American Airlines passengers sleep at airport after glitch

Reservations system glitch grounds fleet

Author: Ben Kennedy, Reporter, bkennedy@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 05:28:54 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 18 2013 02:17:25 AM EDT
MIAMI -

Dozens of American Airlines passengers slept at Miami International Airport after problems with the airline's reservation system grounded flights.

The airline grounded its fleet for several hours Tuesday because of problems employees had accessing its reservations system. At least four flights departing from MIA were cancelled Wednesday.

"I don't feel like we've received any form of apology at all," said Olivia Taylor. "With 13 of us, we needed to get into rooms. We needed to eat. We hadn't eaten in 12 hours."

Attorney Lee Stapleton, Local 10's legal expert, said an airline must book passengers on a new flight if there flight is cancelled, even if it's with a competitor. But she added airlines don't have to provide accommodations.

"If passengers really want to know what they are entitled to legally, they need to look at what's called the 'contract of carriage,'" she said.

American's contract of carriage states: "If the delay or cancellation was caused by events within our control and we do not get you to your final destination on the expected arrival day we will provide reasonable overnight accommodations, subject to availability."

"But understand, much like the cruise ships, these contract of carriages are tilted towards the airlines not towards the passenger," said Stapleton. "An airline's job is to get you to your destination safety."

In March, a bankruptcy judge approved its $11 billion merger with US Airways.