American Airlines

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Jul 9, 2018
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#1
My child and I were delayed for 2 days on AA Flight #1015 DCA-ORD originally scheduled to leave at 7:15 p.m. on June 26. Because the flight was supposedly cancelled due to weather, I was not offered a single voucher for hotel or future flight or food or even a cup of coffee. What's more, my child and I were eventually rebooked, but mistakenly on flights that were a month apart! Moreover, my parents in Chicago said that planes flew in and out of O'Hare all night -- no problem.

I spent time writing a detailed account via the AA.com customer service form and eventually got a bot-like boilerplate response (see below). I will use the executives list next.

Is there any way I can learn what basis was established with the FAA for cancelling so many flights? And who is Adrienne Treet anyway? I think it's a made up name like "Dear Abby."

###

Dear <redacted>

Thank you for writing to American Airlines. My name is Adrienne and I'm happy to have the chance to respond to your concerns.

We appreciate how hard it is to understand why a flight is canceled because of bad weather when conditions at both the origin and the destination are perfectly fine. Perhaps an explanation of the operational reasons will be helpful.

Bad weather the day before you traveled, or at one of our other hubs elsewhere, may have prevented our planes and crew members from being where they needed to be in order to operate your flight as scheduled. Or, in the same circumstances, there may be too many aircraft on the ground at your destination, and so we cancel selected inbound flights until we can thin out that traffic. Another possibility is that our crew members may have reached the maximum number of hours they can remain on duty as a result of a weather delay they encountered earlier that day. Finally, we may voluntarily cancel selected flights in order to reduce the length of Air Traffic Control delays imposed because of bad weather en route.

We have found it is necessary to take these varied steps in an effort to get our entire system back on schedule when weather conditions have affected our operation. Our goal is to minimize the inconvenience for the largest number of our customers. Still, we are sorry that our actions caused such disruption for you.
We are disappointed to learn about the unsatisfactory level of service provided at our ticket counter at our DCA airport after your flight was canceled. Meeting the highest expectations of our customers is our primary goal and we are sorry we failed to deliver the level of service you expect and certainly deserve from us. Your observations with regard to the lines and shortage of agents available for assistance with check in at the counter have been reviewed with the Passenger Service Managers responsible for this area of our operation.

While I can understand your request for reimbursement, it's not our approach to offer compensation when circumstances outside of our control like bad weather leads to out of pocket expenses. That said, I can certainly understand your frustration having to remain overnight at the airport.

<Redacted>, I know you didn't have the best experience traveling with us recently but I would like to encourage you to give us another try. The next time you fly with American Airlines, we'll do our best to get you to where you are going as scheduled.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Treet
Customer Relations
American Airlines

AA Ref#1-27273736972
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
359
451
63
St. Louis
#2
That wasn't a very good day weather-wise for commercial aviation in the US. There were various ground delays, stops and reroutes institued, several that included Chicago. These various issues can result in airlines either canceling or delaying flights for operational reasons or at the request of ATC and/or the affected airports. You can see the various FAA Advisories for that day here.

The Department of Transportation provides a good guide as to your rights under these circumstances at the following website:

https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,255
12,439
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
The airline has explained it perfectly. While the weather can be perfect where you were flying to, your plane make have been coming from an area that has storms going on. It happens all the time.

Did you have travel insurance? Most policies will pay for a hotel for delays like this. It might have been worth paying $30 for insurance that would have paid you $100 or $150 fir a hotel.
 
Jul 9, 2018
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#4
That wasn't a very good day weather-wise for commercial aviation in the US. There were various ground delays, stops and reroutes institued, several that included Chicago. These various issues can result in airlines either canceling or delaying flights for operational reasons or at the request of ATC and/or the affected airports. You can see the various FAA Advisories for that day here.

The Department of Transportation provides a good guide as to your rights under these circumstances at the following website:

https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
Thank you. Is there a glossary of terms to better understand these advisories? I don't see any mention of DCA or what I presume is the zone (ZDC). I see issues for travel between ORD and ZDV/ZLA/ZLC/ZOA/ZSE, but I only see one advisory (link below) for ZDC on that day which is articulated as for "planning purposes" only and it does not appear to include ORD/MDW routes.

https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_oth...DC_SWAP_IMPLEMENTATION_FYI&titleDate=06/26/18

I don't see a request from ATC to cancel flights from DCA to ORD. I went to FlightAware.com but I cannot tell where flight #1015 was supposed to come from to research further. My husband left r on a flight that same evening from DCA to BOS, so it appears that it was not DCA that posed the problem.

This advisory for ZAU does not mention ZDC
https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_oth.../ZAU&title=CDM+GROUND+STOP&titleDate=06/26/18

It also does not address the issues with customer service that I had at the airport. Who rebooks a family and sends the child home a month apart from the mother?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
Look at the CDM (collaborative Decision Making) number 71 it covers flights from DCA to ORD.

ORD was a mess that day.

MESSAGE:

CTL ELEMENT: ORD
ELEMENT TYPE: APT
ADL TIME: 1558Z
DELAY ASSIGNMENT MODE: UDP
ARRIVALS ESTIMATED FOR: 26/1600Z - 27/0359Z
CUMULATIVE PROGRAM PERIOD: 26/1353Z - 27/0359Z
PROGRAM RATE: 76
FLT INCL: ALL CONTIGUOUS US DEP
DEP SCOPE: (ALL+CZY_AP) ZLA ZAU ZLC ZTL ZDC ZNY ZHU ZJX ZFW ZOB ZDV
ZOA ZSE ZBW ZMA ZKC ZME ZID ZAB ZMP
CANADIAN DEP ARPTS INCLUDED: CYHZ CYOW CYUL CYYZ
DELAY ASSIGNMENT TABLE APPLIES TO: ZAU
MAXIMUM DELAY: 951
AVERAGE DELAY: 178
IMPACTING CONDITION: WEATHER / THUNDERSTORMS
COMMENTS: ORD STILL IN AN EAST FLOW. PROGRAM REVISED TO A STRAIGHT
76 RATE, TIME +20, MED. POP UPS. REVISION INTENDED TO BETTER MATCH
EXPECTATIONS OF IMPACTS, BOTH ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURES. ZAU WORKING TO
RELEASE DIVERSION FLIGHTS AS OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT THEMSELVES.
EFFECTIVE TIME:

261559 - 270459
SIGNATURE:

18/06/26 16:01
 
Last edited:
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Now how the airline split a family is really perplexing. I imagine you and your child had the same reservation code?

Was this done by the computer? or an actual person? If it was a computer then there is a problem with the program. If it was a person then there is a problem with that person.

Your husband flew DCA to BOS — his flight path was not near ORD and ORD was the problem.

I think it is pretty clear that the airlines had to cancel flights to ORD from different areas and your flight was one of the unlucky ones. The fact that other flights came in and out had no bearing; it does not seem that AA just decided to not do the route there are documented reasons and FAA documentation.

How was the change made, computer or person? I think this is an issue. Same ticket?
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
359
451
63
St. Louis
#8
Thank you. Is there a glossary of terms to better understand these advisories? I don't see any mention of DCA or what I presume is the zone (ZDC). I see issues for travel between ORD and ZDV/ZLA/ZLC/ZOA/ZSE, but I only see one advisory (link below) for ZDC on that day which is articulated as for "planning purposes" only and it does not appear to include ORD/MDW routes.

https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_oth...DC_SWAP_IMPLEMENTATION_FYI&titleDate=06/26/18

I don't see a request from ATC to cancel flights from DCA to ORD. I went to FlightAware.com but I cannot tell where flight #1015 was supposed to come from to research further. My husband left r on a flight that same evening from DCA to BOS, so it appears that it was not DCA that posed the problem.

This advisory for ZAU does not mention ZDC
https://www.fly.faa.gov/adv/adv_oth.../ZAU&title=CDM+GROUND+STOP&titleDate=06/26/18

It also does not address the issues with customer service that I had at the airport. Who rebooks a family and sends the child home a month apart from the mother?
That site is meant for airline and flight specialist. Basically, a Ground Stop means that flights inbound that haven't taken off are not to depart, Ground Delay means they are slowing departures to compensate for ATC flow/airport congestion. All of these have a cumulative effect on airports and ATC traffic. It is not unusual, especially at high-density airports such as ORD, for this to result in flights being delayed and canceled to reduce flow/congestion. Based on the advisories ORD was having a lot of weather-related issues that day and as that was your destination, it is highly likely the reason your flight was canceled.

With that said, keep in mind that in the US, when a flight is canceled (for any reason) the airline is only required to rebook on the next flight with available seats or offer a refund. As stated in the DOT Fly Rights I linked: hotels, meals, or vouchers for future flights are at the total discretion of the airline, even for something that is within their control. There is no regulation or policy that requires them to provide these.

Our recommendation is to use our company contacts to write a polite and concise email to the airlines of your concerns, then if you not satisfied with their response, one a time, go up the executive chain to request reconsideration. In many cases, the airline may offer a small voucher or miles as a goodwill gesture for your inconvenience. It is important to remember that they don't have to provide anything other than to rebook you or refund you the canceled flight.
 
Jul 9, 2018
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#9
Thank you for all of the guidance. The child's flight was purchased via scholarship from a U.S. government program so it had a separate record locator. A travel agency based out of Iowa purchased that ticket, and I purchased mine separately. My credit card is Aadvantage Aviator World and my understanding is that only the World Elite has trip insurance. However, I am checking and waiting to hear back.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,883
3,155
113
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#10
Thank you for all of the guidance. The child's flight was purchased via scholarship from a U.S. government program so it had a separate record locator. A travel agency based out of Iowa purchased that ticket, and I purchased mine separately. My credit card is Aadvantage Aviator World and my understanding is that only the World Elite has trip insurance. However, I am checking and waiting to hear back.
How old is the child?

Was the rescheduling done by a person or computer.

At least they are not splitting up families that would be horrible.
 
Likes: krisseye

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,255
12,439
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
I think you have the answer to your question- why there were so many cancellations. It WAS a massive weather issue.

The reason you were booked on separate flights is clear- you had two separate tickets. You should have called the airline to link them together.

Usually when the schools offer to cover flights, they also offer the option of travel insurance.

Knowing the entire story now - the airline did nothing wrong. There were delays due to weather and unfortunately, there is no compensation due when flights are canceled when there are weather problems.

That’s when travel insurance comes into play.
 
Dec 26, 2014
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#12
I had a flight that was fromSeattle to Syracuse with a connection in ORD that had issues with weather at ORD and elsewhere. By the time I got to ORD my connection flight to Syracuse had been cancelled and as soon as I could turn my phone back on, I saw that I was automatically rebooked by AA while on my Seattle to ORD flight, but it was for the next day with a new connection in Philadelphia and would not arrive in Syracuse until late afternoon. Since it was a weather delay that meant I would have to find my own hotel and food for that night, plus get back to ORD for the 7:30AM flight.
That was going to make it pretty much impossible to teach the seminar I was supposed to be giving in Cortland NY starting at 7AM. There was a later flight to Syracuse that night, but it had been booked full. I was able to go to the Admirals Club and talk to one of the agents there. She just kept trying to rebook me on that later flight, thinking that others on that flight might not make it into ORD due to the same weather system. Sure enough, an bunch of seats did open up due to a cancellation of an inbound plane. So, I was able to get where I needed that night. I was very polite, and willing to be rebooked however she could manage it (different airports and drive for example)
So my recommendation is first off, always be polite and understanding that you are NOT the only one facing travel issues when flights are cancelled, recognize that agents are trying to do whatever they can to help you, be as flexible as you can, and grateful when they accomplish miracles on your behalf. If you can, go to an agent to get rebooked they can let you know what options you could have instead of going with the automatic rebooking.I did send in a note to customer care letting them know how much I appreciated her efforts on my behalf.