American Airlines Customer Service Ruined Our Family Vacation

 

Dear American Airlines, I know this is not your website. But I am writing this letter in disappointment and disgust in relation to your company and the staff that you employ.  I have filled in two complaint forms directly with your customer relation department, and have still had no reply. 

This is no surprise and shows what little respect American Airlines customer service show’s its customers.

In October 2015 I booked 10 flights with your company, I chose to travel with British airways / American airlines, having used both companies many times in the past, and until today had not had any problems. My flights were booked through the flight center in the UK and I was informed that the flights needed to be booked in a group of 7 and a group of 3.  I was informed this was the only way these could be booked and this would cause no problems as the agent, and I attach a copy of their e mail, confirmed that these reservations had been linked as one booking.

23 March 2016 I arrived at Heathrow airport to be met by unfriendly and rude staff. I was informed that these flights had not been booked as a group booking and also the flights from Dallas to Orlando had not been booked? This is contrary to what the flight center confirmed in the UK.  After a considerable amount of time and unfriendly representatives we managed to get checked in.  I was disappointed that although we had requested, and made it clear, that this was a family vacation and a reunion of all my children and my parents, we were not traveling together.  My two younger children aged 10 and 11 were seated at the rear of the plane with my eldest son.  Whilst I was in the middle carriage with my partner and mother and father, and my two remaining children and my son’s fiancé, were a number of rows away from us.

Your staff based in Heathrow informed me there was nothing they could do, the flight was full, and we should have checked in 24 hours prior.

This we had tried to do, but along with every other passenger in the queue, we were unable to do this as your system was down prior to our travel.  I am very disappointed that I could not sit with my younger sons, more so because this was an expensive dream vacation and we were not accommodated.

On arrival in Dallas there were many delays, due to re-stocking and loading of passengers, finally after a further one and half hour delay, whilst sat on the plane on the runway, we were informed the plane could not take off due to the pilot running out of air time.  I find it remarkable that American airlines were not aware of this prior to boarding its passengers.

There was no apology, no assistance and no help put forward.  100s of customers lined at one check in gate all trying to get outward flights, resulted in my children sleeping on the floor in Dallas airport for three hours.  One family member stood in the lengthy queue, and American Airlines staff informed two other family members, at our expense we had to call the main office and at our own expense on UK mobile phones as no phones were working in the departure line. That it was our responsibility to book our onward flight, also at 1 am in the morning we were also told there was no hotel accommodation available, and nor could we retrieve our checked luggage.

This resulted in huge stress, as my father requires urgent daily medication, and he had kept enough supply for his onward journey but the remainder of his medication for the following day was in the checked in luggage.

Your staff were rude unhelpful and informed me to write to you.  The next plane available was the following day flying to Miami, then a further connecting flight onto Orlando.  With no alternative and stranded with young children we had no further options.  Thankfully a passenger seeing our dilemma kindly offered his hotel accommodation so my children could get into a bed.  We had no clean clothes, no underwear or toiletries, these required purchasing and we had additional costs for food and drink.  Our hotel, which had been booked in Orlando, required cancelling and our car hire rearranging.

The following morning we returned to Dallas airport for our flight to Miami, again faced with huge delays due to loading passengers onto a flight, our flight was delayed by 1 and half hours.  This resulted in our connection from Miami to Orlando being missed.

Stranded once again in the evening in Miami, we were met by rude, unhelpful staff that again informed us, at our own expense, to contact the call center. Long delays stood in a queue of 100s of people and two hours later, finally a manager was very helpful, and managed to get us onward flights, regrettably not all traveling together, I had to send my three children traveling alone on a flight to Tampa, whilst I waited with the remainder of the family to travel on an alternative flight to Tampa.  This caused huge stress, I was extremely upset and tearful and this was the start of what should have been our dream family vacation.  The manager assured me this would not happen again and she had arranged for onward coach travel from Tampa to Orlando and had linked all flights together for our return journey and we should incur no more problems.

On arrival in Tampa once again American Airlines had not kept its promise, onward travel had not been arranged and no coach was there to meet us, once again we were stranded.  Thankfully the final flight out of Tampa had been delayed and was not full and we were able to board this flight. I question whether this is even acceptable from a health and safety standpoint, having to take four flights across two time zones in a 24hr period. I seriously doubt that you allow your own cabin crews to do this. It most certainly isn’t acceptable to make a family with young children do it, both morally and professionally, on what is supposed to be an enjoyable journey for a once in a lifetime holiday. When I booked this vacation initially the flights were not the cheapest but I paid the cost to only have one transfer. 

The journey, due to American Airlines incompetence, resulted in four flights, losing us one full day of our vacation, extra hotel costs and cancellations and extra costs incurred in airports as well as the emotional upset and stress.

This then resulted in my 11 year old developing an ear abscess, which in the medical opinion of a doctor, was due to the four flights in a 24-hour period.  This resulted in further costs in a visit to an ER department in Florida and large medical costs.

Keen to ensure we had an uneventful travel back to the UK on the 7th April, and following advice from your staff, I e mailed customer services with all information and asked them to confirm our seats were allocated and our bookings were linked together.  To date they have not had the common decency to respond to this e-mail, I enclose receipt of them receiving this e-mail.

The flight from Orlando to Charlotte, again resulted in my children sitting in one coach separate to me, and the staff were again unhelpful.  Upon arrival in Charlotte we needed to collect our boarding passes for our onward travel to Heathrow, an 8 hour flight during the night, our seats had been allocated all over the plane, none of our family members were seated together, and again we were met with opposition and rudeness. After two hours and having been spoken to rudely and having two managers involved they did manage to seat me with my children but the rest of the family were separated.

I apologize for the length of this letter that I have enclosed, but American Airlines have ruined our family vacation, we have not had an apology and not even a response to the original complaint.  I have forwarded this also to the flight center in the UK who has informed me that the problem is with you the airline.  I have also enclosed a copy of this letter to British Airways. I want reimbursing for our telephone calls we had to make in airports to arrange our onward travel, reimbursing for the cost of t -shirts and toiletries, for which the receipts are enclosed.  I would like American Airlines to compensate my family for destroying our vacation.

 

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6 Additional Customer Complaints

Have you experienced poor customer service? Reply to a comment below and let us know!


Comment: 

We flew yesterday evening with flight 5227 from CLT to SRQ.  We (my husband and myself) were greeted at the door of the aircraft by this lady who was the steward of the aircraft with a "mandatory unpleasant tone" that we had to leave our luggage.  When I pointed out that we always travel with this "small suitcase" she pointed out that "not in this aircraft"!  At the time I did not understand what she meant since I had not been "inside" the aircraft yet.  

So I left my small suitcase with my husband and went in the aircraft when "this lady" started shouting that I had to come back and take care of my luggage, that I could not leave my luggage "unattended".  All this to my surprise and humiliation. Realizing that my husband is 82 years old I returned to take care of my luggage when I saw that he 'was" in fact taken care of his and mine.  He had one on each hand. I pointed out that he was my husband and he was taken care of my luggage.  At this point I was tired, had been up since 4am, it was over  8pm and was not up to this ladies attitude.  I looked at her and said:  I will never fly with AA again! I thought the book was closed and chapter finished.

I had a purse-bag and I say purse bag because there was only my wallet, sun & reading glasses, 2 pens and the itinerary doc. This is so that you understand that it was not a typical travelling BAG, full of other things such as clothes or present etc. I put the purse/bag on the aircraft's floor and pressured it against my leg so that it would not fall over since it was open, no zipper, my glasses could fall out.  She came and said that it had to be placed in front of me under the front seat.  I did not think anything about it since that is normal, and placed it where it should be.

She came back and said to put it "further IN", under the seat.  At this time I realized that she was really on me "personally".  Since I realized that no matter what I did with my purse she was not going to be pleased I took the purse and put it on the "bag" behind the seat.  The bag where the flying instructions are.  Just so that you understand the dimensions of my bag/purse.  I went in that compartment totally in.

She came back and said no! You cannot have it there.  I explained to her that it was opened and I was concerned things might fall out.  She repeated that I could only have 1 pound in that compartment.  She said then you have to put it up in the baggage compartment above your head. I asked her if she would do it for me. (I thought if she deals with this then she will have it exactly as she wants to and this ordeal will be over) OH NO!  

Which is totally a lie.  At this point I asked her for her name and she went to the back of the aircraft and without answering!  I thought, problem solved. OH NO!  She came back and very authoritarian gave her name as RHONDA and said a bunch of things that I could refer to the aircraft and my seat etc etc etc...... When I decided to look at the badge with her photo to try to read her name (I had no reading glasses) and I only looked that means I changed my eyes from looking at her face trying to hear what she was saying and changed my eyes to her badge, immediately she put her hand on her badge not allowing me to grasp if her real name was RHONDA!  

Anyhow she is a medium size  lady with black frame glasses.  At this point my 82 year old husband decided to take the purse/bag and put it on the top compartment.  Unfortunately we were sitting in a sea that the top compartment was tiny tiny (2) and was taken with aircraft supply. So he decided to place it on the floor as far as possible into the front seat, where she could hardly see it if she were to come back. OH YES, she did come back!  This time she came with what I thought, at the time, was the flight supervisor. She looked at me and asked what was wrong and I said: I don't know,  I really do not know. The so call RHONDA, if that is her real name, left and said she was going to have me removed from the plane.

The other lady looked at the placement of the purse/bag, she almost had to bend her head to look at it. She made some sort of mimics with her face and hands like saying to me "let it be, she can get you out." I really do not know but she then made gestures with her hands like "it;'s ok".  What do I know? You think this is over.  OH NO!  then she brought the CAPTAIN.  Here is the captain, you wanted to talk to him? To my surprise I was shocked! I said I did not ask for the Captain.  He looked at me in surprise an said, let's get going we are late!  It was true we were already late from the beginning and on top of that this lady creating all this havoc in the aircraft!

I did recall afterwards when she did not want to allow me to look at her name in her badge, when she covered it with her hands, I looked at her and said ok, when we arrive I will confirm with the Captain your name.  The reason I said this is because normally when you arrive at your destination the stewards and the Captain are always upfront to say good-bye and thank you for flying with them.  I wish to explain our seats.  

We were sitting on seats 8 A and C.  I was sitting on the window side.  A wonderful seat!  Tough I thought!  because the space between my seat and the front seat which is a first class seat is soooo spacious that you can straighten your legs! Amazing!, that was the reason why I asked her if she could help me place my bag on the top compartment when she came the third time.  Notice that she came like 6 times or more to my specific seat.  This for us is plain harassment and abuse of power given to a person that cannot control or know when to use power.

I am 65 year old, precisely today, my birthday, and dealing  with this horrific situation.   Flight attendances MUST, in these days, go through regular psychological testing to see if they are apt for their positions.  We have travelled to more that 85 countries, we are globetrotters and this is my first time and first experience with such a person.  Of course I could contact my attorney and do as everyone does in this country, file a legal complaint, ask to be reimbursed etc etc,  but it is not that, that we want.  What we want is to make the airline aware of this situation so that it does not happen again!

On our side, sine we have the money and we are the customers, and we have choices, we have decided never again take AA into consideration in our future trips. And the lady that I thought was the flight supervisor I met while we were waiting for the luggage outside by the door of the aircraft and I asked her if she could give me the name of the steward and she said that she was not part of this flight that she was from a "main" flight and she did not know.  Another lie!  She was also full of airline tags, and had airline baggage with her.  The RHONDA in question, was standing at the door before we departed and I looked once again  at her tags but they were all turned backwards, when my eyes crossed with hers she gave a big sadistic smile, like saying "you did not get it!"

Would like make a last comment.  Ms. RHONDA, if that is her real name, after making my flight miserable! and being the wicked witch, because the lovely Cinderella with the entire aircraft!  You could hear her feet away, greeting the people and being "extremely" satisfying and proper.
Pls remember this lady that we are "customers"  that her salary comes out of our tickets, that the airline benefits of satisfy customers, and most of all, give her a personality check up.  She cannot become sadistic and expect her customer to be the masochist. 

Comment: 

On October 18, 2015, my husband, Dr. Eric Schreier and I were booked on flights(AA 4385) from Salt Lake City to (AA3639) Fort Wayne, Indiana. The SLC flight was delayed several hours due to a broken bathroom. This maintenance issue caused us to miss our flight in Chicago. We were unable to make another flight once in Chicago and had to rent a car. I submitted the expenses from the car rental, the gasoline charges, and reimbursement of the flight from Chicago to Fort Wayne over two months ago and have not heard ANYTHING from American Airlines regarding the status. I was told American Airlines doesn't have a customer service department, and I believe it.

Holding up the hundreds of dollars owed to my husband and I for car rental, gasoline, and airfare is an inconceivable business practice.  All of my attempts to call American Airlines for a status on this claim have been futile.  Please respond to this fourth request before I am forced to pursue legal action.

Comment: 

I never complain, but this pat Monday was the worst experience I had with your airline, we departed DCA just about 50 minutes late due to the cargo loaded correctly flying in to Phoenix. My wife and were never told that our connecting flight was held  (aa531) going to Reno, we were told to go to the help desk, we were given tickets to a connecting flight 14 hours later that day. other people  that we know from the original flight had a normal travel day made their connection to Reno. We observed other people giving up their seats for travel voucher because of oversold flight and yet spent the entire day in Phoenix without an apology.

If the announcement would have been made we and others in the same predicament could have made the original flight. 7 hours later finally in a plane at the gate. this was totally unacceptable seating in the plane with empty seats, yet they wanted us to take the 11:45 pm flight home. I have been in the service industry over 30 year in the luxuries segment I can honestly tell you this was the worst experience we had traveling with your airline. I don't know if anyone will review this complaint honestly I don't think so because I m not important to you.

Comment: 

On November 19 I tried to book two flights on line.  One was from Lihue, Hawaii to Salt Lake City on Feb 17.  The other was from LAX to Lihue on Mar 13.  Both were to use FF miles.  I started right after breakfast and when I finished it was an hour past my lunch time.  My husband, Nicholas, was with me the whole time trying to help.

I would fill out all the information on 4-5 pages and at the end it would continually say, "error" even though we were positive everything was correct, and we would do everything all over again and again. Finally, at the end it asked for payment with our Citibank credit card.  We would enter it and the security number and was rejected time and time again.  We even tried another card with the same results.

We called the credit card company and they said all the numbers were correct and that AA had billed them the $5.60 charge several times for a flight.  At one time a locator number actually flashed on our computer screen and then disappeared.  Then a page came up that said the reservation was on hold until we paid the fee.  We tried again to pay the small charge with no luck. We talked to an AA reservation agent for over half and hour (I think from the Phillapines) and could hardly understand her.  She kept us on hold for many minutes at a time.  We were told we had been transferred to customer support and she never told us she was just doing reservations all that time.  

She also told us there were no FF seats available and that AA miles were no longer transferrable to Alaska Airlines for flights from Hawaii to the mainland. She was extremely inefficient, slightly rude, and we got no where with her.  Finally she told us she was not tech support. After quite a wait, we got a tech person who booked everything for us, gave us record locator numbers, etc.  There was never any info sent to us by email and when we contacted Mileage plus later, there was no record whatsoever.

Later that afternoon, we got three confirmation emails (in Junk box) for one of the flights and none for the other. We called Mileage plus and got a wonderful woman who guaranteed us she would cancel all the duplicate flights, straighten everything out, give seat assignments.  We received emails confirming the flights.

My husband and I were complete wrecks after spending 5 hours on the computer and phone (we ran down the batteries on three different phones) and then had to find out we had several bookings for the same flights.  So in the afternoon we had to call all over again.

Our daughter had booked my husband on the Lihue to SLC flight with her FF advantage miles that morning with no problems on line.  When she tried to book the LAX to LIH flight for him to fly with me she encountered problems like mine that said the system was not presently working (we got that too) and she had to try several times later. Supposedly, we are sitting together now on both flights, but we're still shook up from the horrible experience.

Please don't dishonor us by offering us a small amount of FF miles for the terrible time you put us through.  We think we deserve a lot more.  We are good customers and we actually own hundreds of shares of American Airlines stock.

Comment: 

To Management, Supervisor Dept, Problem resolution, and Customer Complaints. Now, if the person reading this email is not a supervisor or manager, I insist that this email be forwarded to the appropriate persons and or department. I am not only unhappy but absolutely disgusted by the experience as a traveler and human being. Neglect and sheer disregard for basic decency by your employees and airlines.  I am a 40 year woman who has done a good amount of travelling, domestic and international throughout my life and I have to say that I have never in my life had such a horrible experience or been treated so terribly by an airline. 

Firstly, my flight from San Diego to Dallas was delayed. Anyhow, we get to Dallas.  My flight from Dallas was supposed to board 8:05 p.m. but was delayed. When I asked why the flight was delayed, the AA employee explained it was because the crew, Pilot and crew had not yet arrived to Dallas. Hours went on and on, delay after delay, the storm began to kick in. Now, if your crew was there on time we would of all made our flight as other flights were boarding and leaving at that time!  Now, the flight was delayed about 4 times and now AA employees were stating the flight was delayed because of the storm.

Again, if your crew had been there on time we would have been able to board and leave as other airlines were doing.  Around 11pm to 12 am, the flight was then cancelled due to weather conditions and we all were stuck at Dallas airport for the night.  Don’t know why it took 4 times to delay a flight that wasn’t going to take off! A little bit more honesty would of been appreciated you know? Now do not tell me it all weather related as I stated if your crew was there on time everything would have been ok! However, you cannot explain nor justify your customer treatment and service after this point of time as it was demeaning! The way I was personally treated as a customer, traveler as a human being was deplorable!

Now, all of this and I am travelling with a bad back.  I showed your employee all my meds. I had 4 prescriptions! I have all the meds and reports from doctors to provide to you if necessary. So now me and a whole bunch of people are waiting in line to book for the next possible flight out, which was the following day, which ment we had to sleep in the airport. They explained that the airport would provide blankets and cots but by the time it was my turn there was none left. I was in line for an hour and half to two hours!

Firstly, I looked for blankets and cots but there were all gone. So I went back to your employees and told them again that I suffer a bad back and all the cots and blankets were gone. They said sorry we don’t have any available and it’s the airport that provide them. If there are none out they have no more. I asked him to try but he would not. Not even TRY to find one!  With the most unacceptable attitude may I add!  (Do you have ANY idea how BIG Dallas airport is?! I could not believe that they could not even try to locate ONE blanket for me in that massive airport!  I am the traveler!

I am the paying customer who is being inconvenienced and I did not receive even any basic decency! Customer service, null and void!! Unacceptable!!  After wondering the airport I ended up asking a Police officer to help me find me a blanket and you know what? He found THREE! THREE! From the airport, not Police security or anything! Shame on your employees! Shame on your airlines!! By the Grace of God I found a broken cot and called it a night! Yes, broken!

Second, me including other passengers asked for our luggage to be taken off the plane and given to us and they would not! None of us who asked got our luggage! Your employees reassured us that our luggage would be safe and considered a priority and that we had nothing to worry about. It would be there when we arrived in Detroit…..to be continued below.

Thirdly, the discrimination I not only witnessed but experienced. Now I am going to be very clear here….do not tell me “We do not discriminate” because not only did I witness it but experienced it first hand! Now, some people got vouchers and others did not! Now, I want to know why some people got vouchers and others didn’t?  Two elderly woman got vouchers to a hotel, to a hotel I should add that would not answer their phones! I felt so bad for them! Elderly women! Have you people no regard?! Not even for the seniors? Shame! 

Here I am with a bad back, I showed your employees my medication and wonder why did I, the one with a terrible back not also get a voucher for a room?  Have you any idea how cold Dallas airport is? How hard and cold the floor of Dallas Airport is?!!  Not a blanket, not a cot, not even a bottle water or food voucher?! I wasn’t even provided with the most basic of human respect or rights! Why do you treat people like this?  I am just one person. AA in my opinion has no decency nor regard for others let alone any sense of professionalism!

What so ever! Shameful! By far the WORST journey I have EVER in my 40years experienced!  Unforgettable and not to mention demeaning! I am a human being! FOUR flights altogether, FOUR! You guys couldn’t even put us on a direct flight from Dallas to Detroit! The exhaustion! My physical pain at this point! I can’t tell you! So a group of us go from Dallas to Philadelphia to Detroit!

If you think this is bad just wait because the nightmare you inflicted did not end there.  Again, I expect this email to be taken VERY seriously! My travel plans were to arrive in Detroit Thursday 22, 2105 spend time with family that I have not seen in a year and half and then drive to Canada morning of Sat 24, 2015 with my parents as the wedding shower was in Canada. We were to leave to Canada Sat morning.  I arrived in Detroit 4pm-ish Friday 23, 2015! I missed my day with my family in Michigan! I had to run around and buy attire for the shower now!

I arrive in Detroit airport and am waiting for my luggage along with other traumatized passengers. Our luggage does not come off the belt! Again, why did they not just give us our luggage in Dallas airport when we asked?!! How could they just looked us in the face and just lie to us or refuse our request?!   So I filed a claim and was explained that our luggage was in Dallas still! How could it of been in Dallas? Unacceptable!  I was given a tracking number and all that along with a customer service number to follow up with.  I was told by AA luggage dept. in DTW that if my luggage did not arrive by the time I left to Canada to call the customer service number and give them the address where I was staying in Toronto, Canada and it would be delivered there.

So Saturday morning comes and still no luggage, no call from your people. So I call the customer service number provided and let them know I have left for Canada gave them the Hotel and address where we were staying and they stated it would be delivered there. At this point all I can hope for is that it is delivered in time for shower Sunday morning. 

Sunday morning comes and I get a call from the delivery service saying we are around the corner from 30316 Kingsway Dr. Farmington Hills, MICHIGAN!!!!   Now, I wonder how is it that the customer service department actually communicates with your delivery/airport department?!!  Why and how did Detroit airport not get the updated information to provide to the delivery service! At this point I feel like I had been put through enough!

Now it should be noted that I have had to go spend money and buy attire for the shower, which I did in Michigan. I had to spend extra money because of AA’s incompetence!!  Not acceptable that I have to pay for your mistakes! I expect compensation and was told by your representative in Detroit Airport where I filed my claim that you as an airlines will compensate me for money out of my pocket up to $75 each day I do not have my luggage. I EXPECT THAT COMPENSATION! 

Back to your delivery men, I explained to your delivery personal the situation and they stated that all they could do was return the luggage back to the airport in Detroit and for me to call the customer service number!! This is the morning of the shower!

So again, I call your customer service number and tell them what happened and they ‘apologized for the inconvenience’.  At this point I asked that my luggage just be returned to San Diego (where this nightmare began).  Your customer service rep said she would call me back with confirmation. So I get a call back and she states that my luggage will be at DETROIT airport waiting for me! So I am wondering what happened to what I told you about delivering my luggage to San Diego?! Goodness!!! Are you serious? Can this experience seriously go from bad to worse to worse?!!

So here ends the nightmare that AA has put me through! I left to San Diego the following day Monday Oct 26, 2015 and my luggage thank God was at my home when I arrived. Now, I want to know what you guys are going to do about ALL of this? I do not want to hear ‘bad weather’ explanations. I do not want to hear ‘we do not discriminate’. I expect all issues in this complaint letter to be addressed in a timely manner and I expect to be compensated for my fares, including the fee I paid for my luggage, luggage I that I never received and the $15 I had to pay online!  

I expect this email to be taken very seriously and escalated to the appropriate persons/departments.

Comment: 

My itinerary HBZFAZ has been completely botched due to mechanical issues (again!). It'd be bad enough if there were any other options to get to my destination today but you've overbooked all flights. In addition the last time I flew American there were also mechanical issues that caused delay and re-routing. Here your airline publicizes the addition of new planes. How about keeping the ones that you have operational? There was no text or phone call to inform us prior to taking a wasted trip to the airport that the flight had been cancelled My phone number is attached to my reservation. The flight attendant at the counter was rude and only minimally helpful.

I'm not sure why the service on your airline has declined while all other airlines appear to be improving. Even having used miles to book travel it creates a loss of income for me because of the number of missed appointments caused by your airline. I'm not certain I will ever travel with American after this trip. I feel that we, both Tara James Beck and myself, on the same itinerary, ought to be minimally compensated by free baggage tomorrow and a flight voucher for the future, should we risk flying with American. This is your error and you have a responsibility to your customers that is not being honored. Please don't patronize me with a $100 voucher. It's not equivalent to the inconvenience and loss of productivity that you have created.