Left In A Lurch

December 27, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

I used American Airlines for a college spring break trip and will never fly with them again. We paid $1000 for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic. At the end of our stay, we were told there was a snowstorm in the US and we would be unable to fly back at our regularly scheduled time. In fact, we were told that we would be unable to get back to the United States for FOUR DAYS.

The impressively-incapable customer service representative I spoke with offered no help as to where we could stay (our reservation was over and our hotel had no vacancy), would not reimburse any of our additional expenses in finding a new hotel (we paid an additional $2000 each when we finally found a hotel with vacancy), and finally hung up the phone on me (THREE TIMES) when I asked to speak with a supervisor. I would have settled on speaking to someone with at least a rudimentary knowledge of the English language.

I tell everyone I know to avoid this airline if possible and I will never, ever, fly with them again. Their conduct was inexcusable. Their inability to handle a situation like a snowstorm (in March, fairly predictable) without alienating and greatly inconveniencing their customers is laughable, at best, and criminal, at worst.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

S.M. December 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

That's standard for all airlines. Duh, they don't pay for hotels or do much of anything for you if you're delayed for weather. What exactly did you want them to do for you?


Geoff December 28, 2009 at 4:03 am

Yep – standard practice.

It took use two nights, three days to return from Orlando one year due to bad weather in Boston. The airline actually paid for one night hotel stay in D.C. – we footed the next night. Actually, we felt pretty lucky they paid for the hotel in D.C.


MJ December 28, 2009 at 5:09 am

Wait, so you now refuse to fly this airline because they can't control the weather or because they refused to fly you home despite dangerous conditions? Airlines are not required to be your mommy and daddy and make all your arrangements for you in weather emergencies. I'm not that much older than a college student and wouldn't have those expectations.


madachode December 28, 2009 at 5:24 am

Einstein, look at your airline ticket, they are not responsible for the weather!


Jodi December 28, 2009 at 5:32 am

Okay well no they shouldn't pay for the hotel room but they could help you find a hotel. And they could be a lot nicer and not hang up on you 3 times when you ask for a supervisor.


Beans December 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

I think they could have at least flown you out of DR, then you would have had cheaper hotels and a few more options until you were able to get back home. They should have put you on one of the many flights to Florida at the very least.


meme December 28, 2009 at 9:45 am

I guess service reps are also supposed to work as Travelocity or Expedia reps. You coukd hve contacted them yourselves, because how on earth is a airline rep going to know what hotels are in the DM ? Weather is an act of God, not a flight from hell. I agree could have gotten you back to Miami or Atlanta, but not responsible for your vacation request. Do you not watch weather reports while traveling? Damn, and I went to college during the wrong decade.Dominican Republic? No wonder student loans repayments are so high.


Jim December 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

Not a fan of the airline either…but, as most others have pointed out….the weather is out of the control of the airline….it is not their financial responsibility to extend your stay at a hotel because of weather, controlled by God, Mother Nature, or whatever you believe in. True, in better times….good customer service agents would have been more polite….and, may have went above and beyond to help you find a place to stay. But, that is really not their job….but, would be a good gesture of a good employee or company.

That's the breaks kid….get used to it….not everything always works in your favor….so, roll with it. Heck, you got to stay a few more days on vacation….suck it up, stay at a hostel…


wodoggie December 30, 2009 at 4:23 am

If you each paid an additional $2000 dollars for hotels and other materials why didn't you just purchase new plane tickets with a different airline. It probably would have been cheaper and at least you could have gotten to a state or city closer to your destination. Sounds like a bunch of kids with no common sense. Also, you're in a foreign country. They don't have to speak English if they don't want.


Hawaiian December 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

Sounds like a bunch of B.S. and exaggerations to me…

1. Who pays $1,000 per person to get to the Dominican Republic? B.S.!

2. American Airlines told you that your flight would not take off for 4 days because of a weather related delay? B.S. you would have had to spend four full days in the airport as flights tried to depart through out the days.

3. You paid an additional $2,000 per person for accommodations as a result of the four day weather delay? B.S. again!

4. I can fully understand the AA customer service agents hanging up on you three times. You were probably yelling, screaming, cussing and demanding that AA reimburse you for your additional expenses and demanding that AA refund you for your original airfare purchase, hotel stay, food and lost time. No airline can control the weather and all travelers are responsible for their own accommodations and expenses during inclimate weather delays.

5. As an American Airlines Executive Platinum frequent flyer, I'm begging you to never fly American again. I've seen your type bitching and moaning about everything from minor flight delays, demanding different seat assignments to expecting a three course gourmet meal on a two hour flight. You guys are also the people who walk barefoot into the lavatories too! Gross, gross, gross…


Kad January 2, 2010 at 5:28 am

My brother and his GF are going to DM in February for a week, and paying about $1200 per person. I guess it depends on what kind of resort you want to stay in (and also flights from Canada are a little more expensive).

Aside from that, I agree with you. No airline cancels flights for 4 days because of weather…..Here in London, Ontario yesterday, whiteout conditions meant only 90% of landings and departures were on time. The rest were delayed, except for one Delta flight, which was cancelled.

If someone was screaming and yelling at me, I would probably hang up the phone too.

This story has all the hallmarks of either a fabrication or a very spoiled little rich kid. $2000 in additional expenses?!? Get thee to another airline ticket counter. For $2000 each they could have flown to Asia or Australia. Perhaps next time the whining OP should do so.


Bob December 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I think I smell a lot of B.S. on this site. I also think that the author of this fantasy is full of poopie.


Laura December 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

My husbands flight from Seattle to Bozeman was delayed for 24 hrs and AA put him and his travel buddy up in 2 hotel rooms for the night and gave them each a $15 voucher to use for breakfast the next morning. I don’t see why they extended that courtesy to them and not to someone else.

Also, that must have been one hell of a snow storm for flights to be cancelled for four entire days LOL


Hawaiian December 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Was your husbands delay weather or mechanical related? Airlines won't pay for anything if it's a weather delay…


Laura December 31, 2009 at 6:00 am

Well, they were delayed at first due to a mechanical failure (they would have been on the next flight out of Seattle which was 3 hrs later than his original connection) but once they got the new plane ready to be boarded, a storm hit Bozeman and that is what ultimately caused the long delay. I'm not sure if they compenated because if it had not of been for the mechanical failure – they would have been in right before this storm hit, or not. In any case we did not have to pay for that night in an expensive airport hotel room! 🙂 🙂


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