I’m Not Sure American Airlines Is At Fault Here (For Once)?

Filed Under: American

There’s a story going viral at the moment with the title “Dear American Airlines, I Hate You With My Whole Heart.” The story contains a lot of bad language, though I think it’s actually a good lesson for travelers, because the airline industry is really complex.

Let me start by summarizing what happened, and then sharing my take.

The basics of what happened

I’ll try to summarize the situation as objectively and concisely as possible:

  • A guy booked a multi-city ticket from Washington to Dallas to Atlanta to Washington for roughly $1,300 for him and his wife
  • A week before the wedding he found out the wedding ceremony was scheduled to start 15 minutes after he was scheduled to land in Dallas, so he needed to change his flights
  • He called American and was informed he had bought a basic economy ticket, and he’d have to book a new ticket if he needed to change it (basic economy tickets don’t allow changes of any kind)
  • So he booked new flights from Washington Dallas for about $500
  • Less than 24 hours before his Dallas to Atlanta flight he received a notice from Orbitz indicating that his itinerary had been canceled
  • As is the norm in the airline industry, if you miss the segment of an itinerary, the rest of your ticket is canceled
  • He was basically told to pound sand, so had to spend another $1,400 buying tickets from Dallas to Atlanta to Washington

Before I share my take on this, I just have to point out my disbelief at this part:

A week before the wedding, I talked to the bride and she let me know that the actual wedding ceremony was happening the day we arrived at 7 p.m. CT.

I don’t know where the fault here lies, but who only tells someone a week out when a wedding ceremony is, especially when they’re flying out for it over July 4th weekend?!?

My take on all of this

I think the author’s anger at American Airlines is misdirected (he repeatedly says f*** American Airlines, says how he hates them, etc.). Unfortunately this could have happened on any US airline, because they all have the same policies. Well, perhaps except Southwest — they’re awesome.

I think the much bigger issue is that being an airline passenger is really freaking complicated, to the point that I sometimes wonder how the airline industry runs as smoothly as it does.

Now, I do think there are two sides to this.

The airline industry as such is incredibly complicated to run, and I often think we don’t give enough credit to airlines for how things run fairly smoothly overall. It’s one of the most complex industries out there, and for the most part margins are razor thin.

But the other side is true as well. Airlines are both profitable and offering among the lowest fares ever. Unfortunately they have some really annoying policies.

There’s no doubt the author didn’t do all of his research:

  • He should have known he booked a basic economy fare, as this is shown at several points during the Orbitz booking process
  • Based on the contract of carriage that he agreed to, he should have known that skipping a flight makes you forfeit the rest of your ticket

But the reality is that almost no one reads the contract of carriage when booking their tickets, and for good reason — it’s long.

I feel bad for people in situations like this. I think a vast majority of people genuinely don’t know most of the more punitive policies that airlines have.

I’d say airlines should do a better job disclosing these things, though the challenge is that for consumers there’s already so much information overload during the booking process, and I’m not sure there’s an easy way to share all that.

The thing is, even after this entire fiasco, he still doesn’t understand the policy, which further shows just how complicated it is:

I’d have done better to check myself into that first flight even if I didn’t actually board the plane. I didn’t know. I know now though. Oh yeah, I KNOW NOW.

That wouldn’t have made a difference — you can check in for a flight, but if you don’t board, you won’t be marked as having taken it.

What do you guys think — was the traveler in the wrong, was American Airlines in the wrong, are they both wrong, or is the airline industry just too darn complicated?

Comments
  1. I read the passengers post and I felt that he should have known that he was going to need a new ticket when he first called and was told no changes allowed, not showing up to a flight is a change…..

  2. I agree. I started reading this article at 6am today and could not finish it due to the “train wreck” nature the person writing. The 1-Hour gap between a scheduled landing and a wedding where most people arrive 30 mins prior to a wedding…… total train wreck in thinking. It was laughable and mean-spirited.

  3. I think AA is absolutely to blame for the poor phone support he received.

    They should have laid out exactly his options, and made it clear what would happen if he missed his flight, or did x, or y.

    On top of that, I am a frequent flyer and Im not even clear if checking in (but not boarding) would have helped him in anyway. This is something he mentioned.

    And then theres this:

    “skipping a flight makes you forfeit the rest of your ticket”

    Is there any other industry that operates with this kind of system? Seems like something that should be nuked from orbit with government regulation.

    It makes sense to forfeit your CONNECTING flight, but why should it affect your return trip a week later?

    And again, it leads to another question as a frequent flyer:

    Say I am flying from Boston to Fresno via LA (round trip). I arrive in LA and am told my Fresno flight has been cancelled (or maybe a delay made me miss the connection) and then next one with open seats is 36 hours away. Lets say I choose to rent a car and drive to Fresno. Do I lose my return trip because I didnt fly LA-FAT?

    This kind of stuff shouldnt be so mysterious.

  4. I agree that American isn’t totally at fault and the author of the original post does take some of the blame but I think its more of an indictment of the airline industry as a whole.

  5. Yep classic airlines. Nowadays I book one way tickets as much as possible and always if this is not more expensive.

    I booked a flight from GVA to FRA today on July 25th. The return ticket was an absurd 850$ in coach. The one way ticket was 250$ and the return was 300$. So I also saved 300$ (Still expensive but go figure airline pricing ???) and also I was less subject to miss one flight the itinerary is cancelled.

    Not AA fault but all airlines. BTW there is a Spanish ruling that invalidates the itinerary cancellation (https://www.godsavethepoints.com/iberia-spain-supreme-court-ruling-skiplagging/) for some flights that travel through Spain.

  6. Another Kettle who doesn’t read the fine print and doesn’t take the time to understand air travel before booking a ticket.

    It’s not AA’s fault his wedding-day plans changed. It’s not AA’s fault he bought Basic Economy tickets.

    It’s also not AA’s fault that this guy ultimately spent roughly $3,200 to fly from Washington DC to Atlanta. He could’ve rented a limo to drive him there, or taken any of the dozens of direct daily flights between these two cities, for less than $3,200. He sounds like an idiot for paying this much.

  7. Man just screw this.

    These airlines are leasing slots from the public. I can’t think of any other service industry where we tolerate such garbage service. I don’t care if it’s their “policy” it’s an anti-consumer policy we’re allowing to tolerate because we let them eliminate their competition. Yet on the whole we act like they’re doing us a favor by knocking off $10.00 of the ticket price while they enjoy less competition.

    If each airline was only granted slots at an airport based off of their customer satisfaction rating you’d better believe you wouldn’t see garbage like this.

  8. If he had used a travel agent to book his flights he would have paid about $100 in booking fees and saved himself thousands in dollars. A good travel agent could have gotten a waiver to change the flights.

  9. Since these were not connecting flights (it was a multi city trip), someone should have advised him to search for and to book each leg separately as one-way journeys. He would have saved a significant amount of money on his original booking (by being able to use the lowest priced airline) and would not have had to deal with the automatic itinerary cancellations. Increasingly I am booking round trips as two one-way tickets.

    At the end of the day, the airline booking strategy needs to be taught or learned

  10. @Alpha

    You are absolutely correct.

    These airlines fly from public airports funded by the public. People get to the airports via extremely expensive highways and subways funded by the public. Their planes are secured by a dedicated screening system funded by the public. Additional security is provided by air marshals funded by the public. The air space is organized and monitored by ATC funded by the public.

    And then they turn around and thank us by creating a massive bureaucracy of policies.

    “it’s in the fine print” isnt an excuse – it’s part of the problem.

  11. As in most cases, the rules themselves are often less relevant than how they are applied. Screwing the customer should be the last option in a difficult situation, regardless of the rules, not the very first step. It’s easy for American to have accommodate this customer, they just had to choose to do so. How many times have you been given a break by your airline? I get breaks all the time. But I am not a person of color, which might very well have played against this man in his experience with AA. Even tho it was over the phone, a persons background can be very obvious from their speach. AA’s record on this is NOT GOOD. AA’s customer service is EVEB WORSE. I think it’s a mistake to focus on the policy. It’s about how AA views it’s customers.

  12. @James W

    It’s AA’s fault that they offered the tickets for sale though.

    Separate thought:

    There is something inherently wrong about offering a multi-city itinerary that cannot be changed or cancelled and then gets forfeited if the passenger doesn’t fly the first the first leg. Ok, so the guy can’t *change* the itinerary. Fine. So he buys a new ticket for the first segment. Also fine. But that shouldn’t cost him the remaining the segments. There’s nothing fair or ethical about that, and I say this as a former airline employee.

  13. First, there are other businesses out there that forfeit your ticket if you don’t show. Try buying a concert ticket, play ticket, baseball game ticket and not showing up. You’re not getting a refund or a free change to another date from them either. Second I’m sick of people constantly bashing airlines. When you think about it, rude service aside (which can happen anywhere), airlines are a convenience. Try driving to your destination next time. I bet it will take you longer and cost a lot more than an airline ticket and their are fees. I used to work for an airline and this is how I’d explain a cancelled itinerary to people. If you do not board your first flight, then the computer naturally assumes you didn’t go, therefore you’re not going to return. Why is this the airlines fault? They are a business first and have an obligation to their shareholders to sell as much product as possible just like any other business. So they are going to attempt to sell those seats again. Lastly, I’ve always been amazed that someone will invest big money on airline tickets and make no attempt to understand conditions of change or refund. Yet, most people who spend $1000 on one item in a retail store tend to ask questions about the store’s refund or exchange policies.

  14. The ONLY thing that makes me take his side is the fact that he talked to an AA customer service agent to make the change. He must’ve been an arse to her also, as she didn’t bother to tell him about the rule where, if you miss the first leg of the flight, the others are cancelled. I DON’T think most people know about this rule.

  15. Another idiot who buys a restricted ticket and when the answer is no is abusive etc. Had he been polite he may have been given a waiver. It’s worth asking politely but if you start raging and using expletives..

    Furthermore he most likely made a mistake and would not accept it

    Who on earth books a flight arriving 15 mins after the ceremony??

    Did the couple suddenly change wedding a week before ?

    You plan properly. Perhaps arrive the day before

    Idiot

    Airlines are businesses. Of course people try to abuse ticket sequence rules

    So what’s the point of having a basic fare and then allowing those passengers the same flexibility as someone who pays a full fare ?

  16. This is what happens to people when they can’t use the RACE CARD.

    Can’t go on to F*** everyone over everything everywhere until they slip up forever.

  17. Really torn about this. Seems like it all boils down to what the phone rep ACTUALLY told him which we do not know. Did they tell him you need to book a new “flight” OR “trip/itenerary” Sounds like he isn’t really detail oriented so I wouldn’t be surprised if he misunderstood what was being told to him. However, if they told him to book a new flight they DID mislead him.

  18. Moral of the story: if you’re flying into the Dallas area, fly SouthWest. According to my basic research, all the cities he mentions are cities they serve. And they treat you FAR far better than AA, DL, UA etc…

  19. Read the comments on that article. Plenty of sane and by-the-book examples of steps he could have taken, and even known through a quick google search of “how to cheaply switch fligths last minute american airlines”.

    This is what happens when you get entitled people with money – They think their problems are actually an issue with the service and aren’t willing to do the footwork themselves to fix their own fuckups.

  20. Although he paid for a ticket, he did not fly the first leg and all the other segments were cancelled, is just not fair. He PAID for the ticket, there is no reason the airline could not have just taken that as a stroke of luck that the seat would be empty, someone would be happy to have a free seat next to them. The only way that seat should be filled is if the person failed to show up, the airline could book a standby passenger into it at the last minute. I really see how you would think that paying for a seat would entitle you to the seat being available at any point you wanted to take the flight. Honestly if the airline flew a plane that was fully booked and no one showed up, they would have had an empty profitable flight, it is just a money grab on their part – they are only doing it because they can.

  21. not showing to a flight is breaching a contract also people not showing to planes gives false data and numbers .

    This the reason airline over book flights they look at the previous years data. People have come with consepts to screw the airline like skipping flight buying at ticket to atlanta trough Memphis example but never intending to go to Atlanta they get off at Memphis because the tickets where cheaper. Tickets are based on the landing fee in each airport it’s not free every time a airline lands an airplane they have to pay so no the public does not pay for everything some airports are more greedy hence y the tickets are more expensive. So you can’t blame the airline for looking for a way to maintain their profits. I always say passengers are their own worst enemies when it come to airlines. Example pax sue airlines over being in airplanes over 3 hours. Court rule over 3 hours on board an ac on the ground depending on the situation they have to compensate passengers. So the airline said ok cool oh 2 hours and 45 min on the ground turn around and cancel because we ain’t paying for not being able to take off because of weather or air traffic (ground stops ) which are created by the government not the airlines. So now you stuck in the city instead of inside the plane and still making it. Y’all shoot your own foots trying to be greedy too. Read learn before you speak nonsense airlines have a lot at fault but passengers created a lot of the situations in which people are in now. The no show policy has been in place for years how can you not know. Also those basic economy where created because 30% of people do not show up on time to the airport and in the past the airlines acomodares you in the next flight filing up flight with people that were never meant to be scheduled on the flight and taking the spot a passenger that missed his flight because of a airline delay and fault.

  22. Has to be a millennial (which I am too btw). Always someone else’s fault. Never accountability for own stupidity. Could the airline industry be more forgiving? Sure. Could customer service be improved? Yes.

    “Oh I didn’t understand the terms of my loan.”

    “Business shouldn’t be targeting customers like myself”

    “Bad policies and business practice so I should get a waiver in life”

  23. @Dan … Good idea, except that cancelling the remaining itinerary *is* defensible. Tickets from A to B to C can be cheaper if B is a hub (e.g., DFW). So, airlines are trying to react to people who pay the A-B-C fare and discard the C segment. There are arguments pro and con to either the passenger or airline behavior, but this problem is why this policy exists.

  24. American Airlines is NOT to Blame AT ALL.

    He booked his ticket through a TRAVEL AGENCY “Obitz” (Yes people when you use those sites to book your ticket and you complete your transactions with them. At that point they are your Travel Agency!!! )It state that on the ticket and ANY Any changes to his itinerary must be Made via Orbitz.

    So Because he started the transaction with Orbitz, they are the ones that would be able to assist with him with any changes/accommodate to his travel plans either with another carrier or on an earlier flight. All of this information in on your
    Itinerary.

    Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline. These are travel agencies. They are online travel agencies you are choosing their service to book your flight itinerary may be including a hotel or Rent-A-Car. But we’re regardless they are a travel agency. And when you book with them and you confirm with them it shows on your itinerary that all changes go through them because they are your travel agency.

    If he took the time to read his itinerary he would’ve known to contact his travel agency to help him.

  25. Thank you! Could not have said it better. I read that guy’s whiny post and had the same take on it.

  26. @JJJJ, thats not correct at all. Not even close. Airports are not funded by any local tax payer dollars, at all. They are nearly entirely funded by fees and charges paid for by the airlines. While there are some federal tax funded grants via the airport improvement trust fund, the fast majority of those funds go to support smaller general aviation airports. And the roads and the subways you mention, those are partially paid for by the airport (ie by the airlines) as well. All of the major terminal projects happening across the US today (JFK, LGA, EWR, IAH, SFO, ORD, LAX, ATL, etc. etc.) are all funded via increased rental rates and charges paid for by the airlines. And the ATC and FAA are funded via the excise tax on airline tickets, not tax dollars.

  27. I can honestly say that the time I flew American Airlines from MIA everyone was very pleasant and helpful, I have never had bad experience with AA.
    I also believe this gentleman has not properly prepared for his wedding day. That’s just my view.

  28. No, American Airlines is not responsible. This is what happens when you book basicbitchfares not to mention not having all the details for the wedding before booking flights. He’s a dummy.

  29. I once had a round trip on Delta, and needed to cancel the outbound at the last minute. I merely called them to report on what I needed to do, and asked if they could please make sure my return was not canceled. They took care of that easily, and I took my return flight with no problems. Maybe this isn’t possible on basic economy? But it is possible.

  30. Recap: Man doesn’t read terms of his purchase before buying, expects others to bail him out. Pens pretty entertaining piece blaming supplier whose terms terms have been known to millions of others for years. Readers encourage him to incite violence to get what he thinks he’s entitled to.

  31. I read the article the traveler had posted. It was quite an entertaining read. However, I could tell from his writing style that he’s not someone I’d want to travel with, or be near when I’m traveling. He’s a total train wreck, and judging from the wedding parties notification of the actual wedding time, I’d say he hangs around like-minded individuals (birds of a feather flock together, as the old adage goes).

    I think he was entirely in the wrong. And if I were him, I’d stick to writing stories about other people who do dumb things because his writing skills shine through just as much as his lack of common sense, and his lack of personal responsibility.

  32. What about good will?
    From a purely technical perspective, it may have been the passenger’s “fault” but it’s not just about the fine print. It was his **wedding**– surely AA could have made an exception for him– they chose not to.

    This could have happened on any airline, so there’s no need to blame AA per se but it does speak to the myriad of rules that the airlines create, almost exclusively at our (taxpaying public’s) expense. One of my mentors always used to say, rules are guidelines not scripts. and any rule that can never be broken is not a rule, it’s a prison.

  33. Whether the airline industry is right or wrong, it is THEIR policy. I love how people think that their thoughts override the policies of companies.

    The author is totally at fault. Everyone these days feels they are entitled. If they don’t like the answer they get, someone else has to pay or is responsible.

    People need to take responsibility for their actions

  34. As a relatively frequent flier I have some lessons learned from being a long time AA customer. Don’t go through the discount web sites for airline tickets, the risk of what the traveler went through as things broke down will always outweigh the benefit of money saved. Happened to me with a flight to Vegas, flight was cancelled the day before the trip, AA wont reschedule your flight, you have to work with the discount site, and at the last minute flights cost more and are hard to find. When you go through a discount site, the airline does not seem to recognize you as one of their customers, and kicks it over to the discount provider. I have used Expedia and others to find a flight, then gone to the airline’s web site to purchase the ticket. AA had the best schedule for a flight I take once or twice a month, and now have over half a million frequent flier miles with them, I have their Mastercard and belong to the Admiral’s club (which is worth the money due to the numerous flight delays).

    The last few months have been incredibly bad due to the AA mechanics slow down and the grounding of the 737 Max. I had purchased three flights, one per month June, July & August, well in advance. The flight is San Antonio through DFW to Norfolk, Va. The first leg of the June flight was delayed 2 hours due to mechanical issues, which put me in DFW a few minutes after the Norfolk flight took off, I was placed on an earlier flight (largely due to being able to bypass the line as a premium flier). Problem was it was too late for my checked luggage to make the earlier flight, and it looked like I my luggage would be delivered the next day. Good news was the Norfolk flight was delayed a couple of hours also due to mechanical issues, in fact it was delayed until another plane was available, so I arrived several hours late, but with my luggage. At 4:30 AM the day of the return flight I received an alert from AA that my 3 PM flight was cancelled due to weather issues, and I was on stand by for a flight the next morning. I called and got nowhere with the customer service rep, finally deciding to use a discount site and found a flight on Delta. There were no weather issues in San Antonio, DFW or Norfolk that day. The issues were most likely mechanical due to the mechanics slow down , but claiming weather allows the airline to avoid paying for your hotel or airfare on another airline. This situation resulted in the first ever complaint I have filed with the FAA.

    My next trip is tomorrow, same route. Last week I called AA customer service and asked if I could modify my Itinerary, where I would drive to Dallas, and keep the flight from DFW to Norfolk and the return, just eliminating the 45 minute commuter flight both ways. The purpose being to reduce the risk of a flight delay or missing a connecting flight. I did not expect a refund, and I was hoping that in light of the numerous issues AA is having they would be willing to work with me on this. Nope. They said they would wave the $200 change fee, but that this would be considered a new booking and I would have to pay an additional $450, about the price of the original ticket. Like the traveler here experienced, I knew that missing the first leg would cancel the rest of the itinerary, but it was surprising that they would not work with me on this, especially in light of all the customer service issues they are having.

  35. The airlines could do a better job. If my seat is paid for and I don’t show, you put someone else in it. Now you’ve been paid for the seat twice. Why is this legal? Why can’t you refund the fare? You haven’t lost anything.

  36. The passenger’s article was entertaining, but he was clueless. He came off as somewhat dim.
    What I want to know his how to take a European vacation “including villas” for $4000. Maybe flying coach and and having 12 or 15 friends each pay $4000, then maybe. But ugh.

  37. I also had to learn this the hard way. Why is it so hard for airlines to take the Southwest approach and uncouple the flights! Airlines are wrong! Yes this is disclosed, but if you are not a frequent flyer and don’t change things up often this will catch you totally off guard. After all what other part of life involves total forfeit when you fail at the first part? I don’t loose my hamburger if I don’t eat my salad or appetizer even though I paid for it all. This is a Airline first, customer last policy and needs to change.

  38. @Barry Demchak

    You’re talking about hidden-city ticketing, where the connection is marked as a layover instead of a stopover. If you’re playing those games, not a ton of sympathy from me. But this guy was going to DFW for a wedding, and the ticket was essentially piecing together 3 separate one way itineraries into a single ticket. I have zero sympathy for people trying to play games to save a buck and things don’t come out in their favor. But I do have sympathy when people are just trying to go about their lives, they aren’t experts in air travel booking, and they get screwed.

    This guy was legitimately going to DFW for a wedding, AFAIK. His issues getting *to* ATL should ethically have no impact on his remaining journey. I’d have no issue if airline chose to not refund the money, but to keep his money *and* forbid him from travel is really unjust enrichment.

    To reiterate… if he booked DFW as a *layover* (e.g., connection) and was trying to play games, that’s on him.

  39. We don’t know what the Reservations agent said to him. For all we know they did tell him proper information, but he may have thought hey, I have a return ticket already why do I need to buy another one?? Do NOT ASSUME what he wrote about what he thought is accurate, he wants to be the victim. Based on all he wrote I think he heard what he wanted to hear and bought a one way accordingly.

    Not that this person would know what a travel agent is, but had he used one he would have saved a boat load of money and stress.

    Its not AA’s fault he bought the wrong times to go to a wedding. This is just so amateur hour.

  40. So much anger directed at an airline industry that introduced Basic Economy fares as a competitive reaction to low cost carriers low fare offering (economically unviable…looking at you Norwegian, WOW,etc…). Majors offer sales fares and rules allowing many people that comply a schedule that meets their needs. “What other industry would allow…?” I don’t buy a Smart car and whine about the lack of heated seats. I buy what my needs can afford. The rules are very clear. Fiat doesn’t ask me to confirm that I know I am not buying a Lincoln. Entitled society.

  41. He chose to buy from a 3rd party so all subsequent transactions are between him and the party he brokered the flight.

    I’ve learned this from 3rd party hotel sites.

  42. Red flag. If your are traveling by train or plane and in a time sensitive situation. Fly direct. Do not do multiple flights. Murphys law. Also use the AA website and not a 3rd party. After two mishaps with layovers. Will not do it again.

  43. @Dan … good points, too. And therein lies the conflict … and no airline can know the intent of a flyer, much less an inexperienced one. I think the real lesson is that basic fares are pretty new, and they’re most likely to be used by people who understand them the least. As a very long time frequent flyer, I have a number of rules that I live by. (I don’t understand some aspects of basic fares … how can an inexperienced traveler know, either?) I (almost) *never* book a basic fare, and now I know to *never ever* book a multi-segment basic fare. Sadly, now we know more about basic fares …

  44. This was my response:

    This is one of the worst written things I’ve ever read.

    First, we have a moron who waits until the last minute to buy a ticket. Then he buys BE.

    Next, despite going to a wedding he neglects to ask when they need to be there.

    Then, hey how about some throw away ticketing?

    This is to say nothing of the awful way its written. It’s so slangy and wannabe hip and funny it makes Delta Points look like James Joyce

  45. From my perspective, the only thing that rings true is his blissful ignorance and lack of truth as he regales us with his foul-mouthed diatribe.

    Here’s why I fail to believe his fairy tale, mind you I originally tried to read it on the other day and couldn’t stand his writing/language etc. It was written like the Blair Witch Project was filmed:
    – from experience booking through OTA and TA for both international and Trans-Con, the airline would not touch my tickets because, “…they were purchased through a third party sir, you need to contact the travel agency for all changes.” Mind you, I was attempting to upgrade my tickets which does constitute a change that would make money for the airline. When I’ve booked through an airline that code-shared my flight, they made me contact the airline through which I made the purchase each time. The only thing I could do through the code-share airline was select my seat for each leg ex. SFO-LHR, LHR-MAD on BA used their site/app, MAD-VLC used IBE app to select my seat. I’m certain his AA call did not start where he indicated,
    “Them: You can’t change your flight, you got the basic (bitch) ticket.

    Me: OK, so if I need to fly out earlier, are you saying I need to buy a ticket to get there earlier?”

    -he was scheduled to arrive in Dallas 1 hour prior to the wedding ceremony, July 3rd the day of,
    once he purchased new tickets, ok.

    -then Thursday July 4th he’s at Dallas airport at 2pm…”On Thursday, July Fourth, after going on a shopping spree at Dallas’ NorthPark Centre…around 2 p.m., which would be less than 24 hours before our flight to Atlanta, saying that there was a change to my flight details.”

    -he reconfirms the July 4th with this statement…”At this point, I called American Airlines, on July Fourth and an hour before the wedding reception.”

    -perhaps I’m on glue, but, his timeline of events seems just a tic off? Was your flight on the 3rd and you switched it to the 4th causing the…’Her: There’s nothing we can do for you. You didn’t take the flight. You forfeited the rest. Anything else I can do for you?

    Me (to my wife): This woman is an asshole…yo.”

    Ignorance of rules, laws, and/or regulations does not absolve you of your error. Whenever you make a purchase online through OTA/TA/shopping portal you check a box that says you have read and agree with the terms/conditions. That makes it a contract. In the words of Judge Judy you’re an adult, if you signed a contractual agreement and failed to read it…I cannot help you!

    I fail to see where this is any fault of AA, period!

    Now to get real- if this dummy was dropping Benjamins for new flights; ball’a spend the extra to fly a different airline since you got it like that!

    my $0.02

  46. First off, the guy needs a thesaurus. Second, anybody who has flown in the last half century should have know that’s the rules. Too bad he needed to spend all that money to learn.

  47. I don’t blame AA and I don’t think booking itineraries is a complicated endeavor, which requires seasoned frequent flyers to maneuver through. He rolled the dice buying non-refundable, non-changeable tickets and he lost – that part is on him. The wedding date and/or time change is not AA’s problem, again, his problem. The forfeiture of his return tickets is unfortunate and I can totally understand how a non-seasoned frequent flyer could get burned on that part. However, I don’t blame AA for having such a rule – plenty of people gamed the system in the past forcing AA and other airlines to adopt this rule in order to protect themselves. While I can understand how he got burned on the forfeiture of his return tickets, he doesn’t get a pass. If you’re buying expensive airline tickets, you need to acquire a basic skill set in order to make sound decisions, especially with respect to finding the best cost and value. If you don’t care to acquire these skills, find a regular travel agent (not an OTA) or an experienced relative or friend to handle your flights and hotels.

  48. I’ve never read a contract of carriage in its entirety, but I guess I fly often enough that I *know* that if I miss any segment of my itinerary the rest of the itinerary is canceled. I suppose inexperienced travelers have to learn some of these things the hard way. AA could have made an exception for him as a goodwill gesture, but I think they would find themselves making exceptions every time someone with a basic economy ticket had a somewhat convincing sob story, which would defeat the purpose of basic economy tickets to begin with.

    I’ve read that the Big 3 don’t really want customers to book basic economy but they feel compelled to offer these fares to complete with ultra-low-cost carriers such as Spirit. And they make you confirm you understand the specific restrictions of basic economy before you’re allowed to purchase them. Maybe they ought to add a checkbox saying “show basic economy fares” on their online booking channels that’s unchecked by default, like United does on it’s mobile app, so only travelers who “really” know what they’re doing book these fares, but this wouldn’t help those who book through OTAs such as Orbitz unless the OTAs also agreed to implement that feature.

  49. Anyone notice Orbitz was involved. They are a third party – so new rules involved in any case. How can you hold AA responsible when you didn’t book with them directly?

  50. Completely agree with Barbara: just like her, I had nothing but but a very pleasant experience with AA–very good service, and and a absolutely great loyalty program…

    Graig is also correct by saying that the guy who ranted about AA, should only blame only for not checking terms and conditions of his ticket…It’s pretty dumb for him to accuse the airline for his own mistake.

  51. JJJJJJJ “Say I am flying from Boston to Fresno via LA (round trip). I arrive in LA and am told my Fresno flight has been cancelled (or maybe a delay made me miss the connection) and then next one with open seats is 36 hours away. Lets say I choose to rent a car and drive to Fresno. Do I lose my return trip because I didnt fly LA-FAT?”

    In this situation, you would tell the airline your plans, and they would fix the ticket so the return doesn’t get canceled. However, it would be funny if you every flew between Sioux City, Iowa (SUX) and Fresno (FAT), in either direction.

  52. Words to the wise:
    NEVER BUY THE BASIC FARE!
    ALWAY BUY FLIGHT INTERRUPTION INSURANCE!
    ALWAYS TAKE TIME TO READ THE FINE PRINT!
    And to this “FN” who wrote the article, YOU’RE the one who should join Omar, Tleib, Ocasio-Cortez and Presley and get the hell out of my country!!

  53. It is interesting how many people are complicit in allowing the airlines to have their way with the customer. Banks once charged massive fees for minor miss steps. This is the same situation. How the ticket was purchased is irrelevant. Most tickets for people who are not frequent fliers are non refundable. Bad language and grammar does not make the airlines correct. People make errors, things change and stuff happens, and the airlines are banking on your errors with policy that is cruel to the infrequent travelers. This is not OK no matter how you spin it, no matter how many ways it was disclosed in the fine print. Even Southpark made fun of the people who don’t read the fine print because almost nobody does ever. So there is legal and ethical. This policy is unethical while legal.

  54. I have my own American Airlines 4th of July weekend travel tale. I PAID for a first class ticket $1,300 – AVL-SFO, purchased in April. My itinerary changed 2 times before my flight……more inconvenient each time with hours spent on the phone to find a schedule that worked. So I headed off July 3rd…..dealing with two late flights to SFO. My return was scheduled for July 7th…..I got a text at 1:47 AM informing me my 10:49 AM flight was cancelled. Please call this number……which wasn’t active….sorry….call the general number. After being on hold for nearly 2 hrs. (disconnected twice) I finally got a new schedule for the FOLLOWING day. I am stunned they couldn’t/wouldn’t accommodate me on any other flight, not even with other airlines. I accept that issues can happen but totally suspect this was due to their union problems, however having to cope with nasty, poorly trained agents, losing $169 penalty fee on AVL hotel since it was past the 48 hr. cancellation timeline is unacceptable. I’ve written customer service and have not heard a word back….no one ever said they were sorry for the inconvenience and expense generated. After years of having FF status, I’m now retired so I’m a nobody and clearly after paying up for first class they do not value my business. By the way the meals were inedible and service esp. SFO/CLT was the worst I ever had. I had 4 flights on American Eagle this past weekend all First class, and they have American beat by miles…..despite their small first class section/service. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

  55. The guy could have even simply called American and informed them that he would not be making the first leg of his journey – they would take him off the head count for his first flight and let him keep the rest of his itinerary.

    I had to do exactly this a few weeks ago when a canceled leg would have caused me to miss a connection. I grabbed a Delta flight from DTW-ORD then boarded my ORD-DFW plane on time without issue. American was more than understanding – all it takes is a little proactive communication.

    They can only help you if you give them a chance. Some folks would rather complain than be helped.

  56. Technically this is the customer’s fault. At the same time, if we believe the customer’s account of what happened on the first phone call, AA didn’t help to prevent upsetting the customer.

    If the phone agent had followed up the statement about the limitations of a basic fare with, say, “Tell me more about what changes you are trying to make” or “What’s the problem with your itinerary?” then the agent might’ve helped guide the customer to the better of what were, admittedly, undesirable options.

  57. I worked for American Airlines for 23 years in reservations. ,(Retired now). I’ve heard it all.
    This guy made several mistakes, the biggest one, IMO, not arriving the night before for the wedding. A hotel room would have been a lot cheaper than what he ended up spending on his tickets. Not to mention, less stressful. I’ve seen cruise passengers book flights to arrive 4 hours before their ship is due to leave. A mechanical delay, weather, etc, and you’ve missed your boat, so to speak.
    Using a booking sight like Orbitz seems like a good idea, but better to book through the airline’s site directly. An agent could have listened to his story, perhaps waived fees, and reinstated the itinerary. Agents have the flexibility when it’s on their own website.
    Multi-segment intineraries are troublesome, and should be booked with an experienced agent. This is no time to play travel agent. You can also book Southwest separately and have the airline be book your other flight segments.
    This man was not an experienced traveller.
    I hope he’s learned a lesson or too. As an agent, I never expected my passenger to know about the no show rule, and I always worked very hard to make it right.

  58. I feel the passenger is more to blame than the airline. He should have known that there are limits when it comes to Basic Economy. Also people often blame American when things go wrong but things can go wrong with all the airlines, even Southwest.

  59. I was waiting for him to play the race card, but thankfully he’s not that foolish.

    AA did nothing wrong. He needs to read the T&Cs of his ticket. Basic eco is basic eco. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I don’t feel sorry for him.

    Added, he attempted to add some anger cred to his article by swearing and it just comes across as unprofessional and like a typical whiny millennial.

  60. @DMK that’s a BS argument. May be I drove or plans changed and had to go there early or later than original plan. The computer does not naturally assumes that I did not go. It is airlines fault because they decided to design their reservation system in this way. The examples you gave do not have a round trip tickets. If I buy tickets to a baseball game for two games and don’t show up for first game, my ticket for 2nd game does not get cancelled.

    I think both are fault. In this day and age one cannot expect businesses to have customer friendly policies. Hence he should have done his research before booking this trip on basic economy. AA is at fault because they have such anti-customer policies.

  61. Its also likely he appeared as duplicate bookings to AA and they would take action to eliminate that as well. The guy was wrong not AA.

  62. Look, the only way any business could get away with such horrible customer service is a lack of competition. Over consolidation, collusion, lack of regulatory oversight, take your pick.

  63. Classic “Victimhood Chic.” The guy is 100% to blame. Even your beloved Southwest once screwed me royally and I didn’t make a peep. Just learned from my mistake and kissed $1,700 goodbye as tuition to Air Travel School.

  64. That’s why with Basic Economy Tickets, book them as one way tickets, on separate reservations. Then if you miss one, the others aren’t canceled, because they are one way reservations and aren’t tied to each other. I always book basic economy tickets that way for that very reason. If you don’t want to do that, pay more for a standard ticket. And yes, Southwest is awesome, but also expensive. Haven’t flown them in 5 years because of price.

  65. No fault of AA obviously since that’s what he agreed to when he bought the ticket. It does suck given the circumstances though I understand being upset. This really underscores why you should just buy one way tickets. That way you can no show when you want. And rarely are tickets any more expensive (domestically) to book one way

  66. Everyone wants to blame everyone except themselves nowadays. It’s as simple as that.

  67. JJ,

    You’re essentially right: instead being frustrated SoB, that guy should have intelligently explained to an agent–perhaps even a supervisor–and they would have probably have found some kind of solution for him… It’s my experience, that AA agents also hate to see very unhappy customers….

  68. Thanks for your service at AA… by and large, I have nothing but good words perhaps you and your colleagues at the AA customer service…

  69. I feel sorry for your misfortune with AA… unfortunately, things like that happen even to the best carriers, especially around holidays…

  70. I laughed my a** off when I read this article this morning! Made my day! Yes, he “should” have known better. Should have researched it. However, almost of us do not think these policies are good!

  71. I worked in the airline industry for many years. It is complicated.

    If you don’t get on one flight, the rest does cancel. It makes sense when you think about it. If he doesn’t get in plane 1, then how is he going to get on plane 2? Now if he had made the new reservation with an agent, they could have flagged the rest of his ticket so that it wouldn’t cancel. But how is the system to know that he made it you the city to pick up the next flight?

    Oversold flight weren’t as bad as they are now. We used to require you to reconfirm flights out they works be cancelled so the seat can be resold. Empty seats cost money. But then no one reconfirmed and flights were cancelled. So now, no reconfirm, but flights oversold to make up for no shows and missed flights. Complicated yes, but although we may not like it, many of the policies have a reason for being.

  72. And to who ever above said well if you miss a concert or ballgame you dont get a refund, no you don’t but if you show up at half time or between performers you still get in. They dont say, no, you have to be here for the first act or first half.

  73. I responded in the comments to his article saying nearly the same thing you did. Why is the airline responsible for his bad purchase(s)? Basic economy is a risky purchase as it is. When you compound that risk by purchasing on a third party, you have zero financial recourse. Booking with Southwest would have avoided all of the mess.

  74. Maybe I fly more than others, but it was surprising to me to learn that others did not know about the “no show rule”. I equate it to hotels, where if you miss the first night of check-in, you lose the reservation. It probably helps that I have booked hidden city tickets, and companies, like Skiplagged, that advertise the ticket make sure to explain that it has to be booked one-way, so I have had to know the rules to plan trips and segments.
    When I read the article, from the first person, he stated he purchased a basic economy ticket, but even if he had a regular economy ticket (probably increasing the cost $100 per person) he still would have had to pay a change fee ($200 per ticket) and the price difference, so it isn’t entirely the fault of the ticket style either.
    He planned poorly, didn’t bother to read the fine print and choose to book all of the tickets as one bunch, instead of 3 one-ways. He can blame the airline if he wants, but he does not have a leg to stand on. The rules are stated, though people rarely ever read them. Also, he didn’t seem to disclose that there were a series of flights in the itinerary (though American can look it up), so the agent’s interaction:
    “Me: OK, so if I need to fly out earlier, are you saying I need to buy a ticket to get there earlier?
    Them: Pretty much. Anything else I can help you with?”
    did not mean that they should disclose information about the no-show rule.

  75. The man is 100% at fault, he bought the cheap ticket and the reduced plane fare has “restrictions’ that people dont take the time to read. Delta has cheaper fares with restrictions also in exchange for the lower cost of the ticket, Read the restrictions before buying ticket people!!!

  76. I’ve been a corporate travel agent for over 20 years so I have to weigh in on this issue. Lesson for the guy who booked the trip: slow down and READ the rules of the fare. Basic economy fares (and all fares) explicitly state what you can and cannot do once you buy the ticket. If it reads like a foreign language then call the airline to find out for sure. Unfortunately too many people get in a hurry and gloss over what’s written. It’s a hard and expensive lesson to learn. It happens to a lot of people.

    With that being said I think the airlines have a ridiculous amount of information (contact of carriage) and waaaay too many rules. They love guys like this because it’s one of the many ways they make billions of dollars in profits every year. Because, you know, it’s all written right there and good luck with it. Basic economy fares are a nightmare and I wish it was never a thing. Double check your prices. A lot of times the fare difference is not that much from a non-refundable ticket that you can change for a fee.

  77. Ethan Schlamm you’re obviously another white supremacists racist, but I hate to tell you it’s not your country. It belongs to everyone born here or who has become a citizen.

    The original OP does bare some responsibility, but as someone who works in a company as large as American and as dependent on customers as they are they could have accommodated him and certainly the rep at the very least could have and should have given him all his options and repercussions. Anyone who says they always read all that fine print is a liar.

  78. Regardless of fault, AA’s customer service was, and continues to be, one of the worst. They HAD a chance to make a customer for life. A simple “Yes we realize….yes the contract is vague ….. let’s see what we can do to make it right and get you on your way.” But they did they exact opposite. Completely alienated a potential lifelong customer with one shitty call and a huge missed opportunity. AA needs better customer service training. This is a top down problem. The agents on the phones are not empowered to help. Customer Service 101, and AA doesn’t get it.
    Look at LinkedIn sometime – the number of people there that have “customer…..” in their title. It is sickening so many people make so much money, and they are still so bad.
    Hey someone hire me to teach shitty customer service protocols. I have had enough bad experiences that I am way over qualified.

  79. Renee you’re absolutely correct about showing up late for a ball game or concert. I’ll go back and re-read my post to clarify. My point was that if you totally miss them you won’t get a refund or exchange. I was refuting a previous post that said no other business does this. Show up late to a flight and you’re not going to get in like showing up late to a ball game since the plane won’t be there.

    Olgunner, you’re entitled to your opinion. But after having been with a major airline for 29 years I stand by my thoughts.

  80. America airlines does suck. Stranded me and thousands of flyers that same weekend. Blamed it on weather but real reason was major job action this summer. After they canceled all my flights. AA rebooking agent suggested we rent a car and drive home. We did 2 day drive plus 2 hotels. Filed complaint no response. Angry beyond believe. This is why GM filed bankruptcy. Treat your customer like crap word gets around. Don’t fly AA

  81. I side with the airline on this one. Rules of a BE ticket are clearly outlined before you purchase them. A mistake by the purchaser does not change the rules. How could you not know the time of your own wedding? No changes means exactly that. Secondly, did he ever ask the agent if he could not take the first flight and keep the return? Not the airlines fault there either. People need to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming the airline.

  82. I understand and sympathize about the policy but who shells out $1300 without at least confirming their schedule first? Or, if the bride was too flaky to give a fixed time, why would you buy a nonchangeable ticket or not at least plan a wider margin for error? Flexible tickets are exhorbitant, but a regular economy ticket could at least be changed for $200. I don’t like alot of airline policies, but this travelers boneheaded planning created the problems.

  83. something strange hêre, why did he not know the correct wêdding date? because the problem would never have happened, he should have taken a bit mỏe réponsibility

  84. The funniest is this IMO:

    “To add insult to injury, let me tell you ABOUT the actual flight from Dallas to Atlanta. And yes, it was still on American Airlines because the times worked AND the tickets were still the cheapest. Never again, though”

    So the third booking is with AA again… too funny

    You hear it all the time. “I never fly X again because of Y!” All this is reliably forgotten once X shows up as the cheapest option again.

  85. To me AA customer support screwed him. Yes, he “should have known” the consequences of booking a basic economy fare. But how many people read the fine print? Those of us who travel a lot know what that is, but the airlines are being deceptive by not spelling this out really clearly: which they obviously do not.

    And yes, he “should have known” that being a no show would cancel the rest of his itinerary. But there he was talking to an AA agent who didn’t bother to explain to him what was going to happen when he booked a single segment of his multi-city itinerary. They SHOULD have told him what was up, and they didn’t. This is a clear massive fail. And the article writer also made it clear this was the main reason for his anger: the rep let him buy a ticket without saying a word about the consequences to him.

    Southwest and Jet Blue don’t have “basic economy” fares. That’s why I fly them as much as I can.

  86. The guy is both an idiot and a jackass. When you change the outbound flight of an itinerary, you are subject to a complete recalculation of the fare for the entire trip.

    Them he skipped the outbound leg of a multi-city itinerary, which would make him subject to cancelation of the remainder of the itinerary.

    He’s probably one of those smarter than everyone people that doesn’t listen to vital information that would have alleviated the entire mess.

    But he’s either too busy, or too smart, or too important (in his mind) to listen to a lowly(his thinking again) reservations agent for all of the details. So he paid the price.

    Better luck next time jackass!!!

  87. My thoughts…I call BS on the whole “a week before the wedding I found out the start time” crap right off the jump. My experience is, if they’ll lie about one thing, they’ll lie about another, so I’m not buying half of what he’s selling.

  88. Full disclosure – I’m not a fan of American Airlines as they lost my luggage many years ago and did not reimburse me since they said “I needed to have receipts for the contents of the luggage”. Contents were my clothes and some Christmas gifts given to me. So I try to avoid them unless they are *much * cheaper than anyone else. However when reading the person’s rant against American Airlines I could not blame them for not giving him a break on a non-changeable ticket. Thought he should lay off the f** talk as well. Where I sympathize is the cancellation of the remainder of the legs if one leg is not taken. It may be standard policy but it should be regulated against. If I paid for all legs of the trip but miss one, I should be allowed the take the remaining legs. It is not right, even if it is how they all operate.

  89. Lots of folks here are pretty down on this guy. Seems to me you’re giving occasional flyers too much credit for knowing the rules that frequent travelers like yourselves know.
    Two points:
    1. Itineraries should never be cancelled for missing one leg. It’s fine to not be refunded but you’ve still paid for a seat on all flights. Yes, I include hidden city itineraries in this – the penalty for using those is the risk of a flight change as the airline is not obligated to het you to the layover city and can reroute you however they choose at any time. In any case, no other product allows a seller to not deliver if a portion is unused. This is nothing more or less than fraud. Yes, it’s industry standard but it’s still fraud.
    2. Not allowing an upgrade to a fare that allows changes is stupid. Even if that upgrade requires paying the difference in fares plus a change fee plus a separate change fee to actually adjust the itinerary it would have avoided this problem and still netted American some nice extra profit. Plus, having that policy in place would let them snare more of you folks who know how to ask with the right weasel words to get the airlines to waive fees and make changes the don’t technically allow – more profits. Nothing forces a company to make good business decisions but it is reasonable for a poorly informed customer to assume they do.
    3. No matter where I have bought my ticket I’ve never had a problem getting an airline to rebook my flight as needed. There’s no reason this man needed to go to Orbitz first (though they might have been able to help)
    4. None of you have read all the fine print on your tickets. And if you did you wouldn’t have understood it unless you are a lawyer for the airline.

  90. Imagine that you buy season tickets for a team, but if you don’t show up for a game you forfeit the rest of the season without a refund.

  91. I’m with the author of the article. My son flew to London 4th of July week to visit family. He was supposed to return the following Monday. Long story short…..he didn’t get back until Wednesday. His flights were canceled due to “mechanical issues”. It was a nightmare. The previous weekend my coworker flew to San Diego. Arrived there late due to “mechanical issues ” and had to have someone drive to another state to pick her up from her layover airport because he flight was cancelled and all of the rental cars were sold out. I’m travelling next week and I cancelled my American Airlines flight and switched to Delta. I want to make sure I get to my destination and return home when I want to return home. USA Today did an article about them over the weekend you should check it out.

  92. Yes, I was vaguely aware of this, but it’s a non-issue for me. I fly SWA 99% of the time. That said…

    The forfeiture policy is really indefensible. I understand that on a basic ticket you get no changes or cancellation refund. But how does one justify the forfeiture of the remaining legs? How have I, the traveler, inconvenienced the airline?

    It’s time for some consumer protection legislation or a class action lawsuit. Seriously.

  93. You are absolutely right, Lucky. I was angered when I read his article because he assumed no personal responsibility for making several mistakes. Holding AA liable for his poor planning, last minute changes, accepting agreements without reading the fine print, or trying to circumvent the system is absolutely childish. It’s about time we start holding ourselves to a higher standard. Thank you for writing this response.

  94. Michele London, Barb, Scott Benedict, Ethan, Sam, Renee, y’all are mature grown ups. Jjjj and the other similarly entitled whiney children just don’t get it unless they get their way, regardless of the rules. You see it all the time if you fly Spirit–you want the really ridiculous price, of course you do, but you get all pissed off like a petulant child when you are told that you didn’t read the rules on luggage and carry ons. “I don’t haveta read any rules, I just want you to be nice and make an exception because, well, because I want one! And if you don’t do what I demand to make me feel important, I’ll swear and cry and post bad things about you. Nyahh!” My wife worked for a black card (no, not the Amex Centurion, rather the phony MasterCard pretend card for wannabes) and she literally heard the line “Don’t you know who I am!?!” repeatedly. The answer she wanted to give: “Why yes sir, you’re God’s gift to the world and this hotel or car rental agency or airline just doesn’t realize it. However, the fact is you are just a petulant child who wants to have an important credit card and doesn’t. Goodbye.” News flash: the grown ups aren’t always going to clean up your bad-planning-didn’t-read-the-rules messes any more. Sorry not sorry, just grow up or go cry outside. Lol

  95. He needs to learn the ‘Ignorance does not prevent you from punishment’ rule ! Just another whiner who does not want to accept responsibility!

  96. Ok, you don’t show up or cancel the first flight. You booked on a “computer” and the plane takes off without you in your seat. Are you going to no show the rest of your flights? The computer says yes, so by by seats.
    1. Complicated enough schedule; use a real live agent.
    2. Basic fares are 95% one way costs. I would have issued all separate tickets, not 1 ticket.
    3. We can cancel the 1 set of flights that you are not using and computer will not see it
    4. We might have figured it out, you cussed your way into who cares.
    5. I agree with all above, stay away from basic fares. They hurt big time when you do not use absolutely as booked.

  97. Of course he’s to blame. He wants the lowest price fare, without having to abide by the highest restrictions that provide the lowest price.

    He agreed to terms throughout the process. It wasn’t a hidden policy. “Non-refundable and Non-changeable” means just that, not unless you can’t figure out when the wedding is BEFORE you book.

    I’ll give him that a lot of people are unaware of the no-show forfeiture of remaining segments, despite the fact that I do find it to be a logical policy. If you aren’t on one segment, you likely won’t be on the next, unless you’re trying to avoid fees.

    I’ll agree that IF the conversations happened as described, the customer service had room for improvement. However, can I really trust the rant of someone who just claimed to be blindsided by the wedding time and policies he agreed to? I already said all this on his nonsensical rant. He was wrong.

  98. I do think the fact subsequent flights are forfeited if you don’t take earlier ones isn’t hugely known. Most people make their flights, so you learn it the hard way!

    Still, there is nothing American Airlines specific about his problem it seems.

  99. First you have to read to understand what your purchasing. Second he definitely should have effectively communicated with AA and maybe he would have understood you cant skip the 1st leg of your flight. Halfway through the article I stop reading it didnt make sense. It sounded like AA was not at fault so why blast them online. Can be a frequent traveler. And who pays $1300 for 2 basic tickets domestically holiday or not. Do better planning. Read to understand & listen to understand not to just respond.

  100. I fly regularly and it took a storm, a kids christmas program and a rebooked flight to find out about the segment policy. I wasucky enough to be flying for work in a corporate world, so my lesson was a little different. But the average traveler i dont think has any idea,my sympathy. Some of this comes down to customer service. When you pick the cheapest ticket on the cheapest airline (not typically AA) you forfeit customer service. That having been said not something I would expect from American. You say except Southwest… I say except Delta (who I am extremely brand loyal too). Their customer service is amazing. I have screwed up flights more times than I can count. 3 weeks ago I booked my flight backwards. Called said I screwed up please help. There was a pri e difference but the agent had it done in less than 10 minutes and waived the change fee. Then again this is why I fly delta regardless of sometimes being a little more ($20-50 a ticket) sometimes less. I also book on the Delta app. I used to split my time between 2 airlines. Delta usually gets out even if there is a delay vs the other airline that tends to cancel. Whether it is food, wine, shoes or airlines you get what you pay for… but the segment cancel thing as a frequent travel leads me to *&%[email protected]^& too. Would like that to go away. Where do I sign the online petition. I sympathize

  101. I’m taking the side of the guy over the airline. I primarily fly AA. All American airline companies are full of shit and shady these days. Bringing up “the fine print” is lame. I will admit, his overall flight planning was chaotic and gave me a headache. However, what is the point of customer service if they don’t make these sort of things, CLEAR!!?? I think he was just upset that nobody actually brought any of this to his attention. Falling back on “read the fine print” is not good customer service.

  102. Very classy comment Tommy! A real sign of maturity and an ability to take responsibility your own actions….

  103. Cheap shot at Eric, Karen, calling him a racist only be cause he had an audacity, like many other of us, to call that guy from OP an idiot not because he’s black but because his rant shows how stupid and immature he is, which has nothing to do with his race… Obviously people like you always try to use race card when they have nothing smarter or more substantive to say…

  104. Back in the 90s, my sister was flying from Boston to Cleveland to Akron. Both airports are close to me. So I suggested she skip the Akron part and I’d pick her up in Cleveland. She was told if she did that, the rest of her trip would be cancelled. It’s not a new policy.

  105. The contract of carriage states that flight must be taken in sequence. But I can tell you they don’t always cancel the entire ticket if you miss a flight. There are lots of factors involving both human and computer to determine if a ticket should be canceled, and almost nobody, including the airline agent, knows for sure. I once bought a ticket from AMS-GRU via NYC, and I flew it as AMS-NYC roundtrip with no issues at all. The key is to check in for all the flights even if you don’t intend to take them. If you don’t check in, you are almost guaranteed to have the ticket automatically canceled once the check-in deadline passes.

  106. Seriously? This guy is an idiot and now trying to blame the airline for his idiocy. I’d like to believe that it’s the airlines fault but the story the guy tells just it impossible to not blame him.

    Look, there are two possibilities that led to this fiasco: 1) he booked a non-refundable flight (you can’t miss the warnings about that on Orbitz) without knowing the day and date of the wedding he was traveling to or 2) he had the information, didn’t read it before he booked, then discovered the fact the last minute.

    Either way, if the guy is that much of a tool do you really think he’s actually listened to the people he spoke with, asked questions, or tried to maturely advocate for himself or a solution?

  107. While I feel really bad for this guy, and I personally think that the idea of missing part of an itinerary means that your itinerary is now cancelled makes absolutely no sense, you can’t blame American (or any airline) because that have a policy, and like it or not, and whether he read it or not, he agreed to it. He’s 100% at fault for not reading/understanding a business contact that he signed with the airline. If you don’t like their “contact of carriage” then don’t fly. It’s as simple as that

  108. As a consumer they got blindsided here not realizing their orbitz ticket would cancel. They bought another ticket with American. The guy spent a lot of money on tickets for this special occasion. Not everyone is an aviation expert. American should compensate them some cash and free vouchers on social media.

  109. Book individual one ways like an adult….especially when buying cheap tickets in advance. Buying a discount multicity ticket is asking for trouble…

  110. The customer is to blame. That is poor planning on his part. Should of flown in earlier. Obviously he could afford to take the extra day off since he was putting more of his money towards other tickets.

  111. Life happens. I was recently caught on this side of AA and an agent in Chicago told us not to worry, “our flights home would not be canceled because we missed our initial flight”…not only were we given false information, it cost us $1500. AA is at fault, business or not, for most people the system is too complicated to navigate.

  112. @Sam

    Yep stupidity has nothing to do with genetics. A white person would probably rant like that too.

    Harvard has bunch of Asians probably because they are crazy rich but not their genes.
    While some white kid needs to go to war against gun control just to get admitted (after a year of rejections and sabbatical).
    When was the last time you see a Hispanic break the speed record of 100m sprint?

  113. One thing to note is that the travel agregators (I’m my personal experience, Expedia), do not let you choose we m which to of fare you get when doing a bundle. I recently booked airfare, hotel, and rental car in a bundle and found I was forced into basic economy at checkout with no way to change it. So I tried booking the same flight on its own (doing car and hotel together) and not only saved a few bucks (!) but was able to get an economy ticket (free carry on here I come!).

  114. Yeah man, the Root is incendiary click bait. I give American grief whenever due, but that one was on the traveller. First off he booked a flight before even knowing what time the wedding ceremony he was going to was at and then had to change his flight… c’mon…

  115. I hate to say it (NOT) … but AA has been very good to me. I’m a life long customer, and have many AA stories that would leave anyone awestruck. I can’t think of a bad trip, though many haven’t gone as planned.

    It’s so fashionable to trash AA, and I suppose they would deserve it sometimes, but so would any airline.

    AA has had bad days and will have better days in the future.

    Let’s all take a deep breath and be resilient.

  116. American Airlines treats customers like criminals. My experience with them at London Heathrow airport was ridiculous. They had to question every single customer regarding the hotels they stayed at and all the destinations that they visited in order to verify their travel documentation. I think they have no business to inquire where the passengers have been to during your vacations that is an invasion of privacy. After sending a complaint to customer relations their response was simply that they treat every customer with respect but this is the safety and security for every single passenger and they take it seriously. What a joke.

  117. I agree, the airlines make it difficult to decipher all of the rules on flights. However, if he would have booked with a travel consultant they could have advised him properly and probably avoided alot of the extra costs. Personally, I can say I never reserve basic economy tickets for anyone. While I think that they should have planned a bit better, especially for such an important event and it being over a holiday, airlines have rules for a reason. Next time, leave it to a professional to take care of your arrangements. You would have still had a change fee but you would have avoided shelling out such a high amount.

  118. Reading his rant and referring to people as bitches, a-holes and saying f—k and he wants sympathy?

    He’s an idiot

    Had he been polite perhaps something could have been done

    He lost all sympathy when I read the first few lines

  119. I don’t travel much, and could possibly be stepping on my own dick, but I believe the pinch should be put on Orbits. They are the purchasing agent in this debacle and should be held accountable. The Airline and the customer didn’t communicate during the sale process. And the customer should never talk to the airline if they need to change anything concerning their itinerary. The agent making the sale and the customer need to be sure all restrictions and clauses are clear. But ultimately, it’s buyer beware. Dealing with an organization that touts itself as a provider of cut rate services, regardless of type, should raise a red flag to the customer. You get what you pay for.

  120. Some people in these comments act like booking one way flights is a legitimate solution. If one of your flights gets cancelled which they do all the time, good luck getting the airlines to change any of your return or connecting flights. See how that goes for you. Face it airlines in the US just have terrible customer service.

  121. He booked on Orbitz. If anything, American was being nice because they owe him no duty, only a duty to Orbitz. Orbitz is the one people should be mad at. But hey, look at all the $$ he saved rather than buying from AA directly.

  122. I posted a response on the original article as I felt AA was not to blame for his poorly planned an uninformed adventure. There are lots on no-no’s like booking multiple tickets for the same day, big security issue with airlines these days. He may have been able to do a same day flight change at check in. Booking thru Orbitz then lambasting AA, huh? I travel a fair amount and I can say the general public is less than polite to airline staff. Airlines are still private entities and your contract with them is detailed in the condition of carriage. So screaming at the gate agent when they refuse to let you gate check your 5 carry on suitcases or let Granny and her 20 companions preboard is absurd. I’m all for blaming them when they are to blame but sorry, not this time.

  123. Correction, all airlines might have the same policy but not all of them would respond the same way, AA had already got paid the first time he changed, how hard was it to help him out the second time??
    Due to a delayed flight from Sao Paulo to Rio (with Avianca), I missed my flight back home to the U.S. I had to wait 24 hours to catch the next Delta Flight back. It was a $1300.00 ticket. Delta changed my ticket 24 hours after I missed the flight!!!!! I also bought the cheapest ticket. Let me tell you that before and after this incident, I have had some issues with Delta, but what they did that day, when they didn’t have too, always helps me cope with any new issues. Thank you Delta!!!!

  124. I’m shocked that AA even talked to him since he booked it through Orbitz. My past experience was just that; if I didn’t book through the airline then they wouldn’t deal with me. He sounds very irresponsible as you noted if he didnt even know when the wedding was. If he was smart enough to book a multi city airfare then he should have been smart enough to know other things about travel. I don’t blame AA at all. If you pay the cheapest price for anything you should know there are likely to be risks.

  125. The main thing to consider is making travel arrangements is stressful and any amount of assistance during the process is greatly appreciated. Even though he made a myriad of mistakes – all not completely in his control – the first customer service person should have been clear s to what the choices were and any penalties or problems he would run into if anything changed during his trip. As travelers, we can do our best to know all of these recommendations, but it is good customer service to be effective in customer service… That’s their job!

  126. I only book airfare with AMX travel. Rates are the same if not less, often get perks ( flew Norwegian Air, got free luggage, my friends didn’t ). There is a US based human to talk to if there is a problem.

    I’ve had status on AA and unless I’m spending miles, I’ll keep using AMX. When there is a problem, it gets fixed.

    I’ve used Orbitz and anytime things go wrong it’s a total pita!

  127. I agree. No who flies more than once is that stupid. She did not want the guy to attend. Simple.

  128. For weddings and any other not-to-be missed occasions, fly in at least a day before , not 15min or an hour before. Anything could go awry like weather, gates availabilities at arrival station, missed-connections, lost bags and worse, flight delays or cancellations. A day earlier would saved anybody from unwanted miseries and yes, arrived at the event fresh and good looking.

  129. If he would have used a decent travel agent he would have been advised of the rules, the difference in fares, and would have ended up saving a lot of money, time, and aggravation

  130. No, i still hate AA.

    Bought a ticket with JAL leg, they wouldn’t let me choose the seat until check-in…
    #hateAA

  131. I’m well aware of the rules and this wouldn’t happen to me.

    Still, I think given his circumstances an agent should have required him to purchase a new ticket for his first leg and then executed a ticket exchange on the remaining legs. I know it’s possible for non-basic economy. For example, if you happen to miss the first segment of a two segment flight, if the agents are kind they’ll sometimes issue a ticket exchange allowing you a direct flight. I’m not saying it’s common but I’ve had it done when I missed an early IAD-DEN-SEA, they issued a ticket exchange for IAD-SEA. I’ve also had ticket exchanges on awards when a carrier stops flying a segment.

    Now this example solution might not even be possible for the agent given Basic Economy, but no system should prevent its human operators from being empowered.

    Sometimes I think about how enslaved these agents are to a computer. If they know 100% you are suppose to be on a flight and there’s a seat there waiting for you they “can’t” let you walk on the plane. Just imagine it’s a one-way, and that there are no other repercussions. That’s asinine, but I bet you’re unsympathetic readers say, “but of course you can’t, that would be madness.” Obviously, today they’ll use gov’t and 9/11 as some kind of excuse, but shit – you still here about homeless people “sneaking on” to the wrong flight occasionally.

  132. Airline policy is to keep people from gaming the system.
    Passenger gets complicated so does the airline industry.

  133. @pointless you could have called Japan Airlines and they would have given you a seat assignment.

  134. OMG…. I’ve lived in USSR and know how people could be dictated to rules and regulations. But hello this is THE USA we have options, choices.
    That person paid for his seat, period. Why does the airline get to keep the money and resale it or cancel the rest of the trip and keep the money? The customer bought n paid for the seats both way, period. I say if the seat was empty n didn’t get resold keep his money if it did resale than refund it with a restocking fee if you must. How many times can an item be sold? As for other industries that do the same, concert does not resell ones ticket when they don’t show, it stays empty.
    Omg there’s so much wrong with this on both sides.
    Bottom line, airline is at fault for not taking care of its customer. I hope the airline will learn a lesson from this situation as did the customer.
    YOU SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO RESALE THE AIRLINE SEAT TWICE AND KEEP THE MONEY, YOU ALL.

  135. As much as I hate American Airlines, they’re not at fault. He knew well in advance of what time the wedding would start (they are usually always planned far in advance and plans are usually set in stone for a specific date and time) so his fault for planning to fly into DFW 15 minutes before the wedding and not being appropriately prepared. I don’t think he’s telling the whole story,just those parts he wants to share to try and get shock value. He was probably rude to the AA customer service people, although alot of customer service hate their job and will be rude regardless. Anyway if you are planning to fly somewhere for an event 1) BE PREPARED! 2) Be aware of the rules regarding the ticket you bought and what you can or cannot do with that ticket (i.e. itinerary changes, fees, etc) 3) Don’t be a jerk!! There are circumstances where you’re gonna be upset but it works out better in your favor if you’re nice and respectful. Those customer service people are only doing their job and aren’t the ones that made the rules. Anyway this guy just needs to get off his high horse and accept the fact that he faulted and move on and quit blaming someone else.

  136. Frequent Flyer here on multiple airlines with status on multiples. I agree AA is not fully at fault here, though I despise them for other reasons.
    First, basic economy fares are a scam through and through, book at your own risk.
    I do however feel there should be more governmental regulation to avoid the cancellation of the return fare and also potentially limit the number of times a fare can be resold as they also limit the payout for bumping passengers.
    I can be a daily flyer and have instances in the past with several different reservations in a week and been in the situation where I have to enter midway into a reservation (luckily calling in advance Air Canada gave me a credit for the missed leg).
    With the overcrowding and unpredictability of weather added with the short trips a lot of us are forced to take due to limited vacation, I think it would only be fair to remove the stipulation of cancelling a reservation return leg due to a missed first leg.

  137. while unfortunate the origin of the problem truly is with poor planning stage. and of course you want the absolute cheapest ticket possible, (which means no options, changes flexibility, perks) but then want to change dates, change times, etc. well that defeats the purpose of the basic ticket. with a full fare ticket you could have changed, cancelled, and had options. so the basic ticket is not for you in that situation. BTW for a wedding you dont go in an hour or even 3 before, you go in the night before, or at the very least the red eye in for first arrival.

  138. so your not sure of the wedding time, but somehow Orbitz, should put you on the appropriate flight, or the airline allow you to show up and get on whatever flight eventually turns out to be the most convenient? (on a ultra cheap basic fare). sure, riggghtt

  139. Although American airlines has been known for awkward behavior with pasangers in this case it seems to be lack of information from the airlane and lack of reading conditions on the side of the passenger.Airlines should make a study on the most common mistakes passengers make and explain that at the moment of booking

  140. This guy doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own serious errors:

    1) He got the time of the wedding wrong!!! Does anyone really believe otherwise?
    2) He did not READ the clear warnings about a basic economy ticket (or just didn’t want them applied to him even though he paid less for his ticket because of the restrictions)
    3) He did not bother to find out that missing a segment cancelled his whole ticket. THIS ISN’T NEW. It’s been the rule FOREVER.

    Not that I don’t have sympathy for him. As my mother-in-law, would say, “Bless his heart.”

  141. While some of your points are well taken, if the traveler had been persistent and “taken it up the chain” perhaps American Airlines would have stepped up. BUT, based on my experience, I highly doubt it. The biggest mistake ANY traveler can make is flying American Airlines. Even if it’s the cheapest flight, it’s really not worth it. They have some of the WORST employees in the industry (excepting their on board crews and at their DFW home base). Best advice is ALWAYS fly ANYONE BUT AMERICAN AIRLINES!!!

  142. As a society we do not read anything any more. We just click to get to the end. I believe it was his fault as he didnt read the contract he was agreeing to when he purchased that ticket. He needs to own his mistake. Everyone is so quick to blame the airlines for everything. Yes, there sre a lot and I mean a lot of rules and regulations the airlines have to follow, set up by many different agencies that they have to follow, hence the pages of reading for us, the traveling public. It is all there and it is our responsibility to read it. You can be mad, frustrated, confused etc. In the long run. We can only be mad at our selves for not doing our research on the contract we are purchasing.

  143. AA could have done more to find some alternative solutions but the cause for the issue was the passenger, not the airline.

  144. I love the ‘Well, I fly SWA, so I’m immune to this’ comments.

    Yeah… Come back and tell us a story when you’re flying with a real airline. One who can take you all over the world, provide a first class seat, a lounge and an actual FF program.

    The level of uninformed fliers in this thread are as bad as the original story.

  145. I refuse to use anyone other than Southwest unless it is a 4 hour or longer flight because of this greedy business methodology. I do not understand how Southwest is not running the table in this industry. Any business travelers that have frequent changes should use them as I do.

  146. Some of these comments are so interesting. First of all book directly with the airline if you want them to sort out your shortcomings. Book fares that allow you to make changes. In trying to make air travel affordable to everyone airlines offer different booking classes of tickets. Know what the restrictions are in advance. Don’t know why it is a surprise to anyone that missing the first leg of your trip will cancel the rest of the journey. Many airlines are savvy on the booking from A to B to C and getting off at B cause it was cheaper than booking directly to B, you may find you return flights cancelled as a result or worse, on as airline list.

  147. This rule is there for decades already – very clear.
    It happened to me in 2007, I bought a ticket with US AIRWAYS return MUC-PHL-JFK-PHL-MUC.
    Over Atlantic we encountered some some problems so we had to turn to land in DUB for 5 hour maintenance stop and then we proceeded to PHL arriving 9 hours late.
    On top of everything we were the last flight to land in PHL as snow blizzards cut off the whole east coast. My connecting flight to JFK was canceled. My option was to take Amtrak from Philadelphia to New York but that way I would loose return ticket to Europe. So I had to wait 32 hours to catch first US AIRWAYS flight to JFK. I lost two days on my New York vacation but that is how traveling is. Like I said – that rule is there for decades and ignorance is not excuse.

  148. It is totally his fault. First of all, he should have known the time freaking wedding ceremony starts before he booked the flights. Secondly, he should have booked Economy instead of Basic Economy which would have given him flexibility. His ignorance is here to blame. Period.

  149. Okay, I agree with the booking a flight without knowing what time a wedding starts is not a bright thing to do, however i found this article just in trying to amend a situation for my friends daughter. She had studied for 2 years for a program at university and was flying out of country to do an internship for part of her degree. She flew into new York, got her boarding pass, had many hours to wait for her next leg of her journey, she and a fellow student went into the city and came back several hours before her plane was scheduled to leave, at which time she was told at the gate she needed a new boarding pass and to go over to this very extremely long line to get it. It took so long in the sue that they had not taken off yet but had closed the plane for boarding, so like the man who this story is about, her entire itinerary and her parents had to book a 1 way ticket at the new price of $ 2700 which maxed out their credit card.her mom has heart problems and other health issues, so her dad works 2 jobs to support the family, he is in his mid 50’s and both jobs are physically labor intensive. This family needs a little wiggle room in case of medical emergency.
    I am disgusted with the airline industry. Let’s say they do this to 10% (just a supposed number) and all of those people need to turn around and book new flights at a last minute exorbitant price, they are really guilty of racketeering. My advice to anyone who has had this problem is to contact your senators and representatives and file a grievance both in the state where you departed from and the state you encountered the problem, contact whatever office issues business licences for the company in both states as well as filing grievances with the better business bureua and the attorney general’s office in that state. If many people complain and these companies are in jeopardy of losing their license to do business in your state, then their policies will have to change. All I want is what is fair to people, if you show up 5 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave and they have released your ticket to someone on stand by, then that is on you. Think though, if you have a passenger who has booked a cheap flight for say $400 dollars for that leg of the journey and then you cancel them due to no fault of their own and turn around and charge them $2700 for a replacement ticket, which they have no choice but to take because they are away from home and are needing to get back to work, or home for the birth of their baby (fathers here cause moms should not be flying after certain time in pregnancy) or get to a wedding, or get to an internship or any miriad of important reasons, maybe to a family member who is close to dying, well it may not be important to the airlines but it makes a huge difference in individual lives and should not be looked at as business is business as you would not be in business were it not for your guests and I say guests instead of passengers as that is how they should be treated.
    Do not lose your cool, do not raise your voice, do not swear, do not make physical threats, ask to speak with a manager and tell them what your position is, that you will not be letting the problem slide and will be contacting said agencies mentioned above. These calls are recorded, you want to remain calm and collected should you need to take them to court they have no damaging evidence to combat you with.
    Lastly, if an airline bumps you, even if it for mechanical failure and can not reschedule you within a reasonable time, ask them to accommodate you with a free to you hotel, there are laws, if they lose money in droves they will get smart and change their policies out of necessity. The airlines tried to do this to us, we were flying across the country for a second honeymoon and they bumped us. The woman at the counter actually told us to go back home and come back the next day and see if we could get a flight. When pressed it turns out, our flight on Friday afternoon was the last one to our connecting city Detroit until Monday. So rather than being honest with us and having to endure being yelled at by angry “guests” I told her that they would need to comp us for an 8 day bed and breakfast booking, since we would lose our accommodation if we were not there by Saturday (We were staying over night in Albany, the closest airport and driving to Vermont Saturday. So I negotiated a flight that would get us most of the way there to Atlanta, a free hotel room and a morning flight from Atlanta to Albany (short and sweet compared to flying maybe 10 hours with lay overs on saturday.)
    As a tourist customer you are not important to them, you need to not be cowed and stand up for yourself. At the hotel shuttle in Atlanta I spoke with 2 women in their 30s who had left new York 2 days prior and were trying to get to Phoenix, Arizona but the airlines had only gotten them as far as atlanta, so for 2 nights they had paid for their own hotel rooms, not acceptable.
    If you get bumped take photos of your boarding pass before you “exchange” it for a higher ticket, document, document, document. Tell the ticketing agent you are going to record the transaction ( they may not allow this) but if you are given the run around, you have a good negotiating tool, don’t be rude, if asked not to film then don’t but try what you can to give yourself further recompense when you get home, good luck and happy travels. Please be patient with the workers, they do not write the policies , Ghandi said ” you can shake the world in a gentle way”, so many more people are traveling than used to, it used to be a luxury, the workers are dealing with a lot, cancellations, layovers, screaming kids, swearing adults etc. Remember you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and if for no other reason people are more likely to help you if you are not being a jerk and instead are calm and charming.

  150. It does highlight the interesting one-sidedness of the relationship. He no shows and forfeits (very emotionally) but American delays him for 7 hours (and we all know how this works, reprioritizing of crew and equipment) and they pay no penalty.

  151. I ran into ‘similar’ trouble with a United Airlines itinerary from SFO to Rochester, NY round trip, (flying thru Chicago both ways) to attend a university graduation. Yes, we bought the most basic, restricted itinerary & yes, I erred in that I selected a short one hour layover that the online system offered. I could run a little, or so I figured. I booked it. Two months later, still three months before our trip, I checked the on-time performance for this flight, & was horrified to learn UA was on-time about 40% of the time, & average lateness was around 55 minutes. I watched as Spring came & on-time rates never came above 50% !! I called the airlines & begged for an earlier first leg so we could make our connection. No dice, even arriving early on another airline would have canceled our Whole itinerary. I was we’d miss graduation the next day.

    I had wanted to preserve the CHI-ROC leg because an elderly solo traveler family member was joining our flight Chicago- Rochester, & Rochester-Chicago. Eventually I paid lots more,about a third more, for a change – our earlier flight went thru another layover city, but we were able to meet the Chi-ROC plane in ROC to pick up our elderly solo traveler. How is we avoid a complete rebook cost? Well, the airline itself changed the flight times (by about 5 minutes for the first two legs, so I argued they made it harder for us to make our connection). We kept our return, or so we thought. The agent made the change, canceled our return. I noticed the new itinerary didn’t have our return & got right back on the phone & begged for our return back. Sheesh. Got it. The kicker, of course, was that I did check after we arrived in ROC— United’s SFO -CHI flight was delayed by More Than an hour. We would not have made our United connection. Good thing I begged for a change & paid more or they would have had to put us up overnight & we’d have missed our event. Bottom line: Their system should not have let us book a one hour layover when their on-time performance for that flight is at less than 50% !!

  152. Not the best example but believe me, there are plenty of reasons to hate AA. I live I Dallas but will fly SWA every chance I get.

  153. “I think the much bigger issue is that being an airline passenger is really freaking complicated”

    Its not complicated, most people are just stupid and/or ignorant.

    If you genuinely don’t understand how to be an airline passenger (as in you’ve actually tried to figure it out but can’t) then I really don’t think you should be trusted to travel without supervision.

  154. One thing no one has considered is that maybe the bride didnt want the original poster at her wedding after all! Best tactic in the world is to give the wrong time and date to the people you dont want at your celebration; and then just fess up with an “Oops!” right when they are about to board their flight! They can have a margarita by themselves when they land!

  155. No fault of AA obviously since that’s what he agreed to when he bought the ticket. It does suck given the circumstances though I understand being upset. This really underscores why you should just buy one way tickets.

  156. I could understand why missing a connection invalidates the rest of the flight in time-critical situations. But if he was ABLE to change one flight (bringing it forward) and still make the rest of the itinerary then why was there a NEED on the part of the airline to cancel it (as distinct from a RIGHT)?

    It would appear that airlines have policies that enable them to victimize passengers unnecessarily and cash in on any changes the passenger has to make. But when they change the itinerary, timetable, etc, they call it force majeure.

  157. This guy made several mistakes to begin with. He should not have booked flights that got him in close to the time of the wedding. you always must plan for delays. He compounded the problem by booking a basic economy ticket which on the websites specifically and upfront says no changes allowed. Then he did not take the first leg of the of the trip. If he had been smart he would have booked on the airline site and when the issue arose he should have contacted the airline to explain the situation of him not taking the first leg and allow them to retain the return trip.

    While I don’t like some of the airline policies regarding cancellations etc. the basic economy option is there because some individuals only consider price and not the consequences that can happen because of life event changes. Personally I never book basic economy because I know there will be the unexpected

  158. I agree that the US airlines’ policy of invalidating or cancelling an itinerary because of not flying one of the segments is outrageous. This only happens in the US where airlines bear no legal responsibility to passengers when unforeseen circumstances affecting their travel occurs.
    However, this ticket was purchased via Orbitz, most likely online without the intervention or assistance of an agent. This practice is expeditious and convenient to consumers which almost never they read all rules and restrictions associated with the airfare basis. This is well understood by the airlines which make no effort to ensure consumers understand the rules and restrictions associated with each fare, other than selecting a box stating they understand these restrictions, protecting the airlines of legal liability.
    I am a 5 million miler + with AA and have experienced every possible situation imaginable to airline passengers, and although the airline industry has ensured protection from liability by their actions, the question has never been asked if their actions are fair. This is the issue that should be discussed, but the airline industry lobbying will never allow this.

  159. I have accrued about 3.5 million miles on American Airlines, and I agree with those who indicated the traveller is in the wrong here – and for once American is correct.
    1. The explanation that if you miss the first leg of your multi-stop trip you forfeit your ticket is absolutely true – and there’s a reason: often the airlines offer multi-leg discounts to bring travelers to a hub for consolidation into a full plane on the next leg. So – if you don’t qualify for the consolidation discount you attempted to book your ticket is cancelled.
    2. These days AA offers to beat or meet the price for its’ tickets you can find with all the other booking sites. Although other sites may offer combination deals for hotel/car/air that are good value, you will have forfeited AA’s direct attention if you have problems – you ALWAYS have to go back to the actual booking site. And that’s true for all airlines.
    3. Also wonder what any of the participants in this fiasco were thinking – how could anyone not know when a wedding was occurring until so close to the date? Weren’t wedding invitations sent out ?

  160. I blame Orbitz. Infrequent flyers can not be expected to know all the rules, but Orbitz, the booking agent (and the booking agents software), should have flagged the potentially conflicting of contradictory flights. After all Orbitz was supposed to be working for the flyer, otherwise what’s the point of using a booking agent.

  161. People really need to be mindful of what they are agreeing to purchase when buying anything and should always read the fine print. If you are not a frequent flyer, get help whether through an agent or a friend who travels often.

    My first few cruises I did not book on my own due to my unfamiliarity with the industry so I relied on an agent. Now I can do it myself direct with the cruise line and know how to navigate the system and what to be aware of and buy/not buy.

    I know my first couple of car leases that I did were awful deals because I didn’t research well and didn’t have experienced people with me. Now I’m really good at negotiating these deals and can offer advice on them.

    Now these are more extreme example but it’s no different for any purchase that you make of significant value/impact.

    I agree that the contract of carriage sucks in general but that is something that you should at least be aware of. But we as consumers don’t read through things anymore. When was the last time you read through terms and conditions on software or an application or a web site? Take a look sometime and you may be surprised at what you find.

    @jjjj @alpha

    You are completely off base with all you say that is funded by the public.

    Airports – are completely funded by parking, gate leases, fixed base operator leases, and leases on commercial buildings built on airport property. Although run by government entities such as city, state or airport authorities established by government entities, they only receive funds for airport improvements such as runways from the FAA which I will get to in a moment.

    TSA – This is funded by taxes on your ticket and the airlines. The TSA did not exist until 9/11 and all airport security checkpoints were paid for by the airlines which would build those costs into your ticket.

    Air Traffic Control – This is paid for mostly by the flying passenger via all those lovely taxes you see in your ticket as well. The ATC system is run by the FAA and they do receive some federal funding but that is more for the organization itself (the FAA) and airport improvements. Also, the ATC serves a secondary purpose of ensuring that no unauthorized traffic comes into our airspace to invade our country. Crazy as it seems, that is a secondary purpose for them so the purpose of airspace security, we should pay for a little bit.

    Slots – Very few airports utilize a slotting system and those are the airports with huge amounts of traffic land there are only 3 airports in the US with this system: DCA, JFK and LGA. These airports are so close and additional nearby airports add congestion that air traffic is a nightmare to manage so they created a slotting system. There are many more international airports that utilize this system. The Airlines actually had to bid on these slots to obtain them and they sell slots to other carriers when they no longer are using them. So the government was originally paid for these and can take them back with no return payment if the carrier doesn’t use them enough.

  162. This guy sounds like a very inexperienced traveler. #1) Who books a flight to arrive an hour or two before a wedding ceremony? Flights are often late and/or cancelled – he should know this. #2) That’s what you get for booking Basic Economy. You’re warned several times before hitting that purchase button that the fare is not changeable or refundable. Learn how to read and pay attention, Buddy. #3) While I may agree that American should have “reminded” him that if he didn’t make his first leg of the trip, the entire itinerary would be cancelled. But I imagine from the tone of his post, he was probably screaming and using every foul word in the book with the agent, she/he didn’t want to (or even be required to) take such abuse.

  163. I understand he did not understand the airline policy but even buying a refundable ticket you still have a run around getting a refund. Why should have to apply for a refund on a refundable ticket and then wait to see if it is accepted? They should automatically refund it no questions asked.

  164. (1) Basic Economy rules hit you in the face when you book a flight. Very Clear. No excuses. No refunds. No changes. No overhead baggage. Least desirable seat locations. If you book on an airline website, it’s made very clear. Every booking spells out “terms and conditions” and you must agree before payment. (2) I learned the hard way that third party bookings (such as Orbitz) require you to work with them on these issues. I had to rebook an entire Hawaii business trip because of this missed segment issue. I now deal directly with airlines when booking. It isn’t worth the small savings and agro. (3) “Fine print” has been around as long as the Bible… it’s no excuse; “ignorantia legis neminem excusat.” It is NOT the airline’s fault that you screw-up, don’t read the rules, change your plans or that you become obnoxious and demanding, failing to take responsibility for your mistakes. And, by the way, I’ve never have had an issue with American in the last 50 years and I have elite status on them and several other airlines.

  165. Sounds like both are at fault. Never Never book an airline ticket with a 3rd party. By going direct to airline or hotel the client has more power.

  166. The customer here doesn’t seem to have done the right homework, but if you don’t fly frequently, then you don’t know what you don’t know (and the terms of carriage and fare rules are pages long and sometimes even seem contradictory or at least difficult to grasp in some situations). That said, a good business should want customers, not hostages. There are many cases where a customer can do something that doesn’t harm an airline, and yet the customer is penalized. Consider the A to C fare connecting through B. Not taking the flight from B to C simply saves the airline fuel if the seat goes empty, or allows someone else to travel standby (freeing up some other seat that could be sold). Missing one segment of an multi-city itinerary? Sure, no reason to get a refund for the missed segment, but why cancel the rest of the reservation? Again the worst thing that happens is that the airline keeps the money and saves on fuel costs, and maybe fills the seat with a standby passenger.

    I’ve had a terrible experience with AA (and ridiculously inconsistent answers from different AA agents when rebooking or paying with previously unused tickets) but in this case all parties are at least partially at fault. The passenger should have done more homework, and AA (and other airlines) should not have “rules” that enrich themselves (keep the money, save on fuel) at the expense of a customer (cancel the remaining itinerary).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *