American Airlines canceled my flight three days in a row. What does it owe me?

american, airlines, plan, airplane, airline, takeoff, take off, fly, flight, ticket, reservation, travel, sky

When Andre Yavetsky tried to fly from Chicago to Madrid on American Airlines, his flight was diverted to JFK, and he unexpectedly spent three days in New York. American initially offered him 15,000 miles in compensation, but Yavetsky wants more.

Yavetsky’s flight was originally scheduled to fly from Chicago to Paris, but was diverted to JFK because of a maintenance issue. For three days he tried to schedule another flight that would get him to Madrid, but each one was canceled. On the morning of his fourth day in the New York area, he was able to board a flight to Madrid.

He later reached out to American Airlines, claiming that an agent told him he could receive $1,200 for his trouble.

“I demand a maximum compensation for such a terrible experience,” he says.

In an email, he noted:

The last agent I rebooked the flight with contacted her supervisor and explained to me that I’m entitled $1,200 [sic] for such a sever [sic] case of flight delay/cancellation.”

He also asked to be refunded the $163 he paid to upgrade his seat on the flight, since he did not get an upgraded seat on the flight he was finally able to take.

The U.S. does not have a consumer protection law like EU261, and American refused to give him a $1,200 refund. Instead, it apologized for not getting him to his destination on time, credited his AAdvantage account with 15,000 miles and promised to look into the amount he paid for the seat. Yavetsky didn’t think this was sufficient compensation and wrote to American again. The airline then increased its offer to 40,000 miles.

Yavetsky still wasn’t happy:

Unfortunately, I still don’t consider this compensation satisfying because of my previous experience with AAdvantage Miles redemption. I know for a fact that 40,000 miles are pretty useless for travel during peak time, as in my case, especially after recent devaluation of American miles rewards (from March 2016).

Because of this reason, last year I canceled my AAdvantage Citi Card after many years of enjoying its benefits after I realized that it was impossible to redeem my accumulated miles for flying during peak times. I have been a frequent flyer with AA and Iberia (especially to Spain) for the last 25 years, and it is frustrating to see deterioration in AA customer care.

I understand Yavetsky’s frustration with being delayed for several days, but as we regularly point out on this site, airlines do not guarantee their schedules and can change or cancel flights at their discretion. And a quick flight search on American’s website does indicate that a one-way flight between Chicago and Madrid can be “purchased” with as little as 30,000 miles, which is only 5,000 more than the last miles ticket I booked to Europe in economy class five years ago.

Rule 80 of American’s International General Rules Tariff does indicate that American will either place a passenger on the next available American flight or book a passenger on another airline, or combination of other airlines. It isn’t clear why Yavetsky didn’t have — or didn’t accept — this option. In one of his emails to American, he refers to other people in his group. If they all insisted on traveling together, already crowded flights are likely the reason for the extended delay in New York.

In the end, American got Yavetsky to his destination, fulfilling its contract. No airline compensates its passengers for lost time or missed events. When questioned about his expenses during the delay, Yavetsky admitted that American paid for his hotel nights and gave him a daily allowance for food and necessities.

American also promised a refund of the amount he paid for his upgraded seat:

Furthermore in light of the details you provided, we are reviewing your record to determine the applicable refund amount for your unused seat. Once the adjustment is processed, a credit will be issued to the original form of payment you used when purchasing the ticket.

Our advocate advised Yavetsky that the seat refund and 40,000 miles is fair compensation. Do you agree?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

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 Insuremyrentalcar.com

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  Mediacomcable.com.

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  Virtuoso.com.

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. Elliott.org 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 TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com 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  TravelInsurance.com.

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  Squaremouth.com 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, SinglesCruise.com, 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.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.