Should a passenger have to call their own travel advisory to gain the attention of AA?

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#1
My 23 y.o. daughter, Susie (name changed for privacy) & her 17 y.o. cousin, Martha (name changed for privacy) purposely missed a leg of their flight from Paris to London on Saturday June 16th, 2017 as they were trying to avoid at least 1 area with a very heightened terrorism threat. My 23 y.o. daughter originally flew into London Heathrow the afternoon of the London Bridge attack, but flew to Paris before it occurred. While in Paris, they visited Notre Dame on Tuesday June 6th, the day before the attack on the police officer occurred on June 7th. On June 8th, they visited the Louvre, & while in the mall area-2 iron gates came crashing down before them with directions in @ first French, then English, telling them to immediately Evacuate! Evacuate! the building, but never did find out why, nor at that point, did they particularly care! My daughter & niece were so traumatized by these events & the constant wail of sirens during the duration of their visit to Paris, that they almost wanted to cut short the remainder of their 2 week European vacation. They left Paris on Saturday, June 10th & headed to Venice/Rome, Italy & Mykonos, Greece, which were all relatively uneventful from a terrorism standpoint & were able to actually enjoy themselves while there. Unfortunately, when she booked her itinerary in February, she was only able to book her return flight by way of Mykonos to Athens, Athens to Paris, Paris to London, & London to Chicago, O hare. So they purposely missed the Paris to London leg of the trip, to avoid having to be back in Paris, where incidentally 1-2 days after they returned home, was when the guy tried to blow up his car on the busy Paris boulevard. They did this by booking a totally different flight from Athens directly to London, thereby avoiding in their minds, a potential area of
terrorism. They notified American Airlines before they missed the Paris to London leg of the trip, which as you indicated cancelled the entire trip, even though they had already printed their boarding passes for the London to Chicago flight. Both of them purchased flight insurance. My daughter was charged an additional $532 & niece charged $732 dollars to come home on a flight that they were already booked on. They are seeking to be reimbursed for the above re-booking fees due to them feeling completely unsafe in Paris & not wanting to have to go back through Paris to get home.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#2
@Laura VanDerStuyf Unless there is a reason why your daughter cannot advocate for herself, it is best that she handles all communication with the airlines directly. Airlines rarely engage in communication with the parent of an adult passenger.

That being said, have your daughter write a brief, polite and professional email to customer service requesting a voucher for a future flight equal to the additional amount paid. It is highly unlikely the airline will give her a refund. She and her cousin chose to reroute themselves. While the reasons are understandable, none of those activities are the fault of the airline so the request is asking for an exception to standard ticketing. If she would like to post her letter here prior to emailing customer service for helpful suggestions, we would be more than happy to assist her.
 

Neil Maley

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Staff Member
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Dec 27, 2014
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#3
Why would they book that itinerary to get home? You should have called a travel agent- there are plenty of airlines that could have gotten them home from Mykonos without going through Paris.

Unfortunately, when you miss one piece of a multi stop flight every flight after is canceled. All airlines are the same. You are marked as a no show.

Why didn't they go to the airline and have them rebook the flight instead of doing what they did? They would have had to pay a rebooking fee AND any difference in the air cost as it would be a walk up fare.

And I bet the change would have cost as much as they paid for new tickets.

Did they put in a claim with their travel insurance? Although I am not sure that insurance would cover a deliberate missed flight.
 
Likes: AMA
Nov 14, 2016
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#4
(1) Your daughter handled this incorrectly. It has always been the position of the airlines that if you fail to show up for a leg of your trip that the entire ticket is canceled. This is well-known and well documented in their CoC. She should have contacted AA to make the appropriate changes to her itinerary. This would have likely cost a change fee but that would have been less than getting new flights. Thus AA's response of canceling the ticket is the anticipated action they would take to the flight being missed. Since they're just following the CoC, it's important to note that anything they offer is over and above what they're required to offer. Your daughter is not owed anything by the terms of the ticket.

(2) While everyone is different, I'm struggling to understand the reasoning here. London suffered two attacks within weeks - the concert and the bridge - and the initial buzz was that the Grenfell Tower apartment fire was also terrorism related. There were no terror attacks in Paris during this time. So why would they feel threatened in Paris but not in London? Nor would your daughter have had to leave CDG as they would have just been changing planes in the airport. That's a pretty extreme and irrational response to terror is to skip one airport in a city where nothing has happened to fly to another where there were two identified attacks (and the apartment fire was reported as such on the 14th of June when your daughter was re-routing) . Her reasoning makes absolutely no logical sense. Note that I was in both Paris and London during the exact same time period.

If she registers here we'll be more than happy to tell her how to pursue a credit or refund from AA. While again this is not owed by AA, we can give her advice on how to craft an email to customer care and escalate as needed hoping that someone in AA will bend the rules. And to set the proper expectation, it is far more likely that if AA does anything it will be in the form of a credit and not cash back. However, AA is not likely going to respond to you trying to advocate on her behalf without her starting the process so it would be best if she registered here so we can help her start the process.

PS - it is also unlikely that travel insurance will pay out in this case since voluntarily missing the flight deliberately causes the loss to the insurance company. It's possible but it's kind of like purposely wrecking your own car - intentional damages aren't covered.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Certainly there are some cities in Europe that are at a higher risk than others for a terrorist attack. Each traveler has to assess their comfort level.

Kahhss makes very good points about the challenges the travelers will face when asking for consideration.

More people have died in terrorist attacks in London in the past 3 months than in Paris. Yet Paris was avoided and London was not? Sirens in Paris do not mean terrorism there are numerous non terrorist emergencies like fire or ambulance that require sirens.

Did the original trip require an overnight in Paris? If not, why was the airport thought to be unsafe?

And the travelers bought a new ticket Athens to London under the reason of avoiding terrorism? Did the travelers ever contact the airline before intentionally skipping a flight?

It will be a challenge to convince the airline that a fear of terrorism made London a better choice over Paris. If one had chosen Iceland as a point of departure to the US there would be more credibility.
 
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