Involuntary downgrade compensation

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by John Woram, Feb 24, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Just wondered what the experts think of the following: I bought a JFK/TPA RT for $936.70 (Feb 19 & 21). The return to JFK was cancelled due to weather, and the AA check-in agent got me on a Jet Blue Y flight. Their round trip fare is $538. So in effect, I paid $468.35 for a $269 ticket, a loss of $199.35. AA just reimbursed me for half that amount (no refund, but a voucher for $100). So, is that reasonable, or should I be looking for a reimbursement a bit closer to my actual loss? Any comments?
    Thanks (I think ;)).
     
  2. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Since you asked for comments, I would think there are 2 ways to look at it; one being they got you from A to B (or TPA to JFK) without any major hardship and the other being those who think you should be made whole. Was your original ticket purchased a First Class ticket or were you upgraded? If you purchased a First Class ticket and flew Y, I would think AA owes you something more than half the diff. If the upgrade was a comp., then I think you might just have to be satisfied that they got you there. Just my take.......
     
  3. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Original ticket was a purchased F -- ie, not an upgrade. IOW, I paid for F, but got Y. AA states "when a customer travels in the coach cabin due to an involuntary seat change, equipment change, routing change, flight cancellation, or missed connection, they are eligible to receive a travel voucher. The voucher value shall be equal to $0.10 per mile, or $50, whichever is greater, for each flight segment flown in the downgraded cabin." Which to me is double-speak -- "If you pay for F and we give you Y, that's your tough luck." So, flyer beware. Does anyone else think that's the way it should be?
     
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  4. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    That's terrible. I'd be pissed. That basically means then can downgrade you and "sort of" pay you back. I suppose if it was a long haul flight, you would have been entitled to more, but you would have paid more so I don't see how that compensation is just or fair.
     
  5. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    That's the way I feel too. Fortunately, this was a short haul, so the money's not that big a deal. But I do an annual JFK/EZE RT too, and that amounts to a fair bit of change if there's an involuntary downgrade. To me, it seems that if one pays for F and gets Y, a full refund is in order -- no voucher for yet another purchase, but a full refund for what was paid for but not delivered.
    I'm pursuing this with AA, and will report in when (and if) I get a reply.
     
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  6. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I agree, and I guess we all know that when we read the fine print, its just some convoluted way for them (the airlines) to come out ahead. Good luck.
     
  7. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I wonder if the option remains for a pax to refuse transfer to another airline but choose to wait for the next AA flight in F only as it pertains to this situation. I haven't encountered a similar situation, but being in paid F you would think a pax could refuse a flight until AA could accommodate the service for which the pax paid. This theory goes out the window, of course, if the pax simply has to get to their destination by any means necessary. Those with a day or two extra to spare - could they wait this out for F space on AA?
     
  8. Efilon87

    Efilon87 Silver Member

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    I was on a flight from JFK-GRU a while back on the 77W. I booked with miles in F. During the boarding process, one of the flight crew mentioned to the gate agent/supervisor that one of the F seats wouldn't be able to be occupied, due to a seat belt malfunction, or something like that. Since F was booked full, that pax was downgraded to J and given a $1,000 AA voucher. What really annoyed me about that is when I initially booked, I chose that seat, but changed it after I looked at SeatGuru. Now I know that situation deals with mileage and yours is a paid F, but seems a little wonky that you got $100, and that pax got $1,000.
     
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  9. basiface

    basiface Silver Member

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    Depending on the price difference between F and J they both could have gotten hustled...
     
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  10. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Yes, "Sami" the check-in agent offered me the option of waiting for the next flight. But that would be the following day so I declined -- I'd done my dog-and-pony show at the film festival, and now just wanted to get home.
    About voucher policy, an AA reply stated: "The voucher value shall be equal to $0.10 per mile, or $50, whichever is greater, for each flight segment flown in the downgraded cabin." Or to put it another way, "If you pay us for a service that we don't deliver, that's your tough luck."
    I remember a zillion years ago in Lima, Peru. Our Lufthansa flight was snowed in in Canada, the agent profusely apologized, arranged a cab back into Lima, put us up at a hotel, then back to the airport the next day. How times have changed.
     
  11. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    Why not try call advantage desk and say you don't feel the compensation is adequate and ask for miles ( figure out ahead what would be adequate. ). I wouldn't be satisfied either but would try multiple approaches.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  12. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Good idea! I've already got a complaint "in the works" and if it doesn't get anywhere then I'll try the Advantage desk (assuming I can actually track down a human there ;)). And if all else fails, maybe I'll try some other carrier for my next JFK/EZE run. Although I suppose one's as bad as another these days.
     
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  13. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    I wouldn't jump carriers just yet. They all have the same issues. I was traveling to JFK on the same day as your canceled flight. Had a 5+ hour delay. Was given options of potentially flying on JB if the last flight to BOS was canceled (but I went to AC which is always better). Eventually ended up in BOS BUT 2 days later had a few attempts before I did get to customer service actually to complain that they did not post the JFK to BOS miles. But also asked for mileage comp for the delay and received.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  14. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Even if ten cents per mile is in their CoC, after dealing with AA, complain to DOT. This is unfair and should not be allowed. It also gives the carrier a strong incentive to overbook the FC cabin and pick passengers who are not HVCs too downgrade for peanuts on the dollar. You might also consider seeing what your credit card company thinks of this practice and whether they encourage a chargeback fro the difference between FC and the coach fare tthat was availabel when you pruchased your ticket, not the last minute walk up fare. Your calulation should also look at the AA price for your return segment, which might be different from half the price of your RT ticket.
     
  15. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Right! And I'm not complaining about the cancellation -- it couldn't be helped on account of the weather. What bugs me is their reimbursement policy. On this short hop it was not that big a deal. But if it were a long haul there'd be more money involved, and more incentive for them to shaft the passenger. I don't know if UA and/or LAN would be any better though.
     
  16. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    Short hop or not if you paid for F you should get that class. I would escalate stating the facts cellar and concisely.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  17. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    I don't know what is in their CoC, and at this point don't much care. I'm just taking the simplistic view: I paid for F, got Y (admittedly through no fault of AA) and should get a full refund for the difference. Also, this should be a charge card credit (FWIW, an AA Mastercard), not a voucher for future travel -- but I'm not pressing this point, since I do have another JFK/EZE haul coming up.
     
  18. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Except that F does not exist on Jet Blue, and I didn't want to spend another night in Tampa, just to get an AA F flight the next day.
     
  19. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    I feel like some are confusing this as a matter of the airline arbitrarily downgrading the passenger based on not having enough room, which I agree would be a nasty business and an inappropriate way to handle paid F passengers. If I am misreading the situation, please advise.

    Your best bet is going to be the points route if you get anything extra at all. Weather is definitely not the airline's issue. Since you chose to travel in coach to get yourself home quicker the CoC should go into effect and you got what you paid for and they gave you what you were supposed to get based on the terms they laid out.

    I completely understand the sentiment of wanting the refund, but that would only be appropriate in my opinion if this had not been a weather related situation. In your case, I think your calculation should have been made based on how badly you wanted to get home quicker. If $.10 per mile voucher was not worth it, I'd have waited for the next flight in F.

    In a later post you spelled out the terms and if that is a copy/paste of what the CoC is then I sure hope some language is missing, because I think everyone should take issue with losing your paid F seat if they swap planes and then only give you a $.10/mile in a voucher. For that I'd expect full refund to credit card for the difference between Y and F at time of purchase.
     
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  20. John Woram

    John Woram Silver Member

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    Just to clarify; in this case is was not a matter of having enough room. AA cancelled its TPA/JFK flight 3072 on account of weather. At departure time in TPA, the plane was still on the ground at JFK, hence the cancellation. AA got me on a Jet Blue flight 26 in Y (they don't offer F on this route), and sent me a voucher for one-half the difference in air fare. So the way I look at it is; I paid for F and got Y. So, I should pay for what I got, not for what I got and an additional $100.
     

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