Look, I know that we are in the Internet age where more than ever people seem insistent on getting their “15 minutes of fame”. And plus, with the advent of social media, it’s easier and easier for stories to go “viral” and get plenty of news coverage. I think it’s smart to approach any viral story or video that you see with a healthy dose of skepticism, since you generally only see one side of the story that comes out first. All too often, you see another side of the story come out (often with much less fanfare and promotion)
Man swears to “never fly American again”
So it was that lens that I read a story in Business Insider entitled I flew to Paris to pick up my 16-year-old daughter in July. After my return flight was delayed by 2 days, I swore to never fly American Airlines internationally again (yes, the title is that long – I don’t know why Insider insists on such super long post titles, but I digress…)
Carter Schoenberg is an AAdvantage Platinum member with American Airlines and was scheduled to fly from Paris to Chicago with his 16 year old daughter on American Airlines back on July 29th. But on the morning of his flight, he got a notice that his flight was cancelled, and he was rebooked on another flight two days later. The article talks about how he had to take an extra day off work, spend another night in Paris and that his daughter suffered anxiety due to the delay.
Mr. Schoenberg says that he will “refuse to book a ticket with American Airlines, no matter what, when I’m traveling abroad”.
Promising To Never Fly An Airline Again
So, again, it’s difficult to say exactly what happened here from just this article. It is human nature when telling a story to make yourself look as good as possible. Still, I think that in nearly all the situations, promises to “never fly that airline again” are baloney. In 95% of the cases, you will fly whatever airline gives you the best combination of price and schedule. This is not to mention that he’s an AA Platinum which likely gives him some elite benefits. I mean sure, if the price and schedule are similar, he may remember the previous cancellation and fly Delta or United, but if he can get a direct flight from Paris to Chicago for $500 less on AA than a connecting flight on Delta or United? He’s going to fly American.
At least I think that is the case for the vast majority of people. Maybe Mr. Schoenberg will read this article and make a comment about how he is the exception. I welcome the feedback! :-). All I know is that even my own sister swore she would never fly Frontier again (but then was right back to flying Frontier again because they were so much cheaper for her trip). It would be one thing if any particular airline was better or worse in this regard, but I have heard plenty of stories of just about every airline stranding passengers at some points.
What Could Have Been Done
As I mentioned earlier, one thing that can possibly be done is file an EU261 claim. Mr. Schoenberg mentions in the article that he filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Transportation, but I doubt that either of those complaints will do anything for him. The article mentions that American canceled his flight due to “weather”, which, depending on what the actual cause of the weather delay was may or may not disqualify him from EU261 compensation.
Another thing that is always a good idea is to book your flights with a credit card that offers travel delay insurance. The card_name and card_name are two cards that I have that offer trip delay insurance. Again, it’s hard to tell exactly what happened from this article, but I used Capital One Venture X trip delay insurance which paid for a hotel night and food for my son when he was stranded in Charlotte due to (ironically enough) a delay on American Airlines.
It’s certainly possible that paying for your flight with a card like the Venture X or Sapphire Preferred would have allowed you to pay for the extra hotel night plus reasonable food and other expenses due to the delay.
The Bottom Line
An American Airlines Platinum elite member had his flight from Paris to Chicago canceled and then was rebooked on another flight 2 days later. He swore that he would “refuse to book a ticket with American Airlines, no matter what, when I’m traveling abroad”, but I call shenanigans. I think that in the vast vast majority of cases, you will fly whatever airline gives you the best combination of price and schedule.
What do you think about claims of “never flying an airline again”? Leave your thoughts in the comments below
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