Ticket canceled at check-in without(?) cause

Old Apr 4, 17, 6:46 pm
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Ticket canceled at check-in without(?) cause

This is a kind-of curious situation and I'm wondering if I should follow up with KLM about it.

I was flying SFO-AMS-DUB last weekend and had booked a reservation for three people. One of the three (let's call him X) was forced to change his plans because of a business commitment that forced him to be in the US during dates which coincided with the trip. We were on paid fares, albeit nonrefundable. Trying to eke some value from this, I called KLM Reservations within 24 hours of the departure and asked if his ticket could be designated XTRA (as an empty middle seat in Economy Minus). The reservations agent deferred to airport staff.

At the airport, since X had driven the two of us who were flying, all three of us appeared at the check-in counter. As we were checking in and checking two bags, we started to explain the situation. The contract worker called over his supervisor who asked X sternly and point blank:

"Are you traveling?"

To which X replied: "No, but--"

"Ok." *type type type* *click click* "You can finish checking in now"

And she walked away. So we asked the original CSR what happened and he said she (the supervisor) canceled X's ticket. We asked to see the supervisor at SFO who reports directly to KL/AF. We explained what happened and asked if he would block the seat (since we'd paid for it and the contract supervisor had just canceled it without "cause"). He said that since the earlier AF SFO-CDG flt had been canceled and people were being rebooked onto KL SFO-AMS, the seat had already been filled he couldn't do anything.

After going through security (without X, who drove home) I asked the KL GA, who deferred to reservations. Reservations said that since there was no ticket in the system, there was no kind of designation that could occur, but HAD the ticket existed in the system, it could have been designated "XTRA."

So at this point, I've come to terms with writing off the cost of the ticket. However, I was reading EU regs on delays/cancellations/IDBs, and was wondering: even though by check in time the pax had no intent of flying, would canceling the ticket without hearing a request of the pax be "canceling without cause" and be a breach of contract or a cancellation that falls within EU 261/2004?

So I defer to FT, since I know you all know more about this than me.

Last edited by lesamuel; Apr 4, 17 at 6:50 pm Reason: readability
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Old Apr 4, 17, 7:00 pm
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When the passenger said they weren't flying, of course the agent cancelled the ticket. I can't imagine why you would think he wouldn't.

It would have been very unusual if anyone had granted a free name change to XTRA for the unused seat, and would have been entirely at the agents discretion and possibly against the rules.

Airlines count on a certain number of passengers not using their tickets, and often sell a few extra tickets in anticipation.

You are not due any compensation. The cancelled ticket may retain some value, so look into that. Usually the value requires paying a change fee or cancellation fee of several hundred dollars prior to it being applied to a new ticket.

Safe travels!
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Old Apr 4, 17, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
When the passenger said they weren't flying, of course the agent cancelled the ticket. I can't imagine why you would think he wouldn't.

It would have been very unusual if anyone had granted a free name change to XTRA for the unused seat, and would have been entirely at the agents discretion and possibly against the rules.

Airlines count on a certain number of passengers not using their tickets, and often sell a few extra tickets in anticipation.

You are not due any compensation. The cancelled ticket may retain some value, so look into that. Usually the value requires paying a change fee or cancellation fee of several hundred dollars prior to it being applied to a new ticket.

Safe travels!
Thank you for the advice, was just curious to hear what someone else thought of the situation.

Also, GO PACK GO!
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Old Apr 4, 17, 7:11 pm
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I suspect that with the cancelled CDG flight, KLM was looking for every spare seat possible to get people to Europe, so even with discretion, this is one of those times the answer would always have been "no."

Hope you can get some residual value out of the ticket!
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Old Apr 4, 17, 9:54 pm
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I can understand this left a bad taste in your mouth, but it does kind of make sense from an overwhelmed outstation crew working hard to get everyone home.

Hope your flight was a pleasant one!
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Old Apr 6, 17, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by lesamuel View Post
So at this point, I've come to terms with writing off the cost of the ticket. However, I was reading EU regs on delays/cancellations/IDBs, and was wondering: even though by check in time the pax had no intent of flying, would canceling the ticket without hearing a request of the pax be "canceling without cause" and be a breach of contract or a cancellation that falls within EU 261/2004?

So I defer to FT, since I know you all know more about this than me.
You can request a refund of the unused taxes for the ticket in question.

No compensation is payable; no passenger was involuntarily denied boarding. The ticket was not cancelled without cause - you told the airline that the passenger was not flying. Other passengers needed that seat.
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