Extortion: American Airlines’ new business model.

Picture 2.png

Extortion: To obtain property or money by the use of threats or intimidation.

Try as I might to quit flying American Airlines, living in Dallas makes that fairly difficult. I’ve already started flying Southwest more than I have in the past, as well as a number of other airlines. The more time I spend dealing with American Airlines, the more I seriously consider moving away from Dallas and/or changing my career to one that doesn’t require as much travel. Seriously.

Sadly, this blog post is just another in a long series of ridiculous and horrible customer service experiences that American has put me through. This one, however, wins the case for pure insanity. Here’s the short version of the details:

  • I booked a ticket to Seattle on American.
  • I needed to make changes so I called customer service and paid the change fee to make said changes.
  • I needed to make a second round of changes, called customer service. The woman on the phone was terribly sweet. I should have known something was wrong.
  • She booked the ticket and only charged me 50 cents for the upgrades. I questioned her, had her confirm the changes I needed. She said that fare differences covered the change fee, thus 50 cents.
  • I showed up to the airport and was told my round-trip ticket had become a one-way, and that the only way I was getting on the flight was to pay to buy back my original ticket.

Both the airport desk clerk and her supervisor and the person at customer service they called on the phone agreed that this wasn’t my fault. They all agreed that American was at fault. Yet, the policies were so strict, none of them could do anything to fix this. Epic Fail.

Due to their own, admitted error, I was now on the hook for another $300+ or else no flight. No meetings with clients I’d already agreed to. I’ve yet to be reimbursed for the portion of the flight that was canceled, effectively having me pay twice for something I already had a contract for.

What’s to say I’m not going to show up to the airport next week and by some AA “accident”, I’m not going to be required to pay $1000, or $5000 to get on that flight?

How is this not extortion?


UPDATE: I received a follow-up from American saying they would refund this cost. In 4-6 weeks.