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-   -   Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked Totally upset with the whole AA experience!!! (

nana28 Sep 11, 2009 10:09 AM

Totally upset with the whole AA experience!!!
AUS-DFW-JFK - 30 min flight from Austin to Dallas/Fort Worth, everything alright but who figures it shouldn't. connecting flight to JFK supposed to leave at 11:45 am, boarding on time, sitting in the plane for almost an hour before driving to the runway. then suddenly driving back to the gate with the message that there is a mechanical problem (valve) that needs to be checked on. because of a 6 hour repair the flight got cancelled eventually!no help from AA flight attendants to tell us where to go or anything. once back in the terminal of course there were already long lines in front of the service desk (over 100 something people needed to get to New York somehow!!). no other employee could help (could have asked in the first place who really needed to get a connecting flight at JFK in order to be priority passenger or something). AA couldn't deliver a plane for replacement either (and DFW is AA's base airport!!). no one of the AA staff knew what to do now so, told not to get our luggage, I went to the ticket counter to rebook my flight. once way up in line we were told to get our suitcases now, omg, so all the way back to the bag claim, got the stuff (which was severely damaged by the way so I couldn't drag them anymore but had to carry my luggage - now imagine a 19 year old, tiny, skinny girl carrying two 35 pounds each suitcases through DFW which isn't the smallest airport...), now back in line once again. finally I got another flight at 3:40 pm (!!!) - I was supposed to be in NYC/JFK by that time and this flight should get me to La Guardia) not even knowing if there was a seat for me on this one that was actually fully booked (but I finally was upgraded to priority passenger!!!wohoo). little before boarding time the next issue: this plane also had a mechanical problem, this time the AC wasn't working properly, so switch gate and terminal again and of course departure was even more delayed now! (I wonder though that this time AA was able to deliver replacement and just that day they apparently couldn't?!). Eventually American could get some volunteers to take another flight a little later so I had a seat on that plane. service during this almost 4 hour flight really bad: once something to drink and no snack at all (other, better airlines provide at least a snack during a 1 1/2 hour flight and more to drink!!!!). once in NYC/La Guardia promised shuttle wasn't there, so I had to get a taxi (30 $ - glad to have that much money left after all!!) to JFK as fast as I could since it was 8:50 pm by now and my international flight with Lufthansa to Germany left at 9:35 pm there!!!so pretty impossible to make that but I tried at you can tell I was exhausted, tired and very upset...I had just experienced the worst day in my life!!have been crying my eye's out...I really thought this is a nightmare, I am pretty much gonna wake up soon!but I didn't...
the next day I had to pay 350 $ for my new booked Lufthansa flight as Lufthansa of course said it is not their fault I missed the plane and I had booked a last-minute special for the period of 3 weeks in order to get a special price and now it was already 3 weeks and one day, so they wouldn't take me anymore...I am really glad they took me for that much money after all and I am not stuck at JFK to this day!
I complained at American Airlines and claimed compensation (I specifically stressed that I will not accept any compensation concerning vouchers!!!). I received a letter telling me that this is typical for todays modern air traffic (I think a late arrival of 5 hours and mechanical problems twice are totally unacceptable) and AA (employees) always do everything in their power to help (???!!!oh really???where were they and how did they react??they were not less confused than we were!!) and more crazy stuff like that!!But that ain't the last time they've heard from me.
oh and guess what: they hat the guts to send me a flight voucher that I can use in connection with an international flight with AA that I pay for!!does anyone need a 300 $ flight voucher for this no-frills airline?cause I ain't gonna fly with this crazy company ever again...
I'm glad the plane didn't crash down and I got home safely after all!!really!
good luck for all that are choosing this airline...hope y'all have a safe trip!

jimworcs Sep 11, 2009 12:12 PM

The voucher is inadquate, you should at least go for the $350 dollars plus hotel that you had to pay out. You are always better to book with foreign airlines for trips like this. US Airlines are hostile and WILL NOT help if there is a problem. The best way to do this would have been to have booked the whole flight via Lufthansa from Austin. That would have routed you through Chicago, but Lufthansa would have accepted responsbility for the whole journey. US Airlines are hopeless... and best avoided.

Silent Bob Sep 11, 2009 2:36 PM

I personally try to avoid AA at all cost simply because I don't think they're a great airline.. However here's a tip: If you know your have a connecting flight, try to get the current airline to not simply rebook you just to get to your next destination, also get them to rebook your following flight as well. If your ticket is aus-dfw-jfk-(and whatever city in germany) and your plane out of DFW is running late, get the airline to "protect" your connection especially if its a mechanical delay, but also including air traffic and weather. Once you arrived in JFK late, you shouldn't have run anywhere since you had already missed the flight with lufthansa (Unless it was in the same terminal, then definitely you could have tried but if its in a different terminal you should have stayed with AA), you should have stayed with AA, let them know that you were on a cancelled flt (mechanical), moved to another flight that was delayed, and asked for a hotel voucher (not a distress discount), as per their rule 240 or any airlines rule 240 they usually provide a hotel for such situations and they should have also rebooked you. Last tip, if you book through an an online travel service, you can usually call them rather than wait on any line to rebook your flight as they'll have way more options for you.

However this sounds like you had two different tickets, which next to paper tickets, people should try to avoid simply because they offer no protection to you if you misconnect, such as in this case AA can say "well we got you to JFK, that's our only obligation" (sadly, its true) and Lufthansa will say "We didn't bring you in late, you have to pay" (which, again, sadly is true. You gotta try and book it all on one ticket to get the best protection as possible. These are just a few tips that will help you in future travel, maybe not with AA, but you'll find (if you haven't already) that you will run into similar situations with other airlines as well.

PHXFlyer Sep 11, 2009 9:26 PM

I will second Silent Bob's observation that flying on two separate tickets, especially domestic connecting to international or vice-versa, is a bad idea. I realize that you found a good deal on the internet for a JFK-Germany trip on Lufthansa which you probably couldn't get out of AUS or DFW. You probably should have booked your AUS-JFK the evening before your international flight and paid for a hotel near JFK. I can't tell you the number of times I've flown out of LAX where I've encountered people who fly into LAX on Southwest to connect to international or Hawaii flights out of LAX on another airline. Southwest doesn't have interline baggage agreements so they have to claim their bags from Southwest and check-in with the other airline. If their Southwest flight is delayed or the bags don't come out right away they sometimes miss the cutoff for their flight to Australia, Japan or Honolulu. In the end, they bought a ticket from LAX to wherever and the fact that Southwest had a delay isn't the airline's problem. They might as well have been delayed on the freeway and missed the flight. No hotel, no meal vouchers, and sorry the next open seat is three days from now.

nana28 Sep 15, 2009 9:08 AM

Yeah, I really wanna go for the 350 $ because American Airlines did not at all meet their obligations!They did NOT get me to was La Guardia and as you can imagine, New York is not that small!!
Though I totally understand what y'all are saying and I will never ever again book to seperate tickets or if I do so I will book them on two different days, I think this is unacceptable...I mean a almost 5 hour delay because of mechanical problems is just unbelievable.
I had a two hour delay on the way there due to bad weather but that's not the Airlines fault (it was Delta by the way, what I think is a good airline)...
I even took this early flight so it'd give me some time at JFK and just in case some troubles occur...but you wouldn't expect that this should not be enough time!!!
It's hilarious to write back and tell me that AA employees did all they could!!!oh really?why didn't anyone take care of us then?why didn't they ask in the first place who really needs to get their connecting flight in NYC?And why the heck didn't they provide something to drink or anything as little compensation?
And the fact that they still send me a voucher with it makes me so angry!!!
I am gonna contact my laywer and see what to do about this case and if there's any chances I'll get my money back...hopefully!
But thanks for your advice...I'll do it differently next time :)

jimworcs Sep 15, 2009 3:18 PM


Originally Posted by nana28 (Post 11596)
(it was Delta by the way, what I think is a good airline)...

You have got to be joking!!

PHXFlyer Sep 15, 2009 3:33 PM


Originally Posted by nana28 (Post 11596)
Yeah, I really wanna go for the 350 $ because American Airlines did not at all meet their obligations!They did NOT get me to was La Guardia and as you can imagine, New York is not that small!!

I am gonna contact my laywer and see what to do about this case and if there's any chances I'll get my money back...hopefully!
But thanks for your advice...I'll do it differently next time :)

If all you are seeking is $350 (you will not receive and should not expect a full refund) then you are wasting time and money speaking with an attorney unless you have one on retainer or s/he doesn't charge for consultations.

When you purchase an airline ticket you enter into that airline's contract of carriage (COC). Basically the airline is contractually obligated to provide you with transportation from and to the ticketed cities. When they canceled your JFK flight, offered the alternative of flying to LaGuardia and you accepted the COC was then modified. AA was no longer obligated to fly you to JFK as your ticket, and the contract, was changed. (By the way...although the NYC metro area is quite large, JFK and LGA are only 12 miles apart. There are shuttles between the two airports that take approximately 30 minutes from terminal to terminal.)

Your best shot at getting any financial compensation (for the added expense of changing your Lufthansa ticket) would be to file in small claims court. If you do pursue this court my advice would be to hang on to that voucher you received. If AA tries to have the value of the voucher deducted from any amount the court awards you should offer to return the unused voucher on the spot.

jimworcs Sep 15, 2009 3:57 PM

I am agreeing with PHX on this one.... get out the marching bands.

However, the COC stuff is so one sided. Here we have a passenger who is under duress, likely to miss the flight unless they accept the chance to go to La Guardia and hope for the best. The terms are blatently unfair. I think your best chance is in Small Claims. AA is responsible for the mechanical problems on their aircraft.


AirlinesMustPay Sep 27, 2009 12:29 PM

If an airline cannot deliver on its original contract of carriage and the passenger accepts a variation offered by the airline, accepting the alternative flight is an attempt by the passenger to mitigage her loss (minimise her damages) which she is supposed to do. After all she can't just sit in an airport stranded when the airline offers her a flight closer to her destination. But by so doing, she does not waive her right to sue for damages. It was not she who went to to the airline counter and asked for the variation of the contract.

I hope the OP has access to a small claims court. All she needs is a little advice and some help to draw up the claim papers, but these are courts where the Plaintiff or Complainant can easily stand up in person and state their case.

Usually the Airline will settle once they see properly drafted Court papers served on them

PHXFlyer Sep 27, 2009 5:22 PM


Originally Posted by AirlinesMustPay (Post 11810)
If an airline cannot deliver on its original contract of carriage and the passenger accepts a variation offered by the airline, accepting the alternative flight is an attempt by the passenger to mitigage her loss (minimise her damages) which she is supposed to do. After all she can't just sit in an airport stranded when the airline offers her a flight closer to her destination. But by so doing, she does not waive her right to sue for damages. It was not she who went to to the airline counter and asked for the variation of the contract.

Passenger: "I've got to get to New York ASAP!"

Agent: "Well, the next flight to JFK is tomorrow morning, but there's a flight in a couple of hours to LGA which is nearby."

Passenger: "OK, I'll take it."

Contract modified. Once the passenger is in New York at LGA then airline's responsibility ends unless an onward flight was ticketed on the same itinerary. It would still be the passengers responsibility to get from LGA to JFK but if the JFK-XXX flight was missed she would have to be re-accommodated at no charge. Unfortunately in this case the passenger was booked on two separate tickets so re-booking the whole JFK-XXX ticket was on her.

AirlinesMustPay Sep 27, 2009 6:55 PM

You missed the first part of this scenario:

Airline: We can't get you to JFK according to your booked flight
Passenger: I have to get to JFK ASAP
Airline: We have a flight to LGA if you want to try that
Passenger: I'll take it

The First part is essential in deciding the rights and remedies of the passenger

It is the Airline who is in breach of the contract since the contract is not merely for the Departure and Arrival points but for specific dates and times with an allowance for small delays.

The Airline being in breach and offering what may be a way out, the passenger has to accept it and give it a try. By so doing she does not relieve the airline for its breach. If she had refused it and went to Court, AA could tell the court, "We offered her to get to LGA and she didn't even try it. Had she taken it she may have made the Lufthansa flight from JFK"

If the airline offers her a chance to make the Lufthansa flight by going to LGA she has to take it. The airline is liable for her taxi trip from LGA to JFK even if she didn't make the Lufthansa flight and for her having to pay the additional amount to travel. All she did was reasonable and is clearly within the contemplation of the airline when they breached the original contract and offered her the LGA flight as a possible way out.

What the OP might have done (if she had the money) is to immediately book an altogether new flight to JFK if one was available, even on another ailine, and sue the airline for the cost of that ticket.

I had a case a few years ago where a family of 3 had booked to fly from Port of Spain Trinidad to JFK on a Friday afternoon to spend four days in New York. The flight was cancelled (mechanical problems) and they were told to return home and the airline would phone them when to return to the airport. The airline did not phone until Sunday afternoon and the flight left on Sunday night. They sued and I represented them. We took the position that the contract was varied from departure Friday to departure on Sunday by the airline who was liable for damages for the delay. The airline argued that the passengers' acceptance of the Sunday flight meant that they accepted the new date and had thereby waived their right to sue for any breach of contract.

The Judge thought it was not a variation of the original contract since a delay of more than two days was more than a variation, but a new contract that was offered and accepted by the passengers. However, either way, whether it was a variation of the original contract as we were saying, or a new contract, the airline was liable for damages since the original breach was theirs.

When there is a breach of contract, the innocent party must take such steps as he could to get the job done (or in this case to get where she needed to go) and the party in breach is liable for all losses that would have been contemplated.

PHXFlyer Sep 27, 2009 9:27 PM

Let me get this straight. There was a mechanical delay. Apparently the delay was going to be lengthy and the airline knew it so instead of lying to the passengers and every hour or so saying they think they might have it corrected soon the airline said go home and we'll call and tell you when to return to the airport. They were able to wait out the delay in the safety and comfort of their own home. Not stranded at an airport for hours on end and not in some hotel that the airline provided for them. Home. Sleeping in their own beds.

And you sued this airline?!?!? :confused:

Tell me, do you listen to police scanners and follow ambulances to the hospital?

jimworcs Sep 28, 2009 1:04 AM

That is an utterly ridiculous analogy. There is no comparison between that example and ambulance chasing. The airline breached a contract. I am sure the passengers did not immediately run to the court and file suit. The initial steps are to try and get the airline to provide the remedy.. ie, suitable compensation for the damages incurred by the failure of the airline to fulfil it's obligations in the contract. If they failed to offer a suitable compensation, then we have a system of courts to arbitrate and provide a remedy. What is wrong with that?

Do you really think a 4 day break, leaving on Friday and coming back Tuesday being changed to a depart Sunday night and come back Tuesday doesn't deserve compo? There is being an airline sympathizer..but that is utterly ridiculous. It would not have got to court unless the airline and the customers could not agree on a compensation amount.

Are you like this with all companies or are airlines the only recipients of your goodwill. If you buy a computer from Dell for delivery in 7 days and it takes 3 months, do you shrug and say oh well? If not, why not?

AirlinesMustPay Sep 28, 2009 1:06 AM

PHX Flyer: You are going on to a different point now. The point relevant to OP's case was whether by accepting an alternative flight, the OP had waived her right to sue the airline.

But it is true that it is in the airline's favour that instead of trying to take off with a defective aircraft they flew the parts in required to fix it, and this may have taken the two days, and then during these two days they did not keep the passengers stranded in the airport telling them over and over to just wait a few more hours as sometimes happens, but sent them home. At least most of these had their homes here to return to, but a few of them were New York based and were returning home on that flight and they were stranded in a foreign country. Their stories were carried in the press later how the New York based passengers had to either sleep in the airport or go to hotels at their own expense.

But the question is, during a delay of 2 days, is an airline still liable to the passengers for the delay? Getting to sleep in your own bed is of course better than sleeping in the airport. But remember these passengers had to spend those two days waiting by their telephones, not being able to do anything else for their weekend, when relatives in New York had been expecting them. Some other passengers lost hotel bookings in New York and had to pay one night's hotel for their cancellations.

An airline must be liable for delays, unless for acts beyond their control (e.g. weather), but mechanical failures are the airline's responsibility. In the instant case this OP's delays in DFW arose from AA's mechanical failures and likewise she is entitled to damages for delay.

AirlinesMustPay Sep 28, 2009 1:19 AM

I have only just seen JimWorcs post. In this particular case we did try to get compensation and the airline was only willing to give them the taxi fare back home on the Friday evening. We tried by further "letters before action" but to no avail.

Something else was aggravating in this situation which is that when the passengers checked in on the Sunday evening, they asked the agents if they could return on the Wednesday or Thursday instead to give them the two extra days in New York that they had lost, and would you believe the brazen-faced agents were telling everyone that they would have to pay the US$100 penalty per person for date changes to the return leg?

Only a few passengers decided to sue. We could have looked for more passengers and got them to join the suit, but lawyers here follow an English tradition which is not to look for clients. You sit in your office and let clients look for you. I think it is in the US that lawyers do the "ambulance chasing"

PHXFlyer Sep 28, 2009 1:59 AM


Originally Posted by AirlinesMustPay (Post 11838)
I think it is in the US that lawyers do the "ambulance chasing"

Fair enough. If I ever get into trouble in Port of Spain I'll look you up! :)

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