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airline cancels flight days ahead, what to do?

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HI

A few months ago, 3 days before my return flight from Milwaukee to Santa Fe, where I live, American Airlines called me to say the flight was cancelled on that day. They were not able to get me another flight to Santa Fe and I ended up getting a flight to Alburquerque. I then had to arrange and pay for transportation from the airport to Santa Fe.

I paid $350 for a round trip ticket from Santa Fe to Milwaukee, instead of $194 for a flight from Alburquerque to Milwaukee. I was willing to pay more to fly out and into Santa Fe, and was instead given a cheaper flight to a town an hours drive away. They said they could refund part of what I'd paid but my refund wouldn't come for weeks or more and a last minute ticket would have been more expensive.

My family lives in Milwaukee so I travel there several times a year.

What can I do when that happens?

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