Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

AA Refused to sell me 1st Class Seat - terrible experience

AA Refused to sell me 1st Class Seat - terrible experience

Old Jan 17, 20, 1:36 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Programs: American Advantage
Posts: 2
AA Refused to sell me 1st Class Seat - terrible experience

Due to accident on Penna Turnpike I was stuck in traffic for over 1 hr and I missed my check in window for PHL-LAS by a few mins and my seat was given to a standby pax. I won't even get into how horribly I was treated by every AA employee I came in contact with, and no one would believe me anyway it was THAT bad. But here is what's weird... they put me standby and I had to fly PHL-CLT-LAS. I'm Saphire/AA Platinum.

The flight from CLT-LAS was approx 50% empty and had 4 empty 1st class seat with no upgraders for them. At the gate I asked for exit row 23 (on the A321 it's the best coach seat nothing in front of it). The gate agent tells me "no" that standby cannot select seats. I'm stuck with the seat the computer spits out. Then she hands me my boarding pass. Last row, window seat. I ask if I can pay for the exit row as no one is currently in it. She again says "no". Now here is the kicker. I ask if I can buy one of the empty 1st class seats at the advertised rate of $730. She tell me "no - standby cannot upgrade". But I don't want to upgrade, I want to buy a new seat at full fare, here is my cc. Nope. Sorry. No.

Ok I call AA customer service. They cannot sell me a ticket as there is a 2 hour "processing time" for phone purchases and tickets have to be bought at ticket counter. Run down to the ticket counter. They verify there are 4 empty 1st class seats, no upgraders. Ok, sell one to me... nope. Standy cannot be changed. That includes a standby pax buying a new ticket. So the airplane flew with 4 empty 1st class seats.

Has anyone ever heard of such a stupid thing? Why in goodness name would a for-profit business, let alone a slim profit margin one like an airline, refuse to sell empty seats!?!? I cannot wrap my head around this. Who in their right mind turns away money? I would think that an airline would try to maximize the income on each flight. I was handing them $ and they were refusing it. I don't get it!
ilovenyflyer is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 2:04 am
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 40,598
You arriving late at the airport is purely your responsibility

With the late arrival, the airline was quite in its right to refuse travel on that flight. It sounds like the airline permitted the opportunity for a late arrival standby rather than refer you back to ticketing

Telephone ticketing requiring sales to be 2hr+ before deparure and referring to local ticket desk is not abnormal

You are not permitted duplicate reservations - it is part of AA's COC

If you had cancelled the original reservation, then you could have purchased a new ticket

From what you have said , the only oddity is about seat selection - had your standby cleared at the time when asking for the exit row seat?
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 4:10 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 242
Originally Posted by ilovenyflyer View Post
Due to accident on Penna Turnpike I was stuck in traffic for over 1 hr and I missed my check in window for PHL-LAS by a few mins and my seat was given to a standby pax. I won't even get into how horribly I was treated by every AA employee I came in contact with, and no one would believe me anyway it was THAT bad. But here is what's weird... they put me standby and I had to fly PHL-CLT-LAS. I'm Saphire/AA Platinum.

The flight from CLT-LAS was approx 50% empty and had 4 empty 1st class seat with no upgraders for them. At the gate I asked for exit row 23 (on the A321 it's the best coach seat nothing in front of it). The gate agent tells me "no" that standby cannot select seats. I'm stuck with the seat the computer spits out. Then she hands me my boarding pass. Last row, window seat. I ask if I can pay for the exit row as no one is currently in it. She again says "no". Now here is the kicker. I ask if I can buy one of the empty 1st class seats at the advertised rate of $730. She tell me "no - standby cannot upgrade". But I don't want to upgrade, I want to buy a new seat at full fare, here is my cc. Nope. Sorry. No.

Ok I call AA customer service. They cannot sell me a ticket as there is a 2 hour "processing time" for phone purchases and tickets have to be bought at ticket counter. Run down to the ticket counter. They verify there are 4 empty 1st class seats, no upgraders. Ok, sell one to me... nope. Standy cannot be changed. That includes a standby pax buying a new ticket. So the airplane flew with 4 empty 1st class seats.

Has anyone ever heard of such a stupid thing? Why in goodness name would a for-profit business, let alone a slim profit margin one like an airline, refuse to sell empty seats!?!? I cannot wrap my head around this. Who in their right mind turns away money? I would think that an airline would try to maximize the income on each flight. I was handing them $ and they were refusing it. I don't get it!
Here we go again. There is one of these every other day now.

Since you were already on the standby list, cleared or not, you couldn’t purchase a ticket for that same flight. The phone reservations team would have happily sold you a ticket on a later flight or the ticketing desk, if you were within the two hour window of that new flight.

After clearing the standby list, the agent should have been able to change your seat though.
rumboj is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 5:03 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 24,613
You got to the airport late. Your fault, not AA's. No airline will allow you to hold two separate tickets on the same flight. You should have cancelled your standby reservation completely, at which point the ticket desk could have sold you any other available seat on the flight.
chitink, 757FO and wk989 like this.
LondonElite is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 5:22 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 102
Part of the reason you are not allowed to buy a tkt when you are on standby is to prevent an attempt to stop people blocking inventory.

I'm in no way suggesting you did this

this is the process.

1 Standby for a flight
2 book a full fare fully refundable tkt this will remove one seat from the inventory
3 No-show for your full fare tkt At cutoff time your standby will be successful because there was a no show
4 refund your full fare tkt

This would result in you having been given a standby seat and the airline lost the opportunity to sell the seat

Again, I am not saying this was your plan but it's probably written into the S/W or a policy of the airline
onanisland and Gullywhumper like this.
bricksoft is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 5:46 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: QR Silver, AC, EVA Gold, UL silver and PAL. IHG Gold
Posts: 827
Yes passenger cannot have two reservations but why didn't the staff tell him that? My understanding is that the passenger was willing to buy a new first class ticket. If so they could have told him that he needs to cancel his other reservation and get a new one on first class?
I have never heard of standby passengers being denied to pay for an empty seat. And if the book load shows available seats why is he on standby? Couldn't they just re book on on his next flight?
bob12403, IndyHoosier and Gringa like this.
dav662 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 6:24 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 292
Originally Posted by dav662 View Post
Yes passenger cannot have two reservations but why didn't the staff tell him that? My understanding is that the passenger was willing to buy a new first class ticket. If so they could have told him that he needs to cancel his other reservation and get a new one on first class?
I have never heard of standby passengers being denied to pay for an empty seat. And if the book load shows available seats why is he on standby? Couldn't they just re book on on his next flight?
There have been multiple reports on this forum over the last year of cases in which AA is willing to sell a ticket on an upcoming flight but not willing to confirm a seat for a distressed passenger on that same flight. I have experienced this myself in the case of irregular operations.

saunders111
saunders111 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 6:43 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: CLT
Programs: US CP, SPG Gold
Posts: 454
Originally Posted by dav662 View Post
Yes passenger cannot have two reservations but why didn't the staff tell him that? My understanding is that the passenger was willing to buy a new first class ticket. If so they could have told him that he needs to cancel his other reservation and get a new one on first class?
I have never heard of standby passengers being denied to pay for an empty seat. And if the book load shows available seats why is he on standby? Couldn't they just re book on on his next flight?
This. All of the BS blame about arriving late at the airport and "what AA's systems allow" becomes irrelevant when OP says, "fine, I'll buy a brand new seat." At that point, when customer has credit card in hand ready to buy fresh available product irrespective of previous transactions, agents should have been able to handle this with a few keystrokes, cancelling the standby reservation and booking the new reservation and arunking his return reservation so it didn't get cancelled out if applicable. This isn't hard.
jghassell is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 7:30 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: South of London.
Programs: Delta SE, Marriott Silver, Omni Select Plat
Posts: 13,290
Originally Posted by jghassell View Post
This. All of the BS blame about arriving late at the airport and "what AA's systems allow" becomes irrelevant when OP says, "fine, I'll buy a brand new seat." At that point, when customer has credit card in hand ready to buy fresh available product irrespective of previous transactions, agents should have been able to handle this with a few keystrokes, cancelling the standby reservation and booking the new reservation and arunking his return reservation so it didn't get cancelled out if applicable. This isn't hard.
I agree with this. And a walk up ticket in F would not have been cheap, AA should have bitten his hand off.
USA_flyer is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 7:48 am
  #10  
m44
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Programs: USAir
Posts: 429
All your problems are the direct results of mindless computers enforcing mindless rules. Guess who invented those.
In the old days all agents had the power to make things right. And you had the right to take your money elsewhere. Now your money is awarded to the airline without it having to provide you with any service, and your constitutional right to sue them was taken away too. Not to mention that the taxes and fees you paid thinking they go to the common good (i.e. government) are also awarded to the airline.
In the name of "ordnung" the agent's flexibility was taken away by the rigid computer programing for no good reason. You will be given many excuses - but none of them is supported by meaningful facts.
In the old days the temporary "double booking" was always available to every elite level. In fact it makes sense to allow the "double booking" when things are in flux.
It never injured the airline in anyway - but it is unacceptable to some special people for no apparent reason. The only ability of those people is to restate the rules without any critical thinking involved.
I prefer regulation by my elected officials - who ever elected the airline's rigid hacks.
You were wronged on all levels. It would not cost the airline a penny to make your journey better.
Somnifer, atbPy and Fly_IAD like this.
m44 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 8:09 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 499
Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
You got to the airport late. Your fault, not AA's. No airline will allow you to hold two separate tickets on the same flight. You should have cancelled your standby reservation completely, at which point the ticket desk could have sold you any other available seat on the flight.
No, the passenger does not have to cancel the ticket. As pointed out by another poster the TA cancels the existing ticket as part of the process of selling a new ticket. How hard can it be for a TA to figure out how to run their own system. Also, as mentioned, the TA will reconcile the return reservation and ticket so the return is not cancelled. I am 100% with the OP on this.
CALlegacy is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 8:10 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: South Florida
Programs: AA EXP, HH Diamond, Marriott Platinium
Posts: 1,246
AA have a flat tire policy (it has a new different name now) where they will provide you standby on the next flight as soon you arrive between 2hrs of your original departing time. Is weird they didn't give you a better seat when they clear your standby, which is usually after the clear the upgrades. Even after clearing upgrades and standby, in the past I got the complimentary upgrade because I become confirmed.

Regarding buying a First Class ticket, they could process without your Advantage#, then cancel the original ticket... but they can not make double booking for the same person on the same flight, the system won't allow it.
mcgahat likes this.
fedechat is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 8:21 am
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 12,623
A lazy agent. Any agent can change the seat from what the "computer" spit out. It happens every day/ If there were actually 4 empty F seats and no one waiting to upgrade (a real rarity) she could have processed the stand by and then the upgrade, assuming the OP had enough stickers.
newyorkgeorge is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 8:28 am
  #14  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 45,219
The gate for a routine domestic flight (staffed by 1-2 agents) is not the place for an extended transaction involving ticket sales. It is neither commercially feasible nor a good use of resources to do all of this at what one presumes is the last minute. If not the last minute, head off to a customer service desk and deal with it there.

The one issue which was remediable was moving OP's seat once he cleared standby and was assigned a seat. That is a "few keystrokes." Cancelling and rebooking e-tickets is not quite that simple.
lookitsapianist likes this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 8:43 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: CLT
Programs: US CP, SPG Gold
Posts: 454
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The gate for a routine domestic flight (staffed by 1-2 agents) is not the place for an extended transaction involving ticket sales. It is neither commercially feasible nor a good use of resources to do all of this at what one presumes is the last minute. If not the last minute, head off to a customer service desk and deal with it there.

The one issue which was remediable was moving OP's seat once he cleared standby and was assigned a seat. That is a "few keystrokes." Cancelling and rebooking e-tickets is not quite that simple.
OP went to the ticket counter.

Originally Posted by op
Run down to the ticket counter. They verify there are 4 empty 1st class seats, no upgraders. Ok, sell one to me... nope.
If the ticket counter does not exist to sell tickets, then what kind of world are we living in?
Spiff, Unimatrix One, uanj and 4 others like this.
jghassell is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: