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Old Sep 18, 12, 2:49 am   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Programs: UAL, AAL, DAL, NKS, JBU
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Question Refund for taxes on routing change with award ticket?

I recently rescheduled a multi-city award ticket that was originally booked ORD-FRA-LGW/BRU-FRA-SFO/SFO-ORD. I only changed the BRU-FRA-SFO segment to BRU-EWR-SFO. It took United a long time on the phone to get the ticket reissued, and they said no additional amount was due, but looking at the taxes, I think I may deserve a refund? It's a bit confusing since I can't price out the multi-city online anymore, but looking at it segment by segment, I shouldn't have to pay the Germany taxes twice.

My taxes as booked on UA via phone:
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00
Germany Airport Security Charge $16.36
Belgium Embarkation Tax $35.10
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
Germany Passenger Service Charge $48.97
September 11th Security Fee $5.00

TOTAL: $122.93

ORD-FRA-LHR [can't price out LGW online]:
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
Germany Passenger Service Charge $24.50
Germany Airport Security Charge $8.10
BRU-EWR-SFO:
Belgium Embarkation Tax $34.90
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
SFO-ORD:
September 11th Security Fee $2.50

TOTAL: $92.50

What's confusing to me is how the taxes really don't match up. In fact, when I went to book it, the taxes UA quoted over the phone was different than what the web site quoted me. I didn't worry too much about it, as I was juts happy to get it ticketed, since the ghost LH F inventory was driving me mad. I did pay a $75 close-in fee if that matters.

This is how ITA priced the taxes at the time I booked it:
US Transportation Tax (US) $17.09
German Airport Security Tax (DE) $16.40
German Passenger Service Charge (RA) $48.60
LH YQ surcharge (YQ) $496.00
US International Departure Tax (US) $16.70
US September 11th Security Fee (AY) $5.00
US Passenger Facility Charge (XF) $9.00
USDA APHIS Fee (XA) $5.00
US Immigration Fee (XY) $7.00
US Customs Fee (YC) $5.50
US International Arrival Tax (US) $16.70
Belgium Passenger Service and Security Charge (BE) $33.60
US Flight Segment Tax (ZP) $3.80

I don't know why ITA said BE is $33.60, and UA says $35.10. Or RA was $48.60 on ITA, but $48.97 on UA. I would understand if the taxes have changed since then, but that ITA search was made on the day I ticketed the award. This is what really confuses me, it would normally be very simple for me to do the math, but the taxes don't match up.

I have searched the forums and can't find a clear answer other than some people have gotten checks back from UA, sometimes automatically. Thanks all for your help.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 7:20 am   #2
 
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Exactly how much do you figure that you're owed back?

Best way to find out, btw, is to call and ask!
LilAbner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 18, 12, 7:47 am   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewsoft View Post
I don't know why ITA said BE is $33.60, and UA says $35.10. Or RA was $48.60 on ITA, but $48.97 on UA. I would understand if the taxes have changed since then, but that ITA search was made on the day I ticketed the award. This is what really confuses me, it would normally be very simple for me to do the math, but the taxes don't match up..
Because the Belgian fee is in Euros and ITA and UA are using different exchange rates.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 9:53 am   #4
 
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I rebooked an award trip to Europe through different gateway cities in May, and although I wasn't expecting a refund, the total upcharge for taxes came out to be something like $9 more than expected difference between what I'd already paid and what the website was pricing new bookings at. I asked the agent to itemize the fees so I could try to match them up with the list on united.com, but he couldn't (or maybe it would have required another call to the rate desk), and just getting the flights that clearly had availability on the web site to show up on his screen had been enough of a challenge that I decided to quit while I was ahead and not press the matter.

I don't think the discrepancy could be explained by the exchange rate, as the website ought to be pricing in real time and there was only a couple cents on the dollar difference between the rate at the time of the original and modified bookings. Perhaps there is a bug in our favor in the web pricing engine?
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Old Sep 18, 12, 10:22 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilAbner View Post
Exactly how much do you figure that you're owed back?

Best way to find out, btw, is to call and ask!
Well, I think I am at least due back the second portion of German taxes I paid since I'm no longer flying through FRA. What's even more odd is the Belgium tax changes depending upon if I go through EWR or FRA!

I will call because I need to reschedule SFO-ORD anyway, but I was curious what other people have experienced.

BRU-EWR-SFO:
Belgium Embarkation Tax $34.90
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
BRU-FRA-SFO:
Belgium Embarkation Tax $33.50
Germany Passenger Service Charge $24.50
Germany Airport Security Charge $8.10
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Because the Belgian fee is in Euros and ITA and UA are using different exchange rates.
Possibly, but usually it's only cent, not whole dollars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunettes noires View Post
I rebooked an award trip to Europe through different gateway cities in May, and although I wasn't expecting a refund, the total upcharge for taxes came out to be something like $9 more than expected difference between what I'd already paid and what the website was pricing new bookings at. I asked the agent to itemize the fees so I could try to match them up with the list on united.com, but he couldn't (or maybe it would have required another call to the rate desk), and just getting the flights that clearly had availability on the web site to show up on his screen had been enough of a challenge that I decided to quit while I was ahead and not press the matter.

I don't think the discrepancy could be explained by the exchange rate, as the website ought to be pricing in real time and there was only a couple cents on the dollar difference between the rate at the time of the original and modified bookings. Perhaps there is a bug in our favor in the web pricing engine?
It's strange how the web site is different than the phone system on the same day.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 11:15 am   #6
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Yes, they put in for a refund on award ticket changes. Give it a week to 10 days or so.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 12:41 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewsoft View Post
It's strange how the web site is different than the phone system on the same day.
Ran into this on several occasions this morning. One agent said oh well if I can't see it thats because all the GDS systems aren't sync so its probably full. Another said oh its because you are 1K but I dont have access to that inventory. And the 3rd (who incidently was the nicest agent I have probably spoken to and went of her way), told me to book it and she would work on it from her end to add the last segments.

The only thing that is consistent about UA.com is how inconsistent it really is.
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Old Sep 18, 12, 12:49 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
And the 3rd (who incidently was the nicest agent I have probably spoken to and went of her way), told me to book it and she would work on it from her end to add the last segments.

The only thing that is consistent about UA.com is how inconsistent it really is.
I've been told the same thing, several times.

Batting 500 on getting it finalized as sometimes it's just an excuse to get me off the phone. Believe me, if they are busy and/or on another call, after you hang up, good luck getting anything processed further down the line. But it may happen, if you feel comfortable about what you were told! Good luck! & keep checking on it!!
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