An airline canceled my flight, then gave me $3,500 in travel credits

Jan 7, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There’s no worse feeling than checking your flight status only to find that your flight was canceled.

In my case, I wasn’t scheduled to fly on a commercial airline, and there wasn’t even a place to check flight status. Instead, I received a call from one of Aero’s representatives five days before my flight profusely apologizing that my flight from Telluride (TEX) to Oakland (OAK) was canceled.

Sign up for TPG’s daily email newsletter for more travel news and tips delivered to your inbox!

If you’ve never heard of Aero, you’re not alone. Aero is a brand-new travel service provider that sells seats on a shared private jet on just a few select routes. Aero doesn’t own any of its planes and instead acts as an agent of charter operators to provide their flights.

Photo courtesy of Aero

During the winter, they offer limited service between Oakland and Telluride on the most popular ski weekends like Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents’ Day weekend. Fares aren’t cheap at $899 per person each way, but they’re targeting a market of luxury travelers looking for the convenience of a nonstop flight at a price much cheaper than chartering a private jet.

Related: Why you might want to get a premium credit card instead of purchasing travel insurance

I was spending New Years’ weekend in Colorado, so I figured that it’d be cool to test the service. I purchased my one-way ticket for $799 during a Cyber Monday sale and was getting really excited for this special flight. So, I was definitely quite dejected when I was told that the aircraft was grounded for maintenance and my flight would be canceled.

If I were flying a commercial airline, I knew I’d be protected in the event of a delay or cancellation. I purchase all my flight tickets with either The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, both of which offer trip delay insurance. However, my Aero charge didn’t code as travel, and I wasn’t sure if Aero would be considered a “common carrier” anyway.

Related: The king of luxury benefits: The Platinum Card from American Express review

Before the Aero agent could finish saying that “your flight is canceled,” she immediately began apologizing and reassuring me that I would be taken care of. I wasn’t sure what she meant, but Aero promises “world-class service” that’s “personalized and attentive.” It was time to see whether they live up to their word.

The first thing the agent did was offer an immediate refund for my canceled flight. No surprises there– the flight was canceled, so I was definitely entitled to a refund. But what followed next was pretty incredible.

The phone representative then told me that Aero was committed to getting me to my final destination. Even though they just refunded me for the canceled flight, they didn’t want to leave me to find my own way to Oakland. The rep then spent over 15 minutes on the phone with me going through different commercial flight options to the West Coast.

She explained that Aero would do whatever they could to get me on my way. And that they did. Due to the flight cancelation, I changed around some of my plans in Colorado. As such, I no longer needed to fly from Telluride, but rather from Denver. Not a problem according to the rep.

Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport

Then, I explained that my final destination was closer to San Jose (SJC) than Oakland, and again that wasn’t a problem. Within 4 business hours after hearing about the cancelation, I’d been booked the last seat, a $1,700 J-class biz ticket, on a United flight from Denver to SJC — which I later switched to PHX to cover the Centurion Lounge opening.

Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt that I got an early year boost to my PQP balance.

Related: The 9 best credit cards for United fliers

Not only did the agent book my replacement flight, but she made sure that I had all my ground transportation in order. It wasn’t enough for her that I had a backup flight… She wanted to ensure that I would have a near-seamless experience like I would’ve had I been flying with Aero.

And before the agent hung up, she gave me another form of compensation– an invitation to try flying with Aero again on a  roundtrip flight from Oakland to Telluride later in the ski season, valued at $1,800. Hopefully my second try won’t be canceled like the first.

Photo by Al Diaz/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images

Now, most people won’t have the opportunity to fly with Aero (and hopefully won’t experience a canceled flight). But, commercial carriers can definitely learn from the service I received.

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

I’ve witnessed many airlines suffer from irregular operations. Sure, it sucks to have a flight canceled, but the recovery is arguably just as important. Throughout my time in airports, I’ve overheard customer service agents curtly tell aggravated customers that they aren’t any other flight options or don’t bother to offer meal or hotel accommodations during overnight delays.

Photo by SamuelBrownNG/Getty Images


Each passengers’ situation is different. Sometimes there are no alternative flight options for days. But if airlines could borrow just a bit of the remarkable service I received after my canceled Aero flight, travelers around the world would be a lot happier– even if they didn’t get $3,500 worth of compensation.

Featured image courtesy of bunhill / Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.