Help Squad: Getaway weekend turns into airline ticket nightmare

Help Squad,

I have a great Help Squad situation for you!

I went to Arizona over the weekend with five girlfriends for a fun getaway weekend, and my sister-in-law, Jamie Axe, realized when we got to the airport that she mistakenly booked her ticket to come back Sunday instead of Saturday.

American Airlines told her that all of their stand-by seats were filled and they charged her $675 for a one-way ticket home! This is after she had purchased a ticket.

Now here is the kicker. There were at least 15 empty seats on the plane so what prevented them from charging her a $75 change fee? I am so sick for her. Is this anything you can do to help?

Debbie Glickman, Highland Park

When we got Debbie’s e-mail, the first thing we did was contact her to get Jamie’s number. We then called Jamie and found out another huge part to the story. Jamie told us that she was actually considering staying the extra night to avoid paying the $675, but that on Saturday, her husband and three year-old son got into a car accident and she really wanted to get home to them. Thank heavens, no one was injured, but it was a traumatic experience for her child, and Jamie felt the need to rush home to soothe him. Wouldn’t any mother feel the same way?

Jamie also explained to us that when she arrived home, she filed a claim with American to get a refund for the $675 and was waiting to hear back.

We decided to give American Airlines a call with Jamie on the line. We were connected with corporate communications, where we spoke with a representative who took the information, including the part about the accident, and said someone would get back to us that day.

As promised, we received an e-mail and a phone call from Leslie Scott in corporate communications. Help Squad returned her call and told her about the accident, and the fact that Jamie was willing to show American proof of the accident in the form of a police report.

Scott was extremely sympathetic, and told us there was no need to show proof. She offered to refund Jamie the $200 change fee, but told us there was nothing she could do about the other $475. Scott told us that Jamie would be receiving a phone call in the next couple of days from a customer relations representative who would take down her credit card information and refund the $200.

In the meantime, Jamie called us back and told us she received an e-mail from American Airlines claims department in response to her original claim, stating there was nothing they could do, and that in the future, they recommend purchasing a refundable ticket.

We told Jamie about the $200 refund she would be receiving and to expect a call from a customer relations representative.

Later that day, Jamie did get the call and ironically, the representative asked her to provide the accident report. We’re not sure if there was miscommunication between the representative and Scott, but we felt it was in poor taste to ask for proof under those circumstances.

That said, American did show some compassion by giving Jamie the $200 credit.

Dear Debbie and Jamie,

We are pleased that we were able to help Jamie retrieve some of the cost she had to pay to get home to her family. More importantly, we are so happy that Jamie’s husband and son weren’t injured in the car accident. And lastly, it sounds like your girl’s weekend was really fun. That’s something you can’t put a price on, right? Hopefully for your next trip, your airfare will be much less expensive, giving you more cash for food, drinks and shopping, of course.

Tags:

0 Comments

Modal