Missed check in and Swiss refuses to rebook

Old Dec 19, 18, 3:55 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
Missed check in and Swiss refuses to rebook

Does anyone have experience getting reimbursed for fare difference fees for missed flights on Swiss?

My parents were booked on lx 23 New York to Geneva and showed up to airport just 75 minutes before their flight. The Swiss queue was so long that by the time they reached the counter they were not allowed to check in (they were not allowed to skip the queue and being elderly they donít know about online check-in). Swiss declared them a no-show and canceled their return flight even with them at the airport before take off. They went to the Swiss agent desk to rebook and were told that they could not be rebooked because they had reserved on Expedia. They were told Swiss could not help at all. They called the travel agent who said they needed to call Swiss.

A few hours later I call and Swiss tells me that there is nothing that can be done because I didnít notify them before the flight took off. I explained that they did speak to an agent before the flight departed and were told nothing could be done. I finally get Swiss to rebook and they charge change ticket fees for going and return plus fare differences for both flights. For the two of them this was $1600. they had even paid $400 for extra legroom on their original flights which wasnít available on their rebooked flighths and Swiss refused to refund that as well.

My question is this - can an airline cancel your return flight and declare you a no-show if you show up at the airport before flight departure but after check-in closes?

ive missed flights before and generally get rebooked if there is availability on the next flight. Iíve never paid a fee anywhere near what Swiss charged. My parents are in their 80s and sometimes they have difficulty with travel. They are almost never late but combine NYC traffic, with my fatherís heart condition and a long line and this sort of thing can happen. Even if Swiss can technically throw the book at them, I donít understand why they werenít more helpful in this situation. The Swiss rep at he airport didnít inform them of their rights or who to contact or what to do. They simply said hey couldnít do anything for them. Then when I tried to follow up with Swiss later I was told that it was my fault for waiting so long to notify them.

What is is my best option for getting some of the fees reimbursed?
Lizzieroe is offline  
Old Dec 19, 18, 5:11 pm
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,971
Sorry, but there are some factual issues here which do not help your parents. I'll be blunt, because sugar-coating won't help them.

They were presumably traveling in Y (they purchased extra leg room). The LX check-in deadline at JFK is T-75 for Y passengers. Thus, even had there been no lone, they would likely have missed check-in and even a very short line meant they were definitely too late. LX recommends arriving 3 hours prior to departure. That is not a requirement, but it is hard to argue about lines and the like when you do not follow the recommendation.

At T-75, LX would have cancelled your parents' reservations. That happens on pretty much all carriers and is likely automated. What happens next is dependent on your parents' fare rules. If these were standard discounted penalty fares and all of this was caught before departure, they are subject to paying a penalty + fare difference to be rebooked. While it would have been nice of LX to have waived the fees or the fare difference or even both, it is entirely discretionary and not typical of LX to have done so.

The $1,600 is likely made up of roughly a $300 fee and a $500 fare difference x 2. You can look at the fare rules and assure yourself that the $300 is correct and also look at their original and new fare bases to figure out whether the fare difference makes up the rest. The numbers your parents were charged are certainly in the ballpark.

While I doubt that this will do any good, they should write (perhaps you can help) a clear & concise letter explaining what happened. But, they need to get the facts much more clear than in your OP. Arriving at the last second as you say they did would have been a problem for an Olympic athlete as much as for an elderly traveler. If the numbers are correct, theirs is a plea for mercy. If the numbers are wrong, then it is a demand for a refund.

Finally, I see the entire Expedia and who is responsible for assisting as a red herring. It doesn't matter and the fact is that when you called, LX helped out.

Not to berate you or your parents, but because this is a public forum, cutting deadlines too close is always problematic. It is even worse when someone is inexperienced and perhaps a little less able to sprint around. Better to take the carrier's suggestions than to show up as check in is closing and hope that there will be no line of any kind.
Often1 is offline  
Old Dec 19, 18, 6:25 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: PPQ/WLG/BKK
Programs: TG*G, Accor Gold
Posts: 7,301
...and a warm welcome to FlyerTalk and for your first post
nancypants likes this.
Thai-Kiwi is offline  
Old Dec 19, 18, 11:55 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: LH M&M, BA EC, DL SM
Posts: 3,077
I agree with most of what has already been said: being elderly alone is not a great excuse for getting to the airport way to late.

However, LX seems to be much stricter than many other airlines when pax miss their flights. A colleague of mine missed an LAX-ZRH flight due to a major traffic jam related to a fire on the road from Las Vegas to LAX (he had calculated a 6 hour buffer into the trip and still missed the flight) and LX just said he lost his ticket and has to buy a new incredibly expensive one-way. And this was the return portion of an F-flight in restricted booking class A. No flat tire rule on LX.
worldclubber is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 12:08 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Stoke on Trent, UK (MAN ), BUE, BKK, DBV
Programs: LH HON**,UA,BA.EK Gold,AV.
Posts: 3,812
Originally Posted by worldclubber View Post
I agree with most of what has already been said: being elderly alone is not a great excuse for getting to the airport way to late.

However, LX seems to be much stricter than many other airlines when pax miss their flights. A colleague of mine missed an LAX-ZRH flight due to a major traffic jam related to a fire on the road from Las Vegas to LAX (he had calculated a 6 hour buffer into the trip and still missed the flight) and LX just said he lost his ticket and has to buy a new incredibly expensive one-way. And this was the return portion of an F-flight in restricted booking class A. No flat tire rule on LX.
Any sensible pax would have travel insurance, so as long as one can demonstrate a reasonable attempt at being at checkin on time issues are covered, wouldnít help the OP though.
chris63 is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 5:32 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: LH M&M, BA EC, DL SM
Posts: 3,077
Originally Posted by chris63 View Post
Any sensible pax would have travel insurance, so as long as one can demonstrate a reasonable attempt at being at checkin on time issues are covered, wouldnít help the OP though.
One sure should, but many people don't.

Just found it interesting that some airlines have a so-called "flat tire rule" and some airlines, such as LX, do not.
chris63 likes this.
worldclubber is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 7:06 am
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,971
Originally Posted by worldclubber View Post
One sure should, but many people don't.

Just found it interesting that some airlines have a so-called "flat tire rule" and some airlines, such as LX, do not.
This isn't even a "flat tire". The parents simply arrived at the check-in deadline. Perhaps they missed the fact that JFK is a 75-minute deadline in Y (60 minutes in F/J). But, there is no explanation provided for their tardiness. To be frank, one piece of advice for anyone who is a bit slower or less experienced is to simply allow more time.
Often1 is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 8:01 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,195
Originally Posted by worldclubber View Post
Just found it interesting that some airlines have a so-called "flat tire rule" and some airlines, such as LX, do not.
You know what else I find interesting? That Swiss takes this draconian view of passengers' tardiness, yet is almost completely unwilling to accept responsibility for its own failures of timeliness in the form of EU261 compensation.
snic is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 8:52 am
  #9  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,971
Originally Posted by snic View Post
You know what else I find interesting? That Swiss takes this draconian view of passengers' tardiness, yet is almost completely unwilling to accept responsibility for its own failures of timeliness in the form of EU261 compensation.
What causes you to say that? While generalizations on both sides of the issue are never accurate, many would tell you that once you accept that Switzerland is not an EU Member State and thus, while it has adopted EC 261/2004, it is not bound by CJEU precedent, that LX pays our under the Regulation as it exists under Swiss law exactly as it is required to.

The fact that Switzerland has not subjugated itself to the CJEU is not relevant to whether the OP's parents were on time at JFK.
airoli and trooper like this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 9:00 am
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG75K; Marriott Titanium; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 41,443
LX is brutally unforgiving about these kinds of things.

Most airlines would have waived at least part of the additional cost (change fees and fare difference). It's most unfortunate this happened on an LX ticket.
chris63 and worldclubber like this.
Kacee is online now  
Old Dec 20, 18, 9:08 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: LH M&M, BA EC, DL SM
Posts: 3,077
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This isn't even a "flat tire". The parents simply arrived at the check-in deadline. Perhaps they missed the fact that JFK is a 75-minute deadline in Y (60 minutes in F/J). But, there is no explanation provided for their tardiness. To be frank, one piece of advice for anyone who is a bit slower or less experienced is to simply allow more time.
My comment was not about this case in particular, but LX's unforgiving attitude in general.
chris63 likes this.
worldclubber is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 10:13 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,195
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
What causes you to say that? While generalizations on both sides of the issue are never accurate, many would tell you that once you accept that Switzerland is not an EU Member State and thus, while it has adopted EC 261/2004, it is not bound by CJEU precedent, that LX pays our under the Regulation as it exists under Swiss law exactly as it is required to.
I'm the first to admit I'm not an expert. However, based on years of browsing forums like this, it seems to be fairly widely agreed that extracting EU261 compensation from Swiss is far more difficult, and less likely to be successful, than for other European airlines.

Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The fact that Switzerland has not subjugated itself to the CJEU is not relevant to whether the OP's parents were on time at JFK.
That depends on what exactly you mean by "relevant".

If you mean "EU261 and Switzerland/EU politics is not relevant to an elderly couple being charged $1600 for showing up a little late", then I agree with you. That law, and those politcal arguments, have nothing to do with that happened to the OP's parents.

If, however, you mean "The fact that Swiss refuses to compensate its passengers for its own tardiness is not relevant to its demand to be compensated when its passengers are tardy", then I disagree with you. Why should I pay a fee to Swiss if I'm late, but they are not obligated to do the same for me if they're late?

From a moral standpoint, one is very relevant to the other, even if from a legal standpoint they are not.
Kacee and more4less like this.
snic is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 10:48 am
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 42,971
Originally Posted by snic View Post
I'm the first to admit I'm not an expert. However, based on years of browsing forums like this, it seems to be fairly widely agreed that extracting EU261 compensation from Swiss is far more difficult, and less likely to be successful, than for other European airlines.



That depends on what exactly you mean by "relevant".

If you mean "EU261 and Switzerland/EU politics is not relevant to an elderly couple being charged $1600 for showing up a little late", then I agree with you. That law, and those politcal arguments, have nothing to do with that happened to the OP's parents.

If, however, you mean "The fact that Swiss refuses to compensate its passengers for its own tardiness is not relevant to its demand to be compensated when its passengers are tardy", then I disagree with you. Why should I pay a fee to Swiss if I'm late, but they are not obligated to do the same for me if they're late?

From a moral standpoint, one is very relevant to the other, even if from a legal standpoint they are not.
I am not sure why you are injecting politics into this.

Switzerland is not an EU Member State. The CJEU is not its highest court of appeals. Thus, the opinions of the CJEU matter to Switzerland as much as those of the high courts of South Africa, Canada, and Australia. That is far from "political."

Switzerland, as it should enforces Swiss law and that included EC 261/2004 as interpreted by Swiss courts. That is far from "political."

Most of the rants on FT about LX are the result of complaints that LX paid out under Swiss not EU interpretation. That is far from "political."
Nick Art likes this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 10:52 am
  #14  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: ZRH
Programs: LX, SK *G, FPC, GA/AG
Posts: 1,467
Specifically Switzerland doesnĎr recognize rulings like the following: that a delay after a certain amount of time is to be regarded equal to a cancellation and therefore compensation is due. That mechanical issues are not to be regarded unforseen same as with usual weather.
Often1 likes this.
Nick Art is offline  
Old Dec 20, 18, 12:51 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,195
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I am not sure why you are injecting politics into this.
Whatever you call it, law or politics, doesn't matter. I'm talking about ethics, which are different from both law and politics.

I think you are arguing that LX follows Swiss law, therefore the fact that they do not provide EU261 compensation to the extent that other airlines do cannot be interpreted as reluctance to compensate passengers for the inconvenience they are caused. They are as willing as any other airline to follow their country's law specifying what that compensation is.

Yet, the fact remains that LX demands absolute punctuality from its customers. It also appears to be the case that, compared to other airlines, LX nevertheless compensates its passengers less when it causes them to be delayed. If you forget about the law for a minute, you will see that there is an issue of fairness here. The EU law was meant to address that unfairness. LX might legally get away with following a different interpretation of the law, but as a consequence, its behavior towards passengers is less fair than that of other airlines.
snic is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread