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AA made us repurchase our tickets. Refusing to refund. Options?

AA made us repurchase our tickets. Refusing to refund. Options?

Old Feb 29, 20, 2:47 pm
  #1  
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AA made us repurchase our tickets. Refusing to refund. Options?

Me and my wife booked for our honeymoon to Fiji with AA. Our itinerary was MSN-DFW-SFO-NAN and return NAN-LAX-CHI-MSN. However on our way to Fiji, our flight from DFW to SFO got delayed (NOT weather related delay, we had to wait for the pilot to arrive), due to which we missed our connection to NAN. AA then re-booked us, changing our itinerary from SFO-NAN to SFO-AKL-NAN.

What we didn't realize was that during re-booking, the AA agent issued SFO-AKL against our SFO-NAN flight, and AKL-NAN flight was booked in exchange for our return flight NAN-LAX. After spending several weeks in Fiji, when we reached NAN airport to return home, the Fiji Airways (AA partner) agent told us that our NAN-LAX flight tickets have been exchanged by AA and therefore they can no longer check us in for our flight home. We did not believe the Fiji Airways gate agent, since our AA app was showing our assigned seat numbers on the aircraft.

Since there was no AA desk at NAN airport or local helpline number, we made a long distance call to AA to resolve the issue. We waited for over an hour on the phone however couldn't reach AA. The Fiji Airways customer service agent told us that the only way they could check-in us would be if we buy the tickets from Fiji Airways. Left with no other alternate, we had to repurchase our flight tickets 5 minutes before Fiji Airways was about to close the check-in process.

We have been corresponding with AA for last 3 weeks to resolve the issue and requesting a refund of the tickets that we had to buy in Fiji. AA has refused to reimburse us for repurchasing our flight tickets, which was caused due to the mistake by the AA agent. They have offered to refund $22 for the un-flown flight segment and $400 voucher. We have refused to accept this since our costs were much much more than that.

AA has stopped communicating with us to resolve the issue. What options do we have to get our money back?

Last edited by NervousWreck; Mar 2, 20 at 11:30 am
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Old Feb 29, 20, 2:52 pm
  #2  
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Did you purchase the tickets directly from AA, use an OLTA, etc.? What was the original cost and what did you pay in addition to get home?

If you used a good credit card, you could start there and ask for a refund (chargeback) of half of what you paid since you were only provided with OW and not RT transportation, but this might not cover what you were forced to pay in Fiji.

Another option is to file a complaint with DOT.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:02 pm
  #3  
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Bought the tickets through AA website. Original cost was under $4,000. Paid additional $1,600.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:03 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by NervousWreck View Post
Me and my wife booked for our honeymoon to Fiji with AA. Our itinerary was MSN-DFW-SFO-NAN and return NAN-LAX-CHI-MSN. However on our way to Fiji, our flight from DFW to SFO got delayed (NOT weather related delay, we had to wait for the pilot to arrive), due to which we missed our connection to NAN. AA then re-booked us, changing our itinerary from SFO-NAN to SFO-NZAA-NAN.

What we didn't realize was that during re-booking, the AA agent issued SFO-NZAA against our SFO-NAN flight, and NZAA-NAN flight was booked in exchange for our return flight NAN-LAX. After spending several weeks in Fiji, when we reached NAN airport to return home, the Fiji Airways (AA partner) gate agent told us that our NAN-LAX flight tickets have been exchanged by AA and we can no longer board our flight home. We did not believe the Fiji Airways gate agent, since our AA app was showing our assigned seat numbers on the aircraft.
<snip>
What is NZAA?
Air New Zealand via xx ?
Great Circle Mapper

Cash or ff award ticket?
It was FJ that made you purchase our tickets. Not AA
What did your travel insurance say when you contacted them?

To late now, but when an outgoing flight is delayed/rerouted always check the return ingoing is OK. And then check again

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Feb 29, 20 at 3:10 pm
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:09 pm
  #5  
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NZAA - Auckland, New Zealand
Seems like I used the ICAO code instead of IATA, which is AKL. Sorry for the confusion.

Didn't buy travel insurance
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:15 pm
  #6  
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So you went via AKL?
Great Circle Mapper

Does look like AA made a mistake. They should have ticketed you to get back home
Did you pay for NAN-xxxx-MSN?

As you flew a Star Alliance airline you can credit that to UA or whatever ffp.
And claim "original routing credit" from AA for the flight not taken

Brave people not taking travel (medical) insurance. A medical event could have left you at worst penniless.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:17 pm
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How do you check if your return flight is okay? The only thing we could check was in our AA phone app. And everything seemed okay therein. We could see our assigned seats on the NAN-LAX flight, which we were not allowed to board.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:21 pm
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When you speak with AA, what are you being told about the use of the return segment to cover your outbound travel? There is the possibility here that FJ either loused this up or indeed the tickets were just fine and the check-in agent at NAN was in error. If that is the case, pursuing AA just because FJ told you so, won't yield results.

I say this because AA is able to see your entire record and, if indeed, its own agent used a return segment to cover the outbound, but also did not cancel the associated reservation, AA should be able to see what happened and I can't imagine that a refund is an issue.

This is likely to be a phone call to AA and you are likely to need to escalate but can hopefully find someone who can look at the PNR notes and coupons to see what happened.

If you can't get a good explanation, go ahead and file a DOT complaint and also a chargeback against AA for $1,600 of the $4,000 you paid AA. But, none of that is likely to yield much if AA is adamant that it properly processed the reroute. If it was FJ which loused this up, you will need to reach out to FJ for a refund of the $1,600 and then pursue DOT and chargeback.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:37 pm
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We initially assumed that FJ was at fault at the NAN airport and argued against what they were saying. However customer service agent took us behind the counter to show our itinerary as it appeared on their screen. We could see that AA had indeed exchanged our tickets. We requested a printout of our itinerary from the FJ customer service which showed that our NAN-LAX ticket was NOT open, and had been exchanged. We have that printout in our records.

We re-purchased the tickets only when it was beyond doubt that AA had mismanaged the entire itinerary, and therefore we re-purchased it with the confidence that AA would reimburse for their mistake.

We have been communicating with AA via emails. They have NOT refused that the error was made. The exact quote in their email:
"Mr. XXXXXX, although I'm not able to refund the tickets you had to purchase, I have submitted a refund for all the un-flown segments on your original tickets."

The refund for the un-flown segment is $22, much much less than the $1,600 we had to spend to repurchase our tickets.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:39 pm
  #10  
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Ironically, the AA “Australia” and “New Zealand” contract call centers are in Suva, Fiji.

i agree it’s important to verify which airline is at fault. I’ve dealt with FJ personnel at NAN, and they... well, I’ve had some difficulties at times.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:41 pm
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Or when AA reticketed you to Air NZ, did not do the work to preserve the return flights. FJ may have considered you a "no show" on the outgoing and auto cancelled the return. The AA & FJ IT systems may talk to each other seamlessly.
Always check on the operating carrier "manage my booking"
Will be a challenge to get reimbursed from AA, as FJ have your money. I would have rebooked with AA
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Old Feb 29, 20, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Or when AA reticketed you to Air NZ, did not do the work to preserve the return flights. FJ may have considered you a "no show" on the outgoing and auto cancelled the return. The AA & FJ IT systems may talk to each other seamlessly.
Always check on the operating carrier "manage my booking"
Will be a challenge to get reimbursed from AA, as FJ have your money. I would have rebooked with AA
Since the original ticket was booked through AA, the FJ could not make any changes to it. Therefore our return flight was not cancelled by FJ. We were provided with detailed printouts at NAN by the FJ personnel showing that our NAN-LAX flight was exchanged and NOT cancelled.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 4:15 pm
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File DoT complaint . Don't waste time with AA
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Old Feb 29, 20, 4:22 pm
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As an IT person who has spent 20 years building interfaces between systems, this smells like an interface issue where the updates didn't transfer properly to FJ's systems. I wouldn't necessarily assume the AA agent made a mistake. I also thought there was a limit to the number of coupons per ticket #, so you may have ended up with two ticket numbers, adding to the confusion. I know when I book a PNR with a lot of segments, I usually end up with multiple tickets under that one PNR.

I think you'll have a better chance getting a refund on the unused return on your original AA ticket rather than a refund of the FJ ticket. I'd ask for this to simplify matters as AA has no control over what the FJ agent made you do.
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Old Feb 29, 20, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
I think you'll have a better chance getting a refund on the unused return on your original AA ticket rather than a refund of the FJ ticket. I'd ask for this to simplify matters as AA has no control over what the FJ agent made you do.
It looks like this is exactly what AA offered him - except it’s $22 vs. $1600. I wouldn’t be happy with that either.
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