The airline didn’t allow my connection

The airline didn’t allow my connection.

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Corey, who got an unwelcome surprise at the check-in counter:

I was flying with my family from Denver (DEN) to Evansville (EVV) with a connection in Chicago (ORD) on a flight booked directly through the American Airlines website. A couple months before the flight, I received email notice of a schedule change. American had increased the flight time of the DEN-ORD leg, leaving a 30-minute connection in Chicago instead of the hour we had scheduled previously.

When my family (me, my wife and our 18-month-old) arrived at the airport in Denver, we were informed by the ticketing agent that she could not check us in for our flight because the connection time at ORD was too short. Essentially, American’s reservations system had lengthened our first flight, making it impossible to check in at the airport. She looked for other ways to get us to our destination in a timely manner, but the best she could do was offer a flight from ORD-EVV the next day, stranding us in Chicago for a night. She did not offer to reimburse us for a hotel. Given that we were already at the airport, we had to accept the change.

In the end, the DEN-ORD flight arrived in Chicago “early” with plenty of time to connect (surprise, surprise), and we decided to fly standby on the original ORD-EVV flight. However, our bags were not checked through to Evansville since we had been taken off the flight, and they did not arrive until the next day (which was not ideal with an 18-month-old). While American did later offer us a $50 travel voucher, I though the whole episode showed poor customer service. I want other readers to be aware that they need to monitor their own connection times, since the American Airlines reservation system is apparently not capable of doing so.

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