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UA award - minor change results in doubling of USA fees/taxes?

UA award - minor change results in doubling of USA fees/taxes?

Old Apr 30, 14, 7:57 pm
  #1  
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UA award - minor change results in doubling of USA fees/taxes?

I booked the following trip in January using United miles on LH/AC for July/Aug this year.

IAD - FRA (I), stopover, FRA - MUC (I), MUC - DXB (I), destination, DXB - MUC (X), MUC- FRA (I), FRA - YOW (I), YOW - IAD (X)

March 31st I noticed an open business seat on the DXB - MUC so I called up United to change my economy to business. I have no status with United. They changed it and said there would be no change fee (and no change in miles even after the devaluation). Today United calls and says I owe them $50.50. At first they say it is the change fee, then they say it is the difference in the fair, then they say it is the change fee again before finally the manager got on the phone and said it was a change in taxes and fees. I log onto my account and see that my ticket does say I owe more taxes and fees.

Examination of the new fees shows that the difference is the inclusion of a new US fee for $35 and the doubling of all other US fees.

Original fees:
Germany Air Transportation Tax $57.70
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00
Germany Airport Security Charge $25.60
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
Germany Passenger Service Charge $51.30
UAE Passenger Security and Safety Fee $1.40
United Arab. Passenger Service Charge $20.40
Germany Passenger Service Charge $57.70
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
UAE Passenger Information Fee $1.40
Total $235.50

New Fees:
Germany Air Transportation Tax $57.70
U.S. Customs User Fee $11.00
U.S. APHIS User Fee $10.00

U.S. Federal Transportation Tax $35.00
Germany Airport Security Charge $25.60
U.S. Immigration User Fee $14.00
Germany Passenger Service Charge $51.30
UAE Passenger Security and Safety Fee $1.40
United Arab. Passenger Service Charge $20.40
Germany Passenger Service Charge $57.70
September 11th Security Fee $5.00
UAE Passenger Information Fee $1.40
Total $290.50

When I pushed back to the manager that I didn't think the increase seemed right, he said I could see the fees for myself by making the same itinerary online and I would see the taxes and fees are $290.50. Well that itinerary cannot be looked up online and I thought before I waste another hour on the phone with United trying to piece together an itinerary, I would turn to the the smartest people on the internet! Does the increase in fees look right? Did something happen to US fees that I missed? Is it possible there is some sort of error?

Final possible factor is the infant in arms ticket I have for the trip. My son is ticketed on the IAD- FRA and FRA - IAD portion of the trip. Nothing about his ticket changed when I switched classes of service DXB - MUC. Is it possible the infant ticket has created a doubling of the fees?
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Old Apr 30, 14, 8:12 pm
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The September 11th fee definitely was going to (more or less) double (the more or less is because it depends on whether it's a one-leg flight or a multi-leg flight as to whether it's doubling or not), though I don't offhand remember when that goes into effect.

That was part of the year-end buget agreement reached in Congress.

I hadn't heard about any other fees/taxes doubling, though. You'd think that if that bill had doubled lots of fees/taxes, it would have been all over the news the way the (more or less) doubling of the September 11th fee was.

But obvously, if they increased the passenger count (that counts for taxes/fees) from 1 to 2, that could very well explain it. (But you'd think they'd be able to tell you that!)
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Old Apr 30, 14, 8:39 pm
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I did google fee increases after the issue came up and all I found was the increase at some point to the sep 11 fee. That is going up to $5.60 though, which is a number I don't see at all. I could buy an increase of pax count doubling all fees, but the totally new U.S Federal Transportation tax (don't know if it is a new fee, but I wasn't charged it the first time) for $35 is strange unless it is actually $17.50 doubled...?
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Old Apr 30, 14, 9:26 pm
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

"Final possible factor is the infant in arms ticket I have for the trip. My son is ticketed on the IAD- FRA and FRA - IAD portion of the trip."

Was there an airline charge (typically 10% of an adult fare) for your son's ticket? Totally free award tickets are exempt from the U.S. international arrival/departure tax ($17.50 each way); any ticket for which an airline imposes any charge triggers that fee, and one or two other U.S. fees, as well.
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Old Apr 30, 14, 9:57 pm
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Yes, I paid something like $280 for his ticket. Maybe the system missed the fees during the original ticketing and somehow caught it while processing different changes to my own ticket?
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Old Apr 30, 14, 11:30 pm
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Originally Posted by seth7467 View Post
Yes, I paid something like $280 for his ticket. Maybe the system missed the fees during the original ticketing and somehow caught it while processing different changes to my own ticket?
Wouldn't be the first time it's happened, and it's happened to me on other airlines as well. I believe the others are correct that the additional amounts are being imposed now for the infant-in-arms, even though they weren't before for some reason.
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Old May 1, 14, 12:25 am
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The infant should be a totally separate ticket with different ticket number. I don't think your taxes and fees should be combined with those for the infant.
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Old May 1, 14, 9:40 am
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Since this query appears to be specifically a UA issue, I've moved the thread to our United Airlines | MileagePlus forum where it will hopefully receive more knowledgable attention. I've also modified the title to more accurately describe the issue, and prevent confusion between references to US the country vs US the airline.

Note to responding FlyerTalkers: This post originated at the flame-free Information Desk — please reply accordingly.

Thanks for contributing, and good luck to the OP!

~Moderator, Information Desk

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Old May 1, 14, 2:26 pm
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Thanks, aBroadAbroad for cleaning it up and giving my thread a more clear title. There are so many abbreviations that it's hard not to misuse one from time to time!
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Old May 1, 14, 8:39 pm
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UPDATE: "hang up and call again" is the ultimate advice. I called back this afternoon for the fourth time armed with a little more confidence based on the feedback from this thread. This time I got a lady who seemed to speak English as her first language. This was helpful, but so was her actually taking the time to get everything straight.
When she ran everything through I ended up owing $2.10 due to a slight increase in German taxes (which she didn't know if they increased due to higher class of service flying into MUC or if it was related to new rates)
When she fixed everything she sent me new itin for both me and my son. That is when it became clear exactly what had happened. My sons ticket was $231 fare and $55 in USA taxes, the exact taxes and total that had been added to my ticket. For some reason when they changed my ticket they must have seen the lap ticket and added those taxes to me for some odd reason.
Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old May 3, 14, 4:26 pm
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Yeah, the taxes and fees on a lap infant ticket should be the same as for an adult ticket, but also should be on the receipt for the separate lap infant ticket (which should have a different ticket number). Many agents seem to get these lap kid tickets wrong and you do not want to risk trying to fix them at check in.
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Old May 4, 14, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by seth7467 View Post
I ended up owing $2.10 due to a slight increase in German taxes (which she didn't know if they increased due to higher class of service flying into MUC or if it was related to new rates)
Typically changes in foreign exchange rates cause these sorts of changes.
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