Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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A Sad Story…………the day when Jeff Walker had to leave his beloved family member behind in China………..

Dear Readers

I don’t know where to turn. I have contacted various centers including American Airlines and the only responses which I received where from American Airlines and as you will read they put the blame all on me for losing my friend in the world, Alek.

Below is my formal complaint to American Airlines. After the complaint you will see the three responses from American Airlines.

I don’t know what to do. The airlines, being in the position they are, doesn’t have to do anything because after all I am only person.

Please, please, will someone help me.

Thank you so much.

Jeff Walker

This is the complaint I sent to American Airlines as well as two other agencies.I guess I have to treat this as a complaint but it is much more sad than any complaint could be. I lost my best friend due to the actions or inactions of American Airlines.

Around September 10, 2016 I called the 800 number for the American Airlines to make a reservation. I indicated to the person the flight I wanted to go from Shanghai, China to Sioux Falls, SD and mentioned that I would bring my Russian Blue cat along on cabin. She said the cost of the in-cabin for my cat would be $125. I asked if I needed to pay for the cat’s "ticket" and she told me no and that had to be done at the airport.

The information for the tickets is:

Record Locator, JXHXXX

AA 128Departing Shanghai top Dallas, September 12, 2016Boarding time, 3:20 p.m.Seat, 18D

AA3549Departing Dallas to Sioux Falls, September 12, 2016Boarding time [original 6:40 p.m.]Seat 10C

Address 848 N Rainbow Blvd1877 Las Vegas, NV 89107’

I arrived at PVG on September 12. I was checking in along with the two pieces of luggage. I was waiting for the person at the desk to check in my cat and it did not happen. I then hear the person say we must do something about your cat now. I asked what that meant. I told him that I had a reservation for the cat and I got it through the central 800 number in the USA. It was not long when a lady showed up. I was informed that I could not take the cat. Of course I questioned it. I was informed that I did not have a ticket for the cat. I indicated that I did through the 800 number. I was told I did not. I then was told that the cat could not go in cabin with me. Then, a man showed up. He had no American Airlines uniform but he did have an ID card which I did not see the details of. He very abruptly told me that the cat was not going in cabin. He said no pets in cabin from PVG. I challenged him and he quickly said that the cat nor I would be able to fly.

Wow…….I was really caught in the middle but not as much as my cat, Alek. I did not know what to do. I asked about checking Alek in as check luggage and was told it was not possible because the airplane was not climate controlled. The only advice I got was to call customer service.

I did call customer service via the 800 number. I talked to three persons with the last being a supervisor. The first two persons understand what was going on but insisted that there was nothing they could do since the PVG airport had the final say. It was not the airport giving the final say but rather the reps of American Airlines. The supervisor was more helpful but could not fix the problem. The supervisor checked my reservation and saw that Alek was booked but only for the flight from Dallas to Sioux Falls. The supervisor said to me that the person who made the reservation for the cat via the 800 number should have told me that the ticket for Alek was only for the domestic leg and not the international leg and like the previous two persons, she told me that there was nothing she could do.

I was in tears. No, I was sobbing and sobbing. I did not know what to do. The final advice coming from the AA reps was to fly to Japan where pets can fly in cabin. I looked at her and said and just how does Alex get there since he cannot fly from here? Of course no answer. Then it was suggested that I get the paperwork to make Alek a support pet. I said that this is not going to happen in 60 minutes.

I quickly checked to see if there any other flights and none. I thought United may help, since they are the last airline I flew from PVG with Alek in cabin with me but that did not work out.

I was crying and crying. This is my best friend. I got him as a kitten when I lived in Korea in 2012—after my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce and left me. Alek was my buddy and my friend and now, due to the actions or in actions of the original ticket reservationist along with no one willing to help out from AA.

I really knew no one there, in Shanghai, other than a former co-worker and I knew he would never help. The end was that a fellow American, Justin, who I never met, took Alek. Jason is a teacher there in Shanghai. He and I talked and I really had no choice. I had to be on the plane. I had no funds to change my plans. I had to allow Alek to stay.

While heading to immigration and points beyond I cried and cried. At that point I was not angry but so, so sad. But angry has sent in along with the deep and sickening sadness. I am in the USA not and without my family member.

I wonder how many times that a similar thing has happened to others. What did they do?

How can this problem be fixed by American Airlines other than "we are deeply sorry". I want my Alek back. I need him. I am lost without him and so deeply angered to how I was treated but more how Alek was treated.

Below is my letter to Alek.

I am so sorry Alek. Please forgive me. I have abandoned you. I gave no thought to your needs. My stupidity has caused immeasurable hardship for you. You are in a sea of fear and questions. Before we left. I could tell you knew something was up. But I thought you knew we would just be traveling but I now realize you knew much more. You were trying to warn me but I did not listen. I for not one minute could take the time to listen and you are paying the ultimate price. I am so sorry Alek. I know you will never forgive me. I will miss you so much and will continue to hate myself. Someday we will see each other at the rainbow bridge and I hope you will have forgiven me. Take care my family guy. I will love you always.

This is the first email received from American Airlines

AACustomerRelations@aa.comSep 19 at 1:53 PMjeff.walker1957@yahoo.comMessage body

September 19, 2016

Dear Dr. Walker:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.I want to personally apologize for the ordeal that you and Alek encountered in PVG.According to our records the only travel set up for Alek is from DFW to FSD.Per our website we do not transport carryon pets in the trans-Pacific markets you can view this information at your leisure via the link below:https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/pets.jspWhile I sympathize with the circumstances that caused this inconvenience, I must respectfully decline your request for assistance transporting Alek. This is a strict policy and there are no exceptions.Let me assure you that our position does not lessen our regard for you as our customer. It is always our pleasure to serve you, and we are eager to do so again soon. Please give us another opportunity to earn your business.

Sincerely,

Teilica HolidaeCustomer Relations American Airlines

AA Ref#1-10289265793

This is the second email received from American Airlines

AACustomerRelations@aa.comSep 19 at 3:12 PMjeff.walker1957@yahoo.comMessage body

September 19, 2016

Dear Dr. Walker:

Because American Airlines provides this very important information to all customers via the website it is your responsibility to do your due diligence and research your individual special circumstances when it comes to traveling with pets.Our reservations agent set up the reservation correctly for your pet since our policy states we do not transport carryon pets in the trans-Pacific markets.This issue was escalated and reviewed and it was determined American Airlines will not assume financial responsibility for personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.

Sincerely,

Teilica HolidaeCustomer Relations American Airlines

AA Ref#1-11133889040

This is the third email received from American AirlinesAACustomerRelations@aa.comSep 21 at 5:10 PMjeff.walker1957@yahoo.comMessage body

September 21, 2016

Dear Dr. Walker:

We are in receipt of your most recent email regarding your experience of September 12 at the Shanghai airport. The matter has been escalated to my attention.In our review, we have not been able to conclude that an American Airlines employee advised you that a pet could be taken aboard your trans-Pacific flight, AA128. As with other similar matters, our pet policy can be accessed on our website AA.COM, and specific policy for the transportation of pets is found at the following link:https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/pets.jspWe appreciate your understanding Dr. Walker.

Sincerely,

Tim ShoreCustomer Relations American Airlines

AA Ref#1-11142771365

Product or Service Mentioned: American Airlines Customer Care.

Reason of review: Poor customer service.

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Anonymous
#1219822

It's a cat, not a person. So you failed to check the American Airlines website about taking a cat from China in the cabin; you failed to go down to the airport before the day of the flight to check and make sure everything would go smoothly, and now that the cat is still in China, you make no attempt to have the Justin ship the cat to you.

Why blame American Airlines, when any reasonable person knows that flying with animals frequently creates problems.

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