Answer: I’d be very upset, too. An American Airlines representative dispatched you to Dallas with the understanding you’d be able to make a timely connection to a San Jose flight. But thanks to a series of misunderstandings, you found yourself with only one option: buying two new one-way tickets.
The agent in Nashville should have explained the risk you were taking by catching an earlier flight. At the very least, he should have ensured that your existing connection through Dallas wasn’t canceled.
Escalating this issue to a supervisor was a terrific idea — it’s always best to address a service problem immediately, if not with an agent then with a supervisor — but I think you were too easy on American. If a reasonable request like yours is denied (even politely) then you need to appeal your case. A phone call to American Airlines might have been helpful, and failing that an appeal to the supervisor’s boss.
Presenting yourself at the gate can also be a powerful incentive to fix your problem. This is a trick used by hotel guests: When a reservation gets lost or something is wrong with your room, just mill around the lobby and make calls to the corporate 800-number, explaining your problem.
Fact is, American stranded you in Dallas. Then it asked you to pay for its mistake. And you did.
After you got home, you could have also sent a short, cordial email to American, asking for a refund. I got involved in this case before you could do that, but it would have been a logical next step.
Next time you fly, make sure you’re on a nonstop if you request this kind of schedule change. This kind of snafu is very rare, and airlines like American normally go to great lengths to ensure their passengers aren’t stranded.
I contacted American on your behalf. The airline reviewed your case and found that there had been “an honest miscommunication” about what would happen if you stood by outside of your original routing.
American refunded your $780.
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