AA 4805 - 7/18/10 AXA-SJU (AXA closed for fire engine repairs)

 
Old Jul 19, 10, 11:05 pm
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AA 4805 - 7/18/10 AXA-SJU (AXA closed for fire engine repairs)

Ok, here is my AA rant. My family was scheduled to fly on flight 4805 AXA-SJU on 7/18/10. We were then connecting to a flight to PHL. Friends of ours left Anguilla to head home on 7/17. They received a call from AA the evening before, stating that because of the lack of fire equipment at the AXA airport, their flight was now leaving from SXM to SJU. Thus, they took the ferry the following morning to SXM, made the flight and all was well.

On 7/18, we leave and head to the AXA airport. All is well...I'm receiving text alerts from AA stating that the flight was on time. I check in...yet again, all is still well. At 2:25 PM (35 minutes before flight time), the flight cancels. The stated reason...weather conditions. (There were rain showers...nothing too bad).

By waiting until 2:25 to cancel...all options were shot. There is only 1 flight per day into and out of AXA. There was nothing still available at SXM.

2 problems: 1) The total lack of professionalism by the agents in AXA was astounding. They were laughing and joking with one another. I had the misfortune of dealing with one that was completely clueless. (Example: Me: Can you get me from SXM to an AA hub in the US tonight? Her: What is a hub? Me: You know, Miami, Dallas or Chicago? Her: Ok...what are the airport codes for those locations? You've got to be kidding me!!!
2) After I helped her re-book me from SXM to MIA for today (7/19), I took a cab to the ferry terminal. I had an interesting conversation with the cabbie. Basically, flights had been cancelled on Sat, Sun...and as it turns out Monday as well. Why? Because the fire engine was not repaired!

So, not only did I deal with incompetence...I have dealt with a bunch of liars. (As mentioned previously...the rain was not that bad). We ended up booking a night in SXM, and arrived home this evening.

What would you all suggest I do at this point? Letter? E-Mail? Will I be reimbursed for my hotel and cab/ferry/meal expenses?

Thanks for your opinions.
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Old Jul 19, 10, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by phillygold View Post
After I helped her re-book me from SXM to MIA for today (7/19), I took a cab to the ferry terminal. I had an interesting conversation with the cabbie. Basically, flights had been cancelled on Sat, Sun...and as it turns out Monday as well. Why? Because the fire engine was not repaired!

So, not only did I deal with incompetence...I have dealt with a bunch of liars. (As mentioned previously...the rain was not that bad).
No offense to cab drivers, but you believe everything one tells you?

Even if the weather didn't seem bad at the origin, do you know if there were other storms along the flight path that could have caused the cancellation?

Originally Posted by phillygold View Post
What would you all suggest I do at this point? Letter? E-Mail? Will I be reimbursed for my hotel and cab/ferry/meal expenses?
I'd use the contact form on AA's website and explain the situation. Whether you get reimbursed will depend on the real reason for the cancellation. If it was weather, you shouldn't expect anything.

It is correct that the flight was cancelled (according to aacargo.com) Saturday, Sunday and again today (7/19), which seems a bit odd.

Last edited by videomaker; Jul 19, 10 at 11:30 pm
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Old Jul 20, 10, 12:30 am
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8703e/4.1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/104)

More on the pesky fire truck:

http://www.anguillaexpress.com/?p=3370

It seems that repair of the fire truck is being delayed because they can't get the necessary part ... because flights to AXA are cancelled due to the broken fire truck.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 1:01 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
[SIZE=1]
More on the pesky fire truck:
OK, if the fire truck story is correct, the AAgents ought to be telling the truth. Though I'm not sure AA is responsible for passengers' expenses if the airport is closed.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 3:51 am
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There is one AA flight per day out of AXA. I think you are expecting a bit too much if expecting them to know about all of the hubs
However, they should have known about the fire truck.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 6:18 am
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Sorry for the problems but I think this is more of the folks working on Island Time rather than an AA specific issue. Could be a lot worse. For example, consider the impact of being stuck in SJU waiting for your flight to AXA with a prepaid vacation you can't cancel.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
There is one AA flight per day out of AXA. I think you are expecting a bit too much if expecting them to know about all of the hubs
However, they should have known about the fire truck.
Training any airline employee who faces customers, even part-time, as to what a hub is and where AA's hubs are is not that difficult.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 8:10 am
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You're in the islands, man! Competence is a sometimes thing, but laughing and joking are an always thing. If you don't get home today, you'll get home tomorrow...or sometime.

AA would reimburse you for the hotel if the delay were their fault. The airport being closed isn't their fault. You could take the position that if you had known earlier, there might have been same-day space available out of SXM. The problem is that you don't know that, you just know there wasn't anything by the time you called. You might get something, but I don't think there is an entitlement to it.

The cab fare and ferry fare you might get. If AA had rerouted you without you asking, you would definitely be owed these amounts, but they rerouted you because you asked (perhaps demanded). More of a grey area.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by gemac View Post
You're in the islands, man! Competence is a sometimes thing, but laughing and joking are an always thing. If you don't get home today, you'll get home tomorrow...or sometime.
Which is why I don't fly LIAT. This is AA we're talking about here.

The same thing can be said of Philadelphia. The worst city in the country when it comes to the attitude and competence of the service industry workers. But AA has still managed to hire a decent staff there (US and UA are a different story. Don't fly WN).
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Old Jul 20, 10, 8:53 am
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Thanks for the opinions so far. My issue with AA is simple. (Forgetting about the employee issue for now). Why wait until 35 minutes before flight time to cancel a flight that HAD to be cancelled due to the lack of fire equipment? Why not cancel it the day before....as was done for passengers on the Saturday and Monday flights?
By delaying the cancellation...and showing the flight as operating "on time", it made leaving on Sunday impossible....forcing me to pay for an additional night. (We won't even discuss the missed business meetings yesterday).
The part that upsets me most of all is the bogus "weather" excuse that was given.
For the poster earlier that inquired about my "believing what cabbies tell me", Anguilla is all of 16 miles long, and 3 miles wide. Trust me...the cabbies there are more "tuned in" to what is going on than anyone else.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by phillygold View Post
For the poster earlier that inquired about my "believing what cabbies tell me", Anguilla is all of 16 miles long, and 3 miles wide. Trust me...the cabbies there are more "tuned in" to what is going on than anyone else.
Had the same perception of Anguilla cabbies. Beautiful island. Hope you at least had a decent vacation.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by phillygold View Post
For the poster earlier that inquired about my "believing what cabbies tell me", Anguilla is all of 16 miles long, and 3 miles wide. Trust me...the cabbies there are more "tuned in" to what is going on than anyone else.
Guess I was thinking about New York.
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Old Jul 20, 10, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by videomaker View Post
Guess I was thinking about New York.
Like the one last week who hadn't heard of the Javits Center?
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Old Jul 20, 10, 9:06 am
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This one is tricky.

On one hand, a busted fire truck is definitely not AA's fault, and the OP was rebooked out of SXM the next day, which is pretty good, especially for the Caribbean.

On the other hand, AA ultimately decides to serve AXA. If the (lack of) facilities/equipment/services there is causing flights to be canceled then they should pony up to help its passengers, or not serve AXA at all.

If it were me, I'd write a nice letter focusing on the fact that the fire truck problem was known, everything else was canceled, but the AA flight wasn't axed until 35 mins before at which point it was too late to be rebooked the same day. I'd definitely mention your friend's experience a day earlier that had the same canceled flight but were proactively rebooked.

And while the airport AAgents' behavior and original "weather" claim were undoubtedly frustrating, I'd leave that out.
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