Cancelled/Changed Flights and customer's rights

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Dec 11, 2015
I booked tickets from St. John to Albuquerque, NM leaving on January 3rd back in June. I received a call from American approximately three weeks ago saying that changes to my flight had resulted in a "miss-connect" and that I would need to call them to reschedule. When I called American to reschedule they told me they wouldn't be able to get me on a flight until January 6th, three days later. I work at the airport so I decided to go to the ticket counter and speak to a ticket agent. She told me they had cancelled my flight and that was why I couldn't get home on that day. She has been working on my reservations ever since and has managed to get me on a flight on January 4th but which requires us to stay overnight in Puerto Rico and then bounce around to 3 different connections before getting home. I wrote two e-mails to American explaining what had happened and if I could get a voucher since I now have to stay overnight in Puerto Rico and take an extra day of vacation because of the travel changes. I received canned responses from both e-mails. When I spoke to the ticket agent about what was going on she told me that American had to give me a voucher for what has happened and that I needed to call their customer service number and explain what happened. I called their customer service number today and asked to speak to a reservation supervisor. I explained to her what happened and she became somewhat rude with me and told me that she wanted the ticket agent's name because what she told me was not true (I declined to provide it). She told me that American can change our travel plans at will, even if it means we get home a day later or more. She also told me because the Cape Air flight was the one that was cancelled that it wasn't American's problem (I booked the whole flight home on the American website and did not choose to be on Cape Air - they provided that) The only thing she offered me was a refund for my ticket which isn't an option as my flight to the USVI is in 15 days and since it is high season there are no flights available for our trip home. What can I do to at least receive some type of compensation for the extra hotel room and extra day of traveling? I find it hard to believe there aren't consumer protection laws out there that prevent airlines from being able to essentially strand a passenger in a foreign City. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jan 5, 2015
I do think they should compensate you for the extra night via a hotel voucher. Please use our company contacts above and send a short, polite email to the first executive contact on the list explaining the situation and asking for a hotel voucher for one night.

As far as is legal for flights to be cancelled. What AA told you is correct for flights in and out of the US. AA can't control what Cape Air does. They offer code share flights like Cape Air for the convience of us, the flying public. I'm not sure exactly how many airlines fly in and out of St John, but I've got to imagine it's not many. So yes, AA is at the mercy of Cape Air here, and unfortunately that means you are too.

Now, how consumer friendly is all this? Not as friendly as Europe, that's for sure. You'd have much more rights flying in and out of Europe.
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Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
They won't compensate. The choice is either take what they offer or they will give you a full refund. They don't compensate when there is a schedule change - although they should and I would use the contacts and write but you don't have much time for an answer.

When you book a ticket that far out, chances are pretty good there will be schedule changes.

. So you are kind of stuck with either accepting what they offer and paying for your own hotel, or getting a full refund and buying on another airline, which at this late date would be pretty hard to find anything at the price you paid.
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All airlines have schedule changes that will potentially affect your flights, some to the degree yours did. The airlines write the contracts to benefit themselves, which essentially states that you have to either accept the change in your schedule or if the change is severe enough, you can chose to receive a refund for your unused tickets.

While being able to get a refund sounds good, it doesn't help you get home (which could be extremely costly for last minute tickets on another airline) or pay additional expenses required for additional days/nights you have to wait. There are no consumer protection laws in this country (US) that provide any redress for these issues.
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Oct 5, 2015
What were you original flights? Can you please post them here.
Also did you mean St John USVI? Are you flying from STT or STX?
Please note that AA does not route via PR on Cape Air (9K).
AA flies STX to MIA or STT to MIA.
I need to know where the original miss-connect was. This does not sound right since the miss-connection had to be Miami or beyond. And since there are many MIA-DFW-ABQ flights then I cannot see a miss-connection happening. Therefore, I am suspecting they lied to you. That's why I can to see the original reservation.
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