Old Mar 8, 2010, 5:44 PM
lindasterling lindasterling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Thumbs down AA6116/CX520 - Lousy partnership btw AA and CP

Our family and our friend’s family were rudely rejected by Cathay Pacific Airline on Dec 31, 2009 with doubtful excuses, when we tried to take flight AA6116/CX520 via Tokyo to Dallas in the States. It's a co-shared flight by Cathay and AA. As a result, we were forced to spend USD 12,000 (USD1,600/person) to board on the 2nd day flight. We filed complaint against AA, because we bought our tickets all the way from AA. However, AA dropped us, they simply asked us to negotiate with Cathay, even though Cathay is AA’s partner who represents AA to take care of its customer in Asian section flight.

Since we’re American Airline customer, we were not able to check in our luggage directly to the flight at Shekou ferry, where we took ferry to go to the HK airport. On the contrary, Cathay Pacific customer would have this privilege to check in luggage directly. This discrimination treatment caused us not able to check in our luggage when we had FOUR (4) hours ahead of our flight departure time. We were not given any advance warning or notice about this different treatment.

When we arrived at Cathay Pacific counter at HK airport, the time was 8:45am, 100 minutes before flight departure. Cathay Pacific staff rejected our boarding saying we need check in our luggage 120 minutes before flight departure, the requirement by HK airport authority, and it's necessary lead time for their staff to complete formalities and load our luggage to the plane.

We checked HK airport authority website, which only requires 90 minutes connecting time (http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/t...erryports.html). So Cathay's first excuse was not true.

On the 2nd day, it actually took them 15 minutes to finish our check in. In other words, they should have had 85 more minutes to process internal documents and load our bags to the plane on the previous day. We were the only 8 passengers waiting in front of their counter then. Apparently, not having enough time was another doubtful excuse. Actually, one of our friend boarding the same flight on Dec 31, 2009 was able to check in her luggage through another Cathay Pacific counter at 9:00am, 15 minutes after we were rejected by Cathay staff. The time for our friend to travel from her terminal to the boarding gate is the same as for us, about 10 minutes. We doubted what's the real reason that Cathay rejected us. Why they lied to us? They claimed not having enough time, however, 15 minutes later they could still check in our friend's luggage at a different Cathay's counter?

We filed our complaint and request for compensation, but was rejected by Cathay with the same doubtful excuses mentioned above. We were ****** off because American Airlines leave us along in this complaint. They should stand out and fight for us, we were their customer, and we were discriminated by their partner in HK, and this discrimination cost us $12,000!

Does anyone have similar experience? Do you have better idea on how to fight for the justice? Appreciate your help!!!
Old Mar 8, 2010, 6:08 PM
lindasterling lindasterling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Default detail comlaint letter sent to AA customer service

I sent this letter together with copies of all the tickets and boarding passes to AA customer relations department twice, and got the same reply: go talk to Cathay Pacific Airlines.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++
We are American Airlines frequent fliers. We want to file a complaint against your partner, Cathay Pacific, for mistreating American Airline customers. We also want to be reimbursed $11,620. Because of Cathay Pacific’s discriminatory treatment, we were unable to leave on our original travel day and had to pay thousands of dollars more to buy additional tickets. We believe Cathay Pacific discriminated against us and lied to us to extort $11,620 from us.
Travel Events:
December 29, 2009
We, two families with a total of 8 people (4 adults and 4 children), wanted to take the ferry from Shekou to HK Airport on December 31, 2009, to take flight AA6116/CX520 to Tokyo and then on to Dallas in the U.S. We bought the ferry tickets on Dec 29, 2009. We both called Shekou Ferry and checked personally with ferry staff about which ferry we should take to catch flight AA6116/CX520 departing the HK Airport at 10:20AM, and if we could check in our luggage for the flight from the ferry. We were told that we should take the 7:45AM ferry and our luggage could be checked in directly for flight AA6116/CX520.
December 31, 2009
On Dec 31, 2009, Shekou ferry staff keyed in our air ticket information to their computer. They informed us that they could not check in our luggage directly for the flight because they could not find the seating information in their computer. They told us we had to check in our luggage at the HK Cathay Pacific counter.
The ferry departed Shekou at 7:50AM and arrived at the HK Airport SkyPier at 8:29AM. After we claimed our luggage and reached the Cathay Pacific counter, the time was 8:40AM, 100 minutes before the flight departure. The Cathay Pacific counter supervisor, Maggie Lo, refused to check us in because there were less than 120 minutes before flight AA6116/CX520’s departure.
We were told our tickets were ‘Q’ class. To accommodate us on the next available ‘Q’ class seats, we would have to wait at least one month. To be accommodated on the next day’s flight, we had to pay about $1600/person. We paid the money because we had no other options, and we could not afford to exhaust the four children any further and delay our business schedule in the U.S.
Contrarily, a friend took the same flight as ours on Dec 31, 2010. She checked in her luggage through the Cathay Pacific counter in another HK Airport terminal at 9:00AM, 20 minutes after we were told we were too late for boarding. Time for her to get to the boarding gate from her check in terminal was the same as for us, about 10 minutes. She was allowed to board the flight.
January 01, 2010
On Jan 01, 2010, we took the same 7:45AM ferry to catch the same flight AA6116/CX520. Even though we bought our tickets directly from the Cathay Pacific counter, we still could not check in our luggage directly from Shekou. We were told only Cathay Pacific customers could check in their luggage directly from the ferry. Our tickets were paid to American Airline, and therefore we were AA customers, not Cathay Pacific’s. Therefore, we had to check in our luggage at the HK Airport.
We arrived at Cathay Pacific’s counter at 8:25AM on Jan 01, 2010, 115 minutes before the flight departure. It took Cathay Pacific about 15 minutes to finish the luggage and boarding pass process, which finished at 8:40AM.
We then went through security screening, airport tax return, and took the train to arrive at our boarding gate. This process took us another 10 minutes. In other words, it took us a total of 25 minutes from starting to check in our luggage to arriving at the boarding gate.
We don’t understand why Cathay Pacific couldn’t check us in on the previous day. We had 100 minutes left before the flight departure, and it only took them 15 minutes to process our luggage. That means they would have had 85 minutes to process all required formalities and load our luggage onto the plane. We were the only passengers waiting in front of their counter that day.
January 05, 2010
We were American Airline customers who paid American Airlines for our tickets. Therefore, we filed a complaint with American Airline on Jan 05, 2010 (case #: R2010/01-03562-00572-001-00) to ask for compensation.
January 15, 2010
On Jan 15, 2010 Mr. Simon Pruitt replied to us and instructed us to file a complaint with Cathay Pacific. We filed a complaint with Cathay Pacific on Jan 15, 2010 (case #: HKG/613986).
February 16, 2010
We received Cathay Pacific’s first reply on Feb 16, saying they rejected us because HK Airport Authority required 120 minutes connecting time. In our response, we printed out the HK Airport website, which required only 90 minutes connecting time.
February 20, 2010
Cathay Pacific’s second reply on Feb 20 claimed that Cathay Pacific’s own website stated 120 minutes was required for connecting time, and we should have checked the website before boarding the plane. In other words, they called us liars. They also insisted they didn’t have enough time to process our luggage and relative formalities in 100 minutes instead of 120 minutes. It took them 15 minutes to process our luggage and relative formalities, and they have another 85 minutes to process Airline internal documents and load our luggage up into the plane.

Because we paid for both our original tickets and new tickets to American Airline, we should be compensated by American Airlines and your authorized partner, Cathay Pacific. We request reimbursement of the following expenses from American Airlines:
· USD 6235.20 xxx xxx's family air tickets
· USD 187.05 Foreign Transaction Fee for xxx’s tickets purchasing
· USD 5143.20 xxx xxx's family air tickets
· USD 60.39 Foreign Transaction Fee fro xxx’s tickets purchasing

Total: USD 11,625.84

We paid the above payment through credit cards. Transaction details are attached.
· Reply from Cathay Pacific on Feb. 16, 2010
· Website information from HK Airport Authorities
· Reply from Cathay Pacific on Feb 20, 2010
· Website from Cathay Pacific
· Original Air Tickets
· Boarding Passes for January 01, 2010
· Boarding pass for friend who was able to board the flight on Dec 31, 2009
· Ferry tickets
· Credit Card Transactions Copy

Last edited by lindasterling; Mar 8, 2010 at 6:12 PM.
Old Mar 8, 2010, 6:10 PM
lindasterling lindasterling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Default AA's 2nd reply to our complaint

I've received your most recent correspondence, and again I'm sorry for the difficulty you encountered during your trip December 31. Please be assured, all your concerns about this situation have been taken very seriously. I'm sorry if I initially left you with the impression that they weren't.

However, as I explained in my previous correspondence, your concerns will have to be addressed by Cathy Pacific Airlines.
Mr. xxx, there are very specific policies and procedures when passengers are traveling on multiple carriers, and we are unable to make an exception in this case. Our position does not change our appreciation for you as our customer, and I hope that we have the opportunity to welcome you aboard again.

xxx xxx
Customer Relations
American Airlines
Old Mar 22, 2010, 7:40 PM
lindasterling lindasterling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7
Default BBB helped

I read other complaining post in this website, and realized BBB (Better Business Bureau) could give some pressure to AA to treat its own customer fairly. After filing with BBB, I got immediate attention from AA customer service.

AA originally denied any compensation. However, they compensate us the unused portion of our tickets after I filed complaint with BBB.

It's still not an acceptable solution to our loss. We're still fighting. We paid to AA for our tickets, we are AA's customers and should be taken care of by AA. If AA's partner mistreated us, AA should fight the justice back for its customer.

Furthermore, it's American Airlines responsibility to get equal treatment for its customers from its oneworld partners during the trip. If its customers have to be treated differently, the customers deserve an advance notice.

In our case, the most reasonable customer service should be we get compensated by American Airline, and American Airline will negotiate with Cathay Pacific for their settlement.
Old Mar 22, 2010, 11:27 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Have you considered the DOT? I would avoid some of the hyperbole, about discrimination and extortion.. but I think you have a valid complaint. You can click on quick links on this site and it will link you to the DOT where you can file your complaint.

You might also try to complaint to the CAA in Hong Kong, which is a Special Administrative Region of China and so regulates it's own airlines. Try this link..

HK Civil Aviation Authority Complaint Hotline 2867 4318 / 2867 4203
Public Relations Office, 46/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong

Email [email protected] Fax2869 0093
Old Mar 23, 2010, 2:25 PM
lindasterling lindasterling is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 7

I filed complaint with DOT already but haven't received any response so far. Thank you for the link of CAA, I'll file a complaint with them too.

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