I booked the wrong airport for my daughter and I need help!

Sarah McKeown was supposed to fly from Baltimore to Okinawa, Japan, after Christmas, a trip made possible by her mother’s Chase rewards points. But after receiving the tickets, McKeown realized that Chase expected her to do the impossible to make the flight: to get across Tokyo in just 3 ½ hours during rush hour.

That’s right, mom had booked the wrong airport for her daughter — a potentially costly mistake. Her case underscores the importance of double-checking your itinerary when you’re DIYing your travel reservations. It’s also a reminder that assumptions can quickly derail your trip when you are your own travel agent.

How she booked the wrong airport for her daughter

But first, let’s hear from Debra McKeown, the mom who inadvertently handed her daughter a ticket she probably couldn’t use.

As she explains it, her 22-year-old daughter planned to travel alone just after Christmas to visit her boyfriend, who is serving in the military in Okinawa. She’d booked her daughter’s tickets online with her Chase rewards points. A few weeks before her arrival, the boyfriend took a closer look at her itinerary.

“He alerted us that her connection in Tokyo is in two different airports, with only 3 1/2 hours to deplane, get her luggage and go through immigration, find the train or airport shuttle and purchase the ticket, travel 90 minutes across Tokyo to Haneda Airport, recheck her bag, and go through security,” she says.

Her flight arrives at 4:30 p.m. Let’s see how that looks on the train schedule.

Assuming half an hour to 45 minutes for customs, here are McKeown’s mass transit options.

She booked the wrong airport
It will take anywhere from 1:30 to just over two hours to get across town.

She booked the wrong airport connection.

Of course, Tokyo is one of the most congested cities in the world, so it could take longer.

Yeah, 3 ½ hours is cutting it close. Too close. This kind of itinerary should carry an enormous warning label. Actually, it shouldn’t be allowed at all.

Trying to solve the wrong airport case by herself

McKeown called Chase Travel to try to fix the itinerary.

“I asked what would happen if she misses her impossible connection in Haneda, and was told she’ll be considered a no-show and the return ticket will be canceled, making it necessary to purchase a new, one-way ticket for her return at a late date price,” she says. “This is impossible for us and completely unfair.”

She explained that the Chase site did not show that a cross-city transfer would be needed for this itinerary. When she compared it to ANA’s site for the same itinerary, there was a major difference.

“It is both highlighted and states, ‘self-arranged transfer between airports required’,” she says.

ANA was willing to make the change for another $3,000. Chase asked the airline to waive the fare difference, but it refused. At that point, McKeown felt she had no choice but to buy another ticket.

Who’s responsible for booking a ticket at the wrong airport?

Should Chase have more clearly disclosed the airport transfer? Of course. Should ANA have stepped up and helped a 22-year-old flying halfway around the world? Sure. But whose responsibility was this mess?

People, if you are booking your own airline tickets, you have to check the itinerary v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to ensure you are flying where you think you’re flying. There are no excuses (pick any from my famous deck of misfortune). Barely legal daughter flying solo. Boyfriend serving in the military. It matters not to the airline.

Don’t forget, you have 24 hours to cancel a reservation. All the more reason to check your itinerary as soon as you get it — not months later.

I tried duplicating the ANA itinerary on Expedia, the booking engine Chase uses, but couldn’t find any flight with a “you’re-on-your-own” switch in Tokyo. It’s unclear what kind of warning, if any, was given to McKeown before she finished her daughter’s reservation.

You can always contact one of the Chase executives listed on our site.

How we fixed this wrong-airport case

Our advocate Dwayne Coward reviewed the paper trail between McKeown and Chase. From the information we had, it appeared there was little or no warning that her daughter would have to make a mad dash across town to catch her flight to Okinawa. That’s not to say she wasn’t responsible, but still — it warranted a second look by our Chase contacts.

A few days later, we heard back from McKeown:

After the many calls and hours I have spent on the phone with Chase Travel, I was stunned that they called me this evening to apologize for the inconvenience I have been through and offer me $600 credit back on our credit card or award points.

I took the cash.

I also have the credit with All Nippon (at least that’s what I’ve been told) so I am pleased and, of course, very grateful that you advocated on my behalf. It’s unfortunate that I already laid out more money for another ticket for my daughter to travel to Okinawa, but since it was getting closer to the departure date, I felt it was the thing we had to do.

I don’t regret it one bit because I can enjoy the holidays and not be nervous that my daughter will miss the trans-Tokyo connection, be stuck overnight and have the remainder of her itinerary canceled.

Our team is happy, too. I can only imagine a 22-year-old American woman wandering the streets of Tokyo alone. A sequel to Lost in Translation no one wants. And I’m sure neither McKeown nor her daughter will ever push the “buy” button again before reading the itinerary twice.

Did Chase do enough for Sarah McKeown?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

Send this to a friend