God Bless American Airlines

Travel Stinks. I hate it. Especially for work. But sometimes, just sometimes, there are perks that make it worth it. Here is an example that is NOT one of those perks (edited for amusement of course):

Dear American Airlines,
I have been an Aadvantage member for what feels like a lifetime, having flown close to 300,000 miles with your airline over the past few of these years. I was even enchanted enough with your services to pay the additional money required to sit in the Admirals Club on occasion.

During my relationship with American Airlines I have encountered a level of unbelievable poor service, which I had not previously considered possible, as well as continued rudeness of colossal proportions. Please allow me to elaborate on the most recent incident so that you can either pursue your directive as the Sr. VP of Customer Service and seek to rectify these difficulties – or more likely (as I suspect) so that you are able to have memorable (and fun) reading materials as you travel to your most pressing golf tournament or fritter away the hours at your local bar.

For my continued torturous travel on your airline, I received two American Airlines ‘Fly Three, Fly Free’ award certificates earlier this year. These were valid through 2004 for flights within the Continental US only barring more blackout dates than I can list on this sheet of paper.

After reviewing schedules with my family, a September / October timeframe was chosen to redeem these for a trip. On September 9th I spoke with an agent at American Airlines (lets call her Miss Happy), as required on the certificate to schedule travel. She walked me through the 435 steps needed to schedule the travel, and our trip was booked for October 26-29. We then secured accommodations and transportation which we were practically forced to take out a home equity loan to cover. Our record locator was issued, and the flight showed “purchased” on aa.com. Now in most circles, this means the trip is confirmed. Amazing how you appear to have missed that little piece of knowledge in your business.

On September 29th we received a call from some schmuck (lets call him Mr. Dick) at American Airlines regarding our planned trip. We were told that the trip was not valid due to a Saturday night stay requirement which had not been met. Say what? Where in the .04 pt Extra Small Font was that little juicy morsel? After being transferred to a supervisor that perhaps doubles as a waitress at the local waffle house (we will call her The Bitch), we were told that American Airlines understood that THEY made the mistake in planning this trip. They admitted they were WRONG. The Bitch admitted that MANY people were misled and she was SORRY. She admitted that they neglected to mention the Saturday stay which was required.

We were then told that as compensation for YOUR AIRLINE'S mistake, our trip would have to be cancelled. Nice. Thank you VERY MUCH.

You screw up, I pay.

Interesting new slogan: American Airlines – where we do whatever the fuck we want because we don’t give a shit about you – our loyal, idiot customers.

After receiving a call from yet another supervisor we were informed of the following:

1. American Airlines made a mistake and booked our trip in error – neglecting to make us stay over a Saturday night (your mistake, I pay the price)

2. The agent that booked the trip had been reprimanded and they are all truly sorry for the inconvenience (beaten with a wet noodle and sent home early)

3. They have no options but to stick to the rules and cancel our flights (screw you)

We were given the following options:

1. Reschedule the trip when a Saturday stay could be included (spend more money to take our free trip)

2. Purchase tickets to Key West for the desired flights (spend WAY more money than needed to go somewhere you were just picking out of lack of anywhere better to go before the end of the year)

3. Use our frequent flyer miles to purchase tickets to Key West for the desired flights (spend pretend, but still valuable money to go on your free trip – and pay a fee to do it)

4. Cancel the trip (and continue to be screwed)

I find the above options to be less than adequate for the following reasons:

1. There is not sufficient time to plan another trip prior to these awards expiring given the black-out dates and the holidays (there are about 1.3 days free between now and the end of the year)

2. Extension of the planned trip is not possible due to the annual Key West festival, making accommodations impossible to secure with such late notice (too many freaks staying in the hotel to allow for us to hang out an extra day)

Based on no other reasonable options, we have decided to take it up the tail pipe and use existing Aadvantage miles to purchase these tickets so that we do not forfeit the money secured for the hotel and transportation. This has left me with a deficit of 50,000 miles (which I had planned to use toward future flights), big hcosts for a hotel room, costs for having pets taken care of, costs for car rental – all so we can have a free vacation compliment of American Airlines.


I am now left with two unusable reward tickets that expire at the end of the year with approximately 1.3 days of available time to use them. Bravo. FANTASTIC customer retention plan you have going. Were you perhaps personally responsible for turture in some third-world prison prior to this?

REQUESTED ACTION: I would like American Airlines to extend the deadline of these ‘Fly Three, Fly Free’ award certificates through March 2005, so that we have ample time to plan another trip. If this is not possible, I would like the 50,000 miles placed back in my account to compensate for the error that American Airlines made. Or perhaps you can just go fuck yourself. That would work too.

I am available to discuss this issue further, and expect to hear from you no later than October 15th, 2004. I may be reached at the contact number listed below. If you do not respond, I will have no option but to take fingernail clippers and a nail file on my next flight. Oh the demons you will unleash.