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  1. I always create dummy bookings to check seats as far as I’m concerned until you’ve entered your CC details your just browsing. If this isn’t the case AA needs to fix their IT rather than taking away miles from customers.

  2. How exactly do you “inadvertently” create reservations? It’s either a hold (which you can’t do less than 7 days out anymore), or a purchase. When I want to check upgrade available/potential, my wife simply logs into her account and sees the F or J availability. No holds, no reservations.

  3. Confused about the part where your friend inadvertently created reservations. How does that happen exactly?

    The (lack of) response does leave a lot to be desired either way, though from what I’ve heard fraud departments are famous for being reticent like this and that’s been going on for some time (i.e. pleading your case gets a form response or gets ignored completely). So I wouldn’t say this is a symptom of the ‘new American’ necessarily.

  4. @Greg that is exactly what my friend was doing. In the comments of the original post, Adam explained it best:

    “When you select flights, before booking them, even just for fun, the system creates a reservation and puts a hold on the seat. Your friend is almost certainly not aware of this, and each time he would check, select the flights and get to the seat map, he would be creating new reservations. “

  5. Reprehensible business behavior on the part of AA. Plain and simple.

    Why does AA even hire a ‘person’ do to this job? Just automate the process and save the company a salary. If AA doesn’t care about resolving misunderstandings or fielding unusual circumstances then fire the whole lot of business analysts and let the computers do the work. Idiots.

  6. While I agree that AA is 100% in the wrong on this, and quite frankly should be sued, there are other easier ways to check seat availability, such as on aa.com via Plan Travel/View Available Seats or through ExpertFlyer.com.

  7. I have a policy to NEVER Fly AA unless I have no other choice. They have such poor customer service I couldn’t take it any more. I would upgrade with miles, then they downgraded my seat, and they kept my FF miles.I was a platinum flyer, and I wrote several letters complaining. They wouldn’t even send me a form letter, & totally ignored my complaint. I think their policy is to ignore letters complaining until it gets close to litigation.

  8. Amazed after publicity AA would be dumb enough to not respond. Of all the consumer complaints we hear against airlines, this is the most honest mistake I can recall ever seeing. This isn’t about refunding a nonrefundable ticket, taking advantage of a loophole, or any mischievous behavior. No customer should have an expectation that this was wrong. AA should be embarrassed by its response as it is not the “world class service” they claim to offer.

    @Greg – the “reservation” is a temporary hold that is created to hold the inventory for the duration of the purchase session. It would time out if not purchased. It is done to “hold the price” for the session to avoid getting to the confirmation page and seeing that seat was taken, generating an error.

  9. I find this whole story surprising. I once made an error booking a ticket and got a terrible customer service response back. I found the email for the VP of Customer Relations online, sent and email and within 1 day got a personal call from her apologizing for how customer service responded and refunding me the entire ticket with no penalty. I had no status at the time. Now as a platinum, I find that the airline bends over backwards to help me. So this whole story from the “mistake” to the “Response” doesn’t add up.

  10. Fraud departments do not respond to emails because they are aware of legal consequences. AA can change the rules whenever they want, but they must follow the rules of their program as they currently exist. In a case like this where you have taken miles from someone, you don’t want a non-lawyer making statements that could potentially be used against you in a later action.

    Once you hit a wall in a case like this, a letter to the legal department/general counsel of American would likely work better. Litigating over this would be foolish since it would cost far more than the value of the miles but there are lots of crazy/non-rational actors who like spending lots of money on lawyers. If the legal team thinks you are crazy enough to go to arbitration/litigation over these miles, they might offer you some or all of your miles back since they also don’t want to spend 10K-30K to resolve this matter.

  11. Lets stop the bullshiting and mad mouthing AA. Theres no way to accidently place it on HOLD hust by looking. Theres always 3 sides of this story. In this case ur friend is a liar since AA doesnt have a story. They just saw what ur friend was doing.

  12. It strikes me that AA’s practice of penalizing customers for this very reasonable and natural practice is both unfair and deceptive. It would be a natural subject for a formal on-the-record public complaint to the Department of Transportation. That would compel AA (through counsel) to respond, again on-the-record — and that would be most likely to get a suitable resolution of this matter.

    I’d be happy to tell you what I know about the procedure for filing such a complaint. My name (associated with this comment) will let you easily find me (Google or Bing) and my contact details.

  13. Seems to me that most believe what has happened but a small segment does not. Either way I would like to know the truth. This might take a little work. Is it possible to create a new AA account, transfer a small amount of miles into it and try to replicate what happened? Curious. I thought the charity request would have been met with a positive response.

  14. Absolutely reprehensible that the person is being penalized for a fault in AA’s system.

    The “friend” at this point has one recourse: File a complaint with the US DoT, perhaps a copy to their congressman & senator. It might be worthwhile to complain to the state Attorney General for consumer fraud. Assuming that the person did not actually hold the reservation and that the duplicate PNR is solely the result of inadequacies in AA’s systems (about which the person has no knowledge), then despite any disclaimer that AA has in the program rules it is commiting a fraud. 60,000 miles is not worth a lawsuit by itself, but collective investigation by a state’s attorney might well put AA on notice of it’s reprehensible behavior.

  15. @Mike, you’re absolutely wrong. A new PNR has been created by the time you get to the seat map. You can verify this by logging into your account, making a dummy reservation simply by getting to the seat map, then calling in to finish booking. All they’ll need is your AAdvantage number, and they’ll see the PNR you just put on hold.

    Your hostility is completely unwarranted. I suggest you find other ways to release your hate.

  16. Common people… this guy is a platinum, flies all the time and you’re telling me he doesn’t know what he’s doing?
    I hope AA take away all his points, close his accounts and cancel his award tickets too.
    Airlines today makes very little money on even revenue tickets, they already loose money on us. Think and play nicely… This is is screw us all…

  17. All AA should have done is warned and then taken action if they were a repeat offender. This way when an accident like this happens there is no ridiculous punishment. Such a stupid policy. They need to fix their site or policy.

  18. @Adam, how do you blame this on US and Doug Parker? Airlines are still operating separately, reservation systems are still very separate, and customer call centers can’t even assist with tickets on the other system yet. I doubt integrating fraud departments was a high priority.

  19. I side with AA. “I suppose this helps everyone on those blogs to be the wiser…”

    Your friend knew what he was attempting to do and he got caught. Nice job AA.

  20. I’m not surprised. American Airlines has quite possibly the worst customer service ever. It does not care about its customers and will subject them to loudly-chattering flight attendants during red eye flights without compensation or any indication that the company is taking action. Not surprising that it would also seize 60K in miles without warning.

    Bottom line is that I don’t care if American Airlines has direct flights from my home airport to my favorite destination. I’ll fly another airline and deal with changing planes instead.

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