- A passenger says American Airlines mistakenly rebooked his family on a flight to Canada.
- Grady R. Heins was booked to fly from Seattle to Burlington, Vermont for his brother’s wedding.
- When his connecting flight from Philadelphia was canceled, he rented a car and drove all night.
A passenger said American Airlines rebooked his family on a flight to another country and then canceled the replacement flight.
Grady R. Heins, a Washington state attorney, had booked to fly from Seattle to Vermont in January for his brother’s wedding in May.
He bought tickets for himself and his three children on the fastest journey he could find on American Airlines via Chicago.
Before his departure, he was surprised to receive an email from the airline asking him to prepare for his “upcoming trip to Canada.”
He told Insider that he logged into his account only to see that his destination had been changed from Burlington, Vermont, to Montreal, Canada without his permission.
Heins said he tried to remedy the situation over the phone, but when he couldn’t get through, he decided to travel to the Seattle airport to rebook his flights in person, taking an afternoon off to do so.
American Airlines staff at the Seattle airport eventually found an alternate flight to Burlington with a stopover in Philadelphia. The flight from Seattle to Philadelphia was operated by Alaska Airlines.
However, his travel headache didn’t stop there.
When Heins and his family arrived in Philadelphia, his connecting American Airlines flight to Burlington (AA5032) was canceled. According to Heins, the airline told him that the cancellation had happened because a flight attendant had not shown up.
Left at the airport with three young children, Heins said he went to American Airlines customer service for help.
He said staff told him there were no more hotel rooms and they could not provide a rental car and that assistance was provided on a “first come, first served” basis.
After four hours at the airport, Heins decided to pick up his family’s suitcases, rent a car and drive from 11:30 PM to 6 AM to reach his intended destination.
Correspondence that Insider has reviewed between Heins and the airline shows that a representative has apologized for the canceled flight and incorrect rebooking.
The airline offered to refund Heins for the portion he did not fly, but not for the portion of the journey from Seattle to Philadelphia. It also offered to reimburse him for the rental car, according to email correspondence Insider had seen.
As an alternative to the refund, the airline offered vouchers of $300 per passenger.
Heins said he had never experienced anything like this in 26 years of air travel.
An American Airlines spokesperson told Insider: “We apologize for the inconvenience caused after Mr. Heins’ connecting flight from Philadelphia to Burlington was cancelled. We’ve been in touch with him about his experience.”
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