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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:09 pm   #1
 
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Change fee debacle

I know - there is a $150 change fee - I get it.

However - last November I had a ticket on Continental BOS-SFO for $285, personal problem arises and I can't go. So now I have a credit.

Last Sunday I bought a ~$280 ticket on United using the credit for ALB-LAS, paid the $150 change fee - and within hours (and I mean less than 12 hours) was informed by work I needed to change my departure by 1 day. I see all over the web site that I have 24 hours to cancel or change my reservation without a fee. However, when I tried to make the change on line the system wouldn't allow it. When I called (after 25 minutes on hold) the agent who finally came on said that it wasn't a new reservation so I would have to pay another $150 change fee - just 12 hours after the reservation was made. The same fare was available the next day and I wanted the same exact flight. I informed the agent (and the supervisor I waited another 20 minutes for) that it was a new reservation, new city pairs, new ticket numbers and new PNR - all to no avail.

I only inform to let people know about another kink in the system. I had flown on Continental/United about 10 times last year - I think this experience has left me thinking the merger has produced a corporate monster that I cannot support - even though the flight times seem to work for me many trips. The airlines need to know that this type of customer service and bending rules to fit their profit motive while ignoring their own web site info makes people mad enough to put an effort into steering business elsewhere.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:13 pm   #2
 
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Welcome to the new United!

Worldspan
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:20 pm   #3
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You should have hung up and called back.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:43 pm   #4
 
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I have the same experience as the OP. I paid the change fee and booked a completely new/different trip and tried to cancel within minutes but was told the 24 hour free change didn't apply to tickets booked using credit from a previous trip. This was last summer with Continental...so things haven't necessarily changed for CO folks at least. I was shocked...
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:50 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by johbeaker View Post
I have the same experience as the OP. I paid the change fee and booked a completely new/different trip and tried to cancel within minutes but was told the 24 hour free change didn't apply to tickets booked using credit from a previous trip. This was last summer with Continental...so things haven't necessarily changed for CO folks at least. I was shocked...
The CSR was correct. If you use a $1 credit from 36 hours ago on a $25K ticket, it's the 36 hours which counts. It's not a glitch and so far as I know, it's always been that way on both CO and UA (although the old UA deducted the $150 from the credit whereas the old CO and new UA give you the full credit and you then pay the $150 in new money).

Haven't heard of an employer which doesn't pick up the tab for fees such as this when they case the disruption, so that may be the best route to go.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:58 pm   #6
 
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Change fee debacle

Sorry that you want to blame this on the new United (seems like almost everyone blames everything here on that). But this has nothing to do with the merger - this was how PMUA handled it, too, IME.

Now caveat is that I never actually had to make a second change like that, though did delay using canceled credit because I wasn't 100% sure on the dates, and the agent said it would happen exactly as it did for you technically, these are considered a re-issue.

In your situation, is it really a big deal? If work was having you change the ticket, aren't they going to cover the change fee anyway?

What you could look into is the new'ish DOT regulations requiring carriers to issue a full refund within 24 hours. I have no idea of the specific language used, whether a re-issue situation such as your is specifically mentioned, nor whether it is vague enough that this kind of situation may be implied, however, may be worth a read and see if you can fight it that way.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 5:58 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The CSR was correct. If you use a $1 credit from 36 hours ago on a $25K ticket, it's the 36 hours which counts. It's not a glitch and so far as I know, it's always been that way on both CO and UA (although the old UA deducted the $150 from the credit whereas the old CO and new UA give you the full credit and you then pay the $150 in new money).
Does this hold for residual credit on a large fare difference refund from February: I had a $1500 voucher that I mailed in to cover another fare flown this month. I now have an e-cert an PIN currently worth ~$1k. Are any future reservations I make using the PIN not covered by a 24 hour rule?
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Old Jun 20, 12, 6:37 pm   #8
 
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In my case work told me I had to delay my trip - which was for personal travel. I made the reservation last Sunday night and the work thing came up Monday morning - just my luck.

As to other issues - it was not 36 hours - it was 12 hours. this is within the period of time the website states you can make a change.

If this was the policy at Continental then it should be more clearly stated that cancelled trip give no monetary credit - even with a fee.

Also - wasn't there a DOT rule change concerning this issue of 24 hrs to change a reservation?
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Old Jun 20, 12, 7:16 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by steves View Post
In my case work told me I had to delay my trip - which was for personal travel. I made the reservation last Sunday night and the work thing came up Monday morning - just my luck.

As to other issues - it was not 36 hours - it was 12 hours. this is within the period of time the website states you can make a change.

If this was the policy at Continental then it should be more clearly stated that cancelled trip give no monetary credit - even with a fee.

Also - wasn't there a DOT rule change concerning this issue of 24 hrs to change a reservation?
UA seems to be unfair in its application of its policy.

The UA policy states:
"The 24-hour timeframe begins at the time your ticket is purchased."

See http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps...romoCode=A5753

This seems to violate the DOT rules, which state that airlines must allow:
"reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date."

(Bolding is mine.)

See http://airconsumer.dot.gov/rules/Con...20Register.pdf
and search for the term "twenty-four hours after the reservation is made," which occurs several times in the text. This is in the Customer Service Plan section. Specifically, see page 23129, last paragraph in the middle column.

Since I'm not a transportation attorney, I don't know the definitive interpretation, but UA seems to me to violate the clear language of the regulation. UA references the time of purchase, but the DOT rules reference the time that the reservation is made.

You should consider a complaint to the DOT if UA does not resolve the issue in your favor.
http://airconsumer.dot.gov/problems.htm
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Old Jun 20, 12, 7:46 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steves View Post
I see all over the web site that I have 24 hours to cancel or change my reservation without a fee. ...

I only inform to let people know about another kink in the system.
This isn't a kink. The free 24 hour refund is on new tickets, not on changes. You made a change so it doesn't apply to you.

The rule is this:
Quote:
When you book and ticket a reservation through United Reservations, united.com, at our ticket counters or city ticket offices, or if you use MileagePlus® miles to book an award ticket on United, we will allow you to cancel the ticketed reservation without penalty and receive a 100 percent refund if you cancel the reservation within 24 hours of purchase and if the reservation is made one week or more prior to scheduled flight departure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uwr View Post
UA seems to be unfair in its application of its policy.

The UA policy states:
"The 24-hour timeframe begins at the time your ticket is purchased."

See http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps...romoCode=A5753

This seems to violate the DOT rules, which state that airlines must allow:
"reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s ...
The UA policy is more generous than it is required to be. I fail to see how that's something worth complaining about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmaus View Post
Are any future reservations I make using the PIN not covered by a 24 hour rule?
Shouldn't be a problem. You're making a new reservation and using the TCV as part of the payment.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 9:32 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The UA policy is more generous than it is required to be. I fail to see how that's something worth complaining about.
Do you have evidence that UA policy is "more generous" than required?

DOT rules state that the airline should refund the fare without penalty within 24 hours of when the reservation is made, NOT within 24 hours of purchase.

UA policy is that refunds are allowed within 24 hours of purchase. Seems less generous to me.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 8:37 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steves View Post
I see all over the web site that I have 24 hours to cancel or change my reservation without a fee. ...

I only inform to let people know about another kink in the system.
This isn't a kink. The free 24 hour refund is on new tickets, not on changes. You made a change so it doesn't apply to you.

The rule is this:
Quote:
When you book and ticket a reservation through United Reservations, united.com, at our ticket counters or city ticket offices, or if you use MileagePlus® miles to book an award ticket on United, we will allow you to cancel the ticketed reservation without penalty and receive a 100 percent refund if you cancel the reservation within 24 hours of purchase and if the reservation is made one week or more prior to scheduled flight departure.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow - I am somewhat surprised at the great support United has from their customers. How most people could assume that a flight to San Francisco from Boston cancelled 8 months ago - and the resulting credit is used to buy a brand new ticket (new ticket number, new PNR) from Albany to Las Vegas is a "change" instead of using a credit used to make a new reservation is not the way most regular persons would interpret the situation. I'm just saying if you lined up 12 regular folks they would probably not see it the way the airline does. It is just too bad that these small matters take up so much time and effort else-wise the airlines would be spending a lot of time in court defending their actions, and their terms of contract would end up being a lot more clear (or lenient or user friendly for public relations purposes)
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Old Jun 22, 12, 8:40 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwr View Post
Do you have evidence that UA policy is "more generous" than required?
Yup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uwr View Post
DOT rules state that the airline should refund the fare without penalty within 24 hours of when the reservation is made, NOT within 24 hours of purchase.

UA policy is that refunds are allowed within 24 hours of purchase. Seems less generous to me.
You must have a reservation before you can purchase. If you reserve and then pay 12 hours later the DoT says the clock starts from the initial point and the UA policy starts later, giving you an extra 12 hours. That's more generous in my book.

That said, I actually seem to remember seeing in various places that UA really starts the clock when the reservation is made but I'll have to find that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by steves View Post
Wow - I am somewhat surprised at the great support United has from their customers.
Nothing to do with liking or disliking the policy or the company. Just about explaining what the rule actually is.

Whether you like it or not, that's what the policy is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steves View Post
How most people could assume that a flight to San Francisco from Boston cancelled 8 months ago - and the resulting credit is used to buy a brand new ticket (new ticket number, new PNR) from Albany to Las Vegas is a "change" instead of using a credit used to make a new reservation is not the way most regular persons would interpret the situation.
There are many things "most regular persons" cannot figure out in life. That's why rules are written down.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 9:01 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwr View Post
Do you have evidence that UA policy is "more generous" than required?
In addition to what is mentioned above, it is more generous compared with this requirement from the DOT:

Quote:
allowing reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date.
UA doesn't apply the 1-week threshold here - you can book a flight for tomorrow and cancel within 24 hours without penalty.

The key point in this policy (and how UA interprets it) is when the reservation is made. If you change a reservation, you still use the same booking reference from the original reservation, and you inherit several of the same conditions from the original booking - must be the same passenger, some domestic vs. international restrictions, etc. It isn't the same as putting cash towards a new reservation - you are changing the original one.
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Old Jun 24, 12, 8:47 am   #15
 
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There are many things "most regular persons" cannot figure out in life. That's why rules are written down.[/quote]

I remember a very smart lawyer once telling me there is no such language as "Legaleze" - the language in the USA is English. The interpretations of the law or contract will in the end be made by a jury of regular people if it is challenged. The only thing that stops this from happening more frequently is the time and expense of doing it - that is why so many under $1000 rip offs can survive. It is egotistical to assume otherwise - implications mean a lot to "regular persons" - and juries both of courtroom and public opinion are mostly regular persons.
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