Last week, my wife and I were traveling to the United States. During the beginning of the trip, the airline agent suggested that we re-route our trip to avoid some visa-related issues in UK because apparently my wife had an expired US visa and we were going to India to get it renewed - she recently got a job and had applied for a H1-B visa. We did have the proper documentation supporting this but the agent convinced us that we cannot take this itinerary. We agreed with him and paid him an additional $1500 to obtain a new set of tickets. Although I am not quite sure what the agent did, our return trip got canceled. After numerous calls to the airlines' customer care line, I understood that the agent did not make the changes properly because of which the outgoing flight marked us as "No Show" even though we completed the first half of the trip and automatically cancelled our return trip.
The call center agent informed us that it was not our mistake that this reservation got cancelled. After some long conversations with the customer care agent, we were offered an to be placed on an alternate route. However, because the total trip time exceeded 36 hours, we requested that we be placed on a different airline at the least. The agent ignored us and hung up on our request. Because we were not left with any other options, we booked another set of tickets to come back to US.
I have been depressed over losing such large amount of money (nearly $1500 for the one-way trip + an additional $3500 that I paid to buy another set of tickets) and am not sure what to do. I would be very grateful if the experts here can help me with the following: I am currently a graduate student in the US soon entering the job market. What is the safest way to seek retribution against what happened to us without affecting my future employment prospects? Should I even bother doing anything about this or is it lost money?
- Trip: Flying from United States to India and back
- Airlines: American Airlines (with part of the trip fulfilled by Emirates)
- Original Itinerary: Chicago ORD to Manchester, UK to Dubai to India
Altered Itinerary: Chicago ORD to Doha to India with an additional charge of $1500
- Original Expected Expenditure: $2909.06 roundtrip for my wife and myself to fly from USA to India
- Adjusted Expenditure: $2909.06 + $1496.72 (paid to the American Airlines Agent who issued us Qatar tickets at the Chicago airport) = $4405.78
- Money lost due to boarding being denied: $2909.06/2 = $1454.53 for one-way tickets of two people
- Money lost due to re-booking tickets for the next earliest flight on Cathay Pacific: $3542.29 (one-way for two people for the next available flight) + $106.26 (foreign transaction fee) = $3648.55
- Total money lost due to incompetence of American Airlines: $1454.53 + $3648.55 = $5103.08
Edit: If you have time to kill, here's an open letter (blog post) I wrote to AA out of frustration. I don't think I will publicly advertise this anywhere but am putting it here to get an opinion. I thought it might shed more details into the incident. If majority think its my mistake, let me know and I'll back off.