Old Jul 25, 2011, 7:42 PM
jwp jwp is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2
Default Left stranded by American Airlines

On April 29, I contacted American Airlines by phone and told them that I was needing to fly from PLS to RDU to pick up a large dog to bring back to PLS. I specifically asked if AA had any restrictions on flying large dogs during the summer months and told them that I would be bringing back a series 500 dog crate. The agent told me that there was no problem as that AA flew dogs year round. He stated that their cargo hold was pressurized, heated and air conditioned to between 50 and 70 degrees.

On May 2, I booked a round trip ticket from PLS to RDU, leaving on May 25 and returning on May 27. On May 26 (the day before I was scheduled to depart from RDU with dog), I called AA to see if I would need any extra time at check-in to get the dog taken care of. At this time the agent told me that if the temperature at my final destination or any stops (mine being MIA), was 85 degrees or more, they would not fly the dog. This was not told to me prior to my booking the flight, even after I called AA and specifically asked about it.

After discussing this with the agent at AA, she re-booked me for May 28 for an earlier flight, hoping that the temps would be below the 85 degree limit that she said AA has.

After arriving at RDU on May 28 around 4:00am, I went to the ticket counter to check-in the dog and crate. There, I was told that the series 500 crate was too big to fit in the planes cargo hold. After discussing it with the agent, I asked if I could find a way to get a series 400 crate (next size smaller), would that then fit. She stated that the series 400 crate would fit, but, that the series 400 crate was too small for my dog. She stated that the policy is that they will not fly the dog if it is determined that the crate is not large enough for the dog.
I asked her what I could do at this point. She stated that there was nothing that could be done and that others were in line behind me and that I needed to move on.

At this point I was stuck in RDU airport. By myself, no car (rental had already been returned), with a suit case and a large dog and crate. I was finally able to find a hotel by the airport that would accept pet (Holiday Inn Express) that sent a shuttle to come pick me up. From there I booked a room and began making phone calls to try to figure out how I was going to get myself and the dog back to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

I ended up having to rent a car in Raleigh, NC and drive (over 12 hours) to Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. From there I chartered a private plane to fly me from Ft. Lauderdale to Providenciales, TCI. These extra costs ($4,000) were a direct result of AA not giving me correct information prior to booking a ticket, and then again after my arrival at Raleigh, NC. Had they given me the correct information in the first place, I would never have booked the ticket to begin with. The return leg of my ticket was never even used.

On May 31, 2011, I sent a complaint to AA using the only means available to its customers, the website. On June 11, 2011, I received an email from an Anita Jackson, a Customer Relations agent with American Airlines. She stated that she was sorry for the misinformation that I had received and that she was sending my ticket information to the Accounting Office for handling.
This was the last I have heard from them. Nothing has happened from the Accounting Office. I have emailed senior management personel but have received no response from them at all.
Funny thing is, the dog crate fit easily in the small 6 seater Seneca plane I had to end up chartering to get back home. I didnt realize that a 737 or MD80 cargo hold was smaller than a 6 seater private plane. One week after I returned, some neighbors came in on American Airlines with TWO 500 series dog crates. Said there was no issue at checkin and nothing was said about crate size.
I have been completely ignored on this issue. Any suggestions??

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