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

Fare Bucket availability for changes differs from new purchases

Fare Bucket availability for changes differs from new purchases

Old Jul 30, 19, 8:26 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7
Fare Bucket availability for changes differs from new purchases

I just finished an interesting call with Copa reservations, enlightening to say the least. I called to see what the penalty would be to change the return portion of a wholly unused ticket. The agent correctly pointed out that the entire ticket needs to be repriced from scratch, so that the add-collect would be the penalty plus the difference in fare. So far, so good. The original ticket was reserved in R class. According to Expertflyer as well as copaair.com, both segments could still be booked in R class. The agent went to check with the "changes department" and when he came back he asked for an add collect way above the penalty fee. When I asked the basis for the amount, he said it was the penalty fee plus the add-collect from a change in booking class; the new booking class on the outbound was booked in D class. When I pointed out that there is space in R class on both segments, he checked, and then went back to his "changes department". After a few minutes, he came back and said that "the changes department has no availability of R class, and just because you see R class available on our website or in public sources doesn't mean its available for changes." So there is now no transparent way to figure out what add-collect you will pay if you buy from Copa or their website, because the availability of a booking class for "changes" is not public and is different than the availability of that same class for "booking", i.e. it is whatever they want it to be. So this note is just to warn travelers that the airline is using unconventional (to say the least) methods of revenue generation with changes, and that if you are going to book with them, your best bet is to do so through a travel agency.
AdamPanama is offline  
Old Jul 30, 19, 9:41 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, SPG/Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,329
Sounds strange and to agree with you, wrong. Usually they use the historical prices if it's after departure but if you are changing the return they should be using what the R pricing was when you booked it and there was R then which is how they priced it to begin with. So the fee is mostly the cost. How much is involved - could be $500 or so I guess plus the fees.

R seems to be more scarce than D or I or C/J but if you can see it and it's not a married segment issue etc., it sounds like they are getting some extra dosh. It's also a round trip only fare so trying to reprice it as one way won't work ever. But they should know it's the other half of a RT itinerary and the fare rules don't seem to call for availability in R anyway.

This is why for CM and AV I use travel agents who are far better than trying to haggle with the people with the purses. Actually for every airline other than points I use a travel agent. Good luck getting this solved.
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Aug 14, 19, 9:24 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7
As things things were, I just told the original agent to ignore the question and leave everything the same. After a couple of hours blowing off steam, I called again. I told them I would like to buy an entirely new ticket, using the funds from this ticket, minus of course the penalty fee. I gave the exact same outbound, and the slightly altered return. The new agent called the "changes department" and the result was a penalty fee + an add collect of 8 dollars or so, which, when I gave her the OK to do it, resulted in no add collect. So "R" class suddenly appeared to the genius in the "changes department." Copa is an odious company to deal with. As I am Panamanian, and above 60, I am entitled to a discount (which they grudgingly give, as it's the law), but the online agencies can't work in the discount, and so I have to go direct. A pity, because their agents are the most incompetent and under-empowered I've ever seen, except perhaps for Aviancas. Ironically, their inflight service is better than most. On United, the 1K line is full of extremely capable agents who understand the rules and apply them logically. Their planes are full of awful flight attendants. On Copa, the planes are quite well catered and the attendants are quite professional, but the rest of the customer experience, particularly with reservations, is worse than vile. And God help you if there is a flight irregularity. Their staff is poorly trained, unmotivated, ignorant and stubborn.
AdamPanama is offline  
Old Aug 16, 19, 7:54 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, SPG/Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,329
Hence why despite 150+ flights on both Copa and Avianca I wisely stayed out of both of their frequent flier programs and only use a travel agent to book in the event of changes or refunds.

Service is good and connecting in SAL or PTY beats MIA on AA even if they may have more competent phone agents.

Shrewd job of beating them at their own game with the refund/rebuy gambit.

Is the discount worth the hassle?
ricktoronto is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread