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"No Flights": American Airlines Passengers Traveling To Oklahoma City Spend $900 To Fly On Another Carrier

Severe weather played a factor in their undoubtedly frustrating and lengthy ordeal.

An Oklahoma couple who traveled on American Airlines from Europe last month is speaking out after flight complications caused them to allegedly pay several hundred dollars to get home on a different airline. The two passengers were enroute from London to Dallas when the flight diverted to Chicago and then was delayed for nearly 20 hours.

American reportedly provided the couple with a phone number, allowing them to rebook their flights, but they said the airline informed them that “no flights” were available. Now, over a month later, the couple is hoping the US legacy carrier will pay up.

A medical emergency

According to Oklahoma City local affiliate News 4, Susan Engle, a healthcare worker, and her husband had spent a two-week vacation in Scotland. They flew through London Heathrow Airport (LHR) on their way back. After reaching out to the airline on Sunday, American confirmed to Simple Flying that the couple was on AA21 to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on March 7th.

Data from FlightAware shows that the flight, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, departed on time at 13:58 local time. About seven hours into the flight, the aircraft rerouted to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) due to a medical situation. It landed safely at 16:16 CDT, but Engle said the plane subsequently remained on the tarmac for multiple hours, according to News 4.

“They made an announcement that we were going to have to do an emergency landing in Chicago to take care of this patient. We were on the tarmac seated in the plane going nowhere for four-and-a-half hours at Chicago O’Hare.”

Due to the lengthy amount of time spent in the aircraft on the ground, the passengers and crew eventually deplaned, and the flight was delayed until the next day. American did provide hotel, meal, and local transportation vouchers, but since Oklahoma City International Airport (OKC) was Engle’s final destination via DFW, the airline reportedly directed the couple to call customer service. Instead, they seemed to have tried to speak with an agent at ORD.

“We stood in line at the ticket agent for 45 minutes and nothing,” Engle told News 4.

“No flights that could get us from there to anywhere”

On that same day, March 7th, DFW experienced severe weather that impacted several flights. Half of the departures to OKC were canceled – including the flight the couple was booked on, which was the last departure of the day.

“American Airlines said they had no flights that could get us from there to anywhere to get us home that next day,” Engle further explained.

AA21 continued to DFW on March 8th, according to FlightAware. It was scheduled to depart from ORD at 09:36 but was not airborne until 11:30, more than 19 hours after landing there. After about two hours, it arrived at DFW at 13:37. However, all flights to OKC were full due to the weather complications the day before, leaving the following day, March 9th, as the soonest time American could rebook the couple.

“Even that much more expensive”

In an effort to get home, Engle and her husband spent $900 to book a flight with a different airline after their already-pricey trip, according to News 4.

“It was an expensive trip and to have to endure additional costs after returning home made it even that much more expensive,” Engle said.

The passenger has reportedly spent the last month trying to contact American, hoping the carrier would offer a refund. But, the airline says it did provide compensation according to its policy, which allows for refunds of unused portions of passengers’ tickets if they choose not to finish their travel with the carrier.

In a statement to Simple Flying, American said it hopes to “learn more” about the situation.

 “A member of our team is reaching out to the customer to learn more about their experience and address their concerns, as we never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans.”

It is unclear how much of the couple’s ticket portion was refunded. Details on the other airline they booked their flights with to OKC are also unknown. Booking flights at the last minute is typically much more expensive than reserving them months in advance.

“I understand that thing, that things happen that are out of our control. I work in health care. I understand we had a patient that had a medical issue,” Engle said. “American Airlines is responsible to make sure that they hold up their end.” 

This article originally appeared on Simple Flying

Image source: CSWFoto | Shutterstock

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