Three complaint emails on your AA Customer Relations site - no response in 34 days

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Mar 30, 2019
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#1
My wife and I purchased two tickets O'Hare to Phoenix on American Airlines - Sunday 2/17/19 flight 1811 $374.60 round trip each, departure 9:49 to meet family friends whose 31 year daughter, and our daughters best friend, passed away 3 days prior.

We boarded the flight at approximately 9:20 and just prior to take-off the CAPT announced they were going to hold the plane to allow 20 connecting passengers to board, which would take approximately 45 minutes. Given that weather was not good - snow storm - it seemed unusual; it actually ended up taking about an hour for them to board and by this time our flight was pushed back even further. We eventually took off at 12:25, after sitting on the tarmac for over 3 hours.

on 2/24/19 I followed AA procedures and sent in a complaint, #1-2xxxxxxxxxx, identifying the time delay, the fact that they ran out of food within the first 15 rows, the Internet failed to work until near the end of the flight and that the delay caused us to miss meeting our friends as they had to be at Temple to discuss arrangements for their daughters service. We did receive a call 7 days later on 3/3/19 from an AA agent in response to my email, who addressed our concerns, and initially offered $100 compensation for each of us, as well as (another issue) adding 12,500 miles back into my AA account at no charge (our daughter did not use original return ticket purchased w/ miles as her friends condition worsened). However, she said that because we may have been on the tarmac for greater than 3 hours she was referring this to another section of Customer Relations, and we would hear back within 5 days. We did not hear back so on 3/10/19, 7 days later, I filed a second complaint, 1-2xxxxxxxxxx, referencing the 1st complaint and the call, and asked for resolution. We did not hear back so once again, 7 days later, on 3/17/19, I called American Airlines Customer Service and spent 40 minutes on hold and in discussion with them. They explained that they are restricted from contacting Customer Relations and all I could do was to send a third email complaint, referencing the first two, and "she was sure someone would contact me". On 3/19/19 I emailed my 3rd complaint, 1-2xxxxxxxxxx and to date, 11 days later, I have received no correspondence to that 3rd request. I checked spam and there were no AA emails there. It has, disappointingly, been 34 days and three formal complaints with no response from AA, save a short contact 4 weeks ago.

Not sure I'll ever hear back, but would appreciate some direction on my next step.

Edited by a moderator to remove complaint numbers
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Have you written to the CEO? If not, do it, give a list of the names of those you wrote to and tell him as a last resort you are reaching out to him because this was a violation of the DOT Tarmac rules.

You can actually file a DOT complaint if you don’t hear back.

Make sure you aren’t adding any attachments. That sends the letters to spam.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#3
According to the DOT:

"During a tarmac delay, airlines must provide you with a snack, such as a granola bar, and drinking water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of a departure) or touches down (in the case of an arrival)."​

If they did that, they fulfilled that requirement. Beyond that, airlines' Contract of Carriage only guarantees transport, which they did (albeit late).

You seem to indicate that you are willing to accept their offer. You can reach out to American using the Company Contacts link at the top of this page. Explain the offer and state simply that you have submitted complaints with no response . . .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,077
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
How long were you actually on the tarmac? Was it exactly three hours or less? Or over three hours?

Once it’s over three hours, then you fall into the tarmac delay piece of DOT rules regardless of them providing food and water.

It is imperative that you are exact on how long the delay was. You say it was over three hours and if that’s true the tarmac delay rules were not adhered to.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
2/17/19 had a massive amount of delays, and ground stops and “traffic management program” mandated by the FAA because of snow and ice conditions at ORD.

For tarmac delays and the 3 hour rule

“Are there any exceptions to these requirements?
  • Yes. Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. You should not exit the airplane unless told by the airline that you can do so safely.”
Given the ORD FAA traffic management issues that day — there may be exceptions to the tarmac rule.

The captain may have decided to wait for passengers as the plane was not going anywhere.

As for the tarmac delay — and this is more important

Flight scheduled for 9:49 am departure.

At 920 — delay announced for passengers after boarding starts

Flight took off at 12:25.

12:25 late departure from a 9:49 am scheduled departure

That is less then 3 hours — the 9:20 announcement should not be part of the calculation — that was an announcement during boarding. People are still getting on at boarding. AA does not close the door until 10 to 15 mins prior to departure. Door would not close until 9:34 to 9:39 for a 9:49 departure.

12:25 take off, 9:49 scheduled departure is a delay of 2 hours and 24 minutes —

There is no DOT tarmac complaint as it was less than 3 hours. AA may have stopped responding after counting the hours and realizing there was a miscounting of the time.
 
Likes: BethanyB
Jan 6, 2015
2,708
2,560
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#10
2/17/19 had a massive amount of delays, and ground stops and “traffic management program” mandated by the FAA because of snow and ice conditions at ORD.

For tarmac delays and the 3 hour rule

“Are there any exceptions to these requirements?
  • Yes. Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. You should not exit the airplane unless told by the airline that you can do so safely.”
Given the ORD FAA traffic management issues that day — there may be exceptions to the tarmac rule.

The captain may have decided to wait for passengers as the plane was not going anywhere.

As for the tarmac delay — and this is more important

Flight scheduled for 9:49 am departure.

At 920 — delay announced for passengers after boarding starts

Flight took off at 12:25.

12:25 late departure from a 9:49 am scheduled departure

That is less then 3 hours — the 9:20 announcement should not be part of the calculation — that was an announcement during boarding. People are still getting on at boarding. AA does not close the door until 10 to 15 mins prior to departure. Door would not close until 9:34 to 9:39 for a 9:49 departure.

12:25 take off, 9:49 scheduled departure is a delay of 2 hours and 24 minutes —

There is no DOT tarmac complaint as it was less than 3 hours. AA may have stopped responding after counting the hours and realizing there was a miscounting of the time.
Question, Christina. Since this passenger boarded at 9:20, are they not then "on the tarmac"?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
The information you quoted from the DOT concerns “tarmac delay” rules.

If the plane is not scheduled to leave until 9:49 am then 9:20 am is certainly not a delay by any definition.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#12
The information you quoted from the DOT concerns “tarmac delay” rules.

If the plane is not scheduled to leave until 9:49 am then 9:20 am is certainly not a delay by any definition.
I did not say that. I was responding to your statement that 9:49 "starts the clock". Since Kevin was on board at 9:20, I'm asking if that time is what "starts the clock" for tarmac delay calculations. If so, he may have experienced a 3 hour + delay.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
I did not say that. I was responding to your statement that 9:49 "starts the clock". Since Kevin was on board at 9:20, I'm asking if that time is what "starts the clock" for tarmac delay calculations. If so, he may have experienced a 3 hour + delay.
Again the tarmac delay is a delay from departure — departure was scheduled at 9:49 am — that is when clock starts

How can one logically be delayed at 9:20 when departure is not until 9:49. Why would a clock start before a delay?

Do the first pre-boarders have a longer delay? Does the last passenger boarding in group 9 or whatever it was have a shorter delay as they board last?

No it is calculated for everyone from departure time and I am really not understanding how this calculation could be perceived any other way.
 
Likes: BethanyB

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,077
15,573
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
2/17/19 had a massive amount of delays, and ground stops and “traffic management program” mandated by the FAA because of snow and ice conditions at ORD.

For tarmac delays and the 3 hour rule

“Are there any exceptions to these requirements?
  • Yes. Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. You should not exit the airplane unless told by the airline that you can do so safely.”
Given the ORD FAA traffic management issues that day — there may be exceptions to the tarmac rule.

The captain may have decided to wait for passengers as the plane was not going anywhere.

As for the tarmac delay — and this is more important

Flight scheduled for 9:49 am departure.

At 920 — delay announced for passengers after boarding starts

Flight took off at 12:25.

12:25 late departure from a 9:49 am scheduled departure

That is less then 3 hours — the 9:20 announcement should not be part of the calculation — that was an announcement during boarding. People are still getting on at boarding. AA does not close the door until 10 to 15 mins prior to departure. Door would not close until 9:34 to 9:39 for a 9:49 departure.

12:25 take off, 9:49 scheduled departure is a delay of 2 hours and 24 minutes —

There is no DOT tarmac complaint as it was less than 3 hours. AA may have stopped responding after counting the hours and realizing there was a miscounting of the time.

There you go- the delay was less than 3 hours. (Christina has access to the site that has all this flight information).

That’s makes a big difference, not enough for a DOT complaint.

Sitting on the plane at the gate is not part of a tarmac delay. The count starts when the plane door is closed or passengers are no longer permitted to deplane.
 
Mar 30, 2019
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#16
How long were you actually on the tarmac? Was it exactly three hours or less? Or over three hours?

Once it’s over three hours, then you fall into the tarmac delay piece of DOT rules regardless of them providing food and water.

It is imperative that you are exact on how long the delay was. You say it was over three hours and if that’s true the tarmac delay rules were not adhered to.
Thanks to all - I think you're right - that the numbers aren't going to get to 3 hours, and in fact I never raised that issue in my first complaint - the AA representative that called 7 days after initial complaint raised it. In retrospect I should've stopped her there and just settled the issue with the compensation that she was offering.

I will try going direct to AA and reaching out to the CEO without raising the DOT 3 hour tarmac issue, ask them if they can (finally) address my issue, recognize that they were 0 for 3 in their commitment to respond in 5 days per their Customer Relations policy, offer me compensation and close it out. I understand I'm a bit at their mercy given they probably have no obligation but I'm optimistic (hopeful?) that they won't go back on their initial offer. Will post answer when received. First time on this forum - really appreciate all the input - thanks again!
 
Likes: BostonJohn
Mar 30, 2019
3
1
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#17
Thanks to all - I think you're right - that the numbers aren't going to get to 3 hours, and in fact I never raised that issue in my first complaint - the AA representative that called 7 days after initial complaint raised it. In retrospect I should've stopped her there and just settled the issue with the compensation that she was offering.

I will try going direct to AA and reaching out to the CEO without raising the DOT 3 hour tarmac issue, ask them if they can (finally) address my issue, recognize that they were 0 for 3 in their commitment to respond in 5 days per their Customer Relations policy, offer me compensation and close it out. I understand I'm a bit at their mercy given they probably have no obligation but I'm optimistic (hopeful?) that they won't go back on their initial offer. Will post answer when received. First time on this forum - really appreciate all the input - thanks again!
So I contacted the CEO and within 3 days I heard back from the AA representative who first called me after my initial complaint. Apologized, provided 2 $100 vouchers and waived a $125 fee for putting 12,500 miles back into my mileage account. Very kind, professional, but no real excuse given why it took so long. Under lessons learned I would've used these contacts after 2-3 weeks with no response as it seems to be what got their attention. Thanks to all for comments and input. Kevin