How to get American Airlines to forfeit cancellation charges on flights?

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Aug 14, 2018
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#1
My husband and I booked 2 one way tickets to LA and 2 return one way tickets from San Francisco. The dates are September 5-12. Our plan was to fly to LA, rent a car, drive up the coast to wine country, and then fly back from SF. Now that there are wildfires all over the state, including one of the largest in history, we want to cancel. I talked to customer service and was informed we could receive a full credit, but would be charged $200 each to use the tickets. That’s $800 total just to use the credit!! That makes our credit ridiculously expensive to use. I emailed customer service on August 12 asking for a full refund, but I would settle for getting the charges forfeited. I got a form reply saying they would forward my email to the appropriate department and I should hear from them in a few days. How can I go about getting the fees dropped? I have not as yet cancelled the tickets because I am hoping they have a schedule change. I know I am eligible for a refund in that case.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Its way too early to cancel. The fire situation could be very different by September. Did you buy Travel insurance?

There are no travel alerts to San Francisco on AA’s website. If they are still flying to and from San Francisco they aren’t concerned about you not being able to get up there by car.

We have company contacts on our pages. Read the information on the bottom of the main page on how to write, then start a writing campaign.

Let us know how you make out.
 
Aug 14, 2018
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#3
No, I did not. I keep monitoring the California state fire map, and even called a fire station in Carmel. He informed me that the fires most likely will get worse going into September. The Mendocino fire isn’t expected to be contained until late September.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
This is the problem when buying one way tickets, the reservations are not connected — there are four separate tickets. That is why there is a cancellation charge of 200 per ticket.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
Most of the fires are expected to be contained this month.

Why do you think you deserve a refund? Is there now way to salvage the trip.
 
Aug 14, 2018
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#6
I’m not comfortable vacationing with active wildfires all over the state. I think it’s unsafe and prohibits us from going to some areas we wanted to visit.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#7
I’m not comfortable vacationing with active wildfires all over the state. I think it’s unsafe and prohibits us from going to some areas we wanted to visit.
You have some choices. If you are not comfortable you can simply wait and see if there is a general statewide flight advisory (very unlikely for LAX and SFO) and cancel at the last minute, or you can cancel now and accept the penalties. The airline is not likely to waive the cancellation fees but you can always ask. If you do not cancel you will forfeit the entire flight value.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
I’m not comfortable vacationing with active wildfires all over the state. I think it’s unsafe and prohibits us from going to some areas we wanted to visit.
Wildfires are nothing new in CA. Last year there were terrible ones in Sonoma and Napa.

It is something that is a risk for the area.

One buys insurance or more flexible tickets.

Friends of mine have been in San Francisco, (8/1) Sonoma (Santa Rosa), Napa County (Union) Redwoods, Orick (8/10) and are moving their way north to Oregon.

The fires in Napa and Sonoma are contained.
There are no fires near I5 LA to SF

The reason I mention this is that many people are still going on vacations to Napa and Sonoma. The terrible fires are not that close. This is not Puerto Rico after the hurricane, there are many areas that are not endangered in Napa and Sonoma.

Everyone has a different comfort level but you have to realize that you are asking for a big favor. If everyone was entitled to a refund on a non refundable fare to ÇA because of mudslides, fires, torrential rain the airlines would just stop selling refundable tickets.

Ask for a waiver of fees or to just pay one fee for person but by asking too much (a refund).
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#10
Yosemite has re-opened and the businesses in the areas that are re-opened desperately need tourism to stay in business. You would be helping these folks if you were able to travel (as long as it is safe to do so) by perhaps altering your route if possible.

Can I ask why you chose to buy separate one way tickets each instead of being on one ticket each way? Were you traveling from different areas?
 
Aug 14, 2018
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#11
Yosemite has re-opened and the businesses in the areas that are re-opened desperately need tourism to stay in business. You would be helping these folks if you were able to travel (as long as it is safe to do so) by perhaps altering your route if possible.

Can I ask why you chose to buy separate one way tickets each instead of being on one ticket each way? Were you traveling from different areas?
Yosemite has re-opened and the businesses in the areas that are re-opened desperately need tourism to stay in business. You would be helping these folks if you were able to travel (as long as it is safe to do so) by perhaps altering your route if possible.

Can I ask why you chose to buy separate one way tickets each instead of being on one ticket each way? Were you traveling from different areas?
I’m not sure I know what you’re asking? We each.have one way tickets from Nashville to LAX
 
Jan 23, 2015
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#12
Yeah, telling you from SF that you will be fine here, and can even drive up to Sonoma/Napa other points north and be fine. Same goes for LA.
The roads between the two are clear and you can have some lovely coastal scenic drives.
The fires are tragic and scary but you will be fine.
I hope you decide to come visit us!
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#14
"I’m not comfortable vacationing with active wildfires all over the state. I think it’s unsafe and prohibits us from going to some areas we wanted to visit." You could also drive south and visit other parts of CA. Or you could have purchased travel insurance (I think a cancel for any reason, as I am not sure yours would be covered) at the time the trip was booked or you could have purchased refundable fares. Fires in CA and the south are pretty common especially since, while somewhat alleviated, the drought conditions still exist.

Neil - probably because booking one way was easier since they are flying into LAX and out of SFO or the OP did not know how to use that feature on the website when booking.

You can certainly still try and write to the execs following the method outlined, but I think it is a long-shot. I would take the trip to CA and plan on some different activities or visiting a different region.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#16
You say you booked “2 return one way tickets from San Francisco.”

Why two tickets? Why weren’t you both booked on the same one way ticket? Then you’d only be exposed to one cancellation fee.
Not sure I follow you here. It's $200 per ticket, not per PNR, so whether they're one PNR or two for the trip home, would still be $400 in change fees for the return tickets alone. Where they could have benefited was booking an open jaw home-LAX/SFO-home, all on one ticket number (for each of them), rather than separate home-LAX and SFO-home tickets. That would have been $400 in total change fees.
 
Aug 15, 2018
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#17
The question should be: why did you book the flights as one-way when it would have been less expensive to book open-jaw round-trips. And you would not be paying 4 $200 change fees, only 2 saving $400. The Multi-City option on the booking page would have done this for you. One way tickets are almost always way more expensive than round trips.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#18
Again, the original post states they were flying into LAX (Nashville to LAX) and out of SFO (SFO to Nashville), so they booked 2 one way tix. I am guessing the OP did not know about the multi-city booking feature, which would have kept each RT tix on the same PNR. It would still require a $200 per tix cancellation fee, but would be much better than the $800 they are looking at having to pay now.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#20
Doesn't matter how or why you booked four separate tix; that's what you did. Now we have to help you make some lemonade. I have family and friends "back East" and I'm very familiar with the media coverage of disasters. But the media exists to sell advertising, and they'll make the biggest deal out of anything they can manage.

The facts are that Napa/Sonoma burned months ago. Mendocino is now ablaze. Mendocino is several hours from SF. Your trip should not be affected much. We have a gazillion things to do and see here, you can still enjoy your time in the wine country by making tentative plans and firming them up 30 days before you're scheduled to leave. If you have to skip the wine country, you can spend more time on the coast, highway 1 is endlessly fascinating and the scenery is gorgeous. There numerous interesting things to do between LA and SF, you could spend a month just driving up here. If you put $800 up against some nervousness that is caused by the media's delight in reporting disasters, it's not that difficult a decision. I hope we've added some perspective and things work out for you.