5 Tips for Avoiding Hassle During the American Airlines System Failure Aftermath

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Even though American has fixed their computer issues, thousands are still stranded or severely delayed. American’s head of communications just emailed me and stated that AA is offering the following options:

1) If customers must travel today and are already at the airport, they can rebook on another airline by visiting an American Airlines agent or by going to the other airline’s ticket counter with their electronic ticket number.  
2) If customers must travel today and are not yet at the airport, they can rebook through American Airlines reservations or through another carrier and American will honor the fare difference.
3) If a customer chooses not to travel today, there will be no charge for reservation changes or a full refund will be provided.
 We will add extra sections later today and tomorrow to further accommodate passengers whose flights were cancelled.”

If you’re still trying to get assistance with reaccomodation the current phone hold times on the main customer service line are over 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Here are 5 tips to help you get home quicker.

1. Call an international office using Skype or other VOIP programs. Often these offices are running business as usual with no wait times. Here is the link to their international reservation lines and a quick list. I just called the Japanese-speaking callers and the wait time was only 9 minutes. I’m sure those phone reps also know how to speak English since they often need to call central ticketing in Dallas to get things done.

English-Speaking Callers* 1-800-433-7300 24 hours/day, Daily
Japanese-Speaking Callers* 1-800-237-0027 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight (CT) Daily
Mandarin Chinese-Speaking Callers* 1-800-492-8095 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight (CT) Daily
Spanish Speaking Callers* 1-800-633-3711 24 hours/day, Daily

2. Tweet @americanair. They may be overwhelmed today, but usually they are some of the quickest responders to customer questions and complaints.

3. If you don’t have the cash to lay down for a ticket on a competitor and you can’t get them to take over your American ticket, use frequent flyer miles to book on another carrier and then follow up with AA to see if they will compensate you in miles or cash for the additional money you needed to lay out for your trip. American has stated they would honor the fare difference, so hopefully they’d honor the situation where someone used miles or points to rebook. I would first recommend trying to get the other carrier to take your existing ticket, but if you absolutely have to get home and don’t have the cash, this is an option. It seems like AA is motivated to do right by the customer, so I’d be fairly optimistic in a fair outcome.
4. Use a phone service that will call you when the hold time is up to save time and money, especially while abroad. Lucyphone.com and Gethuman.com are two of my favorites (feel free to share yours).

5. Go to the lounge for assistance. The Amex Platinum and Citi Executive AAdvantage credit cards will get you in for free or you can buy a $50 lounge pass (and try to get reimbursed for that down the line). Lines in the lounges are generally much shorter than the regular ticketing desks and the agents are more experienced. Reach out to friends on social media to see if they know anyone in the lounges or if all else fails, ask someone going into the lounge to guest you in since a solo traveler will be able to bring in a free guest. Hey, it never hurts to ask!

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