Getting an airline complaint heard

The Baltimore Sun

I would like to file a formal complaint with American Airlines about a trip. But before I spend my time: Will my letter go in the trash or be read?

Airlines insist that customer service ranks near the top of their priorities, but fliers still invariably encounter poor service in addition to delays, flight cancellations and lost luggage.

What to do? To complain directly to American, go to the carrier's Web site ( and click on "Contact AA," then "Customer Relations." You'll find addresses for reaching a representative who handles complaints. An American spokesman assured us your letter will be read and said they try to respond to e-mails within two to five days and to letters within one to two weeks.

Some hints: Stick to the facts. Include the date, flight number and your destination, why you're complaining and what you expect to happen as a result of your complaint. You can find more suggestions at, including an online form that can be sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

We plan to travel to Rome for Easter. Is it possible to get a seat at the Vatican for the Pope's Easter service?

If you want to attend any events during Holy Week, you'll need a ticket. But they're free.

The pope's schedule for Holy Week 2007 begins with Palm Sunday, which includes a procession and Papal Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 1, and concludes with Easter Sunday Mass, also in St. Peter's Square, on April 8.

The Bishops' Office for U.S. Visitors to the Vatican, in Rome, handles all requests for Americans wishing to attend events. Requests for tickets should list the events you're interested in and the names of everyone in your group. The office advises that it should receive your request by the second week of March.

For details, go to the office's Web site,, and click on "Coming to Rome?"

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