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How To Get Compensation When Things Go Wrong On Flights

by on July 23, 2012 · 50 comments

in Points Guy Pointers

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In general, I’m not a complainer. I know things go wrong on flights all the time and that there’s only so much an airline or crew can do to fix them. Beyond whether meal service sucks or an entertainment system is on the fritz, they’re there to keep us all safe and get us where we’re going on time.
However, when things do go wrong that are within the airline’s power to fix, it pays to demand appropriate compensation for your troubles.

Case in point: I just flew from Miami to London in British Airways first class on miles. I was really looking forward to the experience since I’ve had great trips on BA’s first class service so far. However, the plane’s in-flight entertainment system didn’t work.
Malfunctioning in-flight entertainment won’t ruin my First Class experience!

Without having to ask, the purser brought around cards awarding everyone 20,000 Avios, which seemed fair to me. Especially since I slept for most of the flight, and when I wanted to watch something, I could whip out my iPad for entertainment. For passengers without anything to watch on their personal electronic devices, however, that would have been a long, boring flight, but you should always be prepared with your own entertainment (or sleeping pill!).

I applaud British Airways for proactively compensating us, but for anyone who’s sat on a transoceanic flight with nothing to watch, or been bumped from flight after flight without any explanation, you’ll know that airlines can be very slow and stubborn to offer compensation of any form—whether it’s vouchers, miles, or even just an apology note.

If you do get into a situation where you feel like you are owed something for an airline’s mistakes, here are a few things to keep in mind so that your complaint is both effective and successful at earning you some form of compensation. Remember, passing along feedback is a good way to get airlines to improve—especially since we all know they need to. So here are my tips:

1. Often the best way to ensure getting compensated is to resolve a situation on the spot. If things go wrong and a situation is unfolding, ask for what you want or need immediately. Ask for a supervisor if you need to. Stay calm and reasonable, even if you don’t get anything, though, since you can always write a letter later. For instance, on a recent flight I was on from New York to Miami, the first class lavatory was broken, so I complained and got 2,000 miles the flight attendant who printed me out a voucher from their handheld machine they use to process credit cards for in-flight purchases.  It never hurts to ask, and many airlines empower their higher-level service crew to provide compensation on the spot.

2. When and if you do need to write a complaint letter, keep it short and sweet. Outline the facts of your situation quickly, succinctly and unemotionally. Lay it out like a legal argument, point by point, and include all pertinent details including dates, flight numbers and factually accurate information. You want to appear as calm, collected and professional as possible and state what you think is fair compensation.

3. Start by emailing your request. You’ll have an electronic, date-stamped record on file for when you complained, to whom, and what your letter contained. This will often be a more effective way of communicating than calling a customer service line and speaking to a low-level representative who might not be empowered to offer you any compensation. If you don’t get responses to your emails, your next step can be to send certified hard copy letters. Be sure to keep a record of all correspondence.

4. If your concerns aren’t addressed, or if you feel like any compensation you are offered is too low, don’t be afraid to push back. Be polite, though, and have a number in mind—a reasonable number. No one’s going to take you seriously if you ask for hundreds of thousands of miles.

5. Use social media to your advantage. Often situations can get resolved very quickly if you know whom to tweet. For instance, @deltaassist can address concerns and problems and fix them right away before they become bigger issues.

You just need to be proactive. Airlines have been proven to respond faster to complaints via Twitter than almost any other method. However, beware of complaining too often since airlines will flag you as a trouble passenger. Remember, social media works both ways—if you’re going to complain when airlines do things wrong, you should consider praising them for good experiences.

Readers: What have some of your experiences been with compensation for complaints? What was the problem, how did you complain, and what did you get as compensation? Comment with your story below!

I hope all your flights are smooth, but in case things do go wrong, here are the phone numbers and contacts for the major airlines.

US AIRLINES

Alaska Airlines
Email Form
Physical Address:
Alaska Airlines Customer Care
PO Box 24948-SEAGT
Seattle, WA 98124-0948
Phone: 1-800-654-5669
Twitter: @AlaskaAir

American Airlines
Email Form
Physical Address:
American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612
Phone: 1-800-433-7300
Twitter: @AmericanAir

Delta
Email Form
Physical Address:
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Customer Care
P.O. Box 20980
Department 980
Atlanta, GA 30320-2980
Phone: 1-800-221-1212 or 1-404-773-0305
Twitter: @deltaassist

JetBlue
Email Form
Physical Address:
JetBlue Airways Customer Relations
PO Box 17435
Salt Lake City, UT 84117-0435
Phone: 1-800-538-2583
Twitter: @JetBlue

Southwest
Email Form
Physical Address:
Southwest Airlines
PO Box 36647-1CR
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone: 1-214-932-0333
Twitter: @SouthwestAir

United
Email Form
Physical Address:
Customer Care
United Airlines, Inc.
900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR
Houston, TX 77067-4323
Phone (voicemailbox): 1-877-624-2660
Twitter: @United

US Airways
Email Form
Physical Address:
US Airways
Attention: Customer Relations*
4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Fax: 480-693-2300
Phone: 1- 480-693-0800
@USAirways

Virgin America
Email Form
Physical Address:
Virgin America Guest Care
P.O.Box 4271
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: 1-877-359-8474
Twitter: @VirginAmerica

INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES

Air Canada
Email Form
Physical Address:
Air Canada – Customer Relations
PO Box 64239,
RPO Thorncliffe
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2K 6J7
Fax: 1-866-584-0380 or 1-403-569-5333
Phone: 1-888-247-2262
Twitter: @AirCanada

Air France/KLM
Email Form
Physical Address:
Air France Customer Relations
P.O. Box 20980
Department 980
Atlanta, GA 30320-2980
Phone: 1- 877-247-9247
Twitter: @AirFranceUS

British Airways
Email Form
Physical Address:
British Airways Customer Relations USA
PO Box 300686
Jamaica, NY 11430-0686
Fax: 1-212-251-6711
Phone: 1-800-247-9297
Twitter: @British_Airways

Lufthansa
Email Form
Physical Address:
Lufthansa Customer Relations
P.O. Box 425
East Meadow, NY 11554
Phone: 1-516-296-9650
Twitter: @Lufthansa_USA

Virgin Atlantic
Email Form
Physical Address:
Virgin Atlantic Customer Relations
PO Box 747
Dunstable, LU6 9AH
United Kingdom
Phone:1-800-821-5438

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685121871 Christopher Wu

    Nice article… really really nice touch to include the contact information for a lot of airlines (including physical address). I recommend if going the physical mail route to use certified mail, or something with delivery confirmation.

  • Michael

    Out of curiosity, what did you say when the first class lavatory was broken? “Hi, the restroom is broken; I’m inconvenienced; may I have extra miles please?”

  • http://twitter.com/FoodWineMiles Jason Bell

    Thanks for the tips – but thanks even more for the handy list of contact info for so many different airlines!

  • Herman Maes

    In Europe download the “Your passenger rights” app on your smartphone with all your rights as a passenger when a delay/cancelation is blocking your way. Great app from the EU comission.

  • Herman Maes
  • cg

    I submitted a complaint letter to TAM airlines regarding a canceled flight in April. I called, emailed, sent letter and nothing. I finally wrote to the Better Business Bureau… and even then, they didn’t reply. The BBB states that they have an “F” rating and likely won’t. Was wondering if there’s anything else I can do. I mean, I missed a full day of work bc of the canceled ordeal – I feel SOME compensation is expected.

  • alanna

    yeah, I was thinking the same thing. What exactly do you say when you say when asking for mileage compensation?

  • thepointsguy

    Basically- I just said “hey- can I have some custome service miles since the bathroom was broken, which was an inconvenience?”. And she didn’t hesitate and printed me off a coupon for 2,000 Skymiles.

  • Bryan

    My wife and I were on a plane from DFW-SJO. The plane pushed back, we waited an hour, and then it pulled back to the gate. There was a malfunction with the engine. They were able to get us on another plane, but with a 3 hour delay. I emailed AA the next morning and that same day they issued a $150 voucher for both of us.

  • Jill Y

    I’m attempting to deal with a situation right now, but apparently BA isn’t too interested in righting the situation. Two of us took a trip to Bangkok via Hong Kong. We booked an award trip on Cathay Pacific using BA miles (pre Avios days). The original ticket was issued to KL via Hong Kong. We later decided to modify the reservation to Bangkok via Hong Kong. Since the end destination was in the same zone we were allowed to change the ticket. We paid a change fee of approximately $140. On our arrive flight Cathay Pacific refused to allow us to board the plane because they said we did not have an e-ticket. We showed them confirmation from BA and Cathay Pacific, including a recent email stating that our return flight was not in two days and we could check in online. Cathay Pacific insisted that BA had never made the change in their system and thus we could not board the plane without an e-ticket.

  • http://twitter.com/windycityf Windycityf

    I flew United the other day, ORD-EWR, on plane with malfuntioning A/C. I complained to Preimer Voice and nothing so far, its been 10 days.

  • Jill Y

    Typo it should have said “We showed them confirmation from BA and Cathay Pacific, including a recent email stating that our return flight was two days away and we could now check in online.”

  • gpapadop

    Were your Skymiles credited instantly? Or it took a few days, how long? Or did you have to mail in the voucher or enter its number online??

  • Kathy

    Thank you so much for this information. My husband and I have a dispute with USAir right now and we are trying to get some compensation. We are not getting anywhere through email. Our trip to Vegas and back was definitely a “trip”, to say the least. We were delayed almost 3 hours on our Charlotte leg because of a mechanical issue. I understand it happens. On the way back, we were told when we printed our tickets in Vegas that our Charlotte to CAE flight would be delayed. Instead of leaving Charlotte at 10:10PM, it would be leaving at 10:35PM. When we arrived into charlotte, we checked the monitors and it was still listed as a delayed flight–10:35PM. We proceeded to the gate, arrived at 10:14. The doors were shutting. They had decided to leave early, knowing that they had two other passengers that had tickets. They would not let us on the plane. The gate agent told us we had to be there 10 minutes early, which we were more than 10 minutes early! There were no other flights leaving out of Charlotte that night. Oh–get this. I receive a text message from USAir at 10:31 that says “your flight is now leaving out of gate E10″. They have offered us each 3500 dividend miles each as compensation. No way! I really don’t want to drop this but would like to talk to someone instead of emailing back and forth(thanks for the phone number). We did talk to a customer service representative when this happened and we were told to email. I am ready for some results. By the way, we paid for our ticket with 37500 dividend miles each. I know that there are probably going to be different opinions on this situation. Many of you are seasoned travelers. Thanks for you help.

  • Fax It

    Fax is great too. Seems so out of place in this day and age, that it usually grabs the attention and gets you a response. I used AA fax# for mileage credit (via Air Pacific partnership) and that worked out great.

  • Forwardtosarah

    We flew from CDG-MSP last year. The plane was o-l-d and none of the seats worked properly in our party (there were 4 of us). Some wouldn’t recline, while others wouldn’t stay up! This flight was on Delta. I complained via Twitter and got an immediate response. They offered me $$ off an upcoming flight. I thought that was an appropriate response and I thanked them!

  • Eggss4

    Good tips overall, but I’d beg to differ on asking for specific comp. In your case where you got 2000 miles, for example, I’d bet you could have waited to write to the Delta customer service center and said that you’d leave the comp to the discretion of their agents. I’ve done this a few times and gotten compensated more highly than what I otherwise would have asked for had I asked to put a concrete number on it.

  • http://twitter.com/zekenix Zeke Kersey

    One thing I’ve found, if you end up having to write a letter, is to find something that went right on the flight and start with that, then include your “however…” Also, if someone does help you to resolve or actually resolves the issue on the spot, thank them then and there AND write a letter to the airline VP of Customer Service thanking the individual by name. A lot of these folks are hard workers and get little praise when they go above and beyond.

  • http://thebluehourfashion.blogspot.com/ Jamie K

    I think the twitter tip is an excellent one. While I haven’t experienced it with an airline, I have had a great experience with using twitter to circumvent a crappy customer service solution.

  • Billy Bongo

    Did you check the reservation in Cathay Pactific’s website before flying? What did that say? Did you have seat assignments on the flights? What did BA offer you?

  • Alan

    I’m not a big time traveler but to me this is the worst kind treatment an airline can pull. They knew you were there, they knew there were no more flights out that day, and they were still at the darn gate. I was trying to think of the one time I compained, and now I remember it was a very similar situation, almost sure it was US Air came in late on a connecting flight, the gate agent said she’d tell them I was coming, ran across a large airport, got to the gate, the plane was there, wouldn’t let me and another couple on. I think they sent me coupons for 10,000 miles, I almost cut them up and sent them back. Been flying Southwest ever since. I think 20,000 would be minimum acceptable. Plus did they pay for your hotel room?

  • Jetstream007

    Since I fly Delta ( a lot), most of my mishaps were on/with their flights:
    -one time they offered 10.000 SM themselves and announced this on the plane, to compensate for transatlantic breakdown of IFE system, within 2 days they were in + apologies. OK with me.
    - one time, because of a problem they caused (rebooking/routing etc.) I had to pay hundreds of dollars extra. I wanted compensation. On first emial I got a $150 voucher, which was not reasonable i.m.0. So I escalated to a senior rep, mailed back twice and got another $250 voucher. It took some effort, but result was okay, which I told them;
    - one time in SLC an airplane came in late and my flight to IAH was delayed by two hours. This delay would make me miss my flight to AMS (I had booked an (award)ticket on the all-BC-BBJ-737, an experience I wouldn’t like to miss!). So I turned to the SLC team in the skylounge and explained my situation (which was by all standards not that bad…they could easily reroute me). They didn’t, instead they got on the phone and booked me on the last seat with Continental (I made the flight on the businessjet, just in time at the gate, only 20 pax and 40 seats, 4 FA….great service!). Yes, next time at SLC I got Cari and her team a lot of chocolates…

    So overall when things go bad, my experience with Delta has been positive. I agree with Brian on the best approach, just be nice and ask what you need/want…
    - I stay always polite and correct;
    - I’m usually friendly and understanding (up to the point someone gets rude);
    - I try to make a ‘connection’ with the agent. The agent has a tough job after all (really!)
    - I’m reasonable, only asking for compensation with a major mishap (does not include a broken lavatory imo)
    - I might tell them I had many good experiences, but this mishap really ‘disappointed me’ and was not what I expected…. That’s almost code for ‘please listen to me and give me some miles/vouchers..’. Really worked every time I used this, it’s always nicer (for the agent) to be able to make a gesture, as giving in to a demand.
    - For the amount I fly, I rarely complain, maybe once every 2/3 years?? After all, it takes time/energy, maybe better spend on something positive. Only complain when it’s serious.
    - Being PM for years might help?

    BTW in my experience Delta does a good job getting people where they want to go compared to many other major carriers. Overall no complaints there, nobody controls the weather (which is a good thing if you think about it..:-) )

  • Euroflyier

    Thanks Brian,

    I only wish you posted this blog a few days earlier :)
    I was on UA FRA-EWR flight last week and my in-flight entertainment system was not working correctly (no sound). The FA attempted to reboot the system several times but to no avail.

    I wish I knew I could have asked for customer service miles” :)

  • Kathy

    No, they only offered to book us a flight the next day. At this point, we were only 1 1/2 hours from home. We tried to get a one way car rental home. They told us that they wouldn’t pay for a car rental. We would have paid for the rental and fought with them later to reimburse us but there simply was no one way rentals available that evening with any of the companies. By the time we talked to the customer service desk, car rental agents, and USAir by phone to resolve the issue, it was midnight. Our 18 year old son drove the 1 1/2 hours to come get us. We arrived home at about 3am. All of this inconvenience because a pilot or whoever decided to pull out early knowing that atleast two people were left off the plane. Now you see why I will not drop this and will not settle for 3500 miles. That is terrible customer service. Is the phone number listed below general USAir customer service number or is it a number listed for the executive office? Since we have been emailing back and forth with a customer service representative since July 11th, I want to go above them. I am tired of the back and forth. Thanks for your help.

  • Kim Herlache

    I sent a complaint to United using their online form and attached some PDF documents to go with it.

  • Wahlflower

    Sent a complaint to United via their website. I attached some PDF documents for back-up. We had booked first class airfare using miles from Sacramento to Europe last year, but flying in May 2012. Due to the merger, they changed some flight times and had our flight leaving Chicago prior to us arriving in Chicago so we would have missed the connecting flight. After a very long phone call they couldn’t find a flight (i am guessing using miles was the issue) so they booked us on US Airways to Newark, however they didn’t follow through and actually “ticket” the itinerary for my ticket (my husbands was fine). We checked in on departure day to the airport and received boarding passes, but when we went to get on the plane the boarding pass wouldn’t work for me. They put me on the plane only to call me off and told me I wasn’t allowed to travel. The person at the gate wouldn’t help me and left me to figure it out for myself. Once on my cell phone calling, the first agent said it was international so she had to transfer me, the second one said you used miles I have to transfer you, the third said oh we have to call US Airways and work it out so please hold. A very nice employee who overheard me in panic mode asked me how long, and the agent on the phone said 5 minutes, so the employee got them to hold the plane for me.

    Of course I was in crazy panic instant migraine mode because this would have really messed up a day or two of travel had i not got on the plane.

    United has given me and my husband a $200 credit, however, I feel they can do better than this for all the stress they have caused me and the employee at the gate being less than helpful telling me he can’t help me and wouldn’t even pick up a phone and try.

    Thoughts or suggestion on a reply to United about their offer? Should I just leave it and be happy with that? I would almost rather have the miles than the credit. In fact, the person that responded completely got everything twisted about where I was and what happened in their apology email back to me offering me the $200 per person. This was after all a 25 year wedding anniversary that we saved for and really worked the miles thing to make that much more special.

  • David

    I recently experienced two long delays (over 3 hours) due to mechanical problems on planes. One instance was on Airtran. They issued me a free roundtrip ticket anywhere (including International). My original ticket was a $100 one-way domestic.

    My second compensation was for a mechanical problem that caused a delay on Delta. My wife and I were flying on a Delta companion ticket discount (ie: one ticket was economy price, the second was $99). The counter agent refused to provide compensation, but after emailing, we each received 7,500 skymiles.

  • Josh

    Can’t let this article go by without posting a link to the definitive last word on the question of how to react when your plane is stuck on the tarmac. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk If you don’t have 4 minutes, skip to 2:37.

  • Steven S

    I’ve flown BA First a number of times – always, of course, on miles and with a Companion Pass. I wonder, Brian, what type of compensation they made for the Business and Coach customers. My guess is that they were not quite as proactive!

  • Jill Y

    I checked the reservation in part. It said that I had a reservation, but I did not attempt to obtain a seat assignment prior to arriving the airport. The problem surfaced when I got to the airport and tried to check in. I was told that I have a reservation, but that BA did not give an e-ticket so that I did not have a seat on the plane. After hours of phone calls and huge cell phone bills I finally spoke to someone at BA. They told me that I had not paid the change fee. I paid it (again) and then they issued me an e-ticket. I am now trying to ask BA for some sort of remuneration, but so far they have just said that they will credit back the duplicate fee that they made me pay.

  • Santastico

    Always had success in getting miles for complaining with Delta and AA because of problems during flight. Last year I got over 30,000 miles from Delta Customer Relations after I complained twice for problems on inflight entertainment system in their crappy 767 they use to fly to South America. Also noticed they give more miles depending on your elite level and the fare class you flew with them. If you fly paid business class fare and have Platinum or Diamond status you will get way more miles for complaining than if you flew coach and have Silver status. That happened to me since both complaints were for the same reason in two different flights to South America but I got more miles when I was flying biz class and had already reached Platinum in the year.

  • Lauren K

    what is your advice for temporary lost luggage and getting compensation?

  • Andy Pahwa

    I was booked to do a 4 leg domestic flight on Delta
    First flight was so delayed, that my itinerary was ruined
    I was put on a direct flight
    Tweeted @deltaassist – they Direct Messaged me and said that they would request the missed out MQMs for me.

    Waiting for them to be posted, so we shall see… but at least they were responsive.

  • Jeanette

    I was on a flight home with a few friends fom Miami to Washington DC via Delta. We had checked in online and had selected our seats. When we got to the plane, all our seats were taken and we were told to sit on the last row of the plane. I sat on the aisle seat. As soon as you sat down, you could smell vomit! I told the attendant and she sprayed Febreeze. While I was sleeping, the attendant pulled out the beverage cart and smashed it on to the back of my head! The hit was so loud, my sister next to me woke up! The attendant just kept walking, never said excuse me or asked are you ok?. When we go to our destination, everyone got off the plane and we got up to leave, and the carry on compartment was broken, and we couldn’t get our carryons out! We looked around for help and found the attendant sitting on the back of the plane talking on the phone with her daughter. We asked for help, and she said to wait. So a gentleman who sat nearby just punched the compartment until it popped open. I ended up writing this to corporate at Delta, and received an email with a code for a $50 voucher. Needless to say, never flew Delta again!

  • http://twitter.com/experienceTed Fat Ted

    You probably still can, I’m sure they have a record of it happening.

  • Laurent

    Hi had a rather unsatisfactory experience with United a couple of week ends ago.

    Any advice based on your own experience much appreciated.

    Was on my way back from Montreal to SFO via Chicago Ohare the week end before last, thunderstorms in the Chicago area so we left with a 5+ hour delay out of Montreal, and most everyone on connecting flights had to endure an overnight sleep in the airport hall at Ohare with thousands of stranded fellow travelers, and then myself got another 2+ hours delay out of Ohare, and of course my luggage went missing on arrival at SFO.

    I had to go myself to SFO the following Wed since United couldn’t tell me where it was over the phone via their call center in India. I ended up finding it next to the desk of the head of the luggage dpt there, after waiting for 2+ hours, and being told once again they didn’t know where it was, and there was nothing they could do to find it but wait until the next day at least. They also were saying that bags could get stolen out of the luggage hall and it seemed to be an accepted fact, when it would be really simple and less costly to have baggage tag checkers standing at the different exits as it is done in many airports ard the world…

    Anyway following up with United and Chase since I purchased my ticket with the United Chase credit card to get as much compensation as possible from this.

    In the end all is well since I arrived back safely and I managed to get my bag back only a few days later…

    I guess I am not the only one, http://untied.com

    Thanks for any advice.

  • Peter

    How to send complain to Cathay? My wife should be flying back to US through HKG to ORD on 7/25/12 by CX Business class. However CX ground reservation changed her flights from CX business class to CI Coach Y class even those CX flights are not affacted/cancelled due to Hurricane/Storm on 7/24/12.

    CX website is terrible to send complaints or e-mails. Should I go through CX’s codeshare AA to get the compensation? There is major price difference by downgrading to Y coach class.

  • Olliemmy

    Delta flight out of Boston delayed by almost an hour caused us to nearly miss our connecting flight in MN. We literally had to have our daughter drop her bags and RUN LIKE HELL to the gate to let them know we were on our way. They were just shutting the door. On our trip home we landed in Atlanta from Hawaii only to find out that our flight to Boston was CANCELLED! This after umpteen hours flying and NO sleep! There was no announcement made on board before we landed. Not being a “frequent flyer” we had no idea what to do. We were routed to customer service and was told that my 2 children and I were booked on a later flight and my husband an even later flight. This did not sit well knowing we would have to sit in Boston waiting several hours for him to arrive. They comped us vouchers for breakfast and 1st class flight for my husband. And to add insult to injury, when boarding they separated me from my kids saying they couldn’t sit where they were assigned. They were 15 not 5! We arrived at our house 6 hours later than expected for a total of 27 hours from the time we left Hawaii until the time we arrived at home. The next day I emailed and called Delta to notify them of the MANY issues we had and how dissatisfied we were. They issued each of us EACH $400 in flight vouchers which we were able to use to fly to FL twice! Thank you Delta!

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  • relco

    I have had a horrible time with getting any compensation at all after being downgraded on Alitalia from business to economy with mileage tickets through FlyingBlue. I have spent hours on the phone, writing, sending documentation etc. to FlyingBlue, Delta and Alitalia to no avail. I don’t know what else to do. Any advice?

  • Regina Grant2

    I am sitting in LAX as we speak because my layover flight was delayed resulting in my missing my connecting flight. Talk about angry since I am flying in for a conference. Anyway when the “I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do” response was conveyed, I asked to see a supervisor. After expressing my profound inconvenience and refusal of a meal voucher, I was given a $100 travel voucher. I have read that some Airlines make it challenging to utilize, I’m okay w/ my lil victory. Go assertive consumer go!

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  • Jim

    Anyone notice that most of these flights are Delta?

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  • Felippe Matiazzo

    Brian, you who are expert in aviation and AA, recently missed a flight JFK-GRU because I arrived an hour and fifteen minutes before the flight. I identified myself to an AA official, he sayd wait, another AA official would not let me check-in and boarding on my return flight. To embark on the next day would have to pay 2k U.S. dollars! I redeemed a flight on United instead. I complained and the website said there is no error with the AA procedure and then not have to do. What do you recommend I do in this case? I lost just 50k UA miles! Tks man!

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  • Will

    My first flight with Delta took off 2 hours late because of overheating hydraulic fluid which made me miss my connecting flight (also with Delta). They said that they couldn’t hold the second flight because I was the only one connecting. It was around 11PM and Delta offered to put us on the earliest flight the next morning and get us a hotel for the night. I was unable to do that, so I had to rent a car and drive to my destination (4 hours, through the night). It cost 240 for the car and 50 for gas. I called Delta first, but they said to use the complaint form online. I told them what happened, got a response saying that they would reimburse me for the unused portion of the flight ($49) and give me 9500 skymiles. After reading all of the comments on this page (and realizing that you indeed can complain a second time) I responded saying that I didn’t think the $49 and 9500 skymiles were enough compensation for the troubles that I endured. I got a response a few days later asking me to send in receipts of the documents. I sent in the receipts for gas and car rental. A few days later, I got another response saying that I will receive a check for $243 (not sure where they came up with this amount, maybe took my total price and subtracted the reimbursement for the unused flight). Overall I was satisfied with the compensation, although I don’t really know if this happens often. I owe many thanks to this forum and the people who wrote about their experiences!

  • Nate

    I was on a US Air flight out of Phoenix to Milwaukee. The flight left at 6:35 and was to get into Milwaukee at Midnight. After being in the air for 45 minutes, there was an announcement that there was troubles with the landing gear brakes and we had to return to Phoenix to change planes. If the brakes were going to work in Phoenix, why wouldn’t they have also worked in Milwaukee, as long as we were already in the air.

    After landing in Phoenix, we left our plane and had to go through the whole boarding process again on another plane. We finally got to Milwaukee about 3:00 a.m. after 5 hours of flights instead of the direct 3:15 it should have taken, and an extra take-off and landing. I asked to see a customer service rep and they told me I’d have to respond through their website. The website representative responded with an apology but no explanation of the logic of returning to Phoenix and a $50 voucher. Is this considered sufficient?

  • Rob

    on’t know the particulars of either airport but perhaps the runways at Phoenix were longer or the weather may have come into play …

  • ElKo825

    My boyfriend and I were recently issued travel vouchers for a United flight delayed due to mechanical issues. We used the same complaint letter with a few words changed to suit our differing situations (I was business class, he was coach). However, United offered him a larger voucher! I was shocked, as this screams gender discrimination. Has anyone else experienced something similar with United Airlines?

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