October 5, six of us flew on American Eagle from Boston, MA, to
Ottawa, Canada. While en route to Ottawa, we learned quite
accidentally from the flight attendant that American Eagle was
pulling out of that market effective October 6. We asked how could
that be because we had return flights on October 9, but he said
"If you are not on tomorrow morning's flight, you don't have
a return flight home." Our round-trip e-tickets had been
purchased months in advance.
After we arrived in Ottawa, I contacted American Airlines
immediately, and asked why four different entities—travel agent,
American Airlines, and two different ticket counter
agents—neglected to inform us of this major change. I was told
that "they probably didn't know."
I was particularly upset that the ticket agents, who had our
computerized records and a paper printout of our itinerary in
front of them, didn't call this "pullout" to our
attention. American found us a return flight on American Airlines
from Ottawa to Boston via Chicago, but what would have been a
1.5-hour trip from Ottawa to Boston, turned into a six-hour one.
And, the time we had in Ottawa was cut short by a day.
We feel cheated and that we were deliberately kept in the dark by
American Airlines. What would have happened if we called to
reconfirm our flight on the day of travel only to learn that it
didn't exist, or worse, to have shown up at Ottawa Airport for a
flight that no longer existed?
Do we have any recourse? We'd like to send American a nasty
letter, but need to know what our rights are first.
Many thanks for your help.
There's absolutely no excuse for
American Airlines not contacting you. I contacted them to see what had
American said that like every major airline, American Eagle was forced to
reduce its flights immediately following the September 11 attacks when
passenger demand dropped to lower levels. They noted it is the airline's
policy to notify customers of any changes, such as service cancellations.
American Eagle "regrets" that communication was not established
prior to the departing flight of the trip. The airline does make
arrangements to "protect" the prior reservation on a competing
airline, or to re-route the traveler through another hub, as in this case.
They noted with more advance notice, more options for the return trip
likely would have been available.
With the aforementioned "advance notice," it just shows that it
never hurts to confirm your reservation directly with the airline to avoid
last-minute surprises at the airport. When you call to check on your
reservations, this will give the airline the opportunity to update you
with any changes in flight information.
I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!
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