They canceled his flight twice – are these vouchers enough?

By | November 8th, 2012

Archie Wong and his family found themselves stranded in Hawaii after American Airlines canceled their flight from Kona to Los Angeles recently.

But how his case was eventually resolved — or maybe it’s more accurate to say not resolved — raise a few interesting questions about airline contracts and duty of care. If those seem like issues best left to the lawyers, you’re in luck: Wong is an attorney based in San Francisco.

Here’s what happened to him: American canceled his red-eye flight from Hawaii to California because of a mechanical problem. The next available flight would leave in a day, and American offered to pay for his hotel and accommodations, which it’s required to do under its contract of carriage.

But that second flight was canceled, too.

“Then I was told, if we could get to Honolulu on our own, they would book us on another airline to our final destination,” he says. “But after I did so, they refused to follow through — ultimately costing me over $4,000 out of pocket.”

American’s response? It apologized, refunded the portion of his unused flight, and offered him $800 worth of flight vouchers.

Is that enough? To Wong, the answer is “no.”

“American did assist other passengers from the cancelled flight with similar accommodations on the carriers I was requesting,” he says.

One family was rebooked on Go! and Hawaiian to Los Angeles at no charge, and two other passengers were also rerouted at no cost from Honolulu. Wong took their names and contact information.

“I understand that American likely feels this is outside the conditions of carriage,” he adds. “But the conditions of carriage do allow in certain circumstances, passengers of canceled flights to be re-routed on other airlines. Furthermore, if American provided assistance to others, they can and should have provided assistance to me and my family. Also, the information that was provided to me by American was misleading and relied upon by me to my detriment.”

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Wong wants to be reimbursed for his expenses.

I asked American about Wong’s case. Here’s its response:

They chose to purchase those new tickets on their own, as our reroute options weren’t acceptable to them. This is not something that we would reimburse. They did receive refunds of their original tickets as well as $800 in vouchers as a gesture of goodwill.


So according to American, they would have sent them back to LAX eventually — but just not when they wanted to go.

You know, I’d be more inclined to believe Wong was being difficult if he’d just booked the next flight to the mainland from Kona and demanded a full refund of the fare from American. But he flew to Honolulu at his own expense and waited. I think he was being cooperative.

I’ve been in a similar situation in the past. I think 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait for the next flight on the carrier you’re ticketed on, and after that, you need to start negotiating with your airline about being rebooked on any airline that can get you to your destination. But Wong should have reached an agreement with his airline before he booked his flight home, rather than assuming the carrier would cover his costs after he returned.

Still, did American do enough? Should it cover his extra flight costs. Or did it make the right call on this one?

Update 1:30 p.m.: Some of you have asked about the exact circumstances of Wong’s routing. I asked him about it, and here’s his response:

When I first talked to AA. They said we would be placed on a 3:00 pm flight to LA from Kona and would need to stay overnight in LA to get to SFO. I asked about alternatives, and they said nothing was available that could get us to LA or SFO with earlier flights.

I called back after researching flights and found alternatives. AA then told me the flight was now scheduled at 10:00pm to LA getting in the following morning. When I told them that there were flights from Honolulu to SFO that were available, AA told me that they didn’t partner with any inter-island airlines (which appears to be false), but if we could get to Honolulu on our own, they would rebook the flight to SFO on Hawaiian air.

When I called back again, after having purchased tickets to Honolulu from Kona, they then told me that they would not help us with the tickets from Honolulu to SFO as they did not have an agreement with Hawaiian Air (this also appears to be false).

I relied upon their instructions in purchasing the tickets to Honolulu and ultimately the tickets to SFO. Both the flights that we took to Kona to Honolulu, and from Honolulu to SFO were flights that AA paid for other passengers as re-route options for the cancelled flight. IF AA has actual agreements with Mesa and Hawaiian Air, I think they should honor my request. I believe that they do, and made intentional misrepresentations to me in order to avoid expenses.



  • EdB

    AA should *NOT* have required them to get somewhere else at their own expensive for AA to fulfill their obligations. AA should have been rerouting them from the original point of departure, not somewhere else. What’s next? Your flight from LAX to DUL gets cancels. The airlines say, well, if you get to JFK on your own, we will then reroute you.

  • Adam1222

    Clearly, American should have chartered new planes just for him and put him on them.

    The only point that merits investigation is his claim that they say they’d pay for him to fly on another carrier from HNL. That seems very unlikely.

    Note, there is no suggestion that AA *required* him to go to HNL. Missing from the story is what AA offered if he didn’t choose to go to HNL. Likely, he did not like the option from KOA they were offering.

  • marie3656

    “24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait for the next flight on the carrier you’re ticketed on…”
    Have our expectations of service really gotten so low? 24 hours? I don’t like the trend that airlines are growing less accountable for their operational failures. I equally dislike that expecting service to be provided as promised is now considered unreasonable. Whatever happened to the 4 hour rule (or rule of thumb since deregulation)? How is it that passengers are the ones expected to be flexible with airline operations when airlines are frequently less and less accommodating to passenger needs. It doesn’t work both ways.
    No, AA did not offer enough compensation and did not take the opportunity to correct their mistake when you contacted them.

  • sirwired

    Let’s leave out for the moment they wanted him to get to HNL on his own…

    This seems pretty straightforward: If AA promised to re-route from HNL, they should have done so. Is something missing here?

  • john4868

    I’ve had similar circumstances happen to me in the past… I’ve had flights cancelled and been told it would be 3 or 4 days before the airline could get me out or I could drive an hour and half to another airport and they would fly me out the next morning. I chose to drive but I had a flight in hand before I left. The whole “get the HNL and we’ll take care of you” followed by him having to book a flight seems fishy to me. Also, AA statement that their reroute options weren’t acceptable to him sounds like they did attempt to accommodate him and he refused.

    Not sure if it’s Chris’s editing to make sure the story was readable or if the OP is leaving something out but there’s too large of a disconnect here for me to vote either way. By my reading of the story, he chose to purchase a ticket. AA didn’t force him to purchase one. In that case, he’s only due his refund. The vouchers were a nice added touch.

  • john4868

    @sirwired:disqus That was my first thought too until I reread the AA statement that “our reroute options weren’t acceptable to them” to me that sounds like AA attempted to reroute them and the OP refused the reaccomodation. In my mind, that one statement complete changed the story.

  • john4868

    @marie3656:disqus Your statement leads me to believe that you rarely fly into locations where your airline has limited flight service. AA only flies into Kona once a day. By definition, a cancelled flight means 24 hrs before they can reaccomodate you.

  • marie3656

    I fly to plenty of locations where there is limited service. And, yes, sometimes you have to accept that there simply are no other flights that can be taken, but that is not the case here. As was described in the article, the issue was not that there were no other ways to get the OP home, but that AA did not want to pay for another route/carrier. If a service is very limited (such as a once a day flight on that airline), and the airline cannot deliver, than there should be an expecation that they would transfer you to another carrier that is operating that day. It doesn’t matter if the original carrier’s next flight isn’t for 24 or 48 hours. If their mechanical problems are going to delay you for longer than a few hours, and there are other options available, then they should provide you with those options if the passenger so desires.

  • john4868

    @marie3656:disqus Actually the story says the opposite. If you read AA’s version of events, they offered to re accommodate the OP and he refused. That tells me that this wasn’t about AA paying another carrier (they did it for others on his flight) but that he didn’t like their plans or the options that they presented. Not liking the options is completely different than not presenting the options.

  • marie3656

    I don’t see that they were accommodating him. That’s not clear. I read it as: day1 flight canceled, day 2 flight canceled, he flies another carrier after he was assured by AA that if he found his way to Honolulu and home, he would be reimbursed. They (maybe) offered another route which got him home later than that (already 2 days late?) and he doesn’t “like” that option, so he’s being unreasonable and they don’t have to pay? That’s how it sounds to me.
    After two days, they should be bending over backwards to accommodate their passengers, not arguing over rerouting.

  • john4868

    @marie3656:disqus Sadly… Any attempts by AA to accommodate the OP are not in the article so we’re left to speculate. The fact is that there are only a finite number of seats available leaving HI on a given day. Since the OP didn’t use the “I’m a high muckity muck in their FF program” card, one can assume that he’s not. Guess who the airline is going to take care of first?

    AA was attempting to fly him home. No where does he whine that they weren’t paying for his housing and found so one can assume that they continued to. He didn’t like the routing options they gave him and bought a ticket on another airline. He didn’t have to, he chose to. Big difference.

  • marie3656

    I agree, there are details that we don’t know. But more and more I’m reading opinions in the comments that sound a lot like yours–“AA did what they could…OP was whining, OP was being unreasonable.” And sometimes, that’s true. Chris gets plenty of requests from people who are just being tools. But it seems that everyone is forgetting that in this case, the problem IS the airline’s fault to begin with. A mechanical delay is not an Act of God or a hurricane. It is a (mostly) preventable occurrance with proper maintenance, and when it’s compeltely unforseen even with good maintenance, it is still the responsbility of the airline. Most businesses work this way. Mine certainly does. You accept responsibility for things which go wrong even if it was not intentional OR not neglectful, and it’s within the realm of your business operations. If I have an employee that suddenly quits, do I just tell my client that I’ll have their work product done in 2 days when they were expecting it that day, and that they’re being unreasonable to expect anything else? I can accommodate them in two days after all. Or do I pay extra to temporarily hire someone to fill the gap and deliver the product on time, or as quickly as possible. That’s just good business. AA, in this case, is not.

  • We don’t have enough information to know if American did enough. In regards to the response from American, the rerouting they were referring to, was the from his original departure or after he got himself to Honolulu? What was the rerouting they offered? What was the OP demanding in the way of rerouting?

    I could see the OP not accepting a rerouting after getting to Honolulu if American told them they would have to wait 24 hours after getting there and American would not pick up the hotel and all. Did the OP have upgraded seats but American would not reroute with upgraded seats or pay for upgraded seats on another airline?

    We need more information to really know if what was offered for rerouting and resulting offer American gave after the rerouting was rejected to answer the question.

    Bottom line is the OP should have had tickets in hand (so to speak) for the reroute before leaving to the other airport.

  • We just don’t know what those options were that AA offered to know if they were reasonable or not.

  • SoBeSparky

    You are correct, Chris. Since under the Contract of Carriage the airline holds all the winning cards, you must work with them, negotiate is the word, rather than arbitrarily buy your own ticket and then demand it be paid for after the fact.

    If one TV does not work, or one car is a lemon, or one meal is rancid, you cannot just buy a substitute from another vendor and bill the offending party. You must try to work it out, even if you are frustrated and offended by the company’s lack of respect for the customer’s comfort.

    “But after I did so (buy the ticket from Kona to HNL), they refused to follow through — ultimately costing me over $4,000 out of pocket.” This makes no sense. Why would anyone, much less a lawyer, buy a ticket on their own to HNL without the continuing confirmed ticket to LAX already in their hands?

  • john4868

    @marie3656:disqus Using your business analogy… If you customer found the two days unacceptable and went out a paid a 3rd party for a rush contract without talking to you, all you’d owe them is any deposit or monies paid for the work. You wouldn’t owe them for any portion of the contract that you had no part in negotiating. You couldn’t afford to and stay in business. You might offer, as a sign of good will, to take off something on their next order.

    That’s exactly what AA did here. It refunded the OP for the unused portion of the contract and gave him $800 off a future flight. The OP excluded AA from the negotiation with the 3rd Party that got him home so AA shouldn’t be held accountable for lack poor deal the OP negotiated. Ultimately, how hard would it have been for the OP to walk up to the AA counter and state that carrier x had seats and he’d like them to send them home using them. At that point, AA is a party to the negotiation.

  • Frequentfliermom

    Enough with the vouchers! AA needs to refund every penny the Wongs are out, they certainly did more than you would expect from a traveler in their position.

  • KneeDefender

    My hunch – only a hunch – is that when he and his family got to HNL, AA then offered to route him some roundabout way to LAX.

    For example – HNL – SEA – LAX.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    The OP is being FAR more patient than I would have been. I simply don’t have the kind of time AA was asking him for to wait for a flight to actually leave the ground.

    The OP deserves every penny he’s out due to delays and cancelled flights. He went to another location at their request and to increase his chances of getting off the island and they let him down.

    Every; Single. Penny.

  • marie3656

    Good points, but let’s really apply it to this analogy. Employee quits, we’re delayed in delivering the product, we say we can’t do it for a couple of days, but if they go to Company X in the next town over, we’ll “help” them leaving them to think that their additional out of pocket costs for the last minute rush order will be covered by us. Then we say, oh no! We offered the client another solution (in two days) and we’re sorry that they needed to pay an additional $4,000 to get the job done as quickly as possible, but here’s a voucher for future work with us (although we know that they’ll not likely come back to us since we didn’t deliver in the first place, so the voucher is useless, or at least unwanted.)
    One of the problems with the attitude of “well, we didn’t provide the service so we’ll give you your original money back” with airlines is that it’s not like buying a TV. If they don’t deliver a TV, you get your money back. You lost a little time, but not much else. With airlines, if they don’t deliver, you might have to pay 4Xs the original amount to remedy the sitation. It’s not like you can get a walk up fare on another carrier for anywhere near the cost of your original one way fare (or rather, half of your roundtrip fare). That’s the problem with that remedy. Once you have a contract (ticket), you’re locked in. It’s not like to you suddenly descide to cancel prior to delivery and choose a better option (for most fares anyway), but airlines can cancel, and if they don’t feel like accepting responsibility (true responsiblity), you’re not only scrambling to find a way home, but you’re at a disadvantage because you can no longer find reasonable fares.

  • EdB

    Oh, and don’t forget to add in how long it can take to get a refund from the airline. So you don’t even have that money to apply towards another flight.

  • JenniferFinger

    I read it as follows: After cancelling two flights, AA told Wong to get his family to Honolulu at his own expense, at which time they would book him on another airline. He did so. Then they didn’t book him on another airline. So what “reroute” options did they offer that he objected to? I don’t get that from what’s here.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Totally agree. That’s a bizarre way of handling it. “You get yourself here” makes sense if you’re talking about somebody catching a cab from one airport to another to make a flight that’s leaving soon. But it makes no sense at all when the OP is stranded on an island where he’s going to need air transport. Did AA think he might choose the sail or swim options to get to Honolulu?

    And just as a matter of perceptions, it sets the table for misunderstandings about who will be responsible for what the rest of the way. AA apparently planned on the OP taking whatever options they offered him to get back to the mainland. But they’d already relinquished control of the first step of the trip to the OP… Very easy to see how people would start thinking “I’m going to have to get myself home” once it starts out that way.

  • Asiansm Dan

    The part I don’t understand why the Wong have to go to Honolulu on their own, AA should reroute them on other Airlines from Kona. Something fishy here. But in any case it’s AA responsibility, specially when it’s mechanical problem.

  • emanon256

    I voted no today. I thought the legacy carriers would always re-route someone on another carrier (subject to availability) if they could not transport them due to their error (i.e. mechanical). I understand making a passenger wait if there is nothing available, but if the passenger can find a flight on their own, then the airline can endorse over their ticket. I’ve had UA endorse me over to F9, B6, AA, WN, DL all many times.

    What I find more annoying is they agreed to fly him if he paid his own way to HNL, and then still didn’t. Though I have had a problem once recently where my flight has been canceled and UA endorsed my ticket over to AA, and AA refuses to accept it. I think AA is just not doing so well right now. I flew AA through DFW recently and we were delayed an hour because the captain didn’t like the food that was boarded, and had to leave the plane to go to Popeye’s Chicken and get his dinner there. He announced this to the whole plane which I thought was quite unprofessional.

    I think AA owes him what he paid for the new flight, and the flight to HLN, but shouldn’t refund his original flight. That way he is whole. I also think they should let him keep the voucher for his trouble.

  • IGoEverywhere

    Nothing but nothing makes sense about Wong’s situation. 1) I have never heard of any airline requiring a passenger to travel to another destination at their cost. I have been cabbed (impossible in Hawaii) to another airport at the airline’s expense, but never paid a nickle. “American” can reissue a ticket on any airline, anyway, any routing, that they wish to. If Wong declined their offer of assistance, then he is in error. We obviously have clients stranded regularly, and we simply call the airline and get the new tickets and ticket numbers. This leaves me with 1 statement….never leave the counter without a reservation and ticket number in your hand.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I don’t see how it being “required” makes any difference to the story. The OP isn’t asking they pay for his segment from Kona. And the story says he has the names and contact info of two sets of passengers that were transported for free on other carriers, so unless that it a total fabrication, there is proof they paid to get people home on other carriers.

    The only real question to debate is whether that meant any flight at any time and cost of his choosing or just whatever options AA cared to present. And it’s important to note they’d canceled his original flight TWICE so he was already two days late getting home. We don’t know what options they offered up, but if they entailed still more days waiting and lots of extra travel time than other options available there would come a point when they simply weren’t being reasonable.

  • I asked American about this case and the short statement was all that it would give me. We did not get into which routing they offered, but I can circle back with Wong and find out.

  • Joe Farrell

    American canceled flights 2 days in a row for mechanical problems? Some unknown employee then tells him to get his own way to Honolulu and that they will take care of him? Sorry -thats bull. Someone might have said that they would connect him through HNL and Mr. Wong misunderstood because in that case you need a written note with supervisor approval in the PNR. Thats not the way it works. Others have clearly explained how the system works.

    AA needed to reaccomodate him. Period. AA has a red eye to LAX from KOA but so does United – people – you need to know your options.

    Further – its a 5 hour flight from LAX to KOA when did AA know they canceled it – was it in LAX or was it canceled in KOA? Thats important- because if they canceled it in LAX they had HOURS to attempt to reaccomodate and fly people from KOA to HNL for the thousands of seats every day to the mainland.

    In this situation I would have:

    1. Insisted on reaccomodation the next morning – put me on a plane to HNL at 7-8a and put me on the 1p flights to the mainland.

    2. If they refuse – speak with a supervisor. that’ll happen

    3. If the supe refuses [which they can’t under their contract of carriage] then rebook yourself.

    In this case – for Mr. Wong – American failed to timely and properly reaccomodate him. I would take them to small claims court for the money. Prior to the trial of the case I would likewise ask to see the all records pertaining to the operation or non-operation of flight 247 on the day in question. I am looking for WHEN Ops cxld the flight. Then you go after AA on the grounds that they could have reaccomodated him the next morning – timely – through HNL. The only reason they did not was because they wanted to keep the revenue.

    Folks – when you travel – you need to know your options. Which means, you need to have a general idea about other flight options for your outbound and return. If you have a smart phone – those options are a few clicks away.

  • Joe Farrell

    so why didn’t he take it then if his goal was to get to LAX that day? My gosh – AA / UA/ US/ HA / DL/ AS ALL have several flights a day to LAX/SFO/SAN/SNA/PHX/SFO/OAK/PDX/SEA/SLC etc etc etc ALL with several more connections a day to LAX. It may not have been pleasant but it would have gotten him to LAX. . . .

  • KneeDefender

    IF AA had offered some itinerary with stops from his original location, fine.

    But (as far as we know) they told him to get himself and his family – by his own means – to HNL. So, he did that. IF then they wanted to route him all over to get from HNL to LAX – when there are so many non-stop flights on that route each day – THAT to me seems absurd on AA’s part.

    Hey, that’s MY opinion. You have YOUR opinion. Our opinions differ.

  • Joe Farrell

    I’ve NEVER – in 40 years of flying commercially – had an airline tell me that if I got myself to a different city that they could then accommodate me – even when I have offered. I used to live in the northeast and after winter storms often flights would be booked for weeks – and they always found a way. Now I have offered to go INTO a different airport when stranded – for example flights to BDL were booked for days but I could easily get into HVN.

    If you OFFER to do that – its a different story- but then you need to make darn well sure that its documented in the PNR record and you have the name and employee number of the person who told you that – Wong is a lawyer and he doesn’t know how to CYA? Not a lawyer I’d hire . . .

  • This story reminds me of the finals of the Amazing Race one year. One pair thought they’d be smart and simply head over to a large airport, hoping to snag a flight instead of waiting for tickets from where they were. They were never heard of again for the rest of the finals.

    There’s definitely a disconnect in the statement:

    “Then I was told, if we could get to Honolulu on our own, they would
    book us on another airline to our final destination,” he says.

    Who told him? Was it written? What was to be the next step in the chain? Who’s “they”, as in “they” would book us on another airline? If “they” = AA, then why is he out 4K?

    Not sure I’d want to hire a lawyer that follows that advice…

  • Adam_The_Man

    Sounds like a scam. American could have done something and they didn’t just to not have to pay. They probably train their employes on how to weasel their way out of providing services.

  • john4868

    Had it happen to me flying out of DAY. Old UA couldn’t find me a seat for 3 days (after my return flight) but could find me a AA seat if I would fly out of CVG (90 minutes away) the next morning.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Be Kind. We don’t know the full circumstances, nor what type of law Wong practices, nor how experienced a traveler he is. Its easy to Monday morning quarterback the situation

    Editted: Wong is a District attorney (Prosecutor) and has been an attorney for 19 years. He probably doesn’t ever deal in the world of contracts or the business world.

  • KneeDefender

    Carver Clark Farrow – Well said.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    +1.

  • Joe Farrell

    but he is also a politician and should know CYA pretty well . . . as well as understand that “if its not written down, it did not happen”

  • Joe Farrell

    the issue is not if it’s pretty simple to do, the issue is ‘how can he prove they said that.’

  • DavidYoung2

    Totally disagree, but for another reason. $4,000?

    Uh… that’s beyond what is ‘fair and reasonable’ for a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. Unless it’s a REALLY big family, Mr. Wong should definitely have triple checked before paying $4,000 for tickets. AA has like 10 flights a day from HNL to the mainland — I’m sure they could have gotten them on one of the flights within a decent timeframe. Mr. Wong figured AA would pay for the flights, so hey, let’s dump $4,000 on tickets ’cause it ain’t our money. Sorry, AA’s offer is fair.

  • Decent American

    This is a classic reason why American is circling the drain

  • decent american

    Have you ever tried to book a flight at the last minute at the ticket counter? I did recently at DFW (AA of course) and the one way fare from DFW to MIA was $1809 for COACH!

  • djp98374

    Here is an example……I did this a few times. If you live in an area with multiple airports you could try to be helpful to them by saying I will fly out of A instead of B.

    I have one this in the DC area where my flight was cancelled afrom bwi and I had my itinerary rerouted out of national. I did this in newport news Virginia ( small, limited airport) and my flight got cancelled so I was willing to fly out of Norfolk instead.

  • djp98374

    there was another time when a flight got cancelled by shuttle America. I was flying out of Wilmington, de. Fora cancelled flight for rebooking ne group of people offered to fly out of Trenton for their travel, another group offered to just drive one way rental.

  • EdB

    Huh? Are you disagreeing with my statement that AA should have been rerouting them from the original point of departure? That was the only point I was talking about in my post. The OP shouldn’t have had to put out any more money to get what he contracted with AA for.

    I hope you aren’t trying to say that if an airline cancels a flight, they can reroute you from any other airport and it’s up to you to get there.

  • Joe Farrell

    one more short document production . . . “produce copies of all interline agreements on [insert date of flight].” Solve that problem right away.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Glad I saw this. I’m thinking about a trip to the islands. I’d love to see Kiluea in action. I won’t be taking AA. Sounds like their slogan should be: “American Airlines – We’ll get you there, eventually”.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    After reading the update, it truly sounds like he was completely jerked around. But the update still leaves me with questions. If AA paid to get people home on the other options he found (and eventually purchased on his own) why didn’t they do the same for him? Was he dealing with a single agent who took a dislike to him? (From the story, I’d guess he’d talked to multiple people at different times.) I don’t see how short of a rogue employee having it in for him why other passengers would be accommodated but not him.

    And did he not find out about the other passengers being put on these other flights until after the fact? Because AA telling him “We can’t put you on that flight” and having him reply “Funny, but you just did that for John and Mary Jones 20 minutes ago” should seemingly have been the end of that discussion.

  • Ann Lamoy

    I think AA screwed them. Wong is correct-AA does code share with Hawaiian Air (http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/codesharePartners/main.jsp) so if his account is correct, they should have been able to book him on a direct flight from Honolulu to SFO.

    I don’t blame him for not wanting to take the flight from Hawaii to LAX, stay overnight and then go to SFO. He had already been delayed two days and asking for another day delay? When a direct option was available. Yeah-no.

    i have a suggestion for Mr. Wong. Next time, fly Alaska. I was flying from LAS to SEA on 9/26 on a 7am flight. We pushed back to depart but shortly pulled back to the gate. After 6 hours, they canceled the flight. It was a pain in the ass to rebook (even with multiple flights daily) because everything was close to full. About 1/2 of us got rebooked that night on 3 flights (Delta flight with a stopover in Salt Lake) and one flight departed at 7:50 and the 2nd at 8:30. The rest got out the next day on various flights. Everyone staying overnight was booked in hotels and connecting flights rebooked of course. We also got an $8 lunch and $8 dinner voucher (and I presume the overnight folks got meal money for the next day)

    I got the last flight out and got home at 1am. They had passed out cards with a “we are so sorry for your inconvenience and we would like to offer you miles/a voucher”. I mailed it in and in a couple of weeks got an email apologizing and a $350 voucher good for a year. Considering the RT flight only cost $303, I was more than satisfied. (And I hadn’t even asked for any amount, just asked for a voucher)

    Now that is customer service.

  • Adam1222

    Well, half the commenters here at the time were saying how wrong it was for AA to “require” him to fly out of HNL, so apparently it does make a difference to other people. You don’t know what other options he was offered, yet you rush to agree with him and attack the airline based on conjecture. Is it possible that there were only 4 other seats on other flights, and the other passengers got them first? You have no idea. Nowhere in the contract of carriage or anywhere else does it say they are obligated to get you on flights you want.

  • Adam1222

    No one says AA “told” him to do that. It says, *if* he did that, when *he* asked them about flights from HNL.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    How do you figure he’s a politician?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    How can it possibly matter what other options AA presented. IF AA presented option 1, 2, and 3, and the OP elected option 3, then AA should honor its word. Options 1 and 2 are by definition irrelevant to the discussion. Option 1 could have been a million dollars. So what.

    Of course, it remains an open question as to whether AA really offered option 3. My hunch is that a ticket agent told him that just to ger rid of him and pass the problem to someone else.

  • JenniferFinger

    Actually, Wong does say that he was told to do that when he asked “them” what to do. So who is this “them/they” who told him? Presumably an AA employee or representative. If it was anyone else, like an outside travel agent, I’d think Wong would bring that up.

  • Adam1222

    In the update, it suggests that he asked AA about flying out of HNL, not that AA proactively told him to go to HNL.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Lots and lots of flights between Hawaii and the mainland. While theoretically possible there were only 4 other seats available and he just happened to personally connect with the folks who got them, the odds of that seem pretty long. It seems to me you are also using conjecture, just in the opposite direction.

  • Adam1222

    There actually aren’t “lots and lots” of flights from Kona to the mainland. And they did offer him one of those- but he didn’t like the overnight connection in LA it would require him.

    It’s not conjecture to state there may have been other explanations. Its conjecture to assume one path and call people scammers.

  • Adam1222

    It actually has nothing to do with it. American consumers will fly the cheapest airline, regardless of their customer service.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I never called anyone a scammer. You either have me confused with some other poster or you just want to be combative. And you keep getting hung up on him flying himself to Honolulu. He’s not asking them to pay for that, so it is a non-issue, That opened up his options to a ton of more flights–including flights that he documented other people in his same situation were put on.

  • JenniferFinger

    Sorry, Adam1222, but your semantic arguments don’t work. If he asked AA, who else would have given him the answer? This is not logical.

  • Adam1222

    My apologies for responding to other people being hung up on him flying himself to Honolulu as a major issue. I agree with you its a non-issue. WHich was the entire point.
    I simply disagree with you that the fact that other passengers got on a flight means they were obligated to buy him tickets on the exact same flight. Fare buckets, etc., are limited. And there is no right to be accommodated on the exact flight you want.
    Cheers.

  • This thread is getting a little bit uncivil. Please be nice to one another, folks.

  • BMG4ME

    Thanks for writing this – it spurred me to write to Airtran to get a refund instead of a voucher for a flight that was canceled due to Sandy – and I got the refund without a fight.

  • Tom

    I recently was flying from Bangkok to Jeddah on Sri Lankan airlines. I was told my flight was cancelled and I needed to board another flight that would give me an 18 hr stay in Sri Lanka as appossed to my original one of 4 hrs. I took the flight having no other recourse. When I arrived in Sri Lanka, myself and 3 others were escorted to a lounge and Sri Lankan airlines had paid for arrival visas for us all and transported us to a nice accommodation on the beach for the night. They even paid for all meals and drinks for our stay. I didn’t ask for it, it was a welcome surprise. But that wasn’t it…..the next flight I boarded had mechanical problems and after a few hours more at the airport, the second flight was cancelled. This time busses arrived and they transported us to the center of town and put everyone in a very nice business conference center hotel, and told us to enjoy the night buffet, which was fantastic. I lost two days in travel back to Jeddah, but the airline was very responsive, did these things without me asking for anything, and treated me very well. Was it enough? Loss of 2 days was difficult , but I would venture that between the hotels, meals, and transports, Sri Lankan didn’t make money off my flight, and did a great job in trying to make the extra stay as good as they could. I would fly Sri Lankan again anytime, their customer service was very good, and as I mentioned earlier I never asked for anything