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Confirmed and charged flight, denied boarding, COPA

Confirmed and charged flight, denied boarding, COPA

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Old Jul 29, 19, 4:14 am
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Confirmed and charged flight, denied boarding.

I have just come back from the airport after 4 hours of trying to get my father on an emergency flight we booked this morning to see his 94 yo mother before a complicated surgery and am confused about my options. Earlier when we booked, we were asked to go to a copa office or email Copa a credit card statement and a copy of drivers license matching the name on the credit card statement because it was flagged by the fraud department. A few hours after sending the supporting documents, the charge hit the credit card so we thought nothing of it.

Fast forward to tonight, the flight is at 130am so we arrive around 930pm to make sure everything is ok. The initial CSR rep said the ticket was not paid. After showing the bank charges on the account, a supervisor comes out and says its out of her hands because the fraud department is closed and he cant fly out since the charge is flagged. I immediatley called 1800 FLYCOPA and was told to simply bring the credit card and its owner to the counter. 3 hours later im picking up the suitcase that had already been tagged and sent to the plane and the phone rep still says the counter can fix it and the counter says they cant do anything without fraud approving it, which they cant reach until the morning. Of course I could choose to rebook the flight paying $500 more than my original price and deal with the double charges with my credit card company later. Furthermore, the flight he is confirmed for is no longer available so on top of paying more he would get there 4 hours later, too late to see my grandmother before she goes in. Our other option is to "try again tomorrow".

Do we have any recourse in this situation? I feel the situation is extremely bizarre and had they told him before, the flight wouldnt be possible we could have rebooked elsewhere. My father was denied boarding from his confirmed flight which he was checking in for 4 hours before flight time and the best they could come up with is, "Just call in the morning and MAYBE he won't have to pay any extra to fly tomorrow."

Any suggestions?

Last edited by cnsoccer; Jul 29, 19 at 4:22 am
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:59 am
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I had a similar issue with an Asian airline, except my problem was that I lost the credit card used to book the flight earlier that day.... but their anti-fraud procedures required I show the card.

The airport counter offered the same solution. So I "bought" a 2nd ticket right at the counter with a different CC, and once I got back - I had to contact the airline. It took ~2 week and I had to fill out a form indemnifying the airline in case I somehow disputed a charge for a ticket in my name, attached to my passport (which they scanned).

In the end, the 2nd ticket was fully refunded. But I was required to carry the $2k+ USD charge on my card for ~3 weeks total.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 6:07 am
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Likely not much to be done here after the fact. Presuming that this was your credit card, do you know whether it was the card issuer (bank) which flagged the transaction or was it the carrier's anti-fraud software.

Might an alternative here have been to try a different card or to use the card to obtain a cash advance for the ticket from an ATM and to have simply paid COPA in cash (or with a prepaid card purchased at the airport with the cash)? Another approach would have been a three-way call between the counter, the call center and you. With one saying that the other could "clear" the flag, it would have been harder to maintain that with both on the line.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 8:44 am
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Yea I ended up calling support and handing the phone over to them and nothing was able to be resolved. In the end their response was this is the wrong department and you have to wait until the morning. Basically nobody could "clear" that flag. Buying the second ticket was not the problem. They would gladly sell us a new ticket for much more, but were adamant that was our desicion and said they couldnt guarantee the other charge would ever be refunded.

And yes, it was the airline flagging the purchase. The CC had no problems.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 8:53 am
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Start by checking that the charge really posted to the credit card (and when), versus just being a pending charge when you were at the airport. Your bank or credit card company might be able to tell you the time (and date) that the pending charge hit your card and the time that the actual charge posted. Some phone agents are very confused about pending charges (aka preauthorizations), so make sure that you're talking with someone competent who understand your question and what the difference is.

Did you ever get a ticket receipt showing a ticket number for the flight or just a reservation confirmation? This wold help you to determine whether a valid ticket was ever issued.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by cnsoccer View Post
Yea I ended up calling support and handing the phone over to them and nothing was able to be resolved. In the end their response was this is the wrong department and you have to wait until the morning. Basically nobody could "clear" that flag. Buying the second ticket was not the problem. They would gladly sell us a new ticket for much more, but were adamant that was our desicion and said they couldnt guarantee the other charge would ever be refunded.

And yes, it was the airline flagging the purchase. The CC had no problems.
I would have purchased the second ticket- and then disputed the charges. The dispute is NOT that it wasnt authorized, but it was forced on you by the vendors' incompetence. You had a ticket, a ticket number, it was charged to the card.... they refused to honor it.....it will be up to your CC company to back you NOT the airline.

Did you ask the CC, "if I buy anohter will you back me?"

People are fearful about guarantees around the charges- and as a result they get screwed.

I guess Im spoiled with AMEX....
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:32 am
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I did not ask the credit card company but I feel I should have done thst last night. Im currently on the phone with Copa and they claim they cant receive any emails from me. 🙄 And want to rebook me at new fares.

Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
I would have purchased the second ticket- and then disputed the charges. The dispute is NOT that it wasnt authorized, but it was forced on you by the vendors' incompetence. You had a ticket, a ticket number, it was charged to the card.... they refused to honor it.....it will be up to your CC company to back you NOT the airline.

Did you ask the CC, "if I buy anohter will you back me?"

People are fearful about guarantees around the charges- and as a result they get screwed.

I guess Im spoiled with AMEX....
And yes I will be applying for an Amex as soon as Im done with this ordeal. Silly me used a United card ....

Last edited by l'etoile; Jul 29, 19 at 10:07 pm
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by cnsoccer View Post
I did not ask the credit card company but I feel I should have done thst last night. Im currently on the phone with Copa and they claim they cant receive any emails from me. 🙄 And want to rebook me at new fares.
So it seems they never received your email with the requested proof that you emailed them? That would explain everything I am guessing. It would explain why only the fraud dept. could clear the flag.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
So it seems they never received your email with the requested proof that you emailed them? That would explain everything I am guessing. It would explain why only the fraud dept. could clear the flag.
Except that ive sent it from 3 different emails and they claim they cant receive any of them even resending right now and from different mail providers.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by cnsoccer View Post
Except that ive sent it from 3 different emails and they claim they cant receive any of them even resending right now and from different mail providers.
Not saying itís right, just that it might explain why they hadnít cleared the flag and why the airport staff couldnít do it without the fraud dept. getting involved. It sucks for sure, but it looks like that was the reason.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:47 am
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PS thanks for all the feedback and comments on this thread. I hope im not coming off as rude or entitled to any of the comments. Theyre all very much appreciated. 😊
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Old Jul 29, 19, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by cnsoccer View Post
PS thanks for all the feedback and comments on this thread. I hope im not coming off as rude or entitled to any of the comments. Theyre all very much appreciated. 😊
You arenít. Not at all. You were in a bad situation at a stressful time. I think we all hope you can get this resolved and get your dad on his way.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by cnsoccer View Post
Except that ive sent it from 3 different emails and they claim they cant receive any of them even resending right now and from different mail providers.
This alone might be a redflag, not that you did anything wrong. If a single vendor/client started sending me emails from 3 different email accounts I would have concerns. I only have one email account registered for UA for example, but if I started sending them emails from other accounts, but still claiming to be me I could see how this could be a problem until things are figured out.

So last minute ticket purchased from a USA based card (Chase in this case) wouldn't be any different than Amex, as it's not the card issuer that became concerned, it's the airline that did. I rarely book travel for others using my personal card, but when I do it's typically logical in that its from COS or DEN for example. If I randomly booked a ticket last minute for a random flight out of country for someone else I can see why the concern occurred.

Sorry a legitimate purchase on your part didn't allow your Dad to make it, but I can certainly see the automated system of airlines trying to stop this, as they are the ones that end up paying the bill. Both Chase and Amex actually do a pretty good job for the consumer. I'm happy with both.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 12:10 pm
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On the current facts, do not attempt a chargeback. Your father is flying that ticket and not only is there the risk that the return will be cancelled, but that it will be flagged as a fraud with your card issuer (bank).

Whether correct or not, if you can't verify that your emails were received, it would not be odd that the ticket remained blocked.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:06 pm
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After 2 hrs on the phone they finally conceded they received my emails. No chance at any compensation or even getting a better flight back to make up for the first day lost. Im still furious at the customer service but at least it looks like tonight he will be on the plane. Thanks for all your help to everyone who replied.
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