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Downgrade- Flight Cancellation- What are my options/Rights?

Downgrade- Flight Cancellation- What are my options/Rights?

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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:00 am
  #1  
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Angry Downgrade- Flight Cancellation- What are my options/Rights?

Please bear with me as I explain the situation and then ask my questions.

We booked flights from FLL-ORD-FCO and then FCO-ORD-FLL back home, back in July 2018 when bookings opened. We paid (didn't use points) for Premium Economy for the ORD-FCO and FCO-ORD legs. It's a 788 Dreamliner plane doing those routes on that day. We even snagged the bulkhead with the real footrest.

Flight is coming up in June 2019. I logged in to aa.com this morning to see that my flights home are completely different. They now have me headed out FCO-CLT in ROW 40 of regular economy of a 333 (yeah, the row by the bathroom and can't recline, that one).
After some digging I found out my FCO-ORD route is still there, but my flight from ORD-FLL is not. There are no flights from ORD-FLL after our FCO-ORD flight lands. So I completely understand why I can't have this route anymore. I'm not upset about that.
There are other flight options with PE but they leave FCO early in the morning and the earliest we can get to the airport is 11am to head home from FCO.

I called to see what can be done. We bought PE on purpose for the transatlantic legs of the trip. I was told I have two options:
1) Cancel the entire trip and rebook. No thanks, I don't want to lose my outbound flights in the seats I currently have. I also don't want to pay double since prices are almost double at this point.
2) Wait. They may add another route after Daylight Savings Time begins. If I don't accept the change, they can move me back to PE if a new flight is added from ORD-FLL making my original booking doable again.

Now, for my questions-
Is this DST an actual thing with AA? I have never heard of that in my life. She said that after daylight savings time they might add more flights. I work in the travel industry, I just don't deal with air much so this is new territory. But that just sounds like a completely odd way to determine if they need more flights?

Waiting. If I wait for a ORD-FLL flight to come available and then AA moves me back to my original FCO-ORD flight, I probably won't be entitled to the seats I had originally, will I? My guess is someone will scoop those up rather quickly and they aren't going to bump someone even though I had them from July to February?

Am I entitled to a partial refund should PE not become available? The lady at AA told me no, but I find that hard to believe.

I asked the phone agent if they could at least move my seats so I am not in Row 40 with non reclining seats. She told me that the only available seats left are Preferred and cost more money and I'd have pay that difference as I am not entitled to those seats with my current reservation. Okay fine, but then she added that If I make any changes that means I "accept" the change AA made and I am no longer eligible for them to move me back to PE should a new flight come available. So I have to just stick with Row 40 even though I paid for PE. Is this accurate or did I get someone on the line that's just giving me a hard time?


I totally understand the limitations of my situation but find the AA response to be very disappointing and illogical. Move a PE passenger to the worst seats on the plane? I would imagine that a sound policy would make me eligible for at least MCE or a Preferred Seat for this type of change. When I originally booked, I was granted MCE for my domestic legs because of the PE transatlantic portion. I read through the website and couldn't really find the policy that pertains to my situation.

I am very flustered and I am unsure of what to do and what is actual policy. I appreciate any advice from someone who may have some insight.

Last edited by SunkissedMommy; Feb 11, 19 at 11:08 am
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:17 am
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There are later return flights ORD-MIA that could work for you, if they will let you switch one destination leg due to the aircraft change.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:27 am
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
I totally understand the limitations of my situation but find the AA response to be very disappointing and illogical. Move a PE passenger to the worst seats on the plane? I would imagine that I'd be eligible for at least MCE or a Preferred Seat for this type of change. When I originally booked, I was granted MCE for my domestic legs because of the PE transatlantic portion. I read through the website and couldn't really find the policy that pertains to my situation.

I am very flustered and I am unsure of what to do and what is actual policy. I appreciate any advice from someone who may have some insight.
Don't get too caught up in AA's first response, this often can depend on the agent you get, some are ok and others are downright terrible. There's certainly a chance that AA could add back another ORD-FLL flight, but I wouldn't wait around expecting this to happen, I would change now to the best available option (no idea what the agent was talking about re: daylight savings time, just disregard that).

As to your options:

1) If you must depart on that exact day, and not before 11am, then you're only real option is to accept the downgrade to coach on the return (but get a refund for fare difference). There is also a FCO-PHL-FLL routing, I would check the seatmaps and see if better economy seats were available. Call AA back and ask for a refund of the fare difference from PE to economy. At that point, it's up to you to decide if you want to purchase better seats in economy.

2) What about flying to MIA? Ask AA to rebook you back to FCO-ORD-MIA and just get a cab/rental car back to FLL. You could also do FCO-LHR-MIA on BA.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by taxatty56 View Post
There are later return flights ORD-MIA that could work for you, if they will let you switch one destination leg due to the aircraft change.
I had asked about switching to a different airport, PBI actually, as I live 20 minutes from there, but she told me I'd incur a $250 per person fee to change to an ending airport other than FLL.

MIA is nearly 2 hours from my house and I'd really only use that as a last resort.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
I had asked about switching to a different airport, PBI actually, as I live 20 minutes from there, but she told me I'd incur a $250 per person fee to change to an ending airport other than FLL.

MIA is nearly 2 hours from my house and I'd really only use that as a last resort.
That is a garbage response, because it's an AA schedule change here it should be no problem to switch from FLL to PBI. If there's a FCO-ORD-PBI routing that works, call AA back and ask for that.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
That is a garbage response, because it's an AA schedule change here it should be no problem to switch from FLL to PBI. If there's a FCO-ORD-PBI routing that works, call AA back and ask for that.
Agreed. They absolutely should put you on the PBI flight.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
Agreed. They absolutely should put you on the PBI flight.
The only nonstop ORD-PBI departs at noon, too late for OP to connect. If it was me, I would switch to MIA from ORD as others have suggested.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:53 am
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Another option would be to take your original TATL return flight in premium economy, but then do an overnight connection at ORD, with the hotel/meals being at your own expense, and taking a domestic flight home at your convenience but so that you're scheduled to spend under 24 hours at ORD.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
I had asked about switching to a different airport, PBI actually, as I live 20 minutes from there, but she told me I'd incur a $250 per person fee to change to an ending airport other than FLL.

MIA is nearly 2 hours from my house and I'd really only use that as a last resort.
Bull$hit. They changed the schedule. They can reaccomodate.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
Don't get too caught up in AA's first response, this often can depend on the agent you get, some are ok and others are downright terrible. There's certainly a chance that AA could add back another ORD-FLL flight, but I wouldn't wait around expecting this to happen, I would change now to the best available option (no idea what the agent was talking about re: daylight savings time, just disregard that).

As to your options:

1) If you must depart on that exact day, and not before 11am, then you're only real option is to accept the downgrade to coach on the return (but get a refund for fare difference). There is also a FCO-PHL-FLL routing, I would check the seatmaps and see if better economy seats were available. Call AA back and ask for a refund of the fare difference from PE to economy. At that point, it's up to you to decide if you want to purchase better seats in economy.

2) What about flying to MIA? Ask AA to rebook you back to FCO-ORD-MIA and just get a cab/rental car back to FLL. You could also do FCO-LHR-MIA on BA.
I responded to another person about MIA, it's about 2 hours from my home, so not ideal.

I am okay with accepting the downgrade, sorta of! haha. Obviously we want PE if it's available, but at this point I don't think waiting is a real option as it could be sold out and then we'd be told "oh well" again!

I've been looking at available flights and it shows I can have my original route with PE but go from ORD-DFW-FLL or ORD-CLT-FLL. But I think I'd rather sit in regular economy than add another layover coming back from a long trip. Right now I am leaning toward FCO-PHL-FLL in economy and asking for a partial refund on the PE fare.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:09 pm
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Any refund should be based on the premium economy versus coach fare on the date your ticket was purchased. Don't allow them to look at the more expensive coach fares that are available now.

BTW, since you're returning from the EU, EC261 regulations would apply, although a carrier isn't required to do much beyond offering a refund for a schedule change more than two weeks in advance. However, the downgrade rules seem to apply regardless of when the involuntary downgrade is communicated to the customer. Premium economy is considered to be a separate cabin and the refund/compensation is 75% of the cost of the fare only for the downgraded segment, plus refund of any additional taxes assessed for the higher cabin. There's a long, detailed, and definitive discussion of EC261 rules in the BA forum.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
Am I entitled to a partial refund should PE not become available? The lady at AA told me no, but I find that hard to believe.
Someone more knowledgeable might be able to chime in here, but I think you might be able to get 75% of the fare for FCO-ORD back as EC261 downgrade compensation. It's guaranteed, as the flight may be AA, but it originates in the EU.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:23 pm
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Do not believe EC261 applies as aircraft change for July flight.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Any refund should be based on the premium economy versus coach fare on the date your ticket was purchased. Don't allow them to look at the more expensive coach fares that are available now.

BTW, since you're returning from the EU, EC261 regulations would apply, although a carrier isn't required to do much beyond offering a refund for a schedule change more than two weeks in advance. However, the downgrade rules seem to apply regardless of when the involuntary downgrade is communicated to the customer. Premium economy is considered to be a separate cabin and the refund/compensation is 75% of the cost of the fare only for the downgraded segment, plus refund of any additional taxes assessed for the higher cabin. There's a long, detailed, and definitive discussion of EC261 rules in the BA forum.
I will go look in to this policy with refunds. I am afraid they will try to pull a fast one because what we paid for these PE seats is now less than regular Econ for the same/similar flights.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by SunkissedMommy View Post
I will go look in to this policy with refunds. I am afraid they will try to pull a fast one because what we paid for these PE seats is now less than regular Econ for the same/similar flights.
Just to clarify, did you actually book a PE fare/ticket? Or did you book a coach ticket and just happen to snag a PE seat, that wasn't yet being sold as PE?
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