Significant Flight Change - How/Should I ask for Compensation?

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Jun 13, 2019
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#1
I booked a specific red-eye flight from PDX to MCO (vacation to Disney World) through AA. I like them, I have a credit card with them. I have never had any problems with them or flights.

However, I recently received a change of schedule email which negatively impacts my trip.

The original departure from PDX left at 6pm on Friday, all four adults (Note: We have a 1 year old/infant with us with her own seat) planned to work most of the day and then head to the airport in the late afternoon. The new departure leaves PDX at 8:20A, almost 10 hours earlier, requiring us to take the full day off work.

That flight also arrives at 8:00P Friday instead of our original 5:30A arrival the next day. This is important because we now need to find a hotel for Friday night.

The departure also cuts out 6 hours of our time on our final day in Orlando (Saturday) and so effectively we have lost those hours of our vacation.

I cannot find any comparable, easily accommodating flights, even more expensive ones that give us back the lost 6 hours of vacation time, that don't take hours away on the front end (arriving later than 5:30A on Saturday)

Effectively, we are now going to have to pay for another hotel night, change a lot of our plans to ensure the things we planned to do can fit into the now shorter available park/resort time and take an extra day off work to accept these flight changes. I calculated it to be around $1200 of additional charges/costs to us (wages and hotel, food etc.,). I did not include the value of my time having to re-arrange an already planned trip in reservations, schedules and events, but if I valued that time it could easily be over $1500 lost.

Honestly, I have done about 3-4 hours of research racking my brain to see if there are flights from ANY airline we could accept and just cancel these flights, but while some are close to ok, and flight change solution doesn't seem to be able to solve both the extra hotel night problem AND the loss of park hours (all the options seem to only solve one or the other).

So, since a flight change is probably not going to do it, and we are stuck paying extra for a hotel and taking an extra day off, I'd honestly like to see if it is possible for our seats to be upgraded in some way, to nicer seats. I'd be okay with some sort of voucher or miles, but we'd honestly love to see if they'd just treat us extra nice to First Class or Premium Seating I'd say that would really make this inconvenience into a much better situation.

I know asking for upgrades is not very polite, I am guessing most people ask for vouchers or what not so if upgrades are not what people typically ask for, let me know. I want to solve the issue as amicably as possible, but since I have never had this happen before I don't know how to go about it!

Since we have a 1 year old with us, we can't be put in the exit row which I think is important to know.

Thanks for reading!


Date of transaction/travel date: 05/14/201
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#2
I booked a specific red-eye flight from PDX to MCO (vacation to Disney World) through AA. I like them, I have a credit card with them. I have never had any problems with them or flights.

However, I recently received a change of schedule email which negatively impacts my trip.

The original departure from PDX left at 6pm on Friday, all four adults (Note: We have a 1 year old/infant with us with her own seat) planned to work most of the day and then head to the airport in the late afternoon. The new departure leaves PDX at 8:20A, almost 10 hours earlier, requiring us to take the full day off work.

That flight also arrives at 8:00P Friday instead of our original 5:30A arrival the next day. This is important because we now need to find a hotel for Friday night.

The departure also cuts out 6 hours of our time on our final day in Orlando (Saturday) and so effectively we have lost those hours of our vacation.

I cannot find any comparable, easily accommodating flights, even more expensive ones that give us back the lost 6 hours of vacation time, that don't take hours away on the front end (arriving later than 5:30A on Saturday)

Effectively, we are now going to have to pay for another hotel night, change a lot of our plans to ensure the things we planned to do can fit into the now shorter available park/resort time and take an extra day off work to accept these flight changes. I calculated it to be around $1200 of additional charges/costs to us (wages and hotel, food etc.,). I did not include the value of my time having to re-arrange an already planned trip in reservations, schedules and events, but if I valued that time it could easily be over $1500 lost.

Honestly, I have done about 3-4 hours of research racking my brain to see if there are flights from ANY airline we could accept and just cancel these flights, but while some are close to ok, and flight change solution doesn't seem to be able to solve both the extra hotel night problem AND the loss of park hours (all the options seem to only solve one or the other).

So, since a flight change is probably not going to do it, and we are stuck paying extra for a hotel and taking an extra day off, I'd honestly like to see if it is possible for our seats to be upgraded in some way, to nicer seats. I'd be okay with some sort of voucher or miles, but we'd honestly love to see if they'd just treat us extra nice to First Class or Premium Seating I'd say that would really make this inconvenience into a much better situation.

I know asking for upgrades is not very polite, I am guessing most people ask for vouchers or what not so if upgrades are not what people typically ask for, let me know. I want to solve the issue as amicably as possible, but since I have never had this happen before I don't know how to go about it!

Since we have a 1 year old with us, we can't be put in the exit row which I think is important to know.

Thanks for reading!


Date of transaction/travel date: 05/14/201
When are you supposed to travel?

You will not get a first class seat out of this.

AA has had to redo their schedules because of the 737 MAX debacle. What are your travel dates?
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 13, 2019
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#3
When are you supposed to travel?

You will not get a first class seat out of this.

AA has had to redo their schedules because of the 737 MAX debacle. What are your travel dates?
Yes, I know they had to redo their schedules. I am aware that I most likely wont get an upgrade out of this, that is why I am asking for what would actually be considered a reasonable request.

I am supposed to travel:

9/13 PDX - MCO 6PM - 5:3OA (9/14)
9/21 MCO - PDX 7:30P - 12:26A(9/22)

Our schedule now is:
9/13 PDX - MCO 8:20A - 8PM
9/21 MCO - PDX 1:40P - 7:30P
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#5
You don’t have to accept the change- look on the website and see if there is another flight that works for you. If there is another flight that works- tell them to move you to that instead.

Otherwise you can tell them to cancel the reservation and provide a full refund and book somewhere else. They aren’t going to give you money or compensation- you can get a refund and book elsewhere.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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#7
A reasonable request is to allow them to change the flights to a more favorable schedule that fits your needs. Alternatively, a reasonable request is to request a refund so that you can book on another carrier.
And if there isn't a favorable schedule or flight set available that fits my needs?

And a Refund would force me to pay a significant amount more with a different airline for a flight that also doesn't fit my needs? I am not trying to be rude or pedantic, but I earnestly did try to find a flight that would work, and I can't. No matter how I slice it, the end result is that I will need to book an additional hotel night and/or take an additional day off work. Neither thing I want to do. Am I wrong to assume that I shouldn't just accept that my schedule has been adversely affected? Should I just suck it up and take the best alternative and deal with the consequences to my trip?

I don't know how many of you are Disney World planner types, but going to WDW takes a great deal of planning and prep. Reservations go quite fast and can be hard to get for dinning and event pacakges so when things change, it can be hard to fix. I am not implying that that is AA's fault, I am just explaining why I feel frustrated that my flight is gone. I am trying to make peace with the fact that I am going to lose hours of parks/resort time, but it is hard. I guess I just have to suck it up buttercup and deal with the new flights.

You don’t have to accept the change- look on the website and see if there is another flight that works for you. If there is another flight that works- tell them to move you to that instead.

Otherwise you can tell them to cancel the reservation and provide a full refund and book somewhere else. They aren’t going to give you money or compensation- you can get a refund and book elsewhere.
Okay, that is what I needed to hear, I thought maybe an upgrade to the front of the main cabin (the economy plus seats) might be something they'd do, but if they don't do upgrades in this situation then I guess I just have to eat the flight and deal with the additional hotel night. There is nothing that is comparable in cost or time available to me.

Did you look at Alaska PDX to MCO and the Sea to MCO flights. We usually take Alaska’s Red Eye from Seattle. We buy the kids seats with Alaska Companion Fares $99 RT
I don't have access to Alaska Companion fares AFAIK. I am not an Alaska CC holder and I do not have many Alaska Air miles. The Alaska flight from PDX -> MCO that would work is $3599.95 and I paid $2565 for our 5 main cabin seats so that is $1000 extra to get the itinerary I want.. and if I am going to expend that much, I might as well just stick with what I am stuck with and deal with the hotel/opportunity costs. It's not ideal, but re-booking does not sound fun at all.


Thanks for the wake up call. I guess I was hoping some sort of good will upgrade to some of the front-of-main-cabin seats would be in my cards, but I know that is probably pretty grimey of me. Thanks for clarifying.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,127
16,265
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
Unfortunately it’s take it or leave it from the airlines. For that significant of a time change, they have to provide you with a full refund if the new time doesn't work for you.

You should check with your insurance company and see if it will cover the extra night.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 13, 2019
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#9
Unfortunately it’s take it or leave it from the airlines. For that significant of a time change, they have to provide you with a full refund if the new time doesn't work for you.

You should check with your insurance company and see if it will cover the extra night.
Thank you, I will contact them and see what is covered.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Yes, I know they had to redo their schedules. I am aware that I most likely wont get an upgrade out of this, that is why I am asking for what would actually be considered a reasonable request.

I am supposed to travel:

9/13 PDX - MCO 6PM - 5:3OA (9/14)
9/21 MCO - PDX 7:30P - 12:26A(9/22)

Our schedule now is:
9/13 PDX - MCO 8:20A - 8PM
9/21 MCO - PDX 1:40P - 7:30P
Have you looked at Delta flights?

I got the fare as being $2172 total for 4 for this itinerary and it left close to the times you had and this is not Basic Economy it is the main cabin — leaving 6:51 pm on the 13th change in LAX and arrive at 6:28 am

AA has many faults — but this latest cancellation is a result of Boeing and the 737 MAX planes not being ready to fly — was supposed to start up in late August. Southwest also has had a terrible amount of cancellations and schedule adjustments because of the same problem. The reason the airlines are not feeling so generous is that they have already lost a lot of money from something that is Boeing’s fault and Southwest and AA have had it the worst in the US. United has a few issues with the MAX and Delta zero.

Honestly I am not a great fan of Alaska to the east coast — they have a smaller network and if there is a mechanical problem one has a problem. Jet Blue does not have a lot of options for leaving after work.
 

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johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#12
That's the airline way! We can change our schedule on a whim but you have to pay a fee if you do...

Best answer is to search of a better itinerary on AA... if that doesn't work, then see if what you paid AA will cover a better flight on a different airline.

So you can set your expectations... they probably are going to throw a flight credit or miles at you. There is a low probability that you will get cash.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#13
I think you are asking all the right questions without sounding greedy. Your situation is frustrating. Just because there are those that are saying you won’t get an upgrade to seats toward the front shouldn’t deter you from asking. You’ve been very polite in presenting your case here, I suggest doing the same with AA. The worst result is they offer nothing but they may surprise you and offer something for your troubles. Even if they are not required to.

I once called them because we lost our seat assignments together. They couldn’t accommodate us so the agent gave each of us a $100 voucher. I think he got a kick out of me saying that my husband and I actually like spending time together and that the flight is just as much of the vacation experience as the destination!
 
Jun 13, 2019
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#14
Have you looked at Delta flights?

I got the fare as being $2172 total for 4 for this itinerary and it left close to the times you had and this is not Basic Economy it is the main cabin — leaving 6:51 pm on the 13th change in LAX and arrive at 6:28 am
Yeah, I have seen those flights, but the return flight doesn't work because its earlier than what I already have, cutting out the entire day of September 21st.

My choices seem to be these:

A. Keep what I have been given - get an extra hotel night and request the time off work and deal with the 6 hour park time loss.

B. Get a better departing flight, and deal with the 8-9 hours of park time lost.

C. Get a better departing flight, and push my return flight to Sunday morning (get an extra hotel night) and salvage the park time.

D. Cancel the trip with AA, book with Alaska or Delta on something comparable to what I had for $1000 more.

But, like I said, I do really appreciate you guys looking into this and setting me straight on what is reasonable to request in this situation.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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#15
That's the airline way! We can change our schedule on a whim but you have to pay a fee if you do...

Best answer is to search of a better itinerary on AA... if that doesn't work, then see if what you paid AA will cover a better flight on a different airline.

So you can set your expectations... they probably are going to throw a flight credit or miles at you. There is a low probability that you will get cash.
Yeah. Just to clarify, because I don't want to sound dumb. I am 100% not looking for cash, but is a upgrade request considered cash?

I assumed that an upgrade would be a less costly solution than putting me on a more expensive flight or having me cancel my trip and refund my money, but that seems to be inaccurate. I wouldn't say that I am super travel savvy but I am curious if that is the piece I am missing. I know an upgrade has value, but I tried my best to work it out and the main cabin front seats (the ones with extra legroom) are valued at around $70-75 retail apiece per leg of the trip. For the five of us that is $1500. But I imagine that those upgraded seats have a different "value" to the airline than their actual retail price, so I was figuring that the goodwill of upgrading our trip on a less than good flight would equal out against having me switch to a more expensive flight at their cost.

Like, lets say I was willing to switch to AA's flights listed here:

1560526020212.png

It's $2045 PER PERSON but it is the closest thing to my original schedule AA has, and while I still lose about 4 hours of park time, its comparable. However the current cost is $7658.50 MORE than what I paid. Am I incorrect in assuming that upgrading me to a nicer seat in the main cabin on the flight they have changed me to would be a better move cost-wise for them? I don't full understand the metrics of their flight costs so the inflated cost of that flight compared to what I originally booked that is similar is strange to me. I'd much rather resolve the situation with a perk for my troubles, rather than settling for a flight that is almost as good as what I had, but still not great.

I could also book this flight set:
1560526478097.png

But I would have to book an additional hotel night on the back end. However this is probably the best option for my trip if an upgrade is not in the cards. And yet, the cost of this trip is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than just putting me... somewhere nicer?

I think this might end up being my solution, getting this flight on sunday and getting an additional night on the back-end. It still isn't what I want but its what I need and if an upgrade isn't in the cards I'll have to take what I can get!
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#16
Just throwing this out there....

If you do not mind flying Alaska Airlines and driving up to SEA (Seattle) there is a non-stop option:

9/13/2019 AS20 SEA 2130 MCO 0605
9/21/2019 AS19 MCO 1905 SEA 2210

As far as AA goes... there is AA 1929, a 10:34PM red-eye from PDX through CLT (Charlotte)
There are more options available from Seattle, if that is an option.


I totally get your frustration, and I totally get your frustration. On a side note, I am a Disney "expert" and understand how hard it is to get ADRs, FPS, etc.

However, the reality of airplane travel in 2019 is that it is not a friendly environment for the consumer. Airline schedules change on a whim (with our without MAX 8 issues), and schedules are tight that delays, cancellations and reroutes are inevitable. The reality is that you have scheduled a tight timeline that depends on everything going exactly right. As you have posted, you are planning on working, getting off work, going to the airport, boarding your flight, landing in Orlando, and hit the parks running that same day. Again, I don't blame you, but based on my experience (and most of the advocates here will likely back me up), the probability that it goes exactly like you planned is not high. What if the red eye flight were delayed or canceled. What if you missed the connecting flight to MCO? Stress free air travel in 2019 requires building in contingencies and delays.

Personally, if I were in your situation, I would take the day off work, take the 7AM flight out of PDX. Plan to book an airport hotel the night of 9/13/2019 at MCO that offers a free shuttle. Get to MCO, have a good nights sleep, shuttle back to MCO the next morning and use DME to get to WDW. If there is a delay or cancellation, at least you have additional options that allow you to begin your WDW vacation on 9/14/2019. Whereas if you book a night flight and anything goes wrong, you may not be able to start your WDW vacation until 9/15/2019.

Constructive criticism, you schedule is VERY tight and depends on everything going right. At least AA gave you 3 months notice (no I am not excusing AA), because I would be SHOCKED if there were no more schedule changes between now and departure. The CoC allows the airlines to do this.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#17
In reply to your last post...

CALL AA. Because the switch was involuntary... (ie AA made the schedule change), they should allow you to change flights to a flight with availability. You are not responsible for the difference in fares or change fees.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#18
Also, I would caution against the 2 stop flight through PHX, and MIA. Your chances of a misconnect and baggage issues increases with a 2 stop. Have you looked at Southwest which has no baggage fees?
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 13, 2019
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#20
Just throwing this out there....
I totally get your frustration, and I totally get your frustration. On a side note, I am a Disney "expert" and understand how hard it is to get ADRs, FPS, etc.

.....

Constructive criticism, you schedule is VERY tight and depends on everything going right. At least AA gave you 3 months notice (no I am not excusing AA), because I would be SHOCKED if there were no more schedule changes between now and departure. The CoC allows the airlines to do this.
Thank you so much, yeah I made the schedule pretty tight, and everyone in the trip was and is aware that anything could go wrong and leave us stranded at an airport. Side note anecdote, my husband and I went to Kansas to visit family and our flight was delayed over 8 hours due to a mechanical issue where they had to fly another plane in from vegas with the piece they needed. I wasn't stressed or worried, we missed our plans that day but there was really nothing that could be done and we were still on vacation together. I'd take a similar approach to any delay once we depart for WDW. It would suck to be stranded at an airport missing our Disney fun, but at that point there is nothing anyone can do to change it.

Whereas right now there might be something that can be done.

But like I said, I know its my own damn fault my schedule is so tight... when I go to Disney I just want to squeeze every ounce of Disney out of each day (including ounces of Disney relaxing poolside).... there is just too much to do!


Have you looked at two one way tickets? A new one outgoing and rebooking your existing return flight?
I am, but I am starting to get airline search fatigue. It took me quite a bit of time to finally land on the flight I booked. I may have to take a break and come back to the search after I hear from AA. Different flight plans are all starting to blur together.