My Aeroméxico ticket was wrong, and I don’t want to pay the change fee

Gail Creath didn’t confirm her Aeroméxico ticket was booked for the correct date, and the flight left without her. Although the airline was willing to reinstate her ticket for a fee, she didn’t like that option — we don’t recommend what she did next.

Question: Toward the end of December 2016, we made a reservation by phone with Aeroméxico, flying from Chicago to Oaxaca, Mexico, through Mexico City. The date of the trip was February 1, 2017. We were to return to Mexico City on February 9, and to Chicago on February 12. It was confusing for us to do this online.

The first week in January I called Aeroméxico to say I never received an email confirmation as I had been told I would. They informed me we had missed our flight on January 1. I told them I couldn’t have made it for then as our grandchildren were here until January 3, and my husband was scheduled for eye surgery Jan. 4.

We have used the customerrelations@aeromexico email and have called their number. I asked about recorded reservations and was just now told I had to continually call back until I hit the one in 10 call centers where the agent who helped us worked.

Looking at your website I tried all three emails listed. None would go through. We would still like to go to Mexico without paying a $200 fee when we didn’t make a mistake. Can you help? — Gail Creath, Lake Forest, Ill.

Answer: I’m sorry to hear about the error on your tickets and your struggle to get the problem corrected by Aeroméxico.

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Believing that booking online would be too complicated, you called Aeroméxico for help. After you made your airline reservation with the Aeroméxico reservations agent, the airline should have immediately sent you a confirmation. When you didn’t receive it, you should have immediately contacted Aeroméxico again.

Had you noticed the problem within 24 hours after booking your ticket, you could have canceled it and rebooked it correctly, without fees. After the 24-hour window, the tickets are subject to the fees that are imposed by Aeroméxico.

You told us that Aeroméxico didn’t send you the confirmation, and you didn’t call them until the flight on which you were booked had already departed. Although airlines are not usually willing to reinstate no-show tickets, Aeroméxico offered to do exactly that and charge you a change fee, in line with its stated fees.

You didn’t like that option, so you tried appealing to our Aeroméxico contacts, but no one responded. So you reached out to us.

Our advocate advised you that it was your responsibility to review your booking, and since you did not, the airline’s offer to rebook your tickets with its stated change fees was fair. She advised you to accept the offer. Although your attempts to appeal the customer service offer with senior staff at Aeroméxico had failed and our advocate said we wouldn’t be able to help, you still didn’t like the option.

So you did something that surprised us — you contacted Capital One and filed a chargeback.

Capital One reached out to Aeroméxico about the charge but didn’t hear back, so Capital One ruled in your favor. You then emailed our advocate to ensure we knew that the issue had been settled.

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I wouldn’t be too sure.

I recently wrote another story about Milton Dortch, who filed a chargeback against Delta Air Lines. It also didn’t respond to his credit card company, and the company granted Dortch’s chargeback. He thought his issue was settled, too.

But it wasn’t — Delta sent a collection agency after Dortch.

Chargebacks are at the disposal of consumers for very specific reasons, as spelled out in the Dortch story, and not noticing that your travel date was incorrect isn’t one of them. By your own admission, Capital One’s decision was by default. I hope your case doesn’t end as Dortch’s did, with a collection agency settlement, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if it does.

As a reminder to all our readers, once you’ve made your airline reservations, check your confirmations immediately, and if you don’t receive one, call the airline and demand one. You have a limited amount of time to notify the airline of any errors. And before you file a chargeback on an error you should have found, be sure your know both your and the company’s rights — and that you’re prepared for any consequences.

Michelle Bell

Michelle worked in the travel and hospitality industry for almost two decades. Born in Germany, she has lived in 15 states and two foreign countries, and traveled to more than 35 countries. After living and working in Southeast Asia for several years, she now resides in New Orleans. Read more of Michelle Bell's articles here.

  • sirwired

    $200 is indeed a cheap “out”; I would have gone ahead and paid it, and THEN continued the fight, so the only amount in dispute would have been a couple hundred instead of whatever it is these tickets cost.

  • Chris_In_NC

    If booking online is too confusing, then you shouldn’t be booking online. Use a travel agent then.

  • Alan Gore

    When you’re dealing with a call center in a foreign language, booking online is less confusing than booking by phone. That’s why in the old days when all airline reservations were made over the phone, you had to make another call before the trip to ‘reconfirm’.

  • y_p_w

    I dealt with corporate travel a few times. The company had contracted with American Express Travel, and all their agents were based in the US and I’d never spoken to one who didn’t speak in American English.

    I did have everything available to review later and the hotel had been booked for the next month. I guess I was a bit lucky I’d checked, or I would have been scrambling for a hotel room. Still – that wasn’t an overseas agent where maybe something was lost in translation, but just a mistake.

  • MF

    I agree that the change fee should be paid to avoid an even worse outcome, AeroMex got the date wrong, AND failed to deliver a reservation confirmation. Then the PAX should pursue the refund of the change fee, I’ll bet AeroMex could find the recording of this call, if they chose to. I hate to be the ‘one trick pony’, but again the PAX recording the call for ‘training & quality assurance purposes’ would have saved time, money & frustration.

  • greg watson

    I am so confused. The trip was booked for Feb 1st, but you were a no show how Jan 1st. Even with poor English, January & February sound nothing alike Also, anyone who has ever travelled would know that you need a confirmation no later than 48 hours. I am not sure who’s mistake this is.

  • Bill___A

    Agreed, pick the travel agent option. There are lots of things and lots of people who should use travel agents. Online is only good for certain things, and the phone is only good for certain things. They should have paid the fee. Now they have a chargeback and no ticket.

  • michael anthony

    I’d love to see all charges treated equally. The carriers have 24 hours, but many other purchases, including those with contracts, have 72 hours as the ability to change, without penalty. It’s not germaine to this case, but if we had one standard, say 72 hours, then the onus is on the consumer to make sure all us correct within 72 hours. Email can go into “limbo” at times, I have no other word for it. Heavy traffic, weather, who knows. Even Elliot, which comes every morning around 3am, sometimes doesn’t show and its not in the spam folder. But, it shows the next day, along with the new daily email. O

    Plus, online purchases have boxes u have to check. Like declining their extra insurance. It would be great if there was a box to check that to avoid charges, any corrections must be made within 24 hours. And if its done on phone, it should be part of the script. There a far more naive flyers than savvy travelers and making air reservations are not always done with ease.

  • The Original Joe S

    1] Free Sound recorder – always record the conversation
    2] Check the reservation. If it’s incorrect, complain IMMEDIATELY.
    3] If they refuse to fix it, send ’em a certified letter AND initiate a chargeback.
    4] If they send to collections AND you are in the right, subpoena them to small claims court – airline, collections agency, every guilty party.
    5] When they default again, impound their full airplane at zero-dark-hundred and refuse to accept anything but cash money for the satisfaction of the judgment. Attach the collection agency’s assets when you win.
    6] Be totally ruthless; they are.

  • cscasi

    How hard would it have been for this customer to have called Aeromexico’s reservation line an hour or so after having made the reservation and the confirmation had not been received; just to confirm? The number is readily available on their website (Call us 1-800-237-6639). Right away, he would have been told the date was not what he thought it was and the reservation could have been immediately corrected or cancelled and redone at no charge.
    People need to take responsibility for things and not always just “assume” everything is right.
    I am glad they redid her tickets and let her fly with only having to pay a fee rather than the price of a new ticket. Perhaps this will open her eyes for the future.

  • joycexyz

    Probably a case of the agent hitting the number “1” for January instead of “2” for February. Their error, but it’s up to the traveler to check ASAP.

  • jsn55

    Very tactful handling of this story, Michelle. It’s difficult to fathom how a traveller can not bother with the details, miss the flight, and then expect to be reaccomodated by the airline at no cost. I knew that a CC dispute would rule in favor of the customer if the vendor didn’t respond … but I had NO IDEA that they might come after the customer later. Perhaps if more people knew this, they would put a little effort into settling their issues and use a CC dispute as a last resort.

  • sirwired

    1) Look for the confirmation.
    2) If you don’t get it, look up your reservation yourself a couple hours later, and cancel it if it’s wrong.
    1) If you didn’t do any of that that, save yourself a lot of time and trouble and take them up on their offer of $200 to fix everything.

    Your elaborate suggestion of recordings, lawsuits, subpoenas, court hearings, asset forfeiture, etc. sounds like an awful lot of work to save $200. Though I suppose everybody’s gotta have a hobby…

  • The Original Joe S

    Yeah. Mine is making live miserable for toads who exist to shaft their customers.
    guy who impounded the airplane is/was a contributor to this blog. He
    confirmed his story. I like the story. It’s a story with a happy
    ending. It’s not a lot of work at all; it’s cheap entertainment
    considering the trouble one can send their way for their being
    dirtbags. Consider impounding the airplane. It goes nowhere. No room
    at the gate, so the next one can’t come in. This one doesn’t go to the
    next stop to pick up the next batch of PAX there. It wreaks havoc on
    their system timetables. All because they blew the guy off for a few
    hundred bucks. Stupid on their part; they messed with the wrong
    lawyer. Ha ha ha. One of my heroes.

  • Blamona

    In this case collections agency is appropriate

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