The pandemic has thrown the airline industry into chaos. Understaffing, canceled flights, and unruly passengers have all made traveling horrible. Often, airlines are at fault for the mess that they create. ABC News reports that American Airlines expected one family to pony up $30,000 after the airline changed their flight, forcing them to fly out of another country.
Sam Taussig purchased tickets for his family’s summer vacation at the beginning of the year because of course it’s always best to buy early. As their flight date got closer, Taussig decided to double-check and make sure that they would all be sitting together. That’s when he saw it: American had, for seemingly no reason, decided to not only break up the family but they were leaving from a whole other destination. Instead of their intended destination of St. Lucia, they were leaving from St.Vincent. Despite being the next island over, there were no flights or ferries between the two islands.
Wanting answers, Taussig called American and was informed of the situation. Speaking to ABC News, Taussig said that the airline told him seven of his nine booked family members had been bumped because the flight had been oversold. He says he never received any notification regarding this. He wanted his flight changed back. But that was a problem.
“American Airlines was not very apologetic at all. They blamed me, the customer, for not catching this sooner,” he said. They offered him options, but none were viable or made sense. One option was to split his family up on flights that left over a week later and that’s on top of saying they would charge him fees: changing fees, reissuing fees, etc. These fees added up to over $30,000.
“And we’d be stuck on the island for a week with no offer of compensation for hotels or meal vouchers or anything like that,” he told ABC.
American eventually found a flight for them. But they still expected Taussig to cough up thousands in fees. He refused. The wild part? This all forced him to book a private charter plane to get his family back. To recap: Taussig had to drop $3,000 to book a charter jet to get his family back to another country where American was flying out of so they could get back to the U.S.
What’s worse is no apology or anything has been issued by American, with the typical PR statement of “We are concerned by the experience our customer is reporting. A member of our team has reached out to discuss their travel.” Taussig said he hopes his story serves as a warning to people to check their itineraries and that it’ll bring about change in the airline industry.