Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Etihad to American transfer at LAX for wheelchair passenger
Something unfortunate just happened to my dad at LAX and I am trying to ask this question to see what could I have done to have avoided this situation.
Backstory. My Dad is coming to visit me in California after 4 years. Last few years have been bad as first my dad got cancer. went through Surgery and radiation and a month after his last radiation my mom got cancer. She went through a series of chemo but unfortunately passed away in March. After all this stress I wanted my dad to come over to my place for a few months to relax. Given that he is 77 and a cancer survivor I booked a first class award Del-AUH-LAX-SJC. (Etihad has stopped flying to SFO). There was First availability on AUH-LAX, Business on Del-AUH but LAX-SJC had only economy or he would have to wait 7 hours at LAX to get on a flight with First availability. Given that it was a 1 hr 15 min flight I booked him economy for the last leg (with a 2.5 hr connection time) and also booked wheelchair assistance for him so that he would be helped to move between gates (Etihad flight scheduled to arrive at 1420 and SJC flight scheduled to leave at 1655. Given the fact that customs and immigration was done at AUH, I believed 2 hr 35 minutes was enough time to move from Bradley international terminal to terminal 4 airside.
Now this is what happened today. Flight out of AUH got delay by 45 minutes leaving AUH and 1 hr 5 minutes arriving into LAX (normally EY is able to make up some delay but today it actually added delay on the flight). Flight arrived into LAX at 1525.
Flight from LAX to SJC got moved from Terminal 4 to Terminal 5. American wheelchair attendant left my Dad in Terminal 4 and told him he would come back for him when it was time to board and it would be a Bus as it was a bus gate. After 30 minutes of no updates and with 30 minutes for the flight to go I called him to try and walk to Terminal 5 using the escalator at gate 44. At that time flight out of LAX was showing delayed on Flightradar with a scheduled 1720 departure so i thought he could still make it. On reaching the gate in Terminal 5 at 1640 ,the Gate Agent tore up his boarding pass provided by Etihad and issued new Boarding Passes for the 2130 flight. (This is the flight on which business had been available initially but I had not picked in order to avoid a 7 hr halt at LAX). I strongly suspect she did this to meet Gate 0 as the flight then got updated to Scheduled 1648 departure.
I got on the phone with her and asked her to put him on the SFO flight leaving at 1830. She asked she cant do it and to call reservations. Reservations told me that his bags flew on the 1655 flight to SJC so they cant put him on the SFO flight. I called back the Gate Agent and asked her that he be put into a lounge. She refused and said only someone with status can be put into a lounge. I also asked her why was the flight not held for a wheelchair passenger. She claimed the Wheelchair assistance entry was only entered for Del-AUH and AUH-LAX legs and not for LAX-SJC (Is that even possible?)
At this point he is waiting in LAX without lounge access . Its been 33 hrs since he left home.
This is after burning 115000 points on a first class redemption.
What could I have done to avoid this? What could American and Etihad have done to avoid this?
How can I make sure this doesnt happen to anyone else. If I just call American they will just offer some points but not improve their processes.
I find it ridiculous that bags made onto the plane but a wheelchair passenger did not.
I have collected the bags in SJC
If you can use your forum to publicize this , American may get shamed into improving their processes at LAX.