Reader S knows his stuff when it comes to his rights as an airline passenger. He was flying on American Airlines (AA) and takeoff was delayed. AA said it was because of thunderstorms in Dallas. He called a friend in Dallas and they said “there isn’t a cloud in the sky.” AA later revealed the flight was actually delayed because they were waiting for a fax. It’s understandable why AA lied. Since this was something they had control over, it meant they owed several things to the delayed passengers. By lying and saying it was due to the weather, they could escape their obligation. The flight finally took off but reader S missed his connection and had to stay overnight in a hotel, a hotel room that American should have paid for. Inside, the letter S executive email carpet bombed after two customer service reps refused to listen to his story on the phone and an online form sent back a robotic received reply with no real results.
To Whom It May Concern,
I have never contacted any company with a complaint before, however my recent experience with American Airlines was the single worst consumer experience I’ve ever had. From beginning to end my friend and I were confronted with rude representative, lies and absolutely no concern for the completely screwed up travel plans.
I purchased a roundtrip ticket on American Airlines for my friend to fly out from Los Angeles to Atlanta for my wedding.
The problems started in LA where the planes was delayed, initially gate agents claimed this was because of thunderstorms in Dallas where my friend was connecting on to ATL.
However, another wedding guest was already in Dallas, where as he told me, “there isn’t a cloud in sky.” Eventually, after several hours delay attendants admitted that the flight was waiting for a fax regarding permission for another passenger who needed an oxygen supply for the flight.
Eventually the flight left LA, but by then the connecting flight was long gone. The next connecting flight from Dallas to Atlanta was the next morning, forcing my friend to spend the night in the Dallas airport.
Not only was my friend not offered a hotel room for the night, the attendants in Dallas wouldn’t even give her or other passengers blankets, water or any other basic necessities.
So she and the other passengers were forced to spend the night hungry and cold, unable to sleep or leave the airport.
My understanding of your “conditions of carriage” agreement is that my friend deserves compensation. The relevant section reads: “If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day, we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability.”
The fact that attendant already refused to provide meal vouchers or a hotel room means that, in my view, my friend deserves some sort of flight voucher or other compensation.
To make matters worse I (since I paid for the ticket) attempted to contact American Airlines on my friend’s behalf to complain about her treatment and was told that customer service complaints may only be made through e-mail, mail or fax. Fine. So I filled out the form on your website outline the same issues mentioned here and I received back a form letter thanking me for the positive feedback.
Some people will keep their mouth shut and usually I am one of these people. I feel violated, taken advantage of and left with only one choice which is that letter. I realize there’s no guarantee this will be read and not just rerouted to the problem customer file to never be looked at again.
To assure myself that have done all that is possible to have my letter read by all powers that be, I will be forwarding this to as many executive email addresses that I can find.
Good luck, S, and good letter. It’s clear, directly asks for specific compensation, and lays out the concrete reasons why they owe it to you. We hope it gets you what you deserve.