Answer: American Airlines should have refunded the money you spent on your tickets by now. On second thought, it shouldn’t have ever come to this. When your flight was canceled, the airline should have found a way of getting you to your destination in a timely manner — not two days later.
Your rights as a passenger are outlined in American Airlines’ conditions of carriage — that’s the legal agreement between you and the airline. See paragraph 18, which deals with delays, cancellations and diversions. It specifies that when cancellations and major delays are experienced, passengers will be rerouted on its next flight with available seats.
“If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day, we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability,” it adds.
Not so long ago, airlines would buy a ticket on another airline if the delay were their fault, like a mechanical problem or a crew shortage. Ticket agents at some carriers still have the authority to endorse a ticket to another airline.
I don’t think you should have taken “no” for an answer. Telling an American Airlines representative that you’re on your honeymoon might have gotten you a flight to your destination without spending any extra money.
In a situation like this, having a skilled travel agent would have also been useful. A trusted travel adviser — especially someone who specializes in honeymoon vacations — would have known whom to call at American. If nothing else, that would have saved you and your husband from a lot of unnecessary stress.
As to your refund, airlines often talk a good game when it comes to returning your money. In fact, they take weeks, and sometimes months, to process your credit. Why? I haven’t heard a good explanation yet.
When you’re trying to track down a refund, you’re better off sticking to e-mail. If the airline sends you something in writing that promises a refund, finding the money will be much easier for your bank. Even if the money never shows up, your financial institution may return the funds if it interprets the correspondence as a letter of credit, or an intent to pay you. That can’t happen if you call the airline.
I contacted American on your behalf and it promptly issued a $1,374 refund to your card.
(Photo: Joe Penniston/Flickr Creative Commons)