American Says Regional Flights Returning to Normal, Still Cancelling Large Number of Flights

American’s wholly owned regional carrier PSA which operates nearly half the flights at Charlotte has melted down since last Thursday. In total the carrier has cancelled 2800 flights so far.

Their computer systems out of Dayton, Ohio slowed to a crawl. The systems managing crew couldn’t keep up with scheduled flights, and those that were still flying were being dispatched manually. Flights were being boarded and held for hours waiting for manual release.

Yesterday the story came out that a customer in Charlotte became so frustrated she broke a window in the airport. She merely received a citation. (HT: Tocqueville)

While American says the PSA operation is ‘returning to normal’ so far today there are still a substantial number of PSA cancellations.

What’s really offensive though is that throughout the entire past week American Airlines never issued a travel waiver. Despite massive flight cancellations for days customers weren’t allowed to change their travel plans without a fee in advance. They’d have to wait until their flight cancelled to get a refund. In thousands of cases this meant having to go to the airport and wait for hours to see whether a flight departed. Anyone not wanting to do that would have to gamble — save hours of their life, skip the airport, and if their flight did take off they’d lose the cost of their ticket.

Supposedly American is unable to program waivers based on flight number or regional carrier. They could have issued a waiver for Charlotte but that would have meant that some customers unaffected by American’s major outage could have benefited with fee waivers.

They chose to inconvenience well over 100,000 customers on cancelled flights, not counting myriad more on massively delayed flights, instead of allowing fee-free changes for passengers flying through the most affected airport — chancing that someone somewhere not flying PSA might benefit from the waiver a cost American money. Shameful.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Nowadays it’s merely a question of which sucks worse, AA or UA.

    Tough to decide. Both worthy contenders.

    Operationally, probably AA. When it comes to obnoxious semi-competent employees, UA.

    Pick your poison.

  2. UA and DL has AA beat when there is a meltdown for one simple reason.

    Their apps empowers customers to check for alternative options and self-rebook with the only restriction basically being a seat in the purchased cabin must be available.

    With AA they do not empower customers with their app and the limited rebooking options have the same stupid restrictions they impose on same day standby or flight change (no routing changes, no co-terminals, no changing number of segments, etc.)

    If you are not an EXP or CK AA is terrible with irregular operations.

    I was an EXP for 4 years (UA 1K and AS Gold for many years before that) and this year fell down to gold. I am getting a good dose of what it’s like with an entry level status with AA. Fortunately I’ll be back up at EXP by year end.

    So yep I totally understand the frustrations.

  3. This is why I switched to Alaska. I just got tired of intractable attitude and rules.

  4. Is there a credit card whose travel insurance covers booking a flight on another carrier in this situation where AA does not issue travel waiver?

  5. My stepson’s girlfriend was flying in and out of Augusta, GA via CLT. She got held up on the way in when AA had their first problem, and then had to wait FOUR DAYS to get a flight out (she’s on a flight out tomorrow). They gave her a $200 credit for the first screw up, and a lousy 15,000 miles for her four-day delay. All the alternative flights on SW were quickly snapped up, so she had no choice but to wait.

    She missed classes and work, and their response was 15K miles. American’s slide into the abyss seems to accelerate daily.

  6. On a bus right now bound for CLT with about two dozen other pax after a series of rolling delays for our flight out of TRI. I asked at the counter if the agent thought the flight would ever arrive/ depart and he shook his head no. That # of delays AA issued is going to shrink while cancellations grow again today. And no waiver offered.

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