American Cancels 933 More Flights, Raising Total To Over 2,500

The trouble continues at American Airlines! They’ve cancelled 933 more flights today. This raises the total number of flights canceled this week to 2,500, as the airline struggles to perform a backlog of neglected safety inspections on its MD-80 aircraft.

American says:

Customers who were scheduled on a flight that was cancelled may request a full refund or may apply the value of their ticket towards future travel on American Airlines. Additionally, customers scheduled to travel on any MD-80 flight from April 8 – 11, even if their flight has not been cancelled, may rebook without a change fee to any AA flight with availability in the same cabin as long as their travel begins by April 17 if:

If you are traveling to, from or through cities served by MD-80 aircraft from April 8-11, 2008, and your ticket was issued no later than April 8, 2008. You may change your reservation to begin travel as late as April 17, 2008.

One ticketed change is allowed, and no change fee will apply.

The media is estimating that there are over 100,000 affected travelers out there. Feel free to share your stories (good and bad) with us at tips@consumerist.com.

Aircraft Inspections Affect Some AA Travel [AA]

Comments

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  1. CUBSWILLWIN says:

    It’ really hell here in o’hare, man. I was for S airways flight going to Pittsburgh, and the american airlines desks are near by and you could see probably a few hundred people getting pissed and missing important flights. One person got police on her because of her anger then she threatened to sue them for not proper inspections of planes. Bad as hell like I already said

  2. arras says:

    I’m kind of curious to see if AA will report how many of their planes failed their inspections and how badly that + all the cancellations will hurt AA.

  3. friendlynerd says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if there will be any airlines left in 5 years

  4. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @arras:

    I’m not sure if the correct answer here is “no” or “hell no”.

  5. Aeroracere says:

    I posted this in the other thread, but hopefully this will help some of you out if you’re affected:

    Hey all; so my girlfriend and her brother were flying to meet me in Chicago for a wedding via AA tomorrow, but unfortunately, this threw a monkey wrench in that whole deal. So, hopefully to help you guys out; if you call AA Vacations (rather than main reservations, which is constantly busy) they can process refunds for your tickets, or help you set up new reservations!

    You can reach them at 800-321-2121

    Good luck!

  6. ShortOnZeros says:

    So, last week congress had hearings about how the FAA was cozy with airlines, and this week the inspectors are actually allowed to report defects.
    Good stuff.

  7. ShortOnZeros says:

    So last week Congress had hearings about the FAA being cozy with airlines, and this week the inspectors are actually allowed to report defects.
    FAA – 0 Whistle blowers – 1

  8. So what is this? “Southwest got caught slacking off like all us airlines were. Now we’ll severely inconvenience the customer while we pretend to remove our thumb from our ass”?

  9. specialed5000 says:

    I’m at the San Diego airport waiting for a flight to Charlotte right now, and it looks like only 3 of their 12 or so flights leaving here aren’t cancelled. I’m glad that I’m not on American today (or pretty much ever). I bet that DFW is a horrible place to be today, either as a passenger or an AA employee having to deal with that many angry passengers.

  10. rexmus1 says:

    I don’t know what everyone is complaining about. AA gave out FREE juice and cookies this morning! Picky, picky. But seriously, kudos to those keeping it together; my best friend works at a kiosk at O’Hare, and not one person has yelled at her yet! (Unlike at the holidays.)

  11. ptkdude says:

    @specialed5000: DFW is pretty much a horrible place to be any day.

  12. karmaghost says:

    @friendlynerd: I agree. I can’t imagine how they continue to make money with all these cancellations and other problems that they experience all the time

  13. Zyada says:

    Just to add insult to injury, a really bad storm went right over DFW airport early this morning.

    To give you an idea of how bad this storm was, there was a tree in my company’s parking lot this morning. And the facilities people don’t know where it came from…

  14. xQuizx says:

    @Zyada: Haha!!! You know it’s bad is when you can’t identify the tree’s origin.

  15. cityslider says:

    I cannot claim to have all the answers or really even defend AA, but as a displaced passenger on Friday’s Flight 1462 (ORD-EWR), I can offer some advice, for anyone who wants it, especially since it looks like cancellations may continue through the weekend, given the high number today.

    **Last night, it took literally 20-25 calls to the 800 number before I got through and even then, I had to wait for a half hour to speak to a human. But, I did get through. It’s a 24 hour line, AFAIK, so your chances are way better during the wee hours, IMO, and for being after 1am, the CSR was very nice, as I was nice to him. This is key, more bees with honey, as the saying goes.

    ***Offer suggestions without being a jerk, and if you aren’t ORIGINATING in an MD-80 hot spot (ORD, DFW), try to bypass completely and suggest a focus city or hub that is American Eagle or heavy on the Boeings – CSRs are willing to accomodate.

    For ex, since I am flying from CVG to EWR, I suggested MIA as an alternate connection – which works just fine, though out of the way, I will only be arriving 4-5 hours late – not bad, given the circumstances. (Yes, I know LGA is an AA focus city but for logistic reasons related to my arrival, a direct on AmEagle from CVG to LGA was not an option)

    **Make sure that your return segments do not get effed in this whole process, as can sometimes happen

    Good luck!!!

  16. ARP says:

    C’mon all you ultra-capitalists. Where are you? Isn’t mass deaths from failure to inspect their own planes, just the market correcting itself. If you don’t like your chances at death with one airline, don’t fly with them.

  17. kjherron says:

    @friendlynerd: In five years, we’ll be down to Shell Airlines, Exxon Airlines, and Southwest.

  18. DeafChick says:

    Let’s hope the airlines get their shit together in July. I’m going to taking US Airway to SC for Vaca.

  19. bravo369 says:

    I am going to call AA tonight after work but I bought my ticket without refund insurance. Will they still refund me since this is completely their fault? I don’t want a credit, i want my money back since rescheduling doesn’t really help me with what I was flying out for. i guess i’ll find out tonight

  20. thewriteguy says:

    In five years, there won’t be any major American-based airlines. Major foreign carriers will set up shop in the U.S., but will only occasionally schedule domestic flights. Smaller, regional U.S. carriers will handle the rest.

  21. Spinfusor says:

    @thewriteguy:

    What about Continental? You don’t see it at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. You also don’t see it cancelling flights due to its incompetence.

  22. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @thewriteguy:

    I think Southwest and JetBlue will survive. The legacy carriers? Maybe they’ll all merge into one super-inefficient airline that’s propped up by the government, or maybe they’ll just die slow, painful deaths. Whatever happens, I’m sure it will be interesting and scandal-ridden!

  23. ARP says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I disagree. I think we’ll prop up a few of the legacy carriers so they can serve the small markets. I do agree that we’ll let a few fail, but only a few.

  24. philipbarrett2003 says:

    Virgin America please come to DFW!

  25. ab3i says:

    my girlfriend’s dad was flying to India today on AA, DEN-ORD, and ORD-DEL. I made him check his flight status yesterday and it was ‘on-time’. As i fly frequently for work and have the cancelled/delayed flight experience down to a science, I made him create notification alerts on his flight and also made him write down his confirmation number, AA cust. service number, and search for alternate flights to Chicago yesterday itself. Sure enough, last evening he got notified his flight was cancelled, but he was able to ‘avoid’ the craziness of dealing with it this morning and (with my assistance / pestering the AA CSRs) was able to get rerouted this morning and make his flight to Delhi w/o much problem. Always have your flight information and alternatives ready and you will avoid the ‘rebooked on a later flight / 3-4 extra connections’ hell :)

  26. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @ARP:

    Whatever comes to pass, I’m sure it will be a highly efficient use of taxpayer money!

  27. AD8BC says:

    @ptkdude: Actually, I quite like the DFW airport… it’s easy to get around (for a big airport), baggage claim is close to the gate you come in at, generally the security lines are fast… it became my home airport last year when I moved to the DFW area..

    It was kind of funny last night, driving home from work (I use the perimeter road as a shortcut to avoid the highway traffic, it goes under a remote taxiway west of Terminal D), there must have been about 40 MD-80s in a row on a closed taxiway, each awaiting their turn.

    By the way, does anybody know if these “problems” are plaguing the DC-9 as well (effectively a twin to the MD-80)?

  28. NotATool says:

    Looks like I picked the wrong year to invest in AMR corp…

  29. LogicalOne says:

    Couldn’t the airlines ask the FAA, “We can’t possibly inspect all our aircraft all at once. This is just a case of not getting the paperwork right the first time we inspected them. Pretty please, let us ground and inspect a third of the fleet today, a third tomorrow and a third the day after that? We promise we’ll get it right this time! ;-) “

  30. whydidnt says:

    I was supposed to fly out to Minneapolis from Houston via Dallas today @ about 2:00 PM. Last night AA emailed me that my flight was canceled and provided a number to call for rebooking. I called the number provided, went through the hoops of entering relevant information into the automated system. The system informed me it would be a 30 minute wait and attempted to transfer me.. of course I was transferred to a busy signal. So I continued to call, and on the 8th try actually got transferred into the live operator queue.

    35 minutes after that an agent came on the line. I explained my flight was canceled and needed to rebook. He did a 10 second look up and said there were no other flights available and they would issue me a refund. Since this was my return flight home, I told him that wouldn’t work well for me, and asked if he could check other airlines. He checked Delta, United and USAir and again told me nothing was available. I asked to him to check Continental and NWA, since they had direct flights. He told me that Continental would only allow standby customers and it’s likely I would end up sitting at the airport all day waiting for a seat that never opened. I’d never heard of this before, but asked that he check NWA. Sure enough he got me a reservation on a 7:41 AM flight, which I accepted. It meant I had to cancel my morning meeting, but at least I knew I could get home.

    After hanging up with him, I called NWA to confirm the reservation and they confirmed it. In situation’s like this, I find that very important. I did not want to show up at the airport at 6:30 in the morning only to find I couldn’t fly.

    My lessons -
    1. If they say nothing is available, be persistent and ask them to check other airlines — all of them, provide names if you know of primary carriers that fly to your destination.
    2. Be flexible. I’m sure this guy had been up to his a$$ in alligators all day, the last thing he needed was me griping because the replacement flight was earlier in the day. Without that flexibility, I pretty sure I’d still be in Houston right now.
    3. Say “Agent”, as soon as the Automated system answers, to bypass the questions meant to delay your transfer to the queue. It’ll ask you to confirm, and do so.
    4. Keep trying, if you get cut off, call back and go through it again.
    5. If you are flying American, don’t wait until your flight is scheduled to try and re-book. Do it ASAP, you will be competing with the other 100 people on your flight for a limited number of seats on another airline.
    6. Get names and numbers and verify everything. With 2500 flights canceled it’s going to be easy for things to fall through the cracks.

  31. MsFemmeFatale says:

    As much as people give me shit for it…

    I take Greyhounds everywhere.

    I travel out of town atleast 4 times a month too.

    It may be less comfortable and longer travel..

    But I don’t deal with security taking my shampoo, cancelled flights, and it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper.

    It’s only gonna cost me 78 bucks to go from Cleveland to Jacksonville, Fl.

  32. MoxieGurl says:

    My flight that was scheduled for today (Thursday) on AA was canceled late yesterday.

    GET THIS… The customer service rep tried to claim the cancellation was due to EXPECTED bad weather in Chicago NOT due to the fact my plane was a MD 80 jet.

    I flipped the he** out! I told the rep that due to bad weather flights do not get cancelled almost 24 hours in advance with the exception of a hurricane. In cases of bad weather flights get DELAYED hours before the flight NOT CANCELLED almost 24 hours in advance!

    How dare AA to try to cut back on their liability claims by trying to classify some MD 80 flights as cancelled due to “bad weather”.

    MOREOVER, when I inquired about compensation for a paid event I would miss because of their incompetence she told me it wasn”t AA”s fault and that I should take my issue up with the FAA.

    According to the customer service rep none of this is AA’s fault, how do you like them apples?

    UPDATE: I went ALL the major carrier websites to the flight status this afternoon and checked the arrivals into Chicago today. What did I find, there were a few weather related delays but none were canceled. AA had canceled ALL of their flights from St. Louis to Chicago including my flight 362. I printed every last one so that I can prove my flight was canceled due to the MD80 and not the weather.

    Where do I sign up for my piece of this class action lawsuit!!!

  33. scoosdad says:

    @MsFemmeFatale: Great, we’ll get back to you for a comment when the story is about buses being cancelled. :-)

  34. DeafChick says:

    Frontier Airlines just went up in flames.