A family claims American Airlines attempted to force them to pay approximately $30,000 to change their itinerary after the airline switched the family’s return ticket to leave from an airport in another country, according to a complaint filed by the family with the Department of Transportation and American Airlines.
Sam Taussig also alleges his family was forced to charter a plane at their own expense to another island in order to return to the United States on American Airlines.
Taussig said the airline involuntarily changed the family’s flights multiple times over the course of several months after the family purchased their tickets in January for their summer vacation. It was not until July 4 when Taussig said he wanted to ensure his family was sitting together for their upcoming trip that he noticed not only was the family not together, but their flight was leaving from St. Lucia instead of Saint Vincent. There are no scheduled flights or ferries between St. Lucia and Saint Vincent.
“I called American Airlines thinking this must be some sort of clerical error and spent nearly three hours with the American Airlines customer service teams learning that I have, in fact, been bumped and seven of the nine family members were bumped to another flight departing from a different country at a different airport because of an oversold situation,” Taussig said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
He said he did receive an email from the airline that there had been a change to his flight, but he said the airport change notification was in tiny, fine print.
“American Airlines was not very apologetic at all. They blamed me, the customer, for not catching this sooner,” Taussig said. “American Airlines offered a couple of different, I think, absolutely insane solutions where they said, well, we’ll have to split up part of your family and put most of you on a flight a week later, if not longer.
And to do that, we’re going to charge you change fees, reissuing fees, certain other fees, which were not clear to me, and new fares, which totaled about $30,000 to get all of us back. And we’d be stuck on the island for a week with no offer of compensation for hotels or meal vouchers or anything like that.”
In a statement to ABC News, American Airlines said “We are concerned by the experience our customer is reporting. A member of our team has reached out to discuss travel.”