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American Airlines: Be wary if you’re going to try its WiFi offer

American AirlinesOn my flight from Madrid to Dallas on American Airlines Tuesday, an announcement was made that the WiFi was free. When I tried to use it, I found that there was a charge. I asked a flight attendant about it, and he said the announcement was an error. There was a charge.

Since I'm a blogger, I decided to pay the $19 so I could write articles during the long flight. I entered my credit card number and started working on an article. Just as I was ready to post my first article after about an hour of using the WiFi, the WiFi cut out. I don't know if it was related, but, due to the weather, the ride became bumpy at that time.

I tried to get back on the WiFi, but I wasn't able to access it using the user name and password I'd created. I asked the flight attendant about it several times. He said, “Oh, it's working, try again.” I tried again and again, more than a dozen times because I'd spent $19 to get use of the WiFi for the entire trip. It never worked again.

When we were toward the end of the trip, I tried again because I thought being over land might make a difference. Then, I couldn't even get the menu where you enter your user name and password. My computer just continued to search for a WiFi.

I have a new computer, a Macbook Pro that I bought this spring. So, it wasn’t a computer problem.

I'm an unhappy consumer. I sent a complaint to American Airlines asking for a refund of my $19. The airlines shouldn't be advertising WiFi service if it doesn't work. Flight attendants shouldn't keep telling customers to keep trying it when it never works.

After filing my complaint, I received a message from American Airlines right away saying I needed to file a complaint with Panasonic Avionics. They must get so many complaints that they’ve set up an automatic message about it. Talk about passing the buck.

So, I send an email to Panasonic Avionics. I’ll keep you posted about the result.

Update: I received an email from Panasonic Avionics Friday that it was refunding my $19. I'm grateful for that, but Panasonic didn't address why the WiFi didn't work.

Copyright 2016, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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