Compensation Question: American Airlines JFK-LHR Seat Issue & Promised Compensation


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about interesting exchange with one cabin crew member regarding his business class seating on recent JFK-LHR flight.

Compensation Question American Airlines JFK-LHR Flight Seat Issue

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I thought you’d be quite interested to hear this one.

Flying paid J on AA JFK-LHR as a BA Gold (Oneworld Emerald) – if you’re wondering about the reference to AA miles, the lady who came onboard at JFK said it would be easier to just give AA miles rather than liaising with the BA rep.

I had seat 1A, and basically was sent to 6D (after pushback – reasons below) and told either take that seat or get another flight (1D was available – I preferred a window (reverse herringbone 1-2-1 config, so more private) but none were available.

This only came about as the doors had closed and we were getting ready to go. I had questioned whether I could get an amenity kit and menu as didn’t seem to have one waiting for me. From that many things ensued….. CSM then came over, told me I was a liar and I did not have that seat and must move immediately. I produced my BP and mentioned I preallocated it many months ago. Continued to be told I was a liar and told me to move.

A few minutes later the FA actually serving my part of the cabin came back and said it was a mistake, I was right and to stay in 1A.

Then a few minutes later….. CSM came back again and asked why I hadn’t moved. I asked where I was expected to move to – 6D I was told. Anyway, a minor discussion occurred and I then gave in and picked up my things to move to 6D. Well, 6D doesn’t exist on the plane. By now my temper was getting very difficult to contain – understandably so! Turned around and noted that I was not impressed with the treatment, especially being told to move or else as well as being called a liar. I was then told I could sit in 1D so moved there (my wife was in 3A).

Anyway, shortly after all this happened the door had opened again and the station manager (I assume that’s who it was, anyway) came onboard to apologise to the way the CSM spoke to me, etc. and offered me 50k AA miles as a way of saying sorry. Said they’d post in 48-72 hours, however nothing had posted over a week since the flight. I thought I’d give it a few days before putting something over to AA. The CSM really has no place to call a passenger a liar regardless of what they think. I took a photo of my BP for keepsake too, just to prove again that I was right I had 1A as MY seat

Here was the response from AA:

Every day we depend on our people to serve our customers well. We strive to train our employees to be courteous and knowledgeable but our efforts are of little value if we fail to provide professional service. We are deeply disappointed that you did not receive the treatment you deserve when you traveled with us. Please accept our apology.

We wish to change the unfavorable impression you now have as a result of this experience. Accordingly, we have credited your AAdvantage® account with 5,000 bonus miles. This mileage adjustment will be reflected in your account very soon.

Thank you for contacting us and giving us this opportunity to better serve our customers in the future. Please do not be discouraged from traveling with us again soon. We are eager to restore your confidence.

It really seems to be a joke with that response from AA, how would you suggest I respond from here?


Seems that the purser had some issues on this flight and probably should have offloaded him/herself.

Did you manage to take name of the manager that came back to board and promised you 50,000 AAdvantage miles? The number of miles is high compared to what AA usually doles out for inconveniences.

I would reply back that you were promised the 50,000 miles by the manager who came to meet you on that flight. Surely they have records who were working on that flight and can then contact that person to confirm.

The customer service has never been American Airlines strongest element and less now after the America West took over the airline.