Tuesday, February 12, 2013

American Airlines, give me my booking back!

New logo. Old AA.
Here's my letter to AA tonight, has anyone experienced the same?


This is a formal complaint after I feel I have exhausted all avenues via different channels. I can't even start to explain how frustrated I am about your customer service procedures, or the lack thereof.

Here's my story of how AA screwed up our family holidays of a lifetime.

Until recently, I was really looking forward to taking our two young daughters and my wife into the Wild West, through the Grand Canyon to see the Big Landscapes. The tickets were dear but heck we've saved and we booked long in advance to ensure we'd get a good price.

So, right after Christmas I went onto aa.com and booked some flights. Took us quite a while to figure out the options but it was done and we bought the travel guides.

Alas, the next day my credit card company left me a voice mail saying they had a case of suspected fraud. I called them back, confirmed all was OK and they said they'd authorise the transaction. In the evening, I called AA's reservation line -I guess using the **** number because we were staying there with family for the holidays. Ahah, they said, we need to rebook you because the payment was not processed. Which they did. It took a painfully long call to do this but then the agent was nice and I did not yet know it would be the first of a series of calls.

At that point, they gave me a different booking number: ******. I did not make a note of the first one but I did not think much about it.

I logged in the day after and saw my flight as purchased but not ticketed. Hum, I thought. And so I called again to check all was OK with the payments. After all, I used my **** card and it's a small provincial building society which might not get on with a US large company?
The agent told me that "everything was OK with my booking". I was reassured. And wrong.

On the week of the 7th January, I checked on the website out of instinct and saw the reservation status was still "purchased". I'm quite busy with my day job that week and so I send a few emails around to AAdvantage, who tell me to contact reservations by phone. Quite useless you'd admit. So I ask my wife to call. Why? Because I'm busy -you were not paying attention. She can't get through to an agent but the robot tells her the reservation is OK, lists all the flights and so on. Hum. So it must be surely?

I got the credit card statements, and to my surprise nothing on it. Strange I think. I quickly log in, see the reservation is still "purchased" and have to go travel on business for a few days. Upon my return, I login yesterday night and see my reservation as "cancelled." Mouth opens, closes, opens again, heartbeats skip. Expletive follows. I pick-up the phone yesterday night (on Sunday 9th February of what still is 2013 but now feels 1984) and get told that reservation can rebook it (sigh) but, ah, the price now jumps up by something obscene like 2,000 quids. Yep. Two thousand British Pounds. TWO GRAND. I don't find that funny, at all, and explain the agent (remaining calm, after all she's just a cog in the machine speaking in an 8 hour shift to just another customer) that I just want my booking back. In the meantime, I email back AAdvantage. She tells me she's got no record of my emails asking for clarification because it's another department, nor from my previous calls. Great.

We're Monday 10th February. 10/2/13 as we say here. I'm supposed to do the school run but tell the kids to be ready and to wait on the stairs landing while I call back the UK call centre. The agent can't do anything but they tell me they've sent me some emails saying that my credit card has been declined. It's interesting because I never got them despite checking my spam etc. I ask her to forward that email. The girls have now been waiting 40 minutes in the hall and we're getting late for school.

I hang up and glance at my email. The email I never received has been pasted into a new email but without the headers, so there's no mention of when it was really sent.

During the day I kick up a fuss on twitter, which comes to the same conclusion: although they own the planes and all, AA can't rebook me at the original price.

Now, what's funny about you AA is that you seem to record the things you like. Or those that fit your version of the truth. Like the call in chapter 3 wasn't logged into your CRM system, maybe because the agent just peeked at the record but did not modify it. Or that emails suddenly pops in, no probs at all, except when they're supposed to (I never got your emails stating the CC transaction did not go through).
Because I actually don't believe you've tried to contact me about this booking. What I know for sure is that I've enquired many times about this booking. American Airlines, you did bad and need to apologise and own up to it. I want my booking back.

In addition to screwing up my booking, your "customer experience" is pretty poor too. As a customer, I don't want to be passed around between department who are are passing on the baby. I. Don't. Care. Which. Department. You're all American Airlines for what I know. And. Pon't. Put. Me. On. Hold. All. The. Time. It's especially annoying as you're speaking to folks who don't seem to have a last name, which means that when the line cuts -as it did several times during that whole story- you have to start all over again.

See, it's our holidays of a lifetime. A special treat for the girls. And I'd like to have it back. Please.



12/2/13 Update: go an inate response from customer relations telling me to call reservations.  Clearly, they get neither customer nor relations. In the meantime, here's a link to this post on the AA Facebook page. Please "like" and "share".
On twitter, AA told me they could not help except rebooking me at the grossly inflated price. The story continues.
And tonight, I've called back my credit card company who assured me they did not decline any transactions. Someone's telling porkies, and given AA's track record at communicating and inventing emails, I know where my suspicions lie.

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