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Airlines Just Don't Care

Seabrook, Texas
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210 posts
61 reviews
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Airlines Just Don't Care

We are in St. John now. We flew American Airlines to St. Thomas; Houston to Miami, then Miami to St Thomas. First leg was fine, but once we arrived in Miami, we saw our flight was delayed. Seems our plane coming from Orlando had a door seal leak and Orlando Maintenance was trying to fix it. They kept delaying the departure time, every 15 to 30 minutes, and finally we were told the plane was fixed and it was on it's way. It arrived, and we thought we would be on our way shortly to St. Thomas. Then the announcement was made that the door seal was still leaking and now Miami Maintenance had to try to fix it. More timer goes by and they decide they can't fix it. At this point we are thinking we might not make it to our final destination and inquired at the American Airlines counter about possibly getting a voucher for a night's stay in St. Thomas if we couldn't make the last Car Ferry over to St. John. They told us to ask about it when we arrived in St. Thomas. So now they are looking for another plane, finally find one, send us to another gate, unload luggage from one plane to the new one and we think again that soon we will be on our way. They load us up, take us out on the runway and we sit there for another 45 minutes while they figure out "weight numbers"?? Finally we are on our way, and arrive in St. Thomas 4 hours late. We have our Rental Car waiting for us there but we have to get to the Car Ferry to St. John and the last Ferry has already run. So we are stuck on St. Thomas, unable to get to our Villa on St. John for the first night, and have to find a place to stay on St. Thomas. Checked with the American Airlines Office, they were already closed, went to the Ticket Counter and they were extremely rude and were ready to go home and did not want to help us. They did open the Office and make a phone call to their Supervisor who was unavailable at the time. We sat and waited for about 45 minutes until the Supervisor returned the phone call and we were told that American Airlines would not help us, that they only guaranteed our arrival to St. Thomas. In other words,"tuff" that we couldn't get to St. John when we were supposed to.

So right now we are out $238.00 for our unexpected 1st night's stay in St. Thomas, along with $285.00 which was our first night's stay in our Villa in St. John which we were unable to use. Once we get back home, I plan on continuing my battle with American Airlines to get some sort of compensation.

Flying sure isn't an enjoyable experience anymore.

St Thomas
Destination Expert
for St. Thomas
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14,664 posts
20 reviews
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1. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Sorry to hear about the delays and inconvenience and hope you're able to work it out with AA.

Apart from that, how are you enjoying St John so far?

Seabrook, Texas
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210 posts
61 reviews
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2. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Having a relaxing stay, and have finally started to unwind. Weather is not too cooperative, but we are not letting it get us down. I am sure the rain is welcome to the island and it's residents. But we hope we can get some sun in the next few days so we get some good St John snorkeling in. Right now we are catching up on our reading, watching movies, eating and drinking! Have the second week of our trip on St. Thomas starting Sat. Looking forward to more fun!

Pia
St John, VI
Destination Expert
for St. John
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4,723 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Unfortunately you will be fighting a loosing battle. Even though you missed the car ferry the airline delivered you to your final destination - 4 hours late I know but still you did not incur an overnight delay due to mechanical in your originating/transfer city :(

I hope you have a wonderful stay and can finally relax

Pia

Boston
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6,037 posts
38 reviews
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4. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

I agree with Pia, They had to get you to STT, which they did. They had no obligation to get you to STJ. It is unfortunately one of the things that happen when you have to take a ferry to your final destination like STJ or the BVI.

Having said that, if you write them a polite letter explaining what happened, you may get a voucher for a future trip, but they won't give you any cash, but It is worth a try.

Hope you can enjoy the rest of your trip.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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6,010 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Writing a polite letter will be a waste of time. You won't even get a response. Had an issue regarding baggage fees with AA. We had purchased our tickets before they started charging for checked bags (yeah, a few yews ago). I had all my paperwork with me. The counter rep waived the fee on the way down, but on the way home the counter rep's attitude was "if you want it to go home with you, it is $$". I wrote a nice letter, with copies of our iteniery showing purchase date and their own baggage fee rules posted on there website. No response at all. Sent a follow up. NO RESPONSE. Don't bother.

Pennsylvania
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2,486 posts
16 reviews
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6. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

I have had my fair share of airline frustrations and I feel for you.

Sorry for your frustration but I agree with Pia and Saffie, you were delivered to your final, ticketed destination and AA isn't responsible for your added costs.

Renting a vehicle on STT is a popular option and some people won't do it any other way but it does come with some risk, like missing the last car ferry.

I hope you have a wonderful time on STJ despite the frustating start.

Pia
St John, VI
Destination Expert
for St. John
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4,723 posts
1 review
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7. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Just a thought for others that might find themselves in the same predicament - maybe pick up your car, leave it overnight at the Red Hook parking lot, take the people ferry to STJ (last one at midnight) and then go back the next morning to collect your car - most villa rental agencies would assist you in getting you to your villa and back to the ferry the next morning - definitely cheaper than a hotel room.

I know to late for you but again might help others

Pia

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, East End
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5,249 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

This is one reason we always go down the night before and stay on STT that way there is no rush should things get delayed.

As to AA they had a broken plane. Unfortunately these things happen. They did what they could to get you to your final destination which they did. I think the title of your thread is inaccurate.

B.

Edited: 13 November 2012, 14:19
Seabrook, Texas
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210 posts
61 reviews
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9. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

Well, I guess we learned a valuable lesson. After leaving out of Houston at 6:00AM, arriving in Miami at 9:15AM, I just never thought it could take us till 6:30PM to arrive on St. Thomas.

And we thought about ferrying over to St John on the people ferry and going back the next morning to get the Jeep on St. Thomas, but we are staying at Coral Bay and that is a distance from Cruz Bay, and we had no transportation either way.

And since we are staying two weeks, (one week on each island), it just made sense to us to book with one Car Rental Company for both weeks.

Thanks for all your suggesstions, and comments. Hopefully our mis-fortune and loss of money will help other travelers with making their travel plans.

Plan for the worst, and if your airline is on time and keeps their planes maintained, then maybe your trip will start off great like we all hope.

OK
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131 posts
13 reviews
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10. Re: Airlines Just Don't Care

I know this won't really help at this point but just wanted to offer this information to others out there. We payed a little more and chose Delta. At the time of purchase I didn't know about the AA troubles. Our main objective was to avoid 3 legs, ie Dallas-Miami-STT. We went to Atlanta-STT and it was very smooth. We actually were surprised how smooth it went. We landed at 1:30pm and made it to RH in time to relax, have a drink, and catch the 3pm ferry. We arrived on STJ about 330pm, got our car, went to the villa, and were swimming at Hawknest by 530pm. It cost $6 plus $2.50 per bag per person for the ferry to and from RH.

We did not arrange a car service on STT, or back to the airport after our trip. There were plenty of taxis just waiting for all the travelers. I was impressed by the qualitly of vehicles and professionalism of the drivers on STT. It cost us $16 plus tip pp each way on STT, so I just gave the driver $40 and called it even. Once back at the airport we checked-in and went thru customs with no lines. I guess it had to do with the time of year we went (first week in Nov), I've heard about long customes lines. Sidenote, for those without passports like us, they only looked at our driver's license, even though we were prepared with birth certificates. They asked my wife where she got the pen to fill out the customs form. She said her purse. I guess that's a lead in question for getting at something else, who knows.