Airline Screwup Forces Family To Drive Home From Arizona When They Should Be In Caribbean

Starting on October 17, recently merged American Airlines and US Airways will operate all flights as one airline. But until then – as has been the case with previous airline mergers – customers might experience a few hiccups when booking flights. That was certainly the case for a California family who says their vacation was ruined because of issues with the newly married carriers.

ABC 7 News reports that the couple had booked flights on both American and US for themselves and their four children to travel to Turk and Caicos.

Issues with the trip began when the family arrived at their assigned gate at Oakland International Airport. There they say the agent tried to scan four of the tickets, but each were determined to be invalid.

The group was asked to step aside while the standbys boarded and the gate was shut.

The airline admitted they wouldn’t be able to get the family on their original flight and rebooked their trip through San Francisco International Airport, a 30 mile drive away.

“They gave us tickets not only out of a new airport in San Francisco, but they then also gave us tickets to go from Phoenix to Miami, and tickets to go from Miami to Turks and Caicos,” the husband said.

Despite the more challenging travel itinerary, the family rushed to SFO and boarded the flight to Phoenix where they spent part of their 10 hour layover in a hotel.

When they returned to the airport for their 3 a.m. flight more problems awaited. At the gate, the ticket agent asked them to step aside, and the gate once again closed before they were allowed to board.

“We knew right then that there were issues again with our tickets,” the wife tells ABC 7 News.

The airline told them there were no other options to get to the Caribbean aside from standby spots several days later.

The family declined the option and asked for a flight home, but that wasn’t even available. Instead, they rented a car and drove back to California.

When they asked the airline for a refund, they were told there was nothing American could do for them. That’s when the family reached out to ABC 7 News, which then contacted the airline.

“The next day American Airlines then took full responsibility, admitted basically that they had made an error, that they had given us invalid tickets, that they would reimburse the money that we lost on the airline tickets,” the family says.

American tells ABC 7 News that similar situations shouldn’t be an issue in just a few months.

“On Oct. 17, 2015 we will shift to one reservation system and transition all U.S. Airways flights to American flights. This cutover will eliminate the odds of this happening in the future as we will be on one reservation system,” the company says.

Still, the travelers say the company has refused to reimburse them for their prepaid hotel in Turks and Caicos and the car they rented to get back to California from Phoenix.

San Ramon Family’s Vacation Ruined Due To American, US Air Merger [ABC 7 News]