American Refunds Canceled Plane Ticket, Keeps $15 Checked Baggage Fee

American refunded Josh’s airfare after canceling his flight to New York, but not his $15 checked baggage fee. Though the fee is listed in their system, American won’t issue a refund unless Josh sends a formal request letter along with his baggage claim receipt to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Josh cc’d us on his Executive Email Carpet Bomb:

Dear American Airlines:

My name is Joshua, and my AAdvantage number is XXXX. I am writing in regard to ticket XXXXX, under record locator XXXX.

I would like a refund of the $15 fee I paid to check a bag on AA 4794 on June 27, 2008, as the flight was cancelled and I (and my checked bag) did not travel with American.

When the flight was cancelled, I called your customer service 800 number and requested that my itinerary be refunded. Your customer service representative processed this refund over the phone without difficulty. However, the refunded amount did not include the bag fee.

I am now advised by your telephone customer service that, in order to get my $15 refund, I must mail a letter with my original receipt for the bag fee to your refunds department in Tulsa. They have told me that they cannot issue a refund over the phone, and cannot waive their policy on the matter.

I do not find this to be an acceptable solution. You should not require me to mail a paper receipt when the information about the fee already exists in your computer systems. Indeed, I am not even sure what I did with that receipt after I left the airport. More broadly, while I understand your rationale for charging a fee for the first checked bag, you should not make it unreasonably difficult to collect a refund of the fee when the service is not provided.

I recognize that I am not currently an elite-level American customer. However, I qualified as AAdvantage Gold in 2006 and have over 100,000 lifetime travel miles under my belt on American. I have recently moved to Washington, DC and will be traveling frequently to New York and Chicago. Those are places to which both American and its competitors provide frequent service. I hope to continue doing that business with American, contingent on the refund of this fee.

I hope that you will be willing to refund this fee to me without further difficulty.



American’s contract of carriage is silent on baggage fee refunds.

While Josh’s EECB is detailed and concise, American’s recent cash-hemorrhaging makes them less receptive to reason. Give the request an added punch by asking the Department of Transportation for their interpretation of American’s greedy conduct.

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)