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Monday, May 14, 2012

American Airlines: Making the world a worse place one flight at a time

I haven't had many complaints about American Airlines lately, but that is just because I haven't traveled much lately. Unfortunately, I'm traveling to a conference next week. Last month when I attempted to book my flight on it gave me an error message that said to try again later--which I did, only to receive the same error message again. The third time I called AA to see what the problem was, only to find out that despite the error messages the first two tickets had already been issued--one as an electronic ticket and the second on paper. Coleen Ward told me I would have to wait for the paper ticket to arrive and then return it for a refund. Ten days later the ticket finally arrived, and I returned it as instructed. Now, almost a month later, I received a letter from "Customer Service Representative" Pat Reeves telling me that AA will not refund the ticket because it was a non-refundable ticket.

So, please explain to me again what's so great about capitalism? All I see happening is corporations running roughshod over people with the singular purpose of making a profit irregardless of its consequences to people. As I've said before, American Airlines is not particularly worse than any other airline company; I've just had more opportunity to be abused by them. The less I travel with American the fewer opportunities they have to screw me over. And I'm not traveling much lately--it looks like this might be the first year in about a decade that I lose my elite status. Oh well.

Coda (May 30, 2012): I received a request for feedback from AA on this flight, so of course I complained about this problem with the reservation system. This morning I received a call back from customer service concerning my complaint. The representative offered me 5000 AA miles as compensation. When I pointed out that if our roles were reversed that American would be charging me $150 and that I thought that is what they should pay me that amount, the representative unceremoniously hung up the phone on me. I guess we're not supposed to question corporate america's largess.

It's like they say--capitalism is a good idea in theory, but not so great in practice.

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