and the airline. I know it doesn't seem fair, but that is how airline travel is these days. I doubt that the response would have been any different had you been booked on UA and the flight was cancelled because of weather.

You are due a refund of your unused AA tickets. You are not entitled to a reimbursement of the tickets you purchased on UA.
Since you have received a refund of your unused AA flights, AA will consider this case closed.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, at best, AA may issue you a voucher in addition to refunding the unused AA flight.
Even if an interline was available, depending on fare class, you may not have been eligible for an interline.

Since you feel that the agent telling you that there is nothing else to do is "deplorable" customer service, what were your expectations?