January 31, 2015

Travel Tips: Don't Fly American Airlines

...unless you enjoy being lied to and having to pay out of pocket for a hotel room that you were told would be covered.

I have submitted three separate complaints to American Airlines' customer service department in the last two weeks since my trip. It's not a particularly exciting or eloquent read, but it's one I urge you to take into consideration next time you think about buying a ticket from American. Please excuse the fact that their form allows only 1,500 characters including spaces, so my normal wordiness (that expands to exactly the amount of words I need to say what I mean) had to be cut down quite a bit. It's followable, though not my usual detailed account. Short story: I got stuck in Miami overnight on my way home from Cancun. I'll let the following correspondence speak for itself:

A week later, I received a response.

Plot hole #1: I flew from the mild climate of Miami to the mild climate of Charleston, SC. There was no rain, snow, ice, or other freak weather incident. I sat in the terminal and listened to multiple earlier flights out of my gate be delayed due to what seemed to be mechanical issues. I'm positive that the flight closest to mine needed a tire repair.

Plot hole #2: I made zero complaint whatsoever about not making it to my destination on time, nor the inconvenience of it all. At this point I just wanted my money back, and if not my actual money, some effort towards compensation.

Unsatisfied, I tried again.

 (I realize my "1.5 hours" from my first complaint became "2 hours" in the second. Blame lack of sleep when I wrote the first one, and okay, the fish in the story always gets a little bigger. It was an unintentional change and I'm not sure which is accurate. That's okay because neither is acceptable.)

New response from a new representative.

I'm so very glad my $130 could go towards making someone else's canceled flight experience more pleasant in the future. So glad. I only hope the feedback in my blog post here can be just as useful to future customers.

My third response from a third representative skilled in the art of avoidance.

See "plot hole #2" from above again. See "my complaint is not against policy, but with AA's inability to communicate it with me." See direct question #'s 1, 2, and 3, and direct answers #0, 00, and 000. Head, see desk.

From this whole correspondence, I've received zero answers, infinite frustration, and 4,000 AAdvantage miles, which are worth exactly 32% of a one-way domestic flight at the cheapest mileage rate. It looks like the most valuable thing I've gained from this experience is a $130 lesson, and perhaps a new slogan:


Laura said...

Worst customer service EVER! They are truly skilled at BS-ing their customers. I will not be flying with them even if they are the cheapest flight option.

Tara said...

Wow. Sounds like you got copy and paste responses each time. Horrible customer service. My options are already limited, but I'll make every effort to avoid American Airlines next time I fly.

Anonymous said...

Sure airlines can't always control flights being canceled, but they can definitely control customer service. They can also control training their employees so that customers are correctly informed as to whether or not their hotels will be accommodated. I'll definitely avoid American from now on.