Failure to follow “Extra space during travel” policy

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May 4, 2020
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My wife was seated next to a 300 pounds or more man on a 12 hour , 15 minute flight from Auckland to Los Angeles on 2/29/20. American Airlines flight 82. He required a seat belt extender and the aisle arm rest moved out out position to be seated. In spite of these measures, he still spilled over the armrest between himself and my wife into her space.

The American Airlines website clearly outlines its policy for this situation: “For the safety and comfort of all customers, if a customers body extends more than one inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest and a seatbelt extender is needed, another seat is required.”

We have reached out to American Airlines on two occasions reviewing this situation. The only response we have to date is a computer generated letter that the email had been received.

To say that this was anything but an unpleasant, unsafe , and avoidable situation is an understatement. I would surely like to review this with the appropriate individual at AA, if they would only respond to my inquiries. Any suggestions?
 

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Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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Please clarify, the two attempts at contacting AA was through their customer service email? If so, use the company contacts at the top of the forum to find the names and email addresses for the execs. Write to them one at a time, waiting at least 10 days if not two weeks for a reply before moving to the next name on the list. Do NOT write to all of them at the same time. Be brief, polite and professional giving only pertinent facts. While your wife's experience sounded uncomfortable, please be patient under the current circumstances......the airlines are swamped with requests regarding the pandemic.
 
Nov 22, 2019
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What are your expectations from your communication with AA? What do you want from them? It seems that you already contacted them two times so I guess you have some kind of resolution in mind?

I think you should have told the flight attendant before/during the flight. Unfortunately, many people take a flight, have some disagreaments that can be easily fixed by talking to a FA, but don't say anything to have some materials to complain later to customer service and get some money back. So it mights be more difficult to talk to them after the flight.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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That must have been awful. There's only one way to handle this, and it needs to be done immediately on boarding. By not taking action, your wife agreed to the situation. She needs to write to AA and ask for what she wants to make up for what must been a really bad experience. However, I'd wait until life gets back to normal before registering displeasure.
 
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May 4, 2020
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We have multiple photos of the conditions, and I am sure that if the passenger manifest is reviewed, it will confirm it was a full flight.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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I, personally, do not think its a huge issue that you did not bring it up to the flight attendants. As long as you are reasonable in your expectation for a goodwill gesture, I would write to the execs and see what they have to offer.
 

Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
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I’d it was a full flight would you have been willing to move to another flight? Airlines are very sensitive to being sued or getting bad press for being discriminatory against the obese or disabled so if there was nowhere to move you ...
 
Nov 22, 2019
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I, personally, do not think its a huge issue that you did not bring it up to the flight attendants. As long as you are reasonable in your expectation for a goodwill gesture, I would write to the execs and see what they have to offer.
I think many people are coming with excuse because flights were so expensive before all travel bans/restrictions. Being reasonable when asking a goodwill geture is definitively a must to get a response from AA and giving them some time to respond.
However next time, talk to FA before or during the flight and do not take picture of passengers, especially overweighted. I would personally report anyone doing this as it is unfortunately common now to see a lot of fat shaming stuff on social medias. You are making a case against AA not respecting its policy (if it is the case), not against someone being fat.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I think many people are coming with excuse because flights were so expensive before all travel bans/restrictions. Being reasonable when asking a goodwill geture is definitively a must to get a response from AA and giving them some time to respond.
However next time, talk to FA before or during the flight and do not take picture of passengers, especially overweighted. I would personally report anyone doing this as it is unfortunately common now to see a lot of fat shaming stuff on social medias. You are making a case against AA not respecting its policy (if it is the case), not against someone being fat.
I agree with you that taking pictures, or any other action directly against the pax is not a good idea. However, as long as the travelling public puts up with this, it won't stop. A person who doesn't fit in an airline seat is the only one who knows this when the tix is booked. That person is being selfish and uncaring about others. I don't think people should be shamed for being fat, but I think they should be shamed for being selfish. Seat belt extensions should be reserved for pax who purchase two tix or fly up front. The person booking the tix has the ability to book a proper one for his/her size.
 
Oct 10, 2015
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The best procedure I can think of is this: As soon as possible discovering the problem, but at any rate before departure, go to the front the, plane and request another seat yourself. Giive them a little time but if they don't reseat you then before departure ask to meet with the ground complaint resolution officer and the captain.

Then mention that someone is in your seat and (you) ask for another seat again. Do not suggest what they should do unless they ask for suggestions.or they say that the flight is full or they say that there is nothing they can do. Then you say that they should ask for volunteers to give up a seat.

You must be willing to accept any other vacant seat in that plane.

Do not volunteer yourself. You do not want to look like you are trying to score a voucher or a free trip. Also do not discuss larger passengers in general and do not discuss who should move where.
 
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Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
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We did not. Flight was full and attendants were functioning at 120%. Seemed to be fruitless, and we did not want to cause a disruption.
I have to say this sounds a little like eating the steak and then complaining afterward that it was overcooked and tough. You flew the trip. You sat in (some of) the seat. What exactly do you think is fair for a successful albeit uncomfortable flight to your destination?
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
I have to say this sounds a little like eating the steak and then complaining afterward that it was overcooked and tough. You flew the trip. You sat in (some of) the seat. What exactly do you think is fair for a successful albeit uncomfortable flight to your destination?
This is EXACTLY the question. What is fair compensation for this experience?
 
Jun 10, 2019
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I agree with you that taking pictures, or any other action directly against the pax is not a good idea. However, as long as the travelling public puts up with this, it won't stop. A person who doesn't fit in an airline seat is the only one who knows this when the tix is booked. That person is being selfish and uncaring about others. I don't think people should be shamed for being fat, but I think they should be shamed for being selfish. Seat belt extensions should be reserved for pax who purchase two tix or fly up front. The person booking the tix has the ability to book a proper one for his/her size.
I am overweight but I fit in a regular seat side-to-side without encroaching on anyone else's seat; I needed an extender on recent Delta flights but did just fine on JetBlue. Not sure this is a useful thing to suggest.
 
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