American Airlines March 2008

Posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 1:49am CDT by 710d1068

Company: Not Available

Location: US

Category: Other

Dear Sir

I would like to share with you my recent luggage nightmare and give your readers some food for thought if flying outside of the US.

I was booked in early March on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Brussels, Belgium, via JFK, and got to the airport on time, checked in, sorted out the luggage and went to wait for the flight to board. When boarding time came, there was no news, but after around a half hour, news filtered through that there was a delay. After more time it turned out that there was more than just a slight delay, which meant I was going to miss my connection flight to Brussels.

So I got myself re-routed, the American Airlines staff being most courteous and helpful, to Paris, via Madrid. I asked about my luggage, and they said they would try to take it off the original flight, and on to my new one. So far, so good.

Then the second flight which went direct to Madrid also became delayed, which meant I was now going to miss my connection to Paris (from where I was due to fly to Venice). When I made it to Spain, I managed after a lot of trouble to get myself on to a flight to Venice, and then asked about my luggage.

They told me it was on the flight to Brussels, but would be sent to my forwarding address. Did I need to do anything about the luggage, I asked. No sir everything will be sent to you. Perfect, I thought.

When I made it to my final destination Slovenia I called up AA on the Monday morning to find out what was going on, and they said the luggage was still in Brussels, and as I was due to fly from Europe to Asia on the Friday, I asked them to forward it to Amsterdam, so I could pick it up and then check it in. This made a lot of sense as AA did not seem like they were able to get it to Slovenia in time. Initially they said yes but call back again in a couple of days.

However as I was in Europe on business, the lack of clothes was a real problem, and so I needed to buy some new ones, including a suit, shirt and other items. I did not spend a lot of money on this, but did expect AA to compensate me for this, especially as I was not the one who lost the luggage.

On the Wednesday I called again, and after some heavy negotiation by the Thursday AA agreed to send the bags to Amsterdam for me to pick up, even faxing me a copy of the flight it was on. Alas it did not go smoothly KLM (the carrier that was supposed to take the bags from BRU to AMS) returned the luggage to BRU, so by the time I got to Amsterdam, I found out my bags were nowhere to be seen. When I spoke to AA, they told me to register this at Taipei (my final destination) when I arrived, with Cathay Pacific my carrier.

Saturday morning now 8 days since I had seen my bags and I got to Taipei. I did the paperwork with Cathay, and headed home. The following Monday, I called up CX to find out what was happening, and was informed AA had closed the file because it was more than 7 days delayed.

By now I was a tad unhappy putting it mildly and got in touch with AA via the website. They do not have any personal contact, so when they reply, you can not return an e-mail, and have to go through the registration process over and over. They apologised for the delay and offered me a coupon for travel. But they did not accept they had to pay me any compensation for the clothes and items I had bought, nor did they want to offer me any compensation for the complete inconvenience of the matter.

AA told me I needed to fill out paperwork, but did not offer any assistance on how I should do this. AA Taiwan is a representative office, and so does not always answer their phones, giving me delay after delay. Finally, after two weeks in Taiwan I got my luggage back. One of the rather expensive items inside was broken beyond repair, which AA will also not compensate me for.

I was also informed that this is normal behaviour from AA in the event of delayed or lost luggage so your readers who need to travel internationally with AA should also be very aware of this.

If I was to blame for anything, or if any of this was my mistake then I would accept blame for it, but AA seems to want to distance itself from its own errors. I gave AA plenty of chances to make it right, but they seem not to be interested. Obviously the little man's business is not interesting for them. In a world of increasing competition, I would have thought AA would be fighting for every single passenger they could get. Instead, they make you feel like you should thank them for stabbing you in the back. As I fly to USA on business three to four times a year, that is one airline which will not be seeing my business any more in the future.


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