- Report: #797839
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: American Airlines
American Airlines American Airlines and Advantage Program and Service Animal Department Internet, Internet
Firstly I had permission to bring service animals with me and this was a codeshare flight with American Airlines. Legally they have to allow this when proper medical reasons are given, which were.
From USA returning to Europe the staff looked at me as they saw the three trained dogs as if I had two heads as I was sitting to board early in a special area and watched as the crew boarded. I asked the staff if they ever smiled and she told me "no they are always nasty". Nevertheless, on American soil they followed the law and I embarked with three uncrated service dogs to bring back to Europe.
The dogs were exemplary during the flight and almost every passenger at some point came to see them and interact with them and comment that they behaved better than the children (they did not even eliminate one time on the plane).
Upon arrival in Madrid I was told I would be assisted-this was a joke-nobody showed to assist me and I was lucky that the gentleman sitting two seats from us who CHOSE to sit there (the row was free) had stayed to ensure the help arrived, he was Spanish living in USA and told me it was NO GUARANTEE being Spain--AND HE WAS RIGHT.
He helped me off the airplane as I had many things and the three dogs who needed to find the "service animal relief area" (which does not exist in Madrid). I found a man who carries bags and looked for a screen to see where the connecting two hour flight was. I had, at this point, not slept at all because the seats were so cramped on this antiquated Airbus 330 that it is like a short haul flight AND FOR EVERYONE'S INFORMATION:
THEY ARE OBLIGED IN THE ONE WORLD ALLIANCE TO TAKE POINTS FROM ANY PARTNER FOR UPGRADES WHICH THEY DENIED THE THREE WEEKS I CALLED BOTH AMERICAN AIRLINES AS WELL AS IBERIAN AIRLINES. AS A RESULT THEY ALSO CHARGED ME FOR BAGGAGE OVERAGE CHARGES WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN WITHIN THE LIMIT AND IN BUSINESS PLUS, WHICH IS SIMPLY LIKE NORMAL CLASS ON A NORMAL AIRLINE. The aircraft also only showed one movie, CAPTAIN AMERICA and nothing else on the one screen they had every few rows. The staff never came around to even ask if anyone wanted anything after serving the one obligatory meal and would not even respond to the call button.
The one time they did respond was when they needed a doctor or anyone with medical training and I ran to upper class where a man had drank too much wine and fainted from undiagnosed sugar issues which I ascertained by smelling his breath, taking his pulse, asking some questions and observing him with water.
Back to my arrival, as there are few screens and sparse staff at 07:00 I had no idea where my connection was and only wanted to find a lounge and try and sleep after taking the dogs for a quick walk. I had to go to the Iberian Airlines counter at which point, though I had repeatedly confirmed there would be no problems transporting these dogs without crates as is standard practice and the law in almost all countries, they insisted the dogs would not be allowed on the plane. I had been told if there were problems to refer them to the USA to the department at American Airlines that would handle the actual situation but they assured me it would never come to that.
As the first woman went to make some OTHER calls, ignoring my advice, the man who carried the bags told me I could go walk the dogs, which I did. I could not go to the toilet as the dogs are trained to be with ONE person only not multiple people for reasons related to their future service work. I also did not want to bring them into the filthy Madrid bathrooms so I went back thinking the issue would be resolved---From 7 am until 14:15, 15 minutes before the flight went and two hours after the baggage carrier got off his shift and told me he wanted to leave his number because he never saw such unprofessionalism and would be happy to testify should it come to that, I stood by the counter with the front staff ignoring me COMPLETELY AS IF I WERE NOT THERE (my Spanish is from Latin America and the disdain and arrogance was obvious--though I am not even Hispanic but speak perfect Latin American Spanish).
The two women, as they had changed shifts as well, while working on the issue, finally offered me a compromise that I could only get on the plane if I paid them 75Euros and bought bags for the dogs to go in (BAGS--YOU HEARD CORRECTLY) These are puppies and they are also trained to get out of a BAG. I had to agree so paid and within minutes I was running to the gate with minimal assistance, not even a cart when a pleasant Italian man assisted me. We arrived on the plane and before I even boarded they commanded me to force the dogs into the 'BAGS' they then took them from me and as if they were trash ran down the aisle putting me on the back if the plane where there were larger seats and plenty of room throughout the aircraft, they also tole me 'YOU ARE LUCKY WE ARE LETTING YOU ON AT ALL YOU BETTER MAKE SURE THEY ALL STAY UNDER THE SEATS'.
Within minutes the first dog broke out of the first bag, I managed to hide this and one we took off I put him next to me and within minutes the other two broke out of theirs and all laid quietly, as opposed to howling in a BAG next to me. Upon arrival I was treated by the local Italian staff like a queen. It is notable that this second flight was an Iberian Airline flight operated by AIR NOSTRUM.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/14/2011 10:52 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Airlines/internet/American-Airlines-American-Airlines-and-Advantage-Program-and-Service-Animal-Department-I-797839. 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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