Awhile back I posted a letter that my supervisor wrote to American Airlines about the horrible travel experience we had on our recent trip to San Francisco. Well, we actually got a response. I was kinda surprised. Most of it is BS but they did make a couple promises. Don't know if they will follow through with them but we'll see. It's pretty long, so get comfortable before you start reading. :-)
We received your letter and were eager to send you a reply as quickly as possible. Accordingly, I noticed the email address included in your letter and I have taken the liberty of responding to you electronically.
I'm sorry your flight to Los Angeles didn't operate as scheduled when you and your companion traveled with us. I know you were inconvenienced when you misconnected to your flight to San Francisco and had to be rebooked on United Airlines. Without question, we did not provide the level of service you expected.
We wish we could guarantee that planes would always depart and arrive on time. Regrettably, we can't -- but what we can and should do is make every attempt to minimize the inconvenience for our customers whenever our flights are delayed or cancelled. I am sorry that we didn't do a better job of overcoming the challenges we faced that day in order to make your experience a little less trying.
While it is certainly our goal to operate each and every flight as planned, we have the responsibility to make changes to our schedules to resolve problems caused by weather, flight conditions, mechanical difficulties or other operational challenges. Accordingly, we cannot assume financial responsibility for our customers' personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses when extenuating circumstances prevent us from operating as planned. I am sorry.
Also, when a customer travels with more than one airline, it is standard practice that the last carrier to deliver the customer to their destination is responsible for processing a baggage claim to conclusion. This procedure was developed to avoid a duplication of efforts and to expedite the handling and settlement of a claim. Since a baggage claim must be filed upon arrival at the customer's final destination, the last carrier is in possession of the necessary information and documents.
Accordingly, it will be necessary for you to contact United Airlines. Personnel with the other airline should resolve your claim and, if appropriate, will then contact us to arrange a settlement.
In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration diligently audits airline conformity of mandated policies and procedures – carry-on baggage restrictions being just one of the areas of compliance assessment. Recently, some audits have pointed out a lack of consistency on our enforcement of carry-on baggage policies. As a consequence, our agents have received additional training related to carry-on baggage requirements and are working hard to consistently apply the associated restrictions. Accordingly, we now must use a more conservative judgment by restricting more carry-on bags than we previously did.
In addition, even if your carry-on bag is within the allowed size, you may be asked to gate check your bag if the overhead bins get full. During the boarding process, the flight attendants have been asked to notify the gate agents when overhead bin space begins to diminish and our agents act accordingly. Nevertheless, if your baggage was within the guidelines when you traveled with us, then we do sincerely apologize that you weren't allowed to carry it aboard with you.
Just to clarify, if your bag fits in the overhead bin or underneath the seat, it does not mean that the item is an "approved" size for carry-on baggage. Our policy is that the one carry-on bag may not exceed 45 dimensional inches (length+width+height).
I am sorry, too, that the manner of "enforcement" was less than courteous. Our gate agents have been given strict instructions to diligently monitor the boarding process as it relates to carry-on items so that we remain in complete compliance with FAA mandates. They are balancing this particular duty (and others) with their dedication to ensure an on time departure. However, from the details you provided, it appears as if our agent's commitment in doing so came across without the level of professionalism that we both would have preferred. There is simply no excuse for rudeness, and I am sorry.
Too, if you were not asked for your itinerary or your final destination then the bag would only have been transported to that aircraft's destination. You would then have to retrieve the bag from the claim area and continue to the next flight.
All this aside, we are not unmindful of your disappointment and as a more tangible evidence of our concern and regret for your disappointing experience, I've mailed each of you a transportation voucher. It may be redeemed within one year of the issue date toward the purchase of a ticket for future travel on American Airlines or American Eagle.
We will continue our efforts to ensure that your overall travel experiences with us are the best that they can be. Your feedback will help us do just that.
I hope you don't mind that I've sent my response via email. Please continue to send us your comments through any communication channel that is most convenient for you. However, we'll get to your feedback faster and respond more quickly if you contact us again via AA.com.
H. M. Alvarez