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Flyer Claims American Almost Forced Family into $30,000 Change

American Airlines Leaving Hilton, Choice, Best Western

After a flight change resulted in a departure from a different country, one passenger claims American Airlines tried to get his family to pay $30,000 in change fees.
A family is accusing American Airlines of trying to charge exorbitant change fees, after the carrier changed their itinerary to depart from another country than they were arriving in.


ABC News reports the carrier allegedly tried to collect around $30,000 in change fees, after the carrier changed their flights around to arrive at one Caribbean island, and depart from another.


Family Claims Flights Shuffled Between Islands Prior to Departure

Telling hist story to ABC News, Sam Taussig claims he purchased flights for a summer family vacation from the United States to the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean in the beginning of 2022. Over the course of the year, American sent several updates to the itinerary as schedules change. However, Taussig claims he was unaware of one major shift until right before the trip: The return departure was changed from St. Vincent to St. Lucia – a completely different island country 47 miles away.


Once Taussig noticed the change, he says he contacted American and spent over three hours on the phone trying to solve the problem. At one point, he claims the airline said they would have to split up his family across multiple flights over a week apart, coming at a price tag of around $30,000 in change fees.


“American Airlines was not very apologetic at all,” Taussig told ABC News. “They blamed me, the customer, for not catching this sooner.”


The solution they agreed upon was another flight departing from Barbados back to the United States. Taussig says his family is forced to charter a private flight from St. Vincent to Barbados in order to catch their American flight home – a change which they claim American wanted to charge $3,000 for the change.


Taussig has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, seeking compensation for the changes and booking the charter flight. A spokesperson for American told ABC News they were “concerned with the experience our customer is reporting,” and the company has reached out Taussig to discuss the issue.


Complaints Spike as Flyer Satisfaction Hits New Lows

Taussig’s story may not be unique among flyers, as the post-pandemic travel boom is leading to a host of unhappy travelers. The J.D. Power 2022 North American Airline Satisfaction Study found flyers were not pleased with changes in costs, flight crews and aircraft quality.

OnePatriot77 July 20, 2022

Sometimes airlines need to adjust departure/arrival times.  However it's completely unreasonable for ANY airline to expect passengers to depart from a totally different ISLAND COUNTRY than what they signed up for. 
Aside from the potential visa requirement of a new country, we're also living in a time of C-19 travel restrictions.  For example, some airports/countries require passengers to register prior to arrival and provide proof of travel insurance that covers C-19.    

Mr. Vker July 15, 2022

It was a number of years ago--and I mean 15+, but I was pricing tickets to AUA through travelocity or another similar site. It included nearby airports-which is fine for the departure. I live near BWI, so DCA, IAD. But it did the same on the other end CUR. Not good. You have to watch. I don't think this happens anymore on simple purchases but I still check carefully. 

J S July 14, 2022

No way this is the real story.

RRROOO July 14, 2022

I think he should have paid attention to all the schedule changes coming through.  I don't place all the blame on AA- and shame on those that are.  The traveler needs to take some responsibility here (not reading emails for one). 

phkc070408 July 14, 2022

Does the COC state what happens when AA makes a change after travel initially begins?  I'm highly shocked there isn't a consumer protection law on this.  A lack of regulation gives the airines the ability to literlally take their customers hostage for ransom.  I realize things happen and sometimes airlines need to make unexpected last minute changes or withdraw from a route altogether (political unrest, etc), but there needs to be some protection for the consumer for this, whether in the COC or through legislation.