American Lied To Me About Why My Flight Was Canceled

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Yesterday I was scheduled to fly American from Santa Barbara to Dallas to Detroit. I didn’t make it to my destination on American — instead I had to just book a separate ticket on Delta — and I got lied to in the process. Let me explain.

The past couple of days have been rough for American

First let me acknowledge that American has had a couple of really tough days when it comes to weather. On Saturday there were storms in Dallas (including hail storms), causing significant cancelations.

Then the East Coast had terrible weather yesterday.

That’s not American’s fault, though I’ll note that the problem with American is that they’re barely holding it together on a good day. So on a bad day, you can imagine what their operations look like. For example, here’s what their customer service line looked like at DFW last night when I was there:

Get reimbursed for expenses during a travel delay!

American lying about the cause of a cancelation 

Yesterday afternoon my Santa Barbara to Dallas flight was only a little bit delayed. Everything was looking good with my connection when I landed, and the plane scheduled to operate the flight arrived on time.

But then delays started posting — the 8:41PM flight from Dallas to Detroit showed a 9:30PM departure. I headed to the Admirals Club and assumed this was a crewing issue, since the plane was there, it didn’t look like there were any mechanics, and the weather was fine.

Soon enough that 9:30PM departure slipped to 10:30PM — at this point we were looking at arriving in Detroit after 2AM.

I went up to the Admirals Club agent to ask what was going on.

“It looks like the delay is due to crew. Your pilots are here, while the flight attendants are coming in from LaGuardia.”

Then about 15 minutes later I got a notification on my phone that the flight canceled. I went back up to the same Admirals Club agent for help rebooking. The guy was nice enough, though the next flight he could rebook me on was nearly 24 hours later, and that’s including any itineraries with an extra connection.

I then asked about getting a hotel voucher. There’s an important distinction when it comes to weather delays and hotel vouchers:

  • If your flight is directly delayed due to weather, you’re not entitled to a hotel voucher
  • If your flight is delayed due to a knock-on effect of weather (like American not having the right crew in the right place), you are entitled to a hotel voucher

In this case my flight wasn’t canceled due to weather (the weather was fine in Dallas and Detroit), but rather was canceled due to lack of available crew, and because the airline hasn’t gotten their operations back to normal yet.

Anyway, the guy spent about 20 minutes trying to get me a hotel voucher. Nowadays the way it works is that the agent sends you an email with a link where you can book a hotel, but it simply wouldn’t work. The guy tried and tried and tried.

“Oh, I see the problem now. The notes say that the flight was canceled due to weather conditions at the destination.”

“Well we know that’s not true, you just told me a little bit ago that the flight was delayed due to crew, and it’s obvious they just timed out.”

“I know, I agree with you. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do.”

So the guy agreed American was lying to me, and he wasn’t empowered to undo that.

I was on my computer at this point looking for other options for getting to Detroit, and decided to book a Delta ticket there, since I couldn’t be delayed by 24 hours.

“Could you go ahead and just cancel the ticket and request a refund for a portion of the ticket, because the new schedule won’t work for me. I’ll just book a separate ticket on Delta since you guys don’t have an interline agreement with them.”

“I can’t do that either. You have to contact customer service to do that.”

Bottom line

Bad weather happens, and while I think American isn’t as well equipped as some other airlines to handle operational challenges, all of this is to be expected.

What I can’t wrap my head around is how American puts frontline employees in a position where they have to outright lie to passengers. The same guy who told me that my flight was delayed due to crew had to tell me a short while later that my flight was delayed due to weather in Detroit.

He knew that wasn’t true, I knew that wasn’t true, and worst of all, he wasn’t empowered to fix it.

And American wonders why only 28% of employees feel favorably towards the statement “leaders at American listen and seek to understand the frontline team member experience.” How can you take pride in your job when you have to lie to customers like this? Obviously this is just a very tiny part of what’s wrong with the relations American has with their employees.

Lastly, let me just note that no wonder the general public hates flying. I’m really lucky —

But could you imagine standing in that customer service line for hours on end, only to be told there’s nothing they can do to help you?

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Comments

  1. Even if you don;t have status, can’t you just buy a Admirals club day pass? Surely 50$ would be better than standing in line for hours?

  2. We tried to book 5 round trip tickets yesterday for our family to fly non stop to Dallas, the website was malfunctioning and trying to charge us $10k for the trip which was suppose to cost $2k. So we called in 4 times only to be told the hold times for customer service are too long and to call back later….. Line Disconnected.

    No thanks! Will fly Delta or United.

  3. @ Lucky As I was reading I was already asking myself why you would choose AA for this itinerary instead of DL with their dominance in DTW and significant presence at DFW coupled with your free-agency. Delta to the rescue!

    My guess is Delta got you to Detroit on time and with a friendly smile or two along the way.

  4. Something similar happened to me a while ago. I was on a flight to Phoenix (no bad weather at Dallas or Phoenix), and we boarded fine.
    Then the dreaded phone call came, and shortly after the pilot announced we had a short delay because of a mechanical issue. mechanics came on board and fiddled around for a bit, eventually shook their heads and walked off. The pilot came back on and said the flight was cancelled because they couldn’t fix the issue. They would send new metal.
    New metal never came.
    I called american and asked for a refund – only to be told that i wasn’t due one because it was a weather issue! I was flabbergasted!!

  5. This is precisely why I rely on travel insurance (currently through my credit card). To be able to just divert to a hotel knowing that the costs will be reimbursed and avoid the long customer service lines and sort it out in the comfort of a room is worth a lot to me.

  6. @DLPTATL – obviously you didnt read the post. Lucky started his journey in Santa Barbara, California. This is a city Delta doesn’t serve. So given that he was flying from Santa Barbara to Detroit, he couldnt fly Delta, as they dont fly to Santa Barbara. If he had JUST been flying from Dallas to Detroit perhaps he could have flown Delta, but he wasnt. Details matter.

  7. Just fly Delta, man. Given it seems like you earn OneWorld status primarily through international flights and/or redeem for most of your other flights, I would fly more Delta if I were you. I understand out of Miami that you will generally fly American, but anywhere else, just fly Delta.

  8. Luckily, AA won’t have to worry about losing you as a customer. They know despite all your complaints (if they bother to read it) you will STILL give them business. Nothing to see here, business as usual

  9. With the credit card insurance to get reimbursed for your hotel, wouldn’t you need proof that the flight was cancelled due to lack of crew members? AA would provide proof that the flight was cancelled due to weather.

  10. American blames every single delay on weather. EVERY SINGLE ONE!!! Let’s all send a message to them.

  11. @ Alonzo — Nope, Citi’s delay coverage reimburses hotel costs if the delay is caused by the airline for any reason, including weather.

  12. Why you insist flying AA? Just move the dark side and fly Delta. If you don’t have status you will be treated like any human being should be treated. If you make to Diamond you will be treated like a king.

  13. The only reason airlines are able to get away with the weather excuse is a powerful lobby and consequently poor consumer protection laws. 261/2004 in EU is really great in this regard

  14. DFW was a hot mess on Saturday . My flight from TPA-PHX was cancelled, not sure the reason. They reroute me to DFW, big mistake. Rebooked me on 3 diff flights and all ended up cancelled. Long story short, I dropped my last segment and bought a one way ticket on SW to fly to California.

  15. The entire airline is run like crap from top to bottom. Hopefully this press and your video gets picked up by larger outlets and passed around. I think all of us can understand that weather happens, it’s disruptive and we all have to deal with it from time to time. However, the executive team and everyone that has a say in the gross mismanagement of operations at AA should be ashamed of themselves.

  16. Wait – what happened to James? No longer listed as a contributor and I havent seen him on here for a long time. Did he go away? Did I miss an announcement?

  17. Mildly related — would you consider writing a post guiding readers on how to use the trip delay/cancellation coverage on different credit cards? I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to do it on my CSP after a significantly delayed flight this past summer and I feel like it would be a useful post.

  18. @ Santastico — I absolutely would have, but Delta doesn’t fly to Santa Barbara. I didn’t want to drive all the way to LAX just to fly out of there on Delta, especially since I wasn’t renting a car.

  19. Lucky – Yeah, I just checked and am somewhat surprised that Delta doesn’t fly to Santa Barbara either from Detroit or from Salt Lake City.

  20. @ Rene @ Gary Leff — Grrr, totally forgot about that. I specifically asked the agent about the interline agreement with Delta and if I could be rebooked on them, but he said no. I should have pushed, but I forgot this was a thing.

  21. How in the world is this news? Airlines lying to passengers has been the way things have been done since deregulation in the 70s. It’s not unique to American. THEY ALL DO IT.

  22. But could you imagine standing in that customer service line for hours on end, only to be told there’s nothing they can do to help you?

    Uh yeah I think most adults can

  23. PLANE simple truth I will fly out of my way to avoid AA. I had to fly to Palm Springs from PHX one time and I flew through LA and changed and paid 70 bucks more so that I would avoid AA.

  24. Renting a car + 1 DL flight seems so much less stressful than dealing with 2 or possibly more AA flights.

  25. I generally travel based on the rule that if the flight is delayed more than 90 mins and it’s past 9pm, then I’m staying the night wherever it is, and immediately rebook out on the first flight the following morning. Beats the rush when they finally do cancel and everyone is trying to rebook

  26. I will be moving for a new job in the Fall, and I had a choice between two locations. One is near a Delta hub and another near an American hub. Boy am I glad that I’ll be going to the location near the Delta hub. Based on your articles, it looks like American is the worst domestic airline, and it’s not even close!

  27. I have gotten rebooked on both delta and united in cases like this a few times.

    It’s definitely one of those cases where you need to have status and know what to ask for. They will almost never offer!

  28. @Jason – Completely agree, Lucky should have driven to LAX and flown direct to DTW on Delta…though if I found myself flying AA with rolling delays out of DFW trying to get to DTW I would have pulled the rip cord right away and fought with AA on the refund later (which was my point), but I’m a corporate traveler who can’t/won’t let myself be held hostage by AA and their dishonesty/incompetence. Most trips I’m in a city for less than 24 hours, a 24 hour delay would negate the reason for the trip in the first place.

  29. one way car rental to LAX+nonstop DL to DTW is less time than connecting in DFW even ontime.

    one-way car rental greatly increases options for non-stops ….

  30. As long as they aren’t held financially accountable, airlines do as they please and will blame things on others, weather, etc. Obviously AA is getting penalized a bit with their lack luster financial results but that hasn’t caused them to change.

    About a year ago a plane was having windshield issues and heard numerous fixes and endured constant 15-30 minute delays. This went on from 5:30PM until nearly midnight when we finally took off from BWI to PHX. I was dead by the time I reached AZ since it was morning east coast time and very late even in AZ, 2am or something like that.

    We had another issue in PHX on another trip and someone was talking to the GA and he stated that he rarely gets useful information from AA.

  31. Does anyone know if you can file a DOT complaint when the airline outright lies? Especially in the case of the person above who said the pilot announced the flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue but the flight was later coded as being cancelled due to weather?

  32. Hi Everyone,

    Please check out the Facebook pages ‘I hate American Airlines.’ There are stories all day everyday that makes this one look minor.
    I have over $2000 in vouchers and over 322,000 mikes and still pay other airlines for my travel needs.

  33. Yep, can confirm that AA has the ability to rebook pax on DL in the event of an issue within their control. Happened to me back during the PSA Airlines computer fiasco and the gate agent proactively found the space on DL and handed me a paper ticket to take over to the DL gate after a lot of typing and a call to the Delta counter. Sounds like you got a bad agent.

  34. My wife is in and out of Santa Barbara from BOS/PVD. We always use DL/B6 to LAX. Then rental car or Santa Barbara Airbus. Doesn’t matter if AA has flights to SBA. Always use LAX if not every just count on AA gifting you an unplanned 24+ hour layover.

  35. It’s fraud. The only reason they offer you compensation if the flight is cancelled is due to regulations pushed by Ralph Nader. They get around that by lying, which s fraud.

    Has happened to me multiple times going to FAT.

    “Your flight is cancelled due to weather”. BS. There is no bad weather in Phoenix or in Fresno. The problem is your crew is stuck somewhere else, and that shouldnt be my problem.

  36. I got caught up in this as well. I was in the mess of ORD yesterday and the freak snow storm that hit and, quite frankly, caught American completely unprepared. Compounded with the DFW issues the day before and the place was an operational hot mess. 1000 flights were canceled at ORD, including my connecting flight to Denver. I know they were not suspecting this as they had no warning of the potential and boarded me in DC to Chicago without any concern. The pilots even said just light snow is forecasted. It turned into a full on five hours of snow that at times were nearly white out conditions with high winds. No one was prepared.

    There were, and I am not exaggerating, lines down the H concourse from security to the end of the concourse for rebooking. Admirals Club had at least 200 people waiting as well. I just grabbed an Uber and a hotel as there was no way I was waiting around for that. I called American and waited 6 hours for the call back…this as an exec plat. All I got was an offer for a flight on Thursday as everything else was now booked to Denver, even with connections, until then. I ended up buying a ticket on United for their first available flight on Tuesday. And of course, they will not refund me the unused portion of the ticket because it was weather related.

    As a side note, there were at least 20 American aircraft that were stuck on the tarmac for over 3 hours with passengers so at least I know (or hope) that they will get some nice fines to pay for being completely unprepared for this snow event.

  37. I actually had it happen to me before too. I had a delay back in January, EF showed maintenance, I decided to call a trip in vain. When I emailed customer service, they wrote back saying I wasn’t entitled a refund coz the delay was caused by, you guessed it, weather! Like wtf American

  38. Once I received a hotel voucher from AA because I couldn’t make a connection in CLT due to weather. Though it happened in May 2015 when the airline was still US Airways.

  39. I hadn’t realized DL had discontinued their SBA-SLC service. I used that lot back when I lived in Santa Barbara.

    Ultimately, AA continues to be a disappointing carrier, but I find DFW to be, consistently, the least reliable hub airport in the country. It has a huge number of weather related issues and AA is not well equipped to recover from them.

  40. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to report this story. I might have been surprised by it had it not happened to me in much the same way. In my case, a delay that was caused by an equipment problem that later got blamed on the weather, which became a factor only due to the slipped departure time.

    Due to being proactive and knowing options on other carriers, I was able to get a nice amount of miles for my inconvenience plus get switched to a nonstop flight later that Friday night from one that had a connection. It appeared that other folks who weren’t as aggressive got nothing, except possibly a hotel room and a long itinerary on a Saturday.

  41. I’m so glad you went public with this.

    I was on a flight from Rome to DFW and we had to stop in Kansas City to refuel because, as the pilot explained, we had plenty of fuel to get to DFW but since DFW was closed as we were approaching, we did not have enough fuel to circle DFW indefinitely.

    Our connecting flight was a short hop from Dallas but it was delayed a few times and then cancelled. However, both pilots and full crew were standing at the gate when the announcement was made so they got on the phone with AA and argued that they had a plane, they had fuel, they had pilots, they had crew and they had passengers. AA refused to let the flight leave.

    The hold time with customer service was 1 hour so we checked into a hotel and continued calling, even as we were holding and calling on other phones the wait time according to their phone announcement went up to 5 hours.

    I slept 5 hours and booked a flight on Southwest Airlines for 7 AM. As we were taking off, American Airlines customer service returned my call. I couldn’t answer.

    I’ve been home for 26 hours now and still have not been able to get American Airlines on the phone. But I did notice that for my convenience, they have booked me on a flight from Dallas for 4:30 pm today – almost 48 hours after my last cancellation. I won’t be on it.

    American did manage to get my luggage to my destination, it was waiting for me when I deplaned my Southwest flight.

    American Airlines owes me about $600.

    And, thank you Southwest, for running such a reliable airline!

  42. This is business as usual for American. As a business traveler who flies MWF every week with them, this is par for the course. It is like they train their staff at their facility in Dallas to directly and knowingly lie to the customer. I even witnessed a gate agent at IAD break a phone when he slammed it down 6 weeks ago and told a line of cancelled flight customers to get out of his face. I recently saw a post where the CEO of AA was flying first class and had drinks spilled on him. I doubt he Evers misses a flight, connection, or flies anything beyond row 6.

  43. “First let me acknowledge that American has had a couple of really tough days when it comes to weather. On Saturday there were storms in Dallas (including hail storms), causing significant cancelations. Then the East Coast had terrible weather yesterday…”

    If LGA-DFW flight that your crew was on was delayed due to weather, wouldn’t that make your flight’s lack of staffing weather-related? I mean, I hate airlines as much as anybody but still…

  44. The writer of this rant makes the implication that unavailable crew-members and weather events are mutually exclusive, and proceeds to accuse American of lying about it. Much of the time (in fact most of the time), a weather event causes both things to happen together, crews not making it to flights, and flights being delayed or cancelled. That’s because crews get stranded just like passengers, and when their flight is late or cancelled, they don’t make it to the downline station where perhaps there is a good airplane, and good weather, but no crew available. Operating a huge airline is incredibly complex with many moving pieces operating simultaneously and in sequence. Weather events will severely wreak havoc on any airline.

  45. Sorry for double post – let me stipulate up front that I have no idea what I’m talking about, but if you look at AA flights from LGA-DFW yesterday on FlightAware (for example), there doesn’t seem to be any LGA-DFW flight that would have been delayed in a way for any reason that would affect your DFW-DTW flight… #1056 arrived on time, #1263 was cancelled but would have gotten in way to early for the crew to then work your DTW flight… even on schedule the super-delayed #1608 would have arrived too late for the crew to staff DFW-DTW… if somebody wants to let me know what obvious fact/factor I’m missing, feel free, I’m very curious…

  46. @Lucky – do you have a source for the difference in weather cancelations (direct vs. indirect)? I’m very interested in this.

  47. @ Jason @ Rob @ Jake — Sorry, this has come several times in the past two months, and we’ve tried to address it every time, so I think we thought everyone knew by now. James (quite suddenly, we were as surprised as anyone) decided to pursue other opportunities, so is no longer here.

  48. Lying happens all the time. The new norm is that they can cancel due to weather if there is bad weather anywhere in the US but not involving the origin, destination, or intended aircraft. AA has done that to me before.

    Someday, the standard will become even more lax. “Cancel due to weather” will mean bad weather anywhere on Earth within the past 7 days.

  49. I’m a free agent when it comes to flying these days, but when I think about it, I’m actually more of a “reverse elite.” That means that instead of going out of my way to fly one particular airline, I go out of my way to AVOID one particular airline. And that’s of course American Airlines.

  50. @ David S — There’s nothing publicly published about this, but in terms of how the airline views it, there’s a difference between a flight delayed directly by weather, and one delayed due to lack of available crew, aircraft, etc. For example, Europe has a similar distinction when it comes to EU261 compensation.

  51. @ William — Two points:
    — The agent specifically told me the flight was canceled due to weather in Detroit, which isn’t true
    — While it’s true it’s indirectly related to weather, there is an important distinction there; American clearly didn’t have enough reserve flight attendants on hand, which could have prevented this, for example

  52. AA 40 LAX-SAT was cancelled too yesterday on my way to the airport. They said due to weather although weather was perfect in LAX and SAT. They offered to rebook me for a flight 48 hours later. Absolutely pathetic airline. I ended up booking UA out of SNA today. 12.5k miles. Totally a breeze with UA and their agents. I rarely ever fly AA and usually Star Alliance only and now I know why. Now I have to put in a request for a refund. AA should just stop pretending to be an airline and close up shop.

  53. I really hope you got to fly on one of Delta’s new A220s as I heard they recently started flying DFW-DTW route.

  54. @ William @ Todd — Of course, but the specific designation of “canceled due to weather conditions at the destination” is what limited compensation options. There are other rules surrounding knock-on effects of weather.

  55. I have been critical of American for many years, even though I have Lifetime Platinum status with them. They like to mislead and outright lie to their customers. This article is just another example of it. When they are caught in the lie, like I have caught them or like this article documents, their personnel at the gate, airport, lounge generally are not empowered to address the problem, even if they know it is a lie.

    Eventually it gets addressed, after I speak with a VP or supervisor, but it shouldn’t be necessary for any customer, let alone one with status, to have to make additional calls to someone else to fix a problem that the airline created through their lies. It is really sad that my favorite airline has gotten this bad.

  56. I am embarassed. I was aggravated last week when my AA trip from Montreal to RDU last took over 13 hours. This featured an unplanned, excruciatingly long stay at LGA, shuttling between terminals while listening to constantly changing rubbish (updates) from AA reps.

    I should be grateful – at least I reached my destination on the day promised.

  57. Exact same thing happened to me yesterday SNA-DFW. Plane made it from Chicago, but there was no crew. I was told it was weather related and no compensation. Thankfully I have Admirals club and priority status so I was able to rebook fairly easily. Just wondering now if I try to call then out and get some sort of compensation for my trouble.

  58. Two thoughts:

    1.) Wouldn’t this have fallen under trip *cancellation* insurance since the airline was claiming weather? Then your credit card’s insurance policy reimburses hotel, cost of new flight, etc.

    2.) The Santa Barbara Air Bus is an amazing, convenient and comfortable way to get straight to LAX for a reasonable fee. Highly recommend!

  59. Ben, pretty much everyone leaving Chicago yesterday was given the next soonest option of flying out on Tuesday, a full 48 hours later. My mom was supposed to be flying First Class direct to MIA, and the best they could come up with was ORD-CLT-FLL, all legs in economy, with my mom getting in over 48 hours later than scheduled. I have requested a full refund on the whole ticket so let’s see what happens.

  60. Lucky,

    I too was impacted by American Airlines inability to get out of their own way operationally. I arrived in DFW from Sydney on Saturday afternoon. My 7 pm connection to DCA was delayed and ultimately canceled at 10:30 pm. I paid for a hotel that night, and American rebooked my for Sunday afternoon through Raleigh at 2:25 pm. They canceled that flight at 1:00 pm Sunday without explanation and rebooked me for a Monday morning departure from DFW. The lines for a service agent at the airport were hundreds of people long and going nowhere fast. I called the dedicated “Platinum Pro” line for American and the message stated they would call me back sometime after two hours as they couldn’t handle the call volume. I went online and found several options for American Airline flights out of DFW to get me to DCA on Sunday. I bought a new ticket and left that afternoon flying through LGA. I made it home about the same time I would have with the original rebooked flight through Raleigh.
    What I cannot understand is why American Airlines was stranding passengers in DFW for another night and still selling tickets on their website to get out on Sunday. They should have locked down all flights out of DFW and taken care of their paid passengers who were in substantial pain, instead of trying to make more money selling inflated tickets out of DFW. At the best this demonstrates a broken operational system – at the worst demonstrates a broken leadership that does not care about their customers and only wants to further profit at theircustomers expense. I feel for the front line agents in DFW who were left hanging by their leadership. HBR should do a case study on American Airlines to teach future leaders what failure and ineptitude look like.

  61. Why did you use Chase Sapphire reserve? You get reimbursement after 6 hours? Also other Chase travel cards with trip delay coverage kicks in if overnight stay is required even if it is less than 12 hours. Citi sucks on trip delay coverage for a paid card.

  62. @ Lucky I dont know how deep you are in miami dade county but Fort Lauderdale international airport FLL is an “open” airport and has several airlines that are 1000000000 times better then aa.

  63. @ Lucky – What is best way to request compensation for lost luggage & hotel expenses? I was also stuck in DFW Sat & Sun. We’ll see, but appears that AA lost 2 checked bags. The Customer Service desk scene in term D was absolutely demoralizing. Was connecting from from Seoul in prem eco. Would appreciate any advice re: recouping costs. Thanks!

  64. @Lucky @Tiffany Gotcha, I missed the “destination” point.

    Re: reserve crew, if there is a finite number, are flights ranked in any way in terms of “importance” or (more generously) least damaging to operations? So would overseas flights with more passengers get first dibs on needed reserve crew?

  65. I got stuck overnight twice last year due to AA’s issues. Both times I booked my own full-service hotel and submitted the lodging expense to AA after I got home. Reimbursed both times by check.

  66. I ran into the exact same problem in FLL last night: no weather in FLL or DFW; aircraft at the gate; flight crew on the aircraft — no cabin crew. AA went from On Time to Cancelled 30 minutes before departure because they had no cabin crew. They’d known there would be no crew for hours, so I’m not sure what the end game was.

    Of course, there was no hope getting help from ground staff. Reservations hold time was 2+ hours. With AA, you’re on your own. Flying AA these days is like buying a car at a police seizure blind auction. You never know what will happen.

    I scrambled and got the last seat on the Southwest flight to Love. It cost me $500 out of pocket, plus the Uber to DFW. Instead of AA F, I was middle seat, non reclining in the last row, but at least Southwest was helpful and they got me there.

    I switched to DL in January and only fly AA now where I have to. I’m going to start driving to Dallas and taking Southwest where the Delta schedule won’t work. Until AA can get it’s act together, it’s just not worth the hassle.

  67. Shouldn’t there be lots of spare AA crew right now since there have been so many flights taken off the schedule due to the 737 MAX grounding? All else being equal, that’s 25 planes worth of crew they can redistribute across the current schedule.

  68. I really dislike the idea of saying the agent or the airline is “lying” to you. American is the largest airline in the world with about 130,000 employees. For someone who travels often I would think you would better appreciate the logistical nightmares that all airlines have to contend with when weather, computer failures or, most recently, entire fleets are grounded.
    From my experience, no airline intentionally lies. What customers assume incorrectly is that everyone everywhere working for an airline is kept up-to-date in real time and they know things but aren’t sharing this information. Decisions are made at the operations centers as fast as they can to keep the operation running. And decisions get changed repeatedly as they deal with changing scenarios.
    American Airlines had approximately 64 aircraft taken out of service at DFW due to the hailstorm the day before. That’s on top of the already 24 737 MAX grounded planes causing 115 daily cancellations as it was.
    I was at LAX and was told that my flight to Hawaii was delayed. Then they said they plane was rescheduled to it’s original time. Did they lie to me? Twice? We left on time at the originally scheduled time.
    What happened in my case? Apparently the mechanics were able to return an aircraft to service sooner as they work across the system to get all the planes back in service as the damage and issues of the last few days is addressed. The aircraft was brought over from the hanger.
    Does American Airlines have negative issues? Definitely. However, to accuse American Airlines of “lying” to you is a leap. Surely no employee behind the scenes or customer facing intentionally or otherwise decided to lie to you and the thousands of other passengers in binds. It is the result of 130,000 people trying to keep the operation running with the limited glimpse of the larger picture they have. To accuse them of lying is disingenuous of you.

  69. I agree American airlines has gone so far down …along with all the mess the bad attitudes of fellow employees is disgusting I’m embarrassed to say I work there..since becoming the largest airline GREED RUNS THE SHOW ..not customer service and Doug lied to all of us it’s a shame and sad ugly mess

  70. This weekend, there was a terrible hail storm at DFW (damaging dozens of AA’s planes) and a freak, unexpected snowstorm in the Midwest. It is these unexpected, catastrophic events that — obviously — are the hardest for an airline to deal with. And, frankly, in the short term, they will ALWAYS deal poorly with them. I’m sorry, Lucky, that you were inconvenienced by these unfortunate events, but blaming AA for them in this bombastic way is just childish.

  71. BTW, for some needed perspective, here’s what was going on in Dallas and the Midwest over the weekend. Seven thousand people had to sleep in the DFW airport on Saturday night due to the very strong storm. Super tornadoes were tearing through the Midwest. And Lucky thinks he was “lied to” by an airline that couldn’t get him to his destination on time? Maybe that was technically true — stuff tends to get screwed up during an emergency — but this rant is completely ridiculous.

    https://apnews.com/urn:publicid:ap.org:46dd414d9e0e40a1912455fef2465e0c

  72. @ iahphx — I’m sorry that’s how you chose to read what I wrote. I made it pretty clear that crap happens, but you *really* don’t believe that airlines make a habit of blaming weather for any sort of delay? You don’t think I was lied to when the guy read off his computer screen that the cancelation was due to weather at my destination?

    To be clear, I don’t in any way blame frontline employees here. I think most airlines make a habit of encouraging weather to be blamed as much as possible, since it means they’re not responsible. I’m calling them out on that, and frankly I’m shocked there’s anyone who doesn’t think airlines make a habit of this.

  73. I’m pretty sure the Citi Prestige flight delay benefit is 6 hours (rather than 12 as stated in the post). Perhaps a typo

  74. @lucky,

    You used the word “lie” as if AA actively, knowingly, and intentionally gave you the wrong automated information regarding your flight. Although it may feel that way, have you considered to the possibility that it might have been both a crew time-out issue AND a weather delay at your arrival airport. Even if new crew had been found, the weather was not permitting.

    You dont know everything there is to know about airline customer service or operations. Stop playing the victim, click-bait card.

  75. My experience with American at DFW last month: I schedule a ticket from SFO through DFW to my final destination on the AA website. There’s only about 45 minutes between flights, but I figure AA knows what it’s doing, so I book.

    The plane lands at DFW, we all stand up to get off…but after 10 minutes no one’s moving off the plane. Then the pilot comes on: “Ladies and gentlemen: we’re sorry, but the plane door is stuck. We’re working on getting it opened”.

    25 minutes after arriving at the gate, they *finally* get the door open. I and a few other passengers rush to our connecting flight, which is still there, but the gate has just closed. The gate attendant directs us to customer service. We go there, cluster around the rep, explain the situation, and ask for hotel rooms, as there are no more flights that evening. He’s impassive and uncaring. “I have no information here saying the door was stuck”. We insist he call that gate. He does (or pretends to)…”nope, no information about a stuck door”. and no vouchers for us.

    The rep claims the plane landed on time. We ask him if he thinks it’s a little strange that, since that’s the case, we all missed our flights, despite being just a few gates away. Did he think we stopped for cocktails on the way over? He shrugs.

    Fortunately I know a good hotel because three days before *AA caused me to miss this same connection in the other direction*, so two nights of my four night trip were in airport hotels.

    All this time, by the way, the plane is still at the gate. All they had to do was let us on.

    We seethe with collective anger, and swear never to fly AA again. Later I email AA customer service through their website. To my surprise, they comp me 10k miles. Worth about 10% of the cost of my missed day at work due to their mechanical issue, but hey, it was something.

  76. @Lucky – Why keep flying AA if you keep getting bitten every time? I could understand if it was more convenient, but time to switch to Delta or United.

  77. @ keneshhagard — I don’t fly American nowadays when it isn’t the most convenient option. But in this case it absolutely was, and being based in Miami, it often is the most convenient option for me.

  78. A lot of the major delays seem to involve connecting at mega hubs, which get disrupted. Maybe the best way to avoid these issues is to avoid connections when possible? I try to avoid them when I can.

  79. American has directed their agents to never rebook passengers on another airline unless they have a high status (platinum…exec platinum) or it’s like a funeral or a cruise…

    As far as your hotel voucher- crews delayed due to weather is still a weather delay. Sometimes delays get coded wrong and will get fixed later

  80. This is the exact same thing that happened to my husband and me on an AA flight from Dallas to Detroit last December. There was no customer service at all. They knew it was a busy Christmas time and they knew the weather was going to be bad so they should have brought in supervisors to be on hand to walk up and down the 2 hour line to answer questions and act as if AA gave a hoot about the customers. They had cancelled several filled flights and only had one desk with 2 people open. I recently paid $100 more to another airline to avoid flying AA again. Worth every penny.

  81. The thing to do now is complain to the DOT. Airlines only care about DOT complaints. When you care to a representative they don’t really care. It’s their job to care but they have to make money. So complain to the DOT. Let AA know you’re filing a report. And then they will care.

  82. Similar thing happened to me too, about three years ago and I will never fly American again.

    Flying home on a Sunday from Atlanta to DCA. there was an announcement that the flight was cancelled (no weather issues, perfectly sunny, same thing at DCA) After I was informed that my flight was cancelled, I went to the attendant at the gate trying to figure out what I should do. A group of us was given a number to call to rebook and we were told we’d need to leave the gate through a door that ended up being an exit so that made it so we’d have to go back through security. I called the number to re-book my supposed cancelled flight, I was told that the flight wasn’t cancelled by American Airlines representatives on the phone (who were very pleasant despite the awful situation), I asked the AA representative at the airport, in person, if she was positive that my flight was cancelled. She again told me that it was and rudely told me that I would have to re-book. I again called the number that I was told to and again told that “No, my flight was not cancelled”, but that the representatives at the airport would have more up to date information so he would go ahead and re-book my flight to the earliest possible. I was re-booked for a flight at 5:50 am flight the next morning. This left me stranded at the airport for 10 hours, caused me to be extremely tired and very late for work on Monday and without transportation as my ride had to work at that point. I found out later that my original flight that would have arrived at DCA at 9:30pm on Sunday, ACTUALLY TOOK OFF, just 45 min delayed at the next gate over! This whole situation was extremely unnecessary and totally avoidable, but I was definitely lied to about what was going for what I can only imagine was a ruse to help with overbooking and get people off the flight. Although I want charged for an extra ticket, when I reached out later for some sort of explanation, I was given the total run around and eventually dropped it to keep from wasting anymore time as AA clearly doesn’t care about it’s customers.

  83. Same thing happened to my wife and I traveling from Colorado back to Texas. There was no notification until we were literally supposed to board the plane and the announcement was that flight was cancelled due to weather. We had business seats and went to customer service counter and waited 1hour 20 mins to be helped and we were the second people waiting in that line. They had no clue what they were doing and we’re randomly rebooking people. They booked us the very next morning first flight out, but we did not have business class seats and the lady just looked at us and said “oh, I guess your right, but there aren’t any seats so here you go”. Did not inform us of anything. We were furious because the other people behind us went and booked on continental immediately and all the seats were booked when I tried to get a flight out that night. We had to rent another car for inconvenience, and we’re furious waking up at 320am to get a notification our flight was cancelled again. And was rebooked without our knowledge in TWO days. Rediculous, especially since the other airlines we’re flying out and American was not. We called their customer service line and they weren’t that helpful either. We ended up cancelling our American flight and drove 6 hours to Denver to catch a flight on Southwest home. They would not give us any vouchers, said they weren’t authorized, no reimbursement, and rude customer service. Luckily they gave us money back for the cancelled flight…but not after arguing with them because they did not want to return money for the business class tickets we bought, but rather the regular tickets they rebooked us twice on. Was a mess and we try to avoid American because of that. For us, it is not so much how businesses have customer service when things are perfect…but rather how they handle situations when things are not so stellar, and stressful. You’ll get our business one time because there will not be another time flying with poor communication, information, and bad service.

  84. Good article. Not surprised. American did the same lie to me a couple years ago. Very sad there is no accountability for these airlines.

  85. These comments are the exact reason I stopped giving American my business. They don’t respect their customers. I had similar experiences all the time where they would simply classify a delay as weather related to avoid giving any assistance to passengers.

    In fairness, I don’t really blame the frontline employees, however their “too bad, so sad” attitude doesn’t help the situation. Honestly, they need to adopt a free cancelation policy similar to Southwest if they want to remain competitive.

    Never one ever has American ever offered rebook me on a United, Delta or other flight. EVER. Like if you mention that to one of their employees they will give you a blank stare. Luck, you really should address this in an article.

  86. Same thing happened to me about 6 months ago. There was bad weather at LGA, but our flight was delayed due to broken toliet. Maintenance couldn’t fix it and then they cancelled the flight (only spent 3 hours on the plane waiting…). Went to admirals club and the employees were whispering to each other “why did they code this as maintenance, i thought they were changing to weather.” All around a terrible experience and had to fight to get a hotel. This was before the new system and I ended up just walking away because they wanted to give me one 30 min away wit 2.4 stars on tripadvisor. No thanks

  87. I remember the days of champagne flights and professional friendly service. Now if you take a flight you are treated like cattle. I drive now and have been doing so for over 25 years and don’t have to be a guinea pig on new aircraft. The U.S. should be better,

  88. I’d point to the old US Airways for this. Years ago before the merger I got caught up in something similar. I had a flight out of DFW with a connection in CLT but my first flight was delayed by 20 min due to inbound delay from weather elsewhere in the country. I still had plenty of time to make my connection in CLT at this point. However, during pushback from the gate they were unable to start the engines off the APU so had to be towed back in to the gate and wait 20+ minutes for a crash cart to start the engines. This caused me to miss my connection by minutes and left me with a 6 hour connection time to my new flight (in CLT no less). They were completely unsympathetic and when I asked for so much as a meal voucher they said “we don’t give vouchers for weather delays.” When I told them it wasn’t weather that ultimately impacted me, it was mechanical, they conveniently didn’t have any reference to that in the system. There is no incentive for them to put the proper reasons in – weather is a “get out of jail free” card for them, and they use it to their AAdvantage.

  89. Just a reminder to screenshot your flight information often. At the first sign of delay, i’m in FlightAware and the airline app taking screenshots of my current flight and incoming flight, and the scheduled/actual flight times for each. Things change quickly and if you don’t have all of the right clues, you may not be able to piece together when the airline is pulling one over on you.

  90. guys,the agents,aa did not lie at the end if the crew did not show up was because coulnt make do to weather so tge airline wont compensate,it does not matter that tge weather in your city is fine,if the plane,pilots or crew cones from a city afected by weather that ia considered weather delay or cancelation! and yes interline ecist but delta wont send anybody to aa or ua or other and tgey carge the other airlines more because tgey don belong to iata anymore,Im not a fan of AA but in DFW they are the bigest,Dl and Ua are very small ,Dallas is their hub

  91. This is all well and good… Until DL or UA do the exact same thing. And they will.

    But that doesn’t play well with chumming the waters of a target internet audience 😉

    Devil’s advocate: AA took great care of me at DFW during these weather issues, but that said, I’m CK. I feel fortunate to not get a ton of pushback on things when a breakdown happens.

  92. Was booked on DL SJC-LAX back in November, but the incoming plane had a 2.5 hr delay, and the Delta agent not only apologised for the inconvenience, but proactively offered to re-book us on AA, which ran on time and got us to LAX about 90 mins earlier then the delayed DL flight.

    Would the same have happened in reverse? Wouldn’t expect so…

    @Lucky, just move on from AA please or stop the complaining. We all have choices (and in the end it turns out this wasn’t the most convenient option after all, was it?)

  93. About two years ago, I was flying with my two youngest children when we got stuck in Dallas. We were actually connecting on the same aircraft that we came in on, so when I was told that it was because of unavailability of aircraft due to weather when they decided to use our plane for another route, yeah, I knew I was being lied to.

  94. Shortly after a major storm event in March, my direct flight was rescheduled to a flight 2 days later going from Denver to Cleveland to Chicago. The connection in Cleveland was only 50 min. The Denver flight left late, so it was very likely I would not make the connection.
    As soon as I could after landing in Cleveland, I checked the flight status of my connecting flight on the AA app – it said the plane had left. I had also received 2 text messages and an email telling me it had left. All notifications included a link to change my ticket to one for the first flight out in the morning.
    When I got off the plane, I realized the gate for my next flight was just a few gates over. As I walked in that direction, i saw many people standing around that gate!
    They were still boarding group 3!!
    Fortunately, a seat was still available for me and I finally got to O’Hare 2 days after I planned to.
    I think AA wanted my seat! I think it’s terrible that they used multiple venues to relay inaccurate information to me.

  95. Samething has happened to me multiple times on American and even once on Delta. Having status made no difference. Once the false information is entered in the airline computers, you are screwed. I quess the lesson to learn is when you have a non weather delay, and there are weather delays anywhere in the country, get your non weather delay documented. Take a screen shot if possible. The airlines can, do and will lie.

  96. Per GDS the flight was cancelled for WEATHER.

    No reason for AA to lie to itself about this.

    ☨DTE CHNG FLT☨ ORIG 14APR
    DFW 841P A A18
    DTW ☨ 4 D26 1218A
    1DFW/FX CANCEL DFW -DTW -WXX-CXLD DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS*2140
    7DFW/AUTO REACCOM CXL FLT COMPLETED SEE N*P3AA2508DFW14APR *2144*CRCYMG

  97. Word to wise.
    ALWAYS BUY FLIGHT INSURANCE – in addition to what your credit card may offer.
    It saved me a bundle when I missed a connection flying Delta from Newark Liberty to San Diego last July. And DELTA gave me every excuse possible until I said—“then take me to San Francisco” and— they did! I had to get. A ticket on Alaska to San Diego the next day, but everything associated with my delay, including the cost of a new suit for an affair, was reimbursed to the penny!
    ALLIANZ is wonderful!

  98. If the weather had been better in some other places on the network then AA might have been in a position to supply a working plane and crew. That’s all the slimeballs need to trot out the “weather” excuse.

  99. Those whom have seen my past reader comments regarding why we absolutely REFUSE to fly American Airlines since Spring, 2014 – or five years ago this month, actually – likely already know the nitty gritty about an experience so horrible that since then we don’t even waste time doing flights/fares searches anymore for that horrible airline, let alone pay good money to be lied to and abused by that airline which is why we stopped flying them after an agent at JFK Airport for an evening flight to RDU on an Embraer 145 attempted to tell us a bald-faced lie in order to avoid a DBC for an oversold flight by claiming we “just missed” the cut off for our checked bag that wouldn’t fit in that airplane’s tiny overhead bins despite our arriving at JFK plenty early and being forced to stand in a very long line just to reach the check-in desk/bag drop, and then when we finally reached the counter they attempted to blame us as arriving “too late”, forfeiting our fares, and telling us our options were: purchase new tickets at walk-up fares for flights the next day, go home, and then back to the airport the next day – or pound sand and not go to RDU at all.

    It was a bald faced lie that they probably were accustomed to getting away with for what the agent probably thought were inexperienced VFR flyers heading home for the holidays – but that agent had the tables turned when I told them this was incorrect, and then requested to speak with their supervisor to resolve matters.

    In the end, the supervisor booked us on another flight that luckily was running a little late – at LaGuardia.

    So, with evening traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway notoriously slow heading north out of JFK towards the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway, which is the route a taxi/car service would have to take to get to LGA from JFK at that hour, we knew the only possible way to make that other flight was racing there via JFK AirTrain to Jamaica LIRR commuter train connection to Woodside Station and catch a taxi there which we did – and amazingly we made the flight to RDU that night.

    But, that still doesn’t change the fact that the AA agent lied to us in an attempt to weasel out of DBC plus overnight at a hotel near JFK with meals included (which Delta did years ago for a similar evening flight to RDU, and just last fall handled very professionally for a mid-afternoon JFK-RDU flight that was oversold by five pax and we were put on a later flight at LGA with car service voucher and DBC included no muss, no fuss), and not only that, said we’d face forfeiture of the fares paid plus choice between paying for new tickets or not going at all.

    It was awful – and to this day, unforgivable.

    So, bottom line is this: we long ago were lied to by a rep at American shortly after Dougie P took over (and actually this was the 3rd AA round trip in as many months back then as we had two prior trips to/from PBI in February and March, respectively that year), and that lie was more than enough for us to ditch that airline for good.

    An airline that tells bald-faced lies is an airline best not flying at all.

    Fortunately, in NYC we have options within the airline industry’s cartel other than AA such as Delta or JetBlue that allows us to avoid AA.

    But our hearts go out to those whose options are mostly limited to AA or maybe one other airline like United in which case it ain’t much of an option choosing between which of those two is “least worst”: the one that has a propensity of lying to evade DBC or paying for hotels and meals for its delayed flights – or the other one with a CEO who hires lowball contractors (wink, wink) that steal sand from a public beach to repair sand dunes damaged by hurricanes in front of his multi-million dollar beachfront vacay home on the cheap or whose airline is still famously known for forcibly removing a paying passenger from a seat and dragging him off the plane blocked and taking out two of his teeth in the process?

    Yeah, some choice THAT is! 😉

  100. I was also impacted by the weather in Dallas on Saturday April 13th. I was flying to Los Angles from Omaha, NE with a connecting flight through Dallas. My outbound OMA to DFW was delayed several times and soon it became apparent that I was going to miss my connection in Dallas even if my flight left at the new time, which it didn’t and the flight was ultimately cancelled. I called customer service and not surprisingly they were experiencing long wait times. I agreed to the callback service and received a call 45 minutes later. I can only imagine the stressful day the rep must have been having given the hundreds of delayed and cancelled flights AA was experiencing, however she could not have been more pleasant and accommodating. She booked me on a flight the next day – actually a better flight since it was a non-stop OMA-LAX. She was able to get me settled in a Economy Plus window seat and I was all set. Of course since the delay was weather related there wasn’t a travel voucher. I found a nearby inexpensive hotel, treated myself to a nice steak dinner, and had an uneventful trip home the next morning. Stuff happens and plans get disrupted. American handled it easily and efficiently, including finding my bag and assuring me that it would be on the plane with me to LA, which it was.

  101. @Lucky @Ryan @Rene @Gary Leff

    I had a terrible time getting AA to rebook me on Delta out of MSP in March, even though I am OneWorld Emerald, and after AA had canceled my original flight and then the flight they rebooked me on.

    I called customer service and waited 30 minutes for a callback, and was told AA would not rebook on another carrier for weather. After reminding the agent that I am emerald and asking her to check again, she looked up the rules (with great difficulty), and concluded it was allowed with permission of a supervisor. Another wait on hold, and she said this was a corporate fare, had to be rebooked by the corporate desk, and that the corporate desk won’t rebook on a different airline to a different destination. (AA is the only carrier that flies to HVN, and had canceled its flight, so I was rerouting to nearby BDL.)

    The agent did connect me to corporate desk to see if I would have more luck with them; they answered immediately, looked up the rules for Emerald, rebooked me on Delta to BDL with no problem, and told me I would receive an e-mail confirmation in a few minutes. By this point I had arrived at MSP, so I got in line at Delta to check in. The confirmation never arrived, and the ticket never showed up in DL’s systems, so they suggested I check at the AA counter and ask them to push the ticket.

    Here’s the kicker: the agent at the AA’s first class check-in desk could see that I had been rebooked, but that the ticket still needed to be issued. However he insisted that they don’t rebook on Delta for weather–even for Concierge Key–because they get no return business from Delta to compensate. He went as far as to say that normally he would *revoke* the rebooking, but instead was being super-nice and calling the ExPlat desk to ask how to handle it. They gave him permission to push the ticket, and I had a very comfortable, on-time flight on Delta.

    The impending snow storm in the Northeast fizzled, and AA should have had no problem getting its planes into BDL. Perhaps AA sends 10x as much business to Delta as they receive because Delta manages bad weather more effectively. And of course re-bookings will certainly be imbalanced by at least that much at MSP specifically.

  102. American airlines is a frequent liar. Last December when my flight got heavily delayed, the gate staff said it was due to mechanical issues, which was plausible because we ended up switching to another aircraft. However, when I filled a complaint (politely) later, the customer service insisted it was weather and denied any responsibility.

  103. Oh, that’s “dragging him off the plane bloodied” NOT “blocked” as seen in above comment posted.

    That predictive text thing just loves changing words behind my back and making some words look completely ridiculous!

    Hehehe

  104. My wife was part of saturdays storm cancellations and had a very similiar experience. She had a cancelled flight from fort myers to dallas with no other flights available for 48 hours! Although they did accommodate those with status alternate flights that night. Delta was quick to take full advantage of the situation and charged her $520 for a one way economy flight home. At least she made it home that night though. I’ve tried several times since saturday to call aadvantage to get my miles reinstated as this was a reward flight, but always the same result, “call volume is high” then i get hung up on. Very disappointed in American lately, hope they can pull it together soon!

  105. The only reason to fly AA is the Flagship lounge a JFK while flying to LAX.
    Otherwise avoid AA at any price and fly Delta for half the price (first only)

  106. The only people American hates more than their employees are their customers. Working on the inside and seeing this nonsense every day is embarrassing. And yes, we do lie about cancellation reasons on a daily basis to avoid taking care of our customers.

  107. I guess the reason my flight on June 3 was canceled was because they know they’re going to have bad weather 6 weeks from now. They rebooked me, as they said for a different time, but I don’t consider the day before a different time. Just go ahead and do whatever they want.

  108. I say this from a position of respect, but I have no idea why you are loyal to American. I fly United and acknowledge they are a mess, but American is a ongoing sh!t-show with nothing redeemable about them. You can do better, starting with either United or Delta.

  109. Cancelled due to crew issues as a result of weather

    End of

    Frontline staff are not always aware of why a flight is cancelled unless it’s a clear technical issue , however customers love to say the staff lied

    Anyhow ex Europe or on an EU carrier , you would have a right of care including accommodation

  110. I am currently in Albany airport at 6:45pm. My American flight is delayed by one hour. Clear skies, no reason given for delay. Delay will cause me to miss my connecting flight. The best American can do is getting me home in Tampa at 5:00 tomorrow! This was not a cheap ticket. American has dropped drastically in customer service.

  111. I’m on my way back to ORD for 3rd time in 2 days…you are right, they lie constently. I still have 200k+ mis & AA credit card, but I AM DONE! Moving to Delta or UAL as primary…

  112. Re trip delay insurance through credit cards, I’m having a shocking experience getting mine from Chase Sapphire Reserve’s provider. I filed my claim around January 31, and it’s April 15 and they still have not paid the right amount. They have asked for the same supporting documents multiple times, and don’t seem to read my responses to their questions. I’ve called them many times over this. The carrier is Allianz (not small), so I expected better. This is making me reconsider the premium I pay for CSR and whether it would be better spent on another card.

  113. I actually had an awesome experience with American recently. Our flight from BWI to PHL was delayed, meaning we could not possibly make the connecting flight to Rome. The wonderful AA lady at the gate moved heaven and earth to get us re-routed to a different flight so we would get to Rome the next morning. To my wife’s surprise, it was the same flight as our son who was meeting us in Rome. I will Definitely put AA at the top of my list for my next overseas trip.

  114. I highly doubt they lied to you. The weather can be great sun shinning in the 80s but if your plane, crew is coming from where there is bad weather sometimes they have to piece a crew together to get the flight out. Alot if things can happen there is this thing called legality if a crew or pilots time out due to delays due to weather then they have to find another crew that is legal to work. Then get them to the airport. (Deadhead or work it there) Find out how it all work before you go saying the airlines lied.

  115. @ Marie just because the weather is ok in Albany doesn’t mean weather isnt an issue.
    Most customers have no idea of the complexities of operating an airline
    They think the aircraft is just flying from their airport and don’t understand rotation and upstream delays
    In the end it’s a matter of safety
    You don’t think airlines intentionally want to inconvenience everyone ?
    As for all this anti AA. just insert DL or UA. the grass isn’t always greener

  116. My husband and I had the worst experience in New York with AMERICAN that took us ultimately to Germany in two different flights … after having to leave my husband in London with no visa or flight because of their mistake I contacted them several times and googled the senior vp on customer service and wrote him online …. nobody even said “I’m sorry “… I have not flown with AMERICAN since then and canceled my Citi credit card with them . Nowadays we fly delta and have their credit card …. AA used to be my favorite airline …. if they don’t realize what they are doing to their customers soon enough the consequences will be catastrophic.

  117. I had a really similar cancellation with AA over the weekend. First they said the flight was overbooked and called for volunteers. No bites. A manager came over and tried a second time to get volunteers. No bites. THEN they canceled because of “weather” even though the weather was fine both at origin and destination. A group of us sprinted to the train station and took the three-hour train ride instead. Still a beautiful spring day when we arrived. So far AA has been really uncooperative even with just trying to get a refund.

  118. No wonder so many comments. This blog post is showing up on Google News. Nice to get the word out about this terrible situation.

  119. Is it not possible that the flight was originally delayed due to a late-arriving crew but then before the crew got there they decided to cancel it due to weather at DTW? Like the fact that the original delay was due to crew doesn’t mean the cancellation was for the same reason… I know the Midwest had really bad weather yesterday so I don’t think they’re necessarily lying

  120. Lucky, you say you are a “hub captive” and have “no option” but to fly American, but living in Miami, you can easily hop to FLL airport and fly on JETBLUE. Sure, it might be opposite direction from where you live compared to MIA, but don’t you think it’s more worth the extra 30 min drive for the peace of mind you’re flying with a top rated airline, than to get stuck with AA? Im tired of only seeing your negative experiences with AA. Just dont fly with them anymore!!!!! There’s always an option.

  121. So, I know there was discussion up above about interlining, and how they reinstated in 2018. However, I just searched ExpertFlyer, and it does appear that AA and DL no longer interline… not sure how recently this happened, or if this is a bug in ExpertFlyer/GDS.

    DL does not appear when you search AA under interlining agreements, and AA does not appear when you search DL.

  122. Last month I landed in IAH from LHR. Just after landing I received a mail notification that my next flight IAH-DFW (I had another more to my final destination) was cancelled and they were working on a solution. When I arrive to AA desk, the told me it was due to weather conditions…. I checked on Flightradar and it was the ONLY cancelled flight that day between those airports… so it is completely imposible that it was due to weather. I had the screenshots of that situation. I felt completely that they were lying to me…
    So, no hotel voucher, I had to pay 185 usd for a hotel.
    They rebooked me the next day, at the end I arrived almost 24 hours later… I tried to file a claim through AA, they just replied me yesterday, saying as it was due to weather, I am not entitled to anything. Furthermore I though, as I was departing from Europe, the European legislation should apply, but according to them, it was a cancellation between two US airports, so no European legislation neither… although I bought a ticket from Europe to Mexico!
    Maybe I’ll try to fill a complaint to Uk authorities…
    I’m OW emerald, so I always try to fly OW, but probably next time I would try to fly through Madrid or direct flight LHR-MEX and the internal airlines in Mexico. No more AA, thanks.

  123. Saturday CLT-SEA AA560. 5 hour delay. Worst experience ever. I will never fly American again. It was excuse after excuse.

  124. We also experienced this yesterday in Charlotte trying to get to DFW. We were told at 5pm, original take off of 551pm, that we had pilots but no crew. Then we were told they found a crew and they’re on a plane headed here. That crew came and went and then the same story over and over from the gate keepers for many hours.

    They finally cancelled the flight after an actual crew boarded because the pilots were now out of time. This was shortly after midnight this morning.

    Then hours in the customer service desk line only to be told, no vouchers because of weather issues. Never once were we told if any weather issues prior to the cancelled flight. Even if we were, there wasn’t any in DFW at the time of our flight.

    We finally got into a horrible hotel at 3am this morning only to rush back because I was able to get another flight to XNA at the very last minute.

    No I luggage, zero sleep and an amount of frustration that has become far too common for AA.

    This was a total mismanagement of staffing by AA and is complete BS.

    They won’t, but they need to make it right.

  125. Did it ever occur to you that the area the crew was coming from (La Guardia), had weather issues? There is a scheduler for this stuff and at this time of day there are no backup crews available either. Yes your DFW area was fine on weather and so was Detroit but did you ever think of La Guardia?

  126. My complaint about American: I traveled with my son who is 2 years, alone. American tried to SELL me a seat next to my son. He is 2. They know he is 2, and yet they couldn’t put us together at counter, and I was sent to the gate to see “if they could put us together” This was just unacceptable to me, but the worst is I don’t have too many options when traveling to my home country.

  127. @davidS – good question.

    The crew is late because of the earlier weather. The initial delay was an act of God, and its effects made the crews late – thus no invol reroute, or hotel voucher. Calling them liars in this instance make your “headline” pop – but in reality your substance is lacking.

  128. If the Feds gave a damn about the traveling public they never would have approved the AA / USAirways merger. What a disaster, in fact the only merger I can think of that went okay from a traveling stand-point might have been the Northwest buyout from Delta…but my brother would disagree (former Northwest now a Delta driver). My wife who is a AA mechanic says if she doesn’t get a better duty station she’ll leave as soon as she can draw a pension…

  129. @ Paulette @ Icarus @ Armando Marquez @ davidS @ Casey — Of course, but the specific designation of “canceled due to weather conditions at the destination” is what limited compensation options. There are other rules surrounding knock-on effects of weather, such as crews not being in position and not having sufficient backups.

  130. I had an experience on American in early March where after waiting in the plane for 3 HOURS to take off, they announced 7 people needed to get off due to too much weight. We were offered an $800 travel voucher plus hotel that night. I took the offer. The first five people got their $800 voucher. Then one other person and I were in line to get ours when the flight was canceled because the stewardesses needed to eat. instead of giving us $800 vouchers they gave us only $200 because the flight was canceled. When I called to file a complaint I was told they will not give me an $800 voucher, that the $200 was a Goodwill offering and the flight was canceled due to weather which was a total lie!! They made a promise in front of a plane full of people and refuse to honor it. This is SO WRONG!!!!

  131. Similar incident happened to me with AA as well. Received notice of 1st leg From PSP to DFW cancelled Sunday. Second leg was not- go figure that one. Tried customer service – on hold for 5 hours. I then receive a rebook from a different airport departing Tuesday, 2 days later with no second leg!
    So, we drive 2 1/2 hours to to LAX to reach a live person. It’s now 1 am and there are 3 ppl at the booking counter- I think I’m in luck.

    I walk to the counter and ask for help. Gentleman says sure, I tell him my issue, He immediately gets angry and tells me the counter is closed.

    Short story- I buy a ticket on United and cancel the AA flight.

    The attendant told me there were not any AA flights. But I said, I can buy one, here look. He said oh they are probably over selling the flight, you would be on stand by if I put you on that flight. – didn’t choose that Bc it only got me 3 hours from home.

    Sadly I originally had a choice bw AA and UA and I chose wrong! Lesson learned.

    Also had trip insurance. Thought I’d qualify for trip interruption since flight cancelled. Nope! Screwed there too!

    Flying AA, better be flexibile enough to grab your ankles!

  132. Let me say, you have summed up my frustrations with American Airlines this past weekend. What started as a weather issue quickly escalated into the worst customer service I have seen in all my flying days. I see you have posted a video from A Terminal from Sat. I posted the same type video for AA Customer Service from the C Terminal. A full minute of walking the Customer Service line of cancelled flight or other issues.
    https://twitter.com/srufo/status/1117401885319806976?s=21
    Notice no response.

    Our story- we were flying from Maui to DFW to Columbus, OH. We left Friday evening for a 6am arrival in Dallas. Which, ended up being right in the middle of the storms. When the pilot tried to land the 777 in Dallas, the turbulence became so bad, we were weightless for a bit at 13k ft, while the plane dropped. The pilots immediately brought us back to 21k feet. The turbulence was still so strong we went back to 28k feet and circled for awhile. Since we had already flown over 7 hours, we didn’t have enough fuel to wait out the storm. So, we were diverted to Oklahoma City. We refueled there and waited for the ok to head back to DFW. After about an hour on the ground we were able to take off. What should have been a 28 minute flight turned into a 90 minute one. We were told we were flying around the storm. When we finally landed in DFW we had 11 hours of flying time instead of 7 hours. In no way am I blaming the pilots for anything. They did an amazing job trying to keep us safe. We thought the ordeal was over. In no way could we have guessed, that was just the beginning!

    We missed our connecting flight to Columbus, OH since it was long past our initial arrival. By the time we landed in DFW, the AA computer had already rescheduled both my husband and I on the next direct flight out. I’d like to note we paid full price and extra for a direct connection. This was a celebratory trip for us – celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary so we wanted the best options with the least hassle. From 9am on 13th to 5pm, we received 17 notifications of changes to our ticket times and even flights. Finally, when the weather passed and the Flight looked ready to go, cancelling the 3rd flight we were placed on – even though we had the crew and plane waiting. We talked to the crew, even they were surprised at the cancellation since this was their first flight of the day (not close to timing out). I fully believe this was a scheduling issue and that Columbus is not a major city for AA. This was not weather related. It was a financial decision.

    The best option the agent could provide (we also have Platinum Status and we’re in the AA Club) was to move us to a flight Sunday morning. No longer direct, we need to go to Charlotte with a 3 hour layover. No vouchers, no sorry for the long delays, no luggage. We are now over 24 hours in American’s “care”.

    We shell out the Uber and hotel dollars to try to get a few hours sleep. Sunday morning we are back at the airport early. We no longer have the upgraded seats and to make it worse, as we pass by one of the gate agents they laugh and comment that they are sending “all their issues to Charlotte”. Since we had been completely secluded from news, we had no idea what this was in reference to. Now we understand they were sending us with the storm and KNEW we were going to get stuck in Charlotte. By the time we landed in Charlotte, our flight was cancelled to Columbus. And, AA removed any further connections from my AA app changing Charlotte to my final destination.

    Back to the AA Lounge. The best that the agent could do was a standby ticket for me at 2:30pm on an oversold flight that was direct to Columbus (they did put my ticket back since I had paper copies) and another flight for my husband at 1:30pm through Philadelphia. We are now 48 hours in the same clothes and limited sleep. We were also racing the clock before they shut down Charlotte airport due to the storms. Finally, the gate agent took pity on me. I showed her the 21 messages (at this point) of changes and that I’ve been trying to get home since Fri. My husband and I were also a bit frantic for one of us to make it home since we had no one to take care of our dogs going on 24 hours. The gate agent offered $600 to get someone to give up a seat for me. Since the next earliest flight out was Monday morning, it was asking a lot. Finally, one kind gentleman did. I was able to get on the flight and make it home by 6pm.

    Meanwhile, my husband’s flight from Philly was delayed. By the time he got in, it was well past midnight or Monday morning. I’m not even going to talk about our luggage.

    At this point we were exhausted and disgusted. The entire AA system just collapsed. I am pretty sure if we hadn’t paid full price for tickets and had status and club access we still would not be home. The only bits of humanity were from individuals going out of their way to go around AA policies and procedures. It’s not fair that there are no repercussions for these massive missteps. But, when you have a monopoly of only a handful of airlines, that’s what we are left with.

    Thank you for listening to my story.

  133. We had to insist that American give us hotel and meal vouchers when they cancelled our flight for mechanical issues last February. Even then the gate agent insisted the hotel had shuttle service – even though I told her I called them and they told me they didn’t. We paid for our own transportation and – after much wrangling—got American to reimburse us.

    Lying about cancellations isn’t unique to American however. United routinely cancels flights between Madison, WI and Chicago. They say it’s due to weather but the weather is fine. I suspect the plane isn’t full enough for them to make a profit.

  134. As long as people are willing to give businesses money in return for being treated like crap, there are businesses that will oblige and treat them like crap. It’s simple economics
    – supply and demand. Companies like AA won’t have an incentive to change until consumers decide they would rather buy something different with their money, like honest, decent service. Until then…

  135. This is such a sad story, for you of course for having gone through such a ridiculous customer service experience, but I am feeling sad for “my” airline, AA, which seems to be taking a step down in customer satisfaction at every corner, while other major airlines are upping their game to try to be more customer focused. When will management get the message that, without their (most loyal or less loyal) customers, the company will have no business?

  136. I think the employee was guessing what could have caused the delay, but didnt actually know and the flight was indeed canceled due to weather conditions. It’s not that an airline can just lie about those things.

  137. This has become quite a thread of passionate comments. I don’t think it’s any secret that American, and probably others, use the weather card wherever they can. Airline operations are difficult. No doubt. But it’s become the easy out to attach weather to virtually everything.

    What is the solution? There is none. With the Big Four (I am tired of hearing the “Big Three” as Southwest is clearly up there with them) there is a controlled environment that is allowing this. Just like with banks…the bigger they become the more consumers are screwed.

    We own this mess. A mess that has really called upon questioning the very idea of “freedom.” We are not free. We are slaves to the oligarchs who are allowed to consume us while we try to be fair consumers for them.

  138. American did that from Mia / Phl no rain in Miami or Philadelphia , after a 3 hour wait they gave out sandwiches. Potato chips and drinks. I told them I called Phila Int Airport and their reply was the sun is shining here. No weather issues here. They use the weather excuse to avoid paying customers for there cancelations. FAA needs to fine the airlines for not telling the truth to customers. Without customers , NO AA maybe they need to change the name to every now and then airline. We fly if we want to !

  139. This is nothing new with AA. Been going on since at least 2017 when I traveled from Harrisburg to Austin and return for work. Worst nightmare round trip I EVER had in 30 years of flying. Took a 3 page letter to AA CEO to explain everything that happened and to date letter never acknowledged. Do not fly AA unless I absolutely have to. Never for personal but may have to for work (required to take cheapest flight and sometimes that is AA).

  140. I don’t understand why flying in America is so miserable. Asia has busier routes. Europe has more people. I’ve been commuting twice weekly on the world’s second-busiest route, Sydney to Melbourne, and it’s a breeze. Sydney airport handles 42m passengers a year, more than 10 million more than LaGuardia. Yet the latter is a shit-fight. I don’t get it.

  141. The number of comments reinforces the train wreck AA is under the LCC (Low Cost Carrier) management.
    Morale is completely demolished, and it is palpable when we interact with staff.
    Have been with AA over 30 years, and I cringe when I see the poor fools that apply for AA cards, subsidizing Dougie’s gang. Do they realize those miles have become worthless?
    Even high level supervisory staff is given no discretion to resolve problems.
    Someday AA will be used as a textbook example of poor management.
    Sadly, this is the group that the AA pilots wanted in charge. Hope they are happy with the results.

  142. This is nothing new for AA. My experience was back in July 2017. Some of the same issues on a Harrisburg to Austin andvretuen for work. Worst EVER experience on over 30 years of flying. Took a 3 page letter to AA CEO to explain everything that happened in thev2 days to get to Austin and the 2 days to get home from Austin. Letter to date has never been acknowledged. Will not fly AA for personal travel. Unfortunately may have to for work because we have to take cheapest flight but if its AA I try to find something else cheaper with another airline even if it’s inconvenient (i.e., layover location or time, flight times, etc).

  143. My husband was treated so poorly by american Airlines. We had been saving for a trip to Jamaica for over a year. He would fly our son to Phoenix to stay with family, i would leave from denver , he would leave from phx and we would meet in Charlotte to go together to Jamaica. I had both passports. American Airlines policy is to not allow you to travel without proper travel documents…. Even though his flight was to Charlotte, they would not allow him to board without passport, i assumed you could still fly in the US without a passport. Ok that policy sucks but i get it. Through this ordeal Jessica who worked april 2nd, called my husband ignorant for not reading the fine print and told him that because he was too cheap and bought the basic economy ticket he was just getting the treatment he paid for. She continued to harass him on the 4th (i over nighted him his passport and booked a new ticket) she again pointed out that he bought the “budget seating” again, told him he was ignorant for buying the “cheap ticket “and when he asked her name she explained that she wasnt scared…what is someone like you gonna do anyways?! This whole thing has made both me amd him cry. The fact that prejudice still exists to this level is appalling.

  144. @Lucky my wife was flying LAX to DFW on American Saturday evening. Needless to say, they cancelled her flight and every other flight that night, tried to rebook her for MONDAY, offering nothing. What I don’t get is why Spirit and Southwest had no problem flying Saturday night? The storm was over. AA was just so screwed up in DFW they couldn’t let any more flights come in to add to the mess. I booked her on Southwest and got her home. Now I guess I get to fight with AA for a refund and argue that weather wasn’t their problem, poor management was.

  145. That AA flight attendant should have poured something more over that imposter CEO doug parker. Start at the top with a clean out. It’s a shocking airline.

  146. AA lost my luggage on Wednesday on a paid first class nonstop flight DFW-IAD. Completely unapologetic too. No excuse for that. That wasn’t the only negative about the trip either.

  147. Employees don’t get to chose what the delay is coded to, we unfortunately just have to abide by what dispatch has coded for us because our jobs depend on it. We do have an agreement with delta and united as well as others but we are instructed to only book on them if it is a crew delay or mtx and you are unable to get to your destination within 24 hours. Anything past that has to be approved by management. We also don’t lie to passengers but if the coded delay or coded cancellation changes then we relay that change to the passenger which does happen. We also cannot provide refunds of any kind unless we just processed the transaction. If it’s something you purchased online or in advanced we have to refer the passenger to aa.com/refunds nobody can just give you money. I know these things SUCK bad but trust me they don’t just suck for you as passengers, it’s sucks for us employees as well because we have to take the screaming, yelling, attacking, and verbal abuse from all 300 passengers that are furious because they can’t get to their destination and that’s just from ONE flight. I would love for each one of you to experience one day as an agent for American Airlines on a day like this past weekend and see who’s really the victim here…..

  148. I worked for a service company where we were expected to lie to our customer. I hated lying to the customers. I feel the front line’s pain.

  149. That long line might of been more then one flight. They all wanted to pitch a story to catch an edge of personal convenience or a hand out. Weather affects many factors at both cities and in between. Then passengers would ask several people a question and get different variations and be blamed for lying. Check the weather, if it’s safe, then you are flying. If crew is well rested and all there then it’s normal as usual. Most time a crew is there but may time out as they wait for others. Idk leave early or bus it. Stop putting negative blogs on things we can’t control.

  150. This happened to me one Good Friday on an International flight. It was just a few passengers on board. I simply said to the passenger next to me I don’t think we will be leaving on this 8:00 a.m flight we will be leaving on the 6:00 p.m. Soon afterwards I saw the Captain walking through the aisles checking the plane as soon as he entered the cockpit an announcement was made about mechanical problems. That day we changed five gates at the MIA Airport before we left on the evening flight and only to be given a $10.00 meal voucher. Passengers heading to another International destination had the same problem.

  151. No, this is not about UA, AA or DL. This is about the whole US—- the system is rotten.
    Also, there was a discussion about tipping a few days ago. Which I think the tipping system sucks, as well.

    Just learn Japanese or Chinese, and move to Japan or China. Or maybe Singapore. Especially Japan. You will live a better life. Great customer service, great service, great food, relatively lower cost of living, advanced public transportation, every aspect, East Asian countries are better.

    Escape the US.

  152. AA management is not capable of telling the truth. I used to fly them regularly but avoid them as much as possible today. I think their motto now is “We’re not happy until you’re not happy”. Glad you got to Detroit

  153. Two days ago (Sunday) our Phoenix-Orlando flight was delayed 2 hours claiming the plane was coming in from San Francisco…
    American gave no reason, no apologies.
    Our first class seat(s) had no outlet phone chargers and no TV screens…we paid first class prices for economy seats, including crap food and no hot coffee or tea.
    The drinks we did get were quickly removed when there was the slightest movement of the plane so the attendants could sit and not serve and instead read and talk.
    What really got the entire airbus riled was when the plane landed and we all sat for an hour in a stifling, jet fuel smelling idling plane waiting for a gate to open. When I did complain and ask what in the world was going on the excuse was ‘weather’.
    The baggage claim was a complete nightmare with nobody in charge.
    United has been wiped off my list of options.
    American is next in line.

  154. There really need to be consumer protection laws against airlines. They have way too much power. Seriously they can sell you a ticket and then just bump people from an oversold flight. Its mindbogling the crap they get away with. What happened to you was disgusting. They just lied so they wouldn’t have to pay the voucher. Seriously think about it. Someone at AA in management made the conscious decision to deceive customers and deny them benefits.

  155. Weather and IRROPS will always be with us, but AA in particular is following a business model that enrages consumers. They like the Spirit model of tagging the customer with extra fees on everything. This creates an understandable expectation with the customer, however, that AA will reciprocate when the airline changes the travel plans through operational problems like crew scheduling or mechanicals. “If you made me pay $150 to change my flight 2 hours ago, why shouldn’t you pay $150 for a hotel when you cancel the same flight because you have no crew.” Instead AA seems to train or encourage its customer service employees to fight these claims like the future of the airline depended on it, going so far as to fudge the documentation of flight delays and cancellations to deny customer accomodation expense. The comment section is full of examples of this happening, and Lucky is correct to say they “lied”. They intentionally underdocumented or misdocumented the records for the financial benefit of the airline.

    AA makes the situation worse by staggering their customer service response based on the status of the customer. That’s great if you’re Concierge Key, and I understand the business reasons for doing that, but the fact that AA is giving different deals to different passengers is well known and drives people to be less flexible and more unreasonable when dealing with customer service. This bogs down the entire process and leads to disaster at the airport and lines that last for hours, as customers battle to the death for that $6 food court voucher because they’re angry and don’t feel like they’re being treated with respect. This is AA’s fault, and the reason customers get less angry at Delta and Southwest during IRROPS, since DL and WN don’t seem as hostile to their rank and file customers. A little respect and proactive customer service goes a long way, and AA is really bad at that right now.

  156. You say “right now”. I have successfully avoided AA at all osts for about 5 years now. I had a connecting flight I think at DFW on the day the pilots went on strike. We sat on the tarmac for three hours, were told weather concerns cancelled the flight. Since I missed the business meeting I did not rebook. We soon discovered the “blue flu” epidemic caused the exact same scenario many other places but AA refused a refund. This is not a recent thing. Its the culture and will not change. Agree, SW and Delta all the way.

  157. All I can say is to upper management: stop merging airlines just for your own personal gain. Bigger doesn’t mean better! And for God’s sake…bring back Virgin America and America West! I’m former employee of both airlines and they treated customers fairly and honestly.

  158. It seems like the fetid, rotting ghosts of U.S. Airways (and USAir before that and Allegheny Airlines before that (although they’ll always be Agony Airlines in my heart)) just permeates AA, especially on the east coast. Their legendary horrific customer service is something I still have nightmares over. At DCA (one of US’s former stomping grounds), AA is now routinely late, even when weather isn’t a factor. I’ve started schlepping to IAD and taking UA, as their hub provides nonstops pretty much wherever I need to go, and at least I can get there sometime today.

    The last time I took AA was MIA – DCA (spring of last year), and we had a similar issue… weather was fine just about everywhere in the country, but we were kept waiting for ONE FA to make our flight, who was inbound on a PHX flight…. This was at a HUB OPERATION. They boarded us 1:50 late, so they could avoid having to give us anything for being more than two hours late. AA is just the same, vile US with a different coat of paint.

  159. I’ve experienced both of the same – AA lying directly to customers and failure to provide hotel voucher.

    On lying, because I’m EP, I have experience dealing with AA personnel. A few years back I refused to except the standard excuses until the Manager relented, gave me a hotel/food voucher and explained that they “simply couldn’t afford to provide to everyone”. The real problem was a result of mechanics but the manager then proceeded over to the large crowd waiting an update and told them it was due to weather and the flight was cancelled

    In Dallas this week, how AA handles the voucher issue is this. They know the flight is cancelled, but they don’t officially report it as such (continually pushing back departure time). In Dallas this meant the AC was closed and the CS line (watch the video, it doesn’t do justice to how long the line was) was a several hours wait – assuming you made it to a Rep, it would be early morning already so it wouldn’t make sense to provide you with a hotel room since I was re
    booked that morning

    The games AA plays. While writing this, I just received an e-mail from Bridget Blaise-Shamai
    President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program, thanking me for my continued confidence in AA … LOL!!!

  160. Sigh. 185 comments for a problem that could have been avoided by just driving to the nearest big airport

  161. American is by far the airline I hate the most. I cancelled my cards with them and always avoid their flights when possible. I will pay more to fly United or delta than fly American. Too many deceitful practices from them that I dont feel like I have gotten with any other airlines. What I don’t understand is how they rank higher than United in customer satisfaction – my experience with American has been that they will screw up one in 5 flights vs United maybe one in 10.

  162. @Gtellez, but everyone else, too:

    The more people that file complaints with the USA Department of Transportation (regardless of airline, even foreign carriers for itineraries that begin or end in the USA) for legitimate, actionable problems, the likelier the airline, and possibly Wall Street analysts and shareholders, will take notice.

    Filing a complaint online at the US DOT’s web site (easily accessible by using your search engine of choice) takes only a few minutes, so it’s never been easier for flyers to let the DOT know when airlines tell bald-faced lies; fail to follow their own terms and conditions posted on their web sites under the heading of “Contract of Carriage”; trap passengers aboard aircraft beyond the time allowed for under the “Tarmac Rule”; “fudge rules” to impose fees and penalties that otherwise don’t apply; neglect or abandon reduced mobility passengers who request wheelchair assistance and attendants to get through airports; lost or delayed checked baggage, etc.

    All that and more!

    They can’t get you money for your airlines’ sins; but industry experts and Wall Street analysts pay close attention to the monthly DOT statistics – with one prominent analyst even questioning AA’s executives earlier this year if they’ve got a quality problem that resulted in AA underperforming its other cartel club members on key revenue metrics that resulted in an underwhelming financial performance last year that fell far short of those promised to shareholders by CEO Doug Parker.

    After an airline lost a checked bag for the mother-in-law of a close friend I frequently assist with their travel plans and bookings, I assisted them with filing a complaint with the DOT, and even though it was during the 3-week period just after the government shutdown ended and the threat loomed of yet another shutdown when we expected the DOT would be inundated with complaints and would take many weeks to reply, they actually got back much than we expected, and the airline, which until then (the bag was lost in December during the shutdown) had been dragging its feet, began working with my friend and their family far more intensively than they had been prior to filing the complaint, and nearly 2-months after losing the bag, finally tracked it down and returned it once a case number had been assigned and the person at the DOT began its own investigation into the matter.

    Of course, this is but one isolated example so it hardly speaks to an outcome others should expect. But, the timing of when the airline took the lost bag seriously after the person at the US DOT began their investigation sure does suggest that taking the few minutes out to file the complaint online, and then follow instructions and answer questions received by email from the DOT got results that certainly didn’t happen before the complaint was filed!

    It really is easier than ever and takes very little time – and probably no more than the time it takes to type comments (half as long as this one is! 😉 ) to fill in the required information to get a complaint filed.

    So, while readers’ comments allow others to learn of/from all of our own experiences good, bad or in between, and of course make a difference in shaping the discussion of our way too few airlines in the industry’s current era of government sanctioned cartel/oligopoly that itself plays a huge role in why airlines like American know they can get away with all sorts of predatory, sadistic, abusive, deceitful and fraudulent behaviors and practices towards consumers as they all do to some extent (yes, some, like American, are worse than others…) – or in a word, mostly suck – taking time out to register one’s displeasure for legitimate problems or outright lies and abuses with the DOT is also a good way to make your displeasure known in cold, hard statistics that industry experts and investors do pay attention to especially when an airline’s low ratings in these statistics translates to underwhelming profits as it has at American!

  163. Unsurprising, really. And yet, y’all keep going back to those airlines to be treated like crap.
    So glad I only fly Southwest.

  164. Wow. After reading this I am absolutely amazed to learn how little a US airline is willing to do to accommodate its inconvenienced passengers. More than that, it seems as if the airline is not held accountable for changing the reasons for delay cancellation, and someone, somewhere, with a modicum of authority, can decide on a whim how to categorize a delay or cancellation.

    From what is written above, it appears that a US airline can cancel flight 001 due to mechanical reasons, and then, when the incoming replacement flight/aircraft 002 is cancelled due to “weather” at its originating point, the first flight 001 can then be considered cancelled due to weather.

    Incredible!

  165. The more I hear about American airlines no more I hate them they are complete assholes what they did to my friend her and other employees + 28 disabled clients was terrible they basically stranded them because of a weather condition they got stranded in Miami they offered them zero help as far as getting home zero help as far as getting a hotel they were stranded there for three days and you can imagine how freaked out these poor clients were and again they got zero help from American airlines American airlines you are a bunch of heartless assholes

  166. Last year, I had a similar experience on a return flight from Athens, Greece to Los Angeles, with a connection in Philadelphia. Due to bad weather the connection was cancelled and since I am not an Elite member I
    was treated less than a dog! Only a couple of agents were available to help the over 300 stranded passengers. Being a Senior citizen put me in an even worse predicament as I was not able to rebook myself on my iPhone. I had to spend the night on a chair..
    freezing – due to the AC at the airport – and in the morning was on standby for the 8am flight to LA. Again my priority was low and I did not make it. No agent would give me a break and finally I was able to board a later flight, totally exhausted and disgusted. To add insult to injury, after my complaint to their customers relations department the next day, nobody returned my call! AA STINKS and should be avoided as much as possible. Unfortunately I can’t get rid of my miles as there is never enough
    inventory in that class of service for me to redeem them and/or upgrade myself to Business!

  167. I recently experienced something similar. On April 14th I was returning from a cruise vacation and instead of returning home in a peaceful and happy mood, I was frustrated and angry. My AA flight was from Miami to Los Angeles and was supposed to depart at noon. I made certain that I was at the airport before 9 a.m. just to be rescheduled 16 times and I boarded three different planes before actually making it home.
    I was tired, frustrated and disappointed that American Airlines didn’t prepare properly. I (and the other passengers) were lied to multiple of times. American couldn’t get their story right. First we were told after boarding the plane the first time that there was a dent some where on the plane that was considered a safety hazard (which we were thankful for at first) but soon we were told a total different reason. We were then told the flight was over-sold by 30 passengers and asked for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for $1200 flight voucher (useable for any future flight up to one year) and be rescheduled for a later flight that day or for the following day. Those who chose to take up their offer to be rescheduled for the following day was also told that they will receive a hotel voucher as well.
    Needless to say our terminal was filled with a lot of upset passengers.
    Then we boarded the same plane and left the terminal. Not 10 minutes while in line to take off the captain made an announcement that we were returning to the terminal because the crew would be timed out during our 5 hour flight and according to FAA rules that could not be done for safety reasons.
    They offered to feed us and keep us content while rectifying the crew issue. While we were at the terminal waiting for an update I received 16 rescheduled notifications from American. During these notifications passengers were asking what was really the issue(s) and the agents at the terminal desk were lying to passengers just to keep the peace.
    Then finally started to suggest that we call customer service for answers and any possible resolution.
    They refused to communicate with us other than to apologize for the delay.
    Management finally arrived at the terminal just to make more false statements before being boarded a third time on another plane. We all felt a sense if ‘finally’ but it was short lived since they had us waiting in the runway for 20 minutes before getting approval to take off.
    I got home and immediately contacted Customer Service about my frustration and to request a refund for the funds I paid extra for my seat selection in the beginning of the main cabin but I was seated in the back of the plane right before boarding. They told me that I was unable to receive my refund because my flight information (flight #) never changed even thought my whole intinuary (time, crew, plane) did change. I felt ripped off.
    There was so much that happened that I doubt that I’ll ever fly American Airlines again.

  168. Couple of months ago was in Guatemala City. Leaving Friday morning back to Miami then Tampa. Thursday afternoon I got notified that flight was cancelled. I looked for the Dallas flight, but it was also cancelled. AA’s answer? Ash. . Mind you I was there, sunny skies and all… My hotel was next to airport. Not one hint of ash anywhere. I am an aviation geek so I have all the relevant apps. ALL flights incoming and outgoing Thursday evening were on time. All. Including the United and Delta flights coming to spend the night. All flights friday morning left on time. Only 2 flights cancelled Thursday and Friday were the incoming AA flights from Dallas and Miami. I tried to reason with AA but they stuck to their guns. Massive ash at airport.

  169. Same things happened to us with AA recently; in fact 128 + of us were in the waiting area for hours on end; plane, pilots, etc. all there–kept getting delayed awaiting flight crew from another incoming flight–they arrived, except one attendant who decided she did not want to fly–eventually pilots ran out their clock before another attendant was found–flight cancelled — BUT, they claimed it was weather–total BS, but did not have to ante up for their screw up. They even reported to FAA flight was delayed for weather–when 128 of us watched, knew, were told the real reason. How do they get away with this?

  170. LIEING HAPPENS ALL THE THE TIME, AMERICAN AIRLINES AND UNITED WILL NOT CANCEL A FLIGHT IF THEY CAN HELP IT, THEY WILL PINCH A PENNY AND MAKE YOU WAIT FOR HOURS, ONE TIME DTW FLIGHT GOT TO HERE WITH ONLY 5 PEOPLE ON BOARD IT WAS 8 HOURS LATE, IF YOU DIDNT KNOW AMERICAN AND UNITED SHARE PILOTS UNION, I FLY DELTA IF I CAN HELP IT , THEY ARE NOT PERFECT BUT HAVE MORE RESOURCES BOARDING PERSONNEL, PLANES ETC

  171. Here’s another situation of bad AA customer service. Just last month on a direct flight from San Diego to DFW I ended up gate checking my bag since they were looking for volunteers and I had no reason to carry it down the aisle of the plane. I needed to meet the other half of my party at baggage claim anyway. So I gate check my bag, eventually board the plane, and endure tight seats and a persistent credit card sales pitch.

    I arrive in DFW, head to baggage claim and begin the waiting game. 20 minutes turns into 30. 30 turns into 40. I head to the baggage office and I’m immediately told to go back out to the belt and wait because I wasn’t being patient enough. Over an hour after my flight landed I went back. I was told the bag was unloaded from the plane and just never was put on the belt. So I asked if they couldn’t get me my bag in about 10min I’d like them to deliver it. The lady at the counter apparently couldn’t be bothered to fill out the paperwork for the delayed bag delivery and made me wait anyway. 10 more minutes and we are filling out the delayed bag form and was told I would receive a call by 8pm with a delivery confirmation. Great. Off I went.
    9pm I call the baggage line. I’m told the bag has not been found yet and when it’s found I will receive a call back. I ask why they can’t find it since it came in on the 3:30 flight and it was confirmed off the plane. They read me the same script so I hung up needing to “trust the system”
    Next day I called back around 8:30. Got the exact same answer down to the letter. I asked if anything was actually being done to find my bag. They could not provide that answer and to boot I was told they are not allowed to call the airport for a status update. This call and no return call continues for another three calls over the course of the day before I’m fed up and have to drive back to the airport. While driving through the entry I get an email from American that they have found my bag and they would deliver it 2 days later. 2 days???
    I return to the baggage counter to try and reclaim my bag where the lady at the counter said “oh this bag shows in terminal 2”. Might I add I came in at terminal 4 where I was currently standing. I head to the other terminal and find out from that baggage team that the bag arrived and was scanned into their bag locker about 45 min after my flight landed. American couldn’t even tell where they had sent my bag and nobody wanted to look into the system to figure out where it was. After that flight American didn’t once try to apologise or compensate me for the troubles since the “bag was delivered to the airport” until I called their customer care line. This just goes to show American doesn’t care at all about their customers if their team doesn’t care to look or isn’t provided the tools to help

  172. My American flights were cancelled the other day into BWI. Ended up at DCA. American gave us a taxi voucher back to BWI to get our luggage and car, as that was our origination point. No customer service rep told us that they would. We just went up and asked and they did.

  173. This happened to me this weekend as well. I was doing Austin to DFW, DFW to Denver then Denver to Philly; the first flight they canceled was my DFW to Denver flight. Then the AUS to DFW was delayed, canceled, rebooked, then canceled. Then they rescheduled my Philly flight so that I could fly out on Sunday morning-they canceled that. Too. Luckily Dallas is home for me, so me and about 20 other passengers purchased a ticket on Southwest and made it home. But now it’s been 5 days and I still don’t have my bag. I’m about to cancel everything -Admirals Club and my credit cards, because this is unacceptable.

  174. Tried to get from FLL to DFW on Sunday too. Morning flight cancelled. Was told by PLT PRO line that i was rebooked next day on multi connection flight. With some cajoling, got rebooked on evening flight SAME DAY! Good so far. Have a friend with access to AA scheduling and was told mid-day that there was no crew yet assigned to this flight. Of course when i arrived back to airport again, plane…pilots…NO FAs! Gate agent said she did not know if there was a crew coming! (there was not!). Cancelled AGAIN and now told no seats until Tuesday. Took refund and called it a (long) day. “Largest” airline should have better OPS contingency plans.

  175. I was in that Dallas mess. Flying to Omaha, my Austin to Dallas flight at 9:30 am was rebooked to 10:30 pm and then all flights were cancelled by noonish. There were no outgoing flights to DFW the next day from Austin, so I drove there myself and right as I got there they cancelled my 2:55 flight. They booked me standby on a 4:40 and a 10:30pm

    Like you, I had Admirals club (the line at customer service easily had 200 people in it) and they coached me to go to the desk as soon as it opened and let them know that while I was booked first class, I would take any seat.

    Problem was the desk had one worker with 18 people in line (yes this impatient mind counted them) and we were an hour before flight time and each customer was taking 10 minutes-ish each due to the 29383636 different things agents type to get anything done.

    There was a crowd around the counter from the cancelled flight, 60 people on standby. I was very fortunate and grateful that my seat, fare and Platinum status landed me at 3rd and in a breathless moment I made the plane. Leaving behind a room full of worried and disappointed travelers.

    I do wonder, since the weather was perfect Sunday if the delays were due to the mess on Saturday and plane and crew issues.

  176. This same thing happened to me last night (4/16/19) flying from MSY to SJC through DFW. Plane showed up to MSY late, but gate agent told everyone that they’d “make up the time” and all would be good for connections in Dallas and that they wouldn’t reschedule connecting flights. Then although we did arrive in DFW only 10 mins late,we waited on the tarmac for over an hour because they couldn’t get a “open gate”. We all missed our connections. American gate agents on and agents on the phone told me that weather was a problem and that they couldn’t cover hotel to stay for next flight (next day). Waited in super long line for over an hour in DFW, and got the same story. Was able to rebook a flight into SFO, but then had to Uber all the way back to SJC and American said they wouldn’t cover rental car or any transportation from SFO to SJC. Super lame American. And super lame DFW.

  177. Lucky I have no idea why you still fool with those fools ! Delta is the only US carrier to fly . If your worried about aa miles for Etihad etc , do like me and use shopping portals and other ways to get a miles.

  178. Your mistake was flying on American period. That company will not do anything in the way of customer service unless it is in their favor. What good are their schedules if they will not honor service interruptions that they created? In your case it was a missing crew, not weather. Do yourself a favor and do not fly American Airlines. It is never worth the headache, and potentially they will cost you business opportunity. I fly to CLT from PBI four to six times a month. AA has plenty of non-stop flights. However, I take Delta through ATL and arrive about two hours later than optimal, and return home at roughly the same time as AA. It’s never fun to change in ATL, but I value good service ahead of fare savings and Delta values my business. It is a good arrangement.

  179. Love the weather delay vs hotel voucher circus. If the plane was waiting for a crew, perhaps they weren’t able to get there because of weather? Viola! No hotel voucher. However, stating that American lied to you is a non-starter, it’s just a silly headline, since you really don’t know. A better comment is “American incompetence rules”. It is beyond me why people fly on American … much less on a little feeder plane. Those are the first flights affected by anything, since the number of passengers is much smaller than a big plane. Just avoid small airports and small planes … a major inconvenience, but not as major as waiting days to reach your destination.

  180. My family and i had the same issue with a flight from AZ to STL this pass weekend. First the plane was 35 mins late landing in Phoenix. then an hour later they announced the flight was cancelled due to not having a Pilot and Co-pilot. this is what the agent said. Stand in line at customer service another 63 min, only to be told it was weather issue. Really.. it was 53 in STL and 74 in AZ. i believed the agent when they said they did not have a pilot. It was an out right lie to come back and say it was a weather issue just so AA does not have to honor anything. This was Sunday and i was told i would not be able to get a flight out till Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. No Vouchers. I will never –ever –never fly American again.

  181. Up until recently lived in SBA for several years, loved it. With that being said, flying in or out of SBA, mostly on AA or UA, was always a crapshoot at best for a myriad of reasons given for cancellations.

    Driving or taking SB Airbus the 100 miles to LAX is not a sure thing either. Due to regular traffic, accidents, mudslides, fires, you are stuck on the 101 with no place to go. Part of that stretch of highway is physically at the foot of the ocean on one side and at the foot of the mountain on the other side, with no alternate routes. If you left 4 hours or less before your flight took off, you still ran the risk of missing out at LAX.

  182. Amazingly, the EXACT same scenario played out the previous Sunday (4/7) on the 8:41 pm DFW – DTW flight. I’m Dallas based so I simple caught a Lyft back home and cancelled the ticket since arriving the next day an hour+ past my meeting end time was a waste.

    I did the AAdmirals Club back and forth 3 times that night since AA can not seem to provide accurate and consistent information.

  183. Ben: I too live in Santa Barbara. Ex Plat. I fly United a lot now. American has been going downhill (slowly) since the merger with US; United (which has a lot of delays and cancellations out of California) gives the impression of actually caring about its passengers.
    When I travel internationally or to the East Coast I generally take the airbus. (Its actually pretty effective if you want to work).
    American used to fly to LAX and i could connect there. For some reason (I think they wanted to drive traffic to PHX) they terminated the LAX service, and PHX just isnt as good as LAX. (I love American’s flat beds to JFK). My wife and i were both coming back from Chicago (different flights, both 321s) 2 weeks ago through PHX. Both had mechanical issues, both pulled out of service. Both replaced. I couldn’t make the SBA flight so I re-routed to LAX and American re-booked me on the late United flight. (with a little perseverance on my part; at the Admirals Club). American’s 319 service to Dallas is ok but the timing is useless if you want to go anywhere else. They seem to have a second DFW early morning flight now, though.
    My taxi driver yesterday tells me the Delta is bringing back the SLC flight within a couple of weeks. Don’t know whether this is reliable information.

  184. @Ian Duncan—Yes indeed Delta starts service SBA-SLC but on August 12 of this year. I’d skip AA and UA completely for DL once they begin

  185. @lucky

    I banned American 5 years ago and let all my miles expire after horrific customer service time and time again. When US Air merged with American, I let all those miles expire too and I was a loyal US Air customer but refuse to give AA my money. I now use Delta (was a longtime flyer with them anyway) and JetBlue who has some excellent service out of FLL. I don’t care for SouthWest but will fly them in a pinch.

    If time allows, I would definitely fly into FLL and rent a car to go to your business dealings in Miami. Your options are far more expansive there.

  186. We were at DFW on 4/13/19 and experienced the same thing! That line was ridiculous. We ultimately had to cancel our trip to Aruba, as it was impossible to reschedule. Then we had to spend 2 days in Dallas (without luggage b/c they wouldn’t give it to us) before we could get the first available flight home.

  187. This is an example on why I gave up flying American years ago. Why pay someone for poor service when there are airlines who give you good service in return for money.

  188. Think, as a flight attendant I was “required” to sign in at the airport at 1345, sit on the airplane without minimum crew (other flight attendants) and an illegal cockpit crew (by 7 hours), yet they wouldn’t cancel the flight and kept telling the passengers outside “Oh, just another 15 minutes,” when we know already it takes 2 hours to get another flight attendant, and minimum 3 hours for pilots. But, we knew that wasn’t even going to happen because they had ran out of crew to even call at 2pm. So we called, begged for them to cancel so that the passengers could make other arrangements, but they refused. So we sat there for 10 hours and at midnight, they finally canceled. And us flight attendants didn’t get paid a dime, but sat there by orders for 10 hours. Trust us, as your crew, were on your side (because we see it all crumbling from the inside out).

  189. @Derek UAL tried that one on me from ORD to YHZ. Announced to us that the Friday night flight was canceled due to weather but they had so generously saved us standing in line and booked us on the morning flight the next day. I was apparently the ONLY one on the flight who did not live in the Chicago area and, b being in a wheelchair, I had to wait for a red cap so I asked the gate agent about the claim that it was weather (I HAD noted that there were only 15 adults and one baby at the gate when the announcement was made). The gate agent reiterated “there is bad weather in Halifax.” So I showed her my weather radar app on my phone. Clear sailing (per, flying) from ORD to YHZ. I then offered to call my mom about the “bad weather.” The agent then capitulated. No, it wasn’t weather….the airline decided to consolidate the two flights because neither had sold sufficient tickets. Even with both flights together the plane was not full. Great. So I asked for my hotel voucher and meal vouchers. No argument.

    Turns out worse tho. Not one person on our flight got their luggage. It was all still sitting in Chicago despite having 18 hours to get it on the new plane. The couple with the baby had no car seat (UAL agent at YHZ told them to go buy one and they would be compensated….yeah, no suggestions on how they were to get to the mall, 30+ min. away, with the baby and no car seat). Thankfully the airport had a loaner and asked that they just return it within 36 hours. Yay Stanfield. Another couple was getting on a cruise Sunday up the coast to the St. Lawrence and on to Montreal. Too bad, so sad we will have your luggage forwarded to you if you just provide us with your itinerary. Sure. I had images of the luggage following them and behind them by ½ day the entire trip. MY luggage took 5 DAYS to be delivered to where I was staying. Thankfully I was staying in my own (summer) home and had clothes there. Did NOT have a suitable dress and shoes for an event on Sunday night so I went out and spent the max allowed under international agreement…..UAL was not pleased but too bad.

    So yes, they all lie and use the weather excuse. You just have to call them on it if you can and demand your rights. Document, document, document.

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