Twice boarded, twice cancelled, two extra nights away

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Aug 13, 2017
Recently, my fiance Brooke and I travelled to Merida, Mexico (flying there on United, which went off without a hitch) but flying back on American.

The morning of our flight back to the U.S., we noticed that the flight time had been moved from 2:45 to 12:45, as you can see from the attached email. Not being aware that the flight time had changed, we had to rush to the airport and arrived an hour before the flight, only to find that there wasn’t anyone at the American Airlines check-in desk. By the time we found someone, we were told that it was too late to check in for the flight. Re-scheduling for a Tuesday flight cost us nearly $700, during which time no one asked about refundable or non-refundable tickets.

After spending that money, we booked a flight at approximately 12:45 on Tuesday (MID-MIA), but that flight was delayed until 2:45. Once in Miami, our connecting flight to New Orleans was delayed again and again until we were finally able to board. Once we were all seated, the pilot informed us we all had to leave the plane because of maintenance issues and that we would be taken to New Orleans soon. However, we were not. Instead, a half an hour later, American Airlines announced that our flight was cancelled, so we were stuck in Miami overnight, costing us another $90 for a hotel room.

The next morning, we made our way to the Dallas flight (DFW-MSY) (despite the fact that there was a flight direct to New Orleans) and sat down in our seats. Almost immediately, everyone was told to leave the plane for maintenance reasons; as we walked back into the airport, we heard the announcement that the flight had been canceled. We were told another plane would take us home within a half an hour. Then it was an hour. Then it was two and a half hours. At this point, my fiance Brooke got on the phone and was told by an American Airlines employee, Ashley Nash, that we could get a refund but that it couldn’t happen until “after the flight was completed.” Then, when we were directed by her to a nearby gate to board a flight to New Orleans, the gate agent was incredibly rude to us, claiming that American Airlines didn’t re-issue tickets at the gate, when Ashley Nash had explicitly told us that we should go to the gate to get re-issued tickets (yes, we arrived before the 10-minute deadline).

We finally made it home, having both had to call into work and take an extra two days of vacation time, only to get on the phone with American and be told that it was now too late after the flight for Reservations to do anything, and we were referred to the customer service email address. We were initially told that the airline could do nothing for us, but after a whole day of pursuing the issue, my fiancee received an email granting us $100 vouchers to fly on American again. This, despite the fact that American had cost us thousands of dollars in increased costs because they changed flight time without telling us and couldn't get their planes off the ground.

If anybody has any ideas on this, we'd be glad to hear them.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
59, the only ray of light in this whole awful story is that it all happened AFTER the honeymoon ... it's so frustrating to have a trip like that and then feel you have to 'fight' American to at least be compensated. But fight you will, and win you will. Some of my colleagues are really up on exactly what your rights are and will chime in here. As you have observed, there's no future in talking with an airline, you just get whatever that agent decides to tell you at that particular time. Everything needs to be in writing going forward.

Meanwhile, compose a concise list of the facts in chronological order and a polite cover letter. Your job is to motivate the person reading your letter to want to help you ... s/he did not cause your problem, so just be sweet. Remember that this person sits in a dark, drab cubicle with a dead plant, thinking about her baloney sandwich, and reads complaints all day. You want her to grasp your situation on the first read-through and route your request to the proper department.