Candace Owens vs. American Airlines: Something Everyone Left Or Right Can Agree On

Candace Owens earns a living and minor celebrity by saying controversial things, whether arguing the only thing that went wrong with Hitler was invading other countries or going after Chrissy Teigen and Anthony Bourdain, but there’s one thing that we can all agree on. When a route gets cancelled, American Airlines has to provide a refund.

Everyone agrees except, it seems, American Airlines.

She was called out on Twitter for ‘first class problems’ and responded the $5000 covered more than one ticket and first class would have been more. In fact, British Airways had operated a Boeing 787-8 on the Nashville – London Heathrow route… no first class.

I had a reader reach out to me the other day with a similar story. American Airlines had cancelled her flight, but wouldn’t issue a refund. The agent was wrong, and the customer is entitled to a refund.

Here Candace Owens was flying British Airways metal, but presumably an American Airlines codeshare (purchased from American). It would have taken a connection to get to her destination. That legally entitles her to a refund. I told the reader to call American back, she’d probably get the refund, and if not to file an informal DOT complaint which would juice the result.

For Owens, however, it apparently didn’t even require a followup call. According to the airline,

“Our team looked into this matter after Ms. Owens reached out on social media and has processed a refund.

“A voucher was issued in error for the fare difference on a trip that was rebooked, but our understanding the matter has been resolved to her satisfaction. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

In February 2020 I was on a Washington National – Dallas flight with Ms. Owens. Based on seat assignment and available inventory earlier in the day, she bought the last seat in the cabin. I wound up first on the upgrade list – and seated in back.

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. Really unfair comment about her. Anyone who has listened and read what she said and continues to say can see objectively she was in no way defending Hitler – there is no defense of hitler. She tangentially referenced hitler during a discussion of nationalism and globalism. Just because you reference hilter and nationalism does not mean that every time you do you must giving a full discourse on all the evils that he did. And that is what you are trying to do by supporting that view that absence of commentary on that equals support of it.

  2. Did she fill out the online refund request form? In my experience AA has been pretty good about providing refunds when they were obligated to do so. BTW, the funds go to a trip credit while the review is pending, usually 7 business days.

  3. I understand some of the defense of AA, plus I’ll acknowledge I have not had issues when asking for an owed refund. But in cases like this, ****why should you even have to ask**** ? Shouldn’t they just automatically refund everyone? I understand, they want to try to steer customers to just rebook with them rather than go elsewhere, but that should be the customers choice without coercion or manipulation by the airline.

    The shoe-store experience is not that far off. Can you imagine a shoe store ringing you up while they go get a pair from the back, only to tell you they’re out and will give a credit to buy a different pair. Oh, and yes, you can call and fill out forms to get your money back. In a week. Ridiculous.

  4. AA better watch themselves. DOT had a close eye on airlines during the pandemic about this exact issue (just as UA).

    Odd because AA was one of the better airlines about issuing refunds. Maybe it was just a misinformed agent.

  5. Perhaps viewing from the wing is quite a blurry view, because she was not saying the only thing wrong with hitler was that he wanted to invade other countries, she was saying in the context of nationalism vs globalism that he in fact was a sort of globalist.

  6. Her shoe analogy seems halfway between apples-to-apples and apples-to-oranges to me. I’d argue it’d be more like a store not allowing refunds or cancellations after an order has been placed, and then the product going on backorder.

    Don’t most airline contract of carriages only state they must provide you transportation from the two points issued on the ticket? Without actually specifying the time or manner in which it happens?

    Even though people purchase airfare based on the expectation of a specific schedule and product, technically there’s no obligation to “make her whole” outside of good business practice, right? Isn’t AA fully within its rights to say, “we’ll put you on the next available flight.”

  7. More appropriate would be an Uber/Lyft analogy after they accept the ride and charge you… “we can’t take you to the restaurant tonight, but we’re happy to do so tomorrow morning at 6am instead. And PS- no cancelation or refund of fare difference.”

    We don’t just pay an airline to bring us to a destination. We pay them to deliver us within a reasonable time frame of our expectations. It’s transportation. Nothing more.

  8. She said,

    “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine.

    “The problem is that … he wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German.”

    She said if he’d kept his policies inside his borders, she’s fine with that. I don’t believe she actually thinks Kristallnacht was ok. That’s too horrifying to contemplate. I imagine she just doesn’t think about it much and didn’t realize the implication of sanctioning his domestic policies while making the point she wanted to make which is that global ambitions (‘globalism’) are bad.

  9. @asarious as it happens as her route was from the US – LHR she would automatically have additional rights afforded to her matching those given to UK and EU citizens. Those rights, amongst other things, over ride the ‘flakey’ conditions of carriage and insert legal requirements to depart and arrive within a certain time frame, set out financial and associated cost minimums and the timescale for each threshold. Give financial protection against IRROPS ( Forced downgrades) and a few other things. The fac that it was an AA flight isn’t deemed relevant as all carriers flying into or out of the EU or UK have to legally bind themselves to the laws collectively known as EC261

    As she didn’t take that flight due to AA canx it a lot of it wouldn’t apply however she would probably be eligible under different parts to insist on “carriage on an alternate carrier” where if the airline canx the route it is obligated to get the person to and from the place on the booking. Now airlines normally pick the carrier and even specific return flights however if you don’t like it then you can request carriage “via any reasonable alternative”

    I did this with BA when they canx Leningrad and used the carrier and routing that benefitted me not them. Airlines don’t like it but if firmly reminded of the law they tend to back dowj as there are large fees due if you push for arbitration and/or they’re found in further breach.

    All this said. Has no one talked to Ms Owens about requesting a chargeback? I’m UK basd myself but I’m sure they’re also a thing in the US? As AA are the ones who breached the contract by breaching it it clearly fits within the criteria for requesting one off her bank/ card issuer.

  10. Gary your retort to your original Hitler comment is still in poor taste. You conveniently leave out the part where she later called him “a homicidal, psychotic maniac” after being wrongly attacked for the original comment

    As Carl stated above she shouldn’t be accused of somehow being sympathetic to Hitler’s ambitions because she didn’t simultaneously give a full dissertation condemning him. No sane human would condone anything he did. She’s discussing matter-of-fact where Hitler’s agenda went awry. She’s not advocating that it was somehow acceptable had it been kept inside Germany – that’s absurd and you’re sensationalizing.

  11. Bourdain was a heroin junkie, Teigen told a teen to commit suicide.
    Only a douche nozzle would defend those clowns.

  12. I’ll happily defend Anthony Bourdain. Not a perfect person, but he also would never claim to be one. He was addicted to heroin, which was an issue that had only to do with HIM. He hurt himself. Not others.

    Teigen telling children to kill themselves is actually evil.

    The two just are not comparable in any way.

  13. @FATLIP said:
    Bourdain was a heroin junkie

    Um, does anyone know his dealer’s number? Asking for a friend.

  14. Same thing happen to a friend of mine recently. AA canceled a segment of their trip to Curacao in November and so AA rebooked them on a different flight and now my friend has to pay for a hotel overnight in Miami because of AA’s doing. That’s just wrong.

  15. AA is going down the tubes. I used to fly it a lot as my father was Captain for AA, TIL HE RETIRED. They treat retirees like chit now. Sad.

  16. @Gary- really, publishing defenses of Hitler? This blog is becoming unreadable. (How much referral business will you lose by leaving in comments like that).

  17. @Gary. Man, it must be hard to run a blog — this thread has been insane.

    You have my sympathy 🙂

  18. Its clear Gary you’re exactly like all media in reporting false information about people, companies, anything you can spin into something it clearly isnt. Your credibility as a columnist is zero.

  19. Lol at people defending Owens. She’s a horrible person and her own words explicitly reinforce that. Flying American Airlines is the least of the suffering she’s earned

  20. @bhcompy – and it’s your right to hold that opinion and something I would fight to defend your right to hold it. I wonder if the same could be said in reverse. Is your opinion of her based on edited, biased clips put out by those who oppose her politically or from watching her full speeches / talks/ appearances. I won’t say I agree with a hundred % of what she says all the time but I’ve come to that assessment by taking the time to, objectively, research/ watch her appearances.

    I wonder have you ever met the woman? I have, twice. Both chance encounters mind but she was charismatic, rational, down to earth and I have to say remarkably humble considering her profile.

  21. @LK “@Gary- really, publishing defenses of Hitler? This blog is becoming unreadable. (How much referral business will you lose by leaving in comments like that).”

    I have pulled Gary up more than a few times on things but after going back through the article slowly & methodically and checking the comments for something he’d said since I can only wonder the planet you’re currently residing on to come to the conclusion that he wrote anything even remotely resembling what you accused him of. For all his faults at times and the mistakes he’s made here and there. A Hit**r apologist isn’t something anybody could, rationally, accuse him of.

    I’ll pay respect to your off planet knowledge of Earths recent history but aside from that you’re what we call on Earth “bat s**t crazy”

  22. Dude she did not defend Hitler AND she absolutely destroyed the liberal women and Ted Chu about that. So you should edit it before you get sued for libel/slander. I hope I find myself sitting next to you in day bro. It’ll be game over. See how fast you can say call help

  23. Why do you have such a hard-on for AA???? I have Never had an issue with changing flights or a refund!!!!

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