On February 3, 2020, I booked a trip through Expedia to Oahu, Hawaii for Christmas vacation. In March, COVID happens and everything shuts down. I don’t cancel the trip because it was my understanding travel would be allowed contingent on being able to produce medically certified negative COVID test. My husband and I responsibly cautious and use N95 masks and face shields for traveling. Along with hand sanitizer and wipes. A few weeks prior to departure, I decided to surprise my husband and called American Airline and upgraded our seats to first-class for the trip. At no time prior or at this point, were we informed of Hawaii’s strict COVID testing regulations. Not informing us of this critical information effectively undermine the entire trip and we were unable to vacation. The strict conditions Hawaii requires for testing should have been communicated to us, your customers, as soon as these requirements took effect. It is reasonable to expect this would have been communicated by Expedia or airline, as the omission of it effects the whole travel experience, if just for the sake of good customer service. Our experience was so utterly disappointing, and could have been avoided. I felt compelled to write this letter and describe, our experience and request you provide a way to rectify the situation and make us whole.
My husband, Michael and myself left Baltimore-Washington International Airport on AA that left Friday morning at 6 am on December 18, 2020. The AA attendant at the First-Class desk verified our negative COVID test results and we boarded the plane. We connected through Chicago’s O’Hare on. We landed in Honolulu, HI shortly after 3pm Hawaii time and we were herded through the airport to a screening location where we were asked for our COVID test results. I handed it to the attendant who immediately stated “That is not from a Trusted Partner” and returned the documents to us. He never looked at the negative results or that the company was a nationwide, reputable company. He then told us that we had to quarantine at our hotel for the length of 10 days. I stated that our vacation was only 9 days and that our test results were negative and the company is reputable. His response was, “Well you could go home!” This caused me to burst into tears and made my husband very angry. We asked if we could test in Hawaii the answer was NO. The attendant called the hotel and informed them that we were under quarantine and if we leave our rooms we are to be reported. He asked for our cell numbers and then called them to verify we didn’t lie. My husband asked how are we supposed to get to the hotel since you refuse to let us obtain a car rental. He responded, taxi or Uber. That is safe how?
My husband and I decided to return home, we never left the airport. We called American Airlines, explained what happened and requested a flight out for that day. Our flight didn’t leave until 10:50pm and everything at the airport was closed. We had nothing to eat or drink from the time we landed. When we boarded for our flight, I discovered we would not be served a meal because they expected that we would go straight to sleep. I cried myself to sleep from frustration, hunger and exhaustion.
I called several weeks prior to the trip to upgrade us to First class going and returning. Sadly, we did not have the accommodation I had paid. The connecting flight from Los Angeles to Miami was Business Economy (AA 369) and from Miami to Baltimore (AA 696) was Economy. We even had to pay an extra $314.80 to leave on December 18, 2020. We spent more than 40 hours either in the air or in an airport and we never got to have our vacation. We arrived home Sunday morning almost 2 am.
My husband and I saved up for this trip and we are now out $4,300 in airfare. We can’t afford to schedule another trip because that money is gone. I don’t understand why we did not receive an email from American Airlines explaining the strict regulations Hawaii has in place. You must know them your pilots and flight attendants travel there daily. I also called AA directly to upgrade to First-class and again nothing was mentioned. I signed up for your American Aviator card thinking I would receive special benefits. So far, speaking to your customer service staff everybody is very sorry but nobody wants to do anything to help us recoup this $4300 loss.
Our Christmas was ruined! All my Christmas surprises for my husband are shattered. Expedia states this is an American Airline issue and American Airline states that since we went through a third party the max we can get is $250 in vouchers