74-Year Old's American Airlines Ordeal

Nobody told 74-year-old Mrs. Reynolds her American Airlines flight was canceled until she was on-board the wrong one. Her tale of sprinting, being stranded, and customer service failure, inside…

This is the letter she wrote American Airlines:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to voice my displeasure concerning my flight from Springfield, IL. to Chicago, IL., then continuing on to Atlanta, Ga., on February 11, 2009.

After receiving my boarding passes for my entire trip, I put them in my purse. We were all (those in the terminal) fascinated with the huge plane taxing along the fence with President Obama’s wide body plane with his limousines, etc. I did not review my boarding passes. This is only my second flight trip so I was not experienced enough to know the airline horror stories and check my passes.

Five minutes after we boarded the plane, my home phone was receiving a message. I live 45 minutes from the airport; my husband had not reached home from dropping me off yet. The call informed me my flight “4444” to Atlanta the same day had been cancelled. For some reason the Springfield airport didn’t inform me. My ticket was dated the next day, Feb. 12th. They had no intention of sending me on to Atlanta, Ga. the 11th. Had I known this, I would have rescheduled and stayed home. Never on the flight did they announce the next gate for me. Every other town for passengers on board was announced. I asked my other seat companion where I could find any answers. He said, “Just at the end of the tunnel, there should be an agent.” I did find the desk but there was no one there. None of the nearby desks were occupied either. I walked quite awhile and finally found another employee. She didn’t need to check her computer she knew that flight “4444” had been cancelled. She told me to go to G4. Several people were at the desk. While I was waiting in line I tired to catch my family who was driving 2 ½ hours from South Carolina to pick me up in Atlanta. After talking to my husband about the late message on our home phone I was able to get to a “red” phone to get another flight. I went back to the desk and was told they were not expecting me until tomorrow. She showed me the date on the boarding pass and it did indeed say Feb. 12th. She told me I would need lodging and it would be discounted but not paid for. I did get reservations but no food allowance. My husband and I were not expecting the additional $71.00 for a room or the $17.00 sandwich cost. I had no luggage, no toothbrush, and no clothes with me. I walked in the pouring rain to a shuttle bus stop drenched and waited for a bus. I slept about 90 minutes that night. I woke at 1:00 a.m. to realize the person at the desk took my remaining boarding passes and issued new ones. I didn’t realize this until I got back to the airport at 4:00 a.m. on the 12th. Security lines were not open yet so after 60 minutes in security I check the screens one more time to see if “2441” was on time and to verify my gate. I found gate K19 but it was dark and no one was there. I sat down and waited when it became obvious no one else was waiting for this flight. Finally I found someone several gates back down the concourse that told me there’s been a gate change. At 74 years old, I started running to gate L4. It was not close. I got there to see everyone had boarded. I was near tears and out of breath as I walked down the tunnel. It’s a miracle I didn’t miss THAT flight.

After arriving in Atlanta, my sister had to drive back again to get me. I found my luggage which had come in the night before. They couldn’t get me there but at least my suitcase made it.

Will you please tell me why I was shuffled around so much and then told American Airlines was not responsible? They deliberately sent me on to Chicago knowing I was not continuing on to Atlanta. I also expect to be reimbursed for my room at the Sheraton Gateway Suites (receipt enclosed). I will also be sending a copy of this to the Better Business Bureau and the Consumerist.

Lord Failure, meet thy progeny, American Airlines.

(Photo: joyosity)