My American Airlines Misadventure

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Jul 11, 2019
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#1
I was recently traveling to Portland, Maine to speak at a conference put on by AARP. My American Airlines flight was due to land in Portland at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18th. The pilot attempted a landing but had to abort due to fog at the airport. We circled several times before landing at Boston’s Logan Airport. Upon landing, we were informed that the flight was cancelled and would resume at 9:30 a.m. on the 19th. We were let off the plane with no further information. While this was the logical thing to do due to weather, we were given no information or other options. There was a single attendant at the gate, but he was on the telephone for at least 15 minutes and no help to the travelers. This included a couple in the 80’s one of which was a woman struggling with a walker.

In the past, I have seen airlines charter a bus to take the passengers the remaining 100 miles to their destination. Information on buses or hotels would have been welcome. One couple paid $300 to rent a car to complete the trip while another couple got the last nearby hotel room for $388. While I was lucky enough to meet a local who directed me to the last bus of the evening, others were left to sleep in the terminal. My cost for the bus and subsequent cab was $50, but American Airlines does not reimburse people for such expenses. I arrived at my hotel at 2:30 a.m.

I have been in contact with their customer service folks, and remain unsatisfied with their performance. Simple courtesy at the time of the cancellation would have gone a long way. There was not a single person from the Airline to help us, or to explain anything. The woman in front of me was crying and my heart breaks for that older couple as they looked confused and distraught.

Again, I understand that weather plays a role in this, but I also feel that the Airline failed to deliver us to our destination. Simple courtesy would have helped those of us with no familiarity with the Boston area.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Unfortunately, when there are weather issues there is no obligation of the airline to put anyone one up in a hotel. Airlines would go broke if they had to do this with every flight cancelled because of weather.

It wouldn’t be possible for the airline to charter a bus at the last minute either.

This is where travel insurance plays a part in reimbursing you for hotel stays when this happens. If you didn’t purchase travel insurance, check with the credit card you purchased your trip with - that might have some benefits.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#3
The airline did deliver you to your destination, just later than expected. That's all they are contractually obligated to do.
 
May 1, 2018
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#4
While this was the logical thing to do due to weather, we were given no information or other options.
Sounds like a miserable journey for the passengers on your flight. You agree the pilot and crew did the reasonable thing by diverting to Logan so the reason for the diversion seems to have been properly communicated. You were also informed the flight would take off again in at 9:30 the morning. There weren't any other options that American could provide for you.

QUOTE="Robert Jones, post: 114230, member: 15411"]There was not a single person from the Airline to help us, or to explain anything.[/QUOTE]

I'm not sure how they could have helped you or what additional information they could provide to you. No one at American was going to be able to make rental car, bus, or hotel reservations. They aren't travel agents.

I also feel that the Airline failed to deliver us to our destination.
American would have delivered you to your destination in the morning.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
This was a very unfortunate flight. But it must have been very serious and potentially dangerous for the pilot to abort landing.

Once Air Traffic Control tells a pilot that they are diverted then the pilot has no choice — obviously it is some work to find a close by airport for the landing.

Boston at 10 pm is not highly staffed for AA —

There is an information desk at arrivals at Logan and I think it is staffed late (past 11 pm). They have information on hotels and transportation. And that is their job.

It may be a little unreasonable to expect a gate agent to provide transportation and hotel info when they are dealing with an unexpected plane landing.

And this is why travel insurance exists. If you do not have a policy check the credit card used for benefits.

And to say that AA failed to deliver — well they could not defy Air Traffic Control that evening and say oh going to land anyway, who cares about a little fog. The next day was offered which is not surprising given the time of night.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#7
I was recently traveling to Portland, Maine to speak at a conference put on by AARP. My American Airlines flight was due to land in Portland at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18th. The pilot attempted a landing but had to abort due to fog at the airport. We circled several times before landing at Boston’s Logan Airport. Upon landing, we were informed that the flight was cancelled and would resume at 9:30 a.m. on the 19th. We were let off the plane with no further information. While this was the logical thing to do due to weather, we were given no information or other options. There was a single attendant at the gate, but he was on the telephone for at least 15 minutes and no help to the travelers. This included a couple in the 80’s one of which was a woman struggling with a walker.

In the past, I have seen airlines charter a bus to take the passengers the remaining 100 miles to their destination. Information on buses or hotels would have been welcome. One couple paid $300 to rent a car to complete the trip while another couple got the last nearby hotel room for $388. While I was lucky enough to meet a local who directed me to the last bus of the evening, others were left to sleep in the terminal. My cost for the bus and subsequent cab was $50, but American Airlines does not reimburse people for such expenses. I arrived at my hotel at 2:30 a.m.

I have been in contact with their customer service folks, and remain unsatisfied with their performance. Simple courtesy at the time of the cancellation would have gone a long way. There was not a single person from the Airline to help us, or to explain anything. The woman in front of me was crying and my heart breaks for that older couple as they looked confused and distraught.

Again, I understand that weather plays a role in this, but I also feel that the Airline failed to deliver us to our destination. Simple courtesy would have helped those of us with no familiarity with the Boston area.
If you were flying into a small regional airport at 10 PM expecting to attend/speak at a meeting the next AM you needed to rearrange your travel planning. This type of schedule causes people to miss events, weddings, cruises, etc in droves. The forums are full of these sad stories where people miss family reunions, weddings, business meetings, and cruises.

You needed to fly in on the early flight the day before your event, or better yet two days before the event. If that had been your itinerary you could have easily flown to Portland the next AM as AA was planning to do. AA could not get you safely to your destination due to weather and they had no obligation to arrange other transportation prior to the next morning's flight.
 
Likes: LeslieK

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#8
I am going to take a bit of a different approach in my [email protected] Jones, I think you sound reasonable, you understand that the airline made the best possible decision to land elsewhere and that weather was the reason. What I hear you wish they did was add some customer service by communicating to the passengers, be it they are not responsible for hotels, food, etc. but can offer a list of hotels and their phone numbers in the area as well as potential options for passengers that would like to press on to Portland rather than wait until the next day's rescheduled flight. I, personally, do not think that is too much to ask from a service oriented business. Unfortunately, air travel has lost most all customer service these days and lack any training in the proper way to communicate to their customers.

If you are interested in receiving a voucher toward a future flight, I would write to customer service, politely and briefly, that you would have hoped for better communication under the circumstances and that offering a little customer service in terms of information would be a great benefit to both the airline and their customers.
 
Jul 11, 2019
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#9
I
Unfortunately, when there are weather issues there is no obligation of the airline to put anyone one up in a hotel. Airlines would go broke if they had to do this with every flight cancelled because of weather.

It wouldn’t be possible for the airline to charter a bus at the last minute either.

This is where travel insurance plays a part in reimbursing you for hotel stays when this happens. If you didn’t purchase travel insurance, check with the credit card you purchased your trip with - that might have some benefits.
I did not ask for a hotel room, I merely wanted courtesy and professionalism. There was no one to explain our options to us. We had some very upset folks on the flight who would have been comforted by a little direction from the airline.
 
Likes: agnostic
Jul 11, 2019
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#10
I am going to take a bit of a different approach in my [email protected] Jones, I think you sound reasonable, you understand that the airline made the best possible decision to land elsewhere and that weather was the reason. What I hear you wish they did was add some customer service by communicating to the passengers, be it they are not responsible for hotels, food, etc. but can offer a list of hotels and their phone numbers in the area as well as potential options for passengers that would like to press on to Portland rather than wait until the next day's rescheduled flight. I, personally, do not think that is too much to ask from a service oriented business. Unfortunately, air travel has lost most all customer service these days and lack any training in the proper way to communicate to their customers.

If you are interested in receiving a voucher toward a future flight, I would write to customer service, politely and briefly, that you would have hoped for better communication under the circumstances and that offering a little customer service in terms of information would be a great benefit to both the airline and their customers.
I am going to take a bit of a different approach in my [email protected] Jones, I think you sound reasonable, you understand that the airline made the best possible decision to land elsewhere and that weather was the reason. What I hear you wish they did was add some customer service by communicating to the passengers, be it they are not responsible for hotels, food, etc. but can offer a list of hotels and their phone numbers in the area as well as potential options for passengers that would like to press on to Portland rather than wait until the next day's rescheduled flight. I, personally, do not think that is too much to ask from a service oriented business. Unfortunately, air travel has lost most all customer service these days and lack any training in the proper way to communicate to their customers.

If you are interested in receiving a voucher toward a future flight, I would write to customer service, politely and briefly, that you would have hoped for better communication under the circumstances and that offering a little customer service in terms of information would be a great benefit to both the airline and their customers.
That is all that I was seeking, professionalism and courtesy. I was given a $50 voucher which covered my out of pocket for bus and cab fare. However, that did not cover the inconvenience and lost sleep.
 
Likes: agnostic

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#11
I am going to take a bit of a different approach in my [email protected] Jones, I think you sound reasonable, you understand that the airline made the best possible decision to land elsewhere and that weather was the reason. What I hear you wish they did was add some customer service by communicating to the passengers, be it they are not responsible for hotels, food, etc. but can offer a list of hotels and their phone numbers in the area as well as potential options for passengers that would like to press on to Portland rather than wait until the next day's rescheduled flight. I, personally, do not think that is too much to ask from a service oriented business. Unfortunately, air travel has lost most all customer service these days and lack any training in the proper way to communicate to their customers.

If you are interested in receiving a voucher toward a future flight, I would write to customer service, politely and briefly, that you would have hoped for better communication under the circumstances and that offering a little customer service in terms of information would be a great benefit to both the airline and their customers.
AA is the perennial leader (in the worst way) for numbers of cases on Elliott.org. Their case numbers are greater than UA, DL and SW combined. AA has shown itself to be anything but "a service oriented business." They might offer some miles but a travel voucher is unlikely since the OP would have arrived at their destination the next day on AA if they had not taken a bus on their own. But you can always ask.
 
Sep 27, 2017
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#12
Unfortunately, when there are weather issues there is no obligation of the airline to put anyone one up in a hotel. Airlines would go broke if they had to do this with every flight cancelled because of weather.

It wouldn’t be possible for the airline to charter a bus at the last minute either.

This is where travel insurance plays a part in reimbursing you for hotel stays when this happens. If you didn’t purchase travel insurance, check with the credit card you purchased your trip with - that might have some benefits.
Neil--

The OP is not asking for reimbursement as far as I can tell. His complaint is the lack of courtesy from the airline. What they did was leave a lot of confused passengers on the ground in a strange city late at night. I believe the OP's concern is there should have been someone on the ground to explain options, such as nearby hotels, bus travel, future flights, etc. Instead, they were just dumped.

It's not a monetary issue; it's a courtesy/decency one.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,958
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Maui Hawaii
#13
Here is the AA track record on Elliott.org. AA is consistently ~5% of ALL Elliott.org complaints/cases. They work hard to remain #1. "Courtesy/decency" does not compute with AA.

1 American Airlines 279 4.86%
2 Airbnb 105 1.83%
3 United Airlines 101 1.76%
4 AT&T Communications 92 1.60%
5 Expedia 91 1.58%
6 PayPal 79 1.38%
 
Likes: agnostic

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#14
AA is the perennial leader (in the worst way) for numbers of cases on Elliott.org. Their case numbers are greater than UA, DL and SW combined. AA has shown itself to be anything but "a service oriented business." They might offer some miles but a travel voucher is unlikely since the OP would have arrived at their destination the next day on AA if they had not taken a bus on their own. But you can always ask.
Doesn't mean the OP shouldn't ask....all they can say is no and maybe, with a well-crafted letter, he will actually get something. I know I did when my husband and I were re-seated on an AA flight. I called and spoke to a rep explaining that we actually enjoy each other's company and consider traveling to a destination almost as important as the destination itself so wished we could be seated together. I think he got a kick out of my comments so, the guy gave us each $100 voucher. So, it is possible that there is someone at AA that has a sense of customer service!
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#15
That is all that I was seeking, professionalism and courtesy. I was given a $50 voucher which covered my out of pocket for bus and cab fare. However, that did not cover the inconvenience and lost sleep.
Did they give you the voucher at the airport or did you contact them at a later date and given the voucher?
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#16
But that was his choice. He could have waited until the next flight in the morning, which AA was going to do. I'm not saying this wasn't a PITA, but contractually, AA fulfilled its part of the deal.

No they didn’t the OP bought himself a Bus ticket and went the last 100 miles from Boston to Portland Maine on his own dime.
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#17
That is all that I was seeking, professionalism and courtesy. I was given a $50 voucher which covered my out of pocket for bus and cab fare. However, that did not cover the inconvenience and lost sleep.
Unfortunately, no airline provides reimbursement for inconvenience and lost sleep.

Sadly, flight disruptions and cancellations are now par for the course in modern air travel. It's important to have provisions for such events like keeping apporpriate snacks in your bag in case the airport vendors are closed or having the resources to check into a hotel. Perhaps keep an eye out for any fellow passengers who may need special assistance. I agree that when things like this happen a little courtesy consideration makes all the difference, however, at such a late hour the staffing level tends to be minimal.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Oct 30, 2015
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#18
I live in Portland, ME and often fly in and out of both Portland and Boston. As such, I'm very used to scrambling to make it those last 100 miles from Boston because my plane doesn't make it to PWM or I just chose to fly in/out of Boston. I'm very glad that a local directed you to the bus. It's easy and fairly inexpensive (though I've rented plenty cars to drive to Portland late at night). I agree that an employee at Logan Airport should/could have directed passengers to the bus or Amtrak that services Portland. It is a common manner of transport from Logan, and I would be shocked if the employees were not familiar with that alternative. I'm glad the airline gave you a voucher. If you had spent the night and re-boarded the plane for that lovely 20 minute flight to Portland it would not, in my opinion, have been worth the extra hassle. Of course, if you aren't aware of the alternatives I guess it's a decent (or the only) option. It's really a shame that the gate agent couldn't have taken some time to suggest investigating ground transportation since it is abundant from Boston to Portland.
 
May 1, 2018
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#19
at such a late hour the staffing level tends to be minimal.
Especially at an airport that wasn't expecting that flight. It couldn't have been more than 30 mins between the captain deciding to divert to Logan and the plane touching down. I know AA customer service is terrible in general, but could any airline have a team of people ready to help a plane full of passengers in that time frame?
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#20
I


I did not ask for a hotel room, I merely wanted courtesy and professionalism. There was no one to explain our options to us. We had some very upset folks on the flight who would have been comforted by a little direction from the airline.
The airline did, in fact, explain your ‘options.’
Everything between then and the boarding time of the re-scheduled flight the next morning was yours to do with as you pleased.
I’m 67 and fairly able-bodied and would NOT put myself in a position of landing at 10pm in any case.
It’s nice when people get any extra help needed, but it cannot to be demanded.