Denied Hotel Reimbursement -- Options?

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Old Feb 10, 16, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
I think the OP's situation would qualify as a trip interruption, but these terms should be defined in any travel insurance policy.
No; since the OP ultimately made it to his destination, it's not trip interruption, just trip delay.
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Old Feb 10, 16, 11:25 pm
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I was stranded overnight in Phoenix for the first time this week. And I was put up in a crappy Clarion/Quality Inn. I mean, a cheap motel I wouldn't pay $79 for. There were a couple foreigners on the shuttle with me to the hotel, who like me also missed their connecting flight by < 5 minutes

But they were shocked by how cheap AA was. I tried to explained why some of us in the US are loyal to AA despite their shortcomings in some areas. I tried.
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Old Feb 10, 16, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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No; since the OP ultimately made it to his destination, it's not trip interruption, just trip delay.
OK but I would have thought that a delayed flight leading to a missed connection followed by a rebooking onto a different flight or different routing the next day would interrupt the travel (but obviously not cancel it in this case). To me, a delay would literally mean taking exactly the same flights (or a special section of one's original flight) but with the arrival/departure times pushed back (significantly so for insurance coverage).
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Old Feb 10, 16, 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by AwardBee View Post
I was stranded overnight in Phoenix for the first time this week. And I was put up in a crappy Clarion/Quality Inn. I mean, a cheap motel I wouldn't pay $79 for. There were a couple foreigners on the shuttle with me to the hotel, who like me also missed their connecting flight by < 5 minutes

But they were shocked by how cheap AA was. I tried to explained why some of us in the US are loyal to AA despite their shortcomings in some areas. I tried.
Unless EC261 specifies standards for the hotels provided under the duty of care provisions, since EU carriers have much higher hotel expenses due to IROPs covered by EC261, I would have expected those carriers to have an incentive to try even more than USA legacy airlines to economize on the accommodations that are provided.
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Old Nov 2, 17, 6:53 pm
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Exclamation Hotel Reimbursement - A Cautionary Tale

A search turned up this thread from last year, to which I will add my recent experience:

Flying BCN-MIA-LGA. The transatlantic leg was diverted to LIS for a medical emergency, then rerouted LIS-JFK-MIA to bring on new flight crew at JFK due to crew timeout if we proceeded directly to MIA. Service recovery at MIA was impressive, with an army of AAgents meeting the flight, ready with hotel and meal vouchers for misconnecting pax (11p arrival, so everything was gone by then).

As the FAs were unsure if vouchers would be provided, and hotel rooms were scarce, I'd gone ahead and booked the Hilton Miami Airport at $201 while we were on the ground at JFK. At MIA, I declined the hotel voucher (at the EB Hotel Miami, which actually looked pretty good) and told the AAgent I'd already booked my own. Without my asking, he told me explicitly that AA would reimburse up to $250 and I just needed to email the receipt to Customer Relations. I was a little skeptical, knowing how hard it is to send them stuff, but he reconfirmed explicitly.

Unfortunately, AA Customer Relations now says there is no such annotation in the PNR and refused to pay. Upon followup, the same agent declined my request to confirm with the MIA ground staff or to escalate my request. Apparently it is unreasonable to expect AA to keep it's word these days.

Bottom line, if you're ever in this situation, be sure to ask the AAgent to annotate the reimbursement in your PNR. (Presciently, when I told @JY1024 the story, his initial reaction was "Did you get it in writing?" )

(I'm going to try to file with my CC, which does have Trip Delay insurance, but it only lists weather delays, not medical diversions, as a Covered Reason, so I'm not sure what will happen.)
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Old Nov 2, 17, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by dstan View Post
At MIA, I declined the hotel voucher (at the EB Hotel Miami, which actually looked pretty good) and told the AAgent I'd already booked my own. Without my asking, he told me explicitly that AA would reimburse up to $250 and I just needed to email the receipt to Customer Relations. I was a little skeptical, knowing how hard it is to send them stuff, but he reconfirmed explicitly.

Unfortunately, AA Customer Relations now says there is no such annotation in the PNR and refused to pay. ... Apparently it is unreasonable to expect AA to keep it's word these days.
Or, alternately, the AAgent who told you about the reimbursement had no facts on which to base his [we now know to be mistaken] belief, and clearly had no authority to change the contractual obligations of what AA was providing in that situation.

IMO you get what you're going to get. If the AAgent had promised you a goodwill payment of $15,000, would you not wonder if he had the authority to make that commitment?

You booked your own hotel outside of AA's parameters because you didn't want to take the risk that AA would deal with the situation satisfactorily. That's AOK; but you do so at your own cost. Essentially, you bought insurance (in the form of a hotel room) against AA's not doing the right thing.

AAgent clearly did not have the authority to offer something which had not been approved in advance. That said, it's not your fault, either. If I were AA, I'd give you, say, something like 5,000 miles on top of what everyone else may have received with some retraining for the AAgent on how to handle this type of situation.
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Old Nov 2, 17, 10:10 pm
  #22  
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You will note that I did not request reimbusement, nor indeed did I expect it, but once the AAgent proactively offered it, I don't think it's unreasonable for that to be honored. No need to invoke reductio ad absurdum; reimbursement of a reasonable hotel expense was offered, not $15K.

While you may be confident that he did not have the authority to offer this, my interpretation is different. He was very explicit on the $250 limit, which leads me to believe that this was, indeed, authorized at some level, just not properly documented in my case. Nonetheless, had CR come back and said the AAgent was not authorized to make the offer and would be retrained, I would have accepted that, but that's not what CR said.
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Old Nov 2, 17, 11:01 pm
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Out of curiosity, did they not let you just end your journey at JFK if you were LGA bound? Or did you not want to do that? Seems like the LIS+JFK pitstop might have turned out to be fortuitous for NY bound customers!
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Old Nov 3, 17, 5:03 am
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Originally Posted by dstan View Post
As the FAs were unsure if vouchers would be provided, and hotel rooms were scarce, I'd gone ahead and booked the Hilton Miami Airport at $201 while we were on the ground at JFK. At MIA, I declined the hotel voucher (at the EB Hotel Miami, which actually looked pretty good) and told the AAgent I'd already booked my own. Without my asking, he told me explicitly that AA would reimburse up to $250 and I just needed to email the receipt to Customer Relations. I was a little skeptical, knowing how hard it is to send them stuff, but he reconfirmed explicitly.
Dear AA Customer Relations,

On (date) I misconnected at MIA. Even before departure from JFK, it was obvious that we would misconnect. AA staff could not tell me whether AA would provide overnight lodging. Therefore I booked a hotel near MIA.

At MIA, your Agent met the plane with a handful of hotel vouchers. I told your agent that I anticipated the misconnect therefore I already booked my hotel. THE AGENT REPLIED THAT AA WOULD REIMBURSE UP TO $250. I was a bit skeptical but the Agent insisted that AA would reimburse up to $250, and my reservation was only $202. The Agent told me to simply mail in a receipt.

Imagine my surprise, after mailing in a receipt, to learn that AA does not reimburse after all! In other words, I relied on incorrect information from your agent. That misinformation cost me $202. Had the agent told me the correct facts (that I should cancel my rez and take one of his fistful of hotel vouchers instead), I would have readily done so. I did exactly and only what a reasonable person would have done, expecting that your Agent's words were true.

Let's do the right thing. Clearly, the right thing is to make your Agent's words true. Your agent was ready and willing to hand me a hotel voucher. Your agent said (and then repeated) that I did not need a voucher, because AA would reimburse the reservation which I made when it became certain that the flight would misconnect.

With appreciation in advance for the courteous and efficient handling of this routine issue,

etc
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Old Nov 3, 17, 5:27 am
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
Or, alternately, the AAgent who told you about the reimbursement had no facts on which to base his [we now know to be mistaken] belief, and clearly had no authority to change the contractual obligations of what AA was providing in that situation.

IMO you get what you're going to get. If the AAgent had promised you a goodwill payment of $15,000, would you not wonder if he had the authority to make that commitment?
Absurd comparison. The whole point of an agent is, well, to be an agent and that means the ability to bind the principal they are speaking for. Even if they don't have actual authority in this case (which I severely doubt is true), they speak from a position of apparent authority. Promising a reimbursement of a customary hotel rate in this situation is well within the range of that authority. If this person had an audio recording of the agent's promise, AA would most certainly have to pay. If it was in the PNR, AA would have to pay. AA is simply relying on a lack of proof of their agent's actions to refuse to pay.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 5:46 am
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The bottom line here has nothing to do with AA's policy or OP's actions. It simply has to do with the well-taken suggestion that you ask and then wait at the counter while the agent makes entries in your PNR notes. AA won't provide a copy of those notes, but you can at least watch while the agent types away (perhaps doing a crossword puzzle).

While employees do not have the authority to vary the COC, some are certainly authorized to extend goodwill gestures and it is unlikely that AA would dishonor a small commitment such as this.

Without the PNR notes, this is a "he said-agent said."

Bear in mind for purposes of other situations that AA was obligated to provide a "duty of care" including hotels and meals at MIA, under EC 261/2004 because this was a departure from the EU. That duty applies in all circumstances having nothing to do with the "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the LIS diversion.

In the end, passenger is no worse off. He had no reasonable expectation when he booked that he would be reimbursed and thus took the risk of non-reimbursement. This is not a situation where the passenger laid out cash on the promise of reimbursement.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
In the end, passenger is no worse off. He had no reasonable expectation when he booked that he would be reimbursed and thus took the risk of non-reimbursement. This is not a situation where the passenger laid out cash on the promise of reimbursement.
Will, it kinda _is_ a promise of reimbursement. Pax was standing right in front of an AAgent who had a fistful of hotel vouchers. AAgent said that pax did not need a voucher because AA would reimburse. If AAgent had told the truth, pax would have taken a voucher.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by lightbulbs View Post
Out of curiosity, did they not let you just end your journey at JFK if you were LGA bound? Or did you not want to do that? Seems like the LIS+JFK pitstop might have turned out to be fortuitous for NY bound customers!
Yeah, that was precisely my hope, esp as I had no checked bags, but they didn't even let the flight crew off in JFK, just brought the new one on. The FAs mentioned something about Customs regulations that if one person got off, everyone would have to clear Customs in JFK.

Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
Dear AA Customer Relations,
LOL, you pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. What I received back was:
While I understand the situation at hand, and without supporting notes no reimbursement will be provided. I have reviewed your record locator and I must confirm there is no such notes. So with that being said, I must respectfully decline.

I'm sorry to disappoint you this time around, but I hope you give us another chance to prove travel with us is problem free.
...then on the second try, asking CR to check with the MIA ground staff or to escalate if needed, from the same CR agent:
Thank you for writing us again.

I've given a second look at your situation and although I understand your point of view, our decision remains unchanged and no reimbursement will be provided. Again, without documentation established we simply cannot provide reimbursement.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Bear in mind for purposes of other situations that AA was obligated to provide a "duty of care" including hotels and meals at MIA, under EC 261/2004 because this was a departure from the EU. That duty applies in all circumstances having nothing to do with the "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the LIS diversion.
Yes, I'd sent a separate compliment email about how everything else was handled by the flight crew, FAs, and ground staff and the strange non-response back was that AA determined that EC 261/2004 did not apply because it was an emergency medical diversion, considered an "extraordinary circumstance".
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Old Nov 3, 17, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by dstan View Post

<snipped>
Yes, I'd sent a separate compliment email about how everything else was handled by the flight crew, FAs, and ground staff and the strange non-response back was that AA determined that EC 261/2004 did not apply because it was an emergency medical diversion, considered an "extraordinary circumstance".
My understanding is "extraordinary circumstance" applies to the cash penalty in EC261/2003 not hotel and meals. Is this not correct? I do agree a medical diversion is "extraordinary"
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Old Nov 3, 17, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
Will, it kinda _is_ a promise of reimbursement. Pax was standing right in front of an AAgent who had a fistful of hotel vouchers. AAgent said that pax did not need a voucher because AA would reimburse. If AAgent had told the truth, pax would have taken a voucher.
According to OP, he booked the hotel while at JFK. The agent with the vouchers was at MIA. I presume that it was too late to cancel and take the voucher, but that is a very remote possibility.

If the facts were as you suggest, it might be different. But, they aren't.
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