How did a ticketing mistake cost this traveler $675?

When Krishna Addanki used the travel website ExploreTrip to reserve a flight to India, he relied on the site to correctly book him and his infant child on United Airlines. But when he arrived at the airport, a United representative told him that his child wasn’t booked on the flight – and he couldn’t fly that day.

Addanki’s experience is a reminder to travelers not to accept the word of a travel or ticketing agent that a ticket or other document “isn’t necessary” without checking it out for themselves – and making sure that they have everything they need to take their trips. Otherwise, they may not be leaving home, because having all required documentation is their responsibility alone, not the travel companies’.

Addanki purchased a round-trip ticket for himself and his child on United for a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Delhi, India, via Newark, N.J. He received a confirmation from ExploreTrip showing one ticket for himself and the infant. (We don’t have the baby’s name, age or gender.)

When Addanki tried to check in at the Charlotte airport, United’s agents refused to allow him to board, telling him that his child wasn’t ticketed. Addanki would have to purchase a ticket for the child. United’s agents also told him that he would have to call ExploreTrip and discuss the child’s lack of a ticket with its staff.

Addanki missed his flight and connections as he tried to straighten out the matter with ExploreTrip. He ended up staying at a hotel for two days before he could continue traveling to India. He called ExploreTrip from the Charlotte airport. Its agent promised him that ExploreTrip would compensate him for his additional expenses resulting from its ticketing error. These expenses included $675 for Addanki’s ticket change fees, baggage charges and hotel.

ExploreTrip ultimately issued Addanki a refund for the cost of the child’s ticket and promised to contact United regarding Addanki’s out-of-pocket expenses. But when Addanki tried to contact ExploreTrip after his trip to follow up on its promise of compensation, ExploreTrip told him that it would need to verify his information and that it would call him back.

But nobody from ExploreTrip contacted Addanki. He made several calls to ExploreTrip with no success: he was transferred back and forth between agents, he was put on hold for prolonged periods of time and his calls were repeatedly dropped.

When Addanki was able to speak to agents, they agreed that the error was ExploreTrip’s fault and promised to resolve his case after checking out specific details. Addanki was asked for copies of his receipts. An ExploreTrip manager acknowledged receiving Addanki’s documentation and promised to email him back, but did not do so.

Addanki then contacted our advocates, telling us: “I still have no answer from anyone to date and am tired of dealing with them and would want to take legal action if possible for their continued irresponsible behavior and collect a refund for my additional expenses.” (Our website has executive contact information for United; contact information for ExploreTrip is pending.)

ExploreTrip’s user agreement contains the following disclaimer:

We do not control or operate any airline, neither do we control or own any shipping company hotel or transport or any other facility or service mentioned on the site. We take care in selecting all the principles however but because we select them- we have no control on running them. We cannot be held responsible for any lack of service by any independent agency airline transport hotel or any other service provider.

United’s contract of carriage indicates that

Lap Children (infants under the age of two years):
In many cases a Ticket is required for an infant to travel on international flights even if no fare is paid. In addition, some international destinations may carry service charges. A USD 0 value or fee only Ticket may be issued for an infant.

Addanki is correct that he should have been told that he needed to purchase an extra ticket for his child before he went to the airport.

One reason for Addanki’s lack of success in securing compensation is that in addition to reimbursement for his actual costs, he is asking for $500 “to cover for his time and effort in dealing with all the agents and phone calls.” Despite ExploreTrip’s serious customer service failings in its telephone communications with Addanki, no travel company will issue compensation for lost time or inconvenience.

Another is that ExploreTrip told Addanki that its “role is limited until the ticketing and post [of the] airlines come into the picture,” which presumably means that it is waiting for United to approve and pay Addanki’s request for compensation to ExploreTrip, at which time ExploreTrip will release the funds to Addanki.

And finally, Addanki indicated that he would pursue legal action if he didn’t receive all the compensation that he requested.

Although our advocates reached out to ExploreTrip several times on Addanki’s behalf, we had no more success in obtaining a refund for Addanki for his other expenses.

We can only warn our readers: If you are traveling overseas with a baby, purchase a ticket for the baby, regardless of its age, and have an approved child seat for the baby to sit in. If you don’t do this in advance, then, like Addanki, you may be forced to do this at the airport to continue your trip. And purchasing tickets directly from airlines, as opposed to websites like ExploreTrip, reduces your risk of ticketing errors and experiences like Addanki’s.

Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

This site is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

This site is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

This site is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

This site is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

This site is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

This site is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

This site is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

This site is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

This site is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

This site is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

This site is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

This site is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

This site is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

This site is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

This site is underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

This site is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

This site is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

This site is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.