Is the American-US Airways merger delivering on its promises?

Atlantic/Shutterstock
Atlantic/Shutterstock
The new American Airlines — the product of last year’s controversial merger between American and US Airways — may only be a few months old, but that hasn’t stopped travelers from forming opinions about the world’s largest airline.

The carrier, based in Dallas, has made some noteworthy changes since it settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department in December, clearing the new American for takeoff. Among them: revising some of its frequent-flier benefits, small but important changes to the way it sells flights, and new ticket policies.

“Significant benefits for customers are already being delivered,” says American spokesman John McDonald.
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Billed by American Airlines – and then billed again

anderm / Shutterstock.com
anderm / Shutterstock.com
Russell Higley is promised a refund after his flight is canceled. But now his airline is trying to bill him twice for a flight he never took. What’s the problem?

Question: I read your columns and appreciate what you have done to help especially the less fortunate among us who are being wronged with financial penalties because we did not receive a promised refund. For someone like me, who is nearly 67 years old, with a pacemaker, heart and liver disease, and arthritis, this $371 loss is a nightmare.

American Airlines canceled my flight from New York to Palm Springs, Calif., and agreed to refund my fare.
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Why is US Airways so un-American?

Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
If you read nothing more than the headline of this story, you might think this is another rant about the evils of airline consolidation — a consolidation that, by the way, isn’t over yet.

But it isn’t. Instead, I’m thinking about how to respond to a complaint I received from Mark Ellerman, a passenger on a recent flight from Phoenix to Chicago. Actually, so are all of the volunteer advocates who work with me.

We just don’t know what to tell him.
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Beware of the half-truths airlines – and passengers – like to tell

Kunertus / Shutterstock.com
Kunertus / Shutterstock.com
It would be inaccurate to say that American Airlines lied to Kori Conley’s friend when she tried to fix her airline ticket.

She needed to get home for Christmas with her kids, but someone else was paying for her ticket and they’d bungled the reservation, confusing the origin and destination airports on her itinerary.

“My friend called immediately — we’re talking right away — to let them know the error,” says Conley. “They in turn told her there would be a $200 per ticket fee — an extra $600 to fix three tickets.”

It would also be inaccurate to say the American Airline representative who Conley’s friend talked to told her the whole truth. See, under the Transportation Department’s 24-hour rule, she could have canceled her flight and made a new reservation at no charge.
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Where are the frequent flier miles I won?

Boyko/Shutterstock
Boyko/Shutterstock
Larry Babbin wins lots of frequent flier miles from American Airlines, but the points never appear on his statement. Now the company is giving him the silent treatment. Can these miles be saved?

Question: American Airlines ran a contest in which it gave away 25,000 frequent flier miles every day. I entered every day last month and “won” three times. I have email confirmation each day that I won and a written assurance that the miles would be deposited within seven days to my account.

It’s been over a month, but I haven’t received the miles. American hasn’t even posted the winners on the website even though they are listed for every other contest American has had.
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