American Airlines Threatens To Move You Down On The Stand-By List If You Complain

Reader Kelsea’s flight was delayed getting to O’Hare and when she got there for her connection to LA she encountered rudeness and general crappy service from American Airlines. One of the employees even went so far as to suggest she not request to be moved up the stand-by list because they would probably move her down “out of frustration.” Hey, that may be true but you probably shouldn’t tell the customers you’re going to try to spite them. Don’t worry though, the story has a happy ending.

Kelsea writes (to American Airlines):

To Whom It May Concern:

On Wednesday, December 30, 2009, I was a ticketed and confirmed passenger on American Airlines flight 4147, which was scheduled to travel from Indianapolis to Chicago O’Hare at 7:15 am and served as my layover to Los Angeles LAX [redacted]. I was to arrive in Los Angeles in the morning, then drive to San Francisco that afternoon, where I had already booked a hotel room for that evening.

Once all passengers had boarded the plane in Indianapolis, the pilot announced that it would be necessary to perform maintenance due to “technical difficulties”. Several failed attempts of powering the off aircraft the aircraft were made, and then an outside maintenance crew was called in. After sitting at the gate for almost 2 hours, the plane finally took off. Once the plane was in the air, it was announced that everyone who would miss their connecting flights due to the maintenance delay had already been rebooked by the agents in Indianapolis. I asked the flight attendant how passengers should get information about their new flights. He bluntly answered that he had “no idea” and no way to help me.

After I arrived in O’Hare, I spoke with [redacted], a gate agent who was extremely helpful, but informed me that I had not been rebooked, like I had been previously told. The earliest flight she was able to confirm me on was at 4 pm. I arrived at ORD at 9 am. I was extremely disappointed and discouraged that I had not been rebooked on another flight after the announcement had been made on my Indianapolis flight. I was clearly overlooked, and would have probably been confirmed on an earlier flight had I been rebooked 2 hours prior, as promised.

[redacted] told me that I would be put on standby for the 3 other American flights that departed to Los Angeles before my confirmed 4 pm flight. During my 7 hour wait, I spoke to numerous gate agents and the Rebooking Center to try to find another connection or flight to Los Angeles or to my ultimate destination, San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland. Every American agent that I spoke to was clearly bombarded by the huge amount of upset travelers, and had no patience or desire to improve the situation. At one point, I asked an agent over the Rebooking Center phone if I could be moved up on the standby list because I missed my connection through no fault of my own. She told me that if I asked the gate agents, they would probably move me down the list out of sheer frustration. She lacked any sign of professionalism or maturity.

Once it was clear that the 3 flights I was put on standby for were grossly overbooked (there were at least 50 people on standby for every flight), I spoke to a supervisor, who told me his hands were completely tied, and that I would have to call customer service. However, when I called customer service, the agent on the phone told me she could do nothing, and only agents at the airport could rectify my situation. I was pushed back and forth from the supervisor at the airport to customer service 4 more times before the customer service representative informed me that I would have to write a letter to to receive any type of compensation. I was further inconvenienced by the fact that neither person knew American Airlines’ policies.

I missed an entire day of my vacation, was stranded in O’Hare for 7 hours, was unable to cancel my hotel room, and received very poor customer service by American Airlines. I am truly disgusted by this situation and will think twice before traveling with American again. As a person who flies and travels frequently, I have never been treated so unfairly and with such disregard. Compensation is in order for the cost of my flight and the waste of my time. Please contact me using the information below. I look forward to hearing back from American Airlines.



Good complaint letter, right? It’s direct and provides (in the first paragraph) the necessary information for the company to easily look up her issue. She then calmly explains why she was disappointed and that she will be hesitant to fly American Airlines again.

We followed up with her and she told us that for her trouble, she received a $150 voucher. Good work!

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