I love donating money to corporations!

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by timfrost, May 12, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    Booked a set of flights LAX-SFO and return for July 5th-7th on May 8th. Sent the itinerary after it was booked to my travel companion (Rob) who pointed out a schedule conflict with the 6:45am departure. I said no problem and figured I could cancel and rebook. I walked out the door of my house shortly after I finished booking online and logged in from my phone to cancel it after he called me.

    I obviously agreed to the fare rules and knew the ticket was non-refundable... I just forgot that under the DOT rules, American uses only the hold option and once booked the game is over. I had never held the reservation.

    Yesterday when I saw Rob we discussed it all and when I went to rebook the exact same thing, lo and behold my ticket is forfeit since it's less than the change fee. I called the PLT desk and she said if you want to change or cancel within 24 hours you have to call, if you do it on the website the ticket can't be reused. Thanks for the warning as I canceled. She suggested I email customer relations and explain.

    Got a lovely canned response from CR this morning thanking me for my donation to "The New American:" "While we are sympathetic to your situation, we're afraid we cannot make an exception. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving your future travel needs." Just to add insult to injury, the price of the flights dropped from $172 on Thursday to $142 yesterday.

    Obviously it's easier for them at the end of the day to keep my money and not have to carry me or Rob as passengers, but intransigence such as this sure leaves a lousy customer service taste in my mouth after many years of loyalty.

    Rob suggested I file a grievance with my credit card company, which I have mixed feelings about as at the end of the day it was obviously my fault. Anyone have any experience with that?

    I still hate the idea of just giving $344 to American for doing absolutely nothing.
     
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I had something similar happen not too long ago, I canceled and rebooked without knowing about the you-must-use-hold issue. I contacted AA's Twitter team and I believe they were able to get the ticket placed for a refund (I haven't actually followed up to check whether the money was deposited on the CC, that can take some time, I believe). It's a little hard getting clear information in 140 characters and the meaning of one of the messages turned on whether they had typed the word "now" or meant to type "not", but I thought the gist was they do now issue refunds within 24 hours of booking as long as you're more than 7 days out from the reservation. If you cancelled within the 24 hour window you might want to try to contact the Twitter team.

    Post back on what you find out.
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You'll lose; at least you should. Sucks, but that's the way it is. AA offers the free hold, not a free 24-hour refund/change.

    I'm surprised that the change fee is more than $344, though.
     
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  4. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    No it is $200 per ticket for two $172 tickets.
     
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  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    You didn't donate.
    You made a decision millions make when booking a non-refundable airline ticket.
    In actual fact what you are really upset about is that the airline refuses to make an exception for a flyer that is not even top tier in their program....thems the breaks. :)

    Hope you don't buy a lot of concert tickets for an artiste you have been a fan of for 30 years and change you mind about going 30 mins later.:)
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Pursuant to what I wrote before, here's what AA told me:

    Also note the following from Brian Kelly (The Points Guy):

    And also the first comment in this post from Ben Schlapigg:

    So, I'm now pretty convinced that AA changed their policy on 25 March and, as long as you executed the cancellation within 24 hours, you're entitled to a full refund.
     
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  8. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I'm going downstairs to mix myself a celebratory drink. Looks like at least a 50/50 chance I know something you don't!

    (See my reply immediately before this one).

    (If I'm wrong, I'm keeping the drink).
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Just confirmed with my wife that we did, in fact, receive the refund from AA.
     
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  10. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    How long ago was this? Did you cancel and rebook within the 24 hour window after you'd made the first reservation?
     
  11. Muerl
    Original Member

    Muerl Gold Member

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    At Least in that scenario you can resell the tickets, even at a partial loss.
     
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  12. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    My exchange with AA was on April 1st; my booking was maybe three days before that.

    Yes, I booked the first flight and then canceled and booked a different flight all within 24 hours. When contacting them originally I thought I was throwing myself on their mercy so I had my (truthful) explanation all ready -- I had rebooked on a more expensive, more convenient flight for medical reasons. But in the end they weren't interested in any explanation and didn't even care that I had rebooked another AA flight; they simply issued the refund because their new terms (starting March 25th) stated I was entitled to an explanation-free refund of a ticket if canceled within 24 hours.

    The takeaway is that AA 24 hour refund terms have changed and the previous "no refund, holds only" terms are no longer operative. They now follow the industry-wide practice of issuing refunds for tickets canceled within 24 hours.

    At the time I got my refund the telephone staff at Reservations did not know about this change, explained the old rules to me, and refused a refund or any further action. There's no way to contact the Refunds department by phone, only by on-line submission form or snail mail. The reason I contacted the Twitter staff was to try to get a phone number for Refunds but once I contacted them they got directly involved on my behalf.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This is a very nice change in favor of the customer. I like that.

    And I hope you enjoyed the drink. ;)
     
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  14. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    Unfortunately they won't budge. I called and spoke with another CSR and she reinforced the policy that if I call they can do anything within 24 hours, but if I make the change/cancel online then it's tough luck. I guess I don't really see what the difference is between me pressing a few buttons on the website and calling the phone number, but it apparently makes a huge difference to them. A lesson well learned.
     
  15. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    To be clear -- I canceled on-line within 24 hours but did not reach out to the Twitter staff until a couple of days later (I think).

    As long as your cancellation was recorded within the 24 hour window, I would strongly urge you to Tweet to @AmericanAir (sign up for Twitter if you have to).
     
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  16. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    I tweeted American and they told me to call the 800 number.
     
  17. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    timfrost, An interesting string. And I wouldn't readily take a "no" for an answer, either. You may want to consider that it never hurts to write a snail mail letter separately to the American Airlines corporate office.

    I recently did this, with a good outcome, although with a different airline (Southwest Airlines). I had changed my flight due to impending severe weather, and had to pay a hefty upgrade (@$150). The day after I had made my flight change, the posting for "it's O.K. to make weather-related changes at no cost" went up on the Southwest Airlines website. I called SWA to try to get a refund, and was told no - a couple of times. I explained my need to change my flight in a letter, and mailed it to SWA. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from SWA, telling me that they would refund my change fee!

    I realize that you're dealing with a different airline, and for a different reason, but it never hurts to try! Especially after reading some of the comments posted above, you might have some success. Best of luck!

    Newscience
     
  18. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I thought that Southwest didn't have change fees (assuming now that you don't no show), just payment of the fare difference.
     
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  19. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Yes, that's what I meant by using the word "upgrade". My point was that it never hurts to be persistent for the right reason. And now I'd like to see timfrost receive a refund from AA. Who knows, just maybe someone from AA is also reading this string...
     
  20. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    That's probably worth a shot. It'll only take me a few minutes to write the letter and the cost of a stamp. :)
     
  21. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    The agents you write into to get refunds have much more power then some random phone agent, but it is a very slow process. I just go a refund last week or so from a Jan 10 trip in vain. Where I have gotten 2 others since then and refunds appeared within 2weeks after phone agent confirmed.
     
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  22. 19bootsy68

    19bootsy68 Member

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    Now I know it's dishonest but...you could of seen your doctor and made up a dizziness illness...doctor would of give you a letter for your insurance company and you would get the refund from the ruthless airline.

    "The day I walked into the woods all the foxes left".
     
  23. Suliman
    Original Member

    Suliman Silver Member

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    I had this same thing happen to me just a month ago. I booked two $750 tickets to the grand caymans, realized that I wanted to change to a different airline, and cancelled 2 hours later.

    I was so surprised when I asked later where my refund was and was told that it was non-refundable. I do not ever remember being given an option to "hold" it -- anyways, I think it's pretty disrespectful of AA to not go along with the rest of the industry and allow for a 24-hour cancellation even if they're technically within the DOT rules.

    I'd do two things:
    1) File a DOT complaint. Especially if you don't remember being given the option to hold the reservation.
    2) Protest with your credit card and cite the DOT rules.

    #2 worked for me. For #1 AA were complete jerks responding to me and even noted that I had complained to the DOT about 5 years ago (I forgot!) on a baggage situation. They obviously hold a grudge.
     
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  24. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Interesting to know that DOT matters are treated very differently and carefully with cross references all the way back to 5 years ago.
     
  25. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    [QUOTE="Suliman, post: 2367092, member: 459"I was so surprised when I asked later where my refund was and was told that it was non-refundable. I do not ever remember being given an option to "hold" it -- anyways, I think it's pretty disrespectful of AA to not go along with the rest of the industry and allow for a 24-hour cancellation even if they're technically within the DOT rules.

    I'd do two things:
    1) File a DOT complaint. Especially if you don't remember being given the option to hold the reservation.
    2) Protest with your credit card and cite the DOT rules.[/QUOTE]

    If what they're doing is within the rules (albeit technically) what grounds do you have for complaining to the DOT, or for citing the DOT rules in a credit card dispute? :rolleyes:
     

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