Forced to re-book flights

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Oct 14, 2018
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#1
On August 12, 2018 I was scheduled to fly out of Baltimore Washington-Thurgood Marshall International Airport for Philadelphia Airport. I was catching a connecting flight to Dublin, Ireland, I only had about 1 hour to make the connecting flight once I landed in Philadelphia. On this day inclement weather was forecasted at the time my flight was to leave Baltimore (BWI). I was very nervous about my BWI flight being delayed, which would cause me to miss my connecting flight to Dublin, Ireland. I thought I would be proactive and had a family member drive me 2 hours to the Philadelphia, PA airport.
I arrived at the Philadelphia airport at 4:45 p.m. (two hours before the BWI flight even started to board). I went to the American Airlines desk and told one of the Customer Service Representatives that I needed to cancel my flight from BWI to PHL, because I was dropped off by a family member. The Representative told me that because I would not be on the flight from BWI to PHL, this would cancel all my subsequent flights going to Ireland and returning from Ireland. I was told this was due to all the flights being booked together by a travel agency (AAA). I was stranded in Philadelphia with the possibility of not being able to go on my Ireland trip and meet my friend waiting for me in the Dublin, Ireland airport. The Representative told me there was nothing she could do and that I needed to call the travel agency for help. I called my local AAA, where I had booked my trip, but since it was Sunday, no one was there to take my call. I got back in line and was able to speak to another Representative. Fortunately, he was more helpful. He said my only option was to re-book all my flights, going to and returning from, Ireland.
Since I felt I had no choice at that point, I re-booked all the flights. The cost was $3,000, this was in addition to the $700 I already paid for my flights through the travel agency (AAA). Having no other option, I paid to re-book the flights. I decided I would deal with the situation when I returned from my trip. I later found out that the flight from BWI did end up arriving late to Philly.
My intention was to only cancel my flight out of Baltimore, not to re-book all my other flights. I was not informed of this policy until I was forced to re-book.
I have contacted American Airlines Vice President, Senior Vice President, and President for help only to be told by their customer relations department that I was not eligible for a refund. I am aware now that they have a 24-hour cancellation policy, but could not find anything on their website stating that all my flights would be cancelled if I chose not to take the first one.

Can anyone help me or suggest what else I can do to get my money back?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
When you have everything on one ticket the airline reps. are exactly correct- if you cancel the first flight- the rest of the flights also get canceled. But you should have questioned that within 24 hours of booking because you could have rebooked with no fee at that time.

The rep. at AAA shouldn’t have booked such a close connection. Never book connections that close.

If you canceled the rest of the flights, you should have a credit to use on each airline less a cancellation fee.
Didn’t AAA have a 24 hour emergency number you could have called?
 
Likes: Warren
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
All restricted tickets require that the flights be taken in order otherwise the reservation is cancelled. This is not because you booked with a travel agent, this is because of the contract of carriage and conditions for restricted tickets. The same would have happened if you would have bought the ticket with the airline.

There is usually some language on the ticket conditions that say all segments need to be flown in the order ticketed, or something to that effect.

Once you realized the weather was bad, did you even try to call AA to see if you could do a same day change to an earlier flight? AA does offer that.

The problem is that you were proactive without reading the rules or understanding what you have and without contacting the airline before taking action.

AA does not owe you a refund. Were you able to use the credit from the original ticket?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
This is a real shame, AA should have tried to help you at the airport, this airline rule punishes the traveller. AA should have some wiggle room, since you cancelled the first segment before the plan boarded. I am assuming that your flight to Ireland was also on American? AAA should be going to bat for you and at least request that you receive a credit for the full amount of the original tix. AAA should ask them to waive the cancellation fee in your case; it would be good customer service.

ADVOCATE ADVICE

Be sure that you can reach your travel agent 24/7 to avoid these nasty surprises.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#5
You need to work with your travel agent AAA to unravel this. The travel agent served you horribly. Scheduling a one-hour interval between a flight in August, when the weather is often a problem, was a major rookie mistake on the part of AAA.

The short flights from BWI to PHL are typically on turbo-prop or small jets which are much more likely to get canceled or delayed by summer (and winter) weather conditions. I am assuming you were on a late evening flight from PHL to DUB. You should have been booked on a late morning flight from BWI to PHL. Alternatively, AAA should have told you to begin your trip in PHL since the drive from the Baltimore area is not very long. "Wasting" time in the airport is far preferable to what happened to you.

If you had traveled per your original reservation you would have been placed on the next flight from PHL to DUB since all of your flight segments were on one ticket. You likely would have missed a day of your trip but you would have saved $3000.

American Airlines could have accommodated you but was not required to do so because of your fare rules. The major problem lies with your travel agency.
 
Oct 3, 2018
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#9
I am sorry to h hear you have endured such treatment from customer service agents at AA regarding your flight situation. Yes, your AAA travel agent obviously was not taking into consideration possible flight delays when they booked your flights that did contribute to your problem; however, AA customer service reps do have some ability - leeway - to work with customers in such dire situations at the airport. It is at the discretion of the agent the company will tell you. Regarding a refund, it has been my experience with AA that when push comes to shove (emailing the executives as you have), and you are persistent, they will either give you a refund for a voucher towards a future flight. I also suggest you file a complaint with the FAA regarding what happened to you. They do investigate and respond to such matters and it will put AA executives on alert again that the FAA officials are aware of their business practices. I wish you all the best as you pursue this that you might either receive a full refund or a flight voucher for the future at the very least.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#10
This is actually not something that usually calls for an FAA complaint. This is a problem with the travel agency and they are the ones who made this mess by the flights they booked and the fact that the OP could not reach them. When a client books with a travel agency, the airlines generally require that the travel agency is the one that rebooks them.

The place to go first is to AAA and then to AA.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I am sorry to h hear you have endured such treatment from customer service agents at AA regarding your flight situation. Yes, your AAA travel agent obviously was not taking into consideration possible flight delays when they booked your flights that did contribute to your problem; however, AA customer service reps do have some ability - leeway - to work with customers in such dire situations at the airport. It is at the discretion of the agent the company will tell you. Regarding a refund, it has been my experience with AA that when push comes to shove (emailing the executives as you have), and you are persistent, they will either give you a refund for a voucher towards a future flight. I also suggest you file a complaint with the FAA regarding what happened to you. They do investigate and respond to such matters and it will put AA executives on alert again that the FAA officials are aware of their business practices. I wish you all the best as you pursue this that you might either receive a full refund or a flight voucher for the future at the very least.
Why are you suggesting a complaint to the FAA? The only thing this will alert AA to is that this is a ridiculous complaint to be submitted to the FAA. The FAA is only interested in flight safety — from the plane itself to the operation or civil rights violation.

The DOT will likely not do a thing about this as it was a legal connection and the contract of carriage requires flights to be taken in sequence.

As Neil and others have pointed out, the travel agent booked a lousy but legal connection and this should be taken up with them and then AA.
 
Oct 14, 2018
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#12
When you have everything on one ticket the airline reps. are exactly correct- if you cancel the first flight- the rest of the flights also get canceled. But you should have questioned that within 24 hours of booking because you could have rebooked with no fee at that time.

The rep. at AAA shouldn’t have booked such a close connection. Never book connections that close.

If you canceled the rest of the flights, you should have a credit to use on each airline less a cancellation fee.
Didn’t AAA have a 24 hour emergency number you could have called?
Hello Mr. Maley - Thank you for responding to my post for help with my American Airline issue.

I did not call the AAA emergency #. The only emergency # I could find was for roadside assistance. I called the local office that booked my trip. Of course with it being Sunday, no one answered. Since returning and trying to get this issue resolved, I have been in contact with my local AAA (who booked my trip) and the regional AAA. The regional AAA person I contacted told me a few weeks ago she has exhausted all her American Airline contacts. She could not get me my $3000.00 refunded. I have tried to find a Corporate office contact for AAA without success. Would you happen to have that information?

Although I now understand the airlines policies, I would hope they would understand the situation I was in and be a little more customer service oriented. What an awful first impression of flying American Airlines. This was my first time flying internationally. I was already nervous, and when the ticket debacle happened,it added to my nervousness and I felt I had no other option but to pay the $3000.00 + . I feel taken advantage of in a situation where I really had no other choice. I spent more on the reissued airline ticket than I did for the whole tour package.

Any other advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
 
Oct 14, 2018
4
0
1
27
#13
All restricted tickets require that the flights be taken in order otherwise the reservation is cancelled. This is not because you booked with a travel agent, this is because of the contract of carriage and conditions for restricted tickets. The same would have happened if you would have bought the ticket with the airline.

There is usually some language on the ticket conditions that say all segments need to be flown in the order ticketed, or something to that effect.

Once you realized the weather was bad, did you even try to call AA to see if you could do a same day change to an earlier flight? AA does offer that.

The problem is that you were proactive without reading the rules or understanding what you have and without contacting the airline before taking action.

AA does not owe you a refund. Were you able to use the credit from the original ticket?
Good afternoon Christina - Thank you for replying to my post for help with my American Airline ticket situation. I have not received a refund of the original ticket for approximately $700.00. AAA said they would work on getting me that refund. I was not pushing for that refund as I did not want it to interfere with getting the refund for $3000.00. I am not giving up. any other advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

*** I would like to add that I did call American Airlines the day before I was to depart for my trip. I tried to change to an earlier flgiht, but was told my travel agent had to do it. However, the travel agency had already closed for the day.***
 
Last edited:
Oct 14, 2018
4
0
1
27
#14
I am sorry to h hear you have endured such treatment from customer service agents at AA regarding your flight situation. Yes, your AAA travel agent obviously was not taking into consideration possible flight delays when they booked your flights that did contribute to your problem; however, AA customer service reps do have some ability - leeway - to work with customers in such dire situations at the airport. It is at the discretion of the agent the company will tell you. Regarding a refund, it has been my experience with AA that when push comes to shove (emailing the executives as you have), and you are persistent, they will either give you a refund for a voucher towards a future flight. I also suggest you file a complaint with the FAA regarding what happened to you. They do investigate and respond to such matters and it will put AA executives on alert again that the FAA officials are aware of their business practices. I wish you all the best as you pursue this that you might either receive a full refund or a flight voucher for the future at the very least.
Good afternoon - Thank you for replying to my post for help with my American Airlines issue. I agree that the customer service reps could have helped me better at the Philadelphia airport. It seems, from the replies to your suggestion to contact the FAA, that I should not contact them. Do you agree with those who replied negatively to your suggestion? Do you think I should contact the executives at American Airlines again? I do plan to fly internationally again in 2019. Depending on the outcome of this situation will depend on whether or not I use American Airlines again. If you have any other advice or help, I would greatly appreciate it it. Thank you
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
Good afternoon Christina - Thank you for replying to my post for help with my American Airline ticket situation. I have not received a refund of the original ticket for approximately $700.00. AAA said they would work on getting me that refund. I was not pushing for that refund as I did not want it to interfere with getting the refund for $3000.00. I am not giving up. any other advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

*** I would like to add that I did call American Airlines the day before I was to depart for my trip. I tried to change to an earlier flgiht, but was told my travel agent had to do it. However, the travel agency had already closed for the day.***
The FAA will not do anything for you. This is not an issue that they investigate as it has nothing to do with airline safety or Title VI/Civil Rights (such as disabled travelers, etc.). The FAA does not investigate ticketing issues. Do not contact them with this issue. You will get nothing from them.

Did you have an after hours number for AAA travel? Do they have such a thing?

If you get a refund of the unused ticket you will not get a refund of the walk up ticket as that would mean flying for free.

Have you talked to AAA about this problem?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,624
13,726
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
My wife just called me from Mexico to tell me she is with a AAA agent and told her your story.

She told my wife that guests are given written information in their documents with a 24 hour 800 number to call AAA for situations like this and that AAA should have been the ones to rebook you.

Did you have that in your documents?
 
Likes: Christina H

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
14,624
13,726
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Good afternoon - Thank you for replying to my post for help with my American Airlines issue. I agree that the customer service reps could have helped me better at the Philadelphia airport. It seems, from the replies to your suggestion to contact the FAA, that I should not contact them. Do you agree with those who replied negatively to your suggestion? Do you think I should contact the executives at American Airlines again? I do plan to fly internationally again in 2019. Depending on the outcome of this situation will depend on whether or not I use American Airlines again. If you have any other advice or help, I would greatly appreciate it it. Thank you
No. This information is not correct. The FAA has nothing to do with this and this is not something that they even are in charge of. Please see my post above about the information from a AAA agent.
 
Likes: Christina H
Jun 30, 2017
831
775
93
Maui Hawaii
#19
Good afternoon Christina - Thank you for replying to my post for help with my American Airline ticket situation. I have not received a refund of the original ticket for approximately $700.00. AAA said they would work on getting me that refund. I was not pushing for that refund as I did not want it to interfere with getting the refund for $3000.00. I am not giving up. any other advice or help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

*** I would like to add that I did call American Airlines the day before I was to depart for my trip. I tried to change to an earlier flight but was told my travel agent had to do it. However, the travel agency had already closed for the day.***
Your issue is not with AA, it is with AAA. American Airlines will not fix this problem. It is AAA's responsibility. You need to get AAA to fix this. AA is not likely to refund your $3000 without a major intervention from AAA. As noted above, AAA could have solved your problem when it was happening.
 
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