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COMPLAINT: AA - a nightmare...

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Old Sep 17, 2008, 6:36 AM
Engrishprof Engrishprof is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2

This trip was our honeymoon. We had been married in Daegu, South Korea (where we live). We had then flown into Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a Canadian party. On July 7, we were booked to fly into Sandals, Negril. The following is an accurate account of what happened:

July 7 2008
Our flight, AA 4758, from Halifax to JFK (6:25 a.m./7:29 a.m.)
Then from JFK on AA 1193 (11:45 a.m./2:35 p.m.) through to Montego Bay. At JFK:

* Our flight was cancelled from JFK to Montego Bay.
* We waited in line for 2½ hours.
* We were told our baggage would get through before we arrived in Jamaica – it did not.
* We were promised meal vouchers at JFK.
* We were then sent to La Guardia to get a flight to Miami – no meal vouchers were listed.
* We arrived in La Guardia and were given tickets for standby – we waited for 4 flights to Miami – all of which were overbooked – and we obviously couldn’t get on any of these.
* We finally got on the 7:00 pm flight, which was delayed for about 2 hours.
* Eventually we arrived at a Miami hotel at 1:00 a.m. (first night of our honeymoon – very romantic!)
* Due to our cancelled flight and arriving a day later missed out on a $530/night resort non-refundable.

July 8
* We got a flight into Montego Bay having had to cancel the first night of our honeymoon at the Sandals resort in Negril (no refund – cost around $530.00).
* On arrival at the airport – no bag – we were told that they had no idea where it was.
* Filled out a missing bag report – we were not told to leave keys, combination to locks.
* We were promised our suitcase was on a flight from Miami to Montego Bay and would arrive at our hotel at 10:30 p.m. It never arrived.

July 9
* Got in touch with my travel agent who informed us that we were entitled to $50 for the both of us as compensation.
* Got in touch with a woman in Montego Bay and she said she would check and call back before noon – she never returned my call.

* Talked to a man named Ricky in the evening (6:15 p.m.) – said to call back in 30 minutes to talk to manager – I tried 4 different numbers and it was busy from 6:45 to the next day every time I called.

July 10
* Packed three days of medication for my wife in carry-on luggage, due to lost bag had to frantically run around to find replacement meds.
* We also had the problem of being without a change of clothes for 5 days! Not very pleasant at all.
* Talked to Alison at 4:30 – we were told our bag would arrive at 7:00 p.m. We waited around by 10:20 p.m. we still didn’t get it. We received a call at 10:20 p.m. saying they needed keys to open our bag. We were told we couldn’t get our bag until some time the next day – they didn’t know when.
* Airline sent someone from American Airlines to come and pick up the keys to our suitcase.
* We were never told by our agent that we needed to leave keys or combination to be cleared by Jamaican customs.

July 11
* We were told that we were entitled to $250 compensation, only after our travel agent had negotiated this for us.
* We were told that we definitely, definitely would have our case delivered that day (July 11) at
3:30 p.m.
* At 4:15 p.m. – still no suitcase – concierge called and was on the phone for 45 minutes and was finally told it had been put on the bus.
* At 7:00 p.m. I called back – our case had still not arrived … again, we waited and waited.

July 12
* We were told that the driver had left the airport at 4:00 p.m. – a usual 1½ - 2-hour drive.
* Our bag arrived at 3:00 a.m. – both locks broken and all my wife’s underwear had been stolen.

July 17
* We then flew to New York (AA 1190) – 2 hours late and having to tape up our suitcase which was obviously very badly damaged.
* When we arrived in New York, we were told by our travel agent to claim the money we were owed.
* Went to 4 different offices, each time directed to go to another. Everyone completely clueless!
* Submitted our claim and received a file number, returned 4 days later to find our file no longer existed!

July 20
* We were to fly to from JFK to Halifax (AA 4773). This flight was cancelled.
* We were then flown into Montreal – we got no meal vouchers, or accommodation. We slept overnight at the airport.

July 21
* Finally flew into Halifax the next morning, arriving at 9:15 a.m.

I might say we were extremely glad to be back in Halifax. Our ‘Honeymoon from Hell’ consisted of:

* 2 cancelled flights
* 4 stand-by flights that we didn’t get on
* being re-routed twice
* 6 days without our baggage – not to mention all the waiting for our bag to arrive and the total inconvenience of having no change of clothes.
* about 500 phone calls to American Airlines
* an extra 24 hours in the airport on the way to Jamaica
* and the same again on the way back to Halifax.

Of the 30 agents I had to deal with for various reasons, about 10% were actually kind, helpful, and funnily enough advised me never to fly American Airlines again.

*2 months ago we were told we would receive at least $250 in compensation, but haven't...have sent multiple e-mail/letters/called but nothing yet...

Brendan and Soo-Jin Rickard
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Old Sep 24, 2008, 2:23 AM
airhead airhead is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 228

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I personally do not have much knowledge when it comes to international travel and the rules and laws that apply accordingly since every country and every ticket is different. But I will give you as much information I can.

Why did the flights cancel and why were the others delayed? The reasons are very important as far as compensation.

Did you read the contract of carriage regarding your journey with the airline? I am not sure if your travel agent is liable for not telling you certain pieces of information but your contract with that agent may have some answers also.

Did you file a pilferage claim? I gather you filed a delayed baggage claim. As long as your bag was missing you are entitled to compensation. Use that file locater to contact headquarters if you could not get results with the baggage department. 1-800-535-5225


I believe the time limit to claim missing items is 24 hours from the acceptance of the bag.

Unfortunately, international travel is very sticky when one thing goes wrong. It is very important to read the contract of carriage to know what to do in case of delays or cancellations and missing bags. The employees at the airport have their hands tied when flights are full. It makes the job hard for us as well as for the passenger. I hope this information was helpful to you. I hope you get what you are looking for.

Last edited by airhead; Sep 24, 2008 at 2:25 AM. Reason: grammer
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Old Sep 24, 2008, 3:20 AM
Engrishprof Engrishprof is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2

Our first flight was canceled because there was a problem with the plane itself. Our return flight home was delayed due to weather, but in actual fact the 10 passengers scheduled for the flight believe it was because there were only 10 passengers. Everyone called home and checked the weather in between, and it was fine. If AA cancel a flight because of weather they don't have to give any sort of compensation. I have a baggage claim number and
filed a baggage compensation claim in New York on July 17th, and when I went back to check 4 days later, they said that our file no longer existed. I was told that this was because our case probably had been dealt with and that we would receive a check in 2 weeks. I didn't. Whenever I go to file a claim through the internet, it says that we have an invalid baggage claim compensation number and they haven't responded to any of our letters, e-mails, nothing... Our file locater no longer exists and no one at AA will get back to us. Phone calls don't work, as we are passed on from one person to another, all of whom are clueless and inevitably tell us to file a claim through the internet.
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Old Sep 24, 2008, 12:15 PM
abutterfinger25 abutterfinger25 is offline
US Department of Transportation Employee
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Washington Metro Area
Posts: 197


carriers are not required under any US regulation to provide compensation for a cancelled flight, regardless of the reason. As far as weather, while the weather at your departing and arriving cities might be clear, they may have been weather issues along the flight plan, at the city in which the aircraft or flight crew is departing on, ect. When a carrier cancels a flight, it not only impacts that flight, but the aircraft and crews are not in position for the next flights.

In regards to not getting in touch with anyone at AA, pelase send a complaint to and we can try to get your a response from American.
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