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AA cancelled my award seats b/c of agent error!

 
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  #1  
Old Feb 5, 2011, 1:45 AM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

On 1/31/11 I was lucky enough to reserve 2 economy and 2 business seats on Air Tahiti Nui (partner airline) for December 20th from LA to Auckland (via Papeete.) The Quantas direct flight would have been great, but it didn't appear they were going to release award seats to AA any time soon, so I happily took the TN flights. The booking agent gave me two confirmation codes, one for the coach seats and one for the business class seats. It was a confirmed reservation and I had until 2/5/11 to book. On 2/2 I received an email from AA asking me to call the Awards desk. I thought, great, I will call and go ahead and book all my tickets at the same time. The agent told me that the confirmation with the two coach seats had been incorrectly booked and so I no longer had a reservation; AA had cancelled it. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! They were very sorry, but agents make mistakes and there was nothing they could do for me other than offer me award seats on 12/13 or 12/25. The current price for these two coach seats is $2030, so you can understand why I am upset.

As AA and both supervisors I spoke with admit the mistake is 100% theirs, I have no idea why they aren't fixing it. AA can purchase the seats and reinstate my reservation...there are plenty of coach seats still available. Obviously I have saved a long time to have the 400,000 miles required for the round trip on these four seats...how can part of the reservation simply be taken away from me? How could the agent book half the reservation correctly and the other half so incompetently that it was cancelled?

Any advice?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old Feb 5, 2011, 10:11 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

Quote:
It was a confirmed reservation and I had until 2/5/11 to book.
I honestly don't have any good advice for you as it seems a mistake was made but they are not making good trying to fix it. They are just saying sorry. There really is no "higher court" that you could take this to. DOT will not be interested in this, most likely. Taking then to court won't solve anything, I don't think. They've admitted they errored.

I have a question for you though. I'm confused about the sentence you wrote that I quoted above. If you have a confirmed res, then you are booked. It's one in the same. If that is the case, you may have a complaint as you had a valid booking and it was canceled without your permission. This may elevate to breach of contract but as I've been told before, I'm no lawyer.
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  #3  
Old Feb 5, 2011, 11:39 PM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

Regarding the above quote, I tried to use AA's terminology. Yes, I had a reservation and TWO CONFIRMATION CODES. AA will hold the reservation for five days, during which time you must call back and authorize the miles to be deducted from your Awards account and give a credit card for the taxes and processing fee (in this case $47 + $20). I have always been under the impression that that "reservation" is yours every bit as much as the "booking" (already paid in miles and dollars...), and that is my point: their booking agent error should cost me $2030?? I think not.
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  #4  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 12:28 AM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by The_Judge View Post
I honestly don't have any good advice for you as it seems a mistake was made but they are not making good trying to fix it. They are just saying sorry. There really is no "higher court" that you could take this to. DOT will not be interested in this, most likely. Taking then to court won't solve anything, I don't think. They've admitted they errored.
Sorry but, this makes no sense. If there is an error on the part of airline staff for which the OP is being penalised, there must be a remedy against the airline.

You can cancel all tickets and demand that all miles be refunded for use another time, or you can demand that your reservations are reinstated and if there is any penalty to do this then AA must foot that bill.

In most countries the law provides a remedy in the form of an action in court. A court will readily make the appropriate Order to right the wrong. Sounds like a case for the small claims court.
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  #5  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 12:37 AM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

No, you misunderstand. My miles had not yet been deducted. They will not "reinstate" my reservation because of course the award seats are "no longer available." AA cancelled my reservation because of the booking agent's error, and someone else gobbled up those awards seats in the meantime.

The seats are available for purchase. That's my point. I feel American should "purchase" (trade, whatever it is that they do with partner airlines) those seats and award them to me for my miles. They were mine in reservation. And I don't understand how they can simply cancel my reservation because they (admittedly) made an error. It's beyond unfair.
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  #6  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 2:26 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by Miles View Post
Sorry but, this makes no sense. If there is an error on the part of airline staff for which the OP is being penalised, there must be a remedy against the airline.

You can cancel all tickets and demand that all miles be refunded for use another time, or you can demand that your reservations are reinstated and if there is any penalty to do this then AA must foot that bill.

In most countries the law provides a remedy in the form of an action in court. A court will readily make the appropriate Order to right the wrong. Sounds like a case for the small claims court.
Miles, you have a problem with The Judge?? You have 2 posts and you quote me 2 times.

What I wrote makes perfect sense. What part don't you understand? I'll try to explain it better.
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  #7  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 3:23 AM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by The_Judge View Post
Miles, you have a problem with The Judge?? You have 2 posts and you quote me 2 times.

What I wrote makes perfect sense. What part don't you understand? I'll try to explain it better.

Judge, I have no problem with you, but with the nonsense. It makes no sense to say that this OP has a problem but there is no higher court that can deal with it. A tenet of law is, "For every wrong there must be a remedy"

If we have reached the stage if there is no remedy for a wrong for which we know the perpetrator of the wrong it is recipe for anarchy, and people taking the law into their own hands.
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  #8  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 4:04 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Posts: 1,109

Agreed that a court of law will rectify a legal issue. This doesn't seem to elevate to a legal issue to me. A mistake was apparently made (it would be nice to know the mistake) and their fix was to cancel the booking. No payment was made and not returned, no miles were offered and not given back. Nothing illegal happened here. It is not illegal to provide bad customer service. That is what I was referring to when I mentioned "no higher court."
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  #9  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 5:18 AM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 84

Once it is established that a customer lost out on a confirmed reservation because of an agent error, that is a legal issue. A merchant or service provider cannot offer something, give a deadline, then before the deadline say the agent made a mistake. The passenger is entitled to the legal remedy of having the airline pay for the mistake of its agent. It can then discipline its agent if necessary, but the passenger who was blameless ought to be made whole and if they can't do it themselves, then the court will do it.

Come on Mr Judge, are you sure you were an airline employee?
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  #10  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 5:33 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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As I said.......I never claimed to be a lawyer. And I agree, AA should be making this right but I don't believe this elevates to a legal issue. Services were never purchased. You must remember that. Nothing changed hands.
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  #11  
Old Feb 6, 2011, 5:49 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Let's put it another way......if a customer made the res but then failed to buy the ticket, could the airline sue the passenger for holding it for 5 days for them?
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  #12  
Old Feb 7, 2011, 7:36 PM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

If anyone cares about my original problem, it gets better. I checked back (Saturday morning) to see if any seats had become available. Yes! One in coach. Made a reservation. Gave my Visa over the phone to ticket ON THE SPOT this time. Advised the booking agent that AA had cancelled my last reservation due to agent booking error (apparently, despite the fact that both segments of the flight are the same flight number, they must be booked as a "through flight," not as two separate tickets.) Asked that she please double-check her booking. No problem, we've got this one taken care of. Monday morning: email from AA asking them to call regarding that confirmation code. Same story: agent booking error, and that reservation also cancelled.

I asked the supervisor, what can I possibly do? I have no way of knowing that a booking agent knows what they are doing or not. But then I do not find out until 48 hours later from AA....which means the award seats have now been snagged by someone else.

I don't honestly know what to do. And it seems impossible to trust that an agent is booking correctly. Maybe I even need to have a supervisor make the bookings. ARGH
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  #13  
Old Feb 7, 2011, 7:47 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

Now you have some ground to stand on. You should have a confirmed ticket receipt somewhere, online or being mailed to you. Tell them you want what you paid for or you will see them in court. You have paid for something and not received it. That is against the law.
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  #14  
Old Feb 7, 2011, 9:45 PM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

Judge, thanks but I'm afraid you still don't understand.

While I gave my Visa for the taxes and processing fee and my permission to deduct the miles from my account, they do not guarantee a confirmation email for 48 hours. So if they don't actually charge the Visa (they claim they didn't) then I have no grounds to stand on in court.

The point is, they say it is confirmed and give you a confirmation code, but it apparently isn't "really." Not until THEY process it......but consumers have no control over that! This is the most frustrating thing ever.
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  #15  
Old Feb 8, 2011, 8:23 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Ok. Just telling you what I'd do. If I paid for something and didn't get it, I'd take them to small claims, or at least let them know you will. If you do nothing, you will get nothing.
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  #16  
Old Feb 8, 2011, 9:02 PM
kathrynm kathrynm is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6

Thank you.
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  #17  
Old Feb 9, 2011, 8:26 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Frequent flyer schemes are a scam and frankly I no longer use them. It distorts the market against the consumer. You are not getting anything for free...you pay for this and it ties you to one airline and allows them to artificially inflate their prices.

This is a complicated issue. If a company makes an offer and the offer turns out to be an error, it is NOT obliged in law to carry out the transaction. There have been numerous cases of error, particularly online... where a retailer has accidentily posted say a computer for $5.99 when it should have been $599.00 for example. Some retailers have, for goodwill reasons, honoured the mistake, but they are not obligated in law to do so. So, you could argue that AA were simply in this position.

However, the second error changes the situation. In this situation, AA repeated the error, this time having been warned in advance by Kathryn what the consequences could be if the error was repeated. As a result, Kathryn lost a reservation which WENT TO SOMEONE ELSE. This changes the situation. Now we have a situation in which negligence by AA caused losses to Kathryn. Despite all the legal caveats in the FF programme terms and conditions, I think you would have a reasonable chance of winning this in small claims court, and I think it is worth a punt. I can't think of any other forum where you could seek a remedy, other than perhaps asking if the Office of the Attorney General in your state would be willing to help.

Welcome back Judge... much missed in this forum and delighted to see you back.
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  #18  
Old Feb 9, 2011, 9:15 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

Kinda exactly what I said in different words. But what would I know, eh?

Originally Posted by jimworcs
Welcome back Judge... much missed in this forum and delighted to see you back.
Good to be back. Thanks to the board admin for helping me out to be here.
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  #19  
Old Feb 11, 2011, 2:39 AM
flyhi152 flyhi152 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 36

Originally Posted by kathrynm View Post
On 1/31/11 I was lucky enough to reserve 2 economy and 2 business seats on Air Tahiti Nui (partner airline) for December 20th from LA to Auckland (via Papeete.) The Quantas direct flight would have been great, but it didn't appear they were going to release award seats to AA any time soon, so I happily took the TN flights. The booking agent gave me two confirmation codes, one for the coach seats and one for the business class seats. It was a confirmed reservation and I had until 2/5/11 to book. On 2/2 I received an email from AA asking me to call the Awards desk. I thought, great, I will call and go ahead and book all my tickets at the same time. The agent told me that the confirmation with the two coach seats had been incorrectly booked and so I no longer had a reservation; AA had cancelled it. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! They were very sorry, but agents make mistakes and there was nothing they could do for me other than offer me award seats on 12/13 or 12/25. The current price for these two coach seats is $2030, so you can understand why I am upset.

As AA and both supervisors I spoke with admit the mistake is 100% theirs, I have no idea why they aren't fixing it. AA can purchase the seats and reinstate my reservation...there are plenty of coach seats still available. Obviously I have saved a long time to have the 400,000 miles required for the round trip on these four seats...how can part of the reservation simply be taken away from me? How could the agent book half the reservation correctly and the other half so incompetently that it was cancelled?

Any advice?

Thanks.
I had a confirmed reservation that I made through Expedia with Asiana several months before I had to fly. It looks like there was a problem with one segment and they cancelled the whole reservation a few days before departure, giving me a "full refund" Later Expedia was accusing Asiana and Asian was accusing Expedia. Until today I never received a response. the only thing that I know is that I had to make a new reservation paying a higher price. i reported this to the FAA consumer affairs department but the only thing that happened was an automated message. In the old days you received a paper ticket in exchange for a confirmed reservation. If there was a problem they had to take responsability and put you on a different flight. Now, in these days you don't have anything in your hands anymore. you get an email saying "sorry, reservation is canceled, you get your money back"
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