Question: My wife and I just had a terrible experience with American Airlines. We went to Nashville to see my daughter graduate from a nursing graduate program at Vanderbilt University. We had confirmed tickets at 6:30 p.m. from Nashville back to San Jose, Calif. We got to the airport very early and asked if we could change to an earlier flight.
The attendant said there were plenty of standby seats and gave us tickets to Dallas and then from Dallas to San Jose. He also told us, “If you don’t get on, you just use your original tickets.” That was our first mistake. I didn’t process the fact that if we could not get on in Dallas, how could we take our original flights?
When we got to Dallas and tried to make the transfer, we were told that while there were empty seats on the plane and we were at the top of the standby list, the seats couldn’t be filled because of a “weight restriction” on the flight.
The ticket agent told us that there was a flight to San Francisco leaving soon with 56 empty seats on it. We raced across the huge airport to the San Francisco flight, which was just boarding. We were then told at the gate that we couldn’t make the switch, because our tickets were to San Jose.
Finally, we called for a supervisor. While he was pleasant, he reiterated the statement that we had to go to San Jose on our tickets. We could, however, get on the San Francisco flight for $780. The next day’s flights were full, so we paid another $780 to get on the plane.
I am very upset that American Airlines took no responsibility for the errors on their side, and made no attempt to compromise in any way with us. What do you think? — Stewart Kiritz, Monterey, Calif.
Answer: I’d be very upset, too. An American Airlines representative dispatched you to Dallas with the understanding you’d be able to make a timely connection to a San Jose flight. But thanks to a series of misunderstandings, you found yourself with only one option: buying two new one-way tickets.
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