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Need advice, I think I've been mistreated by AA on award flights

Need advice, I think I've been mistreated by AA on award flights

Old Dec 27, 19, 10:22 am
  #1  
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Need advice, I think I've been mistreated by AA on award flights

I know that title sounds a little like clickbait, but I don't think that is hyperbole. I'm not exactly sure how to fix this, so I am open to some guidance.

Back in March, I booked a December trip to Germany using American miles. Business class with Iberia through Madrid to Berlin. No problem there. The return trip was Budapest to Heathrow, LHR to Nashville, business class with British Air. Excited to fly business class direct from LHR to home airport of Nashville instead of going through ORD, JFK, MIA, etc. And business class is a big deal, we save CC points to make it happen and it's only our second trip to Europe.

Checking my itinerary around three weeks before the 12/3 departing flight, I noticed I was still booked 12/13 from BUD to LHR, but instead of a two hour layover, I am now booked 12/14 from LHR to BNA, over 24 hours later. I call BA and they tell me the cancelled the 12/13 flight (only one flight a day direct from LHR to BNA) and they rebooked me the next day. I tell them I don't have an email or any notice about the change, they apologize but that is it. I tell them I wasn't prepared to stay in London, so now I have to find a hotel and so on. Too bad, so sad. Luckily, this was a Saturday, so both my wife and I didn't have a work problem. On that call, I also cough up the $310 to pick our biz class seats (gotta love that about BA).

Ok, I find a hotel and say to my wife 24 hours in London will be fun, so we move on. On 11/19, I get a call from BA telling me that American hasn't issued the tickets. I'm confused and ask what do you want me to do about it. They tell me to call AA and get them issued. I'm standing outside our booth at our biggest show of the year , taking this call, and tell them I can't do that. So they said 'lets have a three way call with AA.' BA gets a AA person on the phone and the AA person says "your new BA flight is more expensive, so you owe us an additional $493.00 and 22,000 more miles or we won't issue the ticket."

I"m incredulous. I tell them I didn't make this change, I didn't want to stay an extra day, you changed my flight and then want to force me to pay more for it? I never raised my voice or used profanity (I wanted to), but I did ask them if this makes sense and would either of them pay it if they were me? They both said they can't answer that question. This goes on for 15 minutes. Then the BA person drops from the call. I want to elevate the conversation, AA says his supervisor is busy and I have to get back to booth.

I'm stuck because AA is telling me they won't issue the ticket and I'll be stranded in London. I again say this is unfair and this is extortion, so he offers to get me home on the original 12/13 date, but now I'm coach through ORD there aren't many open seats and it will take us more than twice as long to get home. I tell him I simply want what we paid for, I didn't even complain that they moved me to Saturday and I have the extra hotel expense. I still have to pay.

Of course, I don't have 22,000 miles left, so it cost me another $232.00 to transfer miles into my account from my wife's. So I am out $725 and 22,000 miles to keep the Saturday biz class flight. The one I didn't ask for and didn't want. The flight was fine and I tried not to be irritated most of way home.

I have no status with either airline (I fly WN at least every other week). Am I wrong in thinking I should be able to get a refund of the $725 and points? And if I should get that back, how would you go about this? I'm afraid AA with blame BA and vice versa and I'll be stuck in an endless do loop.

Thoughts?
Old Key West is offline  
Old Dec 27, 19, 10:37 am
  #2  
 
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Did you make the change yet or is the ticket still sitting in the state not having been reissued? If the latter, try tweeting AA, but compress your story into a few sentences. They'll get it reissued for you.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:39 am
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All of this already happened. I paid what they demanded and took the flight home on December 14.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:44 am
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While it doesnít help you now, you should have dealt with AA directly and not fought with the first person but hang up and call again. (HUCA).

you did the right thing with checking, but the ticket was issued by AA, needs to be fixed by AA.

after the fact will be harder. You should still pursue, but not sure how you will fare as you accepted the changes.

i donít think you have a case for all the cash, Iím guessing itís APD (departure tax) for the LHR departure, once its 24 hours or more, you owe it. If it was a minute less than 24 hours, you can get it back.

Miles should be returned. Also, the shorter the letter, the better.

by the way, when you have a ticket issued by one airline to fly on another, make sure the other airline has your contact information directly from you (by managing your reservation on the operating airlines web site( and even then, assume you wonít get notified on a change but check yourself periodically and frequently.

what has happened to you has happened to me more than once, AA should be able to route you on their own metal always (and often will get BA to work with them). But the key is working it out before the fact, seemed like you had enough lead time (although you said you didnít have the spare time to address it).
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Last edited by beachfan; Dec 27, 19 at 10:56 am
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:49 am
  #5  
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Complain to DOT that AA charged you for an involuntary schedule change.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:51 am
  #6  
 
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Sounds like an awful situation, unfortunately I wish you had posted here first as we could have sent you down a much better path:

1) Since your ticket was booked through AA, you need to always call AA for all changes (even though it was a BA flight). Calling BA will only confuse/compound the problem.

2) Since it was a schedule change you are free to ask for any new flight you want, in business class, regardless of award availability. This is where asking here first would have really helped.

3) Since your new flights had over 24 hours in London, I'm guess the AA agent had to split the award into 2 awards BUD-LHR + LHR-BNA in order to reissue the ticket, which resulted in the extra miles and extra $$ taxes collected (UK has very high departure taxes which you would not have paid if you were only on a connection).

Unfortunately now, about the only thing you can do is write to AA customer relations online at aa.com and request a refund of the $725 and 22k miles. As mentioned you need to keep your story much shorter when you write in, just the key details.."There was a schedule change, I was forced to pay an extra $725 + 22k miles for new flights when other flights on the original date would have worked, etc. etc."...
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:56 am
  #7  
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I would concentrate on the fact that you never received a notification of the flight change which could have enabled you to change flights and avoid the UK departures tax. I would think somewhere the airline would have a record of any notification they sent. However, be ready to have some miles thrown at you instead.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:57 am
  #8  
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Yup, I should have fought this when it happened, but since I was out-of-town at our biggest event of the year and I was responsible for 30 people in the booth over a few days, I paid then. I also didn't want my seats released since the ticket wasn't going to be issued (BA apparently did not process my seat payment from a few days prior since there was no ticket). By the time I got it fixed, we may not even be sitting together on the way home.

I knew it would be harder later. It was a bucket list trip for my wife and not screwing it up over a few hundred dollars was the decision I made.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:16 am
  #9  
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AA may as a courtesy refund the additional payment. But, it is not obligated to do so as OP made the changes via BA.

Not to berate OP, but for the sake of others, one must make changes via the ticketing carrier until day of travel IRROPS, when it becomes the operating carrier's responsibility. The notification issue will not help OP as he learned of the change approximately 3 weeks prior to travel. So long as it is more than 14 days, there is no compensation, only a reroute and that was AA's to arrange.

BA bears some responsibility here as it should have directed OP to AA in the first instance and not made the changes and then, realizing that AA would not reissue the tickets without hearing from OP, arranged the 3-way call.

Before contacting AA, OP should sit down and condense what happened to the details that matter and leave out everything relevant. An agent reviewing this is much more likely to act if the facts are laid out very clearly and OP focuses on the fact that BA offered to make the change and then forced the call with AA.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:23 am
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On the upside it wasn't much out of pocket relative to an accidental last minute ticket cancellation -

When it comes to changes in advance, typically it's easier to work with the issuing carrier unless you're day before/of travel or IRROPS and then the operating carrier can be of help.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:25 am
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I must not have been clear. I added a lot for clarity, but that apparently backfired.

I made no change with BA. I asked no one for any changes. I didn't want any changes. That is the whole point. I didn't want to call BA, but I had to purchase seat assignments, as everyone who buys biz class with BA must do. That is the only outgoing call I made.

Also, there was no "offer" to make a change. It was done without my knowledge or approval. Then after it was done, I was forced to pay more.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post



Before contacting AA, OP should sit down and condense what happened to the details that matter and leave out everything relevant.
Great advice, other than leaving out everything relevant. I'm sure you meant leaving out everything NOT relevant.

The 14 days is the trigger for compensation under EU261?
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:37 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by Old Key West View Post
I must not have been clear. I added a lot for clarity, but that apparently backfired.

I made no change with BA. I asked no one for any changes. I didn't want any changes. That is the whole point. I didn't want to call BA, but I had to purchase seat assignments, as everyone who buys biz class with BA must do. That is the only outgoing call I made.

Also, there was no "offer" to make a change. It was done without my knowledge or approval. Then after it was done, I was forced to pay more.
I'm afraid that you did make a change with BA, you didn't initiate it but you accepted it. It wasn't "done" until you paid for it. Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't have to have an advanced degree in dealing with AA screwups, and we feel sympathy. But saying you made no change is not helpful to you.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:41 am
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This is going to be a difficult one, American didn't cancel your flight, BA did. You are very unlikely to get AA to refund much of anything on this one. You had the right to cancel the return completely at this point or request a schedule change that worked for you personally.Stop using words that are emotional such as demanded or extorted, they only make the other side defensive and less likely to help.

Send a summary to both AA and BA of the facts of the case and what you think is an acceptable customer service gesture.

I did not receive notice of the involuntary schedule change, BA cancelled the flight on 12/13 resulting in an unplanned 24 hours in London resulting in an unplanned hotel stay that cost XXX.

There was a mix up with the re-issue of the ticket due to the involuntary schedule change, as a result I was only presented with the option to pay an additional 22K miles which resulted in an unplanned transfer from my wife's account costing $232 and 22K miles we had not planned on using. Additionally, this resulted in having to pay the UK Air Passenger Duty of £172 X 2 passengers which cost $493 when converted to USD.

While I understand that travel often has unplanned changes, this involuntary change resulted in significant unexpected expenses. As a result, I am requesting a customer service gesture of XXX to offset these additional unplanned expenses.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 11:51 am
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A quick question to the experts here: Would AA have accepted the extra 22K miles directly from the wife's account without a transfer into the OP's account?
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