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Treated Inappropriately on AA Because of Late Flight

Treated Inappropriately on AA Because of Late Flight

Old Jun 30, 2019, 7:19 am
  #1  
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Angry Treated Inappropriately on AA Because of Late Flight

I would appreciate advice on whether to take action. Briefly, AA flight left late for unknown reasons for a Richmond flight to Charlotte about a week ago. Layover for connecting flight to Gainesville FL was to be about 55 minutes. On Richmond flight, flight attendant said we are aware that there is >135 customers with connections in Charlotte and AA is aware and has let connecting flights know so everyone should be all right. Disembark from flight about 15 minutes before Gainesville flight is to leave. Walk quickly with spouse from Concourse B or C (can't recall) to E, which is quite a long distance. Approach Gate to Gainesville and the door is closed with agent standing there as the door was just closed. Woman in front of me trying to make same flight approaches agent and asks to be let on. Agent says no, woman pleads and agent opens door and lets her on. I ask agent to let my wife and I on too and she looks at watch and says it is 10 minutes and 1 second. I said you opened the door and let that other woman on and she said she was here at exactly 10 minutes. I plead and let the agent know my wife's sister just died and we have to get on the plane. My wife is crying because she just lost her sister. The agent looks at me and says "no" citing FAA rules that she says indicates she cannot let someone on who came at 10 minutes and 1 second. I asked her for her name and she mumbles her first name and then says to me "what is your name?" She then tells me to go to customer service. That was the last flight for Gainesville. Stand in long line at customer service and explained what occurred to a customer service agent who demonstrated a complete lack of empathy, rolled her eyes, and said my new flight will leave in the morning. She gives me a discount coupon for a hotel. It is now after midnight. I call hotel discount number and they tell me there are no more rooms available at any hotel. End of story. Its been a week and I am still fuming . . . I would appreciate any advice from experienced travelers who may have faced similar situation. Thanks in advance for your assistance . . .
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 7:39 am
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While you missed the connection through no fault of your own, you still missed the connection. Without knowing the reason for the delay, its hard to tell if you got all you were entitled to or are due more. As to them letting somebody on the flight and not you, they probably did ultimately arrive at the gate before the flight was closed.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 7:42 am
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very sorry for your loss.

AA treats their employees like crap.

The employees are bitter and miserable.

The employees treat the customers like crap.

In the future, I would use another airline.

While your denied boarding may have technically been appropriate, the employees treatment of you was not.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 7:44 am
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Sounds like a horrible situation. Unfortunately you fell victim to another terrible AA gate agent, that with direction from AA management, prioritizes an on time departure above all else, including basic customer service and common sense.

Of course there is no FAA rule that says you can't board if it's less than 10 mins to departure, or anything like that. The GA was just making stuff up in an attempt to close out the flight on time and get you to go away. It's extra ridiculous that she let the person in front of you on then closed the door and said sorry to you guys.

That said, there could have been a few more things going on here below the surface, i.e. they could have already given your seats away, but that doesn't excuse the GA from providing basic assistance to you.

Unfortunately there's not much you can do at this stage except write a complaint message to AA. And vote with your wallet and don't give this train wreck of an airline any more of your $$.

Side note...was your RIC-CLT flight delayed due to weather or mechanical reasons? If mechanical, then AA will cover your hotel expense, when you send your email complaint tell them you incurred $XXX in expenses for the overnight (hotel, taxi, meals) and need to submit receipts. They will most likely try to blow you off, do not be deterred, keep replying to each email with the same request.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:05 am
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Thank you so much for your reply as well as the other kind people who replied.. About why the delay. I just don't know. The incoming plan arrived late by about an hour and not sure why. Could have been weather related or just left late from the originating place for any reason. So my flight from Richmond left late because the incoming flight arrived later than scheduled. i will certainly take your advice and send them an email. Yes, it was really bad but mainly because of my wife's sister's death, which was completely unexpected. Telling you more than obviously you needed to know, but we had just left the hospital about two hours before the flight after removing life support and watching her die with 5 minutes. It was terrible and obviously the AA drama only made one of the worst days ever even worse . . . again, Thanks for your kind assistance.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by g8rluva
On Richmond flight, flight attendant said we are aware that there is >135 customers with connections in Charlotte and AA is aware and has let connecting flights know so everyone should be all right.
Did the FA really say this? If so, it may be one of the silliest things Ive heard. Unless most of those customers were CK or VIPs, theres no way AA would hold multiple connecting flights for one late flight. Thats just absurd.

And the 10 minute, 1 second comment by the GA is really snarky. Ironically, it sounds like the agent may have spent more time arguing with you than working to get the flight out on time.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:18 am
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OP did you write AA noting the employee's name who did this? I understand rules but I also understand a customer service based industry. Nothing short of termination is acceptable.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
... Nothing short of termination is acceptable.
Way to steer the OP in an intelligent, realistic direction
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
i.e. they could have already given your seats away, .
I bet that is the answer.... especially since the GA asked their names.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
OP did you write AA noting the employee's name who did this? I understand rules but I also understand a customer service based industry. Nothing short of termination is acceptable.
A bit hard to terminate an employee for adhereing to the rules designed to deliver the measurable performance standard they are assessed on...

Allowing one person to board before the last 10 minutes and fill a seat you know to be empty is one thing,

After the 10 min cut-off and with the chance that there were no more empty seats it isn't hard to see why she didn't open the door again.

I'd actually put more blame on the FA from the first flight, they set an unreasonable expectation level that was unlikley to be met.

It would have been better to say '... due to the delay there is a good chance that some of you may not make your connections...' but that requires being honest which seems to be in short supply when there is a chance to get people off your plane and away from you before they realize they have been misled...

Last edited by Mark_T; Jun 30, 2019 at 8:54 am
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
And vote with your wallet and don't give this train wreck of an airline any more of your $$.
This is really the best advice. It's pretty obvious given AA's poor financial performance lately that many have already gone this route. AA's poor customer service starts at the very top with its poor and inept leadership. This and many other GAs are simply cogs in the already dismal machine.

Spend a few extra dollars and just fly DL next time. While DL is by no means great, there are certainly fewer occurrences of this sort of problem.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 9:06 am
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This happened to me recently and I feel your pain OP. Meanwhile United is rolling out ConnectionSaver which aims to avoid these types of situations. Given that this was the last flight of the day, delaying a few minutes would have zero downsides and would have gained AA a ton of goodwill given your situation. I know that Southwest will do this too even though I don't know that they have a named program.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 9:10 am
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Sadly employees are not allowed to use common sense and judgement it would appear. Given what the weather has been like in the East I'm assuming weather somewhere along the way had a role to play in this (and the fact that the OP's could only get a distressed traveler rate from AA). FAs in order to calm people down and not deal with question after question often assure paxs their flights will be held, there will be another flight or otherwise they will be well taken of.

While AA might lead the pack in this type of customer service this is what we have gotten from "low cost." I look at air travel on Youtube videos from the 60s and 70s and sans smoking those flyers didn't know how good they had it. The old saying you get what you pay. Consumers want Wal Mart prices and therefore they get the Wal Mart experience.
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Old Jun 30, 2019, 10:08 am
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Just just another heartless AA employee. Sorry for your trouble. Going back in memory over four decades of travel, across many airlines, I’ve never been accorded the courtesy of a connecting flight being held because my incoming flight was late. In my experience, the best outcome in such situations was a connecting flight that was delayed and thus I was okay. The GAs will always give away your seat in a heartbeat.

One rule I always follow: if I really have to be somewhere on time (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc), I always front load an extra day for air travel. This risk of weather, mechanicals and other operational issues is real and not as low as most people assume.

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Old Jun 30, 2019, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by AA100k
Just just another heartless AA employee. Sorry for your trouble. Going back in memory over four decades of travel, across many airlines, I’ve never been accorded the courtesy of a connecting flight being held because my incoming flight was late. In my experience, the best outcome in such situations was a connecting flight that was delayed and thus I was okay. The GAs will always give away your seat in a heartbeat.

One rule I always follow: if I really have to be somewhere on time (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc), I always front load an extra day for air travel. This risk of weather, mechanicals and other operational issues is real and not as low as most people assume.

The extra day isn't always possible.....and really shouldn't be necessary except in very extreme weather and disasters such as big earthquakes and major volcano eruptions.
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