How American Airlines Customer Service Failed Me 3 Times
While I generally like to keep things positive here on adventureswithben.com, I need to provide context to tomorrow’s pos on How Airline Customer Service is @ss Backwards by telling you a tale of woe today. Thank you in advance for indulging me. Let’s take a look at how American Airline’s Baggage Policy, and follow-up Customer Service were great examples of failure…
Fail #1 You Were Careless with My Suitcase
On December 8th I flew from Miami to Orlando on American Airlines. When I checked my bag, I unclipped the luggage clip from my suitcase (you know, the one that can strap around a small bag and let it dangle from your suitcase) and placed it in one of the suitcase’s exterior pockets. Upon arrival in Orlando, this pocket was unzipped and the clip was missing.
There was no TSA note. Fault = American Airlines
Fail #2 Your Baggage Agent Refused to Listen to Me
I went to the baggage representative in the terminal and explained the situation. She made it very clear that American Airlines is not responsible for baggage clips – citing a policy in their conditions of carriage.
Now dear readers, as a frequent flier, I am well versed in baggage policies, and limitations. When South African Airlines lost my bag in 2007, I became very well educated in the policies and compensation rules of airlines. Had my baggage clip been attached on the outside of my bag, I really wouldn’t have a case. But the fact that my baggage clip was on the INSIDE of my suitcase, meant that I believed American Airlines should have covered my baggage clip. I considered it cargo. In fact, American Airline’s Baggage Policy is written as follows:
“American assumes no responsibility for damage to or loss of protruding [emphasis added by me] baggage parts such as wheels, straps, pockets, pull handles, hanger hooks or other items attached to the baggage.”
Last time I checked, securing your baggage clip on the inside of your bag is not, by definition, protruding. American Airlines demonstrated a lack of common sense, choosing to hide behind inaccurate interpretations of their baggage policy.
Warning to All Wheel, Strap, Pockets, Pull Handles & Hangar Salespeople
By American Airline’s logic, if you had a suitcase full of zipper pulls, straps and (gasp) baggage clips, and they lost or damaged them – they would not cover those contents of your suitcase. Do you see how ridiculous this is?
So I Wrote a Letter to Executive Customer Service
The standard Airline Customer Service route is generally not any more effective than the in-person customer service you’ll receive at the airport. So I wrote an email to their Senior Vice President of Customer Experience instead – Craig Kreeger. In my email, I made 2 requests:
- A check for $25.00 mailed to me personally to pay for a replacement clip ($25 happened to be the amount I paid to check my bag in the first place).
- 2,000 miles for my aggravation (a paltry amount).
Fail #3 You Didn’t Listen to Me (Again)
I got my $25 back, so why was I still upset? I asked for a check mailed to me, not a credit card refund.
I paid for my baggage with a corporate credit card. Refunding my corporate credit card will not resolve the fact that my suitcase is broken. My company won’t credit me the money to get my suitcase fixed. American Airlines essentially did nothing to fix the main issue. Not-helpful-at-all.
I wrote a polite email back explaining the above concern, even offering that they remove the credit card refund and just mail me the check. All I wanted was to be able to purchase a replacement clip. The response I received was confusing at best.
“Thank you for your recent correspondence. Since our baggage claim department has denied your claim, we do not override that denial. We do regret that we will not be able to send you a check for the damage claim that you are requesting.”
Is it me? But the very fact that they refunded my credit card in the first place meant that they “overrode” the baggage claim denial. I was merely asking for that resolution to actually resolve my issue. I persuaded the executive assistant to speak to me over the phone about my issue. We played a few rounds of phone tag. My last two voicemails went unanswered, unresponded.
I still have a suitcase without a baggage clip.
It’s not worth my time anymore. If American Airlines is fighting over a a pittance of $25, I’ll never fly them again.
While this story is about American Airlines, the reality is that the treatment I received is typical of most, major airlines. Tomorrow we’ll explore this customer service lapse further.
Until then, what do you think? Was American Airlines providing customer service? Or did they demonstrate complete ineptitude by not listening to my concern in the first place, and then aggrevating the situation later by doing what they thought would be easiest and not what would please the customer? Share by commenting.
I’ll see you out there…!