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Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:45 pm
by dimoko
just wanted to tell a little story here. not trying to bash the airlines but i need to vent a bit.

So my dad and a business colleague were headed to MSP to meet with some customers. This was a brief trip, where they would leave on Monday, and have their meeting on Tuesday morning and come back Tuesday evening.

I got a text from my dad at 2:30 yesterday, saying that they had been sitting on the tarmac for a bit, and that their connection was going to be close.

it turns out they sat an extra half hour, and he missed his connection in O'Hare onto MSP.

united had several flights that night but they were all full. After spending plenty of time on hold with a foreign agent (gotta love Indian call centers) he told me that the best they could do was 11:00am Tuesday....well his return flight was at 4:40 on Tuesday, so that really wasn't going to work. they claimed to have tried other airlines but found nothing.

using a little bit of free thinking, i thought that a quick trip cross town to MDW might open some options. sure enough, airtran had a flight to MSP that they could make in plenty of time. and after talking to a nice man from airtran, i got them booked and it costs us $140 for each passenger. but the meeting was saved, and that is what was important.

now today they are due to return. but my fathers business associate did not pay careful attention when booking, and they have a 35 minute layover in O'Hare. this is never going to be enough at O'Hare, so they asked me to call and attempt to get them on the earlier flight. (they had several) i called a reservations lady to schedule it, and informed me that there would be a $50 per passenger fee to make the change, or they could just go standby.

i explained the situation yesterday, and she said that it was out of her control, and she would have to give me to a customer service rep. so i waited on hold again, and talked to a man who apologized profusely from the bottom of his heart about the problem. After telling him the situation, and having him repeat it SEVERAL times to me, he said that the best he could do was give me a $100 travel voucher for each passenger, and i would still have to pay the $50 a passenger change fee. i said that this would be fine, as i needed to get it done.

so he transferred me back to a reservations agent, because of course HE couldn't do that for me. This lady was about the least enthusiastic or helpful person i had dealt with all day. i told her the current flights, and the flight i wanted to switch too, and she informed me about the $50 change fee, which i said nothing about. then she said "plus the change in fare".

i asked what this would be, and she was a bit surprised that i wished to know...because she had to put me on hold to find out.

literally 10 minutes later she returned, and informed me that it would be an ADDITIONAL four hundred and eighty dollars...

i thought i misheard...but no. $480 PER PASSENGER to book on a flight one hour earlier. I tried to be as polite as i could, and said that i was not interested and that the fare was ridiculous. i hung up the phone, and tried to figure out what to do.

we eventually settled on booking a complete new return, one way from MSP-CLE thru MDW for about $300 on airtan and continental, and we are going to demand a refund from united, as they only carried my father and his business associate on ONE of the legs they purchased, and that leg was an hour and 17 minutes late (a fact that they knew, because they told me)

Like i said, i dint want to bash an airline, but what an ordeal! next time, let ME do the booking and i wont give you any 35 minute plane changes either.

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:56 pm
by JRadier
Good luck getting that refund, because it was YOUR (or your dads) choice not to use the ticket he had. He took another flight himself. He had the option of using his ticket but didn't. How is United to blame for this? It's like going to the movies, buying a ticket but change your mind and going to a different theater instead. You really think they will refund your original ticket?

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:34 pm
by triple7man
You were told different things by different agents. There is no consistency here. And also the supervisor you talked to and said he would give you a $100 voucher should have made the change right then and there himself. There was no need to transfer him back to reservations. At least that's what I did when I was a supervisor at AA.

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
Good luck getting that refund, because it was YOUR (or your dads) choice not to use the ticket he had. He took another flight himself. He had the option of using his ticket but didn't. How is United to blame for this? It's like going to the movies, buying a ticket but change your mind and going to a different theater instead. You really think they will refund your original ticket?

Because I'm not familiar with the whole story, I don't know what the result will be. Airlines do make every effort for on time departures, but things like mechanical delays, weather or ATC delays can wreck havoc with the system. Normally, under what was known as Rule 240, the airline who sold you the ticket has the obligation to get you to where you need to go. If it means another flight, or another airline that they have a ticketing agreement with, it is the airline you are ticketed on who has that responsibility.

Please let us know what happens with your dad's ticket.

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:06 pm
by AirTranTUS


Quoting Dimoko (Thread starter):
and the flight i wanted to switch too, and she informed me about the $50 change fee, which i said nothing about. then she said "plus the change in fare".

Doesn't DL allow same-day confirmed flight changes for $25 only?

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:17 am
by deltairlines


Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 3):

Doesn't DL allow same-day confirmed flight changes for $25 only?

DL is $50 now.

Several airlines do offer the confirmed change for $25-50 though. Pay the money and you get a guaranteed seat. All the others do standby. If the flight was looking open, then there was no reason to buy a separate ticket.

Also, if ORD is running smooth, 35 minutes is doable - you might have to move a little (no Starbucks breaks) but I've done it before.

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:54 am
by FLY777UAL


Quoting Dimoko (Thread starter):
I got a text from my dad at 2:30 yesterday, saying that they had been sitting on the tarmac for a bit, and that their connection was going to be close.

it turns out they sat an extra half hour, and he missed his connection in O'Hare onto MSP.

What was the delay for? If it was anything other than something within the airlines control (ATC? Weather? O'Hare? hmm...), sorry, but you're going to have to eat the cost of the ticket. Despite what 777Man might post, Rule 240 only applies to situations that are within the airline's control (and even then, Rule 240 is an option for airlines, not a mandatory federal law thanks to deregulation. They are posted somewhere within their contract of carriage, usually found on the inside of the ticket jacket).

Quoting Dimoko (Thread starter):
using a little bit of free thinking, i thought that a quick trip cross town to MDW might open some options. sure enough, airtran had a flight to MSP that they could make in plenty of time.

Nice work...better thinking than what a lot of other passengers would have come up with!

Quoting Dimoko (Thread starter):
i thought i misheard...but no. $480 PER PASSENGER to book on a flight one hour earlier. I tried to be as polite as i could, and said that i was not interested and that the fare was ridiculous. i hung up the phone, and tried to figure out what to do.

While the entire situation between rep and supervisor and back to rep is very unfortunate and, agreed, there might have been a better way to handle it (perhaps through a lead res agent who could have plugged into the call and authorized the change fee), the fact is that everyone handles these situations differently...and there might have been a reason unknown to us all as to why it actually had to go back and forth. I've seen it before and I wouldn't put it past a union contract not to authorize "management assist" with a situation--this basically precludes the "management" from literally touching a PNR (or otherwise a grievance can and more than likely will be filed against the company).

As for the change fee, $50...doable; I think everyone agrees on that, but the agent should have also been upfront about the difference in fare which many airlines still do have in place (and for good reason) as your father and his business associate are essentially taking away the possibility for the airline to sell those two Y class tickets...what do they do to mitigate that? Charge the difference between the very cheap fare they purchased and the full fare they are potentially displacing.

Overall, an unfortunate experience. Unfortunate from the fact that there was a delay in the beginning (which we still don't know if it was due to the airlines fault or a circumstance outside of their control) to the fact that your father's associate "unknowingly" made a 35 minute connection in O'Hare, and then to the way things were handled with reservations.

The only real issue that can be worked on for next time that I can see is whether or not reservations should have (and even could have) waived the change and add/collect fee for the return journey in the name of "good customer service", however that too is just contingent on how the delay happened on the outbound...

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:17 pm
by dimoko
thanks for all the positive comments here.

the final part of the story, is that the flight they were originally due to take from MSP to ORD ended up being 2 hours late, and they would have missed their connection again. and with some prodding on the phone, my father's asscosiate's wife was able to arrange a refund.

as i said, next time, let ME book the reservations, and we wont have any problems!

RE: Fun With Ticketing

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:59 pm
by B747forever
Wow, what a story.

Just a question, will you choose UA ever again??




Thank you for sharing

B747forever