Was American Airlines Justified In Voiding This Passenger’s Bump Voucher?

Filed Under: American

Reader Spencer shares with me what seems like a pretty screwed up situation. Basically he was issued a $600 bump voucher from American for involuntarily being denied boarding from a flight, and then they revoked it.

He has shared his back-and-forth emails with American regarding this, and at first I was confused, so let me try to summarize this as succinctly as possible:

  • Spencer was scheduled to fly from Philadelphia to Phoenix to Palm Springs on Friday, August 17, 2018
  • Upon arrival in Phoenix he was informed that he was being bumped from the flight to Palm Springs (AA5839), along with about 20 other passengers, due to an aircraft swap
  • They offered him a $600 voucher to be rebooked on a later flight; when you get bumped you sign for a voucher agreeing to the terms, and he signed
  • He was instructed to wait for several hours for a new boarding pass
  • Hours later the bumped passengers were informed that they were being rebooked on AA3085; however, FlightAware suggests that they were all accommodated on AA5839, the same flight he was originally schedule to be on, except in the meantime it had been delayed by several hours (even American seems confused by this, since in email correspondence they claim he was rebooked on AA3085, which was later in the evening)

So after the incident Spencer wrote a letter to American to share how bad the experience was (he says he didn’t do it for compensation, but rather to share how poorly they handled the situation). He received a response offering 3,000 miles, which he found insulting, so he wrote back.

At that point customer relations wrote back informing him that his bump voucher had been revoked, but offered him 7,500 miles:

Thank you for contacting us. From what I read, it’s clear that we let you down. Your comments serve as a reminder that we cannot afford to overlook our commitment to consistently provide quality service to our customers. I’m truly sorry we disappointed you.

At the same time, I very much appreciate your honest feedback. The details you provided give us an opportunity to improve, and you have my pledge that we are working hard to make your next overall travel experience with us the best it can be.

Please let me clarify about the $600 voucher. This is part of the DOT as denied boarding when we cannot get our passengers accommodated on a flight. I see the airport issued one but then had to void it since we were able to get you on flight AA3085.

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to let you keep it. We also can’t match this amount as it pertains to a different policy.

Still, in the spirit of goodwill and appreciation for being a loyal AAdvantage member, I’ve issued you an additional 7,500 bonus miles. Please note that this consideration is an exception due to the circumstances you have described and is not a normal practice in regard to flight delays that fall under 12 hours.

Talk about a “screw you” response. So not only did the customer relations employee cancel the voucher, but I love how they also say that offering any miles for a delay is “an exception due to the circumstances,” and “is not a normal practice in regard to flight delays that fall under 12 hours.” It’s nice to see that American thinks a delay of under 12 hours generally isn’t worthy of a gesture of goodwill.

But the bigger issue here is American revoking a voucher, and I’m curious how you guys feel about that. American bumped someone due to an equipment swap, and issued them compensation in exchange for taking a later flight. When Spencer signed for that voucher, he and American entered into an agreement.

Then the flight ended up getting delayed by several hours altogether, and then I guess they found a bigger plane once again. They managed to accommodate everyone on the flight. But that shouldn’t impact the fact that Spencer and American had already reached an agreement regarding him being refused boarding on the original flight

In my opinion American is out of line here, and it seems like we have a customer relations employee who should maybe be working in the lost baggage department instead. And my gosh, “we are not allowed to let you keep it.” Really?

What do you make of this situation? Should Spencer have been allowed to keep the voucher, or was American in the right since those passengers who were delayed but weren’t bumped didn’t receive anything?

  1. AA should just suck it up and let him keep the voucher. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, that is the appropriate gesture and truly represents a “spirit of goodwill”.

  2. The real question for me is: had he not written to “customer service” would the voucher have been voided?

  3. That’s one of a hundred reasons I don’t fly them
    I hate the airlines management, greed & backstabbing
    I smile every time my driver drops me off at another airline
    Signed a former Exec Plat Lifetime Platinum

  4. The answer really depends on the terms of what he signed when agreeing to accept the voucher, which we have not been provided.

  5. No compensation necessary. Bad circumstances but it amounted to a flight delay when all was said and done. You’re not getting $600 for a flight delay from AA

  6. Not sure this CS rep would make in AA’s Lost Baggage Dept. either. I lost a bag on an international flight, and the folks at Central Baggage were aces all around. Over the course of many phone calls, some of the warmest and most thorough reps I’ve dealt with in the AA system.

  7. I’m guessing the agent will get into a lot of trouble for issuing vouchers and having people take their original flight, as the computer will show. They definitely could have explained it better and been more apologetic since it’s out of their hands

  8. As others have cited before, we haven’t been provided the full terms and conditions that constitute the agreement for the voucher.

    It’s rather silly that some folks here are calling for action over ‘breach of contract’ when we don’t even know what the contract says.

    I would request further details from the parties before coming to any conclusions regarding legality.

    As for the actions that AA took after they revoked it, I would suggest that they very carefully examine what they ‘can’t’ do, versus what they ‘won’t’ do.

  9. Serves him right for being an dick and complaining not once but 2x. It was just on principle though right? Lol.

  10. Some of these idiots act like it’s money coming out of their own pockets.

    There are deeper issues here on a personal level that make them act thirs way.

  11. Airlines lack all sorts of common sense…AND.. … it all starts up top. When your CEO is DUI Douggie…

  12. Yup it’s always about the “principle”, until you get the right compensation.
    The idiot’s first mistake was not getting cash for the idb.

  13. This whole article confuses me. He complained about how they handled what turned out to be a several hour delay, and his voucher was revoked? Or he complained about his voucher being revoked and they gave him some miles?

    As others have noted, T&C of the contract he signed are law of the land. I wouldn’t call someone “entitled” for expecting a contract to be executed, but I would call them entitled if they expect something beyond what the contract specifies.

  14. Also speaking of AA, if you book through AA but fly codeshare on different metal but want to credit miles to a third oneworld carrier. What chart do you see? The marketing carrier or the operating carrier? Paraphrasing a forum question ……

  15. It’s not IDB since if it was caused by an equipment swap, and even in a valid IDB situation, it changes to VDB when you agree to accept a voucher instead, right? So given this, not sure why the AA rep is citing DOT rules?

  16. While it may be semantics, you’re incorrect in stating, “So not only did the customer relations employee cancel the voucher…”

    The airport did and the customer relations employee even said so: “I see the airport issued one but then had to void it since we were able to get you on flight AA3085.”

    The customer relations employee was merely reciting what had already taken place, then offered fair compensation for the delayed flight, which is all this ended up being.

    Handled poorly? For sure. Worth remembering the next time you decide whom to give your money to when you travel? Hell yes. Worth a law suit? Oh, FFS America, what’s wrong with you?

  17. Technically AA was within their rights to cancel the voucher since they were able to reaccomadate him on another flight. But technicalities rarely make for good customer service policy and recovery. AA should have let him keep the voucher “as a measure of good will”.

  18. I was also not 100% sure initially if the airport revoked the voucher, but it sounds like they did!
    A terrible customer service experience. For all of you wondering, I’m sure it was whatever generic terms are on the AA vouchers when you sign for a VDB bump.
    I can also report on at least a handful of occasions with Southwest I gave up my seat when they were looking for volunteers, and they issued my VDB compensation. Then at the very last minute, they figured out they actually had an open seat on the flight. And they let me take my original flight and keep the voucher. Talk about a class act, very different than American. And they were happy to do it there was no arguing, I’m sure in fact they suggested that I take the same flight and keep my LUV voucher.

  19. I have not practice it myself but I think in Europe the voucher cannot be revoked even if the carrier eventually take the passenger on board and to the destination on the original flight, let alone later.
    Once you get it, you keep it, the carrier cannot take it back from you.
    You are listed as a bumped passenger in a preventive way but if at the end of the boarding process, you can board, you keep the voucher.

    The US may not have such rules.

  20. I’d have more sympathy for AA’s position if the airlines weren’t constantly being dicks about things themselves.

    If we make the tiniest mistake it’s hundreds of dollars of change fees.
    But if they make a mistake… sorry suddenly they “can’t “let us keep the voucher

    I’m tired of the asymmetric enforcement of contracts

  21. I agree with Neo re ” ‘can’t’ do, versus what they ‘won’t’ do.”

    Customer relations are wrong when they said “Unfortunately, we are not allowed to let you keep it” with regards to the voucher. Of course they could. DOT rules don’t stop them from doing so.

    As Neo said They could do, they just went for won’t do/.

  22. Gonna have to agree w/ some people…shouldn’t have complained twice. Should have been perfectly happy they gave him 3500 points, demanding more and then getting the voucher revoked is almost like a “you had it coming” karma

  23. @swag First of all, equipment swap (operational change) is likely VDB not IDB.

    One thing that seems to be missing here that no one has brought it up is the timeline and the new boarding pass.

    1. booked on AA5839
    2. equipment change, bump from AA5839 to AA3085
    3. Received $600 now booked on AA3085 (need some evidence here)
    4. AA5839 delays
    5. PAX now changes from AA3085 to AA5839

    Now in 5. this is more of standing by for an earlier flight (which happens to be the original) NOT that PAX never changed flights.

    PAX has 100% right to keep $600 this if timeline went like what I described.

  24. Without seeing the terms of the voucher, nobody can comment on the legality of AA’s customer-unfriendly choice. But the terms of eVouchers might provide AA adequate cover:

    “Except where prohibited by law, American Airlines reserves the right to refuse, void, cancel, reject or hold for review any eVouchers mistakenly issued in an incorrect denomination or issued or procured, directly or indirectly, in connection with fraudulent actions, fraudulent claims, compensation abuse or in connection with any violation of these terms and conditions.”

    I’m not sure that an argument that the voucher was “mistakenly issued in an incorrect denomination” is reasonable if the amount is normal in the case of IDB negotiations. But perhaps the specific voucher terms provide for it to be cancelled if the customer eventually travels on the original flight? I was under the perhaps incorrect impression that you get to keep the voucher if it’s issued (rather than you merely volunteering) and you don’t end up bumped.

  25. Having federal IDB rules is stupid. Airlines should be forced to bid on compensation for every passenger who is bumped. If a plane with 110 seats is swapped for a plane with 130 seats and they need to bump 20 people, they should have to find 20 volunteers at the gate before boarding at whatever cost is required.

  26. People continue to exhibit their plebeian attitudes in this thread that forces them to vote red everytime. Still slaves in their minds. They compare Spencer’s behavior with an ideal behavior in their mind and decide what is fair. @jrmw gets it right. Compare what passengers get away with what airlines get away with. That should be the metric.

    I have stated number of times people in same class compete with each other and they will pull each other down if they think one of them is getting undue advantage compared to others even if it was at no cost to themselves. This is why scumbags like trump win and people vote to destroy unions. Don’t worry you will be next. You are not protected.

  27. Seems like if he had to sign to get the voucher then he’d need to sign to agree to give it back, I’m confused how they can just take it away like that. He should keep the voucher.

  28. FFS, of course they shouldn’t revoke it. I don’t care about the legality or terms of contract or what he changed or how many times he complained or whether the ultimate compensation was “fair.” It is not fair to cancel the voucher without explicit prior consultation, period.

    The airline issued something of value. Unless it was made *explicitly* clear that some action by the pax would negate or place at risk the value of thing he received, *before* he took that action, he would have a reasonable expectation of keeping the value of the thing.

    The airline should absolutely honor the voucher, and the notion that they are at liberty to retroactively decide that something stated to have value should no longer have value, without prior consultation with the recipient, is abhorrent.

    I cannot possibly understand how anyone could take AA’s side on this one, regardless of what they are legally entitled to do. Good faith is the issue here, not legality.

  29. Hahahaha, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughter. He was definitely trying to game extra compensation. If he wasn’t, who cares about the 3,000 miles, but he was obviously trying to get more.

  30. One in the hand is better than two in the bush. The email from customer service probably states the policy correctly. No IDB, no voucher. The airline was acting reasonable in revoking it after looking over the record more clearly. The right thing from a customer standpoint? Probably not, but if no one else on the original flight received compensation, he shouldn’t either because he was ultimately always in the same boat as everyone else.

  31. @Dave:

    #you don’t know how old he is

    #just because someone asks for something reasonably expected and promised to them doesn’t make them “entitled”

    #this isn’t a generational thing and has nothing to do with how old someone is

    #if you’re complaining about “kids today” aren’t you too old to be using hashtags?

  32. Ivan X – Perhaps some of us greatly dislike greed?

    He received $600 for a few hour delay (almost everyone else on the flight likely getting nothing) but he STILL moaned for more. Then he got some miles as well but he STILL moaned for more. In my book this is perfect karma.

  33. Hmmmn…
    Let’s see if I have this…
    – Passenger is told he’s bumped
    -Passenger visits CSR and gets a voucher for being bumped
    -flight is delayed and due to other aircraft brought in, passenger regains spot on originally booked flight
    – airline voids certificate bc passenger is on originally booked flight, erego “no bump”, no voucher
    — passenger unhappy feels he should keep certificate AND spot on originally “non- bump flight
    — Airline gives 7500 points for passengers trouble
    +1 for airline, if passenger feels he was wronged by this, put me as minus 1. Wronged by a delayed flight? The voucher was for a bump, which did not occur. What am I missing?

  34. The airlines never win in PR battles. People like Credit are always looking to make things political and a union fight. We know nothing about the terms of the voucher this flyer signed. We can’t say.
    But agree with the pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered commment. I’m surprised we haven’t seen the Facebook Live video of this, or perhaps it wasn’t flattering for the flyer and the story he portrayed?

  35. If the flight was then heavily delayed due to a technical issue they should compensate all passengers
    , however there’s no such requirement to comp in the US for delays or cancellations
    Given the circumstances they should have certainly explained however let him keep the voucher or at least offer something better than 7500 miles If he had travelled on the original flight and it hadn’t been delayed then fair enough they cancel it. However it was heavily delayed

  36. The key question here is how would this have worked in reverse…

    Let’s say that on the way to the airport the passenger realized he was not going to be on time for his flight. He calls customer service and they move him to a later flight and assess a fee for doing so.

    In the meantime, his original flight is delayed. He makes it to the airport with enough time to make his original flight. He then asks to reverse the transaction and refund the fee. Would American have done so? I doubt it.

  37. Please make American great again.
    Send Doughead and his army of mental pygmies to an appropriate country. Maybe Venezuela.

  38. @Callum — you can judge the passenger however you wish, and may or may not feel like he got what he deserved, but that has nothing to do with what I’m saying. The airline is ethically obligated to honor something of value once they have issued it.

  39. 1) No compensation is due for aircraft swaps.

    2) The GA issued the voucher prior to boarding/departure. (A big no-no but hey, they “knew” they needed a ton of volunteers so they made an exception.) Therefore, the voucher is his to keep.

    The delay, rebooking (or lack thereof), and travel on the original flight are irrelevant IMO. And the terms of the voucher cited by @BrewerSEA do not support AA’s actions. If AA really wanted to save money they should have said f**k off. I’d say OP has a pretty good contract claim against AA and that CSR needs retraining. And did they revoke everyone’s vouchers or just his? LOL

  40. Hello readers!

    This is Spencer Bachus, the person (or greedy hog depending on whom you ask) whose real life experience is the basis for this article. Thanks again to Lucky for taking an interest!

    I was surprised to see such varied opinions about me and my possible evil motivations so I just thought I would try my best to clarify what happened.

    For starters I never asked American Airlines for anything.
    I literally arrived at my gate in PHX around 1230 PM and was told I no longer had a seat and if I did not sign for the $600 voucher and take the last seat available on flight AA3058 (which would have departed 7 hours later) I would be forced to spend the night in PHX. I signed and took my voucher and sat down to wait for my boarding pass. I had been out of town for work all week and was exhausted. I wanted to get home. Some of the comments mention my lack of intelligence for not demanding cash over the voucher. I did ask if that was an option several times but was told it would not be in my best interests as my payout might only be $7 (that was the literal figure she gave me)because it was a short flight. I don’t know the rules on cash payouts so I took the gate agent at her word. I was thinking I could just rent a car and drive home as its only a 4 hour drive compared to the 9 hour alternative if I were to stay and board the flight after 0800 PM. So I was left with the two choices of possibly getting a $7 check and probably having to spend $100 on a rental car and gasoline or the “guaranteed” $600 travel voucher. With the information given before me, I made the best call I could and chose to leave with the 0800 PM flight.

    Several of you have criticized me for complaining to American Airlines in the first place going so far as to call me “greedy.” (I stamped my hooves in frustration when I read that)
    To be honest, if I had just sat in my seat for the next 7 hours and boarded the flight, I would never have complained to American. I understand things happen and I honestly felt the $600 travel voucher was more than fair. However, that is not what happened.

    To say the situation around the gate and ticket counter was a complete shit show would be putting it very kindly. There were three gate agents there and their explanations for why we didn’t have the original aircraft varied wildly. It needed maintenance, the pilot thought it unsafe, the wrong plane was sent on accident, etc. This frustrated me but it INFURIATED a good number of other passengers. The agents were dismissive and generally just not empathetic to say the least. Then the agents announced over the speaker that the first class passengers who were previously given a”first class upgrade voucher?” or something like that would need to now hand it back. I wasn’t entirely sure what they were talking about but the reaction was immediate and not good. Several older men jumped up and started screaming at the gate agents, even more moved toward the counter protesting loudly (my happy ass was seated on the floor stuffing my greedy mouth with McDonalds) and within moments the agent was back on the speaker backpedaling. The first class passengers were allowed to keep this upgrade voucher things. Another hour passed and I was still waiting to be called for my boarding pass and those who had seats on the plane (the one I was supposed to be on) were getting very agitated as the flight kept getting pushed back without explanation. Another hour passes and the situation is nearing a riot at which point an American agent wheeled over a refreshment cart. That seemed to quell the loudest of the potential rioters for a few minutes and then it was announced that all of us were getting rebooked on a new plane, six gates down for a 0400 PM departure. I took off down there quick to get a seat (my ass was extremely sore from sitting on the floor for three hours) and it was only while waiting in line down there that I discovered that no one else (that I know of) got their travel voucher. These passengers were FURIOUS but after 5 minutes of fighting, gave it up as a bad job. Everyone just wanted to get on the plane and go home.

    We landed a little after 0630PM and while on the tarmac for 30 minutes I decided to write to American Airlines to tell them what happened. I was honestly disappointed at how badly the situation was handled and felt bad for all the people whom seemingly got screwed out of a voucher so I sent them that in an email on their site.

    Did I honestly know they might offer me something? Of course I did! I am not a moron. And of course I would have accepted it as obviously I love my miles. (What site are we on?)

    Their response boiled my blood. It wasn’t the offer of 3,000 miles. It was the cold and indifferent way the response was written which was so insulting.
    In fact, I doubt they even read my complaint the first time around. I even asked them straight out if they even read my complaint. Their response was essentially “sorry we let you down, here is 3,000 miles.”
    There was no acknowledgement of any of the many failures I laid out in my lengthy email. Just “Here is $35 now go away.” That is how I took the email. I told them that was an insulting offer and that I would be going further up the chain (I didn’t as it has been a very busy few weeks for me) and that was the end of it.

    Bottom Line: It was a shitty experience and I felt that a lot of people really got screwed over. I was angry and wrote an email. That is my right as a customer just like it is everyone’s right to have their own opinion. I am no saint nor did I ever pretend to be but I was angry and wrote an email and expected some type of legitimate acknowledgement.

    Flash forward to Friday and I get the email offering me 7,500 miles while throwing in the bit that my voucher was voided at the airport (which was news to me) without even speaking to me.

    I thought you had to consult with the other party when voiding a signed contract???

    I took to Twitter (just like an entitled millennial would) and voiced my frustrations. I tagged Lucky and gave him the lowdown on what happened and yeah, I was pissed.

    Did I deserve the voucher? Who decides who is deserving of what? All I know is that they gave it to me for what I thought was a legitimate reason.

    Its not my fault that the gate agents were potentially inept and should not have given me a voucher. This is their field and chosen profession and I can’t even pretend to know all of their policies and procedures.

    They voided a voucher they gave me without even consulting with me and after stealing a day of my life for me. As strange as it may sound, it was not my deepest desire to spend all day in an airport terminal.

    As many of you noted, what they did is not illegal and I obviously know that but bottom line:
    It was seriously shitty customer service and it makes me, an AA loyalist seriously apprehensive about continuing to do business with them and that is my right as a customer just as it your right to think of me as greedy, entitled, swine like, etc.

    We are all entitled to our own thoughts and opinions.

  41. Makes you long to be booked on Hong Kong airlines. At least when they made an error by offering deeply discounted business fares they honored it and admitted it.

  42. Appreciate Spencer writing the above. I believe what he said to be true and I’d surely be furious if a voucher was issued and then taken away from me. AA needs to do better.

  43. the initial agreement was for 600 bucks. they entered it, they agree it. so thats what AA has committed to and should pay out. no exceptions. if this were a business deal, then the change in circumstance would be irrelevant.

    as a very frequently AA flier this really pi$$es me off. airlines are the ones who feel they have a sense of entitlement, and this is just another example of it. i hate to be nickel & dimed and if this were me I would probably look to do a status challenge to another airline – just out of principle..

  44. If the reader was on the original flight, just delayed there is no voucher to be issued….essentially he was given one in error and the error was corrected. He was not harmed in any way and is deserving of nothing. Complaining is absurd and thinking there is an entitlement to anything whatsoever is unreasonable and unfathomably greedy.

  45. If you want good customer service from US airlines in the event of irrops, expect to pay for it. Doesn’t matter if you are Platinum Diamond whatever, when there’s a delay the airlines will prioritize you according to how much you paid. I am curious to know how much Spencer’s ticket cost, but I’m guessing it wasn’t nearly enough in AA’s eyes for them to offer anything more than a token number of miles.

  46. They can’t do that, for the same reason I can’t book a flight for $200, cancel it and get a $100 refund, and then, one day before departure when the fares are $1000 higher, reinstate the original booking by only repaying the $100.

  47. @Spencer Bachus — I’ve also had the experience where I’ve written a (polite) complaint while angry after a genuinely awful experience, and I what I want is a response that is sympathetic and interested in things being better, even if I don’t get anything else. But it makes me angrier when I get back a template-style or indifferent response, even if it includes some kind of compensation.

  48. Thank you, @Spencer for sharing.
    Thank you @Lucky for allowing all of us to use this forum.
    And thank you @Ryan for DUI Dougie…
    Customer service theoretically makes or breaks a business, and it is ultimately meted out by front line employees.
    PHX is a “Legacy” USAir hub. It has always been a cluster… when I have had the misfortune of traveling through. Worst Admiral Clubs. Friendliest Airport? Not based upon its tenants.
    The quality of an organization is truly measured by how they respond when things go wrong. It starts and ends at the top.

  49. @IvanX – I’m sorry to be the one to have to inform you of this, but I’m afraid the world does not revolve around you and you cannot dictate what is “right” or not.

    I wholeheartedly disagree that it’s objectively unethical to remove denied boarding compensation for an impetuous customer who wasn’t denied boarding. From the sounds of it, if he just kept his mouth shut instead of demanding more and more, he’d still have that compensation…

  50. Though having said that, the version posted by Spencer above is completely different to the version written by Lucky, so my comments aren’t particularly relevant any more.

  51. @Callum

    “Impetuous.” I like it!

    Also: Do you need a hug? I usually like hugs when I am having one of those angry at the world and all it’s inhabitants days.

  52. For anyone “here” calling @Spencer Bachus greedy, those people need to get their facts straight before trashing you. Someone (hopefully only in a past life) around here is known (and possibly ban) by UA for gaming bump vouchers.

    @Spencer Bachus
    Sorry to say this, but based on the timeline of events you described. My theory is you were never rebooked on AA3058, therefore you are not entitled to any compensation. Now if the gate agent gave you the voucher already then he/she actually messed up. Can they clawback the voucher, in this case I think so. Should they do it, probably not. If you only had a boarding pass for AA3058.

    I don’t suggest you pursuit any claims further as you really don’t have anything. Unfortunately I don’t think you realize you were given $600 by mistake hence breaking the number 1 rule of mistake fares, NEVER CONTACT THE AIRLINE. You called a bluff with greed and they have a straight flush.

    Greed is good, -Gordon Gecko
    If you are not greedy, go be a priest, – Eskimo
    Many priests in PA is not good, -Pope
    Go figure.

  53. @eskimo — this seems like a pretty rational analysis. I still don’t know that I’d call “greed” the motivation in this particular case, but I do get your point, and agree with your larger one about greed having a role to play with many of us who “maximize” travel rewards, so glass houses, stones, etc.

    @callum — we disagree, which is fine, both on the merit of AA’s decision, and the relevance of the pax’s actions to their making that decision. I never said anything about there being objective truth available here. Isn’t “in my opinion” implicit? It’s true that I feel strongly about this, so I stated it bluntly. I do think you’re wrong, but as a matter of opinion, not fact.

  54. @Dave

    If his boarding pass showed a flight number different from the original boarding pass, then he WAS NOT ACCOMMODATED on his original flight. So Lucky, did he email you his boarding passes…. let’s help Dave out here!

  55. Hmmm where’s Rob and his vigorous and unconditional defense of everything a US airline does to passengers? His rants are always so amusing, especially how he defends the indefensible lol.

  56. I’d never expect much from AA. I received 10k miles for a >12h overnight rolling delay (where it kept getting bumped by 2h at a time) at JFK – their CS was appalling and I only received even that by escalating to DoT.

    PS Lucky – as mentioned before the save name/email tick box isn’t working when moving between stories, please can this be fixed…

  57. In the EU this wouldn’t even be a discussion: EU 261/2004 treats arriving at your final destination with a delay of more than three hours equal to being bumped. Philadelphia-Palm Springs is a distance of more than 3000km, so the compensation would be 600€, independent of the what the customer has paid for the ticket. Oh those horrible entitled Europeans!

  58. In the European Union this discussion would not even exist. According to EU 261/2004, arriving at your final destination with a delay of 3 hours or more counts the same as being bumped. With a flight distance of more than 3500km, the passenger is entitled to a compensation of 600€, independent of what s/he has paid for the ticket. Oh those horrible, entitled, triggered Europeans!

  59. @Spencer – Read the account that Lucky has written and try and tell me that they aren’t being impetuous. That’s the person I’m talking about, not you… (Which is what I already said after you posted your account of the situation!)

    Quite frankly, I was shocked when you announced you spoke to Lucky about it directly – it reads like he’s piecing together tiny scraps from a twitter rant or something.

  60. @Callum

    I got ya. That’s probably my fault and not Lucky’s we communicated via email and I was frazzled trying to make sure he had all the info he needed.

  61. Thank you @Spencer Bachus for sharing your story. It backs up my analysis. As you probably know, most VDB negotiations are verbal (you’ll get xyz IF we need you). You can’t hold the GA to the deal if they don’t need your seat. The AA GA jumped the gun by issuing the voucher before they needed you. Case closed. Too bad so sad. Take em to court.

    Btw the GA was wrong about IDB comp. You would be owed nothing. 14 CFR 250.6(b)
    A passenger denied boarding involuntarily from an oversold flight shall not be eligible for denied boarding compensation if: The flight for which the passenger holds confirmed reserved space is unable to accommodate that passenger because of substitution of equipment of lesser capacity when required by operational or safety reasons

  62. thanks Spencer for sharing. With this crowd, the sharing is worse than the ordeal.

    Sounds like American couldn’t even get the replacement plane to work, at which point they said fuck it, let’s screw everyone and we won’t have to pay for bumping anyone.

    They saved a few thousand, and lost a few million in future customers and sales.
    par for the course.

  63. If the aircraft is changed to a smaller configuration and unable to accommodate everyone,that is denied boarding
    Eu 261covers that.

    So in the US if you are IDB due to a config change and your new flight is delayed 12 hrs due to mechanical you are entitled to nothing ? Terrible. Unless departing to the EU on an EU carrier.

    EU261 would consider both flights independently , so you would be compensated twice

  64. So he was given $600 but that wasn’t enough so he had to complain but 2500 miles wasnt enough so he had to continue to complain and they got fed up with this entitled ahole. No sympathy

  65. If it was the same flight (i.e.: same passengers, as original flight) than no voucher. I think the issue here is that nobody knows and customer service at these airlines are virtually useless in these circumstances because it is a bunch of low paid workers just reading computer screens. In the end though, if it was the same flight than no voucher.

  66. Just file a DOT complaint for incorrectly applied IDB and at least make them address it officially and add to their negative count for the year.

  67. To everyone who has been so kind, thank you.


    I did file one yesterday. I always wanted to be a data point. 🙂

  68. @Chris That is why I say timeline matters. It took 3 strikes for Spencer before AA got fed up.

    @Blue I think doing that is a sore loser approach (since this case doesn’t really have substance) but hey if it makes you happy to waste your time for revenge.

    @Spencer Good for you about filling DOT. But I don’t think the airline cares about the stats. I don’t know will AA give the courtesy to reinstate your $600 or not. Please do share us the results. Just want to warn you, don’t try to push it too far. Like what I mentioned before, airlines have been know to ban people for their behavior (and some for gaming bump vouchers).

  69. @Spencer,
    You should clarify one thing that I think people are missing. It shows up in the original post and in your response. If I am reading correctly, the voucher was issued at the airport and then voided at the airport (without you knowledge). The voiding had nothing to do with the subsequent online customer service interactions. The online rep simply informed you that the airport had already cancelled your voucher. Is that correct? Even if you hadn’t complained, you would have found the voucher was void when you went to use it at some future date.

  70. @Tom

    That is what the agent said in their second response to me via email a week later but as I wrote above no one ever told me the voucher was voided so I can’t corroborate the agents claim it was down at the airport a week prior or perhaps as a “fuck you” on the 24th when I complained about how bad the trip was.

    I honestly can’t say when the voucher was cancelled. All I know is I wasn’t informed about it unti the 24th. A full week after I had signed for it.

  71. Add me to the list of disillusioned, cheated, lied to, taken Advantage of, run over, ignored, unhappy American customers that have been scammed by the leaders.

    That applies to both the airline and the government

  72. @chris AA offered him$600 compensation then revoked it. Did you actually read ? It’s in the opening paragraph. This is entire the point of the article

  73. hahaha he tried to squeeze too hard the most apt responce by AA, elite A**oles who want everything with red cherry top,perfect come back by the Company. Serves them right…..

  74. This sounds like a terrible situation, and it was no doubt handled appallingly by AA, but in the end this was a severe delay not an idb, so technically speaking, it sounds like AA was correct. Again, I feel they SHOULD have honoured it for goodwill but that would be it – goodwill.

    I wish the US would adopt a similar rule to EU261, that would provide a much better basis for this type of compensation, but of course they won’t.

    For those talking about lawsuits, LOL.

  75. How much does Dougy pay you bozos to make all these ridiculous comments supporting his jungle anti human version of capitalism?
    You people are shills for the man who destroyed American.

  76. American proves once again that short of Spirit, they provide the WORST customer service in the industry.

  77. Everyone would do well going forward to just refer to American as USAir… AA is no more. Explains everything.

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