How Cancer, A Tornado, And American Airlines Took Away Our Honeymoon

Roxanne and her husband got married last year, and had to delay their honeymoon until April due to her illness. They spent the night before their rescheduled trip huddled in a hotel bathtub near the airport. It was clear that the universe did not want them to vacation in Cabo San Lucas. An American Airlines rep put their rescheduled tickets on hold, and they had until February 2012 to use them for another trip. Or so they thought.

My husband and I married August 28, 2010. A very generous vacation package was given to us for our honeymoon to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico by a family friend. We were set to leave at the end of September, however were asked to cancel our trip due to a recent diagnosis for myself.

As I underwent treatment from August through December I could only dream of our honeymoon that was rescheduled for the end of April 2011. Excited and packed, we stayed the night in St. Louis for our red eye flight the next morning…then a tornado hit our hotel. As we sat in the bathtub because we were instructed to by the overhead PA system (or we could’ve put the mattress over our heads and NO way was I putting THAT on my head), we heard “the train” and loud crashes, sirens and wind, we tried to listen to the tv and understand what had just hit us.

Once we got the “all clear” from the hotel PA system we watched the news and saw the damage to the airport. Planes and cars were hit, windows blown out, trees uprooted, buildings collapsed, the highways closed, etc. Lambert was hit and officially closed indefinately.

As any other couple would do, we went to the bar downstairs and spoke with other travelers to explore our options. I sat next to an American Airlines pilot on a barstool and he showed me the damage inside the airport on his phone and told me that we wouldn’t be going anywhere and to call customer service. After several hours on hold with customer service in Dallas we finally got a representative to assist us and put our tickets back on hold. We were instructed to write down our ticket numbers and the date we had to use these $2500 tickets was 2/18/12.

Because we thought we had made the best decision that night to put our tickets back on hold we decided to sleep off the stress and nervousness and go back home with our packed bags the following afternoon.

Since that night in the hotel bathtub, we’ve been planning and saving for a trip to travel to New Zealand to stay with friends. Last night I called four different times to talk with American Airlines about my unused tickets and kept getting redirected. It wasn’t until the 10th person or so who told me that our tickets had expired! I was befuddled and confused about how I had been so misinformed. The representative told me that our tickets were only good from the very first date they were issued, not the second date we had them reissued.

This made absolutely no since to me since we paid reissue fees and had new tickets for our April trip, and how one of their employees had “accidently” misinformed me. Supposedly our tickets expired 10 days after the tornado hit, which wouldn’t have worked out anyway since the airport was shut down for seven days or more and our timeshare was only good for our week of travel. BUT had I known that THEN I would’ve used these tickets for sure elsewhere! I was told to email my complaint, so I did.

My complaint was “resolved” by customer service via email by giving me half the value of my tickets. Now, my husband and I can’t afford to go to New Zealand for our third attempt at a honeymoon.

American Airlines is full of greed, ignorance, selfishness and corporate crap. There are two things I can’t control–Cancer and Mother Nature. What CAN be controlled is just admitting to human error and giving back my full value of my tickets so we can enjoy our honeymoon. I feel robbed and am saddened by their poor customer service.

It was nice of them to give give back half of the tickets’ original value, but taking their case and its special circumstances up the food chain might help get that dream trip after all. Try an executive e-mail carpet bomb, or contacting one of the executive customer service numbers that we have on file for them.