An American Airlines Executive Platinum elite member reached out to the airline’s twitter team for help with a reservation – and the twitter team wound up kicking their companion off the flight.
The member shared they’re flying out of Oklahoma City on ‘web special’ award tickets booked under separate reservations. They confirmed earlier flights using American’s mobile app. Then he tweeted American asking for help to sponsor the friend’s upgrade as his companion.
Instead of doing so, the AA Twitter agent unilaterally removed him from the new confirmed flight and placed him back on the original later flight despite the app allowing us to change in the first place.
He then wrote this snide, passive-aggressive reply with a final “really sorry.” So now we’re both separated and the flights are sold out. At the very least, this is a huge customer service foul. How is this not an involuntary schedule change?
Here’s the message from American Airlines twitter:
Now, Executive Platinum members receive free same day changes, and so do their companions on the same reservation. However in this case the companion wasn’t on the same booking. And since it was a web saver award, no changes are permitted. The agent took it upon themselves to undo what they decided shouldn’t have been allowed.
Yet American offered the change for free. They completed the change. The customer service agent kicked the the passenger off the flight they’d changed onto.
I asked American whether twitter agents were now allowed to make involuntary changes to a passenger’s itinerary. They confirmed for me that this should not have happened, and they restored the booking.
This was an error, not a policy change. The team has been in contact with the customer who shared this with you and he and his companion have been accommodated on their original flight and with the upgrade requests. We’re also following up with the team to better handle this in the future.
I do think there’s a lesson here, and it’s one that I’ve talked about for many years. If you’ve gotten something from an airline that you aren’t strictly entitled to, just go with it. You don’t want additional eyes on your reservation, because the next agent could decide to do something unpleasant.
Why would this agent care? Why would they do something like this? Perhaps they’ve had a bad day. Perhaps it gives them a sense of control in a job that gives them very little. When you contact someone for customer service, you never know who you’re going to get on the other end of things. Often you don’t even get simple things that you’re entitled to which is why you hang up, call back.
Another lesson is that while the American Airlnes twitter team was once amazing (both pre-merger with US Airways and in the short period thereafter) that no longer seems to hold.