On December 14 my aunt suddenly passed away. On Sunday, December 15, I made arrangements to fly to Toronto for funeral services. I have a five-month-old, nursing baby; so before I officially booked the ticket online, I called American Airlines to confirm that a valid birth certificate for the baby and valid US PASSPORT for me, would be proper documents; since I do not yet have a passport for baby. The agent said that it would be sufficient. I booked the ticket.
But unfortunately, when I got to LaGuardia airport after a 2 hour drive, the agent / supervisor there wouldn’t let me on. She said I needed a passport for the baby. I asked to speak to a customs official/ TSA agent / her supervisor but the woman said she is not allowing me past check in. She said no-one will come to me either because airport is closed – 5:35 p.m.
How do planes fly if the airport is closed?
I begged her to let me past check in and that I would deal with customs later. I told her that it’s for funeral services; I had no luggage – just a change of clothing for baby. A purse only. I had a return flight the next day 12:25. But as nice as I spoke, my words fell on deaf ears.
I called American Airlines again and spoke to another agent who said the birth certificate for the five-month-old with my Passport is enough documentation. He put me on hold and called for a supervisor who also said it’s sufficient. They documented my ticket with that info. I asked him how he verified it and he said they are signed up with a company that provides that information – truly outdated.
Unfortunately, they said that they were very sorry, but since they aren’t physically at the airport, the most they could do is document the ticket and I should file a complaint with customer relations. I was very hurt and let down. A business meeting can be rescheduled, but not this.
I sent up an email to Customer Relations as soon as I got back from the airport and they responded a week later stating that “we cannot agree that American is responsible for these entry requirements which truly are ultimately the passenger’s responsibility.” I fully understand that they are not the ones who create these requirements. The agents should be taught not only how to sell a ticket but also which questions to answer and how to direct the passenger to the right place for their answers.
However, if their agents do answer to questions of passengers with confidence and document their ticket with that information (misinformation), then they SHOULD take full responsibility for what their agents sell and say. So three agents and one supervisor from American Airlines all say YES to travel and one supervisor at the airport-also from American airlines – said NO! I think an airline such as American Airlines should have all their agents on one page. She should have allowed me at least to speak to higher authorities.
I want my non refundable ticket reimbursed fully and some sort of compensation for all the frustration I was put through.
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