AAmerican’s Horrendous New Irregular Operations Policy And AAnother Trip In Vain To NYC For My Grandfather’s 90th

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In September 2015 Delta and American ended their interline agreement. Delta wanted more money to accommodate American’s passengers as Delta’s operational performance is much better than American’s, but American refused to pay.

That wound up haunting me personally. American refused to rebook our failed trip to London on Delta in November 2015 due to their lack of an interline agreement. Instead they had us spend the night with our kids in an airport. It took 8 months just to get a refund from that fiasco.

Delta felt that they didn’t need to rely on American’s flights, but they were wrong. After a series of IT and power failures they relented and began interlining with American again.

 

Perhaps the biggest advantage of flying a major network carrier is that they have interline agreements to rebook you on other airlines when things go wrong. If your Spirit flight is cancelled you can wait for days until they have space for you on another flight.

@xJonNYC broke the news on Twitter a few weeks ago that American is no longer accommodating those that don’t have 75K PP elite status on other airlines when there are irregular operations for any reasons:

BusinessInsider and USAToday confirmed the story here with more details.

In short, unless you’re a top-tier elite, don’t expect any help from American when things go wrong, even when it’s their fault.

American has long tried to make their way to the worst US airline out there.

2 years ago I wrote many of the reasons why they are so bad in a post where I asked “What Exactly Is American’s AAdvantage?

Since then things have gotten worse. Seats and bathrooms have gotten tighter and now American is even secretly adding blackout periods for close-in award tickets.

The airline remains an operational mess, which makes this new policy even worse. If you actually want to get where you want to go, American is now the worst major carrier to choose.

Just ask Nikki Haley,

 

She’s not alone.

My paternal Zayde turned 90 over Sukkos a few weeks ago and had a party in Teaneck on the first day of Chol Hamoed with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren from across the globe.

As I had my 90K promotional Iberia Avios to burn, I booked my family of 5 tickets on American from Cleveland to LaGuardia  on the morning flight and returning to Cleveland that same evening for 60K Avios.

The day before the flight, Mimi and I were talking about what our backup plan would be if American cancelled our return flight. That would be a real mess considering that we weren’t traveling with any checked baggage and that I don’t eat or drink outside of a Sukkah. Just to be safe, I booked an alternate return flight for the 5 of us using 50K United miles from Newark to Cleveland.

American, Delta, and United all had flights departing Cleveland to LaGuardia at about 9am. Delta and United departed on time while American claimed they couldn’t board due to a “ground stop” at LaGuardia.

I pushed the agent to move us to an 11am United flight to LaGuardia, but she said that there was no way she could do that without getting in trouble from her auditor. The agent did check with a supervisor who also said there was nothing they could do.

Rafi complains every time we fly on American since they abandoned us in JFK overnight when they cancelled our flight to London. I tried explaining the Iberia promotion, but he couldn’t believe that we were flying American. “Tatty, don’t you know that American is the worst!?!”

We were about to give up and go home when they started boarding at about 10:30am. We figured that we could still make it to Teaneck for the party, albeit an hour after the noon start time.

But then the flight had a mechanical issue and was delayed at the gate. At this point we tried to just get off the plane and bail on the trip, but they wouldn’t let us off. We were told we could only get off the plane if there was a medical issue, despite the aircraft door still being open.

Finally we started taxiing, but then there was another ground stop put into place. Once again we tried asking to just get off the flight, but that was denied.

And yes, that 11am United flight managed to depart on time without issues.

 

 

American blamed the delay on the weather, despite other airlines managing to fly the route without delays. I asked them for the odds that our return flight would be cancelled:

 

We finally made it to Teaneck at about 2:45pm, just as the party was wrapping up. But we did make it on time to wish Zayde a hearty Mazel Tov and even got an extra group photo taken after we arrived. So I guess it wasn’t completely in vain…

We stopped at Chickies and Chopstix for some food to go and were just about to turn around and drive to LaGaurdia when I noticed that American had indeed cancelled our return flight home. They offered to rebook us the following day and refused to put us on another airline.

 

 

Instead we drove to Newark, where our United flight to Cleveland left the gate on time. Another fun trip to NYC with the family, courtesy of American Airlines.

Mimi was beyond thrilled that I had booked the backup flight on United. And so was I.

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91 Comments On "AAmerican’s Horrendous New Irregular Operations Policy And AAnother Trip In Vain To NYC For My Grandfather’s 90th"

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UsuAAl story.

Jeff

Be glad you didn’t get tasered for asking to get off the plane!

Eliteflyer

Getting to see Rafi in the airport decrying AA…priceless!!!

rabbim

Not sure why we got better service, but they moved us to United when they needed to. My wife and child flew AA on Avios last week and flights from many carriers were delayed into NY. AA flew them instead to a hub, where their connecting flight got cancelled as they were taking off. AA rebooked them on United with no issue to get in to NY (many hours late, but as I say, all flights were delayed).

Eve

Oy!! What to do with those useless miles???

Morris

I’ll Gladly take them off your hands

Alex V

Had a similar story with Delta.
Buf-Jfk. Delta canceled because of weather. Jetblue didn’t have this issue.
I bought a full price Jetblue ticket, and took Delta to small claims court.
I got every single penny back.

Moshe

Not being allowed to go out when the door is open (and jetway connected i guess) is something i NEVER heard of, what can they do if you do leave?

Sara

Too many bad experiences with American Airlines! I refuse to book with them

Eileen Kerrigan

Wow, do AA planes live and fly within their own little microclimates, where the weather is almost always bad? :-O

netlevy

if AA was not cancelled for the return, can you cancel the UNITED flight without penalty 3h before departure?

Yona Hanovi

Sounds like the story of Yona Hanovi where there was beautiful weather at sea for all other boats, but “miraculously” the ship Yona was on found itself in terrible stormy weater…

jonny

I love Chickies

Mark

I love chopstix

Jacob

Coming back from Israel with 2 infants. AA delayed us twice forcing us to sleep in the airport 2 nights in a row. Luckily I had chase sapphire card which got us a hotel but AA is the worst and I AM PLATINUM PRO. AA has gone completely down hill in both customer service and in flight. It’s sad as I have been an AA customer since I took my first Israel flight back when I was 16.

Seth

I’ve been interlined between Spirit and United twice between Denver and Fort Lauderdale. Once Spirit to United and once United to Spirit.

#hAAte AAmerican AAirlines

Our family flies on average at least once a month. We have proudly implemented our wonderful policy a few years ago; never fly American!

They are by far the worst airline ever, and in every aspect! Additionally, many of their flight attendants are horrible creAAtures!

Yosseld

@Dan A useful truck I discovered when my AAwful flight was delayed an additional hour once on board following a 3.5 hour delay in MIA:

There was a guy who “refused” to hang up a FaceTime call on his cell phone. AA crew would not leave the gate until he hung up, which he didn’t do. Eventually (about an hour later) they called security and had him removed from the flight.

Give it a shot next time you gotta get off a flight. Apparently it is illegal for them to leave the gate if someone is on the phone (may be only a video call).

EZ

If that won’t come off as a Chillul Hashem (disgrace to God’s name), then I’m not sure what will.

yakov cohen

the main reason poeple are avoding he low cost flight is because wehn it comes to a delay they will not reroute you anywhere, so now AA is acting like a low carrier

Seth

AA also announced a devaluation of their club membership today

AJK

…so what will happen to the Avios?

Double Dee

Very unamerican of American. Must be a division of spirit airlines. The first thing they teach these gate reps are lie, lie, and lie. Had very similar issues with jet blue. Will never fly them again,even for free.

Mark

The issue with that logic is there are so few carriers that eventually you either have to fly them or not fly at all.

shane

did you get your points back at list for the return flight on american? if you flew with them already to nyc , and iberia lets you book round trip way only, then they would not have give you half the points back.? NO?

shmarayahu

how many advantage to dubai in business rt? and can you tell us the cheapest way to get to london using points w/o surcharges thank you

Miriam

So whats the best way to use up AA advantage points?
Whats about the Thank You points? Is that some how different?

ShmuliT

What is the reason they cancel and then blame it on the weather?
Doesn’t canceling flights make it harder for them to have to reaccommodate?

CtownBin

They don’t cancel flights on purpose, of course.
But, when they do have to cancel because of something that is their fault- anything from staff not showing up to a mechanical issue with the plane- they lie and blame it on the weather because this gets them out of paying compensation to passengers in various forums, including hotel accommodations and accommodations on other airlines.
In this case, the claim is laughably outrageous because there were TWO other airlines that took off as scheduled on the same route at the exact same time. It is mind-boggling that they had the audacity to make that claim in that situation…

EZ

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-american-airlines-logo-copyright-20181017-story.html Somewhat related- not only are they a mess operationally, but their marketing and logos are less flavorful than plain-yogurt. No innovations, little desire for improvements.

United Fan

I don’t know why more people are not flying with United over AA. There service is much better and every time they messed up they’ve compensated (and sent us on a different airline). They also seem to be much nicer with children (AA doesn’t allow a stroller passed security which they blame on TSA when no other airline has that policy).
I always ask the flight attendant before putting on Teffilin by my seat. One time that I did while on United, the flight attendant curtained off part of the galley in the back so that I can have privacy when davening. That to me is impressive.
Don’t forget that Dan has posted a ton of times that the United credit card is also much better than the others.

Mendel

In many cases people have no choice when flying to NY, if they want to get to JFK or LGA and not EWR.

E

American is the worst. These days I pay a little more for other airlines unless it’s significant amount or my schedule needs that flight. Worst part of AA is their workers they hire before tsa security check- in LGA or maybe it was JFk to make sure that you didnt bring a carry on if you’re a basic economy. Or that you dont bring extra if youre a regular economy passenger. They will not let you past and when I told them I would consolidate my stuff at the gate they refused to let me past. Other airlines dont have people standing before security; they make u consolidate before you board where there are chairs to help you. They made up stories saying they work for the government which TSA said isnt true. When i asked for their names they covered up their badges. I asked for their supervisor and no one came for like 45 minutes. Then they had their friend workers intimidate me. I called up aa but of course wait time was an hr and my flight was leaving in an hour and a half. Finally no choice but to consolidate and later emailed AA about it but they didnt care or didnt respond. Hate AA. Worst airline.

A

Booked a flight to ORD for business, could choose any flight. Thought of your AA nightmares and decided on UA and B6. Wasn’t interested in dealing with any potential AA shenanigans.

Sam

More complaining from Dan. Keep it positive, you’re turning off many readers. We come here for excitement and good deals not for negativity.

jack

(Not worth to start up but I will anyhow, can hold my self back)
Huh? Why would you come on someone site and insult him? You’re choice to come and read, I dont think anyone would have problem if you dont back to site ever again.

Thanks Dan for running a great site keeping us in touch with all the Airline Hoc and everything else. Keep it up!

M G

As you mentioned that you bought your ticket with IB miles. so it wasn’t AA tickets.
the agents at the airport have always a hard time to change a ticket if it’s not their ticket.
I guess if you would have a AA issued ticket they would rather change it for you to another airline.
2) it was a bonus ticket. so bonus tickets at their terms are a gift from them. They are not so obliged to you.

A

Get educated and come back

yyk

Dan, just curious… You say u booked a backup return ticket on United, but why didn’t you do the same for the first leg of the trip? Was there no award availability on United?

Oversight?

Is there any oversight by FAA or other agency to prevent an airline from lying about the reason for the delay (and calling it weather as opposed to mechanical,.etc)?

Curious

You say you put a United flight on hold, which in the end you did end up using.
Question is, how did you put it on hold? And what would of happened had you not taken it, would you have gotten your United miles back?

Josh

So you don’t fly Spirit, Elal, and American. Anything else?
Lol!

Sammy

I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one with crazy experiences with AA! I was scheduled that same day, Sept 26, on a flight from lga to Chicago. After boarding and taking us to the runway they announced that the line for take off is longer than usual. After about a hr they announced that one of their crew members are retiring for the night and they have to see if they can get a replacement. After another half hr. We got msgs to our phone saying that our flight has been cancelled!!! The pilot then got on the microphone announcing the flight is cancelled and we should all get off and be in touch with AA regarding a different flight. They were only able to put us on a flight the next day and when I asked about them putting us up in a hotel, they said not when it’s weather related!! Full of garbage!! Blame everything on the weather!!

Ten Bucks a Week

I guess I have been lucky. I got rebooked on Delta going from NYC to YYC. Then when they delayed my flight so I wouldn’t make connection to Dublin they put me on BA, but I was business. I recently used their promotion to get EP for only 35k EQM. Hope to not have those experiences, but I travel without kids so I can take a beating.

Chuchum Ainer

Still waiting on your thoughts about united threatening someone over skiplagging (admittedly over-skiplagging)

iahphx

Anecdotal stories can be interesting but, at the end of the day, they’re still just anecdotal. Personally, I’ve had a terrible run of luck on various USA domestic flights this year. In my last 20 domestic flights, I’ve had 2 diversions for medical reasons (UA and AA) and one emergency landing for a pressurization failure (Jetblue). The odds of 3 such diversions out of 20 flights would be 10,000 to 1. I’d almost guarantee that none of your readers have had luck this bad.

And that’s why you have to rely on REAL non-anecdotal statistics. Those stats show UA and AA reliability to be about the same, and DL’s to be slightly better. If AA and DL had flights leaving at the same time and I absolutely had to be there on-time, I might fly DL. Otherwise, no US airlines has a real MATERIAL reliability advantage. Those are facts; like many though who have had bad individual experiences, you can choose to ignore them.

iahphx

I meant to provide the real stats. Here they are for September. As I mentioned, DL is SLIGHTLY more reliable than UA and AA, but not enough to really be material. And that’s even after including all the cancelled/delayed flights at AA’s CLT hub due to Hurricane Florence. So hate on any airline you want, but it’s wrong to do so, and you should know better.

https://www.flightstats.com/v2/monthly-performance-reports/airlines

YYXOGG

@Iahphx
Your missing the point. We understand that all airlines will be delayed and or canceled at times. The point is, most airlines will move you to another airline when need be. Dan is claiming AA will not do that anymore for the most part. So you will be left stranded or missing your event.

Meilech

No mention about car rental, did you rent and switched the return location? How much did they charge for that? (Sometimes they charge a hefty penalty)

Kalman Tuchman

Two years ago I swore of AA after my reservations and paid-for seat upgrades were canceled by an AA agent. We were flying to LAX from JFK, and then to Australia. We ended up in the last row of the plane (QANTAS ), and AA lost our kosher food reservation. The crew on QANTAS was wonderful and tried their best to accommodate us with bananas and apples,, non- kosher wine, non- kosher first class meals. etc.. They even gave me entree to their quarters to pray, but nothing can make up for the aggravation, and hunger. AA declined to give me any accommodation for their fault. That’s why I never booked AA again and gave up on whatever miles I still had in the bank.

Traveler 718

With all due respect to Dan and others, I still think I have the dubious record of worst-ever AA flight experience (certainly domestically), as spelled out in glorious detail here:

https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46562.msg961746#msg961746

Despite appealing to them through every forum imaginable, I never got anything more than generic form letters and denials for any compensation whatsoever.

Sam M

Hi All,

I’m a newly regular traveler and I’ve being flying AA so far, I have gold status and about 50k miles with them. My home airport is LGA and I routinely travel to Boston, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, and St. Louis.

I’ll be running about 120-150 flights/yr (one ways). What airline should I pick and stick with?

Thanks!

AA

I have flown Aa many times with zero incidents
Had same story you described with united
You may have a blog, but it doesn’t make you God
When there are incidents , you are just like everyone else
If you
Don’t like an airline , choose another
Not nice to put such a post
Not nice to teach a toddler such attitude
Teach kids midos acceptance and all is from god
And make your choices carefully
Rafis “I deserve ” attitude is not cute
Hashkafa

Myi

Only thing I really like about AA, is the empty planes, which means I get free upgrades to a bulkhead/Emergency exit seat by asking a flight attendant nicely.
As well try to fly out of jfk, while lga is the king for delayed and canceled flight.

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