AA Apologizes for “Unexpected Stop” (a.k.a. Emergency Landing)

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What’s the best way to apologize to customers when instead of flying them to Chicago, they must brace for impact and pray to survive an emergency landing? Well, if you’re American Airlines, you “take the opportunity to apologize” for “disrupting [their] travel plans” and provide an e-voucher for $250. Below, we have the letter sent to passengers on board the March 11th flight that was supposed to be a simple flight from LaGuardia to Chicago, but – thanks to an engine malfunction – ended with an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport with fire trucks and ambulances at the ready. No one was hurt, though many were “inconvenienced.”

What’s the best corporate apology letter you’re ever received? Add a comment.

Letter to a passenger

Dear ____:

I know you must have been disappointed when flight 309 made an unexpected stop at JFK when you traveled to Chicago with us on March 11. As soon as our manager at LaGuardia let us know what happened, we wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to you for disrupting your travel plans.

Based on the information I received, after taking off from LaGuardia, the aircraft encountered difficulties with its turbine. As a result, turbine blade fragments were ejected from the back exhaust of the engine. Once that occurred, our captain diverted to JFK to our specialists could take a look at the situation. Your patience must have really worn thin when it was ultimately discovered that the repairs were more complicated than originally thought and it then became necessary to cancel your flight. I am truly sorry for the resulting inconvenience.

In appreciation for your patience during that situation, I've made arrangements for an eVoucher (see details below) for you to use toward the purchase of a ticket to travel with us. I hope this gesture of goodwill helps restore your confidence in us.

Upon review of the circumstances, we are reminded that our responsibility to provide our customers with quality service is a major priority, one that we can't afford to overlook. Please be assured that we'll do our best to provide a smooth trip the next time you fly with us. We will look forward to the opportunity.


B. J. Russell
Customer Relations
American Airlines