Friday, January 06, 2012

Disgruntled American Airlines passengers start petition

American Airlines passengers have signed a petition calling for reimbursement after they were stranded when their flight to Bermuda was turned around.

Flight 1780 from JFK to Bermuda was repeatedly delayed due to the unavailability of an aircraft and then electrical problems.

When the flight was in the air, it came within 100 miles of the Island before turning back to New York because of strong winds at the LF Wade International Airport.

Once the plane had arrived back in New York, passengers were told they would not be reimbursed for food or hotel because the problem was caused by the weather.

“Passengers had to find a hotel shortly before midnight at a cost of between $200 and $300 and could only stay in it for lest than six hours as they had to be back at JFK for the rescheduled flight the next morning,” said one irritated traveller.

“Many hadn’t eaten and the restaurants were closed.”

Around 50 passengers were so upset by the refusal to reimburse food and hotels that they signed a petition requesting compensation in the form of cash or a voucher for future travel on the airline, which was handed in to the airline’s office at the airport.

Responding to the incident, an American Airlines spokesman apologised for the delay, but said that it was out of the airline’s hands.

“All we know is that the winds a the time the plane was scheduled to be landing were in the area of 50 kts, which is extreme by safety measures,” he said.

“They knew they were not able to land and so they returned to JFK. It was caused by weather, not something we had done. If it’s something that we cause, then we take responsibility in finding them lodging. If it’s mother nature and weather, we do our best.”

While passengers said the plane might have been able to land in Bermuda had the flight not first been delayed, the airline spokesman said there was no way to tell.

“I don’t know if they are meteorologists but I don’t know what the conditions would have been if they had departed at a different time,” he said.

“Our schedules are not guaranteed. We do our best to stick to schedule, but it’s not guaranteed. We regret the inconvenience, but safety comes first.”

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