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AAdvantage Award Tickets - BEWARE of "hidden" policy

AAdvantage Award Tickets - BEWARE of "hidden" policy

Jul 8th, 2015, 06:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 387
AAdvantage Award Tickets - BEWARE of "hidden" policy

At the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat...I'm sharing this story with you anyway.

6-7 months before our departure date, I used double American Airlines AAdvantage miles to acquire two Business Class tickets for the 9 hour flight from DFW to LHR (first part of a 2-leg journey...) I wanted to treat our church pastor to the new American Airlines 77W airplane. Another friend joined us and also used double AAdvantage miles for a Business Class seat.

My friend (AAdvantage Gold) and our pastor boarded the plane just ahead of me. As I (AAdvantage Platinum 3-million miler) gave my boarding pass to the gate agent, she stopped me and called for the Supervisor. I was taken off to the side and told that the flight was oversold...she was going to try to find me a seat in Coach. I was polite, but quite upset. I tried to explain how early I'd acquired my ticket, etc., etc....that I was traveling with friends who'd already boarded...etc., etc. In so many words, she exclaimed that it didn't matter...my seat was going to a paying customer. I continued to ask how they could give my seat that I'd had for 6-7 months to someone who'd probably just recently purchased their ticket....and it was AA's fault for overselling the plane, not mine. She told me she would refund my miles and give me a $500 voucher. I told her I didn't want my miles nor the voucher...I wanted my seat. She quickly shoved a piece of paper in front of me that supposedly explained how and why I lost my seat. She also put the voucher in front of me and told me to sign it to show that I'd received it. Later I learned that my signature was to assure that I would have no recourse against the airline. This all happened so fast...she was obviously trying to "get rid of the problem."

When I realized I was getting nowhere, I told her I had to get on that plane because of our connection to Zurich and please...I wanted an aisle seat. I was told there weren't any aisle seats...the ENTIRE plane was oversold. She did find me a seat...the dreaded MIDDLE seat! However, 10 minutes after I'd boarded, she came back and moved me to a window seat. The upside is there was no one sitting in the middle seat next to me. However, that proved the plane was NOT oversold.

I understand the airlines are trying to make money, but you don't treat a loyal customer like that. So now, anytime we use our miles for a seat in First or Business...especially for a long-haul flight, we're not guaranteed we'll get that seat or any seat on the chosen flight.

Like I said, I know I sound like a spoiled brat. But, why even offer "ANYTIME AWARD" tickets if you're not going to honor them.
jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 8th, 2015, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,989
You have a valid complaint, but your conclusion ("that proved the plane was NOT oversold") is wrong.

A flight is oversold when an airline sells more tickets for the flight than the flight has seats. Almost all airlines do this (I believe that JetBlue is an exception), because airlines know that a percentage of ticketed passengers won't show up for the flight. The US Dept of Transportation has rules about this, and those rules require the airline to compensate passengers who don't get the seats they paid for. So, the flight was indeed oversold, but the passengers in whose seat you eventually sat didn't show up for the flight.

I also would have been pi$$ed off if I wound up in economy, even with the miles refunded and a $500 voucher. Still, most people would figure it's a fair exchange: you got a free flight (in economy) plus the $500 voucher.

In your case where you already had your boarding pass for business class and then were told that you couldn't sit in your assigned seat, my guess is that you were trumped by a federal air marshal. In that case, it would have had nothing to do with your holding an award ticket.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 8th, 2015, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,981
...my guess is that you were trumped by a federal air marshal.

This would be my guess as well. The fact that you got bumped at the gate as opposed to check-in would support that speculation.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jul 8th, 2015, 11:21 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,863
I agree about the air marshal too. They trump everything, and the airline is not permitted to tell you that's what's happening.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jul 8th, 2015, 08:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 387
I never thought of an air marshal... If it makes any difference, there was a young boy (9 or 10) sitting in my assigned seat.
jewelhawg is offline  
Jul 10th, 2015, 03:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,825
"If it makes any difference, there was a young boy (9 or 10) sitting in my assigned seat"

Air marshalls are masters of disguise...
J62 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2015, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
It's very possible the boy and a parent were assigned seats not next to each other and the air marshall swapped. If the marshall's swap was something like 2B/2C or 2B/3B it is quite possible.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,295
OK, so you've got a BILLION MILES? Did THAT make any difference? Obviously not.

We were kicked out of Business Class and into coach once recently when an equipment change meant the substitute aircraft had fewer BC seats.

How was the determination made to remove 8 people and why were we two of those eight? IMO it was totally arbitrary by the gate agent(s) who refused to say how they made the decision.

A letter explaining the situation along with the name of that agent produced remarkable results from the airline later, believe me.
Dukey1 is offline  

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