Ticket Confusion and Surly Service Vex Travelers

December 11, 2015

in Airport Stories

My wife and I were going on our first-ever cruise to the Bahamas in July, 2015. The flight took us from Dulles airport in northern Virginia to Miami, then from Miami back to Dulles on the return trip. Our cruise was wonderful, and we came away from it relaxed and ready to return to Virginia. That’s when the proverbial sh** hit the fan.

When we got to the airport in Miami, we were directed to the US Airways flight counter because our tickets stated “US Airways” at the top. We stood in line there for over an hour as there were only two lines for over 80 passengers. Then we were told that our tickets were actually American Airlines tickets, and were directed into the interior passenger terminal.

When we got there, a ticket agent again greeted us, but told us to return to the US Airways counter, to which we objected because the wait was so extensive. She callously told us, “You have to return to the US Airways counter.” Her surly demeanor was beginning to anger my wife, so I stepped in and told the agent we’d return to the US Airways counter.

Once there, we waited another 40 minutes to be assisted, but were again told that our tickets were American Airlines tickets! Frustrated, we complained and asked for the manager. When he arrived he explained that he was going to lunch, but would have someone escort us to the American Airlines counter.

When we arrived back inside the terminal, the agent there initially attempted to direct us back outside again, but we stood our ground this time. Her attitude and general demeanor were the rudest I’d ever encountered while flying (and I’ve flown a lot in my day). She then asked me for my ID and the tickets while my wife went to the restroom. Then she came back from the ticket counter with a ticket – for me only. “What about my wife?” I asked.

“Oh, you didn’t say anything about her getting a ticket when I asked you for your ID,” she said.

I’m like, “WTF! She was standing next to you for the last hour holding her bags, and the whole time we said WE’re flying.”

So she gets my wife’s ID and slowly meanders back in the general direction of the ticket counter. She comes back with another boarding pass, hands it to my wife and says dryly, “Have a ‘nice’ flight,” in the most sarcastic way imaginable. We ignored that, and took our boarding passes and bags and walked the length of the airport to our gate to sit down and wait for a flight that was to leave in three hours.

After sitting there for about two hours and 45 minutes, we noticed that there was only a handful of other passengers waiting. So I go to the boarding area and ask the agent when the flight will be boarding and she says, “Oh, this flight has been moved to another gate and they’re already boarding.” I ask her why the marquee over her head wasn’t changed to inform the passengers of the change, to which she said, “It’s not our responsibility to inform passengers of flight changes,” as if she had been saying that to passengers all day.

So we took off in a dead run to catch the flight at the other end of the terminal, only to find that they had just closed the doors when we got there. We were sent back to the American Airlines ticket counter to get new boarding passes. When we got there, more attitude: “It is the job of the passenger to review the flight boards available throughout the terminal to ensure their flight hasn’t changed.”

So, I’m like, “OK, what about the error on the marquee at the gate, and perhaps making an announcement over the gate’s PA?”

She responded, “It is the job of the passenger to review the flight boards available throughout the terminal to ensure their flight hasn’t changed.”

I said, “I understand that, but you’ve got over 20 passengers who were stranded at the wrong gate back there. Wouldn’t it make sense to say something at the gates that were affected?”

She again repeated, “It is the job of the passenger to review the flight boards available throughout the terminal to ensure their flight hasn’t changed.”

Along with the other passengers, we were fit to be tied. We were provided the option of a refund or another flight… that wouldn’t leave for another 8 hours! We opted to wait the eight hours. So, for a flight time of only three hours, it took us a grand total of 16 hours to get home.

Hey, mishaps happen, but it was the horrible attitude and rotten demeanor of the ticketing agents and their henchmen that stood out on that flight. My wife and I agreed that we’d never fly American Airlines again in our lives.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert December 12, 2015 at 11:44 am

Sounds like you were at the “customer service” counter in Philly.


Aaron December 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

So true!


prp December 12, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Now that you have told us…..Tell American.
Agents like that should not be working in the customer service end of the business.


dntulsa December 14, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Did you file a complaint to AA?

If you didn't, you should have.


Sarah December 18, 2015 at 11:28 am

What a frustrating experience! I find it so odd that the airlines allow this sort of behavior by their employees. All I hear are complaints from airline employees about how "difficult and stressful" their job is. Maybe if they treated their customers better, they might enjoy their jobs more. What goes around comes around in my opinion.


Joan Braten March 7, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Actually after a close encounter of the worse kind I too, will never fly American Airlines again.


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