Follow up on lousy service from AA

Dec 6th, 2006, 10:22 AM
Original Poster
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Follow up on lousy service from AA

Since many of you asked what response we received from AA on our recent experience with them, I just wanted to let you know that today we received an email from a Vince Marchello at Customer Service. Lots of appologies for lousy service. More or less a form letter, customized to refer to points we brough up. That was it, PERIOD. So that being said, we will CERTAINLY limit future travel on American. I know all airlines experience problems but if someone takes the time to write, I feel a response should be more concerned than just sending out an email. I do understand from the many postings to my original comments, that some of what we were unhappy with is standard problems with airline travel today. However, it seems that any airline should go out of their way to be sensitive to customers with complaints who take the time to write to them. Some of what we said were clearly the airline's responsibility (i.e. booking us with too tight a connection to clear customs and make the next leg of our flight along with our baggage). But I must now agree with an earlier response that the corporate culture at AA is not customer friendly.....certainly not towards us.
kleroux is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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I'm disappointed to hear you just got a pat reply from AA. Although not required, a simple token, such as upgrade cert or even something small like $25 AA travel voucher would not have cost them anything, but would have shown more outreach.
J62 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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"However, it seems that any airline should go out of their way to be sensitive to customers with complaints who take the time to write to them.

Expectation from the OP and reality remains as far apart as when the OP first had his problem.

I suggest he takes his business elsewhere. Maybe he'll get better luck, wherever that may be.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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I'm really surprised because I've never gotten that kind of response.

I agree, take your business elsewhere if you're not happy.
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 06:03 PM
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I'm disappointed on your behalf! I always feel so proud to be a frequent flyer with AA, but as J62 noted, some sort of discount coupon or voucher would have been a nice touch.
lynnejoel1015 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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I don't expect any service from any airline besides getting me and my luggage safely from point A to B.
If I'm lucky this is on time.

If you expect more than this you will be disappointed no matter what the airline is.

If I were to pay for business or first class that would be a different story.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 05:04 AM
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You disappointed yourself by listening to some useless advice and having expectations of great rewards.

As I stated in the other thread, your only valid complaint was about the dirty plane. Perhaps AA should have thrown some miles your way for that and that reason only, but they chose not to.

Good luck with other carriers!

Reporting from rainy Amsterdam! Having a blast!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 05:28 AM
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Thank you for posting back. Although it is disappointing they did not throw a little something your way atleast you did receive an apology. Your complaint was received and duly noted atleast. You can and should feel good about that. I'm glad you took the time to let them know about your experience of traveling with them. Happy future travels with whoever you choose to fly with.
annikany is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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When writing complaint letters, one of the biggest rules is to include a suggestion of how you wish it to be resolved (i.e., voucher, credit, etc.). Without a suggestion, you leave it completely up to the company to decide and odds are you're going to get exactly what you got.
toedtoes is offline  
Dec 8th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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I guess it turns out that it was useless advice to advise the the OP to complain to AA.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 03:36 AM
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Not really. I've always gotten satisfaction the few times I complained to AA.
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 06:39 AM
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it wasn't useless, but you have to have a valid complaint. The OP had 1, a dirty plane and perhaps if the OP wrote about the dirty plane ONLY</b. then perhaps the OP would receive something. I tried to expalain it to the OP and the lurkers and posters on the other thread but the OP and few others did not listen to my advice. That's what I meant.

If the OP had other issues then perhaps returning the 2 $200-$300 vouchers would have helped in getting some kind of positive response. It's amazing to me that the OP volunteered, accepted the vouchers and and only then had issues with the hotel and it's shuttle policies. Sorry, that's not the real world. If you volunteer then you better know what you volunteering for...........THE OP VOLUNTEERED!!!!, nobody made the OP take that option! I'm sure others would gladly collect the travel vouchers if the OP didn't!!!

Reporting from Amsterdam! Going to Brussels tomorrow, but 1 more night of FUN in AMS!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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Apologies about the bold type.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Okay, so one gets bumped, with or without volunteering.

Here's what I understand one needs to do/find out:

1. You are told you are going to be comped a hotel with shuttle service.

The correct response is to insist that a Superior First Class (four star) hotel or better is required. However, if they say that all they have available is a two star, now what - especially if you were bumped involuntarily? Ask for a flight voucher of higher value to compensate?

2. You are concerned that shuttle service might not be reliably frequent, notwithstanding what the agent says. In this case, the correct response (?) is to hold out for a commitment from the airline (in writing) to underwrite the cost of a cab (receipt supplied if necessary) in the event the shuttle is less frequent than...once every half hour? hour? (Three hour intervals is not acceptable, in my view.)

2. Meals - if the hotel has a restaurant, but that restaurant has stopped serving, the issue of whether hotel has a restaurant is moot. The priority should be to get fed - so make a few phone calls or inquiries prior to leaving the airport. What are one's alternatives? Room service? Nearby all-night restaurant? Eat at the airport before going to hotel? Grab take-out? Explore. (Consider solving a problem competently oneself, than take a solution simply because it is free of charge. Sometimes, it comes down to a choice between a satisfactory solution, and a 'fair' one.)
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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AAFF, I generally agree with your position and noted that the OP was not really taking a share of the responsibility for the situation.

But you are ignoring the fact that OP accepted the shuttle, meal, and lodging arrangements sight unseen. It is quite possible that any or all of those may have been "less than adequate". After some number of complaints AA might decide to upgrade to the Do Tell Motel at which point people will come onto fodors telling about how wonderful their experience was. It could happen.

Return the voucher, lol! That's a good one.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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I think you are working with some invalid assumptions.

First, a voluntary and involuntary bump are different animals. What the airline must do in the case of an involuntary bump is set out in the contract of carriage, and there is almost no room for negotiation. Unless the contract requires them to provide a hotel of a certain rating, or shuttle service of a certain frequency, you take what they offer, or buy your own lodging.

Voluntary bumps are offered in hopes that the airline can free up the seats at less cost than an involuntary bump. As financially troubled as the industry is, why would they ever offer you more to take a voluntary bump when they could just compel you to take the involuntary bump? The only possible answer is good customer relations, and these days they value dollars more than that.

Also, remember that you are almost certainly not the only potential volunteer; if you demand too much, someone else will jump in and take the deal.

That said, you are after all in a negotiation, and it is very possible that they would offer you a better hotel in return for a smaller travel voucher, but unless you are a very frequent traveller, you probably don't have the knowledge necessary to evaluate the hotel, sight unseen, so I suspect most of us would take the highest voucher they offer, and trust that the hotel will not be flea ridden.

My feeling after following both threads is that we have never heard the whole story. The OP reluctantly revealed that they had received vouchers, but has never admitted how much they were; I imagine our reaction to her complaints would differ depending on whether they received $100 vouchers, or $1000 vouchers.

As my kids matured, they all went through a stage of selective revealation, starting with a story that they had been horribly treated and only after intense questioning would they reveal the entire story, which often made clear that they were not the innocents they had claimed. Fortunately, they outgrew that stage. I think it would be very difficult to deal with an adult who exhibited such behaviour, and I certainlyt hope I am wrong in thinking that the OP has conducted herself in that manner.

I know the basic rule of business is that the customer is always right, but I think there is a very small percentage of customers that are demanding beyond reason (I think the common term is high maintenance), and I am fed up with receiving lousy customer service because some high maintenance customers have hogged all the resources. In an industry where the planes are packed, I think it would make perfect sense to induce the high maintenance customer to take his or her business to a competitor. I wonder if AA has done that in this case.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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Hi cleveland

My apologies, I didn't mean to make assumptions so much as try to have them verified. Thank you for the helpful feedback.

When I wondered if it might be possible to negotiate for a better hotel, it was on the assumption (yes, I hear you!) that while people might not have specific knowledge of the local hotel scene, certain brand names are fairly universal - i.e., most people have some knowledge of chain hotels and the respective standards. But you are right: if the airline is not using a recognized brand at a particular location, one is at a decided disadvantage. One really has little ability in such instance to predict if the hotel will be sufficient to address one's needs.

The issue of compensation and demandingness is an interesting one (leaving aside the issue of whether this poster was or wasn't being unreasonably demanding.) Is being demanding harder on the demandee, or harder on the demander? Does it lead to higher standards of service for everyone, or only higher prices in order to cover compensation awarded only to a few?

Regardless, I'm glad to have this thread and the other one, it was a good 'what-if' exercise to go through.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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I actually followed your first post and now this one and as a frequent flyer I just shook my head. The airline industry is in an experimental "race to the bottom" right now. Basically, due to customer reluctance to pay fair market value, the airlines are reducing service to the lowest common denominator, and then studying the effects of that denominator. So your inclination is correct, do not fly AA, they treated you to a level you are not familiar with, nor do you wish to become familiar. Only in this way will the airlines realize what the "service floor" is. The fact that AA provided a substandard motel with substandard amenities is reason for complaint. It is not reasonable for every traveller to live and breathe the airline industry and thereby "know" what to do. Decent behavior should be an expectation that companies rise to. If they don't provide it, then register the complaint and take your business elsewhere. Having said that, as a frequent flyer of a much maligned carrier I can tell you that it does help to know what your rights are and angle for the best deal. Comfort yourself that this was a lousy lesson learned and next time you'll be wiser. Best wishes.
wills is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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I'll never forget one return from FRA to DFW when I had a first class ticket on AA and they offered me some "nothing" compensation to surrender my seat for one of their employees: I laughed like a devil when I saw the resentment from the AA group relegated to coach when we arrived at DFW.
mikemo is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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The problem is that people have different needs, which in turn means that standard compensation would not necessarily provide the best overall service.

For some, getting the maximum value of flight voucher would be the priority, whereas the nature of the hotel offered would be of scant importance. The OP, on the other hand, clearly felt the hotel to be very important, especially the availability of in-hotel food, and not just nearby food. So it seems it would not be in the best interest of the public overall to lose the ability to negotiate with the airlines. Nor is it necessarily in the best interest of the public overall for the airline to always pay the maximum compensation, as measured in dollars, since if the airline can keep everyone reasonably happy for less rather than greater cost, the result is lower ticket prices for all of us.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  

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