AAbumped from flight - terrible customer service

P
This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

My wife and I used your airline for our recent trip to Kauai, HI with our 2 small children (aged 3 and 1 years). I purchased tickets for these flights in early September for the trip in december, and due to the inherent difficulties in traveling with young children of these ages, I was especially diligent when choosing departure times, seating, connection and layover times and indeed which airline I used, and in fact paid more to fly at times which best suited my son and daughters nap times and witching hours. Therefore, when I arrived at LAX at 6.30 am for an 8 am flight, I arrived confident in the knowledge that I had confirmed seats that I had purchased at considerable cost with an airline who would be sensitive to our needs. I was wrong. We were immediately directed to an automated check in machine, which after 15 minutes in line told me I had to check in with a human as we had a stroller (this fact was missed by the AA employee who directed us to use the machine in the first place, despite the fact that the stroller is bright orange with off-road wheels and a noisy passenger). We then took our place in-line at one of the few open human- staffed check-in desks, and after 20 minutes placed our documentation on the desk, the time now being 7.10 am, 50 minutes before departure. 6 minutes after this (at 7.16am), she asked for my credit card, said something along the lines of “Its locked me out- you cant get on this flight” and promptly disappeared. At this point I began to get concerned, and after about 7 minutes I asked the attendant at the neighboring desk where our agent had gone, with no results. She returned at around 7.24, and said (and I am paraphrasing) “Its locked me out, you cant get on this one, I’ll try and get you on the 10.30 but I doubt you’ll get on that one, this one is overbooked by 10 and that one is overbooked by 4 so its not looking good, but you were late”. I explained (as she of course knew) that we were not late, and asked her to get a supervisor, with whom she returned at around 7.28. This is when things got interesting. When I explained (calmly considering the circumstances) what had happened to this supervisor, she responded by telling me “don’t raise your voice to me, or I walk away”. When I calmly informed her that I wasn’t raising my voice, she again implied the contrary “stop shouting sir, don’t take that tone with me or this conversation is over”. I was not shouting. I wanted to shout, I am very capable when it comes to shouting, I know what shouting is, but I was not shouting, using expletives or any of the other reactions I am sure she is well used to given her job and American Airlines policy of overbooking flights. I could tell that this was a person completely incapable of rational discussion, and asked her, calmly, what she could do for us considering we had 2 small children and missing this flight would already cause considerable inconvenience and stress to us all. I also explained that we were not late for check-in, and the the check-in agent may have taken a little long to check us resulting in my credit card being swiped after the 7.15 cut- off time: at this point the check-in agent laughed at us. We were then put on standby for the 10.30 to Honalulu, for which we waited 2.5 hours in the departure lounge to find we did not make because it also was overbooked. I then went to the AA customer service office, which incidentally was filled with other complainants, and found our limited options, (and I do commend your customer service staff for their professionalism and courtesy in the face of much not un-justified hostility from other passengers) none of which looked hopeful. Our next possibility was a 5.30 pm direct flight to Lihue - despite the fact that our kids were showing signs of being difficult and we were ill-equipped for a 10 hour wait at the airport, we decided to wait, despite the fact that we were in no way assured a place on the flight. At this point we paid $100 to join your Admirals club to wait in a little more comfort- this was not offered to us, and when I asked, we were told that we had been late and that no compensation would be forthcoming. We were not late. We eventually got on the 5.30 flight to Lihui after a very difficult, uncertain 9 hour wait with 2 very unhappy kids, and after missing the best part of a day of our limited vacation.
Last September, I purchased a product from American Airlines for just over $3000. This product was a service, a service to convey myself and my family from Los Angeles to Lihui at 8am on Saturday December 19 2017. American Airlines failed to provide me with the service/ product I originally purchased, a failure which caused a good deal of distress and inconvenience, and I believe I am entitled to compensation. Furthermore, your airlines policy of openly overbooking scheduled flights is completely unacceptable. A passenger enters into a contract with you at the time of purchasing a ticket, and this policy routinely (and I say “routinely” because we met other passengers in similar situations on the day and have spoken to many since) causes these contracts to not be honored. And finally, your customer service failings were surprising to say the least. In this economic climate where potential customers think long and hard on where to assign their hard-earned dollars, the treatment we received from your check-in agent and supervisor beggared belief and was completely unacceptable. The supervisor was openly hostile (she wasn’t wearing a visible name tag, incidentally) from the moment she came over, and clearly was so safe in the knowledge that she could snap her fingers and have me dragged away if I argued with her that she chose the immediate tactic of antagonism. She is an absolute disgrace to AA, as she would be to any company in which she had to deal with customers, but is for me now the face of your company. I have no complaints about any other part of your customer service- service on board both flights was adequate, but this person is the reason I will not fly AA again without good reason. As long as you employ people like this in important front-line positions, something I have never encountered with any other airline, I cant see how AA can remain even remotely competitive as long as customer service has any importance.

Responses

  • Pr
    proteus Jun 03, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Both my wife and I have elite status with American Airlines and we are very unhappy with the way we were treated by the AA representative (Ms. Germaine O'Donnell - American Airlines Advantage phone line). Not only she was patronizing but she was everything else but helpful. After reviewing the American Eagle flight on-time performance and our recent experience flying to and from Hawaii (also on American Airlines), we asked to be moved from 11:50AM to 9:50AM to have more time to catch our flight from Dallas to Frankfurt. Early flight adds two hours to our trip and we are willing to do that although we are traveling with our 19-months old daughter. Ms. O'Donnell told me that since I want to change the outbound flight (flight from Shreveport, LA to Dallas with other flights remaining the same), she would have to cancel my reservation and issue me a new ticket at $4000+. WOW! What a change! Our original ticket cost just over $800. She said that there is no way to change it - well, the other representative did offer us a $150 fee for changing the initial flight from SHV to DFW and also advised us that we can utilize a no cost stand-by option at the airport on the day of departure. This is what I call customer service... something Ms. O'Donnell really needs to learn about.

    Okay, I think that there is more to this. I believe that since passengers who are just initiating their travel are not entitled to any compensation, airlines use such feeder flights to make room on their overbooked/oversold flight from major hubs. So, if the flight or flights from point A to B is oversold, they simply cancel or delay a couple of connecting lights with passengers to board flight from point A to B. I may have discovered something that is widely known but anyway. Moreover, I believe that they also cancel flights to combine passengers of two connecting flights on one flight (why send a flight from Dallas to Shreveport at 7:30AM and 10:00AM, if there is only one airplane worth of passengers waiting for the 11:00AM flight from Shreveport to Dallas). Economically, this makes sense. However, ethically, this is not right and I hope that this is not the case.

    I takes a lot for me to write a complaint but this time I do it without any hesitation. This customer representative simply drives customers to AA's competitors.

    0 Votes
  • Ak
    aknb Mar 02, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Here's a short story.

    I booked a flight with my Air Miles (cost 12, 500 Air Miles, $109+tax)
    The same day, I had to call customer service to cancel my flight.

    When talking to the customer representative I asked:
    - if I could get by Air Miles back
    - if I would be charged to cancel my flight

    The customer representative answered:
    - YES, I would get my fidelity points back
    - NO, I would NOT be charged a fee

    I would like to make this point really clear:
    - I DID ASKED the customer representative if I would get charge to cancel my flight
    - He answered that I would NOT be charged a fee

    Three days later:
    - I did get my Air Miles back
    - I was charged a fee of $150 for canceling my flight ticket (reminder: flight cost 12, 500 Air Miles or $109+tax)

    I called Customer Service again, explaining the situation. AA answered:
    - the customer representative you (I) talked to ###ed up... and we can't do anything for you...

    Results:
    - I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and filing a claim with BBB

    Dispute still under investigation.

    Bottom line: AA customer service is hell ###.

    0 Votes
  • Fd
    FDL_HOU Mar 02, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    A short one hour trip and you nothing but disgusting ###ing pigs, Oink

    0 Votes
  • Tx
    txchampaign Mar 01, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    A couple of days ago I flew from San Antonio to Dallas Texas then onto another destination. When we deplaned in Dallas, the Stewardess came on the speaker and told us to pick up after ourselves, fold the balnkets, place them on the chair, close the window shade and bring up any trash...she added, so that our next passengers can quickly board.

    You never heard so much bad language, negative comments, sarcastic laughter, boos and anger from the passengers. The audacity of this woman thinking that after WE PAY AN AMERICAN to fly we also have to clean the plane for them? People were yelling, "So, do I have to vacum and clean toliets too?

    Her demands backfired as people left the window shade up, tossed the blankets and dumped trash where they could! Disgusting flight and stewardess!!

    0 Votes
  • Al
    Al Frustrated Mar 01, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    After 8 years since I had seen my family, I chose AA to take me home from Boston, MA for a quick two-week vacation to Brazil.
    The first flight at 7:30pm was delayed due to bad weather(perhaps in Indonesia because it was beautiful in Boston and eastern US) and I begged the AA employee not to board because I didn't want to spend the night in an airport. She ordered me to board as my luggage was already in the aircraft(they called that an aircraft) or I would have the ticket cancelled and she guaranteed me I was good. I boarded frustrated expecting things would be better. The connection in NY's JFK took off 10 mins earlier and I could see from my plane the gate from where the plane to Sao Paulo was leaving. I was devastated and asked the flight attendant(or "fight" attendant) if he could do something to help me. His answer was: " Good Luck ".
    I spent the night at NY's JFK outside the security area where the homeless usually spend their nights, lots of them. Not a place to seat was available and the AA employee showed me the way to a bench that could barely fit half of a small butt. It was like I was talking to a 6'x6' refrigerator with no signs of willing to understand me and my frustration. I stood all night.
    At 3:30 am another AA employee told me she was going to try to book me to Miami and then Sao Paulo. She did it and guaranteed me my luggage was going with me(where to?) The flight to Miami was full, stinky and hot because the A/C was very low. I arrived in Sao Paulo at 10:30pm after 4 hours of laying over in Miami. My luggage didn't arrive, even after being guaranteed, again, in Miami that they were on the plane. My medication for the next 24 hours was not in my carry-on because my trip was supposed to last 12 hours and it lasted 30 hours.
    I got my luggage on the next day at 9 pm, 52 hours after leaving my home in Boston. To my surprise, my luggage was all messed up and many items were missing, including electronics. NO ONE knows what could have happened and I am still fighting to get my belongings back.
    OH! I almost forgot! AA credited my account with 2500 bonus miles.
    I couldn't be happier. And I don't want to write about the flight back to US. What a failure.
    Please AA, get lost!

    0 Votes
  • Po
    polycr Mar 01, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Its just incredible that an airline can deliver this kind of costumer service, if you can call costumer service to this arrogant and insensible people that work at american airlines at night in san antonio airport, my mom is hipertense and diabetic, she was fliyng from costa rica to dallas, but because the bad weather the airplane was late two hours thirty minutes, so she miss the connection airplane to san antonio, so they place her in the waiting list, she tried twice to find a place in other airplane, but they told her that some people that came first had preference, she tried to explain them her condition and that she was flying since 10 am that morning almost 8 hours without taken her medicine, and the people in Dallas just ignore her, the manager last name Lopez, send her at 1:00 am to a ramada inn and gave her a ticket to go to dennis, even if she had first class tickets, I tried as well to talk with the people here in san antonio about my mother health condition, this lady suzanne just ignore me, she doesnt even gave me a number or reference to call, them a lady that refuse to gave me her name (never using a name tag) wrote an a little paper a number to call and send me on my way because she said that she was pretty busy finding some bagagge, so because I was so worry I call the airport police that found me a number, help to fill up a claim and this wonderfull police last name secrest help me and call the dallas airport to make sure my mom was there and fine, so I tell the clerk or this lady that check the bagagge, that the police knows better how to locate passengers and she just told me that the police was helping me because He WAS FLIRTING WITH ME!!!when I told her that shewill be in problems for what she said she call the POLICE FOR ME!!! that was too much to resist for me and I can tell, this was one of the most embarrasing and humiliating experience that I ever had and I gonna make sure that I will never, me or my family, fly with american airlines anymore, its just a shame that they keep the name of american airlines for this deplorable behavior, by the way, Im the owner of a vacational plans to costa rica so this company "american" airlines it gonna be out of my recomendations for my costumers.

    0 Votes
  • Fe
    fedup Mar 01, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My sister left her pocketbook on the plane at Logan airport in Boston. She discovered what she had done at the airport car rental and went straight back to AA. No one there spoke English but she tried to convey what happened. We both spent the morning trying to reach a human being and got nothing. They just kept giving us the Lost and Found number, which no one answered. The Lost and Found answering machine said that if they didn't find the item you were looking for, they would not return the call. AA is completely unhelpful. I kept wondering what would happen if something beyond losing all of your IDS and $400 in cash happened. What if something life threatening took place. Would you get an answering machine for that, too? I spoke to several employees, all of whom were robotic and surly at best. From now on, I will avoid taking AA airlines when I fly.

    0 Votes
  • Cc
    ccaps Feb 28, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Routing through Delhi as a single woman with one checked bag and a first class (mileage upgrade) ticket - is a nightmare. You will get screwed by either the airline or the airport. Get a visa and go through the external line - at least there is interesting people watching. . . On my group trip, AA staff were so condascending, rude, and ill equipped to deal with passengers, it was the MOST HORRENDOUS experience I have ever had. I travelled extensively, and have had better service in developing nations' airports - with dirt runways, intermittent power, and no English. There is no excuse for AA staff's behavior.

    What happened: After going through an elaborate transfer desk and security search, all transfer passengers were shuffled into a wing of the airport with no signs or employees from any airline. Just seats, a phone, and tea stand. No one from our flight had a clue what was to happen next - where to go or what to do. So we all got on the phone and tried to call the airline desk at the airport. I very proactively tried to get my luggage and go into the gate to wait for my flight - instead, I was given three incorrect telephone numbers to AA by airport staff (clearly trying to get me out of their face rather than do any actual work) and told to wait until I was called - some 3hours later.

    The woman who 'helped me' grudgingly took my boarding pass and asked me to wait in a hallway until she 'found my bag' and got me another boarding pass. I was there for 3 MORE HOURS, before she returned with no explanation, no hurry, no baggage, and a boarding pass for a lower class seat. Now, I had cashed in ALL my miles for an upgrade - and she laughed derisively when I told her that I was confirmed in 1st class.

    During my entrapment in this random airport hallway, all AA staff were rude and refused to even try to help me - the men leered at me, I was whistled at by AA staffers despite my conservative dress/appearance, and told to wait for '5 minutes' in the hall despite all my attempts to get information or service of any kind.

    I understand that we make choices to fly with certain carriers based on price/availability/schedules and that customer loyalty is often an empty threat to an airline these days. . .but my business will never launch in Delhi because of AA staff and airport workers. I simply cannot ask my clients to deal with the misery I went through. I also will not be heading there anytime soon.

    0 Votes
  • Lu
    LuisCastro Feb 28, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Upon ariving at the airport in Puerto Rico I was informed that my flight was delayed ( just having checked an hour earlier ). The problem was that I had a conecting flight in Miami. The lady at the counter was rude and told me i either go to Texas and then to Philadelphia or I stay in Puerto Rico. So i took the flight ( like i had a choice ). Not only was this flight also late departing when i arrived to Texas I had to run all the way accross the airport to make my other flight which already had the doors closed the let me in the plane the flight crew on the flight were very polight and it was a decent flight, But when i arrived to philadelphia the airline lost my luggage and told me that when they find it i'll get it back now i'm stuck in PA with nothing to were and none of my belonging. This is the first time I fly with American Airlines and it will also be the Last.

    0 Votes
  • Rj
    rjyeoman Feb 24, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have e-mailed customer relations at AA twice (once last week and once this week) and sent a fax to them outlining my problem (problem trying to use a $568 AA credit owing to me ). I provided my e-mail address, my home address, my home phone number and my cell phone number and all documentation they would need to review my claim. I have not received any response to my e-mails (not even an automated response) nor have I receive a phone call or letter. The only phone number available on AA's website is reservations. The reservation supervisors tell me customer relations cannot be reached by telephone. I am very very frustrated.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    Bernardo Feb 24, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My wife and I were traveling the first of January. We had a dog and our multiple bags for an extended stay abroad. We talked with three different AA agents over the span of a week and we booked through the AA agents. We were not told about a baggage limit for this flight. We were stopped at the check in. We could take all our bags and we could not pay for extra bags. The dog was counted as one bag, not what they told us on the phone. The dog was supposed to be cargo.
    I had to stay behind and deal with the extra bags, my wife and dog went ahead. I spent two days in the airport on standby. They would not give me a meal or hotel voucher. I spent an extra $300 waiting around, and they would not reroute me without an extra fee.
    I complained to the customer service manager. He told me that with so many flights and too few employees, they could not be responsible for every detail. What? He suggested that I should have verified the information on their website. The same database that they use to give me information.
    I did use the website and I did not see any baggage embargo. I guess that their employees did not see it either.
    Later I scoured their website and I found a yellow alert icon at the bottom of the baggage fees page that mentioned an embargo. At the bottom. After all the other information.
    AA does not care about their customers.

    0 Votes

Post your comment

    By clicking Submit you are agreeing to the Complaints Board’s Terms and Conditions

    IN THE NEWS

    Unhappy consumers gather online at Complaintsboard.com and have already logged thousands of complaints.
    If you see dozens of complaints about a certain company on ComplaintsBoard, walk away.
    One of the largest consumer sites online. Posting here your concerns means good exposure for your issues.
    A consumer site aimed at exposing unethical companies and business practices.
    ComplaintsBoard is a good source for product and company gripes from especially dissatisfied people.
    You'll definitely get some directions on how customer service can best solve your problem.
    Do a little research on the seller. Visit consumer complaint websites like ComplaintsBoard.