False Claim About Flight Cancellations

October 13, 2019

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Living in South Dakota, I totally understand that the weather can cause travel issues. I also completely get that when extreme weather happens, it is beyond anyone’s control. This is not a story complaining about a simple weather issue. My anger is about being lied to, and the airline condoning dishonesty with their staff.

We were supposed to fly from RAP (Rapid City, South Dakota) to DFW, and then on to Sydney, Australia for our annual trip across the globe. Make no mistake, despite everyone wishing me a wonderful vacation, it’s not a vacation. These trips are always family trips. We stay with family, and visit family. My husband is expected, and rightly so, to spend all of his time with his grown children, elderly parents, and old friends. It’s always stressful, but that’s OK. It is what it is, but what it is not is a vacation. Anyway, on with the story.

Winter storms this early in the season are not unheard of, but not typical either. When we heard the forecast calling for anywhere from one to six inches on the day we were to fly out, we were concerned. I kept my eyes on flight info.

Last night I had an email from American Airlines saying that the weather could affect our flight, and said we could reschedule. I tried. We could have left that night, flown to DFW, and stayed overnight until we could board our flight to Sydney. I am not against sleeping in airports. Unfortunately, clicking the link produced a message saying that there were no flights available to change. OK. We figured that IF our flight was cancelled, we would be delayed 24 hours at the most. I kept watch over the flight info, but really didn’t stress too much.

When we got up this morning, there was about an inch of snow on the ground. Since it really wasn’t sticking, I figured we would be OK, but I still kept an eye on flight info. Everything said that the flight status was “On Time.”

Since it was an international trip, we had to be at the airport three hours before our initial flight. No problem. Our flight was supposed to take off at 1:30 pm. This means we would have to leave the house at 10:00 am. No problem. At 9:50 am, I received a blizzard of messages and emails advising me that my flight has been cancelled. One email told me to call to reschedule, but offered no phone number. I Googled that and found a local number for American Airlines. I called it.

The gentleman who answered seemed very nonchalant. “Yeah your flight’s cancelled. I can’t get you to Dallas until Saturday at 5:30 pm.”

Today is Thursday. I was shocked. “What? SATURDAY?”

He told me that no one had any flights in or out of RAP today because “all flights in or out of here are cancelled for today.” OK, I get that. He explained that he could get me to Dallas Saturday, and that was that. Take it or leave it.

I told him that Dallas was not our destination, Sydney was, and it wouldn’t do me any good. He then told me that he could re-route me to Sydney starting Saturday evening. I would go from Rapid City to Denver, then to Phoenix, then to LAX, then to Dallas, then to Sydney the next day.

I then asked if they could put me on another airline, and he said, “Like I said, all flights are cancelled. No one is getting in or out.” I handed the phone to my husband, and he handled the rest of the call. Basically, he told my husband that there was no way on earth we were getting to Sydney unless it was his cross-country spider web of flights. He told my husband that he could “call American Airlines.” Um, I did call American Airlines. Who was I talking to?????

We found an 800 number and called that. We both called, doing that race to see who could get a human being on the line first. He won. He was speaking to a rep as I was waiting for a callback. As my husband was explaining our predicament to the customer service rep on the 800 number, I posted on Facebook that since all flights in and out of RAP are cancelled, we would not be flying out today. A friend of mine who works at RAP replied that only a couple of American Airlines flights have been cancelled today, and that all others were on time. He even posted a photo of the flight board to prove it.

Just then my phone rang. It was the AA call back. I explained to the rep about the weather cancellation, and that my husband was currently on the phone sorting it. I told her about how the AA rep in Rapid City had lied to me.

“If there are no flights available until Saturday, then it’s the same thing,” she said.

I said, no, it’s not. He said that all flights were cancelled. That’s not true. That was a lie.

“He just said it differently,” she said.

I replied, “He didn’t say it differently, he lied. I can handle it if there is nothing available. I can’t handle being lied to. It is insulting my intelligence. I can see that you don’t understand what I am saying, but I guess that’s OK. I just wanted to pass along what happened.”

She was quiet for a moment. “No, I understand what you said, ma’am. He just said it different. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

NOPE. I thanked her for her help and ended the call.

I was pissed. I took to Twitter, even though I hadn’t used it in at least a couple of years. I tagged AA in a tweet saying that one of their reps lied to me about the whole airport being closed. They responded by saying something about there being no flights available due to weather. Duh. I get it, but that’s not what I’m upset about. I’m upset because he LIED TO ME. American Airlines apologized for the confusion, and showed me a link to where I can find current flight info. They don’t care.

My flight should have been taking off as I am writing this, if it weren’t cancelled. There is about two inches of snow in my yard, and the streets are a bit slushy. Maybe we will be able to leave Saturday. Fingers crossed!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John October 14, 2019 at 7:30 am

I haven't flown United in 20 years because their ticket agent lied to me about how he was re-routing me, leaving me stranded in Chicago overnight rather than leaving me in Atlanta (where I would have preferred to stay so I didn't have to bivouac).

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