LAN airlines nonresponsive on canceled AA codeshare flights

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Nov 1, 2015
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Hi all,
In mid August I booked passage from SFO to Peru and Ecuador through LAN airlines. I did this on the LAN USA web site. My flights went through MIA so I could join up with the rest of my party, who live in the Midwest. The SFO-MIA and MIA-SFO flights are a codeshare with American Airlines.
Around Sep 9 I noticed that American had cancelled my original return flight and substituted a flight leaving 40 minutes earlier. This left only 2 hours to exit the international flight, clear customs, change terminals, clear TSA, and make it to my next flight. I immediately contacted both LAN and AA to voice my concern about this change.
AA refused to talk to me, claiming the reservation was through LAN. LAN didn't know about the change and only showed the old flight in their records. I phoned LAN again the next day and they showed the newer, earlier AA flight. I told them that the substitution was not acceptable to me and I did not want the change. LAN told me to "wait until a month before the flight" and they would fix it then. I foolishly believed them.
At 3 weeks before the flight I contacted LAN again. They gave me a case number and said they would call me. Nothing. I started calling LAN daily. LAN claimed they had called me multiple times. My cell phone showed no missed calls and no messages. I gave them my land line. Again, nothing. Again, LAN claimed they had called me. No record of phone calls or messages for either phone. They then said they would email me. Nothing. Nope, no emails and nothing in the SPAM folder.
I keep calling LAN and the call center says that they can do nothing - I must work the issue with the specialist. Yet they required the specialist to call me and I have no way to contact them. On Oct 24 I did talk to the specialist. He offered me an early flight on the day after my original flight. They refused to pay for overnight lodging. I told the specialist that I needed to talk to my party and would contact LAN on Monday Oct 26. I contacted them as promised and told the call center I would take the morning flight. The call center stated they could not make the changes (only the specialist could do that). I had to wait for the specialist to call me. I called every day for a week. Nope, no calls from a specialist, although LAN claims he called me. Again, no missed calls on my phone(s). No emails except those claiming they tried to contact me when they didn't.
On Sunday Nov 1 at 11 AM (Church time) the specialist phoned. I missed that call and am once again trapped waiting for LAN. I now have days before my flight and I am still waiting on LAN.
I see several issues. The first is that there is no way for me to contact LAN. The LAN CoC states that they are my agent on codeshares. AA cancelled my original flight. The AA CoC it says that they will put me on the next (not earlier) available flight out for cancelled flights. Since my original flight out was late in the day, it would mean I would have to fly out the next day. The American CoC says that under these conditions they will also pay for my overnight stay. Right now, none of this is happening.
I am at a loss at where to go next. I can't find a way to contact LAN to resolve this.
What I want:
Most importantly, I want tickets on a flight that works for me. I want this before I leave on my trip.
I also think that AA should pay for my overnight since they chose to cancel my original flight.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Cindy, since LAN is being obnoxious and American worse, I think your best bet is to deal with LAN face to face when you arrive. I hope that they have an agent with some English that can help you work this out. Learn some basic words in their language to get the ball rolling. Do all your research for the best ways to get home so that you can make an instant decision and get re-ticketed right there. Peruse their website carefully to see if you could handle your request via email.

Be very polite with the agent that you deal with, they did not cause this problem and can help you straighten it out. I doubt if AA will consider picking up your hotel tab, but you can deal with that through AA customer service when you return home. We have good company contacts at American, but they have been deluged with complaints while absorbing USAir.

I know that is a waste of your valuable travel time, but it's the only way I can think of to communicate with LAN ... my colleagues may have better advice.
 
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Jan 3, 2015
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@Cindy H, what are you actually looking for? You mention all these issues, but what are you actually looking for? If you're looking for AA/LAN to reinstate your original MIA-SFO flight, it isn't going to happen, so forget about it. Do you have specific flights you want to take instead now?
 
T

travellerdan

Guest
You are probably still within the MCT. While we all recommend not trying to enter the US and connect to another airline within a two hour time frame, especially at Miami, it is not a given that you will miss your flight. You might speed up your passage through Miami by signing up for Global Entry. Once you have missed your flight to SFO you can try for later flights, but that isn't exactly your intention, of course. See here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...caused-us-miss-connection-phone-rebook-2.html

If LAN does not fix this before you leave, the suggestion above that you deal with them face to face after you arrive may work better. I don't think LAN is being nasty so much as just being . . . LAN.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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I think what he wants is his overnight at a hotel paid for. Are you allowed to play it by ear and try to make the earlier flight from MiA to SFO with short connection and if that fails agree to the next day and have them get you a hotel for the night? Or is this something that has to be arranged before?
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
Cindy H,

Schedule changes do happen quite often with all airlines. Normally when a schedule is changed the airline will move you to the next closest flight that still as a legal connection time (legal meaning the airline believes it is enough time to connect at that airport). If the change is significant (more than 60 minutes in AA case) then you could also be offered a refund instead if it doesn't work for you. I can not find connection times for LAN at MIA, but most airlines list an hour and thirty minutes or less for international to domestic flights. It is doubtful that any airline will pay for a hotel to move your connection flight to the next day, unless the change happen after your departure and was due to something under the airlines control.
If LAN is the ticketing airline, they are the only ones that can make changes to your flights. Definitely keep trying to get a hold of them to make schedule changes prior to your departure. Waiting until you get to the airport is probably not a good idea.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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@GNRMatt - As stated in my original post, I'm looking for actual confirmed tickets on a flight that works for me. I have repeatedly contacted the LAN customer care center with the specific flights I wanted (flight number, date, and time) but they claim they do not have the power to change it. As an FYI, my LAN itinerary shows two flights to SFO - both my original flight and the newer undesirable earlier flight. My biggest fear is that I'll end up on no flight at all if I don't have a clear ticket.
I'm travelling with others so moving me to another earlier international flight is impractical.
I am arriving on my international flight around 5:30 pm on a Thursday night. It appears that there is around a 45 minute wait time for customs. I do have Global Entry but have not yet had an opportunity to use it to make sure it actually works.
I looked around the internet and most sites say that 2 hours is the minimum window to transfer planes. I may or may not have a checked bag. I have never been to Miami airport. At this point, there are too many unknown unknowns.
My other concern is that I will be out of contact for significant portions of my trip. (Climbing a mountain, an 8+ hour boat ride up an Amazonian river into the jungle, and on a small boat in the Pacific). This makes it all the harder to resolve while on travel.
BTW, I have asked the LAN customer care for an email address. They point me to a web based form. The form requires unspecified "document numbers" so I'm getting pretty frustrated.
Again, what I really want (before) Christmas is for LAN to call me back so we can resolve the issue.

Edited: Changed Atlantic to Pacific (gotta get the oceans right)
 
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Nov 1, 2015
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BTW, there are no later flights that evening, which is why AA is trying to put me on an earlier flight. Technically, the next flight out after my original flight would be the next day.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
BTW, there are no later flights that evening, which is why AA is trying to put me on an earlier flight. Technically, the next flight out after my original flight would be the next day.
Again, I would keep trying to call LAN if you want to change it. Definitely ask them to pay for a hotel, but realistically I don't see that happening if the flight they put you on is a legal connection.

If you leave it as is and miss your connection, then they will protect you on the flight the next day. If the reason you missed the connection was due something the airline could control (i.e. aircraft maintenance), then they will normally give you a voucher for hotel. If the delay was for something they can't control (weather/ATC) then you would be on your own for the hotel stay.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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Climbing a mountain, an 8+ hour boat ride up an Amazonian river into the jungle, and on a small boat in the Atlantic
Sounds like a fantastic trip! I'm envious.:):)
Now back to your problem. Here's my 2 cents.

Looking at the *current* flight schedules, there are no flights to San Francisco (SFO) from Miami (MIA) past 749PM (approx.). Really LAN Ecuador (XL) does not have a choice but to put you in that AA codeshared flight. They are not in violation since the scheduled connection time is within the minimum connection time at MIA between XL and AA (120 minutes). Just as you have already experienced, if you request to be moved to the next morning's flight, you will be required to pay for your own hotel since LAN does not consider this as a flight irregularity. But remember if that inbound flight is late and there is less than 120 minutes between flights, then it becomes an irregularity and they might have to put you up in a hotel at their cost. If I were you I will take my chances since you might get the hotel for free. This flight has an on-time performance history of only 70% so the chances of not making the next flight is at least 30%. Be prepared to ask for that free hotel room if the flight arrives late. Keep close track of the actual flight schedule so you can prove it's late and there was less than 120 minutes between flights.
I would not worry if the old flight and the new flight that departs around 750PM are both in your itinerary. As long as you are confirmed on the new one the other one is irrelevant since it is not operational.
Good luck.
 
Jan 3, 2015
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If you have Global Entry, and your flight is on time, 2 hours is more than enough time to make your connection at MIA, so you shouldn't sweat it too much.

Now, if your flight is late and you miss your connection, yes, you will need to wait until the next morning for an AA flight.

You stated that you want LAN to change you to a different flight that you want. What is the other flight(s) you want? If it is on an airline that is not a partner with LAN, it won't happen.

One thing that everyone needs to realize is that schedules do happen, especially when a flight is booked far in advance. That's just the nature of travelling via air today, whether you like it or not. When there is a schedule change, you need to work with the airline to see what other flights of theirs fits your needs. However, when there aren't really many options, hands can be tied. When this happens, you need to focus on enjoying your trip and not worry about if you need to spend a bit more to overnight in a MIA airport. When you travel enough, you'll learn that sometimes over-nighting in airport is just part of travel.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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@GNRMatt - I asked for the next AA flight out (in the morning of the next day)
I realize that schedules change. In this case AA cancelled my old flight for their own convenience as opposed to Force Majeure, mechanical, etc. That's why I'm a little less tolerant of the attitude I'm getting. I should also note that I booked the flight 3 months in advance. AA changed the flight a two weeks later and no, they didn't notify me or LAN. I found out about it because I proactively checked my reservations every 2 weeks.
I really am trying to work with the airlines, but they have to actually phone or email me in order to do that. As stated, I keep phoning them and they keep blowing me off.
Just a little irony here - one of my specialties before I retired was Aerospace risk mitigation. Maybe that's why it is driving me nuts - I'm trying to mitigate this clear risk and am being stonewalled by the people that created it.
@Flywisely - I see your point and maybe I should just accept this risk and play the odds. Now that I'm retired it really doesn't matter if I get back a day later. But the J part of my INTJ personality is screaming. I trust AA like a cornered pit viper.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
New Posts
... I should also note that I booked the flight 3 months in advance. AA changed the flight a two weeks later and no, they didn't notify me or LAN. I found out about it because I proactively checked my reservations every 2 weeks. ....
Actually LAN uses SABRE (same as AA), so the reservation would have been queued for LAN's review at the time the schedule change was made. Since the ticket was purchased from LAN and AA is a code share, it would be LAN's responsibility to notify you of the schedule change.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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it would be LAN's responsibility to notify you of the schedule change.
Yet this has not happened. LAN has my email, my land line, my cell phone, my text. The info is actually in their reservation system (I checked). They emailed me the original receipt. They also phoned my cell and land line when they wanted to change a flight from Lima to Cusco. Although what they did there was ring and hang up, ring and hang up. Then they sent an email that they tried to contact me and couldn't. Um, you have to wait for the person to answer. That takes longer than 0.0002 nanoseconds.
In short, their system is set up to force you into calling their phone tree and then waiting, waiting, waiting until the stars align and you get the phone call from the specialist.
I just found one email at [email protected]. I have emailed that address with the background and desired resolution (flight number I want) and am awaiting a response.
FYI, I am getting my info from this site:
http://www.lan.com/en_us/sitio_personas/customer-service-plan/
 
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Jan 3, 2015
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Ok, so now I see the total picture. You want the next day's morning flight as a guaranteed seat and you don't even want to try to make your current 2 hour connection.

First, when writing in, what exactly are you writing in? If it is more than 4-5 sentences, it's probably too much. You want to be brief, concise, polite and to the point in your e-mails. It should be all fact based and there should be no emotion in it.

However, I do agree, getting this change done may require a phone call, which seems to be elusive when it comes to LAN. Unfortunately, I don't have any recommendations on getting through to them on this.

I do still think though that your 2 hour connection, with Global Entry, is very doable (assuming you don't have mobility issues), and if it was me personally, I would be sticking with it.
 
Nov 1, 2015
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Just knowing that it is "very doable" with Global Entry is a help. I had no data on that so was going the conservative route.
Thank you.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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What's the harm in leaving the res with your confirmed seat as is. If they are delayed and you can't make the connection then you take the one the next morning and they pick up the hotel cost. They aren't going to proactively pay the hotel if you don't even know if you need it yet. If you do choose to cancel the flight as booked and move it to the next day, that would be a personal choice.