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American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

Istanbul, Turkey
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American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

Being an avid traveler, I had the worst flight experience of my life with American airlines and I would like to share it and warn everybody about this airline's practices... I booked a ticket on December 2013 for a flight from New York to San Francisco. They had problems charging my credit card but I was never notified of the issue and I received my booking confirmation via email.

The day I was going to fly, the agents in the check-in counter told me there was a problem because the transaction had been declined and I still needed to pay for my ticket. I told them I hadn't been notified but I was happy to pay on site. However, they said the price of 158$ I had booked on December was not longer valid and if I wanted to fly, I would need to pay the current price of 560$ + 35$ fine for not having paid on time.

I felt that this was an abuse since I wasn't aware there was a problem and I could not afford the new price of the ticket but they said they could not help me and unless I agreed to pay the new price, I wouldn't be able to fly. This seemed like a very bad joke and I couldn't believe they were serious.

I requested to talk with a supervisor who proved to be the rudest person I have ever met. He didn't help me at all and limited to say it was my fault because I didn't pay and accused me that I wanted to fly for free. He was really disrespectful to me and refused to help.

As a last resort, I called the airline and told the agent who took my desperate call that the situation was unacceptable and they had to help me. I was crying of desperation and the agent finally understood that it was not my fault and changed the price of my ticket to the original one. The agents in the check in counter still made me pay the 35$ fine for not having paid on time.

This situation caused a big distress to me (one hour before a 6hours flight) and I almost missed my flight due to the huge incompetence of the American airline agents in JFK airport. I have never encountered worst customer service and I will never fly with this airline again. Please, be aware of their lucrative business (declining valid credit cards, not notifying their customers about the problem and then trying to charge them x4 times the original price).

Really shameful company.

Aberdeen, United...
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21. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

I bought flights on the AA Website (US site) last year using my UK credit card, receiving a confirmation of booking. several days later I had a miss call and an email stating to call them, the email did not say there was a problem with my booking or paying just that I had to call them. I called them and I had to tell them my card details again for security reasons after which I received my E ticket. So it is possible they tried to contact you at some point

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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22. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

most of the issues have been pointed out.

there is a difference between having a reservation or a booking on a flight and having it ticketed. International flights at times can be booked and if a savvy traveler checks online the reservation will say if it is ticketed or not ticketed and if the ticket is not paid for by a certain time the booking is typically cancelled.

The fact that AA did not notify the Op sounds strange -- I don't fly American much but other airlines do send reminder if a ticket is booked but not ticketed .

CC companies may not auth/capture a transaction if they feel there could be fraud and normally as soon as that txn is cancelled or denied, the page will refresh to state that That can happen with a simple 5 buck purchase on any reputable e-commerce site and to say that the AA site did not say that is strange - I bet the OP did not see that message -- again not the airline's fault

I find many people who travel abroad do not check in online if they don't have their PC or phone with internet nor do they go to their hotel business office to check in Again avid travelers I think would find a way to check in online

The final issue is that of verifying their bills. Not everyone does this but it is good business practice to have your cc company text or email every time there is a transaction say above a certain amount

sorry that the OP went through this but to say AA is at fault seems really bizarre.

Edited: 15 February 2014, 17:20
UK
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23. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

The fact that AA did not notify the Op sounds strange -- I don't fly American much but other airlines do send reminder if a ticket is booked but not ticketed .

======

In the days before OLCI, AA once did not ticket my booking, and it was only noticed when I got to check in at LHR. Fortunately I was there 3 hours ahead of time, as it took at least an hour to sort it out. Payment had been made, there was just an internal mess up on their part.

Edited: 15 February 2014, 17:25
Malvern, United...
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24. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

RojBlake,

Thank heavens for that it isn't just me the obsessive compulsive checker :)

Same here, I've booked planes, trains, ferries, cars, hotels and have never had a problem.......yet!. I guess that's down to my obsessive organisational skills with a hint of, "if anything's going to go wrong it'll happen to me!" And having any documentation required always accessible or to hand. Also, prevention is better than cure in my book.

London, United...
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25. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

C'mon though, who checks nothing...not that the ticket is issued , not that they are really booked on it, not that the flight is still as scheduled, not what seats are available, not that you can check in on line, not your credit card statements,,,nothing. Especially if not particularly affluent and can't afford a screw up.

Who does that? Really? Who does that?

London, United...
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26. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

I always check after booking anything online or through an agent with my online banking account to see how much money has been taken, just to make sure it is the same amount quoted, I double check everything, even if email confirmation has been sent to me for my booking.

Better to be safe than sorry.

x

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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27. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

I know it's a bit off topic, but just so I understand one of the points being made here, SazO and RojBlake - are you saying that you always go online to your credit card provider, within hours after making an airline booking, to see if the charge has appeared on your account there? Or do you just mean you check your CC bill when you get it against online purchase where you don't have a paper receipt? Or what?

SWT

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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28. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

>>>I know it's a bit off topic, but just so I understand one of the points being made here, SazO and RojBlake - are you saying that you always go online to your credit card provider, within hours after making an airline booking, to see if the charge has appeared on your account there? Or do you just mean you check your CC bill when you get it against online purchase where you don't have a paper receipt? Or what?<<<

I don't make a special effort, but I do regularly take a look at all of my bank and credit card accounts to make sure everything is OK. I don't know what I would do if I didn't see a charge when I expected to, as its never happened, I see it more as making sure I haven't been overcharged and that no one has hacked my accounts.

As SazO79 says, it may be due to my obsessional nature, but I also think that prevention is better than cure, and I always expect the worst!

Romford, United...
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29. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

There are so many possible reasons as to what happened but unless the OP tells us what the cc issuer has to say on the subject we're all trying to find our way in the dark

Haarlem, The...
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30. Re: American Airlines - Worst flight experience ever

The airline should have informed her about the charge not going through. They send her a confirmation email so they should have send her another one informing her about the problem.

Why lay the blame on the customer for not checking everything? She received a confirmation email, she should be able to be confident of getting on that flight. Especially when you are on the road traveling.

When she turned up at the airport the airline told her the payment hadn't gone through, but they could apparently still see her booking, so they should have accepted payment of the price agreed at booking. They knew what she booked and at what price. They caused unnecessary stress.