American Airlines Waives Sick Traveler’s $200 Cancellation Fee After He Sends Sweet Note & Family Photos

The next time you need to ask an airline to make an exception for you, think about following the example set by a traveler whose witty letter — complete with photos of his family — convinced American Airlines to waive its $200 cancelation fee.

The Buffalo man, who was scheduled to fly to Kansas City in March to visit his niece, had to cancel his trip after a doctor said he was too ill to travel.

“I got really sick pretty much everywhere from just my head up, and went to the doctor and they said they really advised against travel,” he tells WIVB-TV.

Because his ticket was non-refundable, the passenger knew that canceling would mean he’d have to fork over about $200 to the carrier.

Instead of simply chalking up the issue to bad luck, the man decided he’d try to appeal to American’s softer side by penning a witty note that pulled at the heartstrings.

“Dear most kind and benevolent American Airlines customer service staff member,

I write to you with the hopes that you may take mercy on me and afford a little sympathy for this flyer who has taken quite ill and had to postpone his trip to see his beloved niece.

I know you must deal with testy and ornery travelers all the time, and I assure you I am not one of those. If I’m not able to recoup this cost, I’m most understanding. I thank you for all you do to make the travel dreams of flyers such as myself a reality.

And in case this letter was too long or unclear, I’ve also included a photo-story of the whole ideal attached.”

In addition to the photo story, the man included a note from his doctor with the letter.

After a few weeks, the man says he received a reply from the airline, which has agreed to refund the cancelation fee and assist the man in rebooking his trip.

“Thank you for your letter,” reads the response from an American customer relations staffer. “I enjoyed reading it, and your photo story to match. I sure don’t want your niece to be disappointed if you don’t show up. I know you will have a lovely time visiting family.”

The traveler now plans to visit Kansas City this month.

“To have such a nice response from someone at the company, just brightened my whole day” he said. “Even the days since then, since I’ve been thinking about it and talking about it with different people.”

Buffalo man’s witty letter to American Airlines saves him $200 [WIVB]


Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.