American Airlines stranded her in Myanmar. Refund, please?

American stranded her

Sarah Hluchan says American Airlines stranded her in Myanmar after she missed a connecting flight. To get home, she has to buy a new ticket. Why won’t her airline refund the extra fare?


I recently flew round trip from Washington to Naypyidaw, Myanmar. But I ended up stranded in Myanmar because Cathay Pacific “exchanged” my ticket and voided my itinerary without my knowledge.

I experienced a 24-hour delay and had to book a flight home at my own expense. Someone made a mistake with my outbound flights. I missed a connection because of a weather delay on an American Airlines flight and had to rebook my onward flights.

American Airlines didn’t cancel one of my flights. In other words, I was a “no-show.” I think that may be why my returning flights were “exchanged,” but no one will confirm this. American and Cathay Pacific alternately blame each other and me for this oversight.

Also, I continued to receive updates and reminders for the “exchanged” flights from Cathay. I had no reason to think anyone had voided my tickets.

I’d like reimbursement for the $1,000 plane ticket I had to buy to get home, plus the hotel room and food and extra taxi costs incurred during the delay. Can you help me? — Sarah Hluchan, Arlington, Va.


Let me see if I can fill in a few gaps. Bad weather delayed your outbound flight on American Airlines from Washington, D.C., to New York and you missed your connecting flights. American rebooked you on a British Airways flight to London. The next day, you connected to another British Airways flight to Myanmar.

When you showed up at the airport for your return flight from Myanmar to the United States, Cathay Pacific didn’t know who you were, despite the email “updates” it sent you. You had to pay for a new ticket and incurred other expenses.

Here’s what should have happened: After your initial delay, either American Airlines or your travel agent should have rebooked you. All of the connecting carriers — American, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, should have been notified of the schedule change. That’s fairly routine.

Someone, somewhere, dropped the ball.

American, which owned your ticket, should have figured out a way to get you back to the States. You shouldn’t have had to buy a new ticket or run up a hotel bill.

Under American Airlines’ International General Rules Tariff, the airline is responsible for getting you to your final destinations in weather-related delays. But it’s not required to refund airfares or reimburse incidental expenses.

American Airlines stranded her

American Airlines stranded her?

Question is, did you give American a chance to fix it? Or did you just make a new reservation, hoping to pressure the airline to address it when you got back?

I would have taken a stand then and there, not waited until you returned home. It’s always harder to try to resolve something like this after you’ve reached your destination.

Contact pages for American Airlines and Cathay Pacific are available on this site. An appeal to someone higher up might have shaken loose a refund.

American Airlines stranded herResolving this American Airlines stranded case

Our advocate Dwayne Coward contacted American on your behalf. The airline agreed to refund half of your original airfare, roughly $800, and cut you a voucher for $1,000 for future use. Not the perfect resolution, but it’s much better than nothing.

I’m glad you made it home. Next time, you’ll want to make sure your tickets are connected and to double-check your reservation at least a day before your departure. Remember, airlines usually cancel return flights if you miss a leg of your outbound. You’ll want to dot all of your “i”s and cross all of your “t”s on a complicated reservation like this.

Did American Airlines do enough for Sarah Hluchan?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.