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COMPLAINT: American Airlines strands passengers in Ecuador

 
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Old Jul 3, 2012, 6:47 PM
KK3271 KK3271 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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This letter is being written as a warning to passengers flying on American Airlines (AA) in association with “partner airlines”. I recently (June 15 to July 1) returned from a trip to Ecuador. My flights were booked through Orbitz but were all American Airlines flights. Nashville to Miami and Miami to Quito, Ecuador – returning the same way. The Miami-Quito leg was American Airlines (flight 7638) but operated through Lan airlines.

On the trip from Miami to Quito one of our group (of 10 total) was told by Lan that she had no ticket and would have to go to the AA counter to get proof that she had purchased a ticket. As a result of her trouble we went to the AA counter in Miami (since we had a 3.5 hr layover and thought we had time to spare) and asked them about our tickets. The AA representative behind the counter told us that they didn’t know why we had come to the counter, that we were appropriately ticketed and had nothing to worry about. Given our friends experience, we asked them to contact Lan to let them know that we were ticketed. The representative, with a supervisor standing next to them said no – because Lan wouldn’t pick up the phone and said – and I quote - “when you miss your flight come back here and I will help you then”. Little did we know that experience was a walk in the park compared to the one we had on our return trip.

On our return we arrived at Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport 4 hours in advance. When we got to the counter, after waiting 2 hours, the agents told four of us that we had no tickets and would have to go to the purchase counter to get confirmation that we had a ticket, then return to the counter (with hundreds of people waiting in line) to get our boarding passes. We meet many other groups (over 25 people) that had been there longer than us, going between the AA counter and Lan counter trying to get boarding passes. Since Lan could not/would not confirm tickets we went to the AA office in the UIO airport. At the office, the lights were off and doors locked. Security guards (extremely friendly and helpful) repeatedly rang a bell to get representatives to open the door. They (AA reps) then robotically printed the ticket info (which my friend already had), highlighted the flight and said they couldn’t help us because “their part of the trip” (in her case Miami to Cincinnati) was fine and sent us on our way. There were 7 of us (the other lucky people took another airline). Four (including myself) got their boarding passes with 30 minutes to spare. Two made it at the last minute. One got left behind. I can’t tell you how horrifying it is to leave behind a friend, alone, at a chaotic airport, with an airline (s) that is acting like you didn’t even buy your ticket (which cost upwards of $1000). She is still there today – although they have put her up in a hotel – she will be returning 3 days late. Many others had the same experience with families and groups randomly split – some “making it” and others left behind.

I am a frequent traveler; having been to many countries and had many interesting experiences. The treatment of passengers by American Airlines and by Lan was by far the most disorganized, discourteous, frankly frightening experience I have ever had – and we were not the only victims. Usually I would contact management and let them know what was going wrong, but I sincerely believe that this is a systemic American Airlines problem. This is meant as a warning to anyone not willing to be mistreated, mislead and even marooned – DON’T FLY AMERICAN AIRLINES!!!
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Old Jul 4, 2012, 1:49 AM
azstar azstar is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

Codeshares should be illegal. They are nothing more than marketing scams. There is rarely any coordination between the participating airlines and when there is a problem, and there are plenty of them, airline personnel simply point the finger at the other airline and walk away. In the future, whenever you buy a ticket and you get a response, or a printout below the flight stating "operated by XYZ Airlines" DO NOT BUY that ticket. Make sure you only buy tickets on flights actually operated by the airline named in the itinerary.
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