Airline Refuses to Accommodate Stuck Travelers

September 11, 2013

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Here is just a glimpse of the nightmare that we went through which was created by American Eagle Airline. After arriving at Chicago from Miami, we proceeded to our gate to connect to our final destination. While walking to our gate, we noticed that it was raining. It didn’t last long, and actually by the time we got to the gate it pretty much stopped raining. Well, this is where it all began.

Our flight was delayed for 1 hour, then 2 hours, then 45 minutes, and so on…. Basically after waiting for our flight for over 5 1/2 hours, our flight was canceled. We were told by an American Eagle Airline agent, who immediately left, to form a line to re-book our flight. Well, we stood there for about an hour without anyone from American Eagle Airline being there to help us. When the agent finally arrived (mind you, it was about 1:30 in the morning), she was surprised that no one helped us. Two lucky passengers were able to get their flights re-booked for the morning flight. However, the rest of the group had been told that flights to our final destination were completely booked and they couldn’t help us. We were offered a flight on 9/2, which was 2 days later.

We asked the agent from American Eagle Airline to see if they could arrange our flight with a different airline; they refused. They were gracious enough to make a hotel reservation; however, they refused to pay either for a hotel ($81.03) or for transportation to and from the hotel ($110.00 to the hotel and $35.00 from hotel to airport).

The agent told us to go to the American Eagle Airline baggage area to claim our luggage as it was waiting for us there. When we got to the baggage area, we asked an agent at American Eagle Airline’s counter if this was the place to claim my luggage for flight number 2909. She said yes, and I needed to wait in line to get my luggage. With the hope of getting my bag, we waited in line for about 45 minutes only to find out I could get my luggage not now, but after 7 am. I asked her why she didn’t tell me this information when I asked her the first time. What was the purpose of me standing in line for?

Without any explanation, the agent replied that if I wanted my luggage, be here at 7 am. Mind you, it was 3 am. I proceeded to ask, since I paid my luggage fee, if it would be possible for it to be delivered to its final destination. She said they would try, but couldn’t guarantee when it would arrive, or if it would arrive. Well, without my belongings (toothbrush/paste, change of clothes, etc.), just a purse, we took a taxi to the hotel which was reserved for us by American Eagle Airline. We got to the hotel around 3:30 am and were lucky enough to have computer access, which was helpful in finding a flight from Chicago to our final destination with Delta Airlines.

Called American Eagle Airline to see if they could accommodate our flight to Sioux Falls by Delta, upon which they refused once more. The long and short of the unfortunate story is that we made it to our final destination a day later than planned, exhausted and over $700 out of my pocket spent, not counting the very valuable time wasted. Even though American Eagle Airline is cheap, I would suggest in the future staying away from them; I know I will. This trip was an absolute financial, physical and emotional drain.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Weetniet September 12, 2013 at 7:16 am

In Europe, the airline is obligated to take care of you in the event of delays and/or cancellations, even if it is not the airline's fault. How strange this is not the case in USA! To avoid such costs, take a continuous travel and cancellation insurance that will cover such events.


Adam Smith June 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

Euope is civilized; there is respect for people. In America, you are just a consumer, and the respect is solely for the dollar and "free" market.


Michael L.S. January 2, 2015 at 7:59 am

It's partly the customers' fault: People just bend over and take it. Why don't passengers form pressure groups and engage in class action suits against airlines? THe airlines lobby like pros; there's next to nothing from passengers. The E.U. regulations didn't just happen out of the clear blue skies; it took YEARS of fighting through congresspeople and courts to get these regulations in place. And even now, there are still major loopholes in them.

But also, there are just SOOOOOOO many people taking to the skies these days that the airlines KNOW they can get away with shafting a few. What are you going to do: Not fly with them anymore? Big deal! They lose you, they have have five others who'll take your place. Unfortunately, they feel (indeed, they KNOW) they can mistreat a considerable proportion of their customers without adverse effects on their bottom lines…


Longtime reader September 13, 2013 at 9:39 am

It *is* the case that US airlines are obligated to take care of passengers. However, it seems that most are using weather as an excuse when a flight is cancelled, which I believe lets them out of some of the obligations. They're probably counting on psasengers not wanting to put out the effort to fight them for what should be given out.


Anthony July 19, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Do your research and find out what the delay was for, and if it was due to the airline’s fault (servicing, mechanical, crew scheduling, etc) write and email and attempt to be reimbursed for the hotel. I doubt they will reimburse for the taxi, but you can try. That’s dumb that they wouldn’t rebook you on a different airline, assuming Delta or United fly out of there.


Traveler1 December 31, 2015 at 8:09 pm

In Australia, the airline automatically rebooks everybody on the cancelled (or sometimes even delayed) flight onto another IMMEDIATE flight, and they give you a ton of information including texts, e-mails and so on. Some even hand out food vouchers. They certainly would if the wait was 5 hours (although they wouldn't wait that long to cancel or make other arrangements)


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