After a rough start to her Galapagos vacation, she can’t get an unused ticket refund

Victoria Ramirez’ Galápagos Islands vacation gets off to two false starts. Why won’t her online travel agent offer an unused ticket refund?

Question

I recently had tickets to fly from Tucson, Ariz., to the Galápagos, via Los Angeles and Quito, Ecuador. The Tucson-Los Angeles flights were one-way tickets. The Los Angeles-Quito segment was connected in our reservations. We booked all of the tickets through the Chase website, except the Galápagos tickets. I bought those through Mytrip.com.

I missed the LA to Quito flight because of flight delays outside of our control, which screwed up the Galápagos flight. So I canceled the flight ahead of time and attempted to reschedule for a fee of $201. Mytrip sent me four new e-tickets with flight information for a flight with TAME, confirming the reschedule.

But, two days later, when I arrived at 7 a.m, for our departure flight at 9 a.m., an airline representative told me I wasn’t “on the manifest.” It turns out my reservation had been canceled. I bought tickets with another airline for the next flight out, 5 hours later, for another $1,100.

I have contacted Mytrip by phone and email multiple times, requesting a refund for the rebooking fee and the one-way tickets, since neither service was actually provided despite being paid for. Any advice you can provide on how to navigate the rules and obtain a refund if entitled would be extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. — Victoria Ramirez, Tucson, Ariz.

Answer

Wow, what a mess! It looks as if you were self-booking and using a discount online travel agency to get from Tucson to the Galápagos. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you know what you’re doing.

Related story:   Caribbean Airlines promised a refund a year ago. Where is it?

Booking a one-way, unconnected ticket is a little risky, as you found out. That’s because the airline has no way of knowing of your connection unless you tell it. American wouldn’t know that you need to get to Quito. With your first flight delayed, LAX was your final destination.

If you’d worked with a competent travel agent, the tickets would have been connected in the reservations system — meaning that if one segment had a problem, the other airlines would find a way to re-accommodate you at no extra cost. As it turns out, you had to reschedule your trip and pay $1,301 more.

But who is responsible for the unused ticket refund?

It’s possible that some of the confusion is related to your airline, which allowed you to book unconnected tickets on the same itinerary. Certainly, your online agent bears some responsibility, although only for the flights it booked. And, of course, you made your fair share of mistakes.

Contacting your online agency, Mytrip.com, was the right first step. You can find the company’s English-language support page on its site.

Technically, you were not entitled to an unused ticket refund, since you made your reservation. But when I asked Mytrip.com about your reservation, it tried to help. It turns out you’d disputed the unused ticket’s change fee on your credit card. You asked your bank to lift the dispute, and the airline agreed to give you a refund for the change fee. Mytrip.com also says it checked with TAME, which gave you the unused ticket refund.

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 chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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