Why You Should NEVER Fly American Airlines

The e-mail I sent customer service (yes, e-mail, they won’t handle customer service complaints over the phone, you MUST email or use snail mail. There is no talking to an actual, live, human being – probably because they want to make it as difficult as possible to make a complaint) is below. It addresses most, but not all, of the complaints I had on the trip I took to visit home for the holidays. This email was sent after many, many, many, many attempts to patiently and politely allow American Airlines to do right by us. It came after an increasingly frustrating customer service conversation with their Twitter team. Normally I believe in behaving as graciously as possible when making customer service complaints, but American Airlines has squandered the last of my goodwill.


I just received my vouchers today. I asked for a partial refund, not vouchers, as well as an apology for my handicapped mother. But decided to wait and see the value of the vouchers before complaining.

$100 per person is what you think makes up for us missing our flight due to your own employes incompetence?

Let me describe my experience with American Airlines:

1. We missed our flight because your employees didn’t know how to print a simple infant-in-lap boarding pass.

2. We were NOT booked the same day, even though Canadian law entitles us to fly on the next available flight on any airline.

3. We almost missed our second flight because your employees forgot to print my daughter’s boarding pass and we had to go back through customs to the desk where I had to get a DELTA employee to help me because there were NO AA employees at the desk.

4. The attendents on the first flight refused to fill my water bottle for my daughter and I to share.

5. We were charged an arm and a leg for terrible snacks that included rotten grapes.

6. Our stroller was lost.

7. One of our suitcases was soaked (I assume from being dropped and left to sit in the snow) so badly that the clothes inside were damp. I assume it was just left sitting in the snow as I have photographs of some other poor schmucks suitcase sitting in the middle of the tarmac while employees ignored it.

8. You broke our $300 Limited Edition Doctor Who collector’s set and refused to take responsibility. I spent all day being given the run around. The Twitter team insisted they couldn’t help and I had to go to the airport. The airport team insisted they aren’t a part of AA and I had to call the AA baggage number. The baggage number insisted they can’t help and I needed to talk to the airport team. The airport team wouldn’t even provide us a letter of written refusal to provide our insurance company so we can try to replace the damaged item. Even Amazon.com, who was in no way responsible for your terrible airline’s mistake, refunded me a third of the cost of the item, just out of the goodness of their hearts, so I can try to replace it.

I have tried to be patient but I am just so tired of being given the run around. I have my own health problems and two children to take care of. I don’t have time to waste fighting to get your company to step up and take some responsibility.

I have been flying on multiple airlines. I’ve flown domestic, and international (including trans-Atlantic) and I have never, never, ever in over a decade of air travel, been treated so horribly by an airline. I don’t intend to pay American Airlines another cent in my life, so I certainly won’t be flying with you with just $300 in vouchers (which doesn’t even cover the cost of one of the tickets for the flight you caused us to miss).

And here is what I expect you to do. I want $200 to cover the remaining cost of replacing the item your team damaged. And I want either a partial refund of my airfire as I originally requested or at least enough credit in vouchers to cover airfare to Ohio for myself and my daughter and maybe I will give American Airlines one more chance. I want your response by the end of next week. And I still want you to send a written apology to my mother. Judging by the stories my friends have told me about how AA has treated their handicapped family members, and by the lack of care I witnessed by an AA employee who nearly dumped a customer in a wheelchair from his chair when exiting the plane, I don’t assume your company has a deep understanding or depth of compassion for individuals with debilitating diseases, but I’m telling you that every day less my bed-ridden mother is able to spend with her grandchildren is a great burden on her emotional and mental health.

I am eager to receive your response.

Holly Shumate

Their response?


January 16, 2014
Dear Mrs. Shumate:
We have received your additional email. Again, we are sorry to hear about the difficulty that you encountered.

We are also sorry that you were not satisfied with the complimentary voucher that we provided. However, the voucher was intended to convey goodwill and to make amends in some way for the inadequate service you reported. It represents an amount we believe to be fair and reasonable.

Mr. Schuamte, we appreciate your additional comments and concerns. Thanks again for your messages.

Pedro L. Rueda
Customer Relations
American Airlines


Did you see where they spelled my name wrong and called me “Mr.”? How about the part where they addressed ANY of my specific concerns? Did you see that? NO YOU DID NOT BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T ADDRESS ANY OF THEM.

Please do not fly with these people. PLEASE. As I’ve told this story friends have expressed to me their own AA horror stories. This is the worst airline I’ve ever encountered. This airline does NOT care about their customers. We do not matter. Our complaints do not matter. Our comfort does not matter. Our convenience does not matter. Our rights do not matter. Our money is the only thing that matters.

Which is why they will never get any more of mine, and they shouldn’t get yours either.

3 Responses to Why You Should NEVER Fly American Airlines

  • Goldarn says:

    Not that any airlines, in my experience, have good customer service (because they don’t need it) but that is dang bad.

    I used to fly and visit my mom a few times a year. Now I hardly ever visit because security flags me every time because I carry a medical device, the planes are unfriendly, and I’ve gained weight. The only reason to fly someplace is because you can’t drive there or do a video call. If Amtrak was better, I’d use them.

    You have nothing but sympathy from me.

  • divass77 says:

    I’ve made complaints to AA about their unprofessional service. It’s quite shocking and rude that their response claimed my intention of writing a complaint letter was to get compensation.(Come on…I’ve flown AA for years just because of the mileage. Pretty aware of how lousy they are.) Never did they really apologize, admit and improve their poor service. Sorry they pissed you off too. I don’t think they will improve.

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