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United Airlines refusing to refund me for a checked bag charge by partner in irrops.

United Airlines refusing to refund me for a checked bag charge by partner in irrops.

Old Sep 18, 19, 8:50 am
  #1  
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United Airlines refusing to refund me for a checked bag charge by partner in irrops.

Hello!

I booked a round trip via United.com from USA to Poland in August. When booking the flights, I noticed that my selected fare was basic economy that didn't include any checked bags. The website was advertising that for 120USD more I can upgrade to premium economy that included checked bags for both flights among other goodies. So I thought, great! I booked this ticket options for 120 more, and my receipt included that my 1st checked bags to and from Poland were a part of my ticket.

So my departure flight to Poland from USA was with Lufthansa(StarAlliance partner). They asked if I wanted to check a bag in, since they said my ticket included 1st checked bag. No issues, went to Poland fine.

Here's where the issues begin - my return. My original return flight was with Brussels Air and it got cancelled so I got autobooked with a Finnair Flight departing two hours later. Finnair also got cancelled, so they rebooked me with Polish Lot to Italy and then from Italy to USA I flew a Delta plane. With my flight finalized and wondering what the heck is going on after 5 hours of cancellations, I checked in at the Polish lot front desk. I get my boarding pass, and am told that I need to pay for my 1st checked bag(and only) because my ticket didn't include it. I tried showing them my United receipt, and calling United but the automated ETA bot said the wait was 2 hours long(I'd miss my flight waiting), so without much choice I paid for my 1st checked bag that totaled around 130USD to Polish Lot.

Upon my arrival home, I reviewed everything. My receipt clearly states that I had one checked bag under 50lbs/23kg for my arrival and departure. So I called Polish Lot, and they stated that when Finnair book with 'em that it included no checked bag. So I called Finnair, and they stated that when Brussels Air booked with them, they never included a checked bag. So I called Brussels air, which stated that when United booked tickets with them it never included a checked bag.

Next day I call United, explain how I called every airline that processed my return flight home, and how I finally got to the end of the chain with Brussels saying United never included a checked bag for me even tho my United receipt stated so. So the lady asks for my info, and confirms that I paid for 1st checked baggage to and from, and that my return ticket should have had a checked bag and that I need to fill out a refund form since United didn't do their part. Okay cool, I filled the form and they got a response today that basically said "sorry we didnt meet your expections, we hope to better serve you in the future" aka they aren't gonna refund/help me at all.

What should I do here? I'm running around like a chicken without it's head, should I just initiate a chargeback? To me it seems United is at fault because I paid for a "upper level" ticket that included checked bags, but then wasnt honored when they booked with their partners. I've tried calling, etc, no help here. I would do a chargeback against the original booking, since it was supposed to include the full services mentioned above but didnt. Wouldn't make sense to chargeback LOT since they didn't do anything wrong, they got the "wrong" details to begin with.

Am I missing overlooking anything? Any advice?

Thank you for reading!
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Last edited by Zealex; Sep 18, 19 at 9:00 am Reason: clarified chargeback reason
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:11 am
  #2  
 
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Welcome to flyertalk!


It seems you didn't pay UA, so ipso facto they can't refund you.


The rest is a bit of a mess. You can try writing to UA and complain that due to the way your ticket was handled during the re-accommodation you were charged baggage fees and you feel you shouldn't have been, and depending upon their view of what ticket and upgrade you bought, they may issue a credit to make up for it.


As a side note, 120USD seems quite cheap for a Premium Economy upgrade. Do you have an record of what was offered, especially re: bags?
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:13 am
  #3  
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Welcome to FT!, Zealax

With all the irrops and flight operator changes (including non-*A partners) appears the need info did not get passed on. Whose fault, no idea.

But agree UA should refund and/or provide an ETC to cover your cost.

Sometimes it is possible to provide too much information in the refund request that the agent gets confused and denies the request.

Suggest re-submitting and keeping the request very simple
-- Purchased a Basic Economy ticket (provide name, MP account, PNR, dates, and ticket number)
-- Changed the ticket to ticket with 1 bag included (provide UA receipt)
-- Due to irrops on return was charged bag fee (provide receipt)
-- Requesting a refund of the bag fee
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:14 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
As a side note, 120USD seems quite cheap for a Premium Economy upgrade. Do you have an record of what was offered, especially re: bags?
Yeah, that's not a PE upgrade. That's the difference between a Light / Basic Economy fare (no bags) and a regular fare (one checked bag).
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:26 am
  #5  
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Hi thanks for the welcome

I have the trip summary. My flight to Poland stated Premium economy and the remaining are all economy. Then just shows the checked bags included with the dates of the flights.

If United isn't responsible then who is? I mean I did pay United to book my flights, and if they booked it wrong with their partners then isn't it their issue?

This is such a mess :/

Thanks for the welcome!

I can try it again, thought i kept it very short the first time aha. Any suggestions if they deny me again?

I do feel this is United's fault. It's like hiring a agency to setup your birthday party which includes a DJ, but then you find out the DJ is extra cause the agency didn't pay yet your original contract has one.

Hopefully with some of the advice here I can figure out what the best way forward is!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 18, 19 at 10:22 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by Zealex View Post
Hi thanks for the welcome

I have the trip summary. My flight to Poland stated Premium economy and the remaining are all economy. Then just shows the checked bags included with the dates of the flights.

If United isn't responsible then who is? I mean I did pay United to book my flights, and if they booked it wrong with their partners then isn't it their issue?

This is such a mess :/
Did the purchased upgrade to premium economy only apply to the outbound portion of the trip? You say "the remaining are all economy" on your trip summary.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:34 am
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On a side note, I have status with UA, and sometimes book flights with HA as my first segment when leaving Hawaii, all booked on UA. HA is a codeshare not a true *A partner, but I still have to pay them for baggage. I don't consider that a big deal, but it does factor into my choices when booking. It stinks, but it is what it is. It sounds like this is similar which is why I mention it.

As others have mentioned, keep it simple in the email.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by Zealex View Post
Hi thanks for the welcome

I have the trip summary. My flight to Poland stated Premium economy and the remaining are all economy. Then just shows the checked bags included with the dates of the flights.

If United isn't responsible then who is? I mean I did pay United to book my flights, and if they booked it wrong with their partners then isn't it their issue?

This is such a mess :/
Re: irrops --

Your basic options are accept the rerouting and any incidental consequences, including monetary ones, or wait until they can replicate your original itinerary at another time / on another date.

Unfortunately, sometimes that means doing some very quick optimisation on your own to figure out what is best for you.

edit: Re: bags --

Try writing and say that due to how they fixed up your itinerary, you were charged extra bag fees, and you would like a credit to offset the charges.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:37 am
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OP are you sure you mean Premium Economy, or did you 'upgrade' out of Basic Economy into "regular" economy that includes a checked bag on TATL flights?

You didn't pay $120 checked baggage fee to UA that could be refunded, instead you paid $120 more for a higher fare that includes checked bag, but also included other things. So there is no separate "baggage fee" that could be easily refunded. It might be easier to get United to issue you a ETC (credit voucher good for future travel on United) for $100 - $150, rather than a cash refund, if you plan to fly United within the next year.

If you wrote the refund department (united.com/refunds), try writing customer service. If you already wrote customer service, try writing the refunds department.

You could try a chargeback on your $130 paid to LOT, and submit as evidence your receipt from United showing one free checked bag, but credit card companies tend to side with the airline, so I wouldn't bet on it.

Important note: depending on why your flight was cancelled you may be eligible for EUR 600 in EC 261 compensation, which, while technically not a refund, could take the sting out of your $130 checked bag fee. You'd file against the operating carrier that cancelled the flight, in this case Brussels Airlines. I don't know if there is a FT thread for Brussels, but see here for the United thread: Best Practices for Filing EU 261 Claims Against United?
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:37 am
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While the end will be a mess no matter what, I think it would help if you posted a few more details about exactly what happened.. especially because "premium economy" is an oft-misused term by the common traveller and does not often mean what "Premium Economy" does as a technical term.

You initially purchased a Basic Economy ticket from United, for travel on some mix of Star Alliance airlines.

- What was your original routing, and what were the operating carriers? Lufthansa does not fly from the USA to Poland (nonstop), and there is no Premium Economy cabin on LH flights within Europe.
- Who did you pay $120 for the ticket "upgrade"? When did you do it? How did you do it?
- If you know, what were the fare classes on the receipt for each segment after you paid for "an upgrade"?
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:38 am
  #11  
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Yes, the first thing I did when I bought the tickets was to ensure that my purchase reflected both sides.

The ticket shows both a checked bag for outbound, but also a checked bag for my return(with the dates listed of the originally booked flight)
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:53 am
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Your explanation is still incomplete in one sense and way, way, way too long in the other sense. In order to accomplish what I am suggesting below, you will need to reduce your concern to no more than 3-4 short declarative sentences and eliminate all the back-and-forth which has nothing to do with the issue.

UA will not refund the fees collected by LO. LO has the fees you believe it should not have charged and is the proper place to look. If LO does not issue the refund promptly and you wish to pursue it, you may initiate a chargeback for the baggage fees and also file a DOT complaint against LO (not UA).

Incidentally, it is worth looking at why the flights were cancelled. Unless all of them were cancelled for "extraordinary circumstances" you are due EUR 600 in cancellation compensation. You can only collect it from one carrier on one ticket, so do the research as to why the flights were cancelled. While this is not to the exclusion of the bag issue with LO, it may make it not worth your while to pursue.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:53 am
  #13  
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  • Original routing was with Lufthansa from JFK to Frankurt(Premium economy). From Frankfurt it was a Lufthansa(economy) plane. Original return was from Warsaw to Brussels via LOT(economy), then Brussels to JFK(economy). Logged into mileage plus to view rescheduled flight, return flight for lot(delta isnt shown) class says Y class.
  • I paid Polish LOT for the 120, since I had to check in with them.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:56 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
So there is no separate "baggage fee" that could be easily refunded.
Yes, there is. The OP paid the baggage fee to LOT. Someone should reimburse this, but there's no way to know who dropped the ball. From the description, however, the guilty party looks like either Brussels or Finnair. I don't see United having any culpability here.

Originally Posted by Zealex View Post
Original return was from Warsaw to Brussels via LOT(economy), then Brussels to JFK(economy).
That directly contradicts your OP. With contradictory information, there's no way to come to a reasonable conclusion.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 18, 19 at 10:23 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Sep 18, 19, 9:59 am
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I think the other complication is dropping out of the alliance and back in.

As another OP had a similar experience, and had to pay for checked bags in IRROPs when moved to a non-*A carrier.
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