Thursday, March 17, 2005

My Letter to American

American Airlines Passenger Refunds
P.O. Box 582880
MD 755
Tulsa, OK

U.S. Mail
American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

March 17, 2005


My family and I travelled to Anguilla on March 12. Our flight 655 was scheduled to leave by 8:05 a.m. EST, and to arrive by 11:44 a.m. AST. We didn't even come close to reaching our connecting flight to Anguilla.

Although my family and I boarded on time, AA admitted that they delayed our initial flight 2.5 hours because of insufficient baggage handlers. The pilot apologetically stated, “There is no excuse for this.” Even the supervisor I spoke with, admitted there was no weather delay. It took an additional hour to unload baggage in STT.

At STT, AA would not help us. The desk clerk blamed the delay on weather, and to make arrangements with LIAT. We found that there were no other flights to Anguilla. The closest thing LIAT offered was a flight to St. Martin at 7:40 p.m. On return, the AA clerk said that the next American Eagle flight was tomorrow. When asked if she was going to put us up in STT, she called the assistant manager Jay. His believed the flight was “illegal” and that “we were on our own.” My travel agent, USAA, placed blame on American, the tickets were issued without warning. After many phone calls, a supervisor said the local airport supervisor makes the decision to book lodging. We were thus, truly, on our own.

Needless to say, we incurred several additional expenses (taxi, ferry, etc.) in order to reach our destination, setting foot on Anguilla at 11 p.m. I have never been treated so poorly while travelling, especially with two small children (ages 4 and 7).

Accordingly, I tender copies of receipts for the $135 additional travel expenses we incurred from American’s delay. Please pay promptly, i.e., within 30 days. Do not send me vouchers, as I will not honor them. Anything less than payment negotiable for cash is not acceptable. Please understand that this payment is trivial compared to the confinement imposed on my family, loss of vacation time, stress, etc.

I paid $700 extra for these tickets for myself and my wife, plus over $1100 each for my children, round trip. For that kind of money, I would expect much better service. We ended up taking our chances on a flight to St. Martin, with hope to clear customs, taxi to the dock, and catch the last ferry to Anguilla. Since we had no reservations for a place to stay on either island of St. Thomas or St. Martin, we had to go for it. The lack of help by finger-pointing representatives of both organizations was stressful, annoying, and simply unacceptable.