Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Experiencing A Smoke-filled Cabin On An AA Airplane Is Worth 15,000 AAdvantage Miles

(How Many Miles Would We Have Received If The Plane Had Not Made It Safely Back To RDU?)

My two previous blog entries recounted the extreme anxiety of experiencing a smoke-filled cabin on an American Airlines jet shortly after takeoff last week. I also wrote about the aftermath of that Sunday night's scary incident: namely, that on Monday (the very next day) I could not locate any AA employee at RDU who was even aware that such a close call had occurred.

I did not attempt to contact anyone at AA Customer Service after I realized Monday that no one even knew it had happened, and the week passed in sober reflection.

Then last Friday, to my surprise, I received the following email from American Airlines:

April 19, 2007

Dear Mr. Allen:

Our manager in Raleigh/Durham was concerned and asked us to follow up with you regarding your flight with us on April 15. We can understand how frustrating that trip must have been. We are very sorry for all the difficulties you encountered when flight 4684 unexpectedly returned to the airport and experienced an overnight delay.

As our personnel indicated at the time, a mechanical problem developed en route to Columbus. As a result, the decision was made to return to Raleigh/Durham so our specialists could take a look at the situation. While our personnel worked hard to minimize the inconvenience, we know that many of our customers' important plans were disrupted. I am truly sorry.

In appreciation for your patience, we've added 15,000 Customer Service bonus miles to your AAdvantage® account. You should see this mileage adjustment in your account very soon, and you can view this activity via I hope this gesture of goodwill helps restore your confidence in us.

Your loyalty is important to us and I would like to assure you that we are committed to getting you to your destination as planned. Sometimes, as on April 15, flights won't operate as planned but our goal is to keep those times to a minimum. I know your next trip with us will go much more smoothly than this one did. We will look forward to welcoming you aboard soon.

This is an "outgoing only" email address. If you 'reply' to this message by simply selecting the reply button, we will not receive your additional comments. Please assist us in providing you with a timely response to any feedback you have for us by always sending us your email messages via at


B. J. Russell
Customer Relations
American Airlines

It was interesting to learn that American Airlines thought 15,000 miles would erase the scary memory and placate us (I have since learned that all passengers on AA4684 that night who were AAdvantage members received 15,000 miles).

I wonder how many extra frequent flyer miles we would have received if we had all been killed instead of merely being frightened and inconvenienced.


Blogger Bill said...

Well, Mr. Allen, if you had been killed, they wouldn't have to worry about getting your repeat business. Furthermore, you would have no use for the miles. I would say that you're better off being alive and getting the 15,000 miles. I'm certainly glad it turned out that way, rather than the alternative!

4/27/2007 12:35 AM  

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