American Airlines ruined my Birthday vacation

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Mar 4, 2017
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Hi,

My name is Maya Quarles and my mother read an article about you and your team in The Philadelphia Inquirer and we just had to contact you! On 2/10/17 our flight (Flight #2463) on American Airlines was suppose to leave Philadelphia at 6:00am and arrive to Miami at 8:59 and from there we would catch our connecting flight for Curacao at at 11:19 am and arrive in Curacao at 3:12 pm. This was my 25th Birthday celebration and was beyond excited about leaving the country for the first time. We arrived to PHL at 4:00 am and the International gate was closed and we had to walk over to the next American Airlines terminal. When I printed our ticket I saw the kiosk say something about a delay but was hopping I read it wrong since the kiosk system was very confusing and the staff wasn't helpful and we felt rushed, I continued to go through TSA. I heard other surrounding me complaining about them missing their future connecting flights. As were waiting in line I see that our flight was now pushed to 10:00am. My mother and I are upset because we were never alerted about this delay. I signed up for their email and phone alerts when booking our flights and was livid that we were now stuck in the airport for 4 hours. As we sat at our gate killing time, my mother received a phone call at 8:30 about the delay. It was insulting that they chose to call at 8:30 to discuss the delay and that her phone rang instead of mine. If the flight is scheduled for 6:00am , why would you contact the customer at 8:30 regarding the delay. At this point we went to the bar to enjoy a an early Birthday drink. Later, we found out that our flight was pushed back because their pilots had "timed-out" and they didn't have anyone on standby. I contacted American Airlines via Twitter and told them we would be arriving 1 hour late for our connecting flight in Curacao and if they could hold the plane for us. I expressed that I would be missing an entire day from my vacation and losing money on a hotel room that I booked because I wouldn't even be there. They denied my request and offered me a free flight return change from Monday to Tuesday. That wasn't good enough for me because I would still have to pay an additional night out of pocket for my hotel and would now have to pay for 2 additional nights for their drama. We arrived to Miami and our flight was long gone, we went to customer service to get another connecting flight which didn't leave till 8:00pm. We were now stuck in MIA for an additional 8 hours because of the flight change (total of 12 hours in an airport) and weren't happy. The staff offered us a $24 food voucher each and were told with Miami traffic it would be bad idea to leave the airport and come back at that time. We walked around for hours and ate dinner and finally got on our flight to CUR. I contacted our hotel via email about our situation and was hoping they'd extend our stay for one free night but that did not happen. We arrived to CUR at midnight and the town was pitch black, I wasn't able to see what the beautiful town looked like and it was raining. We arrived to the hotel and checked in and toured the premises in the rain trying to get familiar with the area. But when I woke up the next morning we were in paradise the island was so beautiful but we were still sad that we missed out on so many hours there. On our scheduled return flight home TSA forced me to my liquids in a ziplock bag and once we were at our gate our bags were checked again for liquids. I thought this concept was strange because if we purchased food and drinks in the airport then it should be allowed on the flight. The staff were rude and nearly pushed me to losing my mind. Thankfully all of our flights left on time and we arrived home safe. I contacted AA customer service online and was given a $100 flight voucher for my mom and 7,500 miles added to my account. I was so upset that they thought the value of my time wasted in their terminal and the amount of money I lost on a hotel was valued equal to that. I asked for a refund on my hotel night or a free one-way trip for both my mother and I and they denied that request as well. Please help, thanks.



Thanks
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,924
3,537
113
@maya, I hope your stay in Curacao was an enjoyable celebration! I am sorry the start to the trip was not as seamless as you had hoped. I am going to assume you did not purchase trip insurance for your vacation. If you had, it would cover the cost of the unused hotel room the first night.

So, here comes the tough love. Airlines are only responsible for getting you to your destination, and they do not even have to do it in a timely manner! Delays happen with airlines for a multitude of reasons. They cannot "hold" connecting flights as that would create a downward spiral of subsequent delays for other scheduled flights. Also, they cannot be held responsible for financial losses (pre-paid hotel rooms, etc.) of their passengers due to a delay or cancellation.

If you would like to pursue more compensation than already offered, please rewrite your letter omitting all emotion and unnecessary information such as feeling rushed, other passengers complaining, the lack of social media communication about the delay, etc. In addition, omit any information regarding TSA as they are a separate governing body than the airline. No airline has any control over how TSA conducts their business. When you write your letter, be very brief, polite and professional otherwise the person reading your email will discard it immediately. Lastly, two free airline tickets is expecting too much. Be reasonable in your request. You ended up at your destination and were able to enjoy most of your vacation. Requesting a voucher for a future airline ticket is a good option though.

Once you have rewritten your letter, use the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum to find AA's email addresses for their execs. Write to one at a time, waiting one week for a reply. If you do not like their response or they do not reply, move to the next name on the list. Do not write to them all at once. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar so criticizing their airline is not the tone you want to take.

Good luck and let us know your progress!

EDIT: One thought.....have you checked with your credit card company to see if they offer trip insurance that would cover reimbursement for your unused hotel expense?
 
Nov 14, 2016
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I'm having a very difficult time following the Giant Wall of Text above. If I can make heads or tails of it, the original flight was delayed which resulted in missing a connection which further delayed Maya. But Maya ultimately got to their destination the same day albeit quite late. I'm not sure where there was any "lost money" on the hotel or whether there's been any additional out-of-pocket expense at all here. Some clarification is needed if something was actually lost.

Maya, it's quite obvious that you're an inexperienced traveler so let me try to assist you on a few things:

1. The airline's CoC only requires them to get you to your destination. They are not liable for being late, for reimbursing you for missed events/hotels at your destination or pretty much anything else. So understand that pursuing additional compensation will require you to approach this as "artful begging" rather than actually being owed something.

2. The ziplock bag has been around since the early 2000s. This isn't "rude", this is just part of security and is NOT optional. Frankly, I'm surprised they let you fly out without one on your origination flights.

3. Unreasonable demands are usually discarded. Your complaint is nothing unusual in travel today. It does not merit 2 free tickets or any other extraordinary act from AA to make you whole. If you persist in demanding things like this I'm afraid that you're likely to be quite disappointed.

4. It appears you lost a few hours of vacation. I'd try negotiating a slightly better voucher but the way to do so is how Patina described - rewrite your experience in bulleted form without the emotion with a clear and reasonable goal in mind. This means removing comments like finding the TSA "rude" (how is the TSA following a 10+ year rule AA's fault?) or the fact that the sun set before you got to your destination or that (correctly) the ground staff advised you to not go into Miami because traffic can be a bear. It might go something like this:

Dear AA:

- Flight X was delayed because of a crew time out
- This made us miss Flight Y which caused an additional delay
- The total delay was X hours
- Thus you are asking for $X dollars in vouchers or X miles due to this inconvenience. The prior offer of a $100 voucher is inadequate.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

Maya
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,889
10,698
113
San Francisco
I'm sorry that you feel your birthday celebration was spoiled, Maya. What you experienced is something that happens day in and day out when you're flying somewhere. Please correct me, but I'm reading that it took a long time to get to your destination, it was dark when you arrived at your hotel and American has compensated you with a voucher and miles. It seems to me that American did a good job putting you on the next flight from MIA and you are fortunate that they understood your unhappiness, so they gave you some compensation. Whenever I leave my house, fly somewhere, fly home without huge problems, I always marvel at how much an enjoyable trip depends on just plain good luck. As Rick Steves' says, anytime you reach your destination the same day you thought you would, it's a good trip. I've come to realize how right he is over many years of travelling.

When booking air travel today, using a good travel agent is always a very wise investment. You can become educated about the whole process, get all your questions answered, and experience the trip in a much more positive way. If you wish to pursue more compensation from American, my colleagues have given you excellent advice. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.
 
Last edited:

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
1,071
1,832
113
KSNA
@maya Just to help you become an informed traveler:

You went to the international terminal at PHL. Even though your destination was international, the first flight was to MIA and you should have gone to the domestic terminal. There are sometimes exceptions to this. This is true with all airlines and almost all airports worldwide.

Boarding passes (not tickets) were printed out at the airport. *Always* do advance check-in, usually 24 hours before scheduled flight time. You can print (or load on your smartphone) the boarding passes, and will be earlier in the check-in queue if the airline needs to bump passengers off the flight. If there are any flight changes the airline didn't inform you about (it happens pretty often), you will hopefully find out about it then, and not at the airport. The terminal and gate is provided during advance check-in so you know which terminal to go to (but gates and sometimes terminals can change, so check again before arriving at the airport).

TSA is a US government agency. Although we have security requirements for flights coming to the US from other countries, TSA is not present at non-US airports (except Canada and a few others). Curacao security was not TSA, and every country and airport have different security processes. A second screening at the gate is unusual, but I experienced a TSA re-screening of every passenger on a LAX-ORD flight at our boarding gate. The airlines have little or no control over government security agents.

Hope this helps along with the information others have provided.
 
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
2,899
113
New York
Hi,

My name is Maya Quarles and my mother read an article about you and your team in The Philadelphia Inquirer and we just had to contact you! On 2/10/17 our flight (Flight #2463) on American Airlines was suppose to leave Philadelphia at 6:00am and arrive to Miami at 8:59 and from there we would catch our connecting flight for Curacao at at 11:19 am and arrive in Curacao at 3:12 pm. This was my 25th Birthday celebration and was beyond excited about leaving the country for the first time. We arrived to PHL at 4:00 am and the International gate was closed and we had to walk over to the next American Airlines terminal. When I printed our ticket I saw the kiosk say something about a delay but was hopping I read it wrong since the kiosk system was very confusing and the staff wasn't helpful and we felt rushed, I continued to go through TSA. I heard other surrounding me complaining about them missing their future connecting flights. As were waiting in line I see that our flight was now pushed to 10:00am. My mother and I are upset because we were never alerted about this delay. I signed up for their email and phone alerts when booking our flights and was livid that we were now stuck in the airport for 4 hours. As we sat at our gate killing time, my mother received a phone call at 8:30 about the delay. It was insulting that they chose to call at 8:30 to discuss the delay and that her phone rang instead of mine. If the flight is scheduled for 6:00am , why would you contact the customer at 8:30 regarding the delay. At this point we went to the bar to enjoy a an early Birthday drink. Later, we found out that our flight was pushed back because their pilots had "timed-out" and they didn't have anyone on standby. I contacted American Airlines via Twitter and told them we would be arriving 1 hour late for our connecting flight in Curacao and if they could hold the plane for us. I expressed that I would be missing an entire day from my vacation and losing money on a hotel room that I booked because I wouldn't even be there. They denied my request and offered me a free flight return change from Monday to Tuesday. That wasn't good enough for me because I would still have to pay an additional night out of pocket for my hotel and would now have to pay for 2 additional nights for their drama. We arrived to Miami and our flight was long gone, we went to customer service to get another connecting flight which didn't leave till 8:00pm. We were now stuck in MIA for an additional 8 hours because of the flight change (total of 12 hours in an airport) and weren't happy. The staff offered us a $24 food voucher each and were told with Miami traffic it would be bad idea to leave the airport and come back at that time. We walked around for hours and ate dinner and finally got on our flight to CUR. I contacted our hotel via email about our situation and was hoping they'd extend our stay for one free night but that did not happen. We arrived to CUR at midnight and the town was pitch black, I wasn't able to see what the beautiful town looked like and it was raining. We arrived to the hotel and checked in and toured the premises in the rain trying to get familiar with the area. But when I woke up the next morning we were in paradise the island was so beautiful but we were still sad that we missed out on so many hours there. On our scheduled return flight home TSA forced me to my liquids in a ziplock bag and once we were at our gate our bags were checked again for liquids. I thought this concept was strange because if we purchased food and drinks in the airport then it should be allowed on the flight. The staff were rude and nearly pushed me to losing my mind. Thankfully all of our flights left on time and we arrived home safe. I contacted AA customer service online and was given a $100 flight voucher for my mom and 7,500 miles added to my account. I was so upset that they thought the value of my time wasted in their terminal and the amount of money I lost on a hotel was valued equal to that. I asked for a refund on my hotel night or a free one-way trip for both my mother and I and they denied that request as well. Please help, thanks.



Thanks

In Miami you could have had a fun day trip. You could take a 15 min cab ride to South Beach, shop, have lunch, lay out, go to a spa and head back to the airport with plenty of time for the flight. I know you wanted to get to your destination but it would have been an enjoyable day. I have no idea why they told you not to leave the airport. You arrived on your first day, at least. The compensation sounds fair. Based on how much time you have, you could write the contacts for more.

I'm so glad you loved Curaco. I want to go there.
 
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