We are writing to follow up with you about the situation you encountered as a passenger on our flight 2396 on January 20. While we are sure you can appreciate our decision to return to Lubbock was motivated by our commitment to your safety, we also can appreciate that many of our customers’ important plans were significantly affected, and for that, we apologize.
In appreciation for your patience, we have made arrangements for an eVoucher for you (via a separate email). The eVoucher may be used towards the purchase of a ticket for travel on American Airlines or American Eagle within 12 months from the date of issue. While the eVoucher itself is nontransferable and cannot be sold or bartered, you may use it to buy a ticket for a friend or relative if you prefer.
Your loyalty is important to us and we would like to assure you that we are committed to getting you to your destination as planned. We’ll do our best to provide a smooth trip the next time you fly with us. We will look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.
K. J. Russell
Thank you for proactively reaching out and offering these tokens of your appreciation for our patience. Sadly, the amount of these vouchers has done more to aggravate the situation than alleviate it.
Due to the mechanical failure of one of your planes and the ensuing fiasco that followed, my wife and I both lost several hundred dollars worth of pay and were forced to miss some very important meetings, one of which took weeks to arrange.
After the initial shock of finding out that there is something wrong with our plane (disconcerting, to say the least) and that we have to turn around and land in Lubbock again, whereby we might miss our connection in Dallas, the crew then informs us that the only maintenance person at the airport is over thirty minutes away. Confirmation that my wife and I will indeed miss our connection.
So I pick up the phone to call customer service to see about getting another flight out and after waiting on hold for 40 minutes, am told that there are no other flights to Portland that night, nor are there any flights the following morning that will get us home before 9am.
Neither of us have eaten since earlier in the afternoon, expecting that we can find something in Dallas during our layover and because my wife has severe allergies to gluten and dairy and all but one of the restaurants in the Lubbock airport were closed, we are forced to eat beef jerky and corn nuts from the newsstand for dinner. Not ideal.
Eventually our flight from Lubbock is cleared and we make it to Dallas at 11:30p. The staff at the terminal desk are nice and provide us with meal and hotel vouchers, but confirmed that the earliest they can get us to Portland is 11:30a the following morning. Then begin the calls and emails to reschedule our respective work day, which keeps both of us up at the hotel until almost 2am.
I am forced to miss two meetings and ultimately waste 6 hours of PTO. That translates to $250 lost. My wife has to reschedule a meeting that she had been organizing for over three weeks and also has to miss 6 hours of work (she doesn’t get PTO), so she loses over $150 of wages. I also have to book another day with the dog sitter, $30.
We then have to wake up at 6:30a to catch a shuttle to the airport (that’s four and a half hours of sleep). When going through security in Dallas and again when boarding the plane, two AA crew members harass us about the size of our carry on luggage, which I have taken onto more than 2 dozen flights with no issue and we are forced to check the bag. Fine. No charge. Just more icing on the cake.
When we arrive in Portland, we have to take a taxi home ($45) because the ride we had arranged for the previous evening is at work. Then when we get to our car, which was parked at our friend’s house, the battery is dead. While this is obviously no fault of AA, we spend the next hour trying to find someone who can boost our car because all of our friends are at their respective jobs. It is 1:30p before my wife an I are able to get back to our home and begin our belated work day.
Our plans were indeed “significantly affected” and yet American Airlines only saw fit to offer two $150 vouchers. Our flight home to New Mexico (via Lubbock) cost over $800. $300 is not enough for one of us to fly round trip to any place we frequently fly to. Also, you might want to rethink $12 meal vouchers when sending someone to a hotel with a restaurant where two meals with drinks and tip comes to $35. And those breakfast vouchers are pretty much only good for egg mcmuffins at the airport which, I don’t know if you’ve heard, aren’t very good for you.
I’m not going to ask for anything more, because I shouldn’t have to, but I hope you can see how $300 in flight vouchers for two people, only valid on an airline that we’ve just had a pretty awful experience with, just feels a little insulting.
Dear Mr. Dictson:
Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We always appreciate hearing from our customers — even if the feedback is critical. I’m glad you took the time to share your experience with the difficulties surrounding your trip. Your contacting us not only gives us the chance to extend an additional apology for what happened, but your comments will assist us in the future in keeping the kind of frustration you experienced to an absolute minimum.
In addition, we are sorry that you were disappointed in the amount of the meal voucher we offered to you when your travel plans were affected by operational difficulties. When we extend meal vouchers, we do so as a gesture of goodwill. The amount given is not intended to cover the entire cost of the meals purchased but rather to help offset the cost of this unexpected expense.
While I acknowledge your request for additional compensation considering the disruption of your travel plans, the goodwill we previously extended to you and your wife was a simple gesture and a genuine demonstration of our concern for your inconvenience. We must respectfully decline to offer more. We simply aren’t in a position to assume financial responsibility for our customers’ personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of operational difficulties.
Once again, we apologize that we didn’t get you to your destination as planned. If given the chance to welcome you aboard again, we will do our best not to disappoint you. We would consider it a privilege to have your continued business.
Jane A. Knight
I’m not asking you to assume financial responsibility for my “personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of operational difficulties”. I’m just looking for an acknowledgement that your “mechanical difficulties” really screwed my day up and that a $150 voucher only valid on the airline that screwed my day up is hardly sufficient “goodwill”.
If you want my wife or I to ever give American Airlines another chance, I expect at least enough for a single round trip that doesn’t require me to shell out more money to a company that I am already upset with. I’m not asking for a trip to France or a briefcase full of cash. I just want to know that you care enough to try to keep me as a customer.
Your $150 voucher from my perspective says, “Hey, we’re sorry you had a crappy experience, but here’s $150 towards another crappy experience! But you’ll still owe us another $100+ on top of that.” What makes you think that just because you’re giving me a small discount on another flight on your airline that I’m just going to pony up more money for the chance that you’ll ruin my next vacation?
My wife and I make around 10 round trip domestic flights per year and at least one international flight per year. So you can stick to your guns with these $150 vouchers and never see another dime from us, or you can try again, impress us with our next flight, and make us lifelong customers. Simple math. There are plenty of other airlines for me to choose from, but you just posted a 2 billion dollar loss, so you need us a lot more than we need you. Your move.