What does US Airways owe me for “ruining” my vacation?

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Complaints about being overcharged by an airline are a dime a dozen. But Shazia Shahid’s overbilling problem is not a dime a dozen. It is, strictly speaking, 141,140 dimes – enough to ruin her vacation.

Shahid’s case, which played itself out over several drama-filled days in April, begs the following question: Even if a company fixes a problem, is it enough, or are you sometimes owed additional compensation for a customer service meltdown?

Here’s what happened to Shahid: While checking in for US Airways flight 771 from Philadelphia to San Juan, she tried to pay $25 for her first checked bag using her debit card at the check-in kiosk.

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“The kiosk stalled and printed out a boarding pass for another passenger,” she remembers. “I alerted the attendant at the counter to this, who manually printed a baggage ticket and boarding pass. I thought nothing of the error and proceeded with my trip as usual.”

Ah, but something had happened.

Two days later, US Airways charged her debit $784 a total of 18 times, sucking $14,112 out of her checking account.


“Hundreds of dollars were also consequently taken from my account in overdraft fees because of this,” she says.

She adds,

I immediately shut down the card and investigated the charges. After countless hours of being on the phone with various US Airways departments — not to mention the countless time I spent on the phone with my bank — it was discovered that the charges placed on my account were cross-referenced to another reservation when I checked in my baggage using the kiosk in Philadelphia.

Essentially, when I paid $25 to check in one piece of luggage, I was actually charged over $14k in tickets from Boise, Idaho, to Cancun, Mexico.

You can imagine my astonishment to find that a kiosk for a reputable airline had such a major glitch that caused me temporary financial distress.

As you can probably imagine, having to shut down her bank account while away on vacation caused Shahid a little consternation.

“The last two days of my trip in San Juan were ruined,” she says. “I had no money, was unable to do all the activities I had planned, was unable to eat, and was under an immense amount of stress being so far from home with my bank account depleted.”

US Airways eventually fixed the problem and credited her money. It also refunded the $25 luggage fee. But she believes she’s entitled to more, and she pushed for it in numerous conversations and through social media. That resulted in the following “final” answer from the company.

Thank you for contacting US Airways through Social Media and for taking the time to speak with me today through Customer Relations.

I again regret that while checking in for your flight the kiosk used encountered an issue and mischarged you. This is an issue that US Airways takes very seriously and I can assure you that it has been reported and reviewed.

As we discussed, I have made sure to report these issues to our Executive Management Team as well as my Management Team. I know that I informed you that there was no compensation to be offered, however, I can offer to add 2,000 Dividend Miles to your account if you would please send in your DM account # I will add them for you.

Per our conversation the review is not something that is documented and this email is our follow- up of the review and conversation that was had. You should not expect any further communication from our office regarding this matter other than to add the compensation upon receiving of your account information.

So that’s it – they’re done talking to her. And frankly, I don’t think they’ll reopen this case for anyone without a subpoena.

You know, I’m normally happy when a company fixes a customer service problem and apologizes. That’s almost always enough. But sometimes more is required.

Charging Shahid $14,112 wasn’t just a little “oopsie.” It destroyed this passenger’s vacation. Her request to refund her airline tickets doesn’t seem that unreasonable, given the fact that she was left in San Juan for two days without any money, thanks to US Airways’ glitch.

Strictly speaking, US Airways’ contract of carriage doesn’t mandate any kind of compensation, of course. But who cares?

Did US Airways offer Shazia Shahid enough compensation?

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197 thoughts on “What does US Airways owe me for “ruining” my vacation?

  1. Well Chris, I predict that the ‘legalists’ on your site will see nothing wrong with the resolution, and the ‘humanists’ will find it lacking. Personally, I would NEVER EVER have a debit card linked to my bank account for this very reason. If I couldn’t get a real credit card, then I would look at Visa/Master gift cards in say, $100 denominations. Personally, I’m in the humanist camp, and think that the carrier is ethically/ morally wrong. At the very least, they should credit the OP with interest on the money for the number of days it had the $$$, just as a matter of principle. Their automated screw-up had consequences for the OP, so they might want to ‘man-up’ and address the fact that their kiosk machine harmed the OP’s vacation.

  2. At the very least they should refund the overdraft charges. The LW has a bigger issue. Banks maintain information regarding how you handle your account. With numerous overdrafts, that might impact her banking relationship.

    I would only recommend that in the future, the LW use a regular credit card or if she wants/needs to use a debit card, spread it around between multiple banks so an error such as this won’t completely drain all her cash.

    1. I’m assuming they did that. But this is exactly why I NEVER, repeat, NEVER use my debit card for anything other that to get cash from my bank’s ATM. In fact, I tried to get an ATM card with no debit feature and the bank refused.

      If she’d had have used a credit card, that 14 grand would have been THEIR money, not hers.

      I remember paying for an oil change with a credit card once. When the statement came, I’d been charged over $3500. Somehow the last six digits of the transaction # were charged to my account in dollars and cents. I was happy to just let the bank and the merchant fight it out.

      1. That last 6 digit issue happened due to a bug in the software one company was selling for transaction processing. Where I was working at the time saw this one customer repeatedly come into the store and buy hundreds of dollars in merchandise each visit. Turns out the last 6 digits of his card were 000490. So no matter what he bought, he got charged $4.90. And he was smart enough to close his account and leave the country before the bank caught on. I don’t think they ever recovered the money.

      2. You are correct! After reading all the horror stories about debit card fraud, I stopped using mine as well. I charge to credit card and then pay it off via on-line banking. Much safer.

      3. That’s my general rule, too. However, some merchants refuse credit cards. For example, at the Coach USA ticket counter at Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, the company accepts only ATM cards, and will not accept any credit cards.

        1. I would never use a debit card for travel; I have several credit cards for that. However, I do use my debit card at Costco – especially to buy fuel. That’s my only exception, and it’s because Costco doesn’t take credit cards except for American Express.

      4. Try Wells Fargo. They too told me they don’t issue ‘just ATM cards’ anymore, but when I pushed the issue…. bingo, just an ATM card. No Visa or M/C logo, no debit feature.

    2. If one does not have a credit card they could use a reloadable Visa card that would not be attached to a bank account. At the suggestion of a Chase employee I opened up a second checking account which I use for travel only. Or open up a savings account to use for travel only

    3. Could she go for a small claims court case to perhaps recover the cost of her vacation?

      I would guess that the bank has already refunded the overdraft fees since she didn’t make the charges herself. The card agreements mostly state that you’re not responsible for charges or fees made by unauthorized users.

      1. that’s what I would do. They will probably settle out of court. Big companies hate going to small claims court. She should sue for the cost of a new vacation and emotional distress.

      1. “Hundreds of dollars were also consequently taken from my account in overdraft fees because of this,” she says.

    4. Most people have only one checking account, but more than one credit card. The same thing that happened to OP could have happened to a credit card, but without the overdraft charges, and that card would be similarly out of action for the duration of the trip, just like OP’s debit card. But reporting and deactivating one credit card does not ruin the vacation, as losing one’s checking balance would.

    5. I agree 100%. Although hindsight is 20/20, and this is obviously far beyond the control of the LW, she she had just used a credit card for this trip, she could have avoided this whole mess. You SHOULD be able to use your debit card and not have a snafu arise, but it’s that 1 in a million chance of something going wrong that would spur me to use a credit card in the future. It’s not her fault, but I will never again book a hotel or rent a car with my debit card.

      Dave Ramsey tries to argue that you should ONLY use a debit card, which I think is terrible advice. Let the merchant go to bat instead of having your checking account drained.

    6. I ually pay rentals and hotels one way and then incidentals such as this with another method. Trouble is, i don’t think anyone could reasonably expect to be charged not just $25 multiple times, but hundreds of dollars multiple times.
      I am not sure how long she was gone, but the airline did ruin her last several days and caused her much emotional distress. I’m not one to pile on with the pain and suffering, but in this case i think asking a judge for an award would certainly qualify. I can’t imagine what I would be like being stranded far from home with no money in my account, no money in my pocket, and wondering how I am going to even eat for the next two days.
      I really hope the airline gave her lots of free snacks on her return flight.

        1. The charges she was given did not represent a contract. They were unauthorized, hence no contract. You cannot be given a one sided contract. For example, I cannot have you pay me $1,000,000 without your consent. Clearly, these charges were one sided. Also, where was the fraud protection on this? My debit card would have been screaming after about two or three charges in that short time.

          1. I’m not sure what you mean by a one-sided contract. All contracts require consent, either by words or actions. I’m not sure how that’s important here.

            In any event, she had a contract. The contract was that she would allow them to charge $25 and in return they would transport her bags. They breached the contract by charging more than $25 (a lot more)

            Accordingly, pain and suffering is not possible, as it generally ( but not always) requires a physical injury. Think of pain and suffering and physical pain and suffering.

          2. Did she consent to the $14K in charges? Each of those charges was a contract, correct? Each of those contracts were executed without her consent by US Air. That is a one-sided contract that was executed by US Air. And without a receipt even

            Is severe hunger a physical injury? What about dehydration? Is that a medical injury? What about the mental anguish of being without food or water in a tropical climate for two days? Let’s play a scenario: What if she was without money for two days in a land foreign land to her. So to get by for two days she stole food and water to eat? Is this the same? Could she just say “I’m sorry” and pay for the food later if she gets caught without extra penalty?

            What US Air did was criminal and should be charged with a stiff penalty. Honestly, I am not sure why more companies don’t do this. Intentionally overcharge a customer extra, then if it is revealed, just refund the charge and claim it was a glitch.

          3. Unfortunately, while certainly emotional, none of that is legally correct. Not even a little

            In order

            1 Did she consent to 14k? No she consent to $25. There is one contract and each withdrawal was pursuant to that contract. The remaining withdrawals/charges are a breach. Simple civil matter plus any statutory violations.

            2. Again, I would need clarification on what you mean by one-sided contract.

            3. Is hunger a physical injury? No. That’s stretching. It’s bad, but it’s not a physical injury. Classically a physical injury would require a physical contact. Plus, the OP can mitigate her damages, e.g. ask a friend to wire money.

            4. Dehydration. see #3

            5. Mental anguish (aka emotional distress). Generally requires a physical injury. There are some exceptions, none apply here.

            6. Foreign land. If her debit card works, so does wire, US Consulate, etc. She should mitigate her damages, i.e. do the whatever she would have done if she’d been mugged.

            7. Criminal. Absolutely not! All crimes require a violation of each element of a specific law, e.g. Penal code, Health and Safety code, US Code, etc.

            8. Because the financial system is based upon trust. If people did not trust their banks, credit cards, ATMs, etc, those products would fade as would the fees generated by them.

          4. Rebuttal to #1 & #7: So those charges were an extension of the original contract? You are really going with that? There were subsequent and individual charges independent of the original charge. These are exclusive events. If a person were charged more than they should in one event, you would have a correct analysis. The charges were mutually exclusive events, hence they are reported as individual events. They were performed without a consent and are individual acts of fraud. This is criminal and solely the action of US Air! Here is a scenario that you would have to agree is fraud and criminal: A person buys gas at station and that card information is used to make purchases online unauthorized by the card holder. (Note: This actually happened and people went to jail.)

            Rebuttal to #3, #4, & #5: Dehydration can lead to coma and death. It can happen in less than 3 days in an arid climate. Coupled with hunger and deprivation of food, could lead to organ damage quicker. Mental anguish is heightened by the lack of food and water. All three of these could REQUIRE medical attention. And given the lack of financial resources at the time, she could have felt compelled to avoid any other cost even if it is her life at stake.

          5. All wrong. You cannot make up law. Gas station case is totally different. Intentionality v. Accident.

            You also cannot ignore issues. I explained that pain and suffering generally requires a physical contact with the victim which caused the injury . No physical contact occurred here.

            Sorry, If I tried to argue that, i’d be disbarred.

  3. Depending on the laws of her state, I think it sounds like small-claims court time! Seriously, all they think she is due is her $25 luggage fee and a puny 2,000 miles? 2,000 miles is what you give to somebody that writes in complaining that the coffee on the plane was too cold! While her bank should have reversed any overdraft fees once the charges were fixed, any other fees, like if she had a loan payment that bounced, should be covered by US.

    To me, it sounds like she has a good case for having her flight refunded, along with the two days that were ruined (hotel, meals, etc.)

    Fiascoes like this is why I refuse to carry swipe-debit cards. One mistake, and your car loan, insurance payments, rent, etc. are all fouled up while you work on the problem. If you have access to any credit cards at all, use those and simply pay them off every month. If something like this happens, you always have your actual checking account to fall back on. And if you have two credit cards, so much the better.

    1. I actually asked my bank to issue an “ATM-only” card with no debit feature and they flatly refused. I might shop around and see if there’s a bank out there which will issue a straight ATM card. I doubt there is, but it can’t hurt to look.

      1. Yes, find a new bank. I have an ATM-only card with each of my two banks. Maybe it’s no coincidence both happen to be credit unions.

      2. I have an ATM-only card from Bank of America.

        I figured out a long time ago that I did not want a debit card, EVER. There were just too many horror stories like this one.

      3. Credit union. When a certain gang of scumbags, well-associated with the Old West, bought our local bank, they treated the customers like cows to be milked. I dropped ’em, and use the credit unions only. THEY put a lock on the debit card so that there’s no overdraft on it, and I put just enough on it to cover what I want to withdraw.

          1. I did, actually. But haven’t found another one that will do ATM only with no debit feature. I now have a separate account with an ATM/Debit card and I transfer money to only when going to an ATM to withdraw it.

  4. I actually surprised that the bank let that happen. My bank sees a suspicious transaction they shut the card down till they can contact me. I think that multiple baggage charges would at least raise a red flag.

    That being said, US Air owes her way more…

    1. Indeed — most debit cards have daily limits, usually under $14k. My credit union’s debit card has a $3k daily limit.

      1. Mine has $300. I like that. When I was in Bangkok and wanted to purchase an airplane ticket, using the credit card would have been an extra 3% charge. I e-mailed the credit union, and they unlocked the limit so I could get enuf for the ticket, and then they locked it back up again.

        1. There are different limits. One limit is the swipe limit which is usually in the low thousands. Then there is the cash withdrawal limit with is usually between $300-1000.

          1. Bank of America lets you set those online. I think the default was $300 for cash and “balance of account” for debit. Let me tell you, I changed that debit limit to a more reasonable level. Chase, I think, has the debit set for $5000 per day.

            Anyone with debit cards should check those limits and make sure that they aren’t too high for comfort.

            Something interesting to note: if the Bank of America limit is “balance of account” then it shouldn’t really be allowed to go over…

          2. Yeah, then there’s the indigency limit – I got only a few buckos on it at any one time. I don’t have overdraft, so any large charges will drain out the balance, and no more than what’s in there. Ergo, if someone manages to swipe my debit card, when they swipe the card, the swipe limit will be of no consequence, because I have instituted my own personal swipe limit.

        1. Interesting — are you confusing the “cash withdrawal” limit with the “charge” limit? My debit card with the credit union has a cash withdrawal limit of $500/day. But using it as a credit card, it is higher.

          1. Those who have used a debit card with me for travel purchases have had low limits and it hasn’t been based on age. If we are given a debit card to use, it is used as a charge. For me to accept a debit card is such a pain, I have considered charging a fee…but I haven’t so far. Due to past experiences, I tell clients, who cards I don’t keep on file, that if their card is a debit card, they must know their limit BEFORE I will accept it. That has worked so far.

        2. Not if you use the signature (aka Visa) side of it. It will be in the low thousands at least. The Cash withdrawal is usually between $300-$1000

        3. My cash withdrawal from an ATM is $500, but my daily debit purchase limit is $1500. I can call if I’m making a large purchase, like furniture, and give them an approximate amount and they’ll lift the limit for 24 hours, but I like knowing that if someone gets my card, their spending spree is going to be short-lived!

          1. That is what I don’t understand about the bank. There is a limit. Where was the fraud department on this?

    2. Yup. Credit union does also. My son went on business trip to Canada, and they flagged a purchase up there. Lesson learned: I send ’em an e-mail when I’m going away, and there’s no problem.

  5. I’m just assuming they also refunded the overdraft charges, didn’t they? What an awful experience. I don’t know about anyone else, but my vacations are far and few between and having this happen to me would have been devastating.

  6. So many lessons to be learned here…
    First, all airlines stink… some more than others
    Second, never use a debit card as a credit card while traveling and always carry a second form of payment in case of emergency. Honestly, this becomes “no big deal” if she just uses a credit card to cover her last two days and pays her self back from her checking account. It didn’t have to “destroy her vacation.” It should have been a blip she handled when she got home.

    All that said… You don’t have a major screw up like this solely of your own doing and not offer the customer something. 2000 miles isn’t even enough for the proverbial cup of coffee…

    1. It is amazing how many people have bought into the propaganda of banks that debit cards are the “better” way to make purchases and manage your finances. The only one debit cards are better for in the long run are banks which get billions in overdraft fees yearly when their customers forget to keep track of their spending.

      1. They also get to collect all the pin code fees a terminals. I can’t tell you the last time I used my debit card to purchase anything. One number I don’t want “in the wild.”

    2. The point about a backup form of payment is CRUCIAL. You should always have some emergency cash or traveler’s checks, or a backup credit card!

  7. I guess this is an example of why you should carry cash on your travels.

    Seriously though, the bank let all of those charges post? Mine would not. They should have refused all charges after the first one sent the account into a negative status. This of course depends on what type of relationship the LW has with the bank (i.e. lots of money in other accounts?) and whether or not the “honor overdrafts” option was chosen on the account as required under the recent debit card legislation. If you have chosen that option with your debit card go, run now, and have the bank turn that option off. Sure it means that occasionally your debit transactions might be refused if you don’t have the cash in your account, but you never get charged overdraft fees and you sure won’t end up $14K overdrawn.

    It is not mentioned in the article, but I really hope the bank refunded all of the overdraft charges as soon as it was made clear to them that the transactions were done in error.

    All of this is why a debit card should never be used for anything other than to get cash out of an ATM. Of course it is nice to have a spending stop in place with a debit card so you don’t spend more than you have (which apparently didn’t work for the LW and her bank), but when something like this happens you are totally screwed until the bank and the merchant work things out. Get a credit card and use it like it was a debit card. That is, don’t spend more than you have available cash in your checking account. It might be difficult to train yourself to do that, but in the long run it is the best approach because if a billing issue occurs, it is not your money that is tied up.

    1. Possibly the charges are under US’s floor limit which meant the bank did not have the opportunity to refuse them.

      1. I doubt anyone has a floor limit of $784. Most are under $75.

        More likely the airline sent the transactions in as force post/must honor items. These don’t require an authorization first. However, if it is for a debit card the issuing bank can immediately reverse the transaction which is the same end result as denying an authorization.

    2. This just happened to a colleague of mine recently. His debit card got compromised somehow and Russian hackers “smurfed” out the money in clever ways over the course of a week draining the account.

      This is why I have disabled all possible debit cards. When the bank offered me a combination debit/ATM card, I told them that I wanted an ATM only card.

    3. I don’t think it says she was 14K overdrawn. She may have had 10K in her account and so was “only” 4K overdrawn, or maybe less, which is why her bank let all the transactions through, as she had the money to cover, at least the initial ones.

      1. I wish that banks would simply reject the transactions instead of letting them through and overdrafting the account. It’s a real moneymaker for the bank in fees. She might have agreed to this with overdraft protection. I don’t know.

    4. When my father had his stroke he started getting massive amounts of over draft letters in the mail from Wells Fargo. It turned out he had multiple monthly charges for various services on his debit card, and because he was in the hospital, he was unable to transfer money from savings to checking to cover them. Every single charge resulted in a $25 over draft fee. Wells Fargo refused to honor my power of attorney, and it took 3 months and I had to hire an attorney before they would honor it. After the first month, they learned I was accessing the account on-line with my dads log on and they locked me out. By the time they honored the power of attorney, they had charged him just over $600 in over draft fees. They refused to reverse any of them. They had already pulled the fees out of his savings, so there wasn’t much I could do. My attorney though they intentionally delayed the power of attorney in order to collect more over draft fees. There also wasn’t anythgin we could legally do to recover the fees. I refuse to use Wells Fargo after this.

      1. And the banks argue that they don’t need regulation to control how they handle overdraft situations. I think your example is a prime reason banks need more regulation in areas like this.

        I agree that Wells wanted to keep the fees coming so they delayed allowing you access. After all, they knew the money was available in the savings account to cover the fees.

        1. Agreed. While I used to believe that regulations stifled innovation, I have really swung 180 degrees on that issue. The more I see what business do to consumers to make profit, the more I support regulations. It’s very sad that busienss aren’t mature enough to regulate themselves like they say they will.

          In my fathers case, they kept denying the PoA because of one word here, or one word there, despite it being the official state required form drafted by an attorney including a declaration from his Dr. stating that he is not competent to make decisions. Everyone else accepted this documentation immediately.

      2. I dumped Wells Fargo when they pulled that kind of stuff on me. They bought our local bank [which had been user-friendly] and started stealing from the customers. Adios!

    5. No, this isn’t why you should carry cash. In today’s world carrying lots of cash is foolish. This is why you should have more than one source of funds available. Having a credit card on hand would have prevented this from “ruining” her vacation.

      1. That part of my comment was sarcasm in response to a previous article by Mr Elliott about how much cash should you carry.

        I never travel without at least two different credit cards in addition to a debit card. I usually carry more cards just in case. While I know some people have situations which do not allow them multiple credit cards or debit cards, most people traveling for vacation should plan to carry multiple payment options with them.

    6. I have a ‘dummy’ bank account I use for day to day transactions, while most of my “real” money is kept in a money market account that has no ATM card attached at all. Once a month I write a check to the ‘dummy’ account from the money market account, and rarely keep more than $200-$300 in it. This way if a crook gets hold of the account number he won’t get away with much.

      Come to think of it, I actually have two “dummy” accounts – the second is kept in reserve for online sales I make using a popular auction site, since I have to attach it to Paypal. (No way I’m giving them my real account number.) I think it has $32 in it right now.

  8. Now THIS is the sort of issue I can get behind. Whatever the reason for the malfunction, the end result is that US Airways transported her somewhere far from home and left her with no funds for the duration of her trip. 2,000 dividend miles seems like a slap in the face when I’ve received three times that for less vexing customer service issues with US Airways.

  9. I have not read all the comments, but lets focus on US Airways as a company serving the public. To keep a customer after this, they should give her a load of ff miles to use, not 2,000. That way they engender her again. Whether or not a debit card should be used is not the issue.

  10. It’s ridiculous for commenters here to pass this off as Shahid’s fault for “not using a credit card”. No matter what form of payment is being used, it was US Airway’s fault for making those charges. It’s not any better if they had done the same through the credit card company. Had she been carrying just a credit card it’s likely those charges would have maxed that card out and left her in the same position.

    US Airways contracts with the software company that handles their payment processing. They are providing a service to the customer. If something goes wrong in the the process of dealing with a customer’s money, it’s US Airways’ fault.

    If US Airways were a class act they would refund her money plus interest, refund her flight, and give her a free flight as an added gesture. If they did that or similar, they might have kept a customer. It also would have gone a long way with travelers like us who see US Airways as a terrible carrier.

    1. Not saying it was the fault of the LW for using a debit card. It just would have not been the total disaster for her it turned out to be if she had not used the debit card.

    2. It makes sense to carry at least two credit cards in case if one card is lost, stolen, etc. when traveling. About 15 years ago, I was traveling in Canada on business and I was unable to use a credit card that was issued by Bank of America until I called them and told them that I was in Canada. I had other credit cards with me.

      I have two credits cards from Chase and if I use either one multiple times at the same vendor on the same day, it will put a hold on these credit cards. My other credit cards don’t do this.

      I agree with you on the compensation.

      1. I agree it makes sense, but because that is what you or I would do to try and prevent a risk like this doesn’t shift any blame on the LW for using a different mode of payment.

        That’s my point. Regardless of whether she used a prepaid card, credit card, debit card, PayPal, or whatever, it’s still US Airway’s fault for letting a massive charge like that go through and not having the systems in place to catch it beforehand.

        1. Let’s say the airline charge issue didn’t happen. What would she have done if an ATM ate her card and didn’t return it? What would she have done if the card got demagnetized and no one would accept it? What would she have done if any number of things happened which rendered her one card unusable? She should have had alternate payment options available to her. That is the point.

          1. But that’s a completely different scenario from what happened and what the point of this post is.

            This isn’t about a traveler failing to have other payment options, it’s about a mega-corporation draining someone’s bank account. That’s the problem. It’s US Airways’ fault for charging the LW *way* more than the contract that was made between her and US Airways upon purchase of tickets and purchase of baggage space stipulated.

          2. I agree that US should not have allowed the situation to occur. I also believe her bank should not have allowed the situation to occur. Both corporations should have had better checks in place and I hope both are working on ways to prevent this in the future.

            However, going far from home with only a single option to pay for expenses along the way was not the best option for the LW or any traveler in any situation. If she would have had one other card with her, the vacation would not have been ruined. Yes, she would have had to handle the problem with the overcharges, but she could have waited until she got back home to begin dealing with it.

          3. I don’t think this is about blaming the LW, but rather, giving prospective advice. What can she do to protect herself in the future so that she doesn’t suffer an unfortunately repeat.

            I forgot an ATM card in a machine once, of course on a Saturday night when I was traveling. I had maybe $2.00 on my person. Fortunately, my another bank had a branch in a grocery store, that was open on a Sunday. The next day, I had to drive 25 miles each way to get cash for my trip. Its not like you can tip the valet with a credit card.

            After that I learned to make sure I have at least 2 credit cards and 2 ATM cards on me at all times.

    1. Because its not consistent with the law. Legally the LW is not entitled to get her vacation refunded. Ethically, they should be bending over backwards to apologize, and nothings says sorry like ca$h

        1. Nope. She was very damaged. However, the law gives certain remedies for different types of damages and precludes others. Different types of damages have different characteristics. Her ruined vacation falls under what’s called consequential damages which are rarely allowable under American law.

          1. I remember vaguely the case of Nader v. Allegheny Airlines, where Ralph Nader was denied boarding by Allegheny Airlines, and he sued the carrier because, as a consequence of the carrier’s failure, he was unable to timely arrive at a fundraiser. I know Nader got a good-sized award, but I can’t recall if that award was based on consequential damages (and if so, whether consequential damages are statutorily permitted under the denied boarding regulations) or if it was otherwise.

          2. If that was true … we’d have airplane chasers like we have ambulance chasers …

            I can see the late night commercials now … “Were you bumped? Call us now! We don’t get paid until you get paid!!!!”

          3. Denied boarding compensation is a statutory scheme. His recovery might have been statutory damages, i.e. damages created specifically for a violation of a specific statute. Beyond that it would be the specifics of his case. I’m sure it wasn’t consequential damages.

  11. I can’t believe so many charges went through her Debit Card without raising any red flags. 14k in charges should have never gotten that far with her bank without some fraud monitoring! I agree that USAirways should do more than the luggage fee, however, the bank should refund all of the overdraft fees, since their fraud monitoring didn’t catch it!

  12. Note: This isn’t the “kiosk” that malfunctioned but probably the purchasing application that it was connected to.

    Sadly, in these economic times, a lot of companies don’t want to make investments in IT infrastructure and are eating losses because that’s easier to justify on a quarterly basis. If her debit card had been chipped like in Europe, this (probably) wouldn’t have happened. I say probably because I can think of ways that it could still happen, but it would be unlikely since each charge would most likely require the card to remain in the reader and for the customer to click on an acknowledgement.

    It’s not just about issuing out new cards but also rewriting much of the software and in the last 10 years, a lot of it has been written badly to begin with making rewrite even more difficult.

    The old mainframes that many gripe about actually were a lot more reliable. Most “mistake fares” that the airlines send out are due to operator error.

    “Computers don’t make mistakes. What they do, they do on purpose” — Dale Gribble

    1. I keep rereading that part about the kiosk malfunctioning and I’m skeptical. Kiosks don’t work like that. They don’t “cross-reference” other reservations. The software processors behind it, well, I can’t say. I know nothing about that. But having worked with several kiosks in my career, I have never seen one bring up the “wrong” reservation nor have someone pay for another’s fees.
      All that said, USAirways should be held responsible for the screw up to a greater tune than 2k miles.

  13. When it comes to the airlines, or any significant charges on things, I don’t use a debit card, ever. Her using a credit card probably would have prevented her vacation from being ruined and saved her a lot of aggravation. But I don’t want to blame the victim here. At a bare minimum, USAirways should also reimburse her for the overdraft charges on her bank account. She might consider talking to a lawyer -her last two days of her trip being ruined due to USAirway’s foulup might be considered “pain and suffering” and additional compensation may be warranted, although there has to be certain limits on that. She certainly can’t claim she was going to go skydiving, eat a seven course meal, go to the most expensive clubs, buy top-shelf rum and take a luxury boat tour all on the same day.

    1. You cannot get pain and suffering for a contractual issue. I haven’t researched this issue (and don’t plan on spending the time) but she’s SOL as far as forcing additional compensation from a legal standpoint.

      1. That I can see, this has nothing to do with any contract. A merchant’s system took a large sum of money to which it was not entitled. That, and only that is the issue. And because it did, she did indeed experience “pain and suffering”, as her plans fell apart due to failure of the system.

        1. On the contrary.

          She had a contract for them to take $25.00. They took 14k. Thus they breached the contract by taking to much. They had the right to debit her account, but they debited her account to much.

          To get pain and suffering one generally requires a physical injury to self or to a close relative, e.g. a spouse. This is a purely contractual matter and thus pain and suffering is strictly prohibited.

          1. I see it all the time on People’s Court – emotional pain and “suffering”. Or is that just Hollywood fake stuff?

            And, are you saying this is an implied contract? Because she didn’t sign anything …

          2. She signed a contract when she opened the account and another when she bought the ticket and a third when she tried to pay the luggage fees. That’s at least three contracts.

  14. This is why I never, ever, ever, use debit cards. Back when I was a financial systems consultant I went to numerous fraud prevention workshops, many form the consumer side as well. I also brought in many gust speakers when I thought personal finance. My #1 biggest takeaway is to never use a debit card, ever! This is a perfect example of why not to use a debit card. Had the OP used a credit card there would be no over draft fees, and the issue would be settled before she owed anything, most importantly it wouldn’t have impacted her vacation.

    My thought are, if this is a glitch, then US Airways has some serious issues with their system. However, could it be that the OP was skimmed? Someone hacked into the kiosk and stole her info and used her card for US Airways? If this is a glitch, then US Airways owes her at a minimum the over draft fees, and I do feel like they should give her something as a sign of good will to make up for her being in a foreign country, what they should give her, I dont’ know. If she was skimmed, then US Airways was bamboozled just as much as she was, and I don’t think they owe her. Either way, had she not used a debit card, she wouldn’t have been out anything.

    1. I do think she was skimmed or phished or something along those lines. Kiosks just DON’T work the way she is claiming. There is no “cross-referencing” of PNRs, plain and simple.

      1. That’s why I was thinking it could be skimming. Someone stole her info using the kiosk, and used it to purchase other tickets on the same airline. I don’t understand how the whole wrong ticket printing out could have ever happened though.

        1. Wrong ticket was probably left from the previous customer. Kiosks go crazy all the time, especially the ones UA uses, but I doubt it was the kiosk that generated the multiple charges.

        2. It was probably still in the printer tray, either stuck or left behind. We have that happen all the time. People leave their connecting pass or their receipt, or it’s curled up in the slot and they don’t see it. The next person grabs everything from the tray and all of a sudden they have someone else’s page.

  15. at a minimum, refund the airfare, then add in good will gestures such as miles, or something that is much more tangible.

  16. First the snark:
    1. Be a grown up and don’t use a debit card.
    2. Be a grown up and travel with more than one credit card.

    Now. UShizzways method of handling this was absolutely terrible. They scammed 14K out of this woman and are claiming a “computer glitch.” I wonder if they would be so understanding if a PAX grabbed $14K of their revenue and walked away with it, essentially holding it hostage for days during the “investigation?” Hmm. Probably not.

    So, I think they owe this person big time. No airline funny money. Give her the fare back and then $500. C’mon, UShizzways, show some class.

    (I know, I know, wishful thinking…)

  17. Oh, goody. It is the bank problem! No, wait, it is the traveler’s problem (who doesn’t know by now that the debit card …)!

    Obviously, it cannot possibly be the AIRLINE problem, right?

    And we wonder why we are treated like cattle when we fly …

    I was on the short end of the US Airways’ exemplary customer service once. My wife dealt with them in the aftermath and it wasn’t pretty. So, it stayed once ever since. What truly killed me in that story (of which details are truly not important) was that we got properly screwed for one BIG false step … we were insane enough to fly a carrier for which we didn’t even have frequent flyer number, let alone any status. We watched disaster play out in the front of us at Venice airport and with every step down the line starting to realize just how bad our situation is getting. Nothing you can do. Well, there was, but my wife forbade me to buy brand new one-way tickets on different airline. So, we stayed extra two days before we got another flight home.

    Of course it was all my fault – at least that’s what I get reading these comments. How dare I fly on the airline with which I have no status? Only an idiot would do that.

    1. On the other hand, being stuck in Venice would be an “oh please don’t throw me in the briar patch” type situation for many. 😉

      1. I understand 😉

        However, if you WANTED to stay two more days even in Paradise (and Venice is far, far from it), you’d have booked it that way. By booking flight back on Friday, that meant wanting to be home on Friday.

    2. Well, you can do everything “right” and still get screwed badly when it comes to travel. That sounds like what happened in your case because sometimes things just don’t go right.

      What I have learned from reading this site is:

      1. Don’t use US Airways when traveling (along with several other companies).

      2. Carry additional credit/debit cards when traveling.
      3. Don’t trust anything anyone tells you unless it is in writing on official company forms.

  18. Doesn’t this become a fraud once any business starts charging your debit card for more than the cost of services the customer agreed to while making the purchase? A ‘software glitch’ isn’t a valid reason to hide behind without paying fine for unintentionally ‘stealing’ someone’s money out of their bank account. I hope FTC has some sort of law prohibiting this. May be FTC should be involved in this case.

      1. The computer did what it was programmed to do. That is intentional, as the programmer told it to do it and the airline intentionally used the software. It is irrelevant that they say “Who, me?” It is negligence or intentional, and if they were a doctor or a lawyer who did it, they would have to call the malpractice insurance guys. They are using the “I’m big, you’re small, buzz off” defense. Disclaiming consequential damages can’t hold if there is negligence.

        1. So none of that is correct. Not even a little.

          Programmers make mistakes as do computers. That’s why computer crash.

          A little about consequential damages. Suppose I’m driving to the office to meet a high profile client who intends to retain me and make me very rich. You read end me. Because I miss the meeting the client hires someone else. Can I sue you for the potential loss? No. Absolutely not. This is a classic first year law school contracts question.

          Consequential damages are never permitted unless specifically contracted for or there is a specific statutory scheme authorizing them.

  19. Why do people use their debit cards in these types of situations? Sure, problems usually get fixed, but in the meantime your bank account is in shambles, especially problematic if you have auto-withdrawals for mortgage, car payments, etc. Lots of loose ends to tie up that could have been avoided by using a credit card instead. (If the OP doesn’t have one, maybe it’s time to get one for travel.) Regardless, I think 2,000 miles is far less than she deserves for her anguish, not to mention the potential credit report issues.

  20. On a recent trip to South America I only withdrew cash from ATMs located at banks. Unfortunately my card was still duplicated and a few days after I returned I got an early-morning call from my bank about dozens of repeated cash withdrawals adding up to a few thousand dollars. My money was returned quickly and I got a new card right away. However, a week or so later the scammer tried to do the same thing, and for some reason my bank once again froze all of my funds. A few phone calls and I once again had access to my money, but those few phone calls wouldn’t be as easy from overseas, I know.

    I won’t blame the OP at all for this situation, but I will say that I’ve found it very, very, very useful to have a second bank account located at a completely different bank from the one I use most often. Whenever I travel I top up that account with enough money to tide me over for a few days, just in case. And since I rarely need to access that money, when I get home it can become the beginning of my savings for my next trip!

  21. This is really simple, take them to small claims court and request a jury trial. If I’m on that jury, I hear $14,000, your machine, your fault. I’d give you whatever compensation you asked for in your complaint.

    1. You cannot request a jury trial in small claims court anywhere in the U.S. I believe the letter writer deserves more but that a court won’t award it to her because her time is not a recognized item of damages. She is only entitled under the law to get the money back that US Airways negligently deducted from her account plus any overdraft fees.

      This is why I use a credit card only except to withdraw money at an ATM and a few other chosen places and never for travel purchases.

        1. You would be wrong,

          Please consult Texas JP (Justice of the Peace) courts, small claims cases are granted a Jury trial, for a $5.00 fee.

          1. Your settlement offer would be declined. Texas is the largest state in the continental United States, you’re no where near 98% right and even if you were the claim that “You cannot request a jury trial in small claims court anywhere in the U.S.” would still be completely wrong. You are either a member of a group, or you are not. Even if you were American airlines is headquarted in Texas which means any claim made against them or their partners can be heard by Jury in small claims court of that State.

          2. Arithmetic…

            98% = 49 states without small claim juries divided by 50 states

            98%= (49/50)

          3. How do you know there are 49 that don’t allow jury trials in small claims court, you wrote before there were none, and you were wrong. This isn’t the senate where everyone gets two representatives, and each representative’s vote counts the same. Texas is the largest state in the continental US, and home to American airlines meaning Texas courts have jurisdiction over them and their partners.

            You just don’t like admitting you were wrong.

          4. Actually I merely agreed with someone. I admitted that I was 2% wrong. Since I prefer not to be pedantic, the point remains that it is rare for a jurisdiction to permit jury trials in small claims court. If you wish to prove me wrong, please feel free to count.

          5. Actually you proved, and I accepted, that it is wrong in 1 out of the 50 states. Good luck finding many more states.

          6. No, you agreed to an absolute statement of claim which I demonstrated was wrong, which makes you 100% wrong. Thats the burden of supporting absolutes.

          7. Now YOU are picking at nits, after Carver retrenched and clarified his intent to impart the concept of rarity of jury trials in small claims quarts.

          8. But in any case, the LW would be subject to a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, (JNOV) which occurs in civil cases when the jury ignore the law. Basically the judge overrules the jury.

          9. There are lots of ways a jury could substantiate that verdict “emotional distress’, besides magistrates don’t vacate small claims judgements, they just let the losing party pursue an appeal.

          10. A jury would have to ignore the law in order to find liability on an emotional distress cause under these facts. If the bank appealed, which they probably would, they would easily win on that cause.

          11. No they wouldn’t have to ignore the law, judges decide matters of law, and juries decide matters of fact, further, small claims appeals are heard by a new trial at the county court, since JP and small claims courts are not courts of record. Second, what would the bank have anything to do with this case, or did you mean “airline”?

          12. Sorry, airline

            It’s called jury nullification, i.e. when a jury ignores the law. It happens occasionally.

            Yes, even here in California, small claims appeals are a new trial in what we call Superior Court. I suspect that’s normative as small claims is not well suited for a traditional appeal. (No record, no adherence to rules of evidence, etc.)

            Unlike small claims, the judge would simply not allow a jury to consider emotional distress in a case like this, assuming a minimally competent attorney.

            The reason is that unlike small claims which usually has a certain wild wild west nature (e.g. rules of evidence don’t really exist), all the Rules and Codes are in full effect. One of which is that should someone plead a cause of emotional distress, it would easily be defeated on Demurrer, Motion to Strike, or FRCP 12b(6) motion (depending on the jurisdiction) and would be stricken from the case with the filing of the first responsive pleading by the Defendant airline.

            In fact, if the airline attorney is aggressive there are procedures to extract a financial penalty from the plaintiff and/or attorney for filing what would really be a frivolous pleading.

            At trial, the jury would never know that emotional distress was asked for by the plaintiff.

            Thus, there is little, if any, possibility of the plaintiff prevailing on emotional distress.

  22. I don’t like it when clients us a debit card as they don’t know their limits, their card gets denied, they have to call, tell the bank to approve the one time over the limit purchase. So based on my past experiences with clients using a debit card, how did this one allow so much to be deducted without a hold being placed on it until the owner spoke with the bank?

  23. Egads! The horror. Using a debit card when she could have used a Barclays Arrival card for 2.2%

    This is ripe for Small Claims court – will cost US Air more to defend than cost of giving her a few shekels, so they’ll settle. I suspect she’ll be able to squeeze them for $500.

  24. I think US Airways/American owes the women another vacation. Barring that, they owe her whatever fees she had to pay and the costs of the last 2 days of her vacation (vacation days, hotel, meals, etc). The poor woman didn’t have a relaxing vacation. She had a stressful time. This is why I don’t use debit cards.

  25. I have two questions here:

    1. Did U.S. Air pay her for the overdraft fees she incurred? It’s unclear from the article, but, if not, then the compensation is plainly insufficient.

    2. She wasn’t able to eat or do any of the activities the last two days in San Juan? Doesn’t she have a credit card? I get that maybe you can’t use your credit card everywhere, but surely she could have used one somewhere. I don’t think this really changes the fact that the airline clearly owed her, but comments like that make her story a little less reliable.

  26. I’m kind of torn here. On the one hand, this is REALLY awful. On the other, relying on only a debit card – or one card, period – on an international vacation is not a very smart idea. Quite often debit networks don’t work internationally (source: calling our bank repeatedly from Italy last year which had inexplicably denied my husband funds despite our telling it in writing well in advance we would be leaving the country). Plus, what if you lose your wallet or it’s stolen?

    American Express cards can be used at an ATM in case of emergency. Yes, I know Amex isn’t taken a lot of places, but carrying it for just this reason is IMO worth the price of admission – mine has saved my bacon more than once. (You’re allowed a one-time emergency charge – they give you a temporary PIN to use. This is in addition to the standard option of using your card for a cash advance if you know the PIN assigned to the card.)

    Regardless, I’d say they should offer her a free roundtrip ticket for a domestic itinerary to be used within the next year and no blackout dates. This was a pretty huge screwup on the part of USAir.

    1. Not just that, but they can advance you some funds to tide you over. I lost my wallet in Europe once. I had a friend in town who lent me some euros to get me through the weekend until I could get to the AmEx office on Monday. On Monday I got a $1500 advance and got to move on to Munich.

  27. Was she traveling solo? Is that why she “couldn’t eat”? If she had traveling companions, they suck for not even buying her food. *eyeroll*
    This is not a case of a kiosk “cross-referencing” anything, by the way. Someone got a hold of her card and made erroneous charges. This is how I see it after dealing with kiosks daily for nearly 10 years now.
    And I don’t care what card she used. 2k miles just seems insulting.

    1. If the transactions weren’t 18 identical charges of $784 all going to US Airways, I would agree that someone stole the card. In this case it does sound more like a system issue with their credit card processing software. And more than one US customer was probably impacted. But the rest probably used credit cards so were minimally inconvenienced.

      And yeah, I have chipped in to help someone traveling on a group trip with me when their cards stopped working and they had nothing to buy lunch with — and I didn’t even know the person before the trip started. You would think her travel companions, if there were any, would be able to buy her a sandwich or two.

  28. Doesn’t the US Embassy offer emergency loans to US citizens stranded abroad? No need to starve, if this could be arranged.

    1. Puerto Rico is part of the United States, last I checked. No US embassy or consulate there. You’re SOL on that one.

      1. Oops, missed the destination. The alternative, of course, is to have a friend or relative wire money to you. That would have mitigated the damages, and I bet the wire transfer fee could have been compensated along with the bounce fees.

        1. I can see the email to the friend now:

          “Dear Friend, I took a vacation trip alone to Puerto Rico and am stranded without funds. Please wire me as much money as you can to … ”

          Those emails go immediately into the trash. 🙂

          1. It’s like those scammer calls from the past few years, where someone pretending to be a grandson/nephew calls and says he’s in jail or some other kind of trouble, and you need to wire him money.

  29. Getting by successfully in life is learning through experience; sometimes your own, and if the experience is bad, hopefully by hearing the experience of others.

    One poster said he never uses his debit card except to take money from his ATM. That’s good advice. Banks often automatically replace their ATM cards with a debit card.

    Many years ago, a friend, who was a banker, told me debit cards incur a liability, even for those who use it solely for the ATM. At my insistence, my bank took back my
    unrequested debit card and issued one for the ATM. In a dispute with a merchant/vendor, having charged with a credit card give you protections that aren’t available with debit cards.

    1. It is. You can barely buy a magazine subscription with that in miles.

      I know status fliers who get more miles in the form of goodwill if their entertainment system in the air isn’t working.

  30. In this case – no sympathy for USAir. We’re not talking a “minor” accounting error here — they need to do more for this client – unfortunately, I think a court of law is her only recourse.

  31. It seems to me, Chris, that the COC is irrelevant. The issue she experienced had nothing to do with delivering her or her belongings to/from her destination. What happened here (if we have accurate information) is that a merchant’s system extracted funds from a customer’s account to which it (the merchant, in this case US Airways) was not entitled. Assuming US Airways compensated her fully for the withdrawals and overdraft charges, the remaining question for me is “Did they make her whole?”.

    What she lost while there could have been avoided/resolved in multiple ways as others have said. But again, to me, that is not relevant. She executed a travel plan that, while maybe not optimal, was nonetheless acceptable. After all, who are we (anyone) to say that she HAS to have backup plans IN ORDER for US Airways to go further in regards to her “pain and suffering”. She was unable to complete her plans (activities and meals) AS SHE HAD PLANNED because of a financial mishap on the part of the merchant. I see no malfeasance here, but it seems appropriate for US Airways to provide additional compensation given the severity of the incident ($14,000).

    So, I voted No, and would add “most certainly” …

  32. This is yet another example of US Airways poor customer service. I have historically avoided them whenever possible. Customer service is not just about enforcing a contract. We can only hope that the US Airways customer service executives will not be put in charge at American post-merger.

  33. What about her bank? Don’t debit cards come with a limit per day? I do not like taking a debit card from a client to use for travel purchases as 99% of the time, the limit is lower than what is being purchased and it is a pain on my part when the client isn’t aware of this. So many debit card users don’t know their limit or that there is one, which is suppose to protect you from what the OP experienced. Yes, there was a problem with US but her bank screwed up for allowing these repetitive charges to go through if they were over her daily limit.

  34. With USAA bank, I have credit/debit alerts set up. If I withdraw more than $100 from an ATM, I receive an e-mail.
    If I charge more than $100 on my credit card, I receive an e-mail. My Chase credit card will also alert me when a transaction exceeds $100.
    This is one of the best options if you are traveling. You immediately know when either fraud or multiple charges for the same item happen.
    Never, ever use a debit card!

    1. Agreed. And most have the technology for text alerts as well, which I use when traveling because SMS (text) messages come in via 2G, which is the same process for calls (that way you don’t need data access)

  35. The bank should have rejected the charge for fraud. A series of withdrawals of the same amount (or over the card withdrawal limit) should have triggered an automatic rejection, according to what my banker said. YMMV, but I am really surprised her own bank even allowed to happen considering how much protection they are supposed to have in place for fraud prevention.

  36. Chris, we need to start a “top ten stupid” list every year to recognize those companies who are beyond braindead. How could USAir do this to her? Cold, tired and hungry on your vacation? That’s terrible.
    Not sure that I believe anyone would be travelling with so few resources, but I suppose it happens.

    Travellers need to think about the worst before they leave home … only leave enough money in your bank account to draw on while you’re travelling, stash the rest of your money in at least 2 different places that you can access in case of an emergency. Stick $200 in twenties away in your computer bag. Get a credit card, better get two credit cards. Assume something awful will happen and have the resources to deal with it. Poor woman will never get over this trip.

    1. A piece of information is missing in this article. Did the lady have the money in her account or did her bank let her account be overdrawn? I am far more bothered by her bank than by US.

  37. You know, I though this was going to be another sob story and was tempted to not even read it, but this is a serious injustice and nobody should be treated that way. Offering 2000 dividend miles is an insult.

    My advice to US Airways is to make this right and compensate the passenger properly. They caused a lot of stress, lost time and damage.

    My advice to the OP is to turn off the overdraft protection on the debit card. That way, when the account runs out of money, it is a hard stop. I am not sure why she didn’t use a credit card, but at the same time, many people use debit cards. Having that overdraft protection shut off is a good idea. It is way too expensive anyways.
    With the online monitoring available, one can watch the balances a lot more carefully than ever before.

    I’m really sorry to hear that her trip was ruined, I imagine it was a lot of stress, and although it is not surprising that US Airways didn’t help much with this at all, I think they should. Maybe US Airways shouldn’t be allowed to process debit cards if they are going to have glitches like this…
    US Airways should also send letters to the bank, Chex Systems, credit bureaus and anyone else affected stating that the issues were their fault.

    Chris, I hope you are able to get her some proper compensation.

  38. 2,000 miles? Why bother? I’d tell them to keep them. One more case of complete lack of sensitivity on the part of US Airways. It is why for 14 years I went out of my way to fly AA living in the US hub city.
    My worst nightmare has come true.

  39. Is anyone else troubled by the fact that this kiosk supposedly charged the LW’s account for someone else’s tickets? And that it did it 18 times? And that it waited two days to do it? It seems like this should simply be beyond the design parameters of the machine, at least without some fraud going on somewhere. It seems like there exists some possibility that US Airways didn’t do anything wrong, that some third party hacked their machine, and if that’s the case, I don’t see why they’d owe her anything. I also don’t think they’d be very keen to advertise the fact.

    1. I also don’t think they’d be very keen to advertise the fact. – Fine, but what would it hurt them to give her a free trip on their a/c? They gave her NOTHING when she was stranded without funds in PR. That airline appears not to care about its customers.

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