2 month old infant with flu - AA doesn't find it exceptional?

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Sep 22, 2015
2
3
3
50
We recently had to cancel a trip to Greece because unfortunately our 2.5 month old daughter got the flu virus 2 days before departure and the doctor advised us to not take the risk of flying. We were really looking forward to this trip and were bummed to have to cancel so close to the date.
I sent the papers from the Emergency Dept at Seattle Children's Hospital to AA Refunds dept on Sep 7, and so far there is no decision. The status on their Refunds page shows "Declined" first and then "Pending Review". When I call AA customer service, they say "we are reviewing again but it could be weeks, maybe months before there is a decision". Note that there is no way to directly talk to the Refunds department. All you can do is send emails through a form on their website, which by the way doesn't work with attachments - so you end up faxing those.
Every single hotel in Greece that I had to cancel ended up waiving the cancellation charges because of the reason for cancellation - I sent them exactly the same papers I sent AA. Not sure why AA has to sit on my request for so long.
Death of a family member is apparently valid grounds for refunding non-refundable ticket, but not a potentially fatal situation of a baby with flu on a 10 hour flight? Even a healthy baby can be hard to manage on a long transatlantic flight. Imagine a baby with fever and cough. At that age, for fever and cough, babies need to be rushed to the ER/NICU/PICU and put on ventilators etc - not something one can do much about on a flight. I am not making this up.
AA execs, if you are reading this, my family will appreciate your help. I promise I will spend that money on AA flights. If you simply can't give me a refund, can you waive the 500 CAD per passenger change fee and extend the expiration date to Dec 2016, so I can plan another trip for next summer?
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,271
1,439
113
NAPLES FL or Denver CO
We recently had to cancel a trip to Greece because unfortunately our 2.5 month old daughter got the flu virus 2 days before departure and the doctor advised us to not take the risk of flying. We were really looking forward to this trip and were bummed to have to cancel so close to the date.
I sent the papers from the Emergency Dept at Seattle Children's Hospital to AA Refunds dept on Sep 7, and so far there is no decision. The status on their Refunds page shows "Declined" first and then "Pending Review". When I call AA customer service, they say "we are reviewing again but it could be weeks, maybe months before there is a decision". Note that there is no way to directly talk to the Refunds department. All you can do is send emails through a form on their website, which by the way doesn't work with attachments - so you end up faxing those.
Every single hotel in Greece that I had to cancel ended up waiving the cancellation charges because of the reason for cancellation - I sent them exactly the same papers I sent AA. Not sure why AA has to sit on my request for so long.
Death of a family member is apparently valid grounds for refunding non-refundable ticket, but not a potentially fatal situation of a baby with flu on a 10 hour flight? Even a healthy baby can be hard to manage on a long transatlantic flight. Imagine a baby with fever and cough. At that age, for fever and cough, babies need to be rushed to the ER/NICU/PICU and put on ventilators etc - not something one can do much about on a flight. I am not making this up.
AA execs, if you are reading this, my family will appreciate your help. I promise I will spend that money on AA flights. If you simply can't give me a refund, can you waive the 500 CAD per passenger change fee and extend the expiration date to Dec 2016, so I can plan another trip for next summer?
Hi Ram -- I think you did the right thing cancelling your trip. That being said, since you said it was recently, so I really think you need to relax and let AA make a decision.
In today's world, with the ability to send your message/question to almost anyone more or less immediately, people tend to think that the response should be just as immediate.
Think about it -- that is a huge assumption; that the company/person from whom you are awaiting a response was just sitting there waiting for your missive to land in their inbox. Do you have a job? Is that how your day rolls? Well, if it is you are an exception.
In my work I had lists of things TO DO. Some were ASAP, some were SOON, some were WHEN ABLE and some were just listed as WHENEVER. People requesting my immediate attention were usually disappointed as they went on one of my LISTS.
Decisions to break the rules take some thought, usually take a supervisor and sometimes involved company executives.
I realize you are anxious about this issue, but please -- wait for an answer.
If you have read some of the threads on this forum, you should be at least part way aware that there is a standard formula for making your appeal, but it does involve waiting for an answer first.
We all hope your daughter is find by now and that you and your family are well also.
Also -- if you cancelled just two days before the flight departure, it is possible that AA was not able to sell your seat to another passenger, which truly means that they did lose money. Even big, bad corporations have to limit these kinds of losses.
Others on this site will ask if you had insurance or thought about buying refundable/changeable tickets. Be ready to respond to those questions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jsn55
Jan 3, 2015
471
713
93
39
First off, I hope the baby is doing better!

As for what to do now, have you gotten a final decision from AA? It doesn't sound like you have, so please be patient.

If you do get denied, you can certainly escalate using our "Company Contacts" link at the top of this page. If you do, start at the bottom of the chain and work your way up, giving each person at least a week to respond.

Also, please be sure in all of your correspondence that you are POLITE, stick to the facts (leave all emotion out of it) and concise. You don't need to write a novel to get your point across. Also, remember, you want the person on the other side to be your friend, not your adversary, so being polite is more important than anything else. If you make threats to never fly the airline again or sue, you won't get anywhere.
 

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
1,067
1,816
113
KSNA
I'm sorry you had to cancel your vacation but you did the right thing. Not only for the health and safety of your daughter, but also for other passengers. Unfortunately the rules for non-cancellable fares and the change fees are pretty strictly enforced, and that encourages people to fly anyway, when they should really delay travel.

The flip side is the airlines make the rules clear, and though your specific case sounds pretty acute, there's a "slippery slope" when exceptions are granted. Trip insurance might be a good investment for future, costly trips.

The ER paperwork was good to send; it proves you aren't making this up (happens all the time). If there's a 2nd round with AA, include a brief statement from your pediatrician stating the possible consequences had you traveled. Medical diversions cost airlines a lot of money and AA may realize they might have saved that expense. You don't need to elaborate with AA on this point if you include the doctor statement.

If your exception is granted, it will likely be the usual credit voucher with the change fee reduced or waived (not a cash refund). The voucher is good for 12 months from the date tickets were issued, *not* from your date of travel. IMHO if AA offers this, it will probably be a "last and final". Start thinking about how to use the voucher.

Last thing...have you asked for all your tickets to be considered, not just your daughter's? Just making sure!
 
  • Like
Reactions: jsn55

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,258
1,735
113
Coastal South Carolina
Hope the baby is well on her way to a full and fast recovery. I agree that you made the prudent choice not traveling when she was so ill.

If you do get a "no" answer from the airlines, please let us know. We can help direct you to the tree of contacts and provide some advice as to the best manner to approach them. Short, sweet, and polite are keywords. Just as @GNRMatt said above.

Remember that you'd be actually asking the airline for a favor .... so we'll hope that your request lands on the desk of someone who sympathizes with your situation.


Please DO let us know what transpires.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,044
23,002
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Death of a family member is apparently valid grounds for refunding non-refundable ticket, but not a potentially fatal situation of a baby with flu on a 10 hour flight? Even a healthy baby can be hard to manage on a long transatlantic flight. Imagine a baby with fever and cough. At that age, for fever and cough, babies need to be rushed to the ER/NICU/PICU and put on ventilators etc - not something one can do much about on a flight. I am not making this up.

Actually it isn't. It is a courtesy when an airline refunds anything if you haven't purchased travel insurance. After all, thats the point of buying insurance and one of the reasons the airlines sell it.

You should have a credit with the airline for the amount of your ticket less cancellation fees. You will need to use it within one year of the date you purchased your ticket. That is probably your best option. Call the airline and verify this and plan on using it within that time frame.

And purchase travel insurance going forward.
 
Sep 22, 2015
2
3
3
50
Thanks for the responses, folks!

Baby is doing great now. Thanks for asking!

Yes, I did send ER papers with diagnosis as well as a separate note from the doctor specifically for the airline about the risks.

Good advice to stay polite regardless of frustration level. Gotta remember that!

Thanks
Ram
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,748
10,540
113
San Francisco
Ram, it's so nice to deal with a reader who "gets it" ... non-ref airline tix are just that. Airlines have rules, THEIR rules ... and whining about them is pointless. You are taking the right tack by understanding that you are requesting help from AA.
Airlines will often issue a credit when they receive a polite request based on a true emergency, so following our tried & true procedures is a very good idea. I suspect you will be successful and enjoying yourselves in Greece. If not, Chris may step in and assist, so please keep us updated.