Doug Parker @ American Airlines: How not to treat your most loyal customers

Subject: Doug Parker @ American Airlines: How not to treat your most loyal customers
From: CReynes
Date: 9 Jun 2016

I will preface this by saying that I’m a lifetime American Airlines Gold Member having flown more than 1MM miles on AA, and have also been either a Platinum or Executive Platinum member most years for the past decade. In other words, I have spent a small fortune with your airline, and you still insist on treating me like crud. Let's all agree that flying these days is nothing short of a miserable experience (Southwest, Alaska Air, and many international airlines excluded), made that much worse by surly American Airline employees, unprecedented horrible customer service and apathy toward your most loyal customers. I have accepted the fact that my "status" means little, except for early boarding and "free" luggage (ha!) and since the merger with USAir, I can't remember the last time I got a free upgrade since the dwindling inventory is now shared with so many other customers with "status". But, even for airlines, American has managed to set the low-bar low and clearly my loyalty means nothing to you.

Recently, I was booked on American flights from EU back home to California. On the way to the airport, my cab got in an accident and when it was clear I was going to miss my flight, I called American Airlines. Initially, your people booked me on other American flights, however, somewhere along the line, they changed their story and told me that I’d need to fly back to California (through London Heathrow) on British Airways and charged me $1,747.10 for the privilege of doing so. (It should be noted that your phone representatives did not ask if the cab driver and I were alright, so I'm happy to tell you that neither of us was injured...thank you for your concern).

The British Airways flight to LHR was then 2 hours late arriving into LHR so I missed the British Airways flight from LHR to know, the one that you charged me $1,727.10 more to be on. One of your customer service reps at LHR told me that I should not have been charged additionally for the new ticket due to what they referred to as an "involuntary reroute". The customer service representative told me to contact American when I arrived home. It should be noted, that because of the missed flight at LHR, I ended up taking the exact same flight American flight I was originally scheduled to be on from LHR/LAX, but a day later, so given that I didn’t fly the British Airways flight that your company charged me $1,747 for, I’m quite certain that YOU did not end up having to pay anything to British Airways for the flight I never boarded.

I have tried several times, unsuccessfully, to talk with one of your esteemed American customer service people to request a refund for a service that you did not provide me, but have been denied any human contact. Ironically, I have NEVER had a problem talking with a human when American wants to charge me for something, but I digress. So, per their instructions, I filed a refund request online, which, naturally and shockingly, was refused and when I asked to inquire further, I was told that I still couldn't talk to anyone.

I have now filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, and contacted the Los Angeles Times consumer advocate columnist. You see, as determined as you are to set the low-bar low in an industry already reviled for its poor treatment of even its most loyal customers, I am equally determined to let everyone know about it.

Shame on you, Doug Parker and all of American Airlines.