Vacation plans ruined due to manual removal by AA ,even though our flight wasn't canceled!

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Mar 14, 2019
Our return trip from CA. to PA. was manually canceled because AA couldn't fly us from PA to NY. due to weather. We had plans to meet family during our stay in PA. thus ruining our vacation plans with our family while in PA. Our flight to PA. was booked months in advance but AA took it upon themselves to cancel our tickets because our connecting flight was canceled. AA ruined our plans by not allowing us to fly from CA. to PA. even though our flight was not canceled! Making us stay overnight in the airport w\o our medications that were already aboard the plane in our luggage. We asked AA to get our bag off the flight but aa said no. We were unable to make other arrangements because they never informed us until we were getting ready to board the plane. Both of us suffered medical trama due to not having our medications. We did not receive out meds that were in our bag for a week causing further medical trama due to lack of our medications. AA only refunded our bag deposit even though our plans to meet family in PA. were ruined.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
It sounds like you are an inexperienced flyer. Did they fly you out the next day?

The airline cannot do anything about flying you if there is a weather incident that causes the flight to be canceled. Would you prefer an entire plane of passengers is out in danger flying through a storm so you can get to your destination?

AA did more than they had to if they put you up in a hotel. When there is a weather incident forcing a flight cancellation the airline doesn’t have to offer a hotel. They can tell you to stay in the airport.

You are also never supposed to pack medications in checked luggage. From AAs website:

Place your name and address on the inside as well as the outside of your baggage
Carry valuable items such as electronic equipment, cameras, film, cash and jewelry with you on board the aircraft
Carry necessary items such as medication, prescriptions and keys with you on board the aircraft
Claim your baggage immediately upon arrival
Although we recommend that you do not lock your baggage due to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening of every checked bag, there are now locks available at retail outlets which can be used to secure your luggage without creating the need to break the lock or damage your bag.
Look for locks that identify the use of a "TSA-recognized locking mechanism." Only locks that state this use of a TSA-recognized locking mechanism are recommended for use in locking your baggage. For more information, please visit the TSA website at*

The airline did the best they could for you, even refunding a luggage fee.
Jan 6, 2015
Absent confirmation from AA, the likelihood is, in my opinion, that the two passengers were allowed to fly in your place because their itinerary a) end in PA or b) continued on to a destination other than NY (with no weather issues). Assuming your flights were on one ticket (CA-PA-NY), they probably canceled the entire itinerary as they could not deliver you to your destination (required by their Contract of Carriage). But that depends upon the stopover length in PA.

Regarding your luggage, that close to takeoff, the aircraft cargo is already loaded and cannot be partially unloaded at a passenger's request . . .


Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
On another subject: NEVER pack vital essentials in your luggage, ALWAYS hand carry them onto the airplane with you. One would never pack their wallet or purse in a checked bag so it goes to reason that you wouldn't pack medication either. If the medication exceeds the normal limits of liquids (3 oz) you can bring a prescription/letter from your doctor, place the meds in a separate bag and ask TSA to inspect.
Jan 6, 2015
I will echo my colleagues advice about medications and add that anything you would find difficult or impossible to replace should be with you in the cabin if possible. Cell phones, tablets, and other electronics usually contain personal data and customizations that warrant safeguarding from theft and or damage. And while medications can be sent to your destination, they can be expensive to replace.

Most airlines allow a purse or other small bag that you can slip under the seat in front of you to hold these items. And do remember to take them with when you de-plane! Once you exit the jetway these may be lost forever . . .
Sep 19, 2015
Was the flight CA to NY to PA? If one leg is cancelled for instance NY to PA the airline may not want to strand people in NY — also the NY to PA flights tend to be on regional jets which get cancelled more often while the larger planes can handle the weather. If the other passengers were ending in NY they would not be stranded so that is why they got the seats?

Do you live in CA? If the cancellation was at origin why not go home?

So did the trip ever happen?

The airline will not compensate for medical trauma as they warn people not to put medications in luggage.

I am unclear as to what actually happened.
Likes: VoR61
Sep 20, 2018
I am a diabetic... and I NEVER fly without my meds on my person... and if i forget a med, you get to nearest Pharmacy and get yours to transfer an emergency script... it is actually standard procedure, you get one emergency a year or something like that... as for the rest, this is hard to follow...
Likes: jsn55
Mar 15, 2018
Almost everything that needs to be said here has been already, but I'll just add this: If you absolutely HAVE to be somewhere, always book your flight at least a day early. This rule applies to cruises (which will not wait for delayed passengers), weddings, funerals, or really any event that you just cannot miss.

Flights get delayed simply can never guarantee that your flight will get you there by the original arrival time.

On another note, I'm struggling to understand why you say you were without your meds for a WEEK. Did you end up not ever taking your trip? Was your luggage not delivered to you (wherever you were) for a week? And if your health is that fragile that you literally suffered "medical trauma" without your meds, why didn't you just go to a pharmacy wherever you were and refill your necessary prescriptions?

I'm sorry this happened to you. I hope, if nothing else, you've learned the most important lesson from this experience: NEVER check your medications. EVER. Airlines lose luggage all the time.

You can find the email addresses of American Airlines customer service here in this forum if you wish to write to them, but honestly I don't see that there is anything you can ask for. The airlines don't control the weather. And they explicitly advise all passengers to carry their medications with them.