Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

Refundable, fully flexible tickets - but with penalties / fees

Refundable, fully flexible tickets - but with penalties / fees

Old Nov 5, 16, 11:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 1,192
Refundable, fully flexible tickets - but with penalties / fees

I was looking for a fully refundable fare on AA for a trip from DFE-SYD and thought that was I purchased on the website by selecting the refundable option. I even called the agent after I purchased to confirm . When I had to cancel my trip I find out there's a $600 fee .. grrr !!

Am I wrong in thinking this is deceptive ?
sunil is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 12:02 am
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 40,063
Not really deceptive, since the fare rules do state that there is a cancellation penalty

Fares which are refundable subject to cancellation penalties are pretty common

Was this a business/first class fare since $600 seems high for AA's economy fares
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 12:13 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 274
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Not really deceptive, since the fare rules do state that there is a cancellation penalty

Fares which are refundable subject to cancellation penalties are pretty common

Was this a business/first class fare since $600 seems high for AA's economy fares
Haha. I would say that the fare is not fully refundable if you don't get the full amount refunded. Its deceptive.
EQDsSUCK is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 12:16 am
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 40,063
Except that the website does not say fully refundable , only refundable

Fares which are refundable minus a penalty are very common

If searching for flights, there are columns when searching on lowest fare of

Main Cabin
Premium Economy
Business
First

If switching to the "refundable" tab , the options are
Main Cabin
Main Canin Fully Flexible
Business Flexible
First Flexible

The Main cabin fully flexible is indeed refundable with no penalty

Last edited by Dave Noble; Nov 6, 16 at 12:22 am
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 8:32 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: AA EXP, AA LT Gold, SPG Plat 75
Posts: 848
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Except that the website does not say fully refundable , only refundable

Fares which are refundable minus a penalty are very common

If searching for flights, there are columns when searching on lowest fare of

Main Cabin
Premium Economy
Business
First

If switching to the "refundable" tab , the options are
Main Cabin
Main Canin Fully Flexible
Business Flexible
First Flexible

The Main cabin fully flexible is indeed refundable with no penalty
<removed personal remark>

I think any reasonable person would expect a "Refundable" fare to be, well, Refundable. No gimmicks, no fees, no 'gotchas'. Refundable should be a simple term.

Last edited by Microwave; Nov 6, 16 at 9:50 am
Phasers is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 9:39 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 5,269
Originally Posted by Phasers View Post
I think any reasonable person would expect a "Refundable" fare to be, well, Refundable. No gimmicks, no fees, no 'gotchas'. Refundable should be a simple term.
Except, of course, it's not. A refund can be available in full or in part, and this isn't just an airline industry phenomenon.

That said, AA could do more to clearly disclose which fares are which.
rjw242 is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 3:00 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 274
Originally Posted by rjw242 View Post
Except, of course, it's not. A refund can be available in full or in part, and this isn't just an airline industry phenomenon.

That said, AA could do more to clearly disclose which fares are which.
If you are advocating that "AA could do more to clearly disclose which fares are which" then I thinks its great you are agreeing that they are being deceptive.

Deceptive means "likely to make someone believe something that is not true."
EQDsSUCK is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 3:25 pm
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 84,528
It would be less confusing if these fares were labeled as partially refundable. Many people think refundable means fully refundable.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 4:17 pm
  #9  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 43,239
If this is what I think it is, a J seat on the QF code-share DFW-SYD, the first disclosure for the ticket is:

CANCELLATIONS ANY TIME CHARGE USD 600.00 FOR CANCEL/REFUND.

There are tons of refundable/flexible fare buckets which carry penalties.

That said, if OP asked about the penalty and was told there was none, he should send a short note to AA noting the date and approximate time of his call. AA may have a "recording" of the call and, if it does and the agent misstated the rules, as a customer service matter, AA will generally honor the agent's error.

On a $10,100 ticket, I would never rely on anything other than a close reading. Making a dummy online booking for random dates, finding the above disclosure took <1 minute before entering personal details.
Often1 is offline  
Old Nov 6, 16, 6:27 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,397
You need to read the Fare Rules. Period.

Though admittedly AA makes the fare rules hard to find, but it is already better than UA which requires you to go thru Catchy in order to read the fare rules!
Happy is offline  
Old Nov 8, 16, 11:20 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI
Programs: AA Gold, HH Silver, National Emerald Executive, TSA Disparager Gold
Posts: 15,122
Originally Posted by Happy View Post
You need to read the Fare Rules. Period.

Though admittedly AA makes the fare rules hard to find, but it is already better than UA which requires you to go thru Catchy in order to read the fare rules!
This. I always check them, ESPECIALLY on international itineraries. If you're buying from AA.com though, they're not that hard to find - and definitely available before clicking the purchase button.

Most international C/F fares that aren't booked as J, D, or F, often have cancellation and change penalties in the $400-$600 neighborhood. Fully refundable are available, but you're going to pay thru the nose for them.

I use these fares quite a bit as my company will buy them if they're cheaper than coach (about the only time they'll consider it), or I buy up to them from a Y fare out of my own pocket. The $500 or so risk to me is worth it considering my flight will be much more comfortable.

UA offers these fares as well, but they call them flexible rather than refundable to denote that there may be penalties associated with changes and refunds.
Superguy is offline  
Old Nov 8, 16, 11:58 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,357
More on this topic from this thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...are-rules.html

And on a related note (non-refundable vs. non-changeable):
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...al-ticket.html
I think there was another one that got fairly contentious on that topic as well.

The common theme is that you have to read the fine print because AA's disclosures on the fare rules are, at best, lacking.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Nov 8, 16, 5:48 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 1,192
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
If this is what I think it is, a J seat on the QF code-share DFW-SYD, the first disclosure for the ticket is:

CANCELLATIONS ANY TIME CHARGE USD 600.00 FOR CANCEL/REFUND.

There are tons of refundable/flexible fare buckets which carry penalties.

That said, if OP asked about the penalty and was told there was none, he should send a short note to AA noting the date and approximate time of his call. AA may have a "recording" of the call and, if it does and the agent misstated the rules, as a customer service matter, AA will generally honor the agent's error.

On a $10,100 ticket, I would never rely on anything other than a close reading. Making a dummy online booking for random dates, finding the above disclosure took <1 minute before entering personal details.
THis is the route, and it was listed as Business Flexible. I did call the agent after I booked to confirm it was fully refundable, they called the ticketing department and re-confirmed with me. The fare rules are confusing to read and I did not see this language in there.

What more could I have done, I've written to customer service and they're response was too bad. Do you think AA could find the voice recording of my call ?

Sunil
sunil is offline  
Old Feb 9, 17, 3:46 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: PHL
Programs: AA Exec Plat, WoH Glob, HHonors (faux) Diamond
Posts: 2,994
So when I go on aa.com and look for RT flights between PHL and ORD, I can go under the "Lowest Fare" tab and see flight after flight for $255. There are two subsidiary tabs, "Main Cabin" and "First". When I click on "Main Cabin", the following info appears:

Main Cabin
Preferred seats on American flights
Eligible for upgrades on American flights
Up to 1 EQM per mile flown on eligible flights
Flight changes allowed (fee applies)
Now I go back to the top tab and switch to "Refundable". There are now three subsidiary tabs: "Main Cabin Flexible", "Main Cabin Fully Flexible", and "First Flexible". They price out at, respectively, $725, $1835, and $985. Let's ignore the fact that "First Flexible" is little more than half the price of "Main Cabin Fully Flexible". (Hey, if puritanical corporations are dead-set against lower rung employees enjoying any of the pleasure of First Class, far be it from me to criticize American Airlines for profiting from this righteousness.) Instead, let's click on "Main Cabin Flexible". We see:

Main Cabin Flexible
Preferred seats on American flights
Eligible for upgrades on American flights
Up to 1 EQM per mile flown on eligible flights
Flight changes allowed (fee applies)
No, I did not just re-paste from the same copy cache. I have checked and double-checked: The front matter provided by American on their $255 "Main Cabin" ticket and their $725 "Main Cabin Flexible" ticket is the same.

I give. Why would you ever prefer a "Main Cabin Flexible" to a "Main Cabin" ticket? (No points for saying "to trick employer into subsidizing status by racking up more EQDs.") I know, I know ... read the fine print somewhere else. But in search of what?
Biggie Fries is offline  
Old Feb 9, 17, 3:58 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP, UA Silver, Hyatt Diamond, M/SPG Plat Prem, National Exec Elite, mlife platinum
Posts: 3,796
Originally Posted by sunil View Post
Do you think AA could find the voice recording of my call ?

Sunil
You should call and talk to them, escalate to a supervisor if need be. I once had a situation where I was materially misled by a phone agent, I explained what I had been told, when I'd called before, etc., and it was all fixed up while I waited on hold for a while.

(My situation was that I had booked a roundtrip ticket and called to pay the difference to upgrade my outbound flight to F, I paid the difference -- but it turned out that the agent replaced my roundtrip with a ticket for only a one-way outbound in F, even though my online reservation appeared to remain intact. I traveled outbound but was unable to check in for the return and was told I'd changed & canceled it and the return would now be $600 or whatnot, and they fixed it all up. Now, my small part of contributory negligence, perhaps analogous to yours in failing to read the fare rules, was that when I paid the difference in fare, I [though I had no real way to know] paid only the difference between my purchased rt Y ticket and a one-way F, removing the cost of the return Y leg, which was not too much at the time it was bought, but which was still something. But that didn't matter -- AA made it right.)

Good luck.
platbrownguy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread