• Report: #58664

Complaint Review: American Airlines

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  • Submitted: Wed, May 28, 2003
  • Updated: Sat, October 15, 2011

  • Reported By:Chicago Illinois
American Airlines
americanairlines.com Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.

American Airlines nonrefundable nontransferable ripoff Chicago Illinois

*Consumer Suggestion: Refundable Tickets

*General Comment: nonrefundable and nontransferable

*Consumer Comment: Uninformed travellers

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Fare rules and advice

*Consumer Suggestion: How can it be more clear

*Consumer Comment: Typical Industry Response

*Consumer Suggestion: only fly on "consumer friendly" airlines

*Consumer Suggestion: Hey Juan, or Should I say Kitty Hawk

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Consumers need to educate themselves regarding the airline industry

*Consumer Suggestion: Non refundable tickets are exactly that

*Consumer Comment: Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

*Consumer Comment: Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

*Consumer Comment: Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

*Consumer Comment: What is your deal? Here you go again throwing insults to the customer instead of trying to help them

*UPDATE Employee: what part of NON-REFUNDABLE dont you understand?

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I bought tickets for my mother and aunt to take a trip to San Francisco this summer. They cancelled the trip 24 hours after I bought the tickets. I contacted AA to cancel the tickets and get a refund.

That's when I was told they were nonrefundable and nontransferable. This meant that unless the two of them and only the two of them could fly / change the destination at any time before July 10.

And if neither of them decided to fly before then, I would be SOL and have to pay $650. What possible legal authority do they have to do this? Why is it impossible for these people to issue me a ticket for the $650 that they now demand that I pay them.

There certainly was nothing special about the price. The allow me to purchase the ticket with out ever hearing a word from either of them. Additionally they allowed me to change the destination when they screwed up the initial purchase. What gives?

Dennis
Chicago, Illinois
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/28/2003 10:06 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Airlines/Chicago-Illinois/American-Airlines-nonrefundable-nontransferable-ripoff-Chicago-Illinois-58664. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 15Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Refundable Tickets

AUTHOR: Karl - (U.S.A.)

Totally refundable tickets are available from all airlines but they cost much more. Check before you purchase your ticket next time in order to determine whether or not it is refundable. In most cases, advertised fares are non refundable but are changable with a fee (except for Southwest).

The fact that only the passenger whose name is on the ticket can fly -now or on a changed flight - is due to security concerns. Someone could give a ticket to a person who was on the 'do not fly" list or under investigation as a potential terrorist.
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#2 General Comment

nonrefundable and nontransferable

AUTHOR: R - (United States of America)

These comments show what sheep we have become. Why do we accept the arbitrary terms that the big corporate airlines impose on us. We have become a nation that is ruled by lawyers and small print. It is very sad. There is no reason that an airline could not refund a ticket or transfer a ticket other than greed. 
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#3 Consumer Comment

Uninformed travellers

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Quote: "The airlines have you over a barrel".

This may be true if you don't fully comprehend the English language. Otherwise, the rules (actually called tariffs, I believe) are pretty well spelled out - online or in that mass of paperwork you get with a real ticket.

However, like most pax, the original poster apparently failed to read them and bought the ticket. This then becomes an expensive lesson learned.

I flew approximately 45 weeks last year on Delta and ALWAYS bought the deep discounted tickets. The money I lost on the three times I had to change a ticket ($100 change fee plus any difference in fare) was more than offset by the difference in price every week.

So if you think that was being "over a barrel", well... now I know why the FAs still conduct the safety briefing on how to buckle a seatbelt. Clearly there are people out there needing that level of care.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Fare rules and advice

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

Hi all--

First of all, YES, customers, please read the fine print and understand rules when you purchase anything, including airline tickets.

If the ticket says "non-refundable", it is exactly that. To paraphrase a very intelligent post above, if you purchase on/at:

Internet: Read the rules yourself. You are responsible for understanding them.

Travel agent, phone or ticket counter purchase: I have done all three and we are required to state a similar phrase to what the other post said, "Note that this fare is non-transferable and non-refundable, and that if cancelled a fee of $XXX will apply, if changed a fee of $XXX plus any fare differential will apply..."

As for the person who flew standby on DELTA twice in one day? You must have run into some real softies. They charged my relatives $25 EACH to standby on an earlier plane the same day that had 60 empty seats on it! This was even after I came over (from my new airline, not American) in uniform and asked for a favor (airlines do waive fees periodically, for customer service reasons, not generally as a favor for other airline employees... PLEASE see my relatives' reason for standby below before blasting me for trying to get special treatment).

I don't know personally if Delta has different fare classes that allow standby for no additional charge, but I will take the word of someone who flies them repeatedly. My relatives evidently did not have that type of ticket.

I think that paying for standby is ludicrous, no matter what the price of the ticket, personally. Certainly, airlines must guard against people who buy cheaper fares on a flight they have NO intention of taking and standing by on another flight that did not have that lower fare... HOWEVER, this is ballsy as all get out and most people standby on earlier or later flights for legitimate reasons (my relatives, for instance, who just moved to this country and speak little English, wanted to fly earlier with a relative who does speak English fluently).

My airline, and many others, do not EVER charge for standby. Again, read the rules or ASK.

I apologize, as a current employee of another airline, and for the airline industry as a whole, for the conduct and words of one employee who thinks that all passengers are idiots and should take a bus instead.

(I would actually be surprised if this is an Alaska Airlines employee as I have had nothing but pleasant experiences with them... but there is one in every bunch I guess).

Everyone on this website should know that not all airline employees feel that way. But unfortunately, at some, maybe even most, airlines there is a healthy percentage who DO treat customers this way. You should hear the way they talk. It is very unfortunate, because if you treat your customers this way and they really do start taking the bus or train (or another, better airline) you will probably lose your job...

At my current airline, anyone who had that attitude would not even be HIRED, much less keep their job.

Go with the ones who treat you right, whether it's an airline, a train or bus company, or dear ol' Dad's station wagon. Most places are too far to take other types of transportation, but you DO have a choice. Shop around for airlines, not just prices. You would be amazed at the differences in the way you can be treated.

Thanks for listening.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

How can it be more clear

AUTHOR: Jason - (U.S.A.)

How can NONREFUNDABLE/ NONTRANSFERABLE be better explained. There is no odd wording, or misleading going on. I see it as plain as day that NONREFUNDABLE must mean that I can't (non) get a refund (refundable). I am sorry that you feel you got taken, but I wouldn't go down and get a loan, or make a large purchase without knowing what the return policy is, or the financing (in the case of the car). Airlines are businesses too. They can offer lower prices, but they have to have some limits on them. Days in advance and restrictions on refunds is one way to differentiate between tickets. If you want, you can buy a rull fare and be able to get a refund if you want, but you chose to take the lower price and agree to the rules, then complain when YOUR choice and decision didn't work out for you.

And to you Aaron, that ticket you bought on Delta that will allow you to go standby on "two different flights" was more than the discount ticket you bought on Southwest, I will put money on that. If you buy the unrestricted ticket on them (SWA) you can get on any flight between two cities you want, I know, i am a business flier and fly 5 days a week. It really upsets me to hear people at the gate complain because they can't go standby on a discount ticket. You know what, I paid more than you did so that I could have that flexibility. If you want it too, then you pay the same thing I did. It wouldn't be fare to me if they allowed you to buy the $39 fare and get all the same luxuries as I enjoy.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Typical Industry Response

AUTHOR: Kelly - (U.S.A.)

This is the typical airline industry response. "You deserve to lose your money because your stupid!!!" Just remember Assholes, before your tenure at your job you were just as "IGNORANT" to the ways of the industry.

This is really sad for me! This is quite indicative of the attitudes in this country. Pretty much "Screw or be Screwed!!!" and if you get screwed well you deserved it because your stupid.

The sad thing is that these jerk offs dont even realize that yeah they are WAY smarter in the travel industry but only because it is there business and it is something they do on a daily basis. They also either dont realize it or refuse to admit that the airlines actually put stock in the fact that the general public is ignorant to the rules of the industry. Public ignorance = KACHING!!

As far as the traveling public the best advice I can give you is go to a travel agent and not the airline. Travel agents still care about their customers. The airlines have you over a barrel and once you buy that nonrefundable ticket you are theirs and they dont have to do anything to try to help your situation and in most cases they absolutely will not..as you can see they wont even be nice about..I mean your an idiot and you deserve to lose your money!! that came from airline employees..so you dont have to listen to me you can hear it directly from them!!
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

only fly on "consumer friendly" airlines

AUTHOR: Aaron - (U.S.A.)

People should read the fine print or you do deserve to loose your money. With me, I only fly on "consumer friendly" airlines where they work with me rather then against me. I have had issues with Southwest where they wont even allow you to fly standby even though there are seats available. Oh you can get on a different aircraft then the original one that you are supposed to be on but youll pay extra for that. I recently flew Delta to New Orleans and they allowed me to fly standby on two different flights the same day. Thats customer service! There are plenty of airlines that have stupid rules. Know them!!
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Hey Juan, or Should I say Kitty Hawk

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

Juan,

OK, I know you are actually Kitty Hawk with a different name. You make many posts here under all sorts of different names. I wonder what herb Kelleher would say if he saw you use his name. I can see right through you. You are the Alaska Airlines employee that tells everyone with a compalint about an airline how dump they are, or in this case they are "fools". You frequently tell people that they should ride greyhound, ect. I have seen many cases where you basically call the person trailer trash.

It's people like you that are the reason people are fed up with how the airliines are treating them.

I understand the concept on nonrefundable/ nontransferable. But rather than tell the person how stupid they are, how about expaining the nonrefundalble/nontransferable thing in a constructive manner.
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#9 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Consumers need to educate themselves regarding the airline industry

AUTHOR: Sandra - (U.S.A.)

A non-refundable, non-transferrable ticket is exactly that. You have one year from the date of purchase to change the original destination (with a fee of course) if you're unable to use your original ticket. Purchasing a ticket does not mean you just bought yourself a specific seat on a specific flight on a specific date at a specific time! Read all the fine print before you hand over your money. Purchasing an airline ticket means you have paid for passage from point A to point B, and that's ALL it means. An airline can put you on a bus instead of a plane if need be.

As for the tickets being used only by the people they were purchased for ... that is for YOUR benefit as much as the airlines. If you give grandmother's ticket to your wife and allow her to fly instead (which I'd hate to think is even possible now), and the plane crashed, and your wife died ... do you know what the airlines would give you? Zip! Zilch! Nada! And grandfather would be getting a call to inform him that the flight 'grandmother' was on had crashed. You, on the other hand, would have no benefits due you because the name on the ticket and the person who died weren't the same. What a terrible tragedy that would be.

I'm so amazed at the lack of consumer knowledge sometimes. Why would you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase an item without reading all the fine print and being certain you understood your rights?

I won't even address the other complaints where people refer to flight attendants as stewardesses. That just disgusts me. A flight attendants job is to insure the safety of the passengers ... not to be your personal waitress.
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#10 Consumer Suggestion

Non refundable tickets are exactly that

AUTHOR: Jessica - (U.S.A.)

Non refundable tickets are exactly that, I'm curious to how they were purchased?

Online- you play travel agent you don't read the rules you pay the consequenses

Phone- You are advised it goes a little something like this, or something similar. when I was in the industry mine went a little something like this.
"I do need to advise you your fare is non refundable non transferable and there is a service fee for changes plus a possible fare difference".
If you don't ask the exact restrictions are or have the agent further explain it is every consumers fault.

You don't buy a car with out test driving it, therefore you shouldnt buy anything with out knowing the rules. It's your money be a wise consumer.

Regards,
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#11 Consumer Comment

Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

AUTHOR: Juan - (U.S.A.)

Kitty Hawk is NOT throwing insults. He is simply stating a fact! It is the guy that originally wrote this report that needs to wake up and smell the limberger cheese. He is the one who knowingly bought a non-refundable cheap ticket, yet thinks he is special and deserves preferential treatment in which none of the rules apply to him. Give me a break! If the airline industry accommodated ALL customers like this fool, then they would be out of business TODAY.

What Kitty Hawk says is true. This guy should go Greyhound instead. It is cheaper (just like this guy) and does not have all the same stipulations as the airlines.

As for "Michael from New Port Richey," Kitty Hawk WAS helping this guy by telling it like it is. Airline policies are extremely inflexible and so there is no way around the rules. What is YOUR idea of "helping," may I ask? What exactly do you expect the airlines to DO in this situation?
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#12 Consumer Comment

Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

AUTHOR: Juan - (U.S.A.)

Kitty Hawk is NOT throwing insults. He is simply stating a fact! It is the guy that originally wrote this report that needs to wake up and smell the limberger cheese. He is the one who knowingly bought a non-refundable cheap ticket, yet thinks he is special and deserves preferential treatment in which none of the rules apply to him. Give me a break! If the airline industry accommodated ALL customers like this fool, then they would be out of business TODAY.

What Kitty Hawk says is true. This guy should go Greyhound instead. It is cheaper (just like this guy) and does not have all the same stipulations as the airlines.

As for "Michael from New Port Richey," Kitty Hawk WAS helping this guy by telling it like it is. Airline policies are extremely inflexible and so there is no way around the rules. What is YOUR idea of "helping," may I ask? What exactly do you expect the airlines to DO in this situation?
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#13 Consumer Comment

Throwing insults?? I 100% completely agree with Kitty Hawk!

AUTHOR: Juan - (U.S.A.)

Kitty Hawk is NOT throwing insults. He is simply stating a fact! It is the guy that originally wrote this report that needs to wake up and smell the limberger cheese. He is the one who knowingly bought a non-refundable cheap ticket, yet thinks he is special and deserves preferential treatment in which none of the rules apply to him. Give me a break! If the airline industry accommodated ALL customers like this fool, then they would be out of business TODAY.

What Kitty Hawk says is true. This guy should go Greyhound instead. It is cheaper (just like this guy) and does not have all the same stipulations as the airlines.

As for "Michael from New Port Richey," Kitty Hawk WAS helping this guy by telling it like it is. Airline policies are extremely inflexible and so there is no way around the rules. What is YOUR idea of "helping," may I ask? What exactly do you expect the airlines to DO in this situation?
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#14 Consumer Comment

What is your deal? Here you go again throwing insults to the customer instead of trying to help them

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

Hey Kitty Hawk -

Here you go again throwing insults to the customer instead of trying to help them. And on top of that you are too chicken shit to give your real name.

There is no need to insult the poeple that are just looking for advice, even if they are not as informed as they should be.
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#15 UPDATE Employee

what part of NON-REFUNDABLE dont you understand?

AUTHOR: Herb Kellaher - (U.S.A.)

OK -

So you purchased a NON-REFUNDABLE, NON-TRANSFERRABLE ticket for some super DIRT CHEAP price, and AFTER BUYING IT - you decide you want your money back? OK - So what part of NON-REFUNDABLE dont you understand?

Case Closed -

Go back to Greyhound, HillBilly
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