Carter Schoenberg is an AAdvantage Platinum member with American Airlines.
In July, Schoenberg’s flight from Paris to Chicago was canceled, and he was rebooked on another flight two days later.
Schoenberg swears he will never fly American internationally again.
This as-told-to story is based on a conversation with Carter Schoenberg, the vice-president of a cybersecurity firm and an AAdvantage Platinum member with American Airlines. It’s been edited for length and clarity.
American Airlines used to be my favorite airline. In fact, I’ve flown with them hundreds of times throughout the US and abroad. I’m also an AAdvantage Platinum member, which means I’ve spent almost $100,000 flying with American. Over the course of two decades, I’ve flown over 700,000 miles with the airline.
But after what took place this summer, I will never fly American internationally again.
In July, I was in Paris to pick up my 16-year-old daughter and bring her home to Chicago. My daughter was attending a summer college program in Paris. We were scheduled to fly from Paris to Chicago with American on July 29, but on the morning of our flight, I received a cancellation notice from the airline.
I frantically tried to call American’s customer service but couldn’t get through to them. About four hours later, I received a text message from American that I was rebooked on another flight. The catch? The flight was not scheduled for another two days.
I had no choice but to book a stay at a hotel in Paris at the last minute, and coupled with our food, I ended up spending a total of about $700 over the two days. The hotel booking alone was $528. It was a different hotel from where I had originally stayed, as that accommodation was already fully booked. According to online travel agency Booking.com, the average cost of a night’s stay at a four-star hotel in Paris is $322.
I ended up filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Transportation as I never received compensation from American. The airline told me they canceled the flight because of poor weather conditions, but several reports indicated that most of the flights departed on schedule that day.
Weather reports also indicated there was no rain in the last 24 hours. It made me feel like the airline believed it was not their obligation to take care of passengers.
I’ve flown United, Delta, and Southwest, and never experienced anything like this before. The cancellation of our flight took a toll on my daughter, who was showing signs of anxiety during the ordeal. I was scheduled to return to work — I’m a vice president at a cybersecurity firm — on July 31, but had to burn a day of paid time off because of the rescheduled flight.
I believe that passengers should hold airlines accountable for not upholding their obligation to get us to our destinations on time. I advise passengers to take issues with airlines up with the FTC and DOT, especially when airlines refuse to offer adequate support during delays and cancellations. It’s also important for passengers to make sure that they keep all records and take screenshots of texts advising of delays or cancellations.
And as for American, they just lost an international frequent flyer. Now, I refuse to book a ticket with American, no matter what — especially when I’m traveling abroad.
American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent outside regular office hours.
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