Unacceptable treatment

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Jan 27, 2019
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#1
I went to board an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Maui on Jan 17 with a first class boarding pass (which had been issued in West Palm Beach when I checked in that flight - seat 7A) and was told my seat was broken and I would have to move to a middle economy seat. The gate agent explained that it was my bad luck - too bad so sad that it was MY seat and there was nothing they could do. I was flying on a paid ticket, no points or upgrade. I wasn’t happy but I get these things can happen however, upon boarding the aircraft I went to seat 7A and there was a man sitting in that seat. Turns out, it wasn’t my assigned seat that was broken but his. In this day and age it is hard to believe that this type of blatant discrimination still occurs. American Airlines solution was a $280 refund, I was in Maui for 5 days of golf, 2 of which I ended up spending in bed due to back spasms caused by the flight. I had no medication with me on the flight as this situation was totally unforeseen. I understand that seats aren’t necessarily guaranteed but to lie to my face in order to accommodate another passenger in unacceptable.
 
Mar 29, 2016
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#2
You probably had a YUP fare, which is quasi first class, therefore the paltry refund. You were likely bumped for an elite or a higher fare ticket. Your options are pretty limited as American doesn't actually care. You arey luck you made it to your destination more or less when scheduled. You can complain and you might be thrown a few extra miles. Just do your best not to fume over your mistreatment.
 
Jan 27, 2019
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#3
You probably had a YUP fare, which is quasi first class, therefore the paltry refund. You were likely bumped for an elite or a higher fare ticket. Your options are pretty limited as American doesn't actually care. You arey luck you made it to your destination more or less when scheduled. You can complain and you might be thrown a few extra miles. Just do your best not to fume over your mistreatment.
Thank you for your response. I believe I paid full fare for my ticket. It is not so much about the $ it is about the lying and treatment. Appreciate your advice.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#4
I went to board an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Maui on Jan 17 with a first class boarding pass (which had been issued in West Palm Beach when I checked in that flight - seat 7A) and was told my seat was broken and I would have to move to a middle economy seat. The gate agent explained that it was my bad luck - too bad so sad that it was MY seat and there was nothing they could do. I was flying on a paid ticket, no points or upgrade. I wasn’t happy but I get these things can happen however, upon boarding the aircraft I went to seat 7A and there was a man sitting in that seat. Turns out, it wasn’t my assigned seat that was broken but his. In this day and age it is hard to believe that this type of blatant discrimination still occurs. American Airlines solution was a $280 refund, I was in Maui for 5 days of golf, 2 of which I ended up spending in bed due to back spasms caused by the flight. I had no medication with me on the flight as this situation was totally unforeseen. I understand that seats aren’t necessarily guaranteed but to lie to my face in order to accommodate another passenger in unacceptable.
AA is #1 (but not like Hertz) in the wrong way in terms of problems/complaints on this forum month after month. There are more complaints about AA than UA, DL and BA combined. They really do not care about customer service.

You should email them and likely will get some more miles in your account. Don't tell them you will never fly AA again or they will just ignore your messages.

Start at the first cust serv person and email a concise explanation of what happen ed and ask for some more compensation. if you ask for an astronomical amount they will also ignore you.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#6
Thank you for your response. I believe I paid full fare for my ticket. It is not so much about the $ it is about the lying and treatment. Appreciate your advice.
Chances were he was on a higher fare class ticket or had higher status. It is unfortunate, but that is how the airlines handle these type of situations in the premium classes.

Please do follow weihlac advise to write the airline your complaint. The following post explains the best way to do this:

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

It looks as if the full first-class fare from West Palm to Maui is around $4100 (could be some difference as this is based on future travel) one way. If you paid close to this, I would think they should owe you a bit more than $280. It is not unusual though for many of the discounted first class tickets to be just slightly more than the some of the higher economy fares.

I should also note, that we have seen cases were an Air Marshal bumped passengers. The airlines are not allowed to tell passengers this information though.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#7
Debbie77 that is terrible treatment. It is likely that the other person paid a higher fare or was a status flyer but that is no excuse to downgrade you.

I would write to the AA contacts; be polite as the person reading the letter did not cause the problem.

But this does not sound like discrimination.

I was on a flight where several people were downgraded after they sat in first (not AA) — there was an equipment change the night before and 4!less first seats. The people on mileage tickets were first downgraded and then the lowest paid fares. This was also handled badly at the gate. I knew there was going to be a problem as my seat disappeared (part of the disappearing row) the night before during check in. I was traveling for work on a flexible paid first ticket and saw how poorly it was handled.

This was not a long flight like yours.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#8
I think that @Dwayne Coward may be touching upon one reason why your seat assignment was given away: air marshal. His seat could have been the one broken so they needed to move him to another. The airline cannot disclose this information. BUT that does not mean you shouldn't request more compensation for your downgrade.

My suggestion is to be brief and polite in your request, not mentioning discrimination nor your back pain. If you knew that sitting in an economy seat would cause you pain then you had a choice of taking a later flight that had a first class seat available or not taking the trip at all. Not ideal options but AA did not force you to sit in that seat knowing that you have back issues. And it sounds like you did not have a problem with the downgrade initially (which suggests to me your back was not a concern) but it only became an issue when you saw someone sitting in your assigned seat.
 
Jan 27, 2019
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#10
Thanks for your reply. I was not flying on points, a discounted ticket or an upgrade. There were at least 35 seats in first class and they picked out the single lady so a man could have my seat. Hmmmmmm
 
Jan 27, 2019
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#11
Thanks for your response. I fly first class because of my potential back problems and there were no flights available for 3 days. That was the first question I asked. I was only going for 5 days and meeting friends. American Airlines handled this very poorly. I take the greatest exception to the lie at the beginning. “It is your seat that is broken, tough luck”.
 
Jan 27, 2019
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#12
Well, unless we have old Air Marshals I doubt that is the case. As I mentioned, it was the lie at the gate that has upset me.
I have had written several polite emails to American Airlines with little satisfaction.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#13
Thanks for your reply. I was not flying on points, a discounted ticket or an upgrade. There were at least 35 seats in first class and they picked out the single lady so a man could have my seat. Hmmmmmm
Most likely it was just coincidence. As has been said previously, write to the airline and ask for an explanation.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#18
I, a single woman, was moved out of the seat so a man, in the broken seat could have mine.
I can pretty much promise that has absolutely nothing to do with this. You either had an air marshall or someone with higher flyer status than you.

How much did you pay for the total ticket? What class were you flying and as I read your post it sounds like you were allowed to upgrade at check in- is that correct?

BTW- if you use the reply function, hit reply and the type your response under the html of the message you are replying to. You are simply hitting the reply button and not typing a message so we are deleting the posts.
 
Likes: jsmithw

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#19
@Debbie77 what exactly would you like from AA? Is it more compensation or admission of discrimination? The first you may be able to get with a well-written letter; the latter will never be given. In that case, the best you can expect is an apology for your experience. Most likely a hollow one, unfortunately.