So, after I got back from my trip, I sent American Airlines the following complaint:
I am writing about my Flight on December 20 from LAX to DFW to DSM. My flight was supposed to get me to my home on the night of December 20th. However, I did not arrive until 2 days later because of your airline. I am very unhappy with the way I was treated by your counter assistance, and that I had to spend nearly $400 in excess because you were unable to get me to my final destination. I had to pay for 2 nights in a hotel, 6 extra meals for myself and a bus ticket from Minneapolis to Des Moines because your airline was unable to get me to DSM.
In all my years of traveling, I have never had a worse experience with an airline and been treated so poorly. I feel that I should be compensated for the lost time with my family and all the added costs of traveling home. I paid $550 for these tickets and you were unable to even get me to my destination.
Also this is the second time this year that my flights on your airline have been canceled (Sept 5 from SNA to DSM) causing me to spend at least one night in the airport and lose out on the very little time each year I get with my family.
Once I finally reached my destination, I was horrified to find my luggage sitting out without security.
Lastly, my flight on Dec 28 from DSM to LAX was an hour late leaving, causing me to miss my ride from the airport and having to spend nearly $100 for cab fare which I feel is unacceptable for your airline to be so constantly late.
To which, I got the following reply:
Dear Mr. Cj B:
I know you emailed us some time ago and have been waiting for a reply. Due to the current busy travel period, we’ve not been able to respond to our customers’ emails as quickly as we would like. Thank you for your patience. I’m glad to have the opportunity to respond to your email now.
I am very sorry that your trip to Des Moines did not go smoothly. A review of your flights indicates that they were either cancelled or delayed due to weather at the destination or from where a plane was originating (as was the case with your flight from St. Louis). On-time performance is very important to us and when we can’t get our customers to their destinations as planned, it’s disappointing to all of us. After reading the details of your experience, there is no question that the cancellation and delay of your flights was frustrating — bad weather can really cause difficulties for everyone concerned.
Unfortunately, when the weather is inclement, we just don’t have very many options to make the situation better. Still, your comments help us understand how we could have made this experience a little less frustrating. We will learn from your criticism and use it to do a better job the next time inclement weather interferes with our operation.
In view of all you endured, I can certainly understand your request for reimbursement of your expenses. Unfortunately, we just cannot guarantee that you will always arrive at your destination exactly at the scheduled time. Since we cannot make that promise, I’m afraid we cannot reimburse our customers’ out-of-pocket expenses or compensate for personal time lost when we don’t operate our flights as planned.
Also, because it is considered a low risk for baggage theft, our claim area at Des Moines does not station security personnel to verify the claim checks of customers retrieving their luggage. Our procedure, however, is for any unclaimed baggage to be locked up, at which point a claim check is required for retrieval. In light of your comments, I have sent a copy of your email to the Manager at Des Moines for their review. We also will continue to monitor claim area procedures to ensure maximum security and efficiency. Your feedback will be used as a part of that continuous review.
Still, we want you to know that we care about the negative impact this had on your trip. Therefore, as a gesture of goodwill and to encourage your continued business, we’ve made arrangements for an eVoucher ($50) for you to use toward the purchase of a ticket to travel with us. I hope you will accept our gesture in the spirit of compromise. The next time you travel with us, we’ll do our best to make sure your trip is a good one.
Mr. Cj B, again, I am sorry that your plans had to be changed. However, I hope I have persuaded you to think more favorably of us; we are eager for another chance to serve you. I am confident we will restore your trust in us.
Lynette B. Reese
Umm, what exactly have you done to persuade me to use your airlines again? Absolutely nothing!
I replied to them, we’ll see what happens.
Update://Well I replied to them with the following:
I recently wrote you about an issue with my Flight from Dallas to Des Moines, IA.
It has recently come to my attention that the exact same flight the next day was ALSO canceled and your airline bussed the people on that flight from Dallas to Des Moines THAT NIGHT.
It seems unfair that I had to spend 2 nights in hotels, and had to pay for my OWN bus ticket from Minneapolis to Des moines when your airline paid for busing of these passengers directly to their destination.
Therefore, I feel that I should be compensated by the airline for the $78.00 cost as well as the $50.00 for the additional hotel room that I had to pay for.
And again, here’s their reply..
I am sorry we disappointed you by providing you with a goodwill voucher. It was meant to convey our disappointment in not getting you to your final destination. We also appreciate the opportunity to further respond.
It is never easy to say no to a customer. We attempt to design procedures that make sense for the majority of customers in most situations — recognizing that the rules won’t always be best in every single instance. For those exceptions, we evaluate all the circumstances and try to be reasonable and fair in our decisions. Having gone through this process, we reached the conclusion that we are still unable to satisfy your request for reimbursement of your out-of-pocket expenses. As indicated in my previous correspondence to you, we have the authority and the responsibility to make changes to our schedules to resolve problems caused by weather, flight conditions, mechanical difficulties or other operational challenges. Accordingly, we cannot assume financial responsibility for our customers’ personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses when extenuating circumstances prevent us from operating as planned. I am sorry.
Mr. B, again I apologize that weather caused such an inconvenience when traveling in December. We look forward to welcoming you aboard soon.
Lynette B. Reese
I’m sorry, but again, I _REALLY_ Think that they should compenstate me for at LEAST the cost of the hotel and the cost of the bus because THEY PAID to bus all the people on the SAME FLIGHT the next night from Dallas to Des Moines.