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

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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 »

Nate79 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:42 pm Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
And why you couldn't use them (or any other credit card you might have had available such as your brother's) to purchase a ticket. This is a separate issue from being on any inhibited flyer list.
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 »

Gort wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:17 pm
Nate79 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:42 pm Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
And why you couldn't use them (or any other credit card you might have had available such as your brother's) to purchase a ticket. This is a separate issue from being on any inhibited flyer list.
Because if they were opened using AA mailers or E-Mailers the OP was sent, it is possible the AAdvantage account is locked.
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 »

BeneIRA wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:12 pm
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.
To be fair, some of the affected people (elsewhere) have been applying for new cards every 38 days and generated endless streams of credit card offers by creating fake AA accounts for non existing family members, pets and house plants (or so the FT stories tell us).

Hopefully for the OP they didn’t get caught in this scheme and the explanation for the problem is simply a mess-up of AA’s computer systems combined with incompetent airport agents not being able to interpret the issue correctly.

“Inhibitor” seems to be a generic AA term for a lock on a reservation/ticket, for various reasons.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... ation.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 whodidntante »

It would be a warm day in Nome before I fly AA again.
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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 »

BeneIRA wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:21 pm
Gort wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:17 pm
Nate79 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:42 pm Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
And why you couldn't use them (or any other credit card you might have had available such as your brother's) to purchase a ticket. This is a separate issue from being on any inhibited flyer list.
Because if they were opened using AA mailers or E-Mailers the OP was sent, it is possible the AAdvantage account is locked.
I guess that would that put her on the inhibited flyer list then. I wonder if the AA personnel offered a suggestion for someone else (her brother) to buy the ticket with his credit card (if available)? Probably not given the hurried state of affairs. But I wonder if this crossed their minds as they were loading up the ReadyCARD machine with his cash.
Last edited by Gort on Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:30 pm, edited 3 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 bob60014 »

Nate79 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:42 pm Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
And the others you opened in the last 24 months. It may provide a clue.
Last edited by bob60014 on Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
manatee2005
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by manatee2005 »

Contact your local news station. They love this stuff. I hope you took pictures of yourself with the baby strapped in for the front page.
the way
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by the way »

BeneIRA wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:21 pm
Gort wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:17 pm
Nate79 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:42 pm Tell us more about these 2 AA credit cards you opened?
And why you couldn't use them (or any other credit card you might have had available such as your brother's) to purchase a ticket. This is a separate issue from being on any inhibited flyer list.
Because if they were opened using AA mailers or E-Mailers the OP was sent, it is possible the AAdvantage account is locked.
Which would have no bearing on why OP had trouble on the return with the cash-paid r/t ticket, so this seems like a red herring.
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F150HD
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by F150HD »

I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.
if unable to check in 24 hours before the flight (super simple w/ mobile phone - just get it via text) that would seem to give ample time to find out why and what was going on vs arriving at MSP and enduring this episode (?)

unsure if this would help https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
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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 »

Hi all - thanks for the replies! Some quick follow-ups:

- The AA issues that were linked regarding locked accounts seem like a possibility. I spoke with AAdvantage and they confirmed my account is *not* locked and I should be able to use miles as I please. However, the blog post seemed to mention they may say that either way?
- I have a Citi AA card that I've had for a couple years that is still open and active
- I previously had an Aviator AA Barclaycard that I've closed as I no longer use it
- I've never signed up for a card via mailer or other ways that were mentioned. The Aviator card is the only one that could possibly be considered churning.
- Only other card opened in last 2 years is a Discover card that I still use

@fyre4ce - thanks for the background on what happened to you- great it ended up in your favor!
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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 »

F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:30 pm
I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.
if unable to check in 24 hours before the flight (super simple w/ mobile phone - just get it via text) that would seem to give ample time to find out why and what was going on vs arriving at MSP and enduring this episode (?)

unsure if this would help https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
It's not always so simple.

I couldn't check in when returning to the USA from Scotland last summer, although DH had no difficulty.
Upon arriving at the airport, it turned out that yes, indeedy (as suggested by several on FlyerTalk), I had the special "SSSS".
We never knew why, and I haven't had it again (yet?).
We allowed extra time for the processing, and ended up with lots of extra time in a mediocre lounge.

And when we were flying to New Zealand this past fall, neither of us could check in online. We went to the airport before the airline desk opened, and were first in line. It took the agents (about 3 of them, plus a supervisor) more than an hour to get us checked in, and that was after they made several phone calls to <??> in New Zealand.
Given that we were heading for a cruise, we were much relieved when the supervisor, still on the phone, gestured to us, smiled, and gave a "thumbs up" :happy
No one ever had any idea what that was all about.

RM
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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 »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:42 pm Hi all - thanks for the replies! Some quick follow-ups:

- The AA issues that were linked regarding locked accounts seem like a possibility. I spoke with AAdvantage and they confirmed my account is *not* locked and I should be able to use miles as I please. However, the blog post seemed to mention they may say that either way?
- I have a Citi AA card that I've had for a couple years that is still open and active
- I previously had an Aviator AA Barclaycard that I've closed as I no longer use it
- I've never signed up for a card via mailer or other ways that were mentioned. The Aviator card is the only one that could possibly be considered churning.
- Only other card opened in last 2 years is a Discover card that I still use

@fyre4ce - thanks for the background on what happened to you- great it ended up in your favor!
Sounds like this isn't your issue, then.
Gardener
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Gardener »

Unless I'm missing something, I would demand to talk to an AA manager until its resolved. Document everyone you speak to and what they say. Go up the chain until its resolved.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Compound »

fyre4ce wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:14 pm 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.
Congratulations on winning your case! Thanks for sharing your story. I wasn’t aware you could be compensated for time off of work due to litigation. It’s useful information to know; hopefully I won’t have to ever use it.
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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 »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:42 pm Hi all - thanks for the replies! Some quick follow-ups:

- The AA issues that were linked regarding locked accounts seem like a possibility. I spoke with AAdvantage and they confirmed my account is *not* locked and I should be able to use miles as I please. However, the blog post seemed to mention they may say that either way?
- I have a Citi AA card that I've had for a couple years that is still open and active
- I previously had an Aviator AA Barclaycard that I've closed as I no longer use it
- I've never signed up for a card via mailer or other ways that were mentioned. The Aviator card is the only one that could possibly be considered churning.
- Only other card opened in last 2 years is a Discover card that I still use

@fyre4ce - thanks for the background on what happened to you- great it ended up in your favor!
You don't have to answer the question here, but consider whether you've ever engaged in any activity that could be considered to be barter or trading in miles or instruments. For example, buying an upgrade cert from a broker on on ebay. Paying for a ticket booked with miles. Using your miles to book someone else that you don't know. Multiple redemptions for people that do not have your same name. Stuff like that. AA corporate security is the most vigilant of all the domestic airlines and they are pretty good at what they do. It doesn't need to be in the last few weeks or even months. When they uncover broker rings, they really investigate the crap out of them. Like, once they find an account that a broker used to redeem for people, they then know every person that likely bought or traded for miles.

If you have done any of those things -- and again, it doesn't matter whether you post here about it or not -- you likely have your answer. The best thing to do, if that is your circumstance, is to wait until they reach out to you and tell the truth. They already know the answers to some of the questions.

If you can honestly answer those questions no. Then there is something more significant going on and it might involve no fly concepts and you'll need to try to figure that out. Surely something like that is possible. But, you know, Occam's razor and all that. 1) AA 2) Miles ticket. 3) Ok to fly with cash. This is almost always one thing, and it may be something that you did a long time ago but forgot. The key word is "almost," though. If that's not it, you may be in a difficult spot trying to extract from whatever list you are on.
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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 »

@Ikar - thanks for the thought. No, I haven't done anything like that. I agree that the simplest explanation relates to my AA Miles, but those scenarios don't apply here. Opening and later closing the Aviator card is the only thing I can think of that could be flagged as churning by AA.
Saving$
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Saving$ »

+1 on the advise to post a short version on FlyerTalk. Include short versions of the responses to the questions asked here. I'm guessing since both the outbound and return agents clearly understood whatever issue there was and decided to help you override it, someone at FT will be able to tell you what happened.

One other question: Were both tickets booked under the EXACT same name?

Mr. Bob T Smith is a totally different name to a computer than Mr. Bob Smith. Depending on the airline and how their ancient software is programmed, it could even be different than Bob T Smith or Mr. Bob T. Smith (ie middle initial, punctuation, honorific, etc.) Look VERY closely at the boarding pass for the second ticket - even an extra space could be a difference but this may be impossible to discern.

A different name would explain why you could fly on the second ticket and not the first if the first is on some sort of TSA list. It would also explain why they did not want you to use a credit card with that name. Does not explain why your brother could not use his credit card for your ticket (was that option discussed?)

Did you get the names of any people involved?
Obviously collect and keep all your receipts - for the original awards ticket, receipt from the machine for the card you bought with cash, receipt for the replacement ticket, boarding passes both ways for the replacement ticket, etc.
Does the replacement ticket show up in your FF account? Does it show up as a trip taken on miles or a paid trip for which you earned points? Include that info on your FT post.
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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 »

TylerS wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:59 pm @Ikar - thanks for the thought. No, I haven't done anything like that. I agree that the simplest explanation relates to my AA Miles, but those scenarios don't apply here. Opening and later closing the Aviator card is the only thing I can think of that could be flagged as churning by AA.
Lots of us in trouble if that is what it is. Good luck. That was a crummy thing you had to deal with.
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by stlutz »

Did you get frequent-flyer miles for the cash ticket that you purchased?

If not, I have a hypothesis: Because your identity was stolen, there may be conflicting information in databases about your date of birth and/or other key identifying information. Purchasing with a credit card or with FF miles leads to a information conflict that suggests you may not be who you say you are. But, if you pay with cash and they don't connect the ticket to your FF account, then it's just you and your matching Secure ID, which caused no issues.

Might be way off track, but thought I'd throw it out there.
Goat1036
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by Goat1036 »

It doesn’t sound like you are anywhere even close to being on of their abusers of the program.

If someone at aa couldn’t give me a response as to why in 24 hours I would light up their twitter, Facebook, and local news as previously mentioned.

Unfortunately I own aa stock, and in addition to their low stock price, this type of business practice makes me sick. I feel you are being quite polite given the circumstances they put you in, as well as the cost of their screw up.

Good luck!
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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 »

@stlutz - I have not gotten AA Miles for the flight that was purchased with cash (although, on the AAdvantage site in the Activity section, it notes that transactions can take up to 2 weeks to post) I was in such a rush to just get the ticket and get through security, that I didn't confirm they linked the ticket to my AAdvantage number to get me credit for the flight.
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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 »

Did you provide a passport? Yah, I know it's not required for domestic travel. I would think it would be the best ID to confirm you are you.
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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 »

I did not bring a passport for myself. I brought a passport for my baby, and a Real ID for myself.
terriprg
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by terriprg »

The status could be marked by TSA due to not providing secure flight passager data. https://www.aa.com/content/images/au/ta ... Flight.pdf

per DHS: "Inhibited status means the status of a passenger or non-traveling individual to whom TSA has instructed a covered aircraft operator or a covered airport operator not to issue a boarding pass or to provide access to the sterile area.
Passenger Resolution Information or PRI means the information that a covered aircraft operator or covered airport operator transmits to TSA for an individual who TSA places in an inhibited status and from whom the covered aircraft operator or covered airport operator is required to request additional information and a Verifying Identity Document. Passenger Resolution Information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Covered aircraft operator's agent identification number or agent sine.
Type of Verifying Identity Document presented by the passenger.
The identification number on the Verifying Identity Document.
Issue date of the Verifying Identity Document.
Name of the governmental authority that issued the Verifying Identity Document.
Physical attributes of the passenger such as height, eye color, or scars, if requested by TSA.
Passport information means the following information from an individual's passport:
Passport number.
Country of issuance.
Expiration date.
Gender.
Full name.
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black jack
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by black jack »

seawolf21 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:55 pm DOT would be the correct government agency to contact. Definitely not FAA.
FAA is part of DOT.
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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 »

black jack wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:42 pm
seawolf21 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:55 pm DOT would be the correct government agency to contact. Definitely not FAA.
FAA is part of DOT.
The FAA has zero interest in or power over ticketing issues and airline loyalty programs. If OP filed a complaint over this with the FAA, he'd either be ignored or told to complain to somebody else.
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amp
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by amp »

black jack wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:42 pm
seawolf21 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:55 pm DOT would be the correct government agency to contact. Definitely not FAA.
FAA is part of DOT.
Complaints are handled by the Aviation Consumer Protection Division which is also a part of the DOT but not directly affiliated with the FAA.
furwut
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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 »

Matigas wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:50 pm
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

Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List

A lot of people wearing tinfoil hats it seems.
Last edited by furwut on Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by ScubaHogg »

F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:30 pm
I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.
if unable to check in 24 hours before the flight (super simple w/ mobile phone - just get it via text) that would seem to give ample time to find out why and what was going on vs arriving at MSP and enduring this episode (?)

unsure if this would help https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
Maybe. But I’ve occasionally had a flight where the system wouldn’t let me check in online and had to check in at the airport. No explanation given and no issues at the airport. Prior to reading this post I doubt I would have freaked out had I not been able to check in online. I would have just gotten to the airport 10 minutes earlier.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by UpperNwGuy »

ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:37 am
F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:30 pm
I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.
if unable to check in 24 hours before the flight (super simple w/ mobile phone - just get it via text) that would seem to give ample time to find out why and what was going on vs arriving at MSP and enduring this episode (?)

unsure if this would help https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
Maybe. But I’ve occasionally had a flight where the system wouldn’t let me check in online and had to check in at the airport. No explanation given and no issues at the airport. Prior to reading this post I doubt I would have freaked out had I not been able to check in online. I would have just gotten to the airport 10 minutes earlier.
Usually that happens when a flight is oversold and you don't have a seat assignment. Doesn't seem to be the case in OP's experience.
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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 »

The two explanations suggested are some TSA or other security related issue and something related to AA locking/terminating accounts and cancelling award tickets due to activities AA regards as violating their T&Cs.

If the issue was security, how did buying a new ticket solve the issue?

If the issue was OP's AA account, why would AA not let OP pay with a credit card and why would a phone agent say there's no problem with the account?
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by alfaspider »

Seasonal wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:33 am

If the issue was OP's AA account, why would AA not let OP pay with a credit card and why would a phone agent say there's no problem with the account?
To prevent a chargeback from the CC company and because they don't want to disclose their blacklist?

Curious what would have happened had the OP ignored the agent and purchased another ticket with their phone (and CC).
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Seasonal wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:33 am The two explanations suggested are some TSA or other security related issue and something related to AA locking/terminating accounts and cancelling award tickets due to activities AA regards as violating their T&Cs.

If the issue was security, how did buying a new ticket solve the issue?

If the issue was OP's AA account, why would AA not let OP pay with a credit card and why would a phone agent say there's no problem with the account?

American Airlines fears that, if a credit card is used for the replacement ticket, the customer will demand a chargeback upon completing the flight.

If you read the comments in FlyerTalk and Doctor of Credit, the phone agents have been instructed not to disclose any information to the customer. American Airlines Corporate Security is the only part of the company that is allowed to discuss this kind of problem with the customer.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

alfaspider wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:30 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:33 am

If the issue was OP's AA account, why would AA not let OP pay with a credit card and why would a phone agent say there's no problem with the account?
To prevent a chargeback from the CC company and because they don't want to disclose their blacklist?

Curious what would have happened had the OP ignored the agent and purchased another ticket with their phone (and CC).
Ah, thanks. Obvious now that you've said it, but I didn't see it. Clever.
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:46 am If you read the comments in FlyerTalk and Doctor of Credit, the phone agents have been instructed not to disclose any information to the customer. American Airlines Corporate Security is the only part of the company that is allowed to discuss this kind of problem with the customer.
I haven't read that, but surely the agents haven't been told to tell flyers that there is no problem with the account, as the OP was told ?

Cancelling flights (possibly stranding passengers in a foreign country) without any proper notice seems like way overkill except for egregious offenders. It could really backfire on AA. And aren't there Euro area regulations that might prevent it if you're transiting through the Eurozone (which is not the OP's case, obviously) ?
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:24 pm It would be a warm day in Nome before I fly AA again.
For those near some hubs (Philly, for instance), it's not so easy to avoid AA.
wrongfunds
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by wrongfunds »

If somebody is on the real no fly list, would they be allowed to buy another ticket using cash?

Don't you think buying ticket in cash itself would be considered highly suspicious? Anybody want to try to do that?
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8foot7
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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 »

There is clearly more going on here than any one of us can identify. The fact pattern does not fit the Citi shutdown methodology, since the OP did not churn cards or otherwise "abuse" the system, and it also appears his account is not in fact "locked" consistent with the other reports of accounts caught up in that net. Allowing someone to buy a walk-up ticket in "cash" does not translate into the OP being on any sort of government no-fly list; the no-fly list is a blacklist and requires hours of sorting through at the airport, and buying a new ticket would not have bypassed any of that--in fact it should and probably would have drawn even more scrutiny.

Clearly whatever has happened here is an incident internal to AA that only they can resolve.
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 »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:46 am
Seasonal wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:33 am The two explanations suggested are some TSA or other security related issue and something related to AA locking/terminating accounts and cancelling award tickets due to activities AA regards as violating their T&Cs.

If the issue was security, how did buying a new ticket solve the issue?

If the issue was OP's AA account, why would AA not let OP pay with a credit card and why would a phone agent say there's no problem with the account?

American Airlines fears that, if a credit card is used for the replacement ticket, the customer will demand a chargeback upon completing the flight.

If you read the comments in FlyerTalk and Doctor of Credit, the phone agents have been instructed not to disclose any information to the customer. American Airlines Corporate Security is the only part of the company that is allowed to discuss this kind of problem with the customer.
alfaspider wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:30 am
To prevent a chargeback from the CC company and because they don't want to disclose their blacklist?

Curious what would have happened had the OP ignored the agent and purchased another ticket with their phone (and CC).
A chargeback can be challenged - they are not automatically granted.

If you read the threads on Flyertalk, agents are supposed to disclose that the account is under investigation and that corporate security will be in touch. Many people report that they have been told this. More precisely, the instructions to phone agents are in this post: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31889297-post1178.html
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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: Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:39 am
Matigas wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:50 pm
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

Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List

A lot of people wearing tinfoil hats it seems.
Terrorism has no face.
If indeed a Screening Officer informed a passenger, in confidence that they were on a watch list, this would be a serious breach of security protocol.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by ScubaHogg »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:56 am
ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:37 am
F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:30 pm
I was unable to check-in online as I usually do within 24 hours of the flight.
if unable to check in 24 hours before the flight (super simple w/ mobile phone - just get it via text) that would seem to give ample time to find out why and what was going on vs arriving at MSP and enduring this episode (?)

unsure if this would help https://www.clearme.com/where-we-are
Maybe. But I’ve occasionally had a flight where the system wouldn’t let me check in online and had to check in at the airport. No explanation given and no issues at the airport. Prior to reading this post I doubt I would have freaked out had I not been able to check in online. I would have just gotten to the airport 10 minutes earlier.
Usually that happens when a flight is oversold and you don't have a seat assignment. Doesn't seem to be the case in OP's experience.
Yeah, that’s my point. It happens for innocuous reasons. There isn’t necessarily a red banner that tells you to immediately start calling the airlines 24 hours out. You’ve got no way to differentiate the serious from the ignorable.

It baffles me why airlines struggle so much with basic customer service. I get that there are some things that are hard, like rebooking all of ORD due to a storm. But crap like this from the OP could have been handled much better, including an email 24 hours out letting him know his ticket is cancelled. Zero reason it had to go down like it did.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
jminv
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by jminv »

Inhibited could be either an internal AA hold issued by one of their departments, such as corporate security or an agent working on your PNR, or it could be a TSA issue. It seems that it's actually that you are coming up as inhibited flyer by DHS/TSA Secure Flight for some reason. Inhibited passengers can't check in online and can't check-in at kiosks. They can only try to get the AA agent to get them to clear or downgraded to SSSS by calling the Secure Flight Service Center. You couldn't check in online and couldn't check in at a kiosk. The kiosk even told you that you were an inhibited passenger. The ticket agent then went through some process for 20 minutes to try to get the inhibited status removed...which probably involved talking with the Secure Flight Service Center.

If it was an internal AA inhibited flyer hold and since you didn't engage in high risk mileage program activities such as selling miles or the 38 day thing, then the only other reason would be because of calling AA the day before the flight to ask about 'weather contigencies'. It's possible that they put inhibited on your PNR by not closing it out for whatever reason. Were you asking about different flights, dates, times, etc? Were they working on your actual reservation? I don't think this is it, though, because you got an 'inhibited' passenger result on a different PNR on the return flight so much more likely to be Secure Flight related. Your AA miles account is also not locked.

Since they said on the first flight that you couldn't travel on any airline and since you were still an inhibited flyer on your return trip, it sounds like your name is giving an 'inhibited' response from Secure Flight. Because of that, it's likely a TSA Secure Flight issue and you need to get a redress number from them. Follow the redress number application process and do it before your next flight, or you're probably going to have the same problem on your next flight. Since it's likely that this is a Secure Flight issue, good luck getting anything back from AA although it seems that they should have been able to clear you with Secure Flight without having to buy a new ticket by following the resolution process (which your agent did on the flight back...). By the way, readycash is a convenient way for airlines to avoid chargebacks.

Contrary to some reports here that believe 'inhibited' is not TSA speak, 'inhibited' passenger is a common term used by DHS/TSA Secure Flight since it's the output AA gets if your name exceeds their risk tolerance/hits a watchlist. Inhibited keeps you from printing a ticket without first going through Secure Flight's resolution process through an AA ticket agent. The agent had you buy another ticket which got your name to clear through secure flight for whatever reason. Did the AA agent verify your ID? After they got secure flight to clear you, did you then have SSSS on your boarding ticket or not? It's possible that the airline called Secure Flight and got you cleared, ie no SSSS, or downgraded to SSSS through the resolution process.

When the AA agent was calling people for 20 minutes, did it sound like they were talking to someone not from the airline, such as the Secure Flight Service Center? If your name came back as inhibited, it would tell AA not to print a boarding pass for you and to call the Secure Flight Service Center for guidance. Did your name on the reservation have a single character name? That increases the chances of an inhibited passenger result.

As far as people thinking that the TSA wouldn't let people that get an 'inhibited' then later board, well, they do if the airline follows TSA's resolution process. The TSA has an at airport resolution process because there are false positives. They'll check your ID and try to get you to clear or downgraded to SSSS. It seems that's what happened here. They might have had you buy a new ticket to try to get it to instantly clear through Secure Flight with your updated personal information because the resolution process was going to make you miss your flight. Or because the ticketing agent didn't know what they were doing or wanted you gone or who knows what.

This is the old process that TSA used to clear domestic travelers that originally got an inhibited result.


TSA` The Inhibited resolution process can only be performed by an aircraft operator at a staffed check-in location (typically the departure airport). If a passenger has a boarding pass printing result of Inhibited, but can provide additional information to the aircraft operator and/or law enforcement officer that proves they are not a true watch list match, then the person may be cleared.

Aircraft operators who are authorized to capture verifying identification at a kiosk may elect to perform steps one and two below at a kiosk. Resolution processing for step three and higher must be performed by an aircraft operator representative.

Step 1 – Check-in representatives (agent) ask the passenger to present a valid travel ID or authorized travel document. Documents requirements are detailed in each program’s published regulation.
Note: If the passenger presents the agent with a government ID that has a date of birth with the year only and does not have another valid travel ID with full date of birth, the agent must contact the Secure Flight Service Center, speak with a Customer Support Agent and continue the Resolution process (Step 3). They should not proceed to Step 2 below.

Step 2 – The agent determines if the name, date of birth, gender, or other travel document details (as applicable) are already correct and complete in the passenger’s record in the aircraft operator’s system. If the passenger presents a government ID with a date of birth with year only and does not have another valid travel ID, the agent must contact the Secure Flight Service Center and speak with a Customer Support Agent. Incorrect or incomplete information is updated by the agent. Additionally, the agent adds a Redress Number, should the passenger provide one. The aircraft operator’s system then resubmits the data to DHS with a “verified ID” indicator. If the DHS response to the resubmission is either Cleared or Selectee, the appropriate handling for either status can proceed and the passenger can proceed to the security screening checkpoint and the gate. If the boarding pass printing result remains Inhibited, proceed to step three.

Step 3 – The aircraft operator calls the Secure Flight Service Center. The Customer Support Agent asks the aircraft operator routine questions to validate the call (no special training is required to respond to these questions; responses are used for tracking purposes [e.g., logging service request], recording, callbacks, if needed, quality assurance, etc.).

Step 4 – The Secure Flight Service Center follows specific standard operating procedures in determining if the passenger is the person of interest. In some cases, TSA may request passenger resolution information from the aircraft operator. This information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Passenger Record Locator and Airport Station Code
2. Type of verifying identity document the passenger presented
3. The identification number on the verifying identity document
4. Issue date of the verifying identity document
5. Name of the governmental authority that issued the verifying identity document
6. Physical attributes of the passenger such as height, eye color, or scars if requested by TSA. In those cases where the boarding pass printing result changes from Inhibited to Cleared or Selectee, DHS will send the appropriate boarding pass printing result as an Unsolicited Message to the aircraft operator, which may, in turn, release the boarding pass for issuance.

Step 5 – Should the passenger remain inhibited, the aircraft operator must not accept the passenger for transportation, unless otherwise specifically authorized by TSA. The agent should inform the individual that there is an issue with the reservation that must be resolved before travel can be authorized.

Step 6 – Should DHS determine that the passenger is authorized to board an aircraft or to enter an U.S. airport sterile area; the appropriate boarding pass printing result will be sent to the aircraft operator, which can, in turn, release the
boarding pass.
Step 7 – this one deals with VWP ESTAs so doesn't apply to 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 canderson »

I’m 99% positive AA flagged your mile usage as fraud hence this result. It makes the most sense. L

The question then is how did you book your award ticket? Did the name on your account match exactly the name on said ticket? Etc.

I am NOT saying you did anything shady but I bet AA views something as that for a reason.

You need to escalate this to a manager.
OnceARunner
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by OnceARunner »

canderson wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:55 am I’m 99% positive AA flagged your mile usage as fraud hence this result. It makes the most sense. L

The question then is how did you book your award ticket? Did the name on your account match exactly the name on said ticket? Etc.

I am NOT saying you did anything shady but I bet AA views something as that for a reason.

You need to escalate this to a manager.
If that was the case, why did he again have an issue on the return part of the roundtrip that he bought at the airport with cash? That flight had nothing to do with the award ticket.
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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 »

UPDATE

Thanks all for the additional replies. I'll continue to review them, but wanted to provide an update as AA has responded. They didn't provide any info over the phone, but they replied to the online complaint form that I had submitted with all relevant information. I have adjusted the response slightly for privacy.


"Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry that you had issues checking in.

Our records indicate that the original ticket was issued with a fraudulent credit card. That is why you were put on the inhibit check in list and why your were made to purchase a second ticket with cash or ready card. The price changes based on availability, so while you were trying to resolve this problem the price went up. Your original ticket is showing refunded. You may want to check with your credit card company for additional information.

While I know this was not a good experience, we look forward to welcoming aboard in the future."


I have not yet responded to this.

- The credit card I used for the original ticket (Discover) confirmed over the phone that no fraudulent activity was involved (nor have I been notified previously that this credit card was involved in fraudulent activity. I use this card frequently, currently).
- My original ticket has not been refunded because the Miles have not been provided back to my AAdvantage account.
- Reminder that I was not allowed to use cash for the second ticket, nor another credit card, nor my brother's credit card
- Even if AA refunded the miles for the flight (I double checked and the amount was only 16,000 miles round trip), the miles for the flight are far less valuable than the $500 we had to pay out of pocket. I don't feel that the refund of miles is a satisfactory response.

Any other advice on a response?

Thanks much!
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.
DHS/TSA was involved. Please see jminv post.
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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 »

TylerS wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:51 pm UPDATE

Thanks all for the additional replies. I'll continue to review them, but wanted to provide an update as AA has responded. They didn't provide any info over the phone, but they replied to the online complaint form that I had submitted with all relevant information. I have adjusted the response slightly for privacy.


"Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry that you had issues checking in.

Our records indicate that the original ticket was issued with a fraudulent credit card. That is why you were put on the inhibit check in list and why your were made to purchase a second ticket with cash or ready card. The price changes based on availability, so while you were trying to resolve this problem the price went up. Your original ticket is showing refunded. You may want to check with your credit card company for additional information.

While I know this was not a good experience, we look forward to welcoming aboard in the future."


I have not yet responded to this.

- The credit card I used for the original ticket (Discover) confirmed over the phone that no fraudulent activity was involved (nor have I been notified previously that this credit card was involved in fraudulent activity. I use this card frequently, currently).
- My original ticket has not been refunded because the Miles have not been provided back to my AAdvantage account.
- Reminder that I was not allowed to use cash for the second ticket, nor another credit card, nor my brother's credit card
- Even if AA refunded the miles for the flight (I double checked and the amount was only 16,000 miles round trip), the miles for the flight are far less valuable than the $500 we had to pay out of pocket. I don't feel that the refund of miles is a satisfactory response.

Any other advice on a response?

Thanks much!
File a complaint with DOT immediately. Send letter to State AG. Respond to American Airlines and attach a copy of the DOT complaint and AG letter saying that you need an immediate satisfactory resolution for you to withdraw your complaints.
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sergeant
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Re: Not allowed to board American Airlines flight - Forced to buy second ticket for same flight - Help requested

Post by sergeant »

khh wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:35 pm 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.
It is. I have a common name and it has happened to me numerous times. I even got interrogated while on a cruise ship and security had a photo of the "bad guy" that they compared to me. I got precheck a year ago and it hasn't happened since.
AA- 20+ Years of Expenses Fixed Income/The remainder in Equities.
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