An AAwful Cluster: How American Ruined My Trip To Croatia

Filed Under: American

Anyone who has flown American lately, or owns stock in the company, has noticed the clear negative trend of poor operational performance, inadequate customer service and less than stellar elite recognition.

Or as Ben wrote earlier this year:

“American hasn’t been in a great position lately. Simply put, their shareholders, employees, and customers, aren’t happy.”

Well, earlier this month, it was my turn in the hopper and American delivered on every single negative expectation as it successfully left me empty handed without a way to get to Croatia. I’ll be the first to admit I’m still pretty raw about this situation and this is a longer rant than I’d prefer. So, if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, feel free to skip this post and move along.

But if you like American Airlines related schadenfreude, and are up for ~1,900 words of me being given the runaround, let’s get into this…

American/Hyatt status challenge seemed like a good idea

I should start by saying Tiffany warned me this whole trip was a stupid idea because Executive Platinum status isn’t worth what it used to be. But, I’m an American hub captive in Phoenix and I expect a decent amount of business travel next year. With all of the operational issues American has had, my hope was elite status would help solve the inevitable problems I’d experience flying them.

Yes, that thought process is insane and gross. I don’t like the idea I would essentially reward an airline for operational issues by flying them more for status, but let’s leave that part for another day. This post is already too long.

So, when I received a status challenge from American’s partnership with Hyatt, I started looking for premium cabin partner fares that would help me hit the 5,000 EQD and 35,000 EQM requirement for Executive Platinum status.

Dubrovnik looked lovely when Tiffany visited, why not go check it out and earn status? Because American

In late May, I saw a roundtrip fare from Honolulu to Durbrovnik that ticketed into Iberia’s “I” fare bucket. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it worked with my calendar, was a place I wanted to visit, and was enough miles to qualify. I booked the trip and then booked a positioning flight from PHX to HNL on American using British Airways Avios.

The delays start

This adventure started with the decision to board the plane for my flight to HNL despite knowing there was an issue with the APU.

I don’t know how many of you have boarded a plane in Phoenix in August without operational air conditioning. But, when asked to make an obvious choice between air conditioned terminal and warm airplane, American’s crack team must have really needed an answer to “how ripe can the body odor in this plane possibly get?” because we boarded.

Our first announcement there was a problem was about 25 minutes after boarding when the pilot told us maintenance was en route. This was soon followed by a delayed flight notification from American. And as anyone who knows how that goes with American, it wouldn’t be the last of our rolling delay notifications.

In fact, it was just the first of 10 notifications before they finally cancelled the flight when the pilot and crew timed out:

As a quick aside, the flight attendants deserve a lot of credit because they were working very hard to provide cold water for passengers on a very warm plane. And I’m convinced they were responsible for the decision to get passengers into the air conditioned terminal. They were the only positive part of this entire ordeal. And I bet they would have provided an exceptional service to Honolulu.

The delays continue and American really starts to fail

As you can see above, the delays rolled on throughout the afternoon. What was originally a 6 hour window to catch my flight out of HNL was rapidly closing.

I brought this to the attention of the Admirals Club staff who had no idea how to deal with the situation because I had an Avios award ticket and a separate Iberia ticket out of HNL. They suggested I call the elite desk to see what options they might have.

Sadly the phone agent and supervisor I spoke with held steady on the fact they could not reaccommodate me because American didn’t own either ticket. The supervisor conceded she wouldn’t like this response either. But, she insisted she had no way of fixing the trip.

I asked her to look at the oneworld protections for this situation and she stuck to her line that this wasn’t an American problem.

She did offer the exceptionally unhelpful idea of going to KOA or OGG while simultaneously acknowledging I’d still miss my flight leaving HNL. I felt like I was living this scene from Tommy Boy:

I checked in with Tiffany who confirmed American has policies for these situations and they should be able to rebook me. Good, I’m not crazy here.

Maybe American’s Twitter team can help

I turned to American’s Twitter team hoping I’d get a better result and better-informed staff. Again, that wasn’t the case. Here’s a sample of the wrong information I received via DMs.

I reached out to other well-informed travelers for advice

The well-respected American guru @xJonNYC confirmed AA should fix this:

Gary at View from the Wing said the same:

Finally a breakthrough…I thought…wrongly

I’d previously referenced oneworld protections or a oneworld policy, but using the phrase Gary provided and sending a link to Gary’s post on the subject finally got a response that AA wanted to “take a closer look at this.” I was finally hopeful for the first time.

They followed up asking if I was in HNL or PHX and then things went sideways, again. Because American.

Now they insisted the only way to reaccommodate me was a very indirect routing that included the legs to and from Hawaii because “Both tickets may be changed but the origin and destination of each ticket must remain the same.”

But, that’s not what the policy says:

“Customers should be treated as through ticketed customers. In the event of a disruption on the originating ticket, the carrier responsible for the disruption will be required to reroute the customer to their final destination.”

Better yet, all of this indirect flying combined with the overnight layovers they created meant American’s proposed itinerary would put me into Dubrovnik a day after I was due to begin my journey home. Their new solution would leave me stuck in Croatia without a ticket home. Not ideal.

It took two attempts to explain this (the second one had big red circles and arrows on my itinerary pointing out my return date because I was running out of time and patience). And in typical American fashion, they didn’t own any bit of it.

They’d had enough of me and decided to move on. I, on the other hand, realized there was absolutely no way Iberia was going to refund me for American’s operational failure. It was official: I was screwed and this trip wasn’t happening.

What can I do now?

I had really been looking forward to visiting Dubrovnik, but American had other ideas

I couldn’t travel because American won’t fix their error. I can’t get a refund because Iberia won’t own American’s failure (and shouldn’t have to). So, what’s next?

I realized I’d already given an inordinate amount of time and energy to this:

  • I’d bitched and moaned for two days to anyone near me.
  • A friend gave me the “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” response when I started complaining around him for the third time.
  • And I’d annoyed the hell out of my wife by moping around the house.

So, it was time to move forward. I wrote to American suggesting they owned this failure from start to finish. I’d not only end up with out of pocket losses on the Iberia ticket but I’d also have other non-refundable trip related expenses.

I wasn’t delusional enough to think they’d compensate me for any of those costs. But, I considered the original purpose of this trip, which was to earn status. Surely, this was a situation where American could honor the original routing credit for the ticket and provide the EQDs and EQMs I would have earned had they not screwed up my trip.

It wouldn’t cost them a thing but would provide some goodwill.

Big shock: they said NO!

Instead they gave me 15,000 redeemable miles and an automated response. And when I complained that was insufficient given the situation, they conceded I was right and gave me another 10,000 redeemable miles.

When you factor in what I paid for my original ticket, I’m fairly certain I just got the worst deal ever for purchased miles. Maybe there’s a trophy for that?

In the end, the real lesson here is the fact American is not only a hot mess operationally, they’ve also gotten worse with the recovery. You can’t count on them to make things right for customers. Instead of doing more for customers who are impacted by their operational failures, they’re actually doing less. @xJonNYC pointed out how counterintuitive this is:

It’s no wonder why the airline has stopped pretending “great is what we’re going for.”

This is a big picture problem for American

I legitimately feel bad for AA staff because they are constantly put in a position where they aren’t given the tools to fix obvious problems. Providing poor experiences has been normalized and American needs real help righting this ship. American has a culture of letting customers down. And many of the employees I dealt with acknowledge as much as they denied my suggestions to fix this mess.

Unfortunately, it does not appear to be an issue the current management is interested in fixing.

So, here I am a few thousand dollars poorer. I now know I should have listened to Tiffany in the first place and skipped this silly status run idea. And I’ll likely follow her advice to book connecting flights with Delta when I’m flying across the country next year. As she said before any of this started, I’ll get home faster anyway since AA will be delayed.

And speaking of Tiffany, I owe her, JonNYC and Gary at View from the Wing a big thank you for helping as I tried to get this trip back on track. It didn’t work, but that was not from a lack of good advice on their end.

Bottom line

This whole situation was a mess:

  • For nearly 48 hours, AA agents failed to reaccommodate me when it would have still been very easy to save my trip. I made multiple attempts with the AA twitter team, phone agents, a supervisor and Admirals Club staff and nobody could or would help.
  • Undertrained and misinformed staff made it impossible to get what I paid for. And when AA agents finally recognized their error, the proposed fix incorrectly required me to fly to HNL because of a new made up policy.
  • They suggested an itinerary, which had me arriving in Dubrovnik a day after I was scheduled to leave. And when this obvious problem was pointed out, American finally threw in the towel and gave up altogether.

American owns many failures here. The initial mechanical failure, the 48 hours of ignoring the oneworld reaccommodation policy, the made up requirement to have indirect routing via HNL, and the overall lack of interest in finding a solution.

The most frustrating thing about this situation is even when it was clear my trip wouldn’t happen, they refused to provide the original routing credit and then falsely characterized it all as “an unused ticket” when things “didn’t go smoothly.”

But, I guess I should be grateful they were nice enough to give me Iberia’s mailing address in Madrid. I’m sure writing to them would be a productive use of my time.

Comments
  1. Stupid question – why didn’t you buy travel insurance and ask them to cover you (heck I’m sure you can advertise some silly credit card that covers misconnections) ? Or 2nd question, HNL isn’t such a terrible place to visit, why didn’t you add more time there ?

  2. Is your lifestyle worth so much problems and spending a lot of time complaining and arguing with the airline? wouldn’t be easier not to run for the status and spend the time a better way?

  3. Thanks for sharing, I’m doing a JFK-ORD on AA with a ORD DOH BKK nested inside. I’ve got an 11 hour layover in ORD to be safe but AA isn’t known for operational reliability and particularly not with ORD. I was going to rely on what Jon and Gary said but now I’m a little worried if they refused to honor it. Figure if I’m 7 hours delayed I’ll just go over to T4 and buy a delta ticket to ORD.

    If they did to me what they did to you though I’m 100% walking away from American and just going to fly a different airline.

  4. If only EU261 applied…

    These situations are pretty much always incredibly frustrating – you’re in the world of “computer says ‘no'”. Commiserations – hope your next trip goes more smoothly.

  5. I work for said airline (not in customer ops/care, though), and it’s certainly sad to hear horror stories like this (many of us do care)! Still digging into it, but it looks like the current policy does in fact state that the routing must stay the same. Feel free to email me for more info.

  6. Tragic for you no doubt. The macro story here is the basic premise that it is not in the interest of most carriers to resolve points issues for the traveler. Their points customers are the credit card companies and that is who they need to make happy. Me think that it’s even less likely when the carrier identifies someone moving points around through various program to cobble together a trip. Just my opinion.

    As long as the credit card companies continue to buy points and people are flying as much as they are, my humble opinion is this will not change. As you say, you are captive to AA and have few choices, especially for international lift.

    Thanks for telling your story. It is a warning to us all.

  7. Absolutely normal for AA. Consider yourself lucky if that airline gets you where you’re going just reasonably late. I am still trying to figure out who it is that thinks the current AA management deserves to keep their jobs. I have met quality AA employees in recent months, but operationally the airline is broken and the management has no clue what to do.

  8. If your positioning trip had been with another airline would you have held them responsible for your missed flight out of Honolulu?

    No?

    So because your positioning trip was with AA, you thought them responsible? I guess I never would’ve thought that .

    In my opinion, when you play the positioning game and give yourself less than 24 hours to position to a place thousands of miles away you bear some of the responsibility for it not happening correctly.

    Finally if you play the positioning game and you don’t bother to get trip insurance, well, what can I say? Cool story though, bro

  9. You booked a separate flight with a 6 hour positioning window knowing AA has had a miserable on time and maintenance record this summer? Yes AA failed to deliver as you were warned, but you’ve got to have an overnight when doing a positioning flight to protect yourself.

  10. That sucks. And AA has been crap at this stuff. But did you ever ask to be re-accommodated on DL or UA to HNL? Another option I believe is that in IRROPS they could have just cancelled the first leg of your HNL-DBV trip (which I assume was to LAX/ORD/DFW) but kept the remaining flights. I had an agent do that before but I’m not sure if its still possible. Then you could have refunded the Avios award and only had to get yourself to LAX/ORD/DFW.

  11. Aside from the lack of travel insurance, the passenger is pretty blameless. It would be even more difficult for the average guy without access to advice from those gurus such as Gary. Maybe 99% of people would give up at the point of being told, paraphrasing , ‘ There’s nothing we can do. Go away’ ( but as it turned out they stuck with that response, chicken feed points offer notwithstanding). Pathetic.

  12. This is terrible. I want to know when it changed that when you’re at the airport and there is a failure by the operator airline to get you to your next location, that the “airport control” airline doesn’t take responsibility? It used to be the case (until very recently it seems) that the airline that is actually operating the flight has official control of your ticket no matter where you purchased it from (ie Iberia or an OTA or wherever) and therefore has responsibility to get you to your destination. AA has failed in this. I’ve heard too many times recently that an airline on a codeshare or OTA ticket refusing to do anything when there is an operational airline problem. Next time try to only purchase the ticket directly from the airline. So only purchase IB tickets from IB, etc. They are a lot more flexible when it’s their ticket.

  13. I’ve worked in the airline industry and I find that it is the most abusive if its customers. Airlines are a network, someone takes a plan to get somewhere to catch a separate flight. Oftentimes it isn’t all on the same itinerary. If I could start a lobby for change in the protection of customers from all airlines- I absolutely would.

  14. I am also PHX-based but do not consider myself a AA hub captive. I go out of my way to avoid AA (and US and HP before that), and am very successful at it. I have excellent experience with DL, and if they cannot get me there easily, then I take WN or -if no other options- UA. So, just forget about AA and its accompanying misery, and fly one of the others.

  15. I’m gonna play devils advocate here, just for the point of discussion

    1) The wording of AA’s on this policy is (as presented) is unclear, and the policy doesn’t even seem to be available online. I’ve run into to this with other AA policies – complicated policies cannot be relied upon because they are often poorly written and not updated

    2) The Flyertalk thread on this topic seems to suggest the policy is YMMV at best

    3) The policy as people seem to expect it to work is too generous – for example, what if customers put together two separate tickets with a connection time that is way too short? Should the customer be protected in that scenario?

    4) Flying to Hawaii to connect to a flight on the same day (if I am understanding your schedule correctly) was probably too risky to begin with – it would have probably made more sense to schedule a day or two in HLN on that part of the journey, especially as two separate tickets. Worse comes to worse, you could then buy a separate ticket on another airline to get to your destination

    AA’s service is bad, but it’s not certain to me that you can really rely upon the provision that is cited here

  16. Here is the latest policy PDF found online, as referenced on Flyertalk. Note that AA says it will accommodate passengers flying AA to Oneworld “on separate tickets” and “on the same PNR,” which seems like a contradiction to me (how can separate tickets be on the same PNR). Another version of a poorly written policy that shouldn’t necessarily be relied on

    https://saleslink.aa.com/en-us/documents/archives/agencyref/schedule_irregularity_(irops).pdf

    Changes to itineraries for Customers holding separate tickets:
    AA to/from AA or a oneworld® Carrier in the Same PNR
    Customers should be treated as through ticketed customers. In the event of a disruption on the originating ticket, the carrier responsible for the disruption will be required to reroute the customer to their final destination. The ticket stock of the second ticket must be of a oneworld carrier, eligible under the Endorsement Waiver Agreement. You may contact AA Reservations 1-800-433-7300 (U.S. and Canada) or outside the U.S. and Canada, reference Worldwide Reservations Numbers for additional information if the separate ticket is for travel on a oneworld carrier.
    AA to/from Non-oneworld® Carrier in the Same or Separate PNRs
    Schedule Irregularity procedures and AA Conditions of Carriage do not apply to separate tickets purchased by the customer as part of their journey. Example: customer holds a ticket from ABQ-ORD on AA (001 ticket stock) and a separate ticket on WestJet for continuing travel from ORD-YYZ. If the AA flight is late or cancelled, AA has no responsibility for onward travel on a separate ticket for travel on a non- oneworld carrier. Advise customers who may be affected that they will need to work separately with the other airline for assistance.

  17. Sorry if I missed this in the post, but did you present the AAgents with your alternate preferred routing to Croatia? Was the alternate route available on AA/OW? Irrespective of the ticket-issuing carrier, both tickets would have been under (AA) airport control, and any change theoretically wouldn’t have affected your return trip, provided you were there in time to catch the flight home. I hope your credit card’s Trip Cancellation protections help you recoup some of your losses.

  18. Sorry to hear of your travel woes and nightmare. I agree q00% that American Airlines is visibly and quickly deteriorating from a premium aiRV line to a sub-par inefficient carrier business. I could have written a d shared 4-5 similar AA snafoo trips from hell over the past 5 years.
    American is too big with a management team unable to control nor correct the downhill spiral.
    I am a former Executive Platinum, now currently retired at Platinum… for what it’s worth (?).
    My preference now is to fly Delta… a much better and more efficient service and experience.

  19. I may be missing something here big time.

    So, I´m a SkyTeam zealot and my experience is that even when you glue together two DL revenue tickets and DL messes up your first leg that is your problem because you should have booked that in one go. Heck, at DL agents cant even seem to speak to anything that has to do with award tickets. And I dont blame them for it. I get it.

    Not sure why AA would have any dealings with whatever you booked with some different airline. Imagine you book a 99$ flight from IAH to DFW and miss a 10,000$ intercontinental first class ticket on BA to LHR or something. Does AA owe you that second leg? I dont think so, even though some policy may say otherwise.

  20. Agree with John here – unless Mike specifically talked to AA about linking his flights in one PNR/reservation before his day of travel, I don’t think he is owed compensation or rerouting

  21. Thanks everyone for the comments. Wanted to add that I was comfortable with the tighter connection on the positioning flight to HNL because my itinerary had an extended layover at LAX (more than 10 hours). And when you factor in the time involved with flying back and forth to HNL, I had more than 24 hours to get to LA to continue on my original itinerary if AA just dropped the HNL flights.

    Knowing oneworld carriers are supposed to treat these as through tickets when all tickets are oneworld was the reason I was willing to book it as is.

    As for the time in DBV, I actually had three nights there. But, several factors meant I’d arrive after I was scheduled to return: AA took so long to acknowledge their failure and that they were in fact responsible for getting me to DBV, they still insisted on the flights to HNL and their proposed fix beyond HNL involved an overnight in PHL. Needless to say, it wasn’t really a solution.

    Also, on the insurance front, I’d thought my Prestige card coverage would work for things outside my control – weather, illness, family stuff, etc. AA not honoring the oneworld policy didn’t cross my mind and the separate ticket issue is something where the Prestige coverage wouldn’t kick in. So while, I thought I was appropriately covered, AA’s failure opened a gap in the coverage. Live and learn on that one.

  22. @ John — The whole point is that oneworld policy specifically allows the “gluing together” of tickets. It’s supposed to be an incentive to book within the alliance, so it’s definitely different than SkyTeam.

  23. Mike / Tiffany

    Did you “glue” the tickets together in the same PNR via AA customer service before travel? The latest policy seems to require that happen in order for this all to be covered?

  24. About being a hub captive at PHX, I have a colleague in Phoenix who travels both domestically and internationally around 100k miles a year, and he doesn’t travel AA. All his travel is split between JetBlue and Delta and he says he’s actually saving money over what he paid while flying AA. You might consider looking into other options.

    As for the unhappy results from your trip, I read regularly across several miles and points blogs about how the experts routinely and successfully put together and execute these complicated itineraries across multiple airlines and currencies and get these amazing outcomes and deals. And I always feel too intimidated to do these because I figure I’ll screw something up, violate some small print rule or get caught up in some flight cancellation or misconnect and end up not knowing how to get it successfully put back together again. Here you had the very best – Tiffany, Gary and Jon and it couldn’t get fixed. This whole thing, while incredibly frustrating and costly for you, is scary for the rest of us who don’t have your skill set. I feel your pain and hope you can recoup some of your losses.

  25. Quit using AA plain and simple. I used to fly them regularly 25+ years ago and had racked 20k+ miles before AA started making mileage subject to expiration, but suddenly one day they had ‘expired’ and AA didn’t give a crud, basically telling me too bad so sad. Best decision I ever made to stop patronizing them. If I want to go somewhere then I’ll use SWA if they service the city which in most cases they do. I’m honestly surprised AA is still in business with how they treat customers, etc but it is what it is.

  26. Sure, the rule sounds like a good safety net, but I think you should have done a better job planning.
    There’s one flight to HNL that would get you there on time, so a cancellation there leaves you at the mercy of AA and their policies.
    AA should have done a better job honoring the policy, but you should have known better, too.

  27. So, guy has ultimate dream of achieving status in in airline, so tries to cheat the system? Then, he had the nerve to complain that the scheme didn’t work? Somehow, I don’t have a lot of sympathy. You gambled, and you lost. Better luck next time, pal.

  28. I think Gary and Jon are rti g on outdated Ts and Cs. I was hopeful with the Saleslink reference but I don’t find any thing there.

    Please provide a basis for your expectations on protection even though you were on differential PNRs. Jon may be correct that the intent of the wording change referencing PNR wasn’t to restrict the prior policy, but a reading of the Ts and Cs don’t say anything about protection in separate PNRs. Until I see it in the Ts and Cs , I don’t believe it.

  29. So is the Oneworld reaccommodation policy functionally dead??? So based on your experience it is highly risky to piece together two oneworld tickets (at least one segment being on American) for time-sensitive trips? Is this situation the same/better/worse with Star Alliance/SkyTeam? We are in the process of finding an open-jaw itinerary and were debating to do a combination of one round trip and a one way (RT IND to FCO, and OW FCO to ATH), but if this is a terrible idea, we would just buy a combined open-jaw.

  30. I struggle to believe that as well. Such a policy would give incentive to so much wrong behavior (wrong from the perspective of AA and OW) that I just cannot imagine this to be real. Why on earth would any OW airline like to cover you when you are patching together your trip instead of booking it the normal and more expensive way. Especially cover you for things you haven’t even booked with them… and then on award tickets! Crazy!!

  31. My understanding is the oneworld removed the disjointed ticket policy as a single reservation a couple of years ago. It is pretty risky to buy a disconnected ticket without a backup plan. E.g. refundable ticket on another airline as a backup.

  32. I think you were in the wrong on this one, but thanks for sharing this valuable story. Great cautionary tale.

  33. Why does everyone seem to think trip insurance covers this? Aside from the specific case where you miss a cruise departure and have to book a new flight to catch up to the boat, insurance rarely will pay for a new flight out of pocket. The airline has a responsibility to get you there, and simply because you don’t like the schedule doesn’t mean it gives you coverage to rebook.

    AA should’ve found another way to take care of Mike.

  34. Hello,

    I travel several times a year.

    I do realize the world was not born perfect and not everything works every time. So if a plane breaks I accept that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try.

    I have missed connections, had planes malfunction mid air, and in all cases I made it to my destination as soon as the airline was able to get me their.

    I don not believe any of them have ever had the agenda of making my life difficult.

    Best regards,

  35. Agree that travel insurance will most likely NOT cover this. Ask me how I know! Had a similar claim denied by TravelGuard. Will not do business with them again.

  36. But if you like American Airlines related schadenfreude, and are up for ~1,900 words of me being given the runaround, let’s get into this…

    Yeah this sounds like something to get my Monday evening going. Thanks for your sacrifice Lucky, I sure will enjoy reading the upcoming words and mentally thank God i’m no longer associated with AA.

  37. So, is this where DoT enforcement is supposed to step in? They didn’t follow their own policy and it harmed the overall product you purchased, even if not purchasing it from them? Does Gary, Jon, Tiffany, or others have ideas on recourse here?

  38. You are too smart and clever for your own good. When you buy a ticket on three separate one world member airlines and you want seamless coordination, you need to purchase the three tickets from the same carrier. Then they would all know you are coordinated and be able to correct for delays. When you buy a separate ticket from three airlines, they do not coordinate and do not know that a delay you are having with one airline will affect your ability to connect to their flight. You accepted responsiblity for these connections and now because things went wrong you want to make them responsible. All airlines have delays for mechanical reasons. When this happens they take responsibility the trip you bought from them. I have flown on many airlines. 95% of the time they arrive at the destination on time or ahead of schedule. The 5% of the time they are late, it is never just for 15 minutes, no, it is always for many hours.

  39. The bigger issue regarding your horror story is the state of American Airlines today period
    Not one trained caring and can do individual is reasonably left to step up to the plate with dedicated helpful customer service
    It is what Mr Parker has done to the company to current date and continues to destroy whats left of American
    American hates the One World Alliance and treats it like dirt including its customers
    Look at what happens when you book an American metal award with BA points
    They try and block your AA elite benefits,seat assignments free checked in luggage
    as an elite with American even with your AA flyer number in the record
    Buy separate tickets or mix itins with award seats your plain screwed

    Parker has created a culture of burn all customers at first sight and its working results are in and AA is failing in every measure and continues its rapid decline.
    To big to fail? perhaps
    My well respected world renowned medical Dr who is a concierge key member hates American too.Spent my annual check up one third of it discussing ways to avoid One World and mostly American.Hopefully I can bill his office for the advice 🙂
    I smelled the roses a 3 years ago and have left lock stock and barrel and smile every time I read these stories
    Today thankfully I am pain free despite earning 8 million miles in the Advant program with lifetime elite status and dumping it all in the garbage

    Is there any fair reason in the world why almost everyone hates American?It isn’t rocket science .Your experience is like many others who have suffered the same injustice flying American and its so called partners in the alliance though most of the partners are typically vastly superior to their credit
    Americans greed and horrific hostile polices with no empathy have buried this one reasonably fine carrier and Mr Parker is the majority of the reason the stock is tanking along with the summer from travel he##
    Until they are bleeding and Mr Parker has been thrown to the street or replaced their horrific customer service and business culture known as American will continue as business as usual
    Sad!

  40. What did Iberia say? They would be my first port of call in this situation as they own the ticket you missed from HNL.

    I’ve been in a similar situation, albeit with different OW airlines (QF and BA). A BA delay caused me to miss a QF flight on separate tickets. I never even thought of getting BA to sort it out. Instead I got onto QF right away and in the end they rebooked me.

    In your situation it was IB who were probably your best bet for help, although to be fair I wouldn’t have had too much faith in them sorting it if past dealings were anything to go by.

  41. Assuming arguendo that AA still protects on separate AA/oneworld tickets that are on separate PNRs, does that protection extend beyond getting the passenger to the point of turnaround on the second ticket? As I understand it, AA ultimately agreed to get the passenger to DBV, which was his final destination in the *outbound*. The fact that AA would have gotten the passenger to DBV too late to catch his return flight is not necessarily a violation of AA’s protection policy. The passenger was not *connecting* in DBV; DBV was his point of turnaround.

    It would also be interesting to find out whether AA’s re-accommodation-on-separate-tickets policy requires that at least one of the tickets be on AA (001) stock. This language from the re-accommodation policy suggests that that might be the case:

    “Changes to itineraries for Customers holding separate tickets:
    AA to/from AA or a oneworld® Carrier in the Same PNR

    Customers should be treated as through ticketed customers. In the event of a disruption on the originating ticket, the
    carrier responsible for the disruption will be required to reroute the customer to their final destination. The ticket stock of
    the second ticket must be of a oneworld carrier, eligible under the Endorsement Waiver Agreement.”

  42. Wow, I’m having shivers reading about this. I recently flew from BOM – DEL (AI). 3 hour layover. DEL – NRT (JAL). (8 hour layover). NR – JFK (JAL). 8 hours overnight. LGA – ATL (AA). The JAL flight was on Alaska miles. The AA flight was on BA miles. The first AI flight was delayed by a couple of hours so I had to run between terminals at DEL. It all worked out but I shudder to think what could have happened.

  43. As a born Croatian, an advice. Skip Dubrovnik and go to Pula, Zadar, Split or even Zagreb. My foreign husband was amazed and it’s really more amazing than just Dubrovink. I mean it is nice but Croatia has much more to offer

  44. @Roland Cule

    “Stupid question – why didn’t you buy travel insurance and ask them to cover you (heck I’m sure you can advertise some silly credit card that covers misconnections) ? ”

    Indeed it is a stupid question.

    I know legions of people, mostly old folks, who buy travel insurance thinking that it protects them from all sorts of eventualities when they travel. It does not.

    Here is the business model for every type of insurance: collect premiums and then avoid paying benefits. Mike essentially got to HNL late. His HNL-Dubrovnik trip was not “interrupted”. He just missed his plane, in the eyes of just about any insurance carrier, as if he overslept and got caught in traffic getting from Waikiki to HNL. Yes, I suppose a policy can be written to provide coverage for such perils, but the business model would require that premiums go up correspondingly. Seriously, what do you think an insurance company would have to charge for a policy that covers you when your failure to arrive at the airport is a result of oversleeping?

    As a rule of thumb, I anticipate that things in life might occasionally go sideways, so I insure against those perils that I cannot easily absorb, like my house burning down, like causing an accident that maims me or someone else, like a catastrophic illness. Hence, I never buy travel insurance. Rather, I’ll spend some coin on avoiding possible risks but not on insurance to compensate me when something may go sideways. For me, having my travels go smoothly it worth something. An insurance policy that will slap me a few bucks when things go wrong provides little consolation.

  45. Interesting. What would have happened if you had taken the outbound to Croatia (even though it arrived after your return flight)? Pretend you didn’t notice this mistake. Then you would have been ‘stuck’ there thanks to AA’s mistake with the obligation on them to get you home.

  46. Do note that these are two separate one way tickets- this is the downside of booking separate tickets with back to back connections.

    AA is responsible for taking you to your final destination (leg 1 of your trip) and not your ultimate final destination (on a separate ticket). Technically, you missed your 2nd leg and AA is not responsible for the 2nd leg even if the 1st leg is operated by AA.

    If AA is able to combine your ticket (less likely if they’re issued by another airline), I see AA stepping in to get you to your ultimate final destination.

  47. Seems the primary problem was letting an international itinerary, which was part of a travel hack, hinge on a 6 hour connection in HNL positioning from the mainland. That’s an 18 hour window, minimum, to allow for rerouting with connections.

    The rest of the cascade was foreseeable.

  48. What was your preferred routing to solve this and did you ask AA/IB for it? That’s what I’ve tried in the past (but not the same situation).

    It’s a bad situation but I also kind of feel like you put yourself in harms way trying to connect in one of the most remote places in the world trying to get to a destination with very little service on any airline on 2 separate tickets, not to mention flying the wrong direction, and a short return.

  49. I totally agree with @Donna above. I really appreciate the report. It gives us some insight into some potential failure points with complicated routing and booking on multiple airlines.

    I’ve always been scared of a scenario similar to yours and have ended up building in an inefficient time/cost buffer. As I educate myself on this and other sites, I hope in the future to be able to take advantage of some of the wonderful perks you often report on.

    Thanks again.

  50. We had a similar situation when we booked LH award tickets DEN-FRA-FCO and our paid positioning flight from SFO-DEN on UA was diverted. Fortunately LH was also delayed so we made the connection or we might have ended up like Mike (or worse stranded in DEN).

    But we all know the risks when booking these routings. It was quite foolish to book a positioning flight back to HNL on a different carrier. Not to mention grossly inefficient to fly many hours the wrong direction. Would be nice if you could count on AA to fix this mess but we all know that is highly unlikely on any carrier.

    Lesson learned.

  51. @Nun, they had roughly 24 hours to get me to LAX and I could have stayed on my original IB flights to DBV. That would have worked just fine.

  52. It seems to me that American actually played by the rules here. Whether that’s commercially intelligent is a different question. But the AA Schedule Irregularity guidelines that appear to cover your situation reads:

    “AA to/from Non-oneworld® Carrier in the Same or Separate PNRs
    Schedule Irregularity procedures and AA Conditions of Carriage do not apply to separate tickets purchased by the customer as part of their journey. Example: customer holds a ticket from ABQ-ORD on AA (001 ticket stock) and a separate ticket on WestJet for continuing travel from ORD-YYZ. If the AA flight is late or cancelled, AA has no responsibility for onward travel on a separate ticket for travel on a non- oneworld carrier. Advise customers who may be affected that they will need to work separately with the other airline for assistance.”

    The combination of seeking out the very cheapest indirect route involving more than one carrier while being on a tight schedule made it unlikely you would have a successful trip. When you play with the bull. sometimes you get the horns.

  53. @Chucky – easy answer…grumpy wife. On the airline side, who knows. They seem to make it up as they go, which is why I wasn’t willing to risk being stranded.

  54. Thanks @Alasdair. Gary Leff’s more recent post (linked in the article) covered that the protection is still in place. And @JonNYC’s post here and follow up on twitter confirmed it.

  55. @Thomas – Thanks. I plan on taking the whole family at some point and we’ll be sure to hit more than DBV.

  56. @Klanfa – I considered my options in the case of irops and thought the late departure out of LAX would be more than sufficient as backup.

  57. So sorry to hear about this fiasco. I think everything you said is true … pretty raw.

    Let me point out, though, that there are many fine people at AA trying (and succeeding) at doing a great job every day. I know this because I regularly benefit from spectacular and unexpected service.

    So, with all of this agony, please remember and acknowledge the finer times, too. Because American…

  58. @Donna – Thanks, I’ve been more openminded about other airlines for the last year or two. But when AA is the only one with a direct route, I was still using them. That might be changing as well depending on which airline offers a connection and how long it is. I also had the same thought re) having travel experts helping me and it still didn’t get fixed. I do think the typical traveler would just give up. But, I hear the rest of the commenters here who are pointing out this isn’t exactly a normal itinerary for people to fly.

  59. @Barry – You’re right and I did try to acknowledge the great crew serving water who got us off the warm plane. But, the need for more clarity that the culture problem at AA is a responsibility of executive leadership (in my opinion) is a fair point to make.

  60. @Mike …

    True enough …

    And *thank you* for the great lesson about stress testing One World. Very, very useful perspective!

  61. Thanks @Mike, but whilst you were on AA metal you were on a BA ticket- is BA’s interpretation the same? I think it’s much harsher. It has been since the change Lucky wrote about

  62. @Alasdair – Given that AA eventually came around to what @JonNYC has posted, it seems pretty clear that they needed to solve this as soon as they caused the disruption. It just took forever to get them to that point. And the new development of needing to use the same connection points is news to me (and I’d guess most people who know about the policy).

  63. Mike:
    Sorry for your recent misadventure with AA. It is also very much re-assuring to hear from JonNYC that oneworld re-accommodation is a valid policy. This May I was 10 min close to loose my connecting flight on separate tickets but I still made it.
    My overall advise in situations like this is just keep going to the destination you want. I would continue the journey, arrive to Dubrovnik after I should leave home, and let AA to figure our how to take you home.

  64. @Alex_77W – I was tempted and agree it puts the airlines in a position to solve a problem rather than strand you. I also had the consideration of wife/kids at home also being disrupted and thought better of it.

  65. On June 12, 2019 my husband and I had tickets to fly from Denver to Chicago on AY 4068, Chicago to Helsinki on AY10 and Helsinki to St Petersburg, Russia on AY707. Our flight was late arriving in Chicago due to bad weather in Chicago, however, we were assured that all departing flights would be delayed and there would be no problem with connections. Even though we were at the transfer gate 15 minutes before departure of AY10 we were told that the flight had not been delayed and to rebook. We were then rebooked on AA flight 150 to Paris with a connection to St Petersburg on Aeroflot flight 6636. We were delayed several hours in Chicago due to mechanical problems on AA150 and missed our connection in Paris. In Paris we were once again rebooked this time on Air France flight 1822 to Munich and Aeroflot flight 6660 to St Petersburg. Each time we were rebooked we were assured that our luggage would follow us.
    When we arrived in St Petersburg there was no checked luggage. We filled out the forms with Aeroflot (Rossiya) Airlines. We filed our own lost baggage claim with AA and tracked the baggage through AA’s system which showed both bags in Chicago. We called the AA 800 baggage number on 14 June and were told that there had been communication between the two airlines and the bag was coming. We repeatedly called the Aeroflot Lost Baggage number and they had no information. There seemed to be a total disconnect between the claim we filed with Aeroflot and AA.
    After being told that the bags were in Chicago and would be sent on we received a call from a baggage handler (contractor, not AA employee) in Albuquerque, NM saying our bag was there and wondering when we would pick it up. I called the 800 number again and was told this was not possible as the bags were in Chicago. I played the message for the woman who was very rude and hung up on me when I asked to speak to a supervisor. We were able to contact the baggage handler directly from Russia and he had the bag sent to us in Moscow as we were leaving St Petersburg. We then received a text from someone in Albuquerque who said a bag with my name on it had been delivered to their home by the airlines. Once again I called the 800 number and spoke with another representative who said she showed the bag in Chicago. She even called Chicago but was unable to get any information. We contacted the baggage handler again to tell him that the second bag would be returned to the baggage area and he was able to send the bag to Moscow a day later.
    We contacted the Aeroflot Lost Baggage center in Moscow and in St Petersburg 8 hours after the flight with the first found bag on it should have landed in Moscow and they had no knowledge of the bag. Upon arriving in Moscow on 16 June 2019, 4 days after entrusting our bags to AA, we had the hotel contact the Aeroflot Lost Baggage and they were able to find the first bag but refused to deliver it to our hotel. We missed a half day of our tour of Moscow to travel to the airport at our own expense to collect the bag. While we were at the airport we were able to find the second bag which was damaged.
    During the time our bags were lost we did not have proper clothing or other personal items. We missed the first day of our tour because the flight was delayed due to mechanical difficulties and we missed a half day of our tour in Moscow as we were told we had to go to the airport to get our bag. During this time AA had absolutely no idea where our bags were. If it were not for the baggage handler in Albuquerque we never would have received the bags. It is unacceptable that my bag would end up in someone’s home in Albuquerque while AA continued to insist it was in Chicago.
    I have spoken to AA’s baggage department and been told that due to an international agreement I must file a claim with Aeroflot. This is not acceptable to me. Aeroflot has different methods of compensation than AA and never touched my bag on the original itinerary. AA caused us to be extremely late arriving in St Petersburg due to mechanical problems. AA caused us to miss part of our tours in both St Petersburg and Moscow. AA totally lost track of my bag and repeatedly said it was in Chicago when it was clearly in Albuquerque. We feel that AA should take some responsibility in this situation.
    It is important that someone in AA knows that AA had no knowledge of the location of our bags. To me it seems impossible that this could have happened given all the security required by TSA.
    If nothing else I have learned two things from this experience; NEVER check luggage and NEVER fly AA. We have received no reimbursement or miles from AA.

  66. JonNYC – your Twitter post indicates that AA must accommodate the passenger through the same “connecting point.” That means that AA had to rebook Mike through HNL, correct? That would limit his options for timely accommodation

  67. Good God. The biggest mistake you made was to ask AA for assistance at all. Here is what I usually do in a scenario like this…

    1) Use EF to find the next flight to HNL that works out. Use Mike’s if you need to or pay revenue if awards are unavailable or usury.

    2) Book the best flight option right away. You can always cancel without penalty.

    3) Fly the other flight and ask AA to cancel the one-way outbound.

    In this scenario, you might have spent another $1k on top of whatever you had already spent and all would have worked out for you.

    Instead, you tried to work this out with AA without any status and on an award ticket. You were at the bottom of the totem pole proverbially speaking.

    EXP is still a very worthwhile status…but really only if you fly a lot and AA makes sense for your routes. I would NEVER recommend going for status just for kicks. That is just asking for trouble. And these status challenges are moronic to begin…

  68. @JonNYC: Do you happen to know if AA re-accommodation on separate tickets applies where — as in this case — *neither* ticket was issued on AA stock?

  69. I legitimately prefer flying with Ryan air than American. Flown both 50+ times and had more issues with American Air. I’ve been lucky frankly, only a couple horrific experiences. All of them have been on AA except for 1. (Earthquake halted train ride in route to airport), delayed entire day in Rome airport and out of pocket about $700.

  70. They need to fire their CEO and take along all of the C-levels who are letting this happen. There needs to be a complete management cleanup at this company and begin to immediately right the wrongs that AmericaWest management has done here.

  71. It is true – AA TRULY sucks these days! Being a long-time Charlotte resident (before I moved abroad in 2015), I miss the good old Piedmont Airline days and even the US Air/US Airways days when service still mattered! I just returned to Ecuador (my new home) from the US and had yet another awful experience with AA trying to get from Denver to Sioux Falls, which lead to fights in the gate area and rude, rude gate agents……I just sat there watching the whole situation unfold and wishing for the old days of good service and personnel who actually cared about their jobs…..those days are gone for AA!!

  72. I don’t / won’t fly AA so I guess that makes me schadenfreude. Aside from that, however, I am glad I read your rant because it reminded me that it’s been a long time since I’ve watched and enjoyed Tommy Boy. That’s now on my to do list for this evening.

  73. I have been playing the card game now for almost 3 years. I am a staunch United, Chase Ultimate rewards guy. About 18 months ago, my wife and I started to get CITI bank card. We both got the AAdvantage personal Platinum select, both got the Barclay Aviator and our business got the Citi Business Plat select.

    The above cards provided us with over 300K AA miles. We took a trip LAX-LHR, another JFK-
    LHR and LAX JFK. ALL THREE WERE NIGHTMARES. It would take me well over 1900 words to explain but between, crappy business seats, delays, lousey business class service, and BEDBUGS.

    I will be respectful and keep it short. WE CANCELLED ALL FIVE cards and now are getting back into the 5/24 window where we can start all over with obtaining more Ultimate Rewards Bonus miles along with Cap One. If it has ANYTHING to do with American, we would rather walk or swim.

    Thanks Mike for your detailed report, it just reassures us that we made the right decision.
    Feel sorry for the American employees

  74. Mike
    Next time try this. When seeking help on a situation, Smile at the person you are talking to, when asking if they can help you out? They almost always “let me see what I can do” I reply “thank you”. Its amazing what someone will do if you show them some kindness. It almost always works for me with airlines and I rarely have any status with them. Even when they say there is nothing to do, I always thank them for trying. Often I get a “hold on, let me try something else”. Also I do have alternatives ready, in your case I would toss out “is there a way to get me to LAX to make the connection? Yes American Sucks, I am a Phoenix based flier myself, and I find them very helpful when shit happens. I have mostly positive experience in Phx with American. Maybe its because I make eye contact with everyone I talk to, call them by name and have manners. I have been accused of kissing ass, but knock on wood, I have not missed out on a road trip.

  75. If you think you are right, march on down to court and file a claim. Let your local judge decide.

    Based on the comments, if AA shows up to defend the suit, you have a less than 50% chance as the written and published rules don’t seem to be in your favor. Though JohninNYC is always right, the rule doesn’t seem so clear in writing. But everyone hates the airlines and the airline may not show, so you could win.

  76. I had a similar issue about 2 weeks back with United. Book a United flight (paid business class) from SFO to Frankfurt and a separate Frankfurt to Palma flight using Chase Travel.

    SFO to Frankfurt flight was delayed by 3 hours, meaning I landed *after* my Frankfurt to Palma flight took off. United refused to do anything to help, even though it was their fault for the flight delay. It cost me $300 to change my flight with Lufthansa and take a cab (because I landed in Palma after the buses were finished for the night). Sent United my receipts and they only offered me $200 — when I told them it wasn’t enough, they said “Sorry we couldn’t reach a resolution you were happy with.”

    I guess we should all stick to Delta and Alaska.

  77. I’m with AA Explat – immediately buy another ticket if you had that much time to spare and really wanted to keep the trip. It would have sucked, but would have lost relatively less money. Coming from the south this weekend my companions and I all had various backup options in case of systematic air travel collapse – I’m the only points-follower in the group. While an awful state of the world, given how airlines work in this day and age if you really want to get somewhere you need a backup option that’s better than a wing & a prayer from customer service for the airline that hasn’t even ticketed either of your legs.

    Note I’m not freeing AA from blame, they suck.

  78. 1) stop using aa or any of their JV partners, so many better options and they need to feel it in their wallet.
    2) Sue aa in small claims. I’ve beat them twice in NyC…and collected. They’re moronic and their legal rep folds like a cheap suit when you get your court date.

  79. So you had two different tickets, from two different airlines, neither of which were American? I’m not sure how you expected the re-accommodation policy or American to help you in this case.

    If you had tickets issued by American, on their record locator, from start to finish, they would have fixed this 100%.

    In fact, I’ve been in delay situations with international connections to other oneworld airlines a few times this year, and American re-routed me no questions asked. In one case, I actually arrived earlier than planned.

    The difference is, I booked with American, on their ticket from start to finish. This is like flying 101 stuff right here.

    If you book a bunch of separate one-way tickets on different itineraries, or book tickets through multiple airlines, you’re going to have a bad time. And no, this doesn’t just apply to American.

  80. FastCompany has American Airlines as the 2nd worst domestic airline (even worse than Spirit!) for 2019 (https://www.fastcompany.com/90331518/best-and-worst-american-airlines-2019-frontier-not-spirit-hits-bottom). When my family booked a flight to Italy in 2018 they changed the flight time so much on the incoming flight that we would’ve arrived at an ungodly hour. So we switched flights. I made the mistake of booking with them again for a flight to Dallas in December and they just sent me flight changes that now include a 4 hr layover on my flight to Dallas (was originally 1 hr). Will have to remember this next time I book a flight. They are in a race with Frontier for last place.

  81. AAExplat +2

    @Mike, did you actually wait until the PHX-HNL flight was cancelled before trying to get rebooked, and if so, why? As soon as a mechanical delay was announced, I would have been on the phone trying to get rerouted through LAX. I also would have asked to deplane and went and talked with an agent. I think it was a mistake thinking that dropping the HNL-LAX leg, especially on a partner ticket, would have been easy to do.

  82. I had several similar AA experiences. Having elite status, multi hour connection times and asking Admiral Club staff to solve problems was just a waste of time. Despite being Platinum for the last several years, I made the decision to dump AA this year and have no regrets.

  83. How crazy is that…you buy a ticket with another airline that is partner with one world and you want their codeshare to figure it out without a insurance…without status and loyalty with the airline…..

  84. @ Mike – Can you outline more specifics about your original connecting times vs. rebooking options presented? While it took a frustrating amount of time for them to apply the policy, it seems that once they did so (correctly, according to the new policy), you didn’t want to go to HNL as it was your understanding that you didn’t have to. Had you gone with a routing through HNL, would you still have made your trip? If so, I think AA is still at fault for a lot of things (canceled flight, unknown policy, etc.), but I don’t think it’s really fair to blame them for the routing options presented when they’re just following policy. Also, were you rebooked to HNL as soon as your flight was canceled? That’s typically how AA’s system does things.

  85. This was a Hyatt promotion and you jumped on it as to not having to do $15k and 100k miles a year like everyone else to be EP. No sympathy for you at all.

  86. This whole sorry exercise in cobbling together a plausible enough itinerary with different airlines with points/miles from various programs highlights how vulnerable one is in contrast to a full fare/revenue passenger in the same situation.
    Although it shouldn’t be, you are a second class, lowest priority passenger when things go wrong. Even worse when AA is in the mix!
    I must confess I have had even more optimistic itineraries which worked out OK, with a few close calls. These days I build in buffers where a potential chokepoint could be anticipated, or at least have a Plan B in my head. Sorry that your (proposed) trip was a disaster.
    Recommend you look into an annual multi-trip Travel Insurance policy (which includes AA) though.

  87. Mike,

    1. Thanks for re-visiting your painful experience for our benefit.
    2. I learned to pre-position early (24+ hours) for international premium class flights many moons again. I hoped you learned that, too, although I didn’t explicitly read it in your post. Even as a long-time elite, I would only expect to fall back on airline help if all other options failed. Your back-up plan would be closer to my last choice.
    3. Sadly, AA has fallen a very long way and is barely recognizable as the once-great airline it was. You should reconsider whether you are truly hub captive.

    Thanks again.

  88. And that’s why I status matched to Delta Gold becoming Platinum this weekend with a trip to Cape Town. Delta/Air France/KLM aren’t perfect and they have their good and bad moments but their worst approaches AA’s best. And does anyone see anything on the horizon that’s going to turn AA around? Dougie’s been pretty clear what matters and it isn’t AA staff or passengers. As more of us defect the good news is Oasis aircraft will be more pleasant with lots of empty seats for those still forced to fly them.

  89. Contact Christopher Elliott… an online advocate for travel passengers. Has his own website — gets money back 99% of the time. Good luck. AA sucks and always has. Have been avoiding them since the 1970s. Employees might be good people but they are trained to remain detached. Poor excuse for customer service. I sued them twice over the years… both times successfully.

  90. Just another example of why positioning trips are risky. I consider it risky to be positioning to a hub. To hnl? Crazy. Just have to have a jinxed flight and you’re boned. Just don’t do positioning flights, they seem like a bargain but you’re trading cost for risk. And sometimes you lose that bet.

  91. @mike I admire your character in not responding to all of the less-than-helpful and often cruel “advice” being offered on this blog. I also live in Phoenix and have been loyal to AA since the early 1980s. But after three ridiculously bad experiences this spring, I cut the cord. If time permits I fly Delta. We can connect pretty much anywhere from PHX with their MSP, ATL, and LAX hubs. If time doesn’t permit, then Southwest is my fallback option. But they, too, have had some bad missteps lately. If I had any belief whatsoever that my flight wouldn’t be delayed, I would still keep AA on the list. But it’s just pure fantasy to believe that you will be the lucky one whose flight actually makes it only a couple of hours late. I’ve also been using United on occasion and have had positive experiences. It really is fun to fly out of Terminal 2 in Phoenix. It’s so quiet and easy. I’m sure the last thing you need at this point is more advice, but I don’t see why the other OneWorld carriers involved in this fiasco don’t refund your miles. I’m probably missing something. Thanks for sharing.

  92. To be honest with you, something smells very fishy here.

    You wanted to go to Croatia through Honolulu with a tight connection time?

    It just does not make sense at all

  93. And…that’s why, after 20+ years of being EP and 2.2M+ miles later, I decided to take the Delta match status and switched all my business. I’ve never looked back, and believe me, it’s a cool feeling. Screw AA bro.

  94. @PHXFlyer: I have a supplier in Phoenix that I visit often but simply won’;t fly AA. I would rather fly DL with a stop. I was in Phoenix the week after the new DL SkyClub there opened, and was amazed to see how busy it was.
    @Mike: Sorry to read about all your issues. The thing that kept coming back to me was you were trying to build up miles and status to do more flying on AA. And nobody helped you.

  95. If you are on two or more separate tickets, then they don’t owe you any reaccomodation. And sorry that’s the way it’s always worked . Only if are booked on a single ticket through will they check your bag and reacommodate you due to disruption. The no thru check bag policy is relatively new.
    Maybe buy trip insurance next time so you won’t be out the money.

  96. As an AA employee, I can assure you that Parker and management couldn’t care less about employees and definitely don’t care about customers.

  97. Total bummer. I’ve booked a 6 hour layover for a positioning flight LAX-SFO, where there’s a 55-min flight almost every hour. There was a 3-hour delay, so it’s a good thing. I feel that I need such a cushion, but would need something much longer on a longer flight where there are fewer options to get there.

  98. @PHXFlyer: As far as I can tell, the only miles Mike spent were BA Avios for the AA positioning flight from PHX to HNL. Since AA ultimately cancelled that flight, BA should refund those Avios with no trouble.

    The HNL-DBV-HNL ticket was a cash ticket (I fare) issued by Iberia. IB has no obligation to refund the fare for that unused ticket — unless the terms and conditions make it refundable.

  99. Mike –

    Sorry, but this is on you. You booked seperate tickets on separate PNR’s.

    1. Gary tried to help, but is not reading the policy correctly.
    2. JonNYC does’t ‘know’ anything. He is a tool that steals information and posts it. Don’t waste your time with him.
    3. You bought separate tickets. This risk is yours. I have done the same thing, with AA and CX. AA screwed me up, but it was on me to fix it. I did.
    4. You know AA’s track record with these things. You should have planned a day in HNL or had a backup plane.

  100. Nothing to add here except I thought that all the cancellations I’d been suffering lately were just my crazy bad luck. Twice this summer my Ord to Ewr flights were cancelled and I was redirected to Lga. Then I had to self transfer to Ewr for my overseas flight and AMR told me that the transfer was on my dime. Good thing I have status.

  101. First of all, I agree with Gary Leff — you got a bad agent and should have hung up and called back.

    Last year, my wife and I were on CUN-MIA on AA via an Avios Award, connecting to a JetBlue FLL-JFK flight purchased with cash. The AA flight got severely delayed and the EXP platinum desk kindly put us on the CUN-JFK direct flight on AA and I even got upgraded. AA had no obligation to get me beyond Miami but the Executive Platinum desk came through.

    Secondly, I’m a new EXP and I’d say its pretty worthwhile. I became EXP end of 2018 through this same challenge—not Hyatt-related, just a status challenge from AA requiring the same EQM and EQDs as your challenge. (I booked PEK-LAX in J R/T For $2400 to get most of my points).

    I am NY based and I get upgraded on AA I’d say 80% of the time on domestic flights, including on JFK-LAX, the only upgrade that matters for me. I’m real glad I did it and I’ll requalify for real this year. It’s also helped me out so many times when things have gone wrong that were not AA-related (weather, or a missed flight because too much time at TWA Hotel.)

    Don’t give up! I don’t love AA but I still do think their top tier status is worth more than the others.

  102. This really sucks. I have to agree with some fellow commenters that giving yourself a 6hr connection window from a positioning flight is still playing with fire. We’ve made it a habit to position in Cairo to fly home to USA taking advantage of cheaper J fares to the states but the minimum layover time is 24hrs. Admittedly that almost wasn’t enough once (you haven’t seen a $hitshow until you’ve experienced Royal Jordanian IRROPS)

  103. From a current Delta DM and United 1K, and former AA ExP (guess why?), here’s how I view this:

    All else being equal, if the reservations were booked with:

    * DL and AF/KL, I would have gone ahead and trusted DL to have my back under any circumstances.
    * UA and LH, I would have done so, but only because I trust UA’s timeliness and Hawaii route network.
    * AA and BA/IB, not a chance in hell. Surprised no one advised against the itinerary – when you couple AA’s rock bottom operations with arrogant/tone-deaf customer service, I absolutely would’ve predicted the described outcome.

    Sorry to hear about the lost reservation (at least it didn’t go to AA?), but glad the story is out there. Some of us don’t have blogs to share how bad that airline is.

    FWIW to the AA loyalists out there – become a Delta Diamond medallion then share how the customer service compares.

  104. If you try to game the system you too will get gamed! karma !

    I fail to see how this is AA’s fault. You had the responsibility to position yourself and to take into account the risks.

    You blew it. But thanks for the read

  105. Most of OneWorld doesn’t even check bags through if the flights are on separate tickets but all on OneWorld.

    I would never expect them to do anything about separate tickets.

  106. Despite all the if’s and but’s, in my experience the key here is:

    Was your baggage interlined through HNL and did AA issue your boarding pass for onward? If yes, then the first carrier, AA is responsible to correct the situation and aid onward travel.

    If no, then its two separate journeys, and sorry, no luck! viz no responsibility

  107. This is just one more glaring problem with American. I completely blame the merger. You can not merge two companies with completely different cultures and expect it to operate properly.

    American was a decent customer friendly airline and their operations ran smoothly. US Airlines had crummy operations and a business clientele type customer service (more like United).

    American screwed up royally and they owe you way more than just miles. They owe you at the very least a voucher for future flight. The miles they gave you don’t even get you a ticket to Hawaii.

  108. This is just one more glaring problem with American. I completely blame the merger. You can not merge two companies with completely different cultures and expect it to operate properly.

    American was a decent customer friendly airline and their operations ran smoothly. US Airlines had crummy operations and a business clientele type customer service (more like United).

    American screwed up royally and they owe you way more than just miles. They owe you at the very least a voucher for future flight. The miles they gave you don’t even get you a ticket to Hawaii.

    So sorry you had to deal with that

  109. Why didn’t they just route you thru PHL to DBV after realizing 48 hours later that the OW/AA policy was in your favor? Customer service agents in EVERY industry are so frustrating…they talk like robots, retain no info, don’t understand the details and nuances of issues, etc. If they would just talk like normal humans and take notes to understand the full picture. I have no problem scolding c/s agents who ask me the same question repeatedly. I tell them to take notes and listen and don’t make me repeat myself…I go half-tilt b¡tch . I save full-tilt for the really dumb ones…LOL.

    Seriously, the worst part is it took them two days to understand. Arghhhh!

  110. I remember one time I was flying from Hanoi to Seoul on Vietnam airline using cash in J. Then Korean air to sfo in F chase miles. I had six hours lay over at Seoul. Sadly Vietnam air decides to change plane last minute which means I had maybe half hour to deplane and catch my F flight back to the States. I had Vietnam air to rebook me a Korean air flight to Seoul instead so I can catch my flight back to SFO as it would leave Hanoi two hours earlier than the delayed Vietnam air. Let me tell you I was the last person to board that Korean air to flying from Hanoi and Seoul in economy (I had paid cash for J from Hanoi to Seoul on Vietnam air). I was glad that I got on that flight and my luggage was checked through so I didn’t have to get my luggage out in Seoul and recheck it back to Korean Air. From then, I learn that if there is a F award flight that I’m trying to catch, I will get to that city at least 24 hours before hand. Lesson learned!

  111. @betty. Keep it short and sweet. No one wants to read a short novel. It was a weather delay. If you are rerouted multiple times on different airlines via different cities, it’s unlikely your bags will ever transfer with you
    Claim expenses and move on

  112. I hate it when they they basically infer that your rights are diminished if you purchase a product via another entity (in this case British Airways) but the fact remains that they were the ones who benefited from providing your service whether directly or indirectly from you. This is not uncommon unfortunately, and needs stronger government protection. It is similar to buying store credit as a gift, and suddenly good money is converted into something that expires in a year.

  113. I didn’t realize any airline/alliance attempt to fix issues when you have 2 separate tickets booked. Do the other alliances do this also?

  114. Ah…remember when Gary used to do trip reports on his website? Hope Lucky doesn’t follow him in that regard.

  115. Really wondering : few folks brought up travel insurance.
    What insurance would have been helpful in this situation?
    This is a real question – if such insurance exists, I would love to get it for some of my trips – but to my knowledge none of them cover being late for the flight (and this is what happened from insurance point of view).

  116. I am a FA with AA. Sorry to hear your story. AA’s management team in DFW is out of touch with what the employee wants or what the customer deserves. Sadly enough customer service is being replaced with office personnel sitting in air conditioned offices tweeting, instagramming and completely ignoring what is wrong. Sign of the times? Probably. Management is self absorbed. It’s embarrassing working here, my work ethic has been brought to an all time low . AA’s logo needs to change to “Expect nothing, that’s what we do best.” Get a bowl of popcorn, this saga is only getting worse.

  117. Undertrained American staff has been a problem for us as well. When our flight was cancelled from Phoenix to Madison due to a mysteriously absent plane, I had to get my attorney daughter on the phone to the agent to convince her that we were legally entitled to hotel, meal and transportation vouchers. She kept insisting that we would only be entitled to them for weather delays (Wrong!).

    That being said, I never book separate tickets anymore because it is so much harder (or impossible) to fix missed connections.

  118. Given all the negative reports about AA i don’t understand why you took the risk to fly with them let alone on a 2 legs journey.
    This was truly a masochist thing to do.
    I heard that Iberia is not great either by the way.
    To raise your spirits i would add that Dubrovnik ,a European city of Mass Tourism is maybe one of the worst place to be in the middle of August (it is absolutely packed with tourists from all over Europe & just unpleasant as locals get overwhelmed by foreign crowds who don’t speak Croatian)
    Next time you d better fly to Zagreb the Croatian capital city and catch a /bus etc from there to go to Split,Dubrovnk .
    But not with American Airlines and not to Dubrovnik in the middle of the Summer Season.

  119. I would like to add that American Airlines should give you some compensation given the EU regulation called EC 261.dating back from May 2018. Although there is no specific category of missed connection compensation, if the airline( American Airllines in this case) has caused you to miss your connecting flight due to flight delay, cancellation, or denied boarding, you can still make a claim for compensation.
    Remember EC 261…

  120. Tickets and PNRs are not the same thing. I see several people referring to them interchangeably. Ticket gets you from A-B. PNR includes all the tickets getting you from A-B-C-B-A. I am not aware of any alliance or airline that will cover missed flights between two separate PNRs, regardless of the same alliance. Separate tickets on the same PNR, sure that’s covered, not separate PNRs though. The fact that AA even figured out a way to get you to to DBV even though you were using separate PNRs is surprising. Your strategy had so much unnecessary risk its almost comical. 6 hours in Honolulu and 24 hours in DBV? Why not enjoy a Mai Tai and some time on the beach? Its not a war zone or anything. How busy of a dude are you where you fly around 20,000 miles and not bother to add maybe another 24 hours to your itinerary to reduce all risk and enjoy these special destinations. Seems like your plan had two outcomes, missed connections or Hemorrhoids from sitting in a plane for so long.

  121. I feel like I was reading our story! This happened to us going to Croatia. We were taking PIT- PHL-BUD on American and after a couple hour layover in Buda going on Austrian Air to Dubrovnik. Our flight to Philly got cancelled due to weather (mind you the weather was well below Philly on this day and it just happens the PIT- PHL cancels more than it flies) After multiple hours and horrible customer service that at one point told me to drive to Philly (sure let me make a five hour drive when my flight leaves in 3 hours) and when they could not “find” a flight that got us into Budapest to make our flights on time for Austrian Air I about lost it. I found flights that would work but heard every excuse why we could not be put on them. I was also told I would receive a refund because we did not receive seats on our rebooked flight in the same upgraded seating. I haven’t seen that money I paid for our upgrade, the money I paid to switch our Austrian Airlines flight by a day, the additional hotel, and don’t forget my hotel in Dubrovnik still charged me for my hotel even though I called to explain that we would arrive a day late due to our airline. All in all, I am out close to $1200 and American won’t do anything to compensate us. Worst service ever.

  122. I know that different people read your posts for different reasons, and my primary interest might be vastly disconnected from that of most others. Given that, I still think your post could have been much more helpful if you addressed these issues below:

    1. Does your experience mean that Oneworld reaccommodation policy, despite its “existence,” not going to help us in situation, whether American Airlines is choosing to ignore it or the agents are unaware of it?
    2. Is piecing together tickets like this advisable, and if so, what’s the best way to do this to minimize a disaster like you had?
    3. Are other airline alliances better at managing piecemeal itineraries, especially when they go wrong?

  123. I don’t play the points game, but on the very rare occasion I’ve had to take a positioning flight using different tickets, I’ve given myself an overnight at the transfer city’s airport hotel to make the connection.

  124. Hi Thanks for sharing . Me and my family will NEVER FLY AA again after it took 2 (two ) day to fly from Denver to Jamaica

  125. @Anthony “Note that AA says it will accommodate passengers flying AA to Oneworld “on separate tickets” and “on the same PNR,” which seems like a contradiction to me (how can separate tickets be on the same PNR).”

    Certainly you can. I find whenever I exceed three segments on CX’s Amadeus, I get two ticket numbers (e.g 160-1122334455 and 160-1122334456) despite having one PNR (and being protected throughout)

  126. I have been on hold for over an hour as I write this to cancel a reservation. This is the third time I have called to cancel. Today, is the last date to cancel before they charge my credit card. This ridiculous. I will never make a reservation with AA again!

  127. Hi, MY name is Donna. My complaint is regarding American’s security scanning devices. My sister and I were taking a business trip to the Bahamas via Miami on August 25th, 2019 from JFK. Flight number 1571 to Miami. My sister and I line up to go through the body scanner machine. She is ahead of me and passes through easily. I on the other hand go off on the scanner indicating something is making the machine go off and its in my groin area!! I am shocked. I am asked by one of the female security officers if I wanted to be pat down in area of the scanner or in a more private room. I opted for the room. Then the ordeal began of patting my groin area, between my legs and different stances and then the butt pat. I had two different female officers searching me. I kept asking as well as my sister what was going on I had no weapons or devices. They could not say what was making the machines go off. They also had a hand scanner that they claim also went off!!! I kept on requesting what could be the problem. No response. They rechecked my shoes, my hand bag and luggage carry on. They cleared but my body scan did not.. Mean while we had a flight to catch to Miami boarding in less than 30 minutes. The security officers there kept saying we have plenty of time. So I asked whats next. The reply was that since the machine went off 3 times I would have to wait for the top level supervisor to clear me. I was so angry!! I said we could miss our flight waiting for him. Again they said not to worry. No sooner than them saying not to worry security supervisor did arrive checked the reports and my luggage again and said sorry it must have been your make up!!!! All we could do at that pint was get our bags and run to the Miami gate. After I returned from my trip I thought about it. If the scanner pointed to my groin area why did the top security supervisor say it might be my make up. My suggestion is that American Airlines upgrade their scanners or use K-9 units to sniff out problems with better accuracy.

  128. Not with you on this one. Positioning flights have to be to some hub that has frequent flights and definitely not in the opposite direction to an island in the middle of the pacific. Honolulu might have made a little bit sense if you are connecting to jal/ana and definitely not to iberia. Like another traveller mentioned; I too plan for a 5 hour layover to position from sfo/sjc to lax to an international carrier.
    Airlines do not have their IT systems integrated even among close partners. I have dietary restrictions and need special meals on my flights. If my trip has 3 different booking/operational carriers, i always get the PNR for all the three carriers to set my meal preference for all my flights. I also hold the passport of a country that does not get visa-free transit in many countries. So i have to extra cautious about connecting and positioning flights. I am sorry I cant relate to your compaints about AA.

  129. You are just so Wrong. Not sure if you really understand the point of the guarantee or the process of flying. You bought two separate tickets with other airlines. AA’s only responsibility was to get you to HNL. You did not buy a connecting ticket. Instead you tried to get some special fares and whatnot. You should know that when you do not buy a connecting ticket the risk is all on you.
    Simple as this. You did not buy a connecting ticket. Should have bought insurance because the airline has no responsibility to get you to connect if you didn’t buy a connecting ticket.
    In my opinion AA went above and beyond to take care of you.
    Learn the rules and except them. Quit bashing the airline because you screwed up. It’s sad that you have a forum like this to express such a misinformed position.

  130. I am a former Ex Plat who let the status go completely because of AA’s games and incompetence. I am now a lowly million-miler gold which can be difficult living in Dallas environs but not impossible. I fly AA only when I have to booking P class to insulate me from as much trouble as possible..

  131. Hard to keep up with all the individual commenters. But, there is a trend of people saying this is my fault, I misunderstood the policy and several others cited Ben’s post about the oneworld protection being obsolete. I’ll have more on that front soon.

    All I can say for now is I acknowledge this was an optimistic itinerary. But, I did plan it with ways to fix it if things went wrong. The problem is those required AA to uphold their policy, which they’ve acknowledged they didn’t (or at least didn’t do it in a timely fashion).

    I’m working to get clarity on exactly how the oneworld reaccommodation policy is supposed to work. It’s clear from the many opinions in the comments here that we’d all benefit from a clear explanation from AA.

    Thanks everyone for reading and I hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend.

  132. No Mike ,it is not your fault ,just your mistake to have picked up AA .
    People saying it was your fault because you bought 2 separate tickets are silly for i think you had to get 2 separate tickets to get to Dubrovnik as there are no direct non stop flight between Phoenix and Dubrovnik,Croatia.
    Bloomberg has just published an article today saying that” American Airlines keep canceling flights and their Ceo is taking the heat “so the victims are passengers/clients like you.

  133. I’m disappointed that this situation would warrant a long ranting post on a site as credible as OMAAT. Were you unlucky? Yes, definitely. Was AA responsible for your future travel on the Iberia ticket? Maybe… The bottom line is that you should have padded the layover time a lot more. If you spent that much money and dedicated the time to do this trip, you’d think an experienced traveler would know better.

  134. I had a similar experience. Award flight on AA canceled due to mechanical problems. No way to get us to our connecting paid flight on time on another airline to Iceland. I called IcelandAir and changed the ticket to the next day and paid an additional $1000. Then I wrote AA and they sent us $1000 in vouchers a few weeks later. This was several years ago so it may not be as likely now. I learned my lesson about separate tickets.
    On a side note, AA did manage to lose one of our bags at DFW even though we didn’t even fly anywhere that day. We went out and bought a new bag and cold weather clothes and showed up the next day for our flight. Our original bag was still lost. Then when we arrived in Iceland our lost bag showed up with our other bags! So we returned all of the new cold weather clothes unworn when we got home.

  135. @Mike: I certainly hope that you are able to get AA to clarify their separate-ticket re-accommodation policy. Among the ambiguities that I would like to see addressed are these;

    1. Does the re-accommodation policy apply even if neither ticket is issued on AA stock?

    2. Must the “connection” (transfer) point be preserved if the two flights are both operated by AA, but one of them was coded with a partner flight number?

    3. Does the policy include “trip in vain” protection?

    4. Does the policy provide for changing the date of return travel, if re-accommodation on the outbound necessitates it?

    Of course, even if AA provides definitive answers, that will be of little use unless AA commits to educating its agents (phone, ticket counter, and Admirals Club) on the re-accommodation policy.

    Good luck!

  136. @guv1976 – We’re definitely on the same page and thanks for your comments. Your most recent is basically the exact list of questions I have. And your final note about educating agents is another question on my list “What do we do if agents aren’t aware?”

    Can’t promise I’ll get all these answered. But, I’ll certainly try.

  137. Mike, I’ve also struggled similarly when I booked a positioning flight on AA JFK-CLT-YYZ, and onwards elsewhere on a separate Finnair ticket. Like you, I was hit with a mechanical delay on what was coincidentally my first AA flight as part of my EXP status challenge from 1K.

    Despite originally planning an overnight at YYZ, it was clear that AA would NOT get me to YYZ before my first segment in the AY ticket departed.

    I booked it assuming that the AA policy on Oneworld accommodation would cover my *** on the off chance that AA messed up.

    4 (increasingly desperate) phone calls while on the ground at JFK yielded the same result: “We can’t touch the reservation because it’s not ours–we’ll rebook you to YYZ but that’s it”

    A last ditch attempt with an agent at CLT once I landed wasn’t too helpful (although she spared me the local motel, and booked me in a Garden Inn 30 minutes away instead), as she basically told me to see what happens when I arrive at YYZ when I’ve officially misconnected. She insisted that I’d be rebooked to my final destination then, but I wasn’t willing to be stuck on the wrong continent with no onwards ticket–and I wasn’t confident she fully understood the issue.

    Fortunately I came across an EXP agent at 1AM that was willing to see what she could do.
    While other (better) routings had no availability anymore at that point, she was able to exchange the AY ticket with an AA ticket on the same flights, but pushed back another day.

    This obviously meant spending a night at YYZ before I actually started flying to my destination, but I took it.

    The fact that I was able to get assistance in the end was actually troubling to me, as it inevitably means that the previous 4 agents on the EXP line refused assistance that they could have provided by falsely claiming that they didn’t have the ability to touch a non-AA ticket.

    It’s really exhausting to be talking to an airline, and having to second guess them over whether they’re telling the truth.

  138. Ruined your Vacation??

    The original intent of the trip, I thought, was to get enough EQMs to qualify for elite status with AA. In order to get that many EQMs your flight to Europe had to originate in Hawaii. So after your original connection was missed any itinary/routing AA (One World) came up with that did not involve going to Hawaii probably would not have gained you sufficient EQMS to qualify for the status that you were seeking. So I would say your trip to Croatia was ruined when you decided to let the whole plan hang on the thread that you would not be delayed flying out of Phoenix – once that flight was missed I see no way you could have accomplished your goal.

    EXCEPT – Those of us without elevated status don’t expect much from any airline in circumstance such as this. The common folk call Iberia , explain we will miss our flight, pay a change fee, let AA pay for our overnight in Phoenix, take the next flight AA can get us to Hawaii on, catch the flight the next day from Hawaii to Europe, send AA a letter afterword complaining politely about the change fee, get 25,000 miles as compensation for our 300 dollar change fee, and call it a day. How “ruined” is that trip exactly??

    A day later a few dollars poorer depending on how AA chooses to compensate you ( and with your new Ex Plat status they might be more generous) but overall mission accomplished.

    Relying on a policy that even the experts here and on Flyer Talk are unsure as to the how it should actually be interpreted (book one ticket with one airline, a different ticket separately with a different airline, using a third airlines currency but all three airlines part of the One World Family – is that or is that not a true connecting flight in One World parlance) , putting your foot down, accepting only a complete reroute to Europe not through Hawaii which actually will then not get you the miles you wanted in the first place, and then stating the AA ruined your trip – well I think a neutral observer might say you have some complictiy in the ruining of the trip.

    Claiming that your interpretation of an AA policy is more accurate than AA’s own interpretation of their own policy is an interesting gambit; I am not sure it works as a the road to long term success.

  139. Am a loyal aa frequent flyier since 1983……….ever time I raised a complaint, AA responded with positive resolution. Hope i have many more yeats of happy flying miles…..any problems, i am [email protected]

  140. I read that whole post different. May be unintended, though.

    You patched all sorts of dodgy tickets together from BA and IB and AA or whatever, some as an award and some in cash, with all this being part of a Hyatt promo for status match.

    You do all this, of course, in an obvious attempt to shortcircuit the loyalty logic @ AA.

    And then something magical happens. AA offers to get you to DBV. They do that, even though it´s not on PNR and the itinerary is obviously a battlefield. I find that unbelievable. I wouldnt even dare asking for this. But you dared, and they offered that. And I´m absolutely stunned!

    Sure, they didnt do that in the way you would´ve liked but to me that is a story about how generous AA seems to be. And I`m stunned. Neither UA nor DL (two airlines I`m familar with) would have done that for separate tickets.

  141. @flieger

    As far as I can tell, there’s two tickets involved here. A revenue ticket from HNL to Croatia, and a separate Avios ticket from PHX to HNL.

    Not too complicated. Under AA’s terms, he just needed 35000EQM/5000EQD on certain airlines, and the ex-Hawaii fare was reasonably priced. Not sure how that’s “shortcircuiting” AA’s “loyalty logic,” whatever that is.

    When Oneworld decided to discontinue the alliance-wide policy of honoring separate ticket connections, AA was more than welcome to follow suit.

    Either from apathy, laziness, or geniunely thinking of their passengers (unlikely), they didn’t, and maintained the policy to rebook customers during IROPS, even on separate ticket.

    Obviously this isn’t an industry standard as you note, but that’s what AA themselves decided to do. So I believe it’s perfectly within reason to expect AA agents to uphold this policy, at least until it is formally scrapped.

  142. Mike, the bottom line is you got a ton of reads on this controversial subject and almost 200 comments so far. Congrats on your “unsuccessful” venture.

  143. The most disturbing part of this story and the comments that follow is OMMAT’s efforts on “clarifying” the policy with AA. It is a non-standard policy that most carriers have dispensed with, and while some of us can agree that you SHOULD have been covered, this complex routing is a perfect example of why most airlines would not want to take responsibility. Calling attention to it with policy makers at the airline is likely to hasten its demise. So much easier for an airline (especially one as ungenerous to its passengers as AA) to just remove the protections than to deal with headaches like this.

  144. Similar happened to me CLT-TPA-LGW earlier this year, but AA covered the itinerary. Separate booked tickets because neither the AA or BA sites could figure out a way from CLT to LGW but wanted me to go to LHR either direct from CLT or via PHL. Booked an award flight to Tampa on AA using Avios through BA, then booked a separate paid BA for the J to LGW. The AA flight was cancelled and all remaining flights from CLT-TPA were full so I wouldn’t make it to Tampa in time for the BA flight. AA honored the entire trip despite being separate itineraries and I eventually got rebooked the following day at no additional expense although they did offer a refund (and BA also offered a refund on the Avios).
    Ps I have OW status but through BAEC – Silver is far easier to attain OW Sapphire than through AA. If it’s OW status you’re looking for, I find flying a few cheap coast to coast I or J on AA for the tier points, and a round trip to the UK with a connection on BA in economy for the 4x BA metal flights is sufficient. Costs about $4k and you get real Sapphire at the end of it – not the watered down AA version.

  145. I think the really interesting question is: what would have happened if you had flown to Croatia and arrived after your return had departed?

    My guess is that some supervisor would have rebooked you, as you had be rerouted due to irrops. But that is just wild speculation.

  146. Setting AA’s operational issues aside, their obligation to address your IROPS for an AA ticket connecting to a oneworld ticket state they have to accommodate you through the original connecting point of the two separate tickets, which was in your case HNL.

    “Rebook through to final destination through the same connecting point” – per JonNYC’s AA info from Twitter. Asking AA to take the second ticket (issued by Iberia) and cut segments out so you can go to LAX and pick up flights from there isn’t allowed/required.

    So when the AA representative “insisted the only way to reaccommodate me was a very indirect routing that included the legs to and from Hawaii because – ‘Both tickets may be changed but the origin and destination of each ticket must remain the same’ -” they were stating the truth per the parts of the rule that you’ve omitted or dismissed as they are not in your favor.

  147. What a mess but not really shocking, which is sad. I book a lot of unprotected connections. Sometimes across multiple alliances and even non-alliance LCC’s. I’ve been lucky over the years. What gripes me about AA is that they have made it harder on separate PNR’s. Everything from not through checking bags to refusing to combine the PNR’s is just silly but has a major impact on customers. Seems like your positioning flight PHX-HNL turned into a “trip in vain” which should be fully refunded. That leaves the Iberia flight. I agree travel insurance would have been a good idea on this. I don’t feel Iberia technically owe you a refund on that ticket. I hope they make it good.

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