FOLSOM (CBS13) - Leonard Sperandeo said he was terrified when midway through his flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the plane hit a very turbulent lightning storm.
"It just dropped suddenly." Leonard said. "I was grabbing onto the seat."
Halfway between Dallas and Iowa, his American Airlines' flight made an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas.
Everyone had to rebook their flights, but Leonard said there was only one ticket agent for a line of 150 passengers.
"I happened to be in the back," he said.
So, Leonard tried calling American Airlines to rebook.
"They said 'no, only the person in the terminal can help you.'" He said.
Leonard then turned to his travel agent, who got him on a Delta flight - the next day. But it wasn't direct. First he had to fly to Atlanta, then to Moline, Illinois. There, he rented a car and drove another hour and a half to Cedar Rapids.
"I think it took 36 hours from when I left my house until I got to my destination." He said.
After returning to Sacramento, Leonard said he called and emailed American trying to talk to someone about getting reimbursed.
"I couldn't get anywhere." He said. "[It was] just back and forth computer generated e-mails and voicemails."
Trudy Flores with the TravelStore says you shouldn't need to wait in line to rebook a flight.
"The airline that they call should be able to at least rebook them on another flight," Flores said.
After we reached out to American Airlines, they wrote to Leonard and said "We did not perform to your expectations of our high standards and we apologize."
They also sent him a check for $440 to cover his expenses.
"That's what's fair." Leonard said.
American Airlines confirmed he shouldn't have had to wait in line, and should have been able to rebook on the phone.
If you have an issue, the airline also recommends using twitter or social networking for help. They have an entire team dedicated to tracking social media for these types of problems.
So, what are you owed if you are stranded after an emergency landing? American Airlines' contract of carriage says they will work to get you to your destination. However, if for some reason they can't, they will work to get you a hotel room.
for more features.