Old Sep 23, 2009, 2:28 AM
washingtonfamily washingtonfamily is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1
Default $4700 charge to get on next flight

My husband and 3 kids missed a 6 a.m. flight on American Airlines. When my husband called AA to ask what his options were, he was led to believe that the ONLY option he had was to book a new flight immediately with the call center. The representative told him standby was not a viable option. She did not tell him he could go to the ticket counter for help or book a new trip through another airline or website such as Orbitz. She charged him $4700.00 and put them on the very next flight!! I later found out from several AA supervisors that they would have only charged him $400.00 at the ticket counter. The trip could have also been rebooked for thousands less with another carrier. The employees at the airport all assured me that this was an error and could be resolved, but Customer Service told me they were "sorry I was disappointed." One supervisor offered me a partial refund, but didn't follow through. Another one gave me refund envelopes to mail to the refund department. (Never heard a word from them, not even an acknowledgement that the refund was requested.) That supervisor told me I had been "screwed to the wall" and he would be shocked if I didn't get a refund. I have contacted the DOT and the attorney general's office as well as my attorney. I do not intend to "just go away". They will continue to hear about my case until it is resolved!
Old Sep 23, 2009, 3:22 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 495

I'm not going to agree with them not giving you all the options, however, if they are telling you that you are having to buy new tickets, why would you not think Orbitz or Travelocity would be an option? If you are having to start from scratch, what made you think you were stuck with AA?
Old Sep 23, 2009, 6:54 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,366

Did you call to cancel before the departure time of the first flight? Most airlines now require that you cancel or else your tickets have no value.
Old Sep 23, 2009, 7:24 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
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Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Maybe the AA rep you got used to work for Delta, where this type of scam is routine.

The truth is, they are more and more out to screw their customers. I hope you win the battle, but the only real "win" you may end up with is giving them the bad publicity they deserve.

The airlines appear to have decided that their primary means of earning money is no longer flying people from A to B. Instead, they advertise a stripped down cost for the actual flight and then seek to make their money on extortionate "add ons" and ridiculous "penalties". The add ons are becoming increasingly ridiculous that they are hard to parody.

The penalties, in which very large sums of money are extorted out of people often in highly stressful circumstances, are what happens when companies which are answerable to no-one have such unbridled power.

Sooner or later we just have to hope that consumers in the US will wake up and smell the coffee... and demand that someone regulate this market. It is out of control.
Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:03 AM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

Some airlines have a "two hour rule". AA might be one of them. If you show up at the airport within two hours of your original flight you can go stand-by on the next flight for free. Frontier has that option or they will also confirm you a seat on the next available, same day flight for $50.00-100.00 (depending on your fare).
Old Sep 23, 2009, 12:41 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
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Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

That strikes me as fair, so it is probably rare!
Old Sep 23, 2009, 2:49 PM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
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Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

Here is the big question: What made your husband hand over to AA 4700 dollars without first going to the counter to rebook? If the first thing they did was call AA, did they even leave the house? If AA is charging you for new tickets, that would mean the original tickets may have loss value. Since this is being told from a third party, we don't have all the details. I'm not saying what AA did was right, and I would persue a refund as well. But if it turned out the tickets lost value and your husband agreed to the charge, you might be at a loss, but I hope that is not the case.
Old Sep 24, 2009, 12:25 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
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Location: Shropshire, England
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Let me offer up a scenario:

The family are highly stressed.. they have been held up after an accident on the freeway and they knew they were going to miss the flight. The parents are arguing about whether they should have left earlier. The kids are cranky through a mixture of excitment of the trip and getting up so early. They get to the airport, and their worst fear is realised. They have missed the flight. They are now anxious, agitated and worried about the whole trip...and what they are going to do.

At this point... AA could offer two scenarios.

1. A calm, sympathetic customer service advisor, who tells them don't worry, we will try and see what we can do to help you. This person tells them that we will try to book them on the next flight for a $50 per person re-booked fee.
Outcome: Happy passenger and $200 in extra fees for AA. Unhappy bean counter in Dallas, Tx who will be unable to pay massive, unearned bonuses to senior management. This will be fed back to the supervisor, who will make the life of the check in clerk a misery.

2. A nasty, ****** off airline employee, who hates her boss... rolls her eyes at yet another edgy family telling her about an accident on the highway. She's thinking.. "it's always an accident, never their fault..jerks". She tells them, in a deadpan manner.. look you either book new tickets on the next flight at $4,700 or you can't travel. Take it or leave it... do you want me to check you in for the next flight or not? Family in a panic, stressed and not thinking straight accept, desperate to get the trip back on track.
Outcome: Unhappy passenger, but who cares, we operate a monopoly at this airport. They have to use us. Extra $4,700 for the airline. Bean counter, senior management happy. We can pay the $4,000 towards the massive bonuses and $700 into the pot that bribes politicians to protect our monopoly and prevent regulation. Supervisor and managers stay off the back of the check in clerk.

Which of these do you think is most likely to have happened?
Old Sep 24, 2009, 5:57 AM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
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Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

Don't offer up scenarios Jim, puppies bleed when you did that. Heh. Hey let me play this game too: Family oversleeps, waking up well past the time needed to check in, by the time they actually call the airline to salvage what they can of a missed flight, they're ticket type has already auto-canceled, losing all value. The reservation's agent rather than reinstating the ticket she charges them for new tickets. Thinking they were the only game in town, they fork over 4700, only to find out when they arrive at the airport they could have gotten a better deal by just rebooking and paying a chg fee.

That wasn't fun and also dumb to create scenarios based on your perceptions, but hey what do I know, I'm having a nightcap.

What it all comes down to is, where was the husband when he called AA, was he on the road or was he at home? But the fact remains he was not FORCED to pay 4700 dollars, he could have weighed in other options before going that route, even if he did not go to the counter. That's a lot of money to just decide to hand over without first thinking things over. I do hope they're able to salvage some or all of that money back, I would definitely persue it further.
Old Sep 24, 2009, 6:58 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
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Location: Shropshire, England
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Bob.. is a pattern developing where you have to have a "nightcap" before replying to my posts!! I hope I am not driving you to drink.. unless it is a good Scotch of course, we need the business in these straightened times!
Old Sep 26, 2009, 6:36 PM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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My son (adult) and I were travelling in 2007 from Chicago to New York on United Airlines and arrived at the check in counter about 20 minutes before the flight left. We could see on a monitor that the flight was said to be on time so I knew we were too late to get on that flight but also knew that there were about 3 flights later in the day on the same route on United. We still joined the check-in line and while waiting I phoned United's 800 reservations number to ask about getting on another flight. The flight had not yet left. She was going to charge me a $100 penalty for each of us to change our flight. I didn't accept it but waited our turn and got the the counter. The agent said it was too late to get on our flight but she could put us standby on the next flight. We went to the gate and found we were able to get on the next flight. No charge. So even if you're late, still go to the counter and see what they can do for you. At the counter you can give a sob story how your bus to the airport was late and the agent does not readily charge you as it seems the agents answering the telephone at the reservations centre do. I the case of Washington Family, if the money paid was correct for the trip they took and the length of their delay before they rebooked, I hardly think they have a remedy, except appealing to a kindhearted supervisor to refund some of the money.

Last edited by AirlinesMustPay; Sep 26, 2009 at 6:40 PM. Reason: mistake
Old Sep 29, 2009, 2:21 AM
airhead airhead is offline
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Posts: 228

The standby rules for American were: I am not sure if it is still the same.
If a passenger missed, as in arriving to the gate after the flight is closed out, then standby is not allowed.
If the passenger missed, as in making it to the gate too late but before the flight is closed out, then standy may be allowed if the following flight has certain fares available. Some require a $50 fee while the others do not. It depends on what is available. A complex formula that is hard to explain to a distressed unhappy person.

One can call the reservation center for other remedies but only airport employees are allowed to work with the stand by listings. Since they are the ones at the gate..kinda makes since to me. At least that part of it does. I can't imagine the chaos at the gates if reservation agents were allowed to do things with the gate agents' boarding lists over their toes.
Old Feb 25, 2010, 7:24 PM
ChrisH ChrisH is offline
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Originally Posted by azstar View Post
Some airlines have a "two hour rule". AA might be one of them. If you show up at the airport within two hours of your original flight you can go stand-by on the next flight for free. Frontier has that option or they will also confirm you a seat on the next available, same day flight for $50.00-100.00 (depending on your fare).
I am now leaving the airline industry, for a new job, but still have another week to have to put up with the airline industry, before my last day. The airline I work for, for at least another week, does have a "two hour rule", which basically states that if you show up at the airport within two hours after your flight, we will rebook you for free on the next available flight, if your class of service is still available. If it is not, then we will place you on standby for the next available flight, again, for free. If you show up after those two hours, you will have to essentially buy a new ticket, depending on the type of fare rules that applied to your ticket. Most people buy the cheaper tickets, through websites like Orbitz, etc., and thus they have a "no value after departure" clause. Essentially if you show up over two hours after your flight, you will have to buy another ticket, or at least pay the change fee, and difference in fare, toward another ticket.

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