American Airlines Takes Passenger For Rides In All The Wrong Ways

Kim is less than enamored of her recent American Airlines flights. Late arrivals made her miss connecting flights, her baggage decided to branch out and travel on its own for a while, all because she missed a different flight a couple days earlier:

On 7/29, I was visiting friends in Portland, OR, and was to fly to Houston later that day. I had a number of connecting flights, one of which was on American. I was late to my initial flight from Portland, and went to Alaska Airlines (my initial carrier,) to explain the situation. They then rescheduled me to a direct Continental flight that day, and everything was ducky. Sounds fine, right? I thought so.

On 7/31, when I was supposed to fly home to Albany, NY, I had my friend drop me off at Houston Hobby airport early in the morning as scheduled. Come to find out, because I’d missed the flight TWO DAYS PRIOR, American had canceled my entire reservation and re-sold my seat to someone else. No e-mail, no phone call, no nothing. They then told me that I’d have to go to GW Bush International Airport ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN, somehow get a ride, and pick up a later flight. I called my (very understanding) friend back, who got up again, and ferried me across town from Houston Hobby to GW Bush Int’l. During the drive between airports, I got on the phone to AA’s customer service, which was beyond terrible. They were completely unapologetic about canceling a flight that I’d already paid for, refused any compensation for the inconvenience, and dared to make it sound like this whole fiasco was my fault for not catching a totally unrelated flight earlier in the day. I spoke to a supervisor, who gave me the weaselly “I’m sorry you feel that way” line, in addition to having the gall to tell me that “American isn’t like other carriers; we do business the RIGHT way!” and totally refused any help, assistance, or compensation for the shoddy treatment.

I eventually caught the rescheduled flight from GW Bush International, but the morons at AA neither a.) had my baggage follow me on my subsequent flights home, nor b.) gave me any boarding passes to the subsequent connecting flights, since they were with a different carrier. I wound up *missing* my connecting flights since a.) the flight I eventually caught was an hour later than planned, b.) I had to go to baggage claim to pick up my suitcase, since it didn’t follow me, and c.) get from one side of an unfamiliar airport (Dallas,) to another. By the time I hit the Continental check-in desk, it was too late to catch a flight, and there were no available seats on any flights to Albany. Continental said they’d give me a definite seat on a late afternoon flight to Newark, but I’d have to fly standby to Albany after that. However, poor weather in Albany was leading to a number of flight cancellations, so even if I managed to get a standby flight, there was a good possibility that my flight would be canceled anyway. I opted to take the train from Newark to Albany instead. When I called American Airlines back to explain exactly how much time, money, etc. they’d cost me, and gave them one more shot to somehow make it right for arbitrarily canceling an already paid-for flight with no notice, they stonewalled me with the same crappy excuses again, and no apologies for their horrible treatment. Result? Stuck in Dallas until tonight, and getting home is going to be a long, arduous nightmare. On my second call, I wanted the telephone number to AA’s corporate offices. Unapologetically, I was told that I couldn’t have it, but I could have the address where they’d promptly round-file my complaint.

So yeah, avoid flying American. And if somehow you have to take their crappy flights, make sure you call ahead and get confirmation numbers if you dare to miss their flights. Not that they’ll compensate you if they screw up, but it’ll make any lawsuits easier later.

Yikes. At least Kim can look at the bright side. Even though American didn’t honor her reservations or make her borked travel scenario any easier, at least it gave her a wonderful party story that John Hughes may just option for a Planes, Trains and Automobiles sequel.

(Photo: zonaphoto)

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