More bait-and-switch madness: Fare isn’t fair on Sun Country

No one likes to see an airline in bankruptcy, except maybe bankruptcy lawyers. But the least you’d expect is for a carrier in Chapter 11 to honor a fare. Maybe that’s asking too much from Sun Country Airlines.

Here’s what happened to Betty Hackbarth when she tried to book a flight from Minneapolis to South Padre, Tex.

I booked a ticket through a travel agency for $266. I gave the agent my American Express card and printed the confirmation.

A few days later, I received a call saying that the ticket price had gone up to $455, and that I would need to pay a price difference. I said that can’t be, because my family can’t afford more, plus I already have the confirmation that it was charged to my credit card.

How can they do that?

I suggested that Hackbarth ask the travel agency for details. Why would a ticket price almost double after the ticket was issued? She did.

They said that the reason they couldn’t honor the posted amount is because Sun Country pulled their posted contract amount because they are in bankruptcy. Personally, I believe they are just blowing smoke, and should have honored the posted amount.

Maybe some of the travel agents who read this blog can shed some light on this case. If a bankrupt airline pulls its contract rates with an agency, is it allowed to retroactively reprice tickets? Do passengers have any recourse when they do?

I think Hackbarth should contact American Express. Her card should offer some protection against this type of repricing — bankruptcy or not. Failing that, she may want to consider legal options.

And she definitely needs to let the Transportation Department and the Federal Trade Commission know what happened to her.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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