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Passengers rail against airline after flight cancellations

Another Bermudian traveller has blasted her lack of compensation from American Airlines after what she called “the most expensive, distressing and exhausting” journey of her life.

The woman said she hoped to fly home from the US yesterday after two weeks of delays.

Her account was prompted by complaints from Bermudians angered by the lack of compensation from American Airlines after a storm last Saturday forced back their flight from New York’s John F Kennedy Airport.

It was one of two flights that had to turn back as high winds swept the island.

American Airlines this week said passengers should check the company’s conditions of carriage on its website, which has contingency plans for people whose flights are affected by weather.

The woman who contacted The Royal Gazette said she had “no compensation at all” from the airline after struggling since January 5 to return to Bermuda from Florida via Charlotte, North Carolina.

After the original flight was cancelled, she said subsequent AA204 flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport were full until January 11.

On that date, more than 1,000 flights in the US were cancelled and more than 10,000 delayed when the Federal Aviation Administration ordered a widespread freeze on flights because of a computer system crash.

She said the flight from Florida to Charlotte was cancelled after “several hours”, with the next available AA204 flight home this Sunday.

But with the Sunday flight delayed four hours by a crew member falling ill, there was insufficient time to reach the connection – making yesterday’s AA connection the next feasible flight home from Charlotte.

“No hotel vouchers – absolutely no help, no compensation, nothing,” she said. “Just the courtesy of having them book us on the next available flights.”

The passenger’s misfortunes were compounded when she said AA agreed to get her home on Monday via Delta, flying from Florida with a connection in Atlanta, Georgia – only to learn at the counter that a reservation had never been approved.

She added: “Our only option was to pay $1,100 each for one-way tickets to Bermuda via Atlanta the following day.”

But with that flight delayed two hours by ice on the aircraft, and the Atlanta connection subsequently missed, she said the couple were left staying three nights in Atlanta with the hope of getting home yesterday.

She added: “Luckily, I have people to borrow money from – but the reality is it has to be repaid. It’s now been two weeks that we have been unable to work, and therefore two weeks with no pay.”

The woman said she was taken aback by “heartless” comments online after passengers reported no compensation for the long delay of Saturday’s AA1289 flight home.

She said people who criticised the complaint “clearly have never been stranded by an airline”.

The couple from the previous story said they “obviously” had not expected their flight to land in hazardous weather.

“It was more the lack of care given by the flight crew for the duration of the flight, which in all was eight hours, and we have two small children.

“Further it was most disappointing they were not able to put on a replacement flight as the captain had promised all aboard.”

Another passenger from the diverted flight AA1289 said they agreed with “everything”.

“The entire ordeal was handled extremely poorly – poor communication, avoidable delays (diverted to Boston then JFK, luggage took an hour), no food after being on the plane for almost ten hours, no hotels, no rebooking – I can go on.”

Another told the Gazette: “It was indeed a terrible service and the customers suffered on that flight. Nothing was offered to us, no food, no accommodations – nothing.”

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Published January 20, 2023 at 7:41 am (Updated January 20, 2023 at 7:41 am)

Passengers rail against airline after flight cancellations

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