My AA Payday for a Canceled Flight and Broken Seat

by on July 31, 2014 · 84 comments

in Aadvantage, American

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US airlines are pretty stingy with regard to compensation when things go wrong. Compared to strict EU regulations, US airlines are responsible just for getting you to your destination at some point, and they can use “weather” and “air traffic control” to weasel out of situations where compensation is warranted. Nonetheless, even though airlines aren’t legally obligated to compensate you, many will do so if you’re a loyal customer and if you ask the right way. The following is my story of flying to Brazil on American Airlines, and how I think I came out pretty whole from several annoying situations.


Getting compensated for cancelled flights can be difficult. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Miami-Recife Off-Peak
When I went to Fernando de Noronha in April, I needed to fly from Miami to Recife. It’s an overnight, 8 hour flight; the business class cabin was pretty much sold out when I booked, and I didn’t want to shell out 100,000 miles each way for a peak award when saver level awards were available for just 20,000 miles in economy (since off-peak US to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay is March 1 – May 31 and August 16 – November 30). 

You can contact AA through their complain page.

You can contact AA through their complaint page.

I snagged an exit row window and luckily there was no one sitting next to me; however, the set recline function was broken, which made sleeping on an overnight flight even more difficult. I shot an email off to American to let them know to fix it and to voice my disappointment. I didn’t expect any points, but to my delight they gave me 15,000 AAdvantage miles for the trouble. Score! Total cost of flight from Miami to Recife = 5,000 miles (~$90 based on July point valuations).

Return Flight Recife to Miami
The return flight suffered a mechanical failure of some sort, and we sat on the tarmac for two hours only to find out that American Airlines would be canceling the flight. Around 1 am they unloaded the plane and baggage, and then the entire 757 lined up to be re-accommodated by two agents. Each customer took between 5 and 10 minutes to handle, so it was going to be a long, long night. I immediately called the Executive Platinum line, but sadly they couldn’t do anything to rebook me, as the reservation was under airport control. I called back again and got the same answer: “wait in line to rebook, and to get hotel and other vouchers.”

No thanks; my time (and sleep) is way more valuable than waiting for hours in the middle of the night. I decided to book my own hotel in Recife  (Hotel Jangadeiro, which was extremely bare bones with only a thin sheet on the bed) and keep all of the receipts for my taxis and expenses. I then outright cancelled my return itinerary and decided I’d just rebook myself on a SAAver award for 50,000 miles from Recife to Sao Paulo to Miami with a stopover (back in the good old days when AA allowed stopovers at international gateways), and then keep Miami- LAX- Kauai for later in the year.

After arriving back home, I submitted a complaint to AA on April 3rd through their “Email AA Customer Relations” link. I described the situation and explained that I incurred expenses from having to stay an extra night in Recife. The following day I received a response from a Customer Relations representative who was very apologetic and offered to reimburse me for the expenses I had listed in my complaint, as well as award me with 25,000 miles for the inconvenience.


AA sent me a check reimbursing me for my travel expenses.

On April 7th I submitted a list of expenses along with receipts totaling $476.19, which I used my Sapphire Preferred card to pay for so I could earn double points on the travel charges and avoid foreign transaction fees.

Hotel Jangadeiro: $139.20
Royal American Limousine: $135
Royal American Limousine: $144
Verizon Roaming minutes calling AA, 39 minutes @ $1.49 per minute: $57.99
I hadn’t heard anything back on April 16th, so I sent a follow-up message that again didn’t receive a response until May 27th, when I finally heard from a Claims Analyst. Once I confirmed my expenses and provided an address, I finally received a check for the full amount of $476.19 on June 18th.
Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 10.19.16 AM

American Airlines deposited 25,000 bonus miles into my account for my cancelled flight and 15,000 for my broken seat.

Although it took about 2 months to get my money back and hours of my time would have been wasted if I had actually waited in the airport for customer service, I think American handled the situation well and was generous in giving me a bonus 25,000 miles. Overall I was able to get from Miami to Recife in economy, Recife to Miami in business class and Miami to Kauai in business class for 30,000 miles total. Once again, the moral of the story is that it never hurts to ask.
Please share your experiences getting appropriate (or inappropriate) compensation on your own travel misadventures!

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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  • Eric

    In your honest opinion, do you think that someone without EP status with AA would get that type of attention?

  • mcmfan

    “Once again, the moral of the story is that it never hurts to ask.”

    The moral of the story is that status and being a prominent blogger matter.

  • welovekimberly

    limousine??? sounds pretty greedy and pompous to submit a refund for, no? And you are proud of yourself enough to post about…..sad world.

  • thepointsguy

    Simmer down, killer! It was a taxi, but owned by a limousine company I guess.

  • thepointsguy

    I bet they’d so similar for all elites. Not sure about non-elite- that’s why I’m curious what others have gotten in similar situations

  • Chris

    I dealt with a cancelled AA flight and with no more flights out that night I ended up paying for my own bus ticket just so I could get home (it’s about 200 miles). I submitted my complaint on July 3rd and have yet to hear back so I am going to email them again.

  • RobertAFrancisco

    Around 1 am they unloaded the plane and baggage, and then the entire 757 lined up to be re-accommodated by two agents. Each customer took between 5 and 10 minutes to handle, so it was going to be a long, long night.

  • shameful

    You took a cab 3 miles for $130+ EACH WAY and then submitted the bill to American Airlines? That is the epitome of pompous entitled travelling.

    Simmer down? I think Welovekimberly’s response is entirely appropriate.

  • thepointsguy

    How else would you have suggested getting from the Recife airport to the hotel at 130am? I just got a taxi that was at the airport. How is that pompous?

  • Guest

    others are not presumptuous enough to take limousines three miles and send the bill to the airline.

  • thepointsguy

    No one took a limousine

  • Rudy D

    Simmer down, ungrateful little peasants.

  • Jay

    I had a similar situation.

    It started when my wife and I were returning back home from vacation on a Southwest flight from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale with a stopover in Phoenix and Houston. We booked this flight with miles and I wanted to spend as little in miles as possible which explains the two stopovers on the return flight.

    What seemed like a simple 30 minute delay at our first stop, PHX, with an excuse from the SW rep saying there was a technical issue on the plane and it was being fixed at the hanger, turned into a 5 hour nightmare with an overnight stay in PHX, where it was 110 degrees outside with no luggage to change out of our light sweaters we had on from the chilly 50 degree morning in SFO.

    After one hour, the SW reps got on the PA system and gave us hopeful news that any moment now, the plane would be arriving to the terminal.

    After two hours, the SW reps got on the PA system and once again tried giving us hope news that the plane would be arriving shortly from the hanger and into the terminal to continue our routes. Then during the 2nd hour of waiting they got back on the PA system and they said they would be reimbursing all passengers a $200 voucher for future travel.

    Skipping you to the juicy part now.

    After four hours, my wife and I where at a restaurant near another terminal and hear on the PA system of another flight, one heading to Chicago, asking for someone to voluntarily give up their seat and they would be reimbursed with, get this, $300 and credit towards that non-stop one way to Chicago from Phoenix, valued at $300. So essentially $600. Now we’re thinking “Wow, we’re looking at more than $200 per person for vouchers with the problems we’re having with our plane.”

    After five hours of waiting and hearing 5 times on the PA system that the plane was on its way to the terminal and giving us false hope, they then cancelled the flight. Lots of people went nuts. But i stayed calm and told my wife that taking this situation easy would be less stressful on us. Like TPG we got into a line, which took over 2 hours to rebook us onto a new flight and hand us our, you guessed it, $200 vouchers. It turns out that everyone was lucky enough to get a flight to HOU and my wife and I, only one’s heading to FLL, had to stay overnight in a hotel to fly out the next day. But the SW reps told us, not to worry, your luggage is waiting for you downstairs. Well we head down stairs and, bingo! you’re getting good at this, the bags were not even there. They were already in FLL on an earlier flight. If you remember earlier, it was 110 degree that day and nothing to change into or out of.

    Next day, we arrive at the PHX airport and finally flew out to get back home. I wrote a huge letter to submit to SW Customer Relations, kinda like this one (sorry), explaining my experience and concerns and how they could improve how they relay information to their customers and how we were handled at the airport. And most importantly I explain why I believed why my wife and I should have received a higher compensation amount than what was handed out because we lost a day of work and a day of extra out of town expenses, and they agreed.

    They sent me an extra $100 for me and my wife. At this point, total reimbursement was $600 ($300 each) and I was a little happier with that.

    The moral of this story is that if you turn your terrible experience into and more calming one but submitting a complaint in the form of an experience, concerning, or advice for them to get better, they see this as valuable information for the company and seem to resolve your ticket quicker.

  • jack

    If it was only a taxi, why did it cost $279 rt for a total of 6 miles? Was the guy just driving around in circles all night just to run up the bill?

  • Carey

    Had an Uber driver in Austin, TX drive about 10 miles in the wrong direction before I determined the incorrect routing. The additional mileage added about $30 to my ride. I contacted Uber and informed them of how much I enjoyed their service and how this was an exceptional case. They verified the incorrect routing and provided a refund. Their response was so fast I was impressed.

  • Please keep…

    …posting these anectodes!!

  • thepointsguy

    Because it included several trips- to airport and then also in São Paulo where I had a day-long layover and went into the city. I didn’t expect them to cover all the rides, but they did

  • tom_56t

    In addition to getting scammed on the taxi, the other rookie mistake is paying for the Verizon roaming minutes. Learn how to use Skype on your phone and you will save yourself a lot of money when travelling.

    I’m dying to hear the story on the taxi. Did you not protest at all for paying so much? It is just incomprehensible that it would cost so much.

  • Drew Jolesch

    After the flight was canceled, how many hours were you on the ground before you left on your flight you booked yourself? A few months ago, I called AA on behalf of some European co-workers who had their flight canceled for mechanical reasons and one of them had their luggage ruined during transit (some liquid spilt on it) and after about 3-weeks to get AA to respond they were apologetic but did minimal to rectify the issue, neither of them had status and so I guess with non-elites they do the minimum possible. They both have $50 vouchers if they call in for their next trip, but those vouchers can only be used in the US.

  • thepointsguy

    It wasn’t one ride- it was several.

    As for roaming- Skype doesn’t work so well when you don’t have wifi and have slow data, which is the situation at Recife airport

  • Brad

    On the flip side, when you do receive outstanding service or have employees go above and beyond to accomodate you, make sure to take the time to write customer service under the contact AA link on their website.

    Recently I was flying AA: BGI-MIA-LHR to surprise my girlfriend who was flying out their with friends. My flight from BGI-MIA was delayed a few hours which would cause me to miss my connection in MIA and cut my already short trip even shorter. After talking with the agents at the AA counter BGI, they were able to reaccommodate me on the BA BGI-LGW instead. All in all, they saved my trip, I got in earlier then planned and got to surprise my girlfriend.

  • Heather L. Cannady

    I have to admit I am still shocked that that is the cost of a taxi. Anyone else have datapoints on how much taxis from the airport cost into the city?

  • Heather L. Cannady

    Ah I understand now. I think people are thrown by the fact that you only list two cab companies. Maybe the entire country only has a few?

  • Joe

    Had a broken reading light from IAH to BWI on UA. Wrote in via their complaint page, received a $100 UA voucher a week later. Yay?

  • Josh

    It’s not a crazy story, but here goes.

    My wife and I were flying to UA LAX-IAH-PHL for my brother in law’s wedding last December at a cost of $120/person for the one way. We ended up being in the same seats on the same aircraft on both legs. My IFE was broken on the first leg which I told the FA to fix.

    Our 1 hour layover ended up stretching to 5 hours due to weather in Philly. They even boarded the plane once only to tell us we’d have to get off again.

    When we finally left 4 hours late the FAs offered the whole plane free IFE and food (including alcohol). That was great, but as I mentioned my IFE was…still broken. Why UA didn’t have someone fix it for those 5 hours is still a mystery.

    I emailed customer service and nicely explained the situation. They emailed me a $200 voucher, in essence paying me $80 to fly to Philly. Not too bad.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, I wouldn’t have used the IFE anyway, as I had a tablet with me.

  • Tyler

    How else? How about waiting and going with the other passengers, instead of acting like a DYKWIA. Encouraging this type of behavior is horrible- airlines have negotiated hotel and bus rates that help keep their costs lower. If everyone did what you did they’d have to cut back on rewarding more real issues.

    I can’t believe you emailed in a complaint about an economy seat not reclining the 3 inches. Ridiculous.

  • travelbug

    I don’t know why people are throwing a fit about TPG getting full reimbursement. Considering the time, energy, and inconvenience it takes to be delayed, canceled, and re-booked (granted you’re not on a strict schedule), I think it was well deserved. Not to mention, if you’re polite to airline representatives, they’re much more receptive to you.

    I was bumped from a flight twice, politely told the airline reps that I understood how stressful this situation was for all parties (because it really is… can you imagine tens or hundreds of passengers verbally attacking you at once when they really can’t control what is happening to begin with), and ended up receiving $1,200 in travel vouchers. Another passenger yelled at the rep, demanded compensation, and threatened to sue the airline… and ultimately took a different flight without any vouchers.

    +1 to the moral of the story… it never hurts to ask.

  • Jake from MSP

    Although I agree with some of what you say, I think complaining about a non-reclining seat on an 8 hour flight is perfectly justifiable. 3 inches may sounds like chump change to you, sometimes, 3 inches makes a ton of difference… And even more if you know what you’re doing with it!

  • BubbaJoe123

    “They emailed me a $200 voucher, in essence paying me $80 to fly to Philly.”
    Only $80? You’d have to pay me a lot more.

  • BubbaJoe123

    That’s an insane price, it should have been (assuming the trip was about 3 miles, or 5km), about R$26 (since this was a trip between 10pm and 5am), that’s around US$11. For US$135 (about R$300), you should have been able to go over 100km.

    You got ripped off, my friend. Did you go the “taxi, senhor?” route, or use the official stand, with prepayment?

    Recife taxi rates are in the file linked below. You should look at the service especial – Aeroporto section, and you need to add the two columns together, since there’s a night surcharge.

  • thepointsguy

    It also included taxi from São Paulo to the city and back which is the bulk of it

  • BubbaJoe123

    Aha, that makes radically more sense now.

  • pcg

    I just had four of my employees and their spouses delayed LHR-ORD, causing them to miss their ORD-DTW leg (but not before they were told AA would hold the plane, which caused them to check their luggage…after which the plane promptly took off without them). They were put up in a roach motel about 20 minutes from ORD. They were given a paltry $7 for food vouchers. Some of the bags were mysteriously sent to Nashville and parts farther afoot, and were only delivered at 3:00 AM days later.

    I’ve encouraged my employees to lodge their complaints to AA, but they will not see one tin nickel. I will be surprised if they even get a human response at any time; the responses they received at the airport were certainly not human then. AA has repeatedly screwed them on this trip, and has been nearly belligerent about how much it is Not Their Problem throughout.

    This has not been my only experience in the past six months with AA’s incompetence (and subsequent “so sue me” attitude), and I’ve never seen a bloody thing from them in recompense. Even their Twitter handle has become utterly useless in trying to rectify travel problems when I have someone in the process of getting the shaft and getting stuck in Cleveland overnight.

    I hold no elite status. (Surprise!)

  • szuperdan

    This was brilliant. It shows what can be done. Sure, elite status should help but that’s what we’re striving for with TPG’s assistance. And the idea of submitting all the receipts was creatively awesome. I love this. The best I’ve gotten was an Economy Class to Business Class upgrade for my wife on an EZE-MIA late nighter. Yes I was EP at the time but I got it by acting like a Caballero.

  • Koalakins

    As for little old me… My story is as follows (I’m a young girl/woman… There will be information that isn’t needed; you’ve been warned haha)

    I received a call from SAID airline and a representative told me that my flight would be changed due to my connecting flight leaving earlier than initially stated. This would mean that I would make it to the airport and have 30 minutes to make it to the next plane. Yeah. No. Definitely not. The representative obviously knew that was a no-go and put me on a later flight making me arrive to South Korea (my destination) 3 hours later. The thing is – I had arranged for a HOST of people to pick me up at the airport at the original time.

    After being nice to him and explaining the mess this could cause, I proceeded to say, “I am asking for 30,000 miles for my troubles, please.” (Go big or go home, right?! Hahaha) Well, he said no, but I did receive a $175 travel voucher for myself and $175 for my friend whose ticket I also purchased on my card :) $175 is a lot to me… Anything was going to be a lot to me. I’m happy I asked :) Thank you SAID Airline!!

    By the way… For those of you that say status matters… WHAT STATUS?! Hahaha. I have none. I just started! (Although, I’m off to a good start – Thank you Points Guy ;D)

  • Ryan

    When going to Ft. Benning for Army basic training a long time ago. They also drove us in a “limousine.” It was a regular cab and it was called a limousine so I understand what TPG is saying.

  • Matt

    To me it sounds like the moral of the story is that AA’s product has a long way to go to get itself out of the crapper. I had a similarly bad experience last year when I flew EZE-DFW in Flagship First (777-200)… broken IFE, a dirty cabin, mediocre food, and apathetic flight attendants. I realize they are in the process of upgrading planes and service, but they are leagues behind Delta’s product right now.

  • Matt

    I’m a non-elite with American, but always fly in First on AA flights. I recently encountered an old 757 with ancient seats and mine didn’t recline. I emailed AA and let them know that my seat didn’t recline, but that the amazing service from my FA saved the flight. They got back to me in a few days with a $200 flight voucher. Anytime I end up in a chaotic airline situation, I never raise my voice or get angry. It does no good! A few years back, US Airways, who I also don’t have elite status with, cancelled the last flight of the night that I was booked in First on. The line to rebook was moving at a snails pace, so I called and explained the situation to them. They re-booked me on a Delta flight and credited money back to my card b/c they weren’t able to book me in First on the Delta flight. I never once yelled at the customer service rep, just repeated how much I appreciated their help. Stay calm in these stressful situations and it just might pay off more than getting angry would.

  • Matt

    I should note that I did in fact file a complaint after the flight, and I was offered a mere 7,500 miles. This was an award ticket (62,500 miles) and I had no AA status at the time.

  • Zach Woodie

    Okay reading the attacking comments and thepointsguy responses make the article even more interesting :)

  • cthej

    mcmfan, I know how you might jump to that conclusion, but I have always found American to be more responsive to my concerns/complaints than any other airline. TPG may have come out on top due to his internet profile, but as an ordinary flyer I have always found American very responsive regarding upgrades, rebooking, and compensation here and there. Much more so than any other airline. My only hope -dare I say fear – is that they can keep it up post merger. I have not been impressed at all with USAir’s professionalism along these lines.

  • Jeff

    I once flew pmUA SFO-PEK (I think) on a 747. There was a weird cranking noise above my seat. At the end of the flight, the FA gave me a voucher, unrequested. I was very surprised. I got 12,500 miles from the voucher (again, I think). This was when I had Silver status.

  • thepointsguy

    The process for me to get reimbursed took a couple months and lots of follow up and documentation. If someone high up wanted to treat me right due to my profile, I imagine it would have been quicker/easier, so I really don’t think I was treated differently due to being a blogger. Being top tier elite certainly helped though

  • shoshana

    i recently had a horrific travel experience. My husband an I travel a ton! We recently flew cross country with out newborn baby. When we got to the airport we boarded in group 2, The gate agent gave us a hard time about the size of carry on (i have pics of it fitting perfectly) and my husband was arguing back and forth about the size we asked that they gate check it as a short stop because we needed the baby stuff for our stop over they refused and then the gate agent decided we were confrontational, she told the pilots that we with out newborn were unruly and had security escort us from the jet bridge. When we got off the jet bridge she started screaming that we photograped her without permission and security should confiscate my phone i gladly gave it over to them and said look as there was no picture, this women was literally demented. We then went to the club where they put us on a new flight which we had to change destinations as we missed part of our travel, they charged us 461 for this per person. Then we went to our new flight which now included a stop over and guess what our baggage was perfectly acceptable on both flights!!!! Fast forward its been 3 months and United just got back to us they’re not doing a thing about this and they wont refund the extra chargers either. What can i do?

  • Graydon

    Outcome seems fair based on status. I’ll spare everyone the details but I always seem to be treated better in situations like this with status than without. That’s a no brainer and the reason we desire status, I assume it’s not the fancy bag tags and free carrots in the domestic lounges.

    Ignore the nay sayers complaining about the cost of the cab rides and the phone call. I would have remitted it as well, and there’s no way I would have waited in the queue for a new flight. My time has value and I’m smart enough to decide to walk away and use other channels and risk eating the hotel, cab and phone costs.

    Always ask, and do so politely.

  • Sean

    If you paid with your Sapphire Preferred card, why didn’t you just use the trip interruption insurance?

  • welovekimberly

    I’d like the verbatim letter you sent to AA.

  • katyhild

    I get one free checked bag on United from my Chase Explorer card, but my last flight was delayed enough that I would’ve missed my connection so I was switched to a Delta flight and charged $25 to check my suitcase. Upon return I emailed United to see if they would refund the fee, and they gave me a $200 travel voucher!

  • jack

    What point was made by mentioning you were traveling without a newborn baby?

  • ksong12

    Because the original fare has to be booked on the CSP for that to qualify. This was an award flight. Now technically, only a portion of the fare needs to paid for on the CSP to qualify… so if he paid the taxes/surcharges with the CSP, he may have an argument to go on there. But no 25k miles.

  • SS114

    I’m sure because you are an “elite” traveler and probably well known by the airlines, they are more apt to accommodate your requests for compensation as opposed to the Average Joe, don’t you think?

  • Will

    AA is actually decent with throwing you a bone when inconvenienced. Delta is, not surprisingly, atrocious. My brother and I flew NYC-LHR-EDI for a golf trip (AA then BA), and on BOTH legs, they lost our golf bags. I don’t have AA status and got a $100 voucher and my brother got 10K points without much effort. It’s not a life-changing amount, but the gesture of good customer service goes a long way for me. Delta, on the other hand, recently canceled a flight “because of weather,” despite the fact that JetBlue had a flight on the exact same route and same plane that took off 30 minutes later. Despite my complaining (you can’t use weather as an excuse when other airlines are flying the route), they stuck by the “we can’t give compensation for weather.”

    Happy to keep giving AA and JBLU my business over DL!

  • Skibum

    She clearly meant to say ‘with our newborn,’ not ‘with out newborn.’ And the point of mentioning it is to make it clear that they needed their carryon full of baby-related stuff during the flight. That’s the point, Jack.

  • Stephanie

    I feel like everyone is giving TPG a hard time for no reason. First off, when its 1:30am in the morning and u need a ride to a hotel bc you are stuck at an airport you jump in the first car you find willing to take you. Having said that, I highly doubt he took anything other than a regular car service or cab. Most cab companies have the word: “Limousine” in the name to make it sound nicer than it is.

    I also feel like everyone is upset that TPG may have had better customer service response since he is Exec Plat. The whole point of being loyal to one airline and flying over 100k miles each year is to receive that service! He has earned being treated specially! If American does not make good on their mistakes with their frequent fliers they would lose the people that keep the airline in business.

    I am Exec Plat and have been for the past 8 years. I don’t complain with every little issue but would have put in a huge complaint if this same situation happened to me. American does a pretty good job trying to resolve issues and compensate their travelers when they are inconvenienced. Sometimes they give me more than what I would have expected, sometimes less. I honestly think it is the representative who reads your complaint that determines what restitution they will offer. A few years ago I flew on American with a friend who had no status to Barcelona. We were delayed 5 hours due to a mechanical issue. I wrote customer service and copied and pasted my story for her to send to American. We submitted the exact same complaint, verbatim. I got $150, she got $500!!! Again, I fly over 100k a yr and she is not even gold. I wrote back to American and they wound up giving me an additional voucher for the balance.

  • RichFLL

    I’m surprised that you don’t know that many exit row seats intentionally don’t recline, for safety reasons. Delta even shows them on their seating chart.

  • no

    so why should American pay for that!? obscene. DYKWIA at its worst.

  • no

    Brian doesn’t care, he just sends the bill to American!

  • qwer

    Brian would have got out of the uber, called a limousine, driven around for a few days, and then sent Uber the bill for everything!

  • thepointsguy

    I’m well aware of that, but this was the second row that does recline. The other seats in the row did recline, so it was a broken seat, which AA recognized

  • Koalakins

    Being that I have been to Brazil before, and other foreign countries, I understand that there are many factors that play into the cost of a taxi! Number one, for those of you who may not know (how could you not)… We are American. Whether we like it or not. Being American is a reason/segway for people to capitalize. Trust me. All the locals know and they will tell you. Number two, the prices are different. Period. I was impressed when I couldn’t afford nearly anything in Brazil. Impressed is not the word, but I’m being positive :) There are many more factors such as the route taken, when the driver started the meter, etc.

    At the end of it all, I feel like he was justified and did not take advantage of the situation. (Please don’t prove me wrong PointsGuy :) :S) Quite possibly you all have not been to Brazil. Otherwise, you would know it is expensive over there. Beautiful and expensive.



  • Mike

    The saddest part of reading these comments is that all these haters bashing TPG are the same people that see him on the street and post selfies with him.

  • pcg

    Just to follow up on the situation I described in my first paragraph above, AA’s official response boiled down to, “Sounds like you had a bad time… sorry about that.”

    So if you’re “curious what [non-elites] have gotten in similar situations”, the answer is: THE SHAFT. (And it’s all I can do to keep this a PG-rated post.)

  • Nathaniel

    Dear TPG,
    Could you please post the sample letter/draft that you sent to AA please? I believe it would also beneficial and helpful for lots of people who are also experiencing the same situation, thank you so much.

  • noname

    I requested hotel reimbursement for a cancelled flight that was less than one of those transportation costs (4 people requesting a total of $130 for one night). I got nothing. I also got no refund of miles for a flight delayed 5 hours (45 minutes after the flight was supposed to take off it was still listed as being “on time” and we received no information until nearly 2 hours after the scheduled departure time). So to answer your question, no, non-elites don’t get anything.

  • shay peleg

    Wow scamming AA into paying for a limousine

  • frequent traveler

    AA was more then generous. Royal American is a privately owned “Limo Service” and I don’t believe they have normal sedans or a car class similar to that of local Taxi service (that is available in Recife):

  • Dustin

    Southwest admitted to using our aircraft to cover another plane that was canceled due to severe mechanical issues. I was delayed over 6 hours at ALB and didn’t get to MCO until 3am…Wrote a letter to SWA and received not only a full refund for my ticket but also a $400 LUV Voucher!

  • Harry Campbell

    This is awesome but I’m pretty sure when AA sees Brian Kelly is e-mailing them, they give him some special treatment.

    I booked two 60k one way Aanytime award from lax to jfk to fco in MCE and due to weather we missed our connection and got rebooked through LHR in regular economy even though plenty of MCE seats were available… Agent wouldn’t move me. I e-mailed AA and they gave me 2k points to each account haha, thanks guys.

  • I agree to disagree

    @TwatsTrollingBecauseTheyHaveCompetingBlogs You realize you are on a website dedicated to getting the most out of loyalty/customer service as possible right?

    “If everyone did what you did they’d have to cut back on rewarding more real issues.”

    Right. And if everyone only bought items that were on clearance, stores would be forced always clearance all items, negating the savings to those who look for clearance sales. So I guess NO ONE should only shop clearance. If everyone saved as much money as possible, the entire economy would collapse and no one’s savings would be worth anything. SO NO ONE SHOULD SAVE MONEY.

    Think the things you say through a little bit. You sound like an ignorant child.

  • Seize the Globe

    Agreed. It absolutely never hurts to ask.

  • Dave

    Hi TPG, we would really appreciate if you could post the sample of your complain letter in here too. It would be helpful for us who has same experience.

  • ocvagabond

    This is a ridiculous rationalization for what is an absurd amount of cab fees. Talking about how expensive Brazil is for Americans suggests you were there most likely in 2012 when the Real was at its peak against the USD. I was just there for World Cup and everything was suddenly afforable again. And as I just stated, during World Cup (with markups and all) it wasn’t that bad.

    Taxis don’t cost that even in the US. Most likely (and this is a bigger issue outside the US) he didn’t bother to tell the cabbie to turn on the meter because “he was too tired” or some other similar excuse…and didn’t care because he was going to stick the bill onto AA anyway. The only other option is far more devious and I wouldn’t even suggest it.

  • ocvagabond

    In the spirit of sharing whether non-elite members can get similar recompense for their hassles, I present to you exhibit A from a paid trip I took last year with Delta.
    Hello. I write to you as a disappointed passenger regarding my
    most recent experience with Delta Airlines. I recently flew Delta from
    SJC to SJU for a short holiday. My flights from SJC to SJU were in
    Economy and my return flights beginning in ATL were booked in First
    Class. This was intended to allow me to relax in a comfortable seat with
    a meal on my return home from vacation; ready to get back to work the
    next day. Instead my return flight turned for the worse when I was
    re-routed mid-flight aboard DL0422. DL0422 left early from SJU, so I was
    clearly going to be on-time for Flight DL2055. Furthermore, DL2055 was
    delayed by 40 minutes by the time I arrived in ATL. When I landed it
    appeared that Delta tried to reach me by phone, which clearly this was
    not possible since I was midflight onboard DL0422. It appears that since
    I was unreachable I was bumped from my confirmed First Class seat aboard DL2055 and instead routed on an Economy seat on DL0015 via SLC. I understand a Class A fare has the possibility of being moved to Economy if flights are changed, but what I don’t understand is why I lost my confirmed First Class seat aboard DL2055 when I stood no risk to miss
    the flight given my early departure time aboard DL0422 and the delayed
    departure time of DL2055. DL2055 was on the ground for over 1 hour from the time I was in the airport terminal to when it departed. It may have
    been longer since I lost track of the actual departure time after I
    resigned to being stuck in Economy on DL0015. While on the phone with a Delta representative I was told that I would be assigned to an Exit row
    on DL0015. When I arrived at the ticket gate to collect my boarding pass
    this change did not happen. The representative on the phone even had me answer “Yes” to the questions regarding being seated in an Exit Row
    (which I did). In addition, I paid to upgrade to Economy Comfort on
    flight DL0422 so that I could enjoy a more comfortable seat the entire
    return trip. There’s also the matter of me not comfortably going into
    work the next day due to my baggage being left behind in SLC. I spent
    the next morning at work scrambling as my checked bag contained my work laptop. I was offered a refund of the baggage fee, but since I was
    supposed to fly First Class there actually was no fee to refund. It also
    appears that do to being bumped I didn’t earn the bonus miles associated
    with flying First Class. I ask that you consider the circumstances and
    show that Delta values customer service. Delta has a strong presence at
    my local airport (SJC) and I hope to consider them in the future, but I
    have to know that customer situations like this are managed well. Regards

  • ocvagabond

    Here is their response:

    I am truly sorry you were not accommodated in the forward cabin on your flight and understand your request for a refund. Further, I apologize for any inconvenience you experienced as a result. I have processed arefund adjustment in the amount of $253.70 on 31Aug13. This amount represents the fare difference between the class of service purchased and the class of service flown.

    For credit card purchases, we generally transmit our credit instructions to the credit card processing company within one business day of the date the refund is processed. However, it can take up to 2 billing cycles for the credit card issuer to show this credit on your statement.

    You may check the status of your refund via one of the following

    Online: and ‘Check My Refund Status’
    Phone: 800-847-0578 within the U.S. and Canada
    404-715-5417 outside the U.S. and Canada or in the Atlanta area

    Additionally, as a gesture of goodwill, I have issued an Electronic
    Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) in the amount of $200.00. Please note the voucher number and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email. I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher document is not misdirected to your spam folder. Please keep the voucher number and the Terms and Conditions since the number is required for redemption.

    To demonstrate our commitment to customer service and as a gesture of apology for the delay in arrival, I have added 5,000 bonus miles to your SkyMiles account. Please allow three business days for the miles to appear.

    Your business is valued and very important to us. We hope you will continue to choose Delta Air Lines, our SkyTeam partners, and our Delta Connection Carriers for your future air travel needs.

  • ocvagabond

    So for complaining about being bumped from first on my Class A ticket I received $253 difference in fare class (actually I purchased my ticket quite last minute and the reason I bought into Class A was because it was only $50 more than standard Economy at that point), $200 eVoucher which I used to go visit my sister cross country (which I was going to do anyways), and 5,000 bonus miles.

    Not too shabby for writing a strongly worded factual letter, instead of getting all pissy. Well truth be told, I was pissy while it was happening and tweeting about how sh*t their service was. But afterwards, when I wrote everything down, I was definitely much more zen.

  • Koalakins

    I was there in 2014. Is every place in Brazil the same? Have you actually lived there? Actually – It’s okay. I’m sure you have and you must know how all transportation works. Thanks for calling my thoughts and experiences ridiculous rationalizations though… That was actually quite rude, sir.

  • Karl Humble

    I recently had a flight cancelled at the last minute due to the crew not being allowed to work too many hours and AA not having a backup crew available. This was an anytime award flight and they didn’t rebook me until 12:55pm the next afternoon making my layover at Ohare = 18 hours. I filed a complaint same as points guy and got a letter that said “since such situations are largely out of our control, it is not our practice to offer compensation or reimburse for unexpected expenses”

    This is frustrating and I would argue that it is in their control whether or not they have a backup crew available to fly. I will pushback and try and get something for my horrible experience.

  • Amanda

    What does IFE mean?

  • Mike Hanson

    Hi TPG, we would really appreciate if you could post the sample of your complain letter in here too. It would be helpful for us who has same experience.

  • David

    TPG, please share your draft of complain letter since it would be helpful to us, I noticed that some people already posted a comment requesting it. Or are you just don’t want to help us?????? you had bad experience and got it resolved…so help others by sharing your draft or sample of complain letter and you will receive good karma later.

  • crimsonguy

    I can’t believe you won’t email about it. People like you follow the crowd at a red light when the very legal lane right next to it is completely empty. Nothing is wrong with him wanting a comfortable 8 hr flight especially if that’s the function of the what the seat should do. Chillax and be happy for him. When was the last time a big company like AA did you a favor? Yet you’re so upset that they’re actually providing good customer service. Instead…you’re suggesting allowing them to get away with poor service so the masses can get a $60.00 hotel room per night and a couple $15.00 vouchers for food EVERY time they mess up….no thanks. Unlike you I’m not afraid of them cutting back on the hand outs. Power to you TPG. Haters will hate…

  • getalifebud

    Don’t you have something better to do rather than get upset and Brian and how he spends his time and money? Maybe go and do that…

  • Edward

    Ok the recline wasn’t broken, seats in exit rows don’t recline as a safety feature.

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