airline complaint

Nov 10th, 2013, 08:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,858
airline complaint

This will be the last time I accept a First Class upgrade incentive to take a different flight after the airline over sold a flight. My original flight was at 6:45am so the call to me came about 4am. (No problem with that, I was up and had a 5:30 shuttle ride scheduled.) They only needed 2 volunteers and it seemed like a good enough deal.

This led to a nightmare trying to get home because more than one flight was delayed because of mechanical issues and other problems none of which were weather related. A friend got a $500 voucher (different flight but also early morning and same airport) because the plane she was supposed to be on had 30 broken seats! The gate attendants announced that since there were only 2 of them, people should go back to the counter to re-book flights. Since I was close to the counter, I stayed in place but when my next flight was delayed and required re-booking I started calling the reservation service by phone. Eventually I was able to get one of last two seats on a commuter to Chicago but didn't have a printed boarding pass for the next leg. I later found proof of that boarding pass in my email showing a First Class seat. I had barely enough time to make the connection but needed my boarding pass printed out. (no smart phone) The gate attendant gave me a regular seat. When I complained, she was very rude and said nobody would ever have given me that kind of incentive to take a voluntary bump. I should have been given a voucher. Despite having a printed boarding pass from another flight (before re-scheduling) showing the First Class seat, she treated me like a liar and said I would have to speak to a supervisor. The flight was boarding before a supervisor handed me a new boarding pass with a First Class seat.

If I hadn't fussed, I would have lost the incentive they gave me to change my flight. Because I changed my flight, I ended up in a nightmare of re-scheduling (I think it was 5 times) trying to get home. In fact, maybe I should have been grateful I didn't have to overnight at a hotel because it was that close.

That rude gate attendant has me steaming plus I'm mad that I was stupid enough to accept an upgrade to First Class as compensation. So, if you were me, would you have held out for a voucher? And would you complain to the airline to see if you could get additional compensation?

Frankly, I was shocked that all the delays seemed to be due to mechanical problems (the first flight I was supposed to be on had landing gear problems so the pilot requested a mechanic who was unable to diagnose the problem). The gate attendants were almost overwhelmed with all the re-bookings and a third attendant had trouble using a crappy keyboard. How come planes that are suppose to fly out before 10am aren't in proper mechanical condition??? My original flight was over sold because they had to change aircraft which resulted in less available seats.
dfrostnh is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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Too long, too much opinion.
alanRow is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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From where to where was this trip? What airline? I found this account difficult to follow.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 10:54 PM
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I concur with the two posters above. More facts, less opinions.
sparkchaser is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 11:06 PM
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If you are saying should I take a $500 voucher or a first class upgrade as compensation, I would say take the first class upgrade!
MissGreen is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 11:08 PM
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Shocked at mechanical delays? Would you rather take the flight and hope it gets to the other end?

I wouldn't care how many mechanical delays I had if it was to keep me safe.
MissGreen is offline  
Nov 10th, 2013, 11:16 PM
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If you are saying should I take a $500 voucher or a first class upgrade as compensation, I would say take the first class upgrade!

Agreed. First class upgrade for sure.
sparkchaser is offline  
Nov 11th, 2013, 02:13 AM
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Thanks for the responses. I'm surprised first class upgrade is the choice.

Sorry for the disjointed story. American Airlines. Wichita to Boston. Original flight had a connection in DFW. Actual flight connected in Chicago. My major complaint is the gate attendant in Chicago who ignored my First Class seat assignment. I had a confirmed seat in First Class on my final re-booking and the email to prove it (which came later) plus earlier printed boarding passes that showed First Class. My seat "disappeared" while I was flying to Chicago from Wichita. My original seat assignment went to someone else. If I hadn't checked the boarding pass that was printed by the gate attendant in Chicago, I might not have noticed I had been given a different seat and this time in economy. The boarding pass for the second leg of my flight was not printed in Wichita because they weren't going to let me on that flight. When I was re-booked by phone I did not get a seat assignment from Wichita to Chicago. There were two of us waiting to see if there were two seats available on that flight. A new boarding pass to get on that flight was quickly printed and we were told to hurry up and get on board. They were trying to close the door. The Wichita gate attendants did not print a boarding pass for Chicago to Boston.

Basically there were two early morning flights that were canceled or rescheduled that started the mess. Both were supposed to leave from the same gate in Wichita so there were a lot of people who needed to be re-booked.

Due to re-booking multiple times, I might have had to take any seat so I could get home that day so I could have lost my first class upgrade. However, the first class seat was assigned to me Chicago to Boston but that seat was given away while I was in flight and then the Chicago gate attendant told me no one would have given me a first class upgrade as an incentive to take a voluntary bump so I was treated like I was a liar.

Sure, I'd rather have a plane in good mechanical condition before I stepped on board. My friend (at the same gate in Wichita) was supposed to be on the plane that had 30 broken seats. That flight was supposed to depart approx. 6:45 am. I'm surprised those seats weren't fixed during the night. I don't know if my original flight at 6:45 am took off on time. The plane I was re-scheduled to had landing gear issues that the pilot wanted fixed.

Here I am rambling again. So thanks for your responses. It was nice to have the first class seat and a real meal since I had missed lunch but a $500 voucher would have paid for my next trip.
dfrostnh is offline  
Nov 11th, 2013, 03:13 AM
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Good you were able to stick to your guns and get what you were entitled to. The multiple problems were not your fault and you accepted the upgrade in good faith. A little courtesy by the gate attendant was warranted.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Nope, I would not likely accept the upgrade as sole incentive to help the airline fix their problem. When they need to offload one or more pax they offer compensation - often in amounts that escalate until they get the required number of pax to accept - because a pax that accepts the offer is considered to have voluntarily given up their seat and does not have to be reported to FAA as IDB (Involuntary Denied Boarding.)

If my itinerary is flexible I do consider such offers, but hold out for the compensation AND maybe an upgrade.
Seamus is offline  
Nov 11th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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As soon as I read your post I thought to myself, Chicago American Airlines.

My son had a similar experience with a rude gate agent in Chicago. He had flown San Diego to Chicago and then it was Chicago to Boston. He had a 1st class ticket. When he tried to board the agent kempt saying "sir we are boarding 1st class". Son said "look at my ticket" agent kept saying "sir we are boarding 1st class". Son held his ground and agent finally looks at his ticket. Sees it is 1st class and lets him board.

I understand why you were upset.

SandyBrit is online now  
Nov 12th, 2013, 02:03 AM
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Read this thread because from your previous posts, you are not a complainer - so this must have been a mess. I probably would have taken the voucher, since the 2 legs of the original flights were not that long. I am always skeptical of taking upgrades, "the next flight" with a voucher if delays seem to be likely to cascade during the day.
gail is online now  
Nov 12th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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I'm surprised people can remember instances like a gate agent not allowing someone to board because they thought they didnt have a first class ticket when they were boarding first class. It's so trivial it's untrue. Gate agents don't look at tickets as they have been e-tickets for a number of years and boarding passes are put thru the reader. Why does it matter, the seat will still be there even if you board with the economy passengers.
Odin is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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I TOLD you you should have flown on USAirways!!!!! and SOON you WILL be.
Dukey1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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If I had been offered a choice, I probably would have taken the voucher esp since I need to fly again in the next few months. I was told they only needed two volunteers so I figured it was a good deal just getting the first class offer. The original flight was supposed to be at 6:45am. The rescheduled flight would still have me in Boston by late afternoon. But I didn't expect that that flight would be delayed so I would miss my connection. Also didn't realize someone would re-schedule me without my knowledge when it looked like I was going to miss my connection. That re-schedule would have gotten me to Boston too late for the bus ride home to NH. I'm glad I called reservations to re-schedule myself.

I see gate attendants checking all the time and telling people in the wrong group to go back and wait. The new thing is to let people in group 2 who don't need to put anything in the overhead compartments to board before anyone else in group 2 and beyond. Sure, the seat will still be there but space in the overhead won't be! Now, in addition to checking your group number, they are also checking to see how many bags you are holding.
dfrostnh is offline  
Nov 13th, 2013, 06:28 PM
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I would never accept a first class seat over a $$ voucher, unless it was a really long overseas flight.

But since you did, I would suggest you send a (much briefer) letter to the airlines and ask for a $200 voucher, saying you had been promised a first class seat on the ___:am flight. Since you didn't get it, the least they can do is compensate you in this small way.

IME With United, $200 seems to be an amount they don't argue over, so hopefully AA might feel the same.

Good luck.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 14th, 2013, 02:57 AM
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Thanks. They did.
dfrostnh is offline  

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