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Tuesday February 28, 2006, 10:23

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing regarding the difficulties I encountered while traveling from New York to Los Angeles on Thursday, February 16th, 2006. I was scheduled to fly from Newark to Chicago on flight 1061 at 9:56 am connecting through to Santa Ana, CA, but when I arrived at Newark, I found that the automated checkin machine was unable to process my reservation.

I overheard one of American's employees tell other passengers that the flight to Chicago was cancelled, and that they would have to wait on line to speak to an agent. When asked what the problem was, the employee simply said "I don't know, I just work here" and had no more information to share.

At this point I called American's reservation phone number to find out if there was another flight that I could take to get me to Los Angeles. The agent was very helpful, but told me that the only flight available anywhere in the New York area was a flight out of JFK airport at 11:30 am. I was rebooked on that flight and though I made every effort to get from Newark to JFK, I was unable to get there in time. Under the advice of American's phone agent, I went to the counter to attempt to fly standby to Los Angeles. The agent at the counter said she was able to book me on a 12:00 flight to LAX, but that I would have to run to the gate.

I rushed to the gate as instructed, but upon my arrival was told by the gate agent that the flight was full, that I had "just checked in 5 minutes ago" and that there were other passengers waiting on standby and that she would be boarding them and not me. I told her that I was instructed to run to the gate, but she informed me that nobody had called her to tell her that I was coming. She then proceeded to call the two remaining standby passengers, boarded them, and then closed the flight without me.

Finally, after speaking with a supervisor at the gate, I wasable to get a seat on flight 117 from JFK to LAX, departing at 2:30 pm.

While I understand that many of these circumstances may have been out of American's control, three items in particular bother me as a customer:

1- When I left for the airport, I checked online and the flight was listed as being On Time. Had I known that the flight was going to be cancelled, I could have rebooked before making it out to Newark.

2- The staff at Newark had very little to no information on why the flight was cancelled and whether we would be able to get to our destinations. In this instance, simply knowing whether or not I would be able to make it out of the airport on a flight would have been useful information to receive.

3- After arriving at JFK, the agent should not have told me to run to the gate if there was no way I was going to be able to get on board. I was told that there were over 20 people on standby for that flight and the agent did not call the gate to tell them I was coming, so there was no way I could have possibly been put on the 12pm flight.

Your phone agents did a noble job of trying to get me to my destination, but overall I was left frustrated by the entire travel experience. I spent $32 in travel expenses getting to and from Newark airport, and seven hours between the time when I left my house and when my flight finally departed. I hope that American will be able to compensation me in some way for both of these since much of my frustration could have been avoided simply with more information at each critical step in this experience.

Sincerely,

jcn

[...]

Dear Mr. jcn:

I'm sorry that your trip on February 16 didn't go very smoothly. It must have been frustrating when your flight was canceled and as a result, you were reaccomodated on a flight leaving from John. F. Kennedy. There is no question that you were inconvenienced when you were unable to arrive on time for the flight.

After reviewing our irregularity report for that day, I see that your flight was canceled as a result of air traffic congestion. There's nothing more frustrating than when the activity of controlling the flow of air traffic impacts the scheduled operation of airline flights.

While we wish we could get all our customers to their destinations on time, and operate each and every flight as scheduled, we just can't do so. There are too many uncontrollable factors -- like air traffic congestion -- that can affect our flights.

Although a captain is in command of each aircraft, personnel of the Federal Aviation Administration (Air Traffic Controllers) are responsible for commanding the course of air traffic. Their objective is to safely coordinate the arrivals and departures of all aircraft as efficiently as possible. Sometimes, this activity can result in flight delays or cancellations. Again, we regret that your trip was disrupted as a result.

Mr. jcn, you have my assurance that we will continue to focus on the dependability of our flights and do all we can to get you to your destination on time. I hope you will give us another chance to do so.

This is an "outgoing only" email address. If you 'reply' to this message by simply selecting the reply button, we will not receive your additional comments. Please assist us in providing you with a timely response to any feedback you have for us by always sending us your email messages via AA.com at http://www.aa.com/customerrelations.

Sincerely,

Lisa Fields
Customer Relations
American Airlines

This is not over, AA. Not a chance.

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