Grady R. Heins said he drove all night to make his brother’s wedding.
A passenger says American Airlines wrongly rebooked his family on a flight to Canada.
Grady R. Heins had 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 onto a flight to a different country and then canceled the replacement flight.
Grady R. Heins, a lawyer from Washington state, had booked in January to fly from Seattle to Vermont for his brother’s wedding in May.
He bought tickets for himself and his three children on the fastest trip 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 attempted to rectify the situation on the phone but when he couldn’t get through, he decided to travel to Seattle airport to rebook his flights in person, taking an afternoon off work to do so.
American Airlines staff at Seattle airport eventually found him an alternative flight to Burlington with a stop in Philadelphia. The Seattle to Philadelphia flight 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 the cancellation happened because a flight attendant did not report for duty.
Left in the airport with three young children, Heins said he went to American Airlines’ customer support counter for assistance.
He said staff told him there were no hotel rooms left and they could not provide a rental car and that assistance was provided on a “first-come, first-served basis.”
After four hours in the airport, Heins decided to retrieve his family’s bags, rented a car, and drove from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. to reach his intended destination.
Correspondence viewed by Insider between Heins and the airline shows that a representative apologized for the canceled flight and erroneous re-booking.
The airline offered to refund Heins for the segment that he didn’t fly, but not for the Seattle to Philadelphia segment of the trip. It also offered to reimburse him for the rental car, per the email correspondence seen by Insider.
As an alternative to the refund, the airline offered vouchers of $300 per passenger.
Heins said that in 26 years of air travel he had never experienced anything like this.
A spokesperson for American Airlines told Insider: “We apologize for the inconvenience caused after Mr. Heins’ connecting flight from Philadelphia to Burlington was canceled. We have been in contact with him regarding his experience.”