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Old Sep 3, 13, 3:47 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Programs: DL, AA, US, AF
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AA error led to cancelled reservation, said they'd do nothing [$600 vouchers finally]

AA made an error which resulted in us not being able to take our vacation last week.

They admitted the error but said that since it was unintentional, they will do nothing. Advice appreciated as to next steps:

September 3, 2013


Dear Mrs.G:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. It is obvious that you are disappointed in us and we hope you will accept our sincere apology for what happened when you called our Reservations Office.

In order to provide our customers with outstanding service, our reservation personnel receive very specialized training and must complete recurrent training throughout their careers with American Airlines. That is why we are especially sorry to learn about the difficulty with your reservation. It is evident that a mistake was made: one keystroke to retain the reservation. However, we're confident that this oversight was unintentional. Under the circumstances, we are afraid we must respectfully decline to process compensation for your lost vacation.

Your comments about this situation are of great concern to us. We are constantly striving to improve our service and your comments will assist us in reaching that objective.

Mrs. G, thank you for taking the time to write to us. We hope you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the future.

Sincerely,

Customer Relations
American Airlines

AA Ref#1-997539890


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MODERATOR NOTE

For additional information and followup reports from the OP, see:

Post #5

Post #69

Post #123

Post #155

Post #179 (resolution)

dstan
AA Forum Co-Moderator

Last edited by dstan; Sep 13, 13 at 9:57 pm.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 3:51 pm   #2
 
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It sounds like you were perhaps asking the wrong question: They denied your request to compensate you for your lost vacation, rather than your request that they do something to reinstate your flights.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 3:54 pm   #3
 
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Whoa! Very sorry to hear about your troubles... and surprised to see AA admit fault, but offer no compensation or other token of apology.

Can you share some more facts?
Was this paid or award?
Was the mistake made during the initial booking, or subsequent when changing or amending the travel?
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Old Sep 3, 13, 3:56 pm   #4
 
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Could you perhaps elaborate more on the situation? Did you have other out of pocket costs associated with the vacation that you were forced to eat due to AA's error? And, more importantly, what was their error in the first place and what exactly did you ask for?

Finally, I would suggest redacting names from the letter you copied and pasted, both yours and perhaps the CR rep.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:19 pm   #5
 
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This mistake was made by a supervisor during the reissue of a ticket and discovered when I tried to check in online.

It was for Labor Day weekend and I was advised they could not get me out for 3 days, and our trip was 4 days.

I was on the phone with them for 1 hr, 47 minutes and they finally advised they could nothing but refund me as tickets had been paid in full when reissued, along with their assessed change fees. The senior supervisor saw where the error had been made and apologized profusely but could not offer any other flights due to sold out flights.

We have expenses we cannot recover and the bigger loss of our Caribbean vacation.

Upgraded, thanks for that reminder and I did redact.

I asked for this:
Get bumped / denied boarding involuntarily, I have a right for compensation:

3. 400% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $1,300, if the carrier does not offer alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s destination or first stopover less than four hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
0 to 1 hour arrival delay - No compensation.
1 to 4 hour arrival delay - 200% of one-way fare (but no more than $650).
Over 4 hours arrival delay - 400% of one-way fare (but no more than $1,300).
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:22 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal1956 View Post
AA made an error which resulted in us not being able to take our vacation last week.
You have given us nothing to go on.

Why were you unable to take your vacation?

Did you have confirmed, ticketed reservations that disappeared for no reason? Did you check ahead of time? Did you just arrive at the airport only to find there were no reservations?

Could you buy tickets, then and there, get to your vacation, then settle up the difference in ticket price with AA?

Are you expecting them to refund the entire cost of your vacation, pre-paid hotels, etc.?
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:24 pm   #7
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Woah! Sorry to hear about that! It's too late now, obviously, but since the AA flights were sold out, I would have asked them to book you on any other carrier to get you to your destination.

While I understand your logic, I don't think they are going to apply the IDB rules since this occurred prior to your arrival at the airport.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:24 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal1956 View Post
This mistake was made by a supervisor during the reissue of a ticket and discovered when I tried to check in online.
When was the ticket reissued and when did you discover the mistake?

Did you check online immediately after the ticket was reissued?

Details matter.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:29 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal1956 View Post
I asked for this:
Get bumped / denied boarding involuntarily, I have a right for compensation:

3. 400% of the fare to the passenger’s destination or first stopover, with a maximum of $1,300, if the carrier does not offer alternate transportation that is planned to arrive at the airport of the passenger’s destination or first stopover less than four hours after the planned arrival time of the passenger’s original flight.
0 to 1 hour arrival delay - No compensation.
1 to 4 hour arrival delay - 200% of one-way fare (but no more than $650).
Over 4 hours arrival delay - 400% of one-way fare (but no more than $1,300).
I'm no expert but your request looks reasonable in light of their admission of fault. But I would guess someone at AA might argue that this remedy does not apply because there wasn't a ticket due to the supervisor's mistake during the reissue. OTOH they had to refund the tickets which pokes a big hole in that argument.

Last edited by skiflyer; Sep 3, 13 at 4:34 pm.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:31 pm   #10
 
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It's not an IDB as you had no confirmed flight, so perhaps this put them on the defensive?

Certainly some compensation is reasonable. I would try again, striking the IDB language and simply stating the reservation created serious issues with loss of vacation.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:36 pm   #11
 
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Car accidents are unintentional, but we are still responsible for compensation when at fault.

Of course AA can write whatever it wants in its one-sided contract of carriage. They mention that the mistake was "unintentional". I made an "unintentional" reservation before and AA wanted $150 for the change fee. They can do that because they have bargaining power; there are only a handful of airlines but millions of people who want to fly. Sadly, to fix this issue, it would require a change to regulation. This is why we need regulation in some industries, because the airlines refuse to do the right thing.

AA had a choice. They could have sent the family on a different airline. Or they could have oversold the flight further. I am sure there would have been volunteers who would have taken vouchers.

I think this is a good case that should be sent to Elliott.org.

Last edited by Xero; Sep 3, 13 at 4:43 pm.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:50 pm   #12
 
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Wow. Don't know what facts are missing but going on the above, just wow.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 4:55 pm   #13
 
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would be nice if the OP would just send a copy of the email they sent to customer service that most likely described the problem (along with the request for compensation).
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Old Sep 3, 13, 5:02 pm   #14
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

This sounds like an ideal case for the Ombudsman Service at Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 5:24 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero View Post
Car accidents are unintentional, but we are still responsible for compensation when at fault.

Of course AA can write whatever it wants in its one-sided contract of carriage. They mention that the mistake was "unintentional". I made an "unintentional" reservation before and AA wanted $150 for the change fee. They can do that because they have bargaining power; there are only a handful of airlines but millions of people who want to fly. Sadly, to fix this issue, it would require a change to regulation. This is why we need regulation in some industries, because the airlines refuse to do the right thing.

AA had a choice. They could have sent the family on a different airline. Or they could have oversold the flight further. I am sure there would have been volunteers who would have taken vouchers.

I think this is a good case that should be sent to Elliott.org.
I was about to write exactly this sentiment -- if all of the facts are true here, AA shouldn't be allowed to just say "well, you didn't have a valid ticket, and IDB is only for oversold valid tickets" (some european airlines tried this after EU261, "accidentally" deleting tickets and then claiming no compensation due; the courts slapped that idea down pretty quickly IIRC).

Instead of only fixing it on a sellable-space-available basis, they should have fixed the tickets by overselling the flight, with all that entails (asking for volunteers and compensating, and IDB to whoever was selected if none). That's why OP needs to fight for the equivalent of IDB cash compensation, because AA shouldn't be able to do the wrong thing and get out of it cheaper than if they'd done the right thing.

Since the AA channel has been exhausted, perhaps a DOT complaint is in order now? Stick to the short summary of the facts -- had a valid ticket that was unknowingly cancelled solely due to an AA employee error, AA refused to reinstate and transport.

Last edited by jmastron; Sep 3, 13 at 5:35 pm.
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