American Is on the Phone. It’s Sorry About Your Summer Travel Delay

Aug 28, 2019

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American Airlines has had a rough summer, so its been reaching out to customers to apologize.

Delays and cancellations on American spiked this summer as the carrier faced an extended labor dispute with mechanics and had to deal with the unexpected and ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX jets.

American’s operations appear to have stabilized in recent weeks, but that comes after tens of thousands of passengers suffered long delays or canceled flights during the busy summer travel season.

“Certainly we’ve disappointed people,” Kerry Philipovitch, American’s senior vice president of customer experience, said to CNBC while speaking to reporters at the International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

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Philipovitch said American is now calling customers who have faced multiple issues while flying with the carrier during the past few months, even if it’s just for “minor inconveniences that they wouldn’t necessarily call us about.”

She added to CNBC that American has offered compensation to some customers, often in the form of frequent-flyer miles.

“We try to find them we try to call and do what we can to retain their loyalty,” she said.

Philipovitch’s comments to CNBC echo what American executives have said to other outlets during the company’s difficult summer.

As far back as June, USA Today reported “the airline’s frequent-flyer program started pulling daily reports on flight troubles encountered by members, zeroing in on those with repeated problems and reaching out to them by phone.”

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“They’re going to, most importantly, apologize and they’re also going to talk with the customer. Did they have any out-of-pocket expenses? And offer miles or a voucher for future travel,” Julie Rath, vice president of customer experience, innovation and delivery, said to the newspaper for a story detailing American’s problems at the time.

Rath made similar comments to The Wall Street Journal in July as American’s problem dragged further into summer.

Beyond compensation or mileage bumps, American also told agents to award elite-qualifying miles to some passengers — even if they ultimately abandoned a delayed or canceled American flight to fly on another carrier.

For now, at least, American customers can hope that the carrier’s operations will keep trending in the right direction as fall approaches.

Stay tuned …

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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