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October 2001 Vol. 16, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Missed Connections

from the October, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When America Airlines started hooking up with American Eagle in Puerto Rico for Bonaire flights, we thought that might mean an end to flight problems to Bonaire. After all, Air ALM had a terrible track record. However, we recently learned of a significant hitch.

Teresa Bailey flying from Dallas in August, arrived late on American. By the time she got to the American Eagle gate, her flight had departed. She was told there were no flights until Tuesday, three days later. She offered to pay extra to catch a flight to Curacao or Aruba, but again was told there was no flight until Tuesday. “The desk attendant offered us a room at a hotel he worked for,” she told us, “so if for some reason a flight went out on a Sunday, he knew how to contact us.” Turns out, a flight did go out the next day, but she was not contacted.

“After the fact,” she said, “it seemed he was making extra money, while making us feel we were stuck in San Juan for the next three nights. We lost time, money, and our once-a-year dive vacation.”

What’s especially troubling here is that American Eagle didn’t wait for its passengers, knowing full well it might be three days before they could get out. If you’re ever in such a spot, insist that the carrier that got you there late — in this case American, not American Eagle — get you to your destination. American should have been able to do that even by backtracking through Miami. With fewer flights these days, this kind of problem may become more common, so keep in mind travel insurance.

P.S. Most policies would have reimbursed for unused advance payments to Bonaire hotels and dive operations, and Puerto Rico expenses.

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