Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested [UPDATED]

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TylerS
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Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested [UPDATED]

Post by TylerS »

[The OP has posted a status update, see viewtopic.php?p=4984188#p4984188 -- mod oldcomputerguy]

Hi all - thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. I apologize for the large amount of text!

QUICK SUMMARY: American Airlines did not let me board my flight. They made me buy a second ticket for the same flight. I have not gotten refund or any explanation. I'm concerned about future flights being impacted.

FULL BACKGROUND:
I purchased round trip tickets from MSP to PHX in July 2019 using American Airlines miles for a Round Trip flight in January 2020. I paid a $11 in fees for the flight using my Discover credit card.

The day before the flight (earlier this January 2020) due to weather concerns, I called AA to ask about weather contingencies. During that call they confirmed I was good to go for the flight, along with my baby (under 2) that would be flying with me. However, I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.

The day of the flight when checking in on the kiosk at the airport, I got a receipt that said “Inhibited Flyer – please see agent…”) After trying to check-in with him, there was clearly an issue. The agent, after 20 minutes of calls/using the computer, said that I was on an Inhibited Flyer list and that I would not be able to board the plane. He said with this status I would not be able to fly on other airlines either. I was very taken aback by this and pushed him and his manager for additional information. Eventually, he explained that I could board the plane, but I would need to purchase a brand new ticket. How could I be on an inhibited flyer list but at the same time be eligible to purchase a new ticked for the same flight? Obviously, this is far from ideal, but not wanting to find a cheaper flight or delay this at all (especially with a baby strapped to my chest who would eventually become very impatient) I asked how much the additional ticket would be. First they said $370. BUT, the ticket could not be purchased with a credit card. It could not be purchased with cash. It could only be purchased with a “Ready Card” that could be purchased at the airport using a Ready Card machine. The only way to purchase a Ready Card was using cash. I don’t carry that kind of cash, and don’t even carry a check card with me.

Luckily, my brother was there at that time (if he had been through security already I would have been completely out of luck). My brother got out $400 in cash and since AA had been very incompetent thus far, we double checked everything at the desk before he made his purchase. (If this situation sounds absurd, it’s because it was). The desk now confirmed the flight was $511. My brother got out more cash, and purchased the Ready Card, which we brought to the desk to buy the ticket. It had now been more than an hour at the AA desk, and it was 40 minutes until takeoff. They had to pull in other agents, reboot their computer, use a different computer, and then make more calls. Now less than 30 minutes until takeoff. The security line said 20 minutes. I got the new round trip ticket, and waited in security – ran to the gate and were the last ones on the flight – making it by a minute or two. Even more baffling, I was given the same seat as I had originally purchased (right next to my brother).

The following days I called American Airlines and the credit card company to dig into this. They both offered no information and pointed their finger at the other. For my flight home, I was again unable to check in online. Upon arrival at the airport before the flight, the kiosk again listed Inhibited flyer even on this new round trip ticket. I waited (with my patient baby) in another customer service / check-in line. The lady clearly noticed an issue and made some calls. I was very nervous I would not be allowed on the flight. She eventually said we were good to go and got my ticket. I was so relieved that I took the ticket without asking follow-up questions about the “Inhibited” status, and if this would be an issue in the future. So, I decided to go back and ask. The AA lady noticed me walking back, walked out from behind the counter towards me and asked if there was an issue with my ticket. I said no, but asked her about being an Inhibited flyer and if this would be an issue in the future. She only said “Dont ask any more questions, you are good.” She gave me a look as if to say she did me a favor and it was not worth digging into this, but it was all very cryptic. I was able to board the flight and returned home. I have since called AA again – they have been unable to confirm why this occurred or offer any additional information. They will not give a refund despite me having to paying for two tickets on the same flight.

The only possible explanation I can think of is that my identity was stolen in the past and it’s somehow related. However, the credit card involved here isn’t showing any issues, so I have no specific reason to suspect that being the case here. As for my record, I’ve never had so much as a traffic ticket.

I have another flight in a month with Delta and it would be nice to confirm I will not have any issues (again, I will be flying with baby which creates more issues if I was denied for any reason). Whoever at AA took my call in advance of my flight was not able to see the Inhibited Flyer issue – it only popped up upon trying to check-in for the flight at airport.


Questions:

1. Recommendations on next steps to take or advice?
2. Any ideas for chasing a refund on the $500 ticket?
3. How do I ensure that I am not on the Inhibited Flyer list going forward? (is this limited to American Airlines?)
4. Would it make sense to get TSA Precheck, or some other service? They can then fully screen me and clear me of whatever this is?
5. Should I get/request a Redress number in case of Identity theft issue?
penny_ln
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by penny_ln »

That sounds incredibly stressful. I found some information here: https://papersplease.org/wp/secure-flight/faq/
What does it mean to be placed in the “inhibited” category?

To be “inhibited” in “TSA speak” means that TSA suspects that you might be the person on their watch list, and further information as to your identity is necessary to confirm or deny that suspicion. An airline may not issue a boarding pass to an “inhibited” individual. Unless you can further prove your identity to show you are not the supposedly-bad person on the secret list, you’re not going to be allowed to fly.
That doesn't explain why buying a new ticket made it okay. But based on this description, it sounds like PreCheck would help, because you would have demonstrated that you are not the person on their list.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by finite_difference »

Definitely sounds like related to your identity having been stolen. I also think TSA PreCheck is a good idea. Also to monitor your credit reports religiously, perhaps carry cash, lock your credit with the 3 credit bureaus, after making sure you have enough credit cards, etc.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

You're going to want to register on flyertalk and ask there.
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khh
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by khh »

I wonder if this is a problem for people with common names, like Robert Smith. I was able to think of 4 people with that name I was acquainted with over the years.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Prokofiev »

Could you have had your AA account frozen or locked by American? Since this ticket was using miles, you may have violated the terms of the
AAdvantage program. Look up or Google "American account lock-out"

"Background
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware that the American Airlines AAdvantage program has locked a number of members’ accounts, and in some cases terminated accounts entirely. This seemingly began in early-to-mid December. The terminations and lockdowns are apparently based on alleged violations of AAdvantage program rules by the members.
“Terminated” means exactly what it sounds like – the member’s AAdvantage account is closed, all AA miles are lost, all award tickets are canceled (whether on AA or another airline).
“Locked” is somewhat different. For a “locked” member, redemptions of AA miles are not possible through any channel (AA flights; partner flights; hotel bookings using AA miles; etc.). A “locked” member may be able to go through the process of making an award redemption, but the ticket will not issue. It may show “ticket pending” for a while and then vanish, or just remain as “pending” through take-off time with the passenger unable to fly on it. Aside from making award redemptions, a “locked” member’s account seems to function. "

Also . . .

"AAdvantage accounts have been terminated and locked without any notice from AA to the member, and without any advance warning. People who are terminated may have received an email message from AA Corporate Security informing them of the termination. Many people whose accounts are locked-but-not-terminated have not received any communication at all from AA, even though their accounts may have been locked for roughly a month."

Seems like American would be able to tell you if this was the case, but there have been instances of simply canceling a ticket without warning.
Last edited by Prokofiev on Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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123
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by 123 »

It's time to lose your inhibitions. Good luck.
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kelvan80
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by kelvan80 »

When you booked the ticket did you let them know you had a child under 2 flying with you?
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22twain
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by 22twain »

penny_ln wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:24 pm That sounds incredibly stressful. I found some information here: https://papersplease.org/wp/secure-flight/faq/
What does it mean to be placed in the “inhibited” category?

To be “inhibited” in “TSA speak” means that TSA suspects that you might be the person on their watch list, and further information as to your identity is necessary to confirm or deny that suspicion. An airline may not issue a boarding pass to an “inhibited” individual. Unless you can further prove your identity to show you are not the supposedly-bad person on the secret list, you’re not going to be allowed to fly.
That doesn't explain why buying a new ticket made it okay. But based on this description, it sounds like PreCheck would help, because you would have demonstrated that you are not the person on their list.
I came to the same conclusion after doing a Google search for "inhibited flyer list" and finding the link you gave as the second result. The first result was this very thread. Fast work, Google!

After writing up my own reply (no one else had replied yet), I refreshed the thread and saw your post.

Added later: Now I’ve seen the comments about the possibility of problems just with using AA miles to buy the tickets. That sounds like it’s definitely worth looking into. But then why would the agent have mentioned the “inhibited” list?
Last edited by 22twain on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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TylerS
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TylerS »

Thanks everyone for the responses thus far! I really appreciate it.

To quickly reply to a few of the items below:

- I don't have a common name (but thanks for the idea)
- My AA account is not locked/terminated.
- I previously froze my credit with the major bureaus and took other steps
- I'll look into FlyerTalk as well!
- I'll look more into PreCheck next steps
- Yes, I confirmed that lap baby was good to go in advance of both flights with American Airlines
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by nisiprius »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:10 pm...How could I be on an inhibited flyer list but at the same time be eligible to purchase a new ticket for the same flight?...
Just possibly it might have had something to do with your being there physically and able to present them with more detailed identity documentation?

No answers, but I have a common surname, and some years ago I encountered problems with boarding passes for several years in a row. Not as bad as yours, just a fifteen minute wait while they took my driver's license away from me and vanished into a back room.
3. How do I ensure that I am not on the Inhibited Flyer list going forward? (is this limited to American Airlines?)
I don't fly enough to accumulate enough miles for anything, but at the time some Travel Tips column said that people should always join their airline's frequent flyer program anyway. The claim was that when you join that program, you are giving them more information than they would have otherwise and it can help you clear you for flights. It actually seemed to work for me. It's quick, costs nothing, occasionally gives you a shot at a free seat upgrade. I don't know if it will help but it's something productive to do while you investigate other options.
2. Any ideas for chasing a refund on the $500 ticket?
Contact customer service on your credit card and tell them you want to dispute a bill. Obviously, be sure to keep all the receipts and paper that show you paid for the ticket with cash, tickets, seat assignments and so forth. I don't think the airline will claim that you flew twice at the same time on the same plane in the same seat. Also, the requirement that you pay cash seems odd and makes me wonder if there's some kind of problem with your credit card, so that's another reason to talk to them. [Oops, sorry, wasn't paying attention.]
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by rich126 »

Prokofiev wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:40 pm Could you have had your AA account frozen or locked by American? Since this ticket was using miles, you may have violated the terms of the
AAdvantage program. Look up or Google "American account lock-out"

"Background
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware that the American Airlines AAdvantage program has locked a number of members’ accounts, and in some cases terminated accounts entirely. This seemingly began in early-to-mid December. The terminations and lockdowns are apparently based on alleged violations of AAdvantage program rules by the members.
“Terminated” means exactly what it sounds like – the member’s AAdvantage account is closed, all AA miles are lost, all award tickets are canceled (whether on AA or another airline).
“Locked” is somewhat different. For a “locked” member, redemptions of AA miles are not possible through any channel (AA flights; partner flights; hotel bookings using AA miles; etc.). A “locked” member may be able to go through the process of making an award redemption, but the ticket will not issue. It may show “ticket pending” for a while and then vanish, or just remain as “pending” through take-off time with the passenger unable to fly on it. Aside from making award redemptions, a “locked” member’s account seems to function. "

Also . . .

"AAdvantage accounts have been terminated and locked without any notice from AA to the member, and without any advance warning. People who are terminated may have received an email message from AA Corporate Security informing them of the termination. Many people whose accounts are locked-but-not-terminated have not received any communication at all from AA, even though their accounts may have been locked for roughly a month."

Seems like American would be able to tell you if this was the case, but there have been instances of simply canceling a ticket without warning.
Yeah that was my first thought when I saw "miles" and "forced to buy second ticket". If that is the case, then someone isn't telling the full story because you wouldn't be on a list that prohibits buying a ticket from other airlines since it is an AA issue only.

https://papersplease.org/wp/secure-flight/faq/
What does it mean to be placed in the “inhibited” category?
To be “inhibited” in “TSA speak” means that TSA suspects that you might be the person on their watch list, and further information as to your identity is necessary to confirm or deny that suspicion. An airline may not issue a boarding pass to an “inhibited” individual. Unless you can further prove your identity to show you are not the supposedly-bad person on the secret list, you’re not going to be allowed to fly.
So a watch list or inhibited category would prevent flying and not just requiring another ticket.

My guess is that AA locked the account due to irregularities and will not allow the person to use miles unless they unlocked it, which from what I've read, rarely occurs.

And for those that haven't followed the AA locking of accounts, yeah they will revoke award tickets even mid-trip and the person is stuck to buy/use other miles to finish the trip or get home. It involves abuse of a variety of things (setting up false AA FF accounts to receive CC applications, using applications meants for others, etc.).

And when it happens, AA personnel are instructed not to reveal any details. When it comes to FF miles, airlines have a lot of discretion in dealing with accounts. There is a lot of talk about lawsuits, etc. but we'll see if that happens or how far it goes.

(I'm not involve with any of this directly, only have read a number of articles on it.)

Another case where the story is not adding up. (I'm not saying it is FF abuse here, but if you are on a no-fly list, you can't simply buy another ticket or go to another airline. That wouldn't make sense.)
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by tjtv »

Have you applied for A LOT of AA credit cards? It's possible that "A LOT" could be as few as 2 cards. If so, you may have your AA miles account locked/frozen and not even know it, as other posters have mentioned.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by HawkeyePierce »

MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
FAA doesn't care. This is for DOT.

OP: go ask FlyerTalk. They're going to tell you to distill your complaint down to 4-5 sentences and take it to both AA and DOT. Lose all the stuff about finding cash and rebooting computers, keep it to the basic facts of the situation.

AA doesn't lock people out for opening too many Citi AA cards, that's a red herring.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by tjtv »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:07 pm AA doesn't lock people out for opening too many Citi AA cards, that's a red herring.
They most certainly do....
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by 8foot7 »

tjtv wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:10 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:07 pm AA doesn't lock people out for opening too many Citi AA cards, that's a red herring.
They most certainly do....
https://www.doctorofcredit.com/an-updat ... hut-downs/
And those lockdowns are vast, widespread, and increasing, not decreasing.
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TylerS
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TylerS »

Thanks for the additional replies.

- I'll ask FlyerTalk.
- I've applied for a total of 2 AA cards and haven't done anything like rich126 referred to that could cause my AA account to be locked. When I sign on to my AA account, nothing looks out of place. How would I verify this - just call AA or would they not be able to? They never brought this up during the multiple calls I had with them. Seems like something they'd easily be able to point to, right?
- The AA agent mentioned AA or other carriers would not let me board their flight given my status - then later changed his tune and allowed me on the flight *only* if I purchased a Ready Card at the airport to be used to buy a ticket (no other credit cards, no cash etc.) It's possible he made a mistake of some sort, or spoke incorrectly at some point during the situation.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by 8foot7 »

OP, dispute the charge for the second ticket on your credit card and also file a DOT complaint. There is no issue with your first ticket that could not have been rectified without extorting you out of a second ticket. And you can prove you already paid for a ticket for yourself on the same flight. This is pretty much a slam dunk.

I'd stop bothering with AA at this point; they probably know what's going on but won't (or can't) tell you, and sometimes that results in stupid answers to legitimate questions.
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TylerS
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TylerS »

8foot7 - thanks. The issue is the second ticket was purchased with a "Ready Card" (a machine at the airport). A Ready Card can only be purchased with cash (the cash which was taken out by my brother on his Check Card). This was the only route AA let us use. So I don't have a credit card company to submit a dispute for the second flight.

Or am I misunderstanding what you're recommending? Really appreciate the feedback.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by tjtv »

There's nothing for OP to dispute with his credit card provider, as neither ticket was purchased with a CC! The first one was paid for with miles, and the second one was paid for with cash/ready card.

He could probably dispute the $11 worth of taxes paid on his mileage ticket with Discover, but it's likely that AA is willing to refund those taxes anyway. And $11 doesn't really help, considering he's out hundreds of dollars.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by 8foot7 »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:27 pm 8foot7 - thanks. The issue is the second ticket was purchased with a "Ready Card" (a machine at the airport). A Ready Card can only be purchased with cash (the cash which was taken out by my brother on his Check Card). This was the only route AA let us use. So I don't have a credit card company to submit a dispute for the second flight.

Or am I misunderstanding what you're recommending? Really appreciate the feedback.
Oh, of course. Sorry. :oops:

Do the DOT complaint. You might also try doug.parker@aa.com; one of his more intelligent minions may be able to arrange a resolution for you.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by furwut »

I don’t understand how, if the OP was on a TSA “list”, she was even able to get thru the security screening checkpoint. My niece was on such a list for awhile. All she knew was that every time she flew she was pulled aside for secondary screening. Every Damn Time. Nobody told her why or offered any advice on how to avoid the inconvenience until one time her mother made a big enough stink that one of the TSA agents whispered, under her breath, that my niece was coming up on a watch list. All this occurred when my niece was a minor child.

Getting Pre-Checked certified solved the issue.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by StevieG72 »

Very strange! Did you ask to have your miles refunded? How many miles did you use to book the trip?
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by German Expat »

This is indeed very strange and I would post at Flyertalk, check with DOT and AA and you can also write to Chris Elliott even if his articles are not my cup of tea (https://www.elliott.org/).
What I do not understand at all is why they asked for a readycard. This is a card for customers that don't have a credit or debit card to be used at airports. I assume you and your brother both had credit cards.

https://cms.volaris.com/en/travel-info/ ... rd-kiosks/

Is it possible that AA did indeed block your mileage flight and then also did not want your credit card on file having you sold a flight? Being on the no fly list should have excluded you from flying or at a minimum given you additional security screening. Also I am not sure 'inhibited flyer' is really being on the DOT list. You usually get SSSS on your board pass when you are on their list and go to secondary screening.

Looking at bit around flyertalk at BA it seems like 'inhibited' came up for just being in an exit row and requiring a check if the person was ok sitting there.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british ... t-row.html
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TravelGeek »

German Expat wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm What I do not understand at all is why they asked for a readycard. This is a card for customers that don't have a credit or debit card to be used at airports. I assume you and your brother both had credit cards.
Well, it would conveniently make it impossible to dispute the charge after the fact.

It’s a weird story. My first thought was a locked AA account. Just because the OP can still log into the account doesn’t mean it is not locked. Locking prevents using miles for most activities such as award flights (though there are plenty of reports of people with locked accounts who were still able to fly on existing award tickets). So one way to check is to try to book an award and see if it tickets (it can be canceled within 24 hrs).

A concise DOT complaint is likely the best approach to getting to the bottom of this. It will force AA to respond. Something along the lines of:

I purchased an award ticket on AA for flight XYZ from A to B, ticket number ...

When I tried to check in at A, the kiosk displayed a message: “.... inhibited”. American Airlines agents were unable or unwilling to check me in and issue me a boarding pass, and the only option I was given was to purchase with cash a new ticket for the same flight at the cost of $xxx.

AA did not honor the ticketed reservation. I request a refund for the second ticket in the amount of $xxx and an explanation for why I was denied travel on my original ticket.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Seasonal »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:14 pm Thanks for the additional replies.

- I'll ask FlyerTalk.
- I've applied for a total of 2 AA cards and haven't done anything like rich126 referred to that could cause my AA account to be locked. When I sign on to my AA account, nothing looks out of place. How would I verify this - just call AA or would they not be able to? They never brought this up during the multiple calls I had with them. Seems like something they'd easily be able to point to, right?
According to the posts on FT and elsewhere, people with locked accounts are able to sign onto their accounts without issue. Calling and asking if your account is locked seems the best way to tell. Actions by family or household members or travelling companions can trigger an account lockdown. However, they usually don't cancel tickets without terminating the account.

The inhibited flyer, but can purchase with cash, claim by AA makes no sense, which is not to suggest it didn't happen.

I'd dispute the credit card charge for the original ticket and pursue this with AA (keep communications very short and to the point and expect canned responses at first) and, if necessary, the DOT and small claims court. Keep as many records as you can.
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TylerS
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TylerS »

Thanks all! Some more quick additional info/follow-up:

- I'll try to inquire if my AA account is locked.
- I have asked for my miles back (about 30,000 used for original flight) but can try again.
- Yes, both me and my brother had multiple credit cards available to buy the second ticket. All of the AA agents I worked with at the airport would not allow this.
- I've already written to Chris Elliott's organization - they are asking for a paper trail to initiate this. Proving my communications with AA, etc., but it's been all in-person and over the phone. I can try to get a dispute submitted to them via email.
- Discover has reimbursed the $11 in taxes that I paid for the first flight. Better than nothing.
- I'll look into next steps with DOT as recommended
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by palanzo »

MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
The FAA is not relevant. TSA is.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Seasonal »

Do post an Flyertalk https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ntage-733/ It has some very knowledgeable people.

Be aware that there are many first time posters who post stories that don't make sense (and, unfortunately, your treatment by AA makes no sense), then don't follow-up when questioned, leading many there to be skeptical or seemingly aggressive. On the other hand, if there's a good route to resolving this, the odds are high someone will suggest it.

The TSA is not known for its responsiveness. Filing a complaint with the DOT should at least force AA to give a response.

In all communications, try to limit yourself to relevant facts without emotional coloration.

Please tell us what happens when you call AA to ask if your account is locked or otherwise talk to them.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by HawkeyePierce »

palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:37 pm
MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
The FAA is not relevant. TSA is.
The TSA isn't relevant here either. DOT is the agency with jurisdiction over airline ticketing issues.

I'm willing to bet the agents were lying about being on any kind of no-fly list.
seawolf21
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by seawolf21 »

DOT would be the correct government agency to contact. Definitely not FAA.
TravelGeek
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TravelGeek »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:51 pm
I'm willing to bet the agents were lying about being on any kind of no-fly list.
As evidenced by the fact that a new ticket magically circumvented the alleged no fly list.

I agree that the DOT is the right agency to pursue this through. That said, the TSA might also be interested in knowing that AA is mis-using their security theater.
fyre4ce
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by fyre4ce »

In a somewhat similar situation (forced by an airline to buy a second ticket for the same seat, but for different reasons which were entirely confined to the airline), I went though a lengthy escalation process with them seeking a refund after-the-fact, from submitting a formal complaint through their website, to disputing the charge on the credit card, to sending a demand letter to their corporate legal team. Ultimately, I sued the airline in small claims court and won my case, for the ticket plus additional damages for time off work dealing with the mess. Was immensely satisfying, and also very educational. I'd say it's premature at this point, but it's worth keeping in mind as an option of last resort.

If you do go to small claims court, keep your narrative as short and straightforward as possible. The judges hear tons of cases every day and may or may not have familiarized themselves with your case in advance. I was surprised how quick it was over.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by ResearchMed »

Seasonal wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:47 pm Do post an Flyertalk https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ntage-733/ It has some very knowledgeable people.

Be aware that there are many first time posters who post stories that don't make sense (and, unfortunately, your treatment by AA makes no sense), then don't follow-up when questioned, leading many there to be skeptical or seemingly aggressive. On the other hand, if there's a good route to resolving this, the odds are high someone will suggest it.

The TSA is not known for its responsiveness. Filing a complaint with the DOT should at least force AA to give a response.

In all communications, try to limit yourself to relevant facts without emotional coloration.

Please tell us what happens when you call AA to ask if your account is locked or otherwise talk to them.
FlyerTalk can be, er, um, "less friendly" than Bogleheads, and sometimes a LOT less friendly.

Just IGNORE any posts who fit the above description, and respond only to those who are asking genuine questions or offering serious suggestions. (It can get harsh there, although for whatever reason, it seems to have calmed down recently. Just put on your "flameproof attire" :wink: and use the helpful information there.)

And DO respond to any questions (from seemingly helpful others).
Not responding to questions when someone is trying to be helpful is very likely to generate more of the "less helpful" responses, and it also isn't "Internet Forum Courtesy", etc.

There will be a few AA employees/etc., on FT who will have some serious background info. How much they can share with you? Who knows??

Yes, something sounds VERY "off". Especially why you couldn't pay with "cash", but needed to use cash to get some specialized card. But extra especially... why using a "ready card" suddenly circumvented a no-fly list. :annoyed
Very odd indeed.

Good luck!

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
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Gort
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Gort »

Trying to understand this but why were you told you couldn't use your credit card to buy the ticket and had to use the ReadyCARD (purchased with cash)?
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by HawkeyePierce »

ResearchMed wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:16 pm Yes, something sounds VERY "off". Especially why you couldn't pay with "cash", but needed to use cash to get some specialized card. But extra especially... why using a "ready card" suddenly circumvented a no-fly list. :annoyed
Very odd indeed.
The ReadyCards are because the airlines have ripped out their cash registers, both at ticket counters and onboard. They literally can't accept cash for anything.
palanzo
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by palanzo »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:51 pm
palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:37 pm
MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
The FAA is not relevant. TSA is.
The TSA isn't relevant here either. DOT is the agency with jurisdiction over airline ticketing issues.

I'm willing to bet the agents were lying about being on any kind of no-fly list.
The agents were using TSA terminology so unless they were lying TSA would be the appropriate agency.
lkar
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by lkar »

ResearchMed wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:16 pm
Seasonal wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:47 pm Do post an Flyertalk https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ntage-733/ It has some very knowledgeable people.

Be aware that there are many first time posters who post stories that don't make sense (and, unfortunately, your treatment by AA makes no sense), then don't follow-up when questioned, leading many there to be skeptical or seemingly aggressive. On the other hand, if there's a good route to resolving this, the odds are high someone will suggest it.

The TSA is not known for its responsiveness. Filing a complaint with the DOT should at least force AA to give a response.

In all communications, try to limit yourself to relevant facts without emotional coloration.

Please tell us what happens when you call AA to ask if your account is locked or otherwise talk to them.
FlyerTalk can be, er, um, "less friendly" than Bogleheads, and sometimes a LOT less friendly.

Just IGNORE any posts who fit the above description, and respond only to those who are asking genuine questions or offering serious suggestions. (It can get harsh there, although for whatever reason, it seems to have calmed down recently. Just put on your "flameproof attire" :wink: and use the helpful information there.)

And DO respond to any questions (from seemingly helpful others).
Not responding to questions when someone is trying to be helpful is very likely to generate more of the "less helpful" responses, and it also isn't "Internet Forum Courtesy", etc.

There will be a few AA employees/etc., on FT who will have some serious background info. How much they can share with you? Who knows??

Yes, something sounds VERY "off". Especially why you couldn't pay with "cash", but needed to use cash to get some specialized card. But extra especially... why using a "ready card" suddenly circumvented a no-fly list. :annoyed
Very odd indeed.

Good luck!

RM
Flyertalk is the right place to go.

The reason that things can get a bit crazy over there is how many times posters come to claim that they were completely innocent but AA locked their account anyway, only to find out that they had engaged in bartering activity or something that otherwise is a violation of the terms of the AA program. The number of people who got legitimately screwed by not being able to fly on mileage tickets and who, in the end, had zero violations, is a very short list. So, all that history works against you.

AA has been very aggressive recently about shutting people down for activity involving churning citi cards, and that has become very contentious with those who feel they have been falsely punished feeling adamant that they violated no express terms. This may color posting on flyertalk, but it is really not relevant here. Buy that is an ongoing discussion and people's very strong feelings -- on both sides of that issue -- may color the discussion of this situation.

The inhibited list is strange. The assertion that OP could not fly on another airline, but could buy another ticket, does not make any sense. it might just be some nonsense that a poorly informed agent said because he/she didn't otherwise know how to explain what was happening.

Can't fly on miles ticket but can fly on cash is a very common result of the kind of shut down that I mentioned above. But, that doesn't fit here either if the account is still active and miles can be redeemed. One interesting question for OP is whether he or she earned miles for the flight that was paid with cash and whether those miles posted to the account.

Anyway, on flyertalk, prepare to describe exactly how the tickets were booked, from whose account the mileage came, whether that account has ever been used to redeem miles for tickets for people who do not have names that seem like family, and whether you have ever flown on a mileage ticket on AA booked by someone else, and who that person was. These questions are the ticket to admission to asking for help there. Nobody who might be able to help is really going to offer help until all of that is ironed out, honestly.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by HawkeyePierce »

palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:33 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:51 pm
palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:37 pm
MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
The FAA is not relevant. TSA is.
The TSA isn't relevant here either. DOT is the agency with jurisdiction over airline ticketing issues.

I'm willing to bet the agents were lying about being on any kind of no-fly list.
The agents were using TSA terminology so unless they were lying TSA would be the appropriate agency.
"Inhibited flyer" is not TSA terminology.

If this was TSA, either you wouldn't have been able to fly or your boarding pass would've had SSSS on it. TSA was not involved here.
Seasonal
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Seasonal »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:40 pm"Inhibited flyer" is not TSA terminology.

If this was TSA, either you wouldn't have been able to fly or your boarding pass would've had SSSS on it. TSA was not involved here.
Agreed. A google search for the phrase turned up this thread and not much else. "No fly list" and "SSSS", actual TSA terms, turned up many millions of hits.

Cancelling the award travel due to churning related issues, or even AA glitches, are more likely explanations.
Jags4186
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Jags4186 »

I think this is the answer:

https://www.middleagemiles.com/2020/01/ ... -thoughts/

Here is the relevant passage:
“Locked” is somewhat different. For a “locked” member, redemptions of AA miles are not possible through any channel (AA flights; partner flights; hotel bookings using AA miles; etc.). A “locked” member may be able to go through the process of making an award redemption, but the ticket will not issue. It may show “ticket pending” for a while and then vanish, or just remain as “pending” through take-off time with the passenger unable to fly on it. Aside from making award redemptions, a “locked” member’s account seems to function. For example, elite status benefits still seem to work, and the account continues to “earn” miles (although earning may all be for naught if the account is later terminated).
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Nate79
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Nate79 »

Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
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Matigas
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Matigas »

furwut wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:47 pm I don’t understand how, if the OP was on a TSA “list”, she was even able to get thru the security screening checkpoint. My niece was on such a list for awhile. All she knew was that every time she flew she was pulled aside for secondary screening. Every Damn Time. Nobody told her why or offered any advice on how to avoid the inconvenience until one time her mother made a big enough stink that one of the TSA agents whispered, under her breath, that my niece was coming up on a watch list. All this occurred when my niece was a minor child.

Getting Pre-Checked certified solved the issue.
Easier to board a flight if you remove your tinfoil hat before going through security. :eek: :eek: :o
BeneIRA
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by BeneIRA »

For anyone but definitely the OP, call into AA Reservations with the phone number that is attached to your AA account. Number is: 800-882-8880. If you get immediately transferred to a representative, you are probably locked and will eventually be terminated. If it goes through to the normal automated options, then your account is in all likelihood not locked. As others have stated, not being able to board your flight where you used miles but being fine paying a cash ticket is a big red flag to me.

Logging into your AAdvantage account and everything looking fine means nothing. A locked account doesn't look any different.
fyre4ce
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by fyre4ce »

BeneIRA wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:59 pm For anyone but definitely the OP, call into AA Reservations with the phone number that is attached to your AA account. Number is: 800-882-8880. If you get immediately transferred to a representative, you are probably locked and will eventually be terminated. If it goes through to the normal automated options, then your account is in all likelihood not locked. As others have stated, not being able to board your flight where you used miles but being fine paying a cash ticket is a big red flag to me.

Logging into your AAdvantage account and everything looking fine means nothing. A locked account doesn't look any different.
Geez, that's a really heavy-handed and scummy business practice on the part of AA. Not telling you they've canceled your flight until you show up at the airport, luggage and child in-hand? If they think you've applied for too many credit cards, then they should tell Citi to stop issuing you new cards. When I said earlier I took an airline to small claims court I was pretty sure it wasn't going to come to that, but if this is, in fact, what happened, you might have good grounds for a civil case. Especially if you can show you followed the program rules.
palanzo
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by palanzo »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:40 pm
palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:33 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:51 pm
palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:37 pm
MidwestMike wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:47 pm I’d contact the FAA.
The FAA is not relevant. TSA is.
The TSA isn't relevant here either. DOT is the agency with jurisdiction over airline ticketing issues.

I'm willing to bet the agents were lying about being on any kind of no-fly list.
The agents were using TSA terminology so unless they were lying TSA would be the appropriate agency.
"Inhibited flyer" is not TSA terminology.

If this was TSA, either you wouldn't have been able to fly or your boarding pass would've had SSSS on it. TSA was not involved here.
What does it mean to be placed in the “inhibited” category?

To be “inhibited” in “TSA speak” means that TSA suspects that you might be the person on their watch list, and further information as to your identity is necessary to confirm or deny that suspicion. An airline may not issue a boarding pass to an “inhibited” individual. Unless you can further prove your identity to show you are not the supposedly-bad person on the secret list, you’re not going to be allowed to fly.
palanzo
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by palanzo »

Seasonal wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:56 pm
HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:40 pm"Inhibited flyer" is not TSA terminology.

If this was TSA, either you wouldn't have been able to fly or your boarding pass would've had SSSS on it. TSA was not involved here.
Agreed. A google search for the phrase turned up this thread and not much else. "No fly list" and "SSSS", actual TSA terms, turned up many millions of hits.

Cancelling the award travel due to churning related issues, or even AA glitches, are more likely explanations.
There are other results from Google. See below.
BeneIRA
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by BeneIRA »

fyre4ce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:06 pm
BeneIRA wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:59 pm For anyone but definitely the OP, call into AA Reservations with the phone number that is attached to your AA account. Number is: 800-882-8880. If you get immediately transferred to a representative, you are probably locked and will eventually be terminated. If it goes through to the normal automated options, then your account is in all likelihood not locked. As others have stated, not being able to board your flight where you used miles but being fine paying a cash ticket is a big red flag to me.

Logging into your AAdvantage account and everything looking fine means nothing. A locked account doesn't look any different.
Geez, that's a really heavy-handed and scummy business practice on the part of AA. Not telling you they've canceled your flight until you show up at the airport, luggage and child in-hand? If they think you've applied for too many credit cards, then they should tell Citi to stop issuing you new cards. When I said earlier I took an airline to small claims court I was pretty sure it wasn't going to come to that, but if this is, in fact, what happened, you might have good grounds for a civil case. Especially if you can show you followed the program rules.
Search Google for "AA Shutdown" and "AA Shutdown Flyertalk". It's some good, although sad, reading. AA has cancelled people mid-flight, at the airport, two hours before their flight, while they are overseas and can't get home and so need to buy a cash ticket to get home. I am really surprised it hasn't made its way here yet, but judging by someone of the responses above, I think we may have a few people who just haven't been public about it on this forum, which I can understand.
TravelGeek
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by TravelGeek »

palanzo wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:09 pm Unless you can further prove your identity to show you are not the supposedly-bad person on the secret list, you’re not going to be allowed to fly.
Or buy a new last minute ticket with cash, apparently :confused
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