American Airlines - shockingly bad

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Nov 14, 2018
6
0
1
58
#1
Attached below is the email I sent to Sean Bentel at American Airlines and copied Julie Rath . Someone from the corporate office called and offered me two $400 evouchers for my sister and I ($800 total). I told them that was unacceptable and that I would be elevating my complaint.

Additional background. We were scheduled to arrive at 2 pm on Sunday and our cruise departed on Tuesday evening - so plenty of time to get out luggage to us before we boarded the cruise. For the first time ever, my sister and I split our belongings between our two bags so that we would have some belongings even if one bag did not arrive. Great idea - but didn't work as neither bag arrived.

I am looking for any help on what to do next. Sorry for the length but there was a lot that went wrong with this trip. Thanks :)

Flight issues on the outbound flights
On October 6th, my sister and I were on AA Flight #289 from Chicago to Shanghai leaving at 10:35 a.m. and scheduled to arrive into Shanghai at 2:00 p.m. on October 7th
· That flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue with the engine
· We were moved to another gate and were told that we would be leaving around noon
· The second flight was cancelled due to no flight crew available and we were told to try to find an alternate flight.
We were rebooked on AA Flight #150 to Paris, France at 7:10 p.m. connecting to Air China Flight #834 arriving at 5:35 a.m. on October 8th.
Luggage Issues
· We checked in two bags on Flight #289. We checked the AA website and it said that our bags were loaded on the plane. We were assured by the ticket agent in Chicago that our bags were being pulled and would be on our flight to Shanghai through Paris.
· When we arrived into Shanghai, neither bag arrived. We filed a claim with the Air China desk.
· We continued to check the AA app and it continued to indicate that our bags were loaded on the plane.
· I called AA on October 9th to talk to someone about our bags after seeing on the AA app that our bags had been shipped that evening to Dallas. They confirmed that our bags had been express shipped to Dallas, TX and would be on the next flight to Shanghai. I found out that the flight to Shanghai was cancelled due to the hurricane, so our bags sat in Dallas.
· As we had already boarded the river cruise on the Yangtze, I asked that the bags be shipped home as there was no way for them to catch up to us.
Flight issues on the return flights
We boarded AA Flight #262 from Beijing to Dallas on October 20th. The flight arrived a little early (around 4:30 p.m.), but then proceeded to sit on the tarmac for over an hour waiting for a flight (that had a mechanical issue) to clear our gate.
· When we were finally able to get off, we only had 45 minutes to get thru customs, security and get from Terminal D to Terminal A. We got to the gate 7 minutes before the departure time and the door was closed and the jetway was pulled away from the plane.
· We were then waitlisted on AA #2806 leaving at 8:35 p.m., but it was oversold so we were not able to get on it; however, our bags made the first flight, so yet another night without our luggage.
· We were rebooked on a flight the next day leaving at 5:00 a.m. through Charlotte, NC to Minneapolis.
Summary
· None of the delays that we experienced were caused by weather or natural causes.
· As a result of mechanical issues and no flight crew, we ended up arriving into Shanghai on the first day of our tour with no recovery time and were traveling or in airports for over 40 hours.
· On the return flight, the tarmac delay caused us to be delayed over 19 hours
· We did not have our luggage for the entire two-week trip.
· The only free time we had to explore the cities of Shanghai and Xian were spent shopping to try to find some additional clothes.
· This turned what should have been a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my sister and I into a very stressful, disappointing trip.
Remedy
· As our flight was an International flight and our bags were significantly delayed and ultimately not delivered to us, the Montreal Convention would apply. The liability can be up to 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (which I believe is $1,685.19/person) and based on never getting our luggage during our two-week trip, the maximum would most certainly apply.
· In addition, I believe it is reasonable to request $1,000/person reimbursement for the impact these significant delays had on our trip. To say this trip was stressful and disappointing would certainly be an understatement.
· In summary, I am requesting $5,370.38 as reimbursement for our luggage never being delivered and excessive delays both getting to China and getting home.
I look forward to hearing from you to resolve this case.
 
Feb 17, 2018
29
43
13
54
#2
This definitely doesn't sound like a very good trip.

Have you already filed a claim for your baggage delay? They should reimburse reasonable items that you had to purchase while waiting for the delivery of your delayed bags, but you will need to provide the receipts with your claim. If they don't provide or deny reimbursement for documented expenses in accordance with Montreal Convention, you may want to file a complaint with the DOT.

As for the flight delays and other issues, the airline companies specifically limit liability with their flight schedules in their conditions of carriage (exception is with flights that fall with EC261 regulations). The US, unlike the EU, does not have any regulations that require them to pay compensation for delayed or canceled flights. This means that they only guarantee get you from point A to B with no guarantee of specific time frame, otherwise if the flights delays are significant you can request a refund of the unused portions of your tickets - https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights.

In many cases a short and polite email to the company may provide a small voucher or miles for the inconveniences you have experienced, though these are provided as a goodwill gesture, not because they are legally required to. Chances are what you have been offered is probably the best you can expect, but you can appeal higher in the food chain using the contact information provided by this website to see if they will provide anything further. It is best to remember that they don't have to provide this, so keep your correspondence short and polite. https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,173
4,346
113
48
#3
FALTraveler has summed up what few customer protections there are.

You will need to send in receipts for the delayed luggage and claim that. What was the total amount spent per person?

There is no way that AA is going to pay you $1000 per person for inconvenience. They just do not compensate like that.

Coming back from China — Were you originally booked on Aa 1578 at 6:30 pm? Did the original booking have less than 2 hours to clear customs and all and change terminals? That would have been a tight connection.

You may be able to get some additional miles (do you use them?)

The flights sound unpleasant which seems to be the new normal.
 
Nov 14, 2018
6
0
1
58
#4
This definitely doesn't sound like a very good trip.

Have you already filed a claim for your baggage delay? They should reimburse reasonable items that you had to purchase while waiting for the delivery of your delayed bags, but you will need to provide the receipts with your claim. If they don't provide or deny reimbursement for documented expenses in accordance with Montreal Convention, you may want to file a complaint with the DOT.

As for the flight delays and other issues, the airline companies specifically limit liability with their flight schedules in their conditions of carriage (exception is with flights that fall with EC261 regulations). The US, unlike the EU, does not have any regulations that require them to pay compensation for delayed or canceled flights. This means that they only guarantee get you from point A to B with no guarantee of specific time frame, otherwise if the flights delays are significant you can request a refund of the unused portions of your tickets - https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights.

In many cases a short and polite email to the company may provide a small voucher or miles for the inconveniences you have experienced, though these are provided as a goodwill gesture, not because they are legally required to. Chances are what you have been offered is probably the best you can expect, but you can appeal higher in the food chain using the contact information provided by this website to see if they will provide anything further. It is best to remember that they don't have to provide this, so keep your correspondence short and polite. https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/
Thanks. I think I will appeal higher in the food chain to the contacts listed on this website. I have filed a baggage claim but have not submitted my receipts yet.
 
Nov 14, 2018
6
0
1
58
#5
FALTraveler has summed up what few customer protections there are.

You will need to send in receipts for the delayed luggage and claim that. What was the total amount spent per person?

There is no way that AA is going to pay you $1000 per person for inconvenience. They just do not compensate like that.

Coming back from China — Were you originally booked on Aa 1578 at 6:30 pm? Did the original booking have less than 2 hours to clear customs and all and change terminals? That would have been a tight connection.

You may be able to get some additional miles (do you use them?)

The flights sound unpleasant which seems to be the new normal.
Thanks Christina. There is a reason why I normally never fly anything other than Delta out of MSP. Viking Cruises made these reservations and I tried everything to get them to make Delta flights, even agreeing to pay the difference between the two carriers. So no - I have no status with American Airlines and don’t ever see myself flying with them again based on this trip and their response. I was booked on AA 1578 leaving at 6:35 p.m. out of Dallas. Original booking had 1 hour and 45 minutes between flights which should have been ample time to get thru customs, etc., if they had let us off the plane on time. As it was, even with 45 minutes that we had once they let us off the plane, we still made it to our gate 7 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Unfortunately they had already filled the plane with waitlisted passengers and closed the gate.

Regarding the delayed luggage, I haven’t figured out the amount spent yet, but it is not that much due to the very limited time we had to shop since we were on a tour and moving around. Also spent 7 days on a river cruise and had no way to purchase anything while on the boat or the few stops that we made.
 
Jun 30, 2017
849
785
93
Maui Hawaii
#6
AA stands out (in the wrong way) as having more complaints on this forum than the next 3 airlines combined, and that includes British Airways which is noted for poor customer service. What you have described is business as usual for AA. You should escalate up the cust serv chain for more compensation. DO NOT SAY you will never fly AA again as they will have absolutely no reason to give you anything.

You should file for delayed/missing baggage as well.
 
Nov 14, 2018
6
0
1
58
#7
AA stands out (in the wrong way) as having more complaints on this forum than the next 3 airlines combined, and that includes British Airways which is noted for poor customer service. What you have described is business as usual for AA. You should escalate up the cust serv chain for more compensation. DO NOT SAY you will never fly AA again as they will have absolutely no reason to give you anything.

You should file for delayed/missing baggage as well.
Thanks Weihlac. I wish I had looked at this website prior to accepting these flights, but am thankful I found it after this trip. Having read through many posts on this site, I will absolutely NOT say to AA what I posted in my last comments. Sad that this type of action by AA is now business as usual.
 

Katherine53

Verified Member
Nov 4, 2018
14
6
3
40
#8
The bright side is: You got to go on your cruise! There are literally thousands of stories of people who missed the boat because of airlines and were never refunded anything. My personal mantra is, when there is a boat or ship involved, always buy travel insurance. For future reference, these companies do have the ability to get bags into the middle of nowhere and catch up with ships. It happens all the time. They might not do it, but they can do it. I have personally had bags delivered to the middle of the Congo basin.

Unfortunately, stories like yours are standard operating procedure for AA. In addition to the advice on this site about how to contact AA's "lack of customer service" department, I personally almost always double up with an FAA complaint, or I cc the FAA on my airline complaints. https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint .

They might not do anything, but at least we can believe that maybe our great grandchildren won't have to go through this one day if we document and copy the government.
 
Sep 19, 2015
3,173
4,346
113
48
#9
The bright side is: You got to go on your cruise! There are literally thousands of stories of people who missed the boat because of airlines and were never refunded anything. My personal mantra is, when there is a boat or ship involved, always buy travel insurance. For future reference, these companies do have the ability to get bags into the middle of nowhere and catch up with ships. It happens all the time. They might not do it, but they can do it. I have personally had bags delivered to the middle of the Congo basin.

Unfortunately, stories like yours are standard operating procedure for AA. In addition to the advice on this site about how to contact AA's "lack of customer service" department, I personally almost always double up with an FAA complaint, or I cc the FAA on my airline complaints. https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint .

They might not do anything, but at least we can believe that maybe our great grandchildren won't have to go through this one day if we document and copy the government.
I think you meant the DOT, as you linked the DOT page, which is the right place to complain, unless the complaint concerns disability access or safety.

But as long as there is an anti-regulation sentiment, I fear that nothing will change.
 
Likes: Katherine53

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,317
7,139
113
San Francisco
#11
Well, weegie, my colleagues have already tactfully stated reality. Your trip was business as usual for a US-based airline. It's just plain awful. I am really happy that you managed to partake in the whole program, albeit in the same t-shirt every other day. I am planning almost the same trip as you took a year from now; I can't look at air for another few weeks, but that is my main concern. The rest of the trip will go just fine, or I can fix it, but the air really concerns me. It's a matter of helplessness I think. I learned long ago not to let a tour operator or cruise line book my air, but I need to at least see what they come up with. The cost factor with flights to China is huge.

But your story seems like it didn't matter who booked the air, AA just messed it all up royally. It's a difficult pill to swallow, but their stance is that they're going to transport you from A to B and if they did that, they just move on without regard to the time it took or the discomfort involved. There seems to be little regard for basic human decency when it comes to airlines these days. Go after AA, be polite, patient and persistent ... and good luck!
 
Likes: weegie
Nov 14, 2018
6
0
1
58
#12
Just wanted to circle back on my earlier comments regarding my trip to China. I went back to American again and they gave me two additional $200 vouchers - so $600/person in vouchers. I am still working on getting reimbursement for the clothes, etc. that we had to purchase because we had no luggage. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.
 
Jun 30, 2017
849
785
93
Maui Hawaii
#14
Just wanted to circle back on my earlier comments regarding my trip to China. I went back to American again and they gave me two additional $200 vouchers - so $600/person in vouchers. I am still working on getting reimbursement for the clothes, etc. that we had to purchase because we had no luggage. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.
Good job!
 
Aug 9, 2017
8
8
3
58
#16
It's good to see AA coming through with some form of remediation for a very tough trip. I want to note that, per passenger, AA is third on the complaint list (behind perennial favorites Spirit and Frontier), and essentially tied with United and Virgin Airlines, so statistically, they are pretty good. As stated before, you've received significantly more compensation than what is required ($0 for cancellations, and reimbursement for clothing). Good work for fighting for more than a token gesture. I hope that when you use your vouchers that your flights go smoothly.
 
Feb 28, 2018
24
10
3
85
#17
There are two culprits in this horror travel story: American airlines and Viking Cruises, because Viking denied your request to fly to Shanghai on another carrier, for good reason. I suggest you inform the President of Viking of the details of your flight to his cruise and American's cavalier attitude to your justified complaints. Viking advertises its outstanding service in its river and ocean cruises, including getting to and from its ships. Viking , which contracted with AA for the flights may well consider future AA business if it REALLY is concerned about offering high quality service to match its prieey cruises. Viking also may be able to presure AA to offer mor to you than it has.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,700
13,757
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Viking books the cheapest flights they have contracts with when you book air through Viking. (And they aren’t alone in this either). And they aren’t very customer oriented - read how many complaints there are about them here.

To our OP- did you call Viking at all while these flights were being delayed? They should have gotten you on
another flight.