We Didn’t Intend To Fly American, But They Still Managed To Get Us Again

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I have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad luck when flying American. I avoid AA when possible and fly them perhaps 5% of the time, but they make up 95% of my flights that are massively delayed or cancelled. I have Executive Platinum status on American, but that doesn’t make their operations any better.

Last month, a commenter asked why I didn’t use Avios to fly on American to NYC. My aversion to American is so strong that I flew United to Newark to get to Queens instead of flying American to JFK.

In 2015, American stranded us in JFK airport overnight when they cancelled our flight to London after countless hours of delays. And then it took 8 months just to get a refund from that fiasco.

I had avoided flying American after that, but was lured back in when Iberia was giving away promotional Avios. But flying American in 2018 on those expiring promotional Avios meant that we missed my grandfather’s 90th birthday party.

Last year, American tempted me back with 30K business class awards in lie-flat business class to Maui. It was an epic fail involving multiple cancelled flights, including one with 8 hours of rolling delays followed by 5 hours of mechanical delays on the tarmac before the crew timed out and cancelled the flight. We wound up having to overnight in Dallas and spent 49 hours in transit.

Why would I tempt fate again?

Well, we flew on United to Fort Lauderdale for our kids’ mid-winter break last Sunday and were booked to fly home on Thursday. However United cancelled their entire flight schedule in and out of Cleveland on Thursday due to the snowstorm.

I had booked American using Avios as a backup on Friday morning in case of issues on United, but before the trip, American changed the flight time to make it too close to Shabbos. I held onto that flight anyway, as having a flight with a schedule change is very valuable. I called British Airways to make a change and they said there was no award space and couldn’t help me. I then called American and they said they couldn’t help me as British Airways sold the ticket, however the AA agent offered to transfer me to a dedicated British Airways desk to resolve issues.

That BA desk was able to switch our flight to a Sunday morning flight that would have otherwise cost $400 per passenger. Score!

So I booked us an Airbnb for Shabbos and planned on using that American backup ticket after all.

I was hoping that I would be able to switch the United flight from Thursday to Sunday to have another backup flight, but there weren’t enough seats available on United’s Sunday flight, so we hoped for the best.

My son Rafi asked me last night which airline we were flying, and when I told him American he was thrilled, as he said that meant he would be back late to school as they would surely just cancel our flight.

And sure enough, I woke up this morning and saw that they got us again:


Their flight to Cleveland tonight and tomorrow morning were full, so they moved us to a flight tomorrow night.

But that will just be a backup, as I quickly grabbed 6 saver award seats on United’s Monday afternoon flight from  Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland, which was their next available flight.

I tried calling American, but the Executive Platinum line announced there would be a 3-4 hour hold time and the in-app chat wouldn’t connect to an agent. Finally after 3.5 hours, American called back and confirmed there was nothing else they could offer.

How is it even possible to have such bad luck with an airline?!?

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104 Comments On "We Didn’t Intend To Fly American, But They Still Managed To Get Us Again"

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Bill Evavi

If you don’t use them How are you still EP with them?


How can I get on the phone with a reo from American?

Ben Y

Score one for Rafi!


Do they at least pay for overnight stay?


I fly American almost weekly. it seems you just have bad luck. although in this case, it’s a matter of there being a massive overload due to cancelations, affecting most airlines.


What are you talking about I flew with them a couple of times and almost every time they feel like the best airline of 1970


I dont think its just his bad luck. Ive had the same experiences every time I flew AA – till I finally came to the realization I need to avoid them altogether. They were horrible every time!
They also once stranded us overnight in the airport after a bunch of delays sitting on the plane until they cancelled us for the night and rebooked us for a stopover flight (we bought direct) from ny to cleveland through philadelphia.
They wouldnt even give a hotel voucher right away. We had to fight and ask for it and when they finally offered one they gave us only for a specific hotel right near lga when we were flying out of jfk early the next morning. It made no sense and obviously noone on the flight took it bc it wasnt helpful giving us a hotel 45min away for just a few hrs b4 we would have to be back…
Ive spoken to soo many people who had negative encounters with AA which just made me surer than ever that I dont wanna fly them anymore.
Too bad back then when our incident happened I wasnt aware of all the ins and out of reimbursement and just accepted theyre worthless 10,000 miles as an apology for the crazy fiasco they got us into which was completely their fault. (The cancelation was bc of technical issues, not weather related at all)


What’s are the ins and outs of reimbursement?
I only got 12500 miles a few weeks ago. I asked for more and they have another 2500 miles :/


Truth be told, I fly American a lot, and only had issues once in the past few months, with a long delay.

I had more issues with Delta and JetBlue.


Wow. That’s kind of crazy.
Why didn’t you try flying out of MIA or nearby airports?

How’s Rafi chilling? Lol

BTW you allowed for the perks from the cc($ to use per day?) when a flight is canceled and rebooked or only for a delay?
A nice roundup of those offers for specific cards would be great, now that’s its cancelation and delayed flight season.

Kyle Ken

There’s a season of cancelation and delay?


Called, rain snow and bad weather.


And covid, but that season may be here to stay


FYI: if you ever need to speak to an AA agent. You can call from a phone that has a reservation to check in or call about your flight. They had a 3 minute wait instead of a 45 minute wait from a number who didn’t have a reservation. Anyone else have this luck?


Sucker. Keep getting sucked in for American.
I’ll rather take a greyhound then fly american.


I have the same stories but much worse with vacations on Delta – NOT one, NOT twice, but THREE times, they ruined our vacations. I never fly them anymore – so yeah, Your AA is my Delta


Lol, love how Rafi knows the deal


Thanks for making us feel human! We’ve had so many delayed, cancelled, lost luggage, and never found luggage issues. (At one point, we kept flying for free, since each flight would be booked with ETC issued from the previous flight’s issues)
It’s inevitable, I guess, for those that fly often, but it’s oh so frustrating!

Shmuli neighbor

I got canceled on Thursday to Cle and booked a JetBlue sat nite fll-Cle 6k Amex per person.

Ed Travel

Just curious, how come you don’t fly Delta more? I know they usually have tickets that are more expensive but they are pretty good at getting you there on time.


G-d must know you are a blogger and gives you things to write about. Stop the blog for a while and see if it gets better. Also bonvoy story. 🙂


Is their flight to Israel more reliable? I booked a business award jfk-tlv when u posted the deal and want to know if international is handled more responsibly


I flew sevaral times AA TLV-JFK, and was pleasently suprised.


I flew to AA MIA – JFK last Tuesday. There were 9 standby passengers with 4 getting seats. We still took off 30 minutes early with a packed plane and landed 45 minutes early… Our bags came out before we were off the plane and we got home 2 hours earlier then expected. Guess you just have bad luck with them!


Maybe if you give them better PR they will stop trying to get you;)


AA Manager in EWR can’t hide hate against us even if we pay her.
A middle aged blonde lady, several friends told they also had real nasty encounters with her.


Dan is right. AA sucks don’t know how you haven’t had a bad experience. I just flew them Sunday JFK-MIA on what was supposed to be a 3 hour flight. They ended up diverting to RSW and the flight ended up being a total of 7 hours to MIA.

Then the next day my routing was supposed to be MIA-CLE-JFK (a layover in CLE to pickup my son) but of course they cancelled a fully sold out flight. All flights were sold out to all hubs and including DL and UA so they ended up rerouting me MIA-JFK-CLE-JFK. Yes you read that right JFK twice in the same day. Oh then they delay the JFK-CLE flight by 1.5 hours, land 1 hour later in CLE but because they are understaffed they don’t have a gate to go to at CLE since the AA gates were occupied. Plane ends up staying on the taxiway for 2 hours until the gate clears. Luckily the plane and crew is the same for the CLE-JFK return so just exited the plane and reboarded 20 min. later and had to buy my ex-wife a refundable ticket to get her past security with my son since there was no time to exit security and pick him up by checkin at this point. Basically end up back in JFK at 9:15 pm after being in airports since 6:30am. Bottom line: Horrible airline with terrible OPS. Only thing they are good for is clearing T-72 out if you’re platinum-pro and above on their JFK-MIA widebody route.

All airlines are the same

Last Sunday, Jetblue canceled a friend out of PBI with no warning or compensation, another out of MCO on both Sunday and Monday. All three people were told there is nothing (paying, not award) before Wednesday. Two groups waited it out and I canceled the Monday out of MCO and got refunded, then booked them AA through CLT. They had a great experience. Sorry you haven’t!


Is untied any better? they cancelled and created this mess, dont blame AA

As a lifetime platinum was upgraded on AA363 on 1/31 just as courtesy, and previously JFK TLV got business class meals in main


Not feeling comfortable with my AA award flights from MIA-YYZ this Chol Hamoed.
Hoping it’ll work out. Maybe they’re not as quick to cancel flights to Canada? They only have 1 or 2 a day.


Just double check with Dan to make sure he is not on that same flight. With Dan there the chances of cancellation or delays increase by 95%!



I couldn’t agree with you more. I fly 4-6 flights a week and I stick to UA with DL as a backup. I am 1k with UA and Platinum with DL. When I have had no other option I have flown AA and it was always trouble, from canceling flights to diversions etc.


I honestly get chizuk that you have bad experiences too, its not just us regular untravel savvy folks:) Sometimes you seem like you are winning too much at this:)



Maybe it’s something with CLE? (Not that I think AA is that greAAt, but I wonder if your situation might have been different if you were flying to NYC or even some other major hub city.


Dan, in a recent post you wrote regarding giving a solution for the airline representative and they will help you…I followed your advice….

We were scheduled with JetBlue last week Jan 29 (motzha shabbat) leaving JFK > LAX 8:30pm then next day 7am with SW from LAX > HNL,
However all flight in and out JFK were cancelled due to snow storm including ours, JB rescheduled us for next day 8:30am, which means we would have missed the next flight to HNL 7:00am

I arrived in JFK, parked quickly, 1h7m before my original scheduled flight that was already cancelled, I went straight to mosaic desk, (the status I got with the 15k spending promo you posted… thanks!) And ask agent nicely, I know all flights are canceled today, but I just noticed a 6:30pm scheduled flight from JFK > ONT (54miles from LAX) was pushed twice already now scheduled to 8:30pm can you please switch us to that flight for tonight? She said it’s to late, they are about to start boarding, I asked politely said, this flight was pushed twice and will be pushed again, as the weather just started getting better, can I please speak with the top supervisor in JFK? She said yes, She went over and had a quick chat with him, explained my proposal, and asked for his opinion, and sure enough both of them came back and quietly switched me and my wife over to that flight, and escorted us like a king up to security checkpoint, she even asked TSA to take me next, (though I have TSA pre and clear) and as we ran to the gate, sure enough the flight was pushed off on another 30 to 40 minutes, so we had a few minutes to request an EMS upgrade from the gate agent, and we walked into a 75% empty flight, they asked us if we can please speard out so the plain would be balanced better, with me having 3 x EMS and my wife the other side 3 x EMS, we fall asleep in a lay flat bed all for $142/RT PP.



Art Z

Two quick AA stories.
About 10 years ago, we were flying nonstop from NY to FLL. Some mechanical delay got our nonstop flight cancelled and we were rebooked changing at Reagan. At Reagan, connection to FLL was cancelled, and our bags were left in NY. They booked us into their Marriott far away in Alexandria and a 5 am flight the next morning and the agent said, “Take the free shuttle from the hotel in the morning.” Woke up early, but shuttle didn’t start until too late, so we cabbed or Lyfted back. American wouldn’t reimburse the fare. Bags met us later that night in Miami by cab from MIA. We had enough time, though, to have dinner at Eli’s in DC (and no bags to schlep on the Metro).

Another time, on the way from MIA to west coast with a long change in Charlotte. AA had just started letting passengers track bags. At Charlotte, AA app said bags went on a flight to Phoenix instead of with us. There was a flight from Phoenix to Bay Area, that would get in same time as our arrival from Charlotte. I made dozens of calls and went to a customer service booth, but no one could or would send our bags on to SFO. They were only going to be put on a carousel in Phoenix. Period. We got to SFO, only to discover that the app was wrong, and CS was wrong and the bags had actually flown nonstop MIA to SFO and were in the baggage office before we arrived.

Nu, nu.


I recently flew aa mia to Cleveland on a Friday morning with no issues. I also thought they would cancel as less than half the seats were sold , but by the flight left on time, without incident


Just booked flights from EWR to MIA for this week though UR points (should have tried to book last week once we decided to go, but didn’t have enough time before Shabbos) and AA was the best option (once we eliminated Spirit and Frontier), hoping things won’t turn out too badly, but there was nothing else still reasonable, even with the United credit I still have to use up, we’ll see if they can get their act together…


I mean at this point you should be booking on AA just to take advantage of CC insurance.


We thought it was kind of interesting when looking at the board in MIA on Friday evening that an American flight from MIA to LGA had been cancelled as well as an American flight from MIA to JFK, but as best we could tell, all United flights flew to EWR that day. Our flight at 6:50 p.m. on Friday on United to EWR had plenty of empty seats.


Can anyone point me to a post discussing compensation I would be entitled to if the airline cancels due to mechanical issues?
Thank you!

miriam kairey

it’s not bad luck. They are just terrible. We paid top dollar for a direct flight on a Sunday from MIA to JFK. They cancelled at the last minute citing the weather when there was no issue and all the other flights took off. We stayed in a crummy airport hotel and came home the next day after a layover in DC


american wouldn’t allow my two minor children to board a flight for which we arrived hours early because of some snafu where the $11.20 in taxes was not paid on only those 2 tickets. after arguing/begging, etc. some of us went on the original flight & my husband stayed with the 2 kids. about 10 hours later they booked them on a double connecting flight – beyond awful, basically no apology and only after I made a big deal with customer service did they award us $200 vouchers. I flew american for about 15 years and over the past 5 years they’ve gotten worse. I’m trying to use up my miles and then I’m finished.


יסורין של אהבה 🙂


You are not the only one jinxed by American. I used to fly a lot more for business, and I flew a lot of AA flights, they got me three Fridays in a row with late flights where I had to run to my connection only to have the flights gone every time. I arrived late 4hrs the first time, 6hrs the second time, and had to find a flight on SWA the last time just to get me home faster. After that I never flew AA again and never plan to.


My flight on AA from Miami to Tel Aviv had to turn back to Miami after 2 hours in the air. AA booked a hotel for us overnight and I took a cab to and from the airport and left the next morning. My compensation? $250 flight credit and no reimbursement for the cab rides!! Thanks American.


I think as long as coming or going to israel if not due to weather it is an Israeli law they need to compensate you almost 1k. Did you try to get compensated? Depending how far back it was usually you just need to email them info. When I did it with aa we got the money within a few weeks. Good luck.


Who do you contact for that compensation?

Not a liar

So happy for your son!


I never fly American. They’ve been trash for at least the past 8 years.


AA also stands for Aggravated Assault. It’s not worth the blood pressure. Just stay away.


American airlines has always been an unethical airlines since early 2000’s. They and United are the 2 worst. Want to fly a much better airline, fly Alaska. AA and United are the airlines that one flys when the want the worst flying experience. That’s even if they ever get to their destination. No amount of point or perks are worth their terrible and humiliating service. Also remember they are always the first to turn their planes around to show all of their customers that they still have the power to ruin all of your trips because someone did wear their mask just right. In my opinion these are 2 airlines that should continue to go out of business.


American is simply UnAmerican…


And that’s besides what they had this passed Friday 3hr delay from MIA-Nyc and just made it to the zman home


Unfortunately DL is the only reliable domestic by a long shot. Their miles are worthless but sometimes it just makes sense to pay cash for flights. They are by far the best operationally and they take care of their elites.


Dan i’m in the same boat. got cancelled on that 10am flight out of MIA to CLE. Now we are sleeping near the FLL airport and hoping our AA flight tomorrow actually works out. Does the Sapphire preferred also cover some eligible expenses for the trip delay?


also i caught them lying…first rep said it was weather related but second said it was staffing issues.


Lucky you didn’t get on the evening MIA-CLE flight AA363. Rolling delays!
Enjoy United.


Delta is an amazing airline, good track record of being ontime and until there was a federal mask mandate in place they didn’t require 2 year olds to wear masks.


your lucky American at least has a call back function delta makes you wait on hold for six hours without giving you an option of a call back, and was american able to connect you to a special ba desk because you called the exec platinum line or do even calling the regular 1800 number gives you a shot at getting thru,


I’m platinum with AA. Had a flight Sunday afternoon to MIA. Late Saturday night it got cancelled and the only alternate options were stopovers. Quickly booked on UA. Called AA to get them to cancel my outbound so the inbound would still be valid. Got told there’s a 4+ hour wait to speak to an agent. Put my number on the list for a call back. This was at 1:30am. At 1:30pm 12 hours later I called again and got a message saying I was still on the callback list and it was still a 4+ hour wait. Hung up. Finally at 3pm got a callback. That’s 14 hours. Ridiculous. I hope my return is not as messed up as it’s the last flight out for the day.

mark n

Why people flew to FL KNOWING huge snowstorms were coming is beyond me. No one feels like they went on vacation after spending endless hours and days in delays getting home… there was precisely a 100 percent chance of getting massive grief trying to get home.


Dan, but what alternatives will remain in a few years time! Jetblue being rated as the worst airline of 2021 (Wall Street Journal), and rightfully so. Jeblue continues to race to the bottom, and as I opined over the past few years, there won’t be a noticeable difference between B6 and NK in a few year’s time. Sprit and Frontier now looking or approval to merge (Washington Post 2/7/22). AA with their continued shtusim. The takeaway is wondering if you believe that of the 3 remaining legacy carriers, will one of them cough first, and 2 will remain? Good Sunday Roundup thought?


Hey @Dan next time try calling AA in another english speaking country (think SA Australia NZ) from experience it works great (25min) even when wait times in the U.S. are 26 hours


i bh had my private plane with aa92 phl to zrh and return zrh to phl aa93 last week
plane capacity is 200 outbound had 25 people inbound had 20 people service was fantastic left on time arrived on time
in fact even though we had great weather on our 10 day vacation in swtzerland towards the end weather became very snowy was able to change my mileage ticket in a few minutes and arrived a day earlier anyone that want to go to switzerland now got from PHL the planes are empty every day
at least AA has some bright spots


I live in Philadelphia and despise AA. It is difficult situation as they control most of the gates. However, I will dive 90 minutes to EWR to avoid taking AA. Their pricing from PHL is always higher than EWR, LGA or JFK. The ground staff are RUDE!! The exception will be if they bring back the PHL-TLV nonstop. It was very profitable and they stopped it for no reason after the merge with USAir.

Flying Blue

AA’s 9:59 MIA to CLE flight today didn’t leave yet eitherl


Dan, you mentioned you recorded the captain saying it was maintenance, contrary to the call center. Is there anything you could practically do to present that to any kind of authority like the DOT in order to get compensated for accommodations? Or would that just be too easy? I have my own experiences getting help from the DOT (Aeroflot in 2014-story is as long as it is interesting-would love to share it one day), and I’m curious if something like this could be enforced. Thanks.

Avigayil Halberstam

I also had a NIGHTMAREEEEEE experience flying American yesterday…
We were leaving Maimi at 9 am it was delayed 30 minutes Early hours which wasn’t so bad because we had a little more time to go to the airport. But by THE time it was time for boarding they delayed us an hour cuz the crew wasn’t there, then another hour once the flight crew arrived.
They boarded us at 12PM we all think this is the end of it, they play the music about safety aircraft measures and then an announcement the pilot had to clock out. Is this a joke!
We waited till 1:30PM-2PM to get a new pilot. Then the plane had technical difficulties! Another hour. They didn’t deplane us. I’m not making this up!!!!! Three kids on a plane that had very little AC running, hourrrssss sitting on a plane!!!!! They couldn’t figure out the plane had issues between pilots shifts!!!! All this time we could have been back and forth Miami to cleveland.
I rather fly through Ft Lauderdale United airlines or SPIRIT for crying out loud.
I would rather fly spirit which says a lot.
For recap 9AM flight MIami >CLE
Delayed 10:30,11:30,12PM boarding and on plane 1PM-3:45PMsitting on aircraft all sorts of issues. Didn’t land till 5:45
Spent the entire day on a plane. They couldn’t just delay us prebording where we would have all had our sanity.


I also avoid AA almost ALL COST! They have terrible customer service, terrible frequent flyer program and doesn’t allow “Web specials” for partner airlines, terrible flight attendants’ attitude etc. etc.


Just curious, do you always book backup tickets, or only when you suspect that things may go south, such as now in the winter etc.?


Just flew AA international- JFK to TLV and had a horrible experience. Was flying with a lap child (infant) and requested a bassinet at the time of booking. I spoke to 2 reps prior to travel and was told to arrive at the airport early enough as bassinets are given first come first serve. When checking in the rep refused to assign a bassinet seat unless we upgrade to premium economy where the bassinet seats are located. Those seats were not yet assigned at the time we were checking in. Although the website clearly states that’s not the policy and reservations had told me the same the supervisor refused to give the bassinet seats to me unless we pay. We figured we’d try again at the gate but by then the seats were already taken. Once boarding we saw there were at least 4 or 5 infants on the flight and not one of them got the bassinet seats! Instead they were assigned to random people. In addition the rep split up all the families with children so that everyone was seated in different rows and once on the plane many many people were busy changing seats. It was a very full plane but she could’ve easily placed families together by assigning the premium economy seats which were available. I’d like to report the agent to AA. Who do I reach out to?


I saw one of your deals a few months ago about a deal American was having for flights from TLV to JFK. I booked a direct flight for $450 round trip. I then saw this article and got worried. Low and behold our flight last night was cancelled. And because it’s a Thursday night, there is no other way we can get to NY for Shabbat. I’m frustrated because it seems you predicted it, meaning this isn’t unusual. And secondly because they told us that it was cancelled when it was too late to make any other travel arrangements that would get us there for Shabbat. Any suggestions on how to get money back from the airline.