Wednesday, August 13, 2008

American Airlines announces new partnership with Komen Foundation but declines to help long term customer with request

This week American Airlines (AA) made the announcement that they are partnering with Dallas based Susan G. Komen foundation on a mission to promote breast cancer research.

The partnership represents a newly created fundraising category for Komen called Promise Grants, which are collaborative, inter-disciplinary research projects with the strong potential to discover and deliver the cures for breast cancer more quickly.

AA has pledged to raise a minimum of $1 million annually for eight years, to fund Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s first Promise Grant — a $7.5 million, five-year study of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The remainder will be used to fund health and community programs.

The specially co-branded aircraft — an American Airlines Boeing 757, and an American Eagle Embraer 145 — will raise money for a breast cancer cure.

Distinctive pink streamers extend the full length of the fuselage of the two airplanes.

As this story was about to be posted to the Dallas.IsMyHome blog, we were contacted by a woman that works at a high-level position with an internationally known technology company. (She requested that her personal details be kept private.)

After several years of utilizing AA as a primary transportation means for her business trips to Europe and South America, she contacted AA yesterday via email to find out if they would please extend her Elite privilege for another year as she has been dealing with a diagnosis for breast cancer, surgeries, chemo and recovery since February of this year and wasn’t going to be able to make the 50,000 mile minimum.

Now keep in mind that the Elite privilege that she is requesting are perks that she has already earned on an annual basis and doesn’t cost AA any money. These perks include:

  • Allows her to board with the first group so she can get situated without people jostling into her.
  • Allows her access to the lounge on her international trips
  • As you can see, these are trivial perks but can make a world of difference for a woman that is still in recovery.

    AA’s customer service replied that no, they would not extend her elite status but that she was welcome to PURCHASE her status when she began traveling again.

    We contacted AA’s media department today via email requesting an official response as we strive to report a balanced view; however, at the time of this posting, AA has not replied.

    The email from the woman to AA and AA’s response are posted here in their entirety:

    Original Message Follows:
    >E-mail received from:
    >(Home)XX4-XXXXXX,4 Date Generated: 08/12/08 08:50
    >—Message Comments—
    >So Far this year I have not been able to travel due to breast
    >cancer and chemotherapy. I will loose my platinum status but
    >will be resuming travel in November. I am hoping that my
    >platinum status can be extended through next year where I will
    >then be earning it again. Thank you for your compassion and

    American Airlines Reply:
    >From: ext AAdvantage Customer Service
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 11:29 AM
    >To: XXXXXXX Teri (XXXXX-D/Miami)
    >Subject: Re: Other (KMM6745123V54191L0KM)
    >Dear Ms. MXXXXXX,
    >We’re glad you contacted AAdvantage(r) Customer Service. I’m
    >happy to help.
    >Under the circumstances, we certainly understand your concerns
    >about your AAdvantage(r) elite membership. We sympathize with
    >what you are going through, and extend our best wishes for a
    >rapid recovery.
    >Please contact us than and at that time we will afford you the
    >opportunity to regain your elite Platinum membership by buying
    >your Platinum status back
    . In the interim, please accept our
    >apologies that we are unable to suspend your AAdvantage
    >Platinum(r) membership until your health improves. The elite
    >Membership Year extends from March 1 to the last day of
    >February of the following year, at which time all memberships
    >are downgraded one elite level unless members requalify for
    >the same or higher status.
    >We wish you all the best and encourage you to let us know as
    >soon as you’re back on your feet — and back up in the air! It
    >would be our pleasure to assist you in once again qualifying
    >for AAdvantage Platinum membership.
    >Thank you for participating in the AAdvantage program. We
    >appreciate your business.
    >Carmen N.
    >AAdvantage Customer Service
    >American Airlines

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