A friend of mine recently contacted me with a predicament. She had purchased a non refundable/ non changeable ticket on American Airlines and wanted to change her flights to a different routing and timing on the same day as her original reservation. Because she didn’t have any elite status (and even if she did, it technically isn’t allowed), I told her the chances of getting the $200 change fee waived was next to impossible, since it was a voluntary changed and she had never even flown AA before.
In the end, I told her that the best option would be to try and show up at the airport earlier on the day of departure and see if she could find an agent willing to help her. I figured that would be the only solution, as sometimes you can find a nice gate agent willing to bend the rules or help you out.
She didn’t like that answer.
The next day, I got a message from her saying that she got the ticket changed, so naturally I was curious as to how she did it. Low and behold, she sends me this screenshot:
She had literally emailed all of the top executives at American, including those in the executive offices and the head of customer relations pleading her case. Eventually, after what seemed to be several emails, the head of customer relations had someone assist her to changing her ticket to her liking.
I was downright surprised. This begs an interesting question: the flight mess up was clearly her fault, and it certainly wasn’t AA’s, so they weren’t obligated to help her. But, after emails to several high level executives, she got it changed. Had this been Southwest, she would have been able to change the ticket for free, and keep any fare difference in the form of a voucher. But American went out of their way to help her. So, knowing an issue was your fault, is it appropriate to email the airlines head honchos asking for a change?
I’m torn on this. As someone who flies a lot, if it came down to it, I could see someone at the airline giving in to the flight changes, simply because of my airline status. So, I’d almost “expect” some flexibility to be given considering the amount of loyalty I’ve given. I know that nowhere does it state that that flexibility ever be given, but there’s a part of me that would hope it would be there should a mistake arise, and I’ll admit I’ve had my fair share of airline mistakes. But, a new passenger, having no loyalty was able to get a change to her liking simply by emailing who she could. And it worked.
Someone remarked to me yesterday that this type of thing can’t happen too often – but I’m not so sure. Think of how many people fly American every day. Then, think how many of those people either make a mistake with their ticket or have an issue. I can only imagine how many emails must be sent to the AA corporate offices (or any airline for that matter). I feel bad for whoever is on the other end of the computer…
What’s your thought on this?
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