That’s one fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into with your OneWorld flight

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When I read about flights like Prabir Mehta’s, I can’t help but exclaim: airline alliances! Curse you, airline alliances!

You might do the same when you read about his flight from Atlanta to Bombay via Amman, Jordan. They were tickets by US Airways and Royal Jordanian, both of whom belong to the OneWorld airline alliance. Mehta had booked them using his frequent flier miles.

Now, I should say right up front that I’m deeply skeptical of airline alliances. Sure, they allow frequent fliers to collect and redeem “miles” on reciprocal carriers, but they also give airlines broad permission to collude with each other. Too often, these alliances are good for airlines, but bad for consumers.

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And loyalty programs? Oh, don’t even get me started.

That’s my bias. If you disagree, have at it in the comments, but you are wrong.

Anyway, here’s what happened to Mehta. Two weeks before his departure, the connecting flight from Amman to Mumbai was canceled and he was rebooked 2 days later. His original flight had him overnighting in Amman, and since he was flying in business class, Royal Jordanian had agreed to cover his hotel expenses.

Bear in mind, though, that US Airways “owns” his ticket, so it has the final say-so as to what happens with the scheduling.

US Airways did not inform me of these flight changes despite having my e-mail address and phone number on file. I happened to notice there was an issue when I tried to pull up my itinerary on the US Airways Android app.

US Airways agents refused to give me any other options besides the ones I had been presented. I could either accept the new flights and dates or US Airways would cancel my scheduled trip. This, despite there being multiple US Airways and OneWorld partner flights to Mumbai on my original dates with seats available for purchase.

As a result of these changes, I had to pay for three nights’ stay in Jordan. Royal Jordanian refused to compensate me for the hotel stay, including the original one free night promised at the airport hotel.

US Airways agents could have offered travel vouchers, miles, cash to help me out but refused to do so. They could have rearranged my flights on other airlines but they refused to do so. I felt like a hostage with two bad choices.

Let’s take these one at a time. The scheduling — yes, US Airways should have notified Mehta as soon as possible. It’s not entirely clear why it didn’t. In terms of scheduling the next flight, that’s also up to the discretion of the carrier. Award tickets are based on availability. As of now, there are no rules in place that would allow a passenger like Mehta to select his replacement flight. US Airways can choose a new flight three days later, and he has to live with it.

Is that fair? You tell me.

Could US Airways have been more helpful? Based on what Mehta has told me, the answer is “yes.” But I wanted to get another perspective on this, so I contacted US Airways on his behalf. It responded directly to him by phone:

I got a call back from Wayne at US Airways customer relations citing your contacting US Airways.

Unfortunately, he was barely sympathetic and not helpful at all. I guess passengers who redeem miles are second class citizens.

He said that since this was a schedule change, there was nothing US Airways could do. He suggested that I contact Royal Jordanian, which I have already done. They pointed me right back at US Airways, since this flight was ticketed through US Airways. So I’m now without recourse.

I personally think it is absurd that an airline can get away calling a canceled flight a schedule change and not offering any compensation.

US Airways could have helped me out by either:

1. Putting me on one of the many OneWorld flights from ATL-BOM where plenty of seats were available for sale, or

2. Compensating me for my hotel nights and expenses. I am willing to accept miles, vouchers, cash.

Am I being unreasonable here?

I don’t think Mehta is being unreasonable. I mean, he earned those miles to get him from Atlanta to Mumbai in business class. As a loyal customer, you’d think he would be given extra-special treatment — not forced to languish three days in Amman to wait for the next flight with a mileage seat. But maybe I’m being idealistic here. Maybe miles really are as worthless as I’ve always said they are.

There’s one last thing I can do, but it’s a long shot. I can contact Royal Jordanian and ask it to help Mehta with a combination of miles or a voucher. But I’m pretty sure that the airline was just following its own rules, too, and shouldn’t be on the hook for three hotel room nights.

Should I mediate Prabir Mehta's case with Royal Jordanian?

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202 thoughts on “That’s one fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into with your OneWorld flight

      1. Eagerly anticipating an update! He should not have had to foot the bill for three nights at a hotel because of a flight schedule change.

      2. I was wondering if the LW actually booked a stopover in AMM and technically was not connecting. Normally, airlines will put you up in a hotel if you miss a connection but they won’t if you are originating from a city and still have to check in for your (next flight). The theory is since you are not yet in the airport then you can take care of yourself.

  1. It really sucks that the LW had to spend three days in Amman and incur those associated costs.

    But when let’s consider the alternatives. I’m assuming that US Airway can’t fly from Amman to Mumbai, so without the alliance and associated loyalty program, the LW would have been out the cost of a business class ticket which from Atlanta to Mumbai runs about 4k. I’m guessing that he didn’t spend 4k for the three nights so even though his trip wasn’t optimized, having the alliance and FF program where a net benefit to the LW, perhaps just not as good a benefit as it might have been.

    1. Perhaps this is nitpick, but you don’t need alliances to have interline agreements. And I don’t think there’s anything to stop a company from offering customers the possibility to use loyalty points towards purchases (including interline purchases) from non-alliance members (analogous to Priority Club’s “Hotels Anywhere” rewards).

      Of course the root issue in this case appears to be not alliances but US Airways’ customer-unfriendly and inflexible policies.

      1. I suspect that a formal alliance is, if not necessary, at least prudent as a flight booking is far more complex with far more diverse rules than a mere hotel booking.

        1. What extra protection, specifically, are you guaranteed because of the formal alliance?

          This case illustrates that you don’t necessarily have any right to be re-accommodated on available flights operated by other alliance members when something within the airlines’ control goes wrong. And the formal alliance doesn’t mean you avoid the back-and-forth finger-pointing either.

          1. lol. Sorry, Corporate attorney here. I’m looking at it from a legal perspective from the carrier side. How could they make it work, not from the consumer protection side.

  2. I think you should see if Royal Jordanian will offer vouchers or something for the 3 days in Amman. But I am again astounded that a LW accepted such a bizarre itinerary in the first place. I am a member of DL’s frequent flyer program. But I will pay for a ticket before flying such a wacked out itinerary. I am in ATL and fly Delta most of the time. I seldom fly anyone else domestically but do shop around for the best international fares. And I will not accept such a strange itinerary as the LW booked. I use miles a lot but draw the line at an itinerary that has me going out of my way to use those miles.
    And am I wrong for being in a loyalty program? No, because that is the carrier I fly most often. I recognize that DL is not loyal to me. I use the miles as soon as I get them. And I do not fly Delta when its international fares are out of proportion to another carrier going to the same destination on a reasonable route. I had business in Australia this year. I did not fly Delta because its fare to Sydney was much higher than that on another airline that was not a partner. I flew that other carrier, but did not sign up for the mileage program as I do not fly that carrier’s US partner unless it is my only possible choice.

    1. Thanks! I had to accept the changes (3 days in Amman and one extra day in Mumbai) because I had another non-refundable side trip booked from Mumbai to Hyderabad. I looked at last minute fares when I learned of the cancellations but they were sky high.
      I learned my lesson and my next trip is a paid fare ATL-AMS-BOM through Delta. Delta is not my favorite airline but atleast it will get me to my destination on time with the most direct routing. 🙂

      1. The ATL-ORD-AMM-BOM route does not have to be as bad as you portrayed it.
        It was “technically” possible to connect on the same day if seats were available.
        The problem is this flight RJ186 was being discontinued already. So now if
        you want to take a Oneworld route it will be via London on BA ATL-LHR-BOM (8683 mi.). How is DL’s ATL-AMS-BOM (8652 mi.) any better than the route via LON?

  3. Out of curiosity, if Mr. Mehta had used cash to book his flights, rather than award miles, would US Airways have treated him any better when the “schedule change” occurred? Would he have had any other recourse, such as being booked on any of those other flights with available seats?

    1. I don’t know the answer but my experience with USAir is that frequent flyer award flights are rarely available at times and to destinations I want. That said, I rebooked a flight from San Diego to Philly 6 hours before the flight and paid nothing for my change but $75 for my wife’s full fare ticket! One never knows — airline rules and fares are not for us civiliants to understand.

          1. Perhaps you should get out more. I have read here about, and have experienced for myself TAs that couldn’t do what I have in 5 minutes of search. TAs are, I’m sure, like personnel in any other field – the competence runs the full gambit.

            My sister has achieved excellent results with her travel agent in her small town. The one time I needed one, the email I received after two weeks showed clearly that the TA was not very good. Not only were my “must haves” ignored, but the TA was unable to find “any” cruises that met my criteria. I searched and within 5 minutes found a number that did. Sorry, but that’s not a good TA …

          2. Get out to where? I know many excellent agents and I am meeting some that are new that don’t want to deal with air, so those are not ones I put on my list. Yes, in every industry there are ones that are better than other. But there are also good and no so good clients, too. Keep in mind that consultants don’t work with every vendor, just like Macy’s doesn’t sell every line of clothing. Sounds like you were shopping.

          3. I was NOT shopping. First time on an ocean cruise so we went to the local TA in our small town. Our must haves were three destinations (in Alaska) and leaving from/arriving at Seattle. We “preferred” a cruise “around” Memorial Day, but didn’t specify a exact date or cruise line. TA came back with cruises that did NOT have the stops and claimed she couldn’t find ANY that left from Seattle or around Memorial Day. In five minutes – 5 MINUTES – I found a cruise on NCL with the stops we wanted leaving Memorial Day week from Seattle.

            So she couldn’t book NCL and/or find another cruise line with the three stops we wanted? That’s not “some being better”, it’s just BAD! If she didn’t work with some cruise lines, she should have revealed that and I could then have at respected her limitations.

          4. 2 weeks! YIKES – my clients ALWAYS get a same day response, even if it is just to let them know I am working on, and will have more information tomorrow. (Do a lot of international, so emails can cross – but I am a watchdog who ensures quick turn-arounds)

          5. We had expected that, because we spoke with her. My larger point was that she had a time to research and came back with cruises that did not contain our “must haves” and then stated she “couldn’t find” any with the parameters we specified. What to think then when I found the EXACT one we wanted in 5 minutes? I always give providers a lot of leeway, but this one was tough to think anything but either she didn’t try hard, didn’t listen, or simply wasn’t very good at her job (or at booking cruises). But one of the reasons we picked them was the sign indicating they booked cruises.

          6. Unfortunately, just because they indicate the book cruises, doesn’t mean they are familiar with them all. I know too many agents who only focus on what they sell the “most.” But if they took the time to learn more (I do training all the time), its amazing on what they COULD sell more of – BECAUSE they are knowledgeable. (Always interview your agent – best way to see what they know, how they work, and if you mesh well). 🙂

          7. Here’s an example of a “bad” TA. I wanted a business class flight to LHR. United had a direct flight for $5,500, AA had a single 3hr layover for $2,300. The TA never informed me of the AA option and actually berated me after I pointed out the AA flight.

            I’m sorry, I can afford a 3 hour layover, especially on a leisure trip, to save $3,200

          8. I never put down another TA. I don’t know what transpired between you at that time and in former bookings, if there were some. None of my good clients will connect even for that savings.

          9. IF I were to be one of your clients and I told you I was willing to connect on long intentional flights if the savings was $2000 or more, would you provide me those options to choose from? Or would you automatically still give me only the non stops?

          10. Of course I would. I provide all the fares, even to those who only like nonstop, even though I know what they will choose. I don’t make decisions for clients. I advise.

          11. That’s unfortunate. Every industry has good and bad members, despite their protestations. It does both the industry and the public a disservice to have no means of identifying the bad professionals within an industry.

            And I’m sorry if electing not to spend 3k to save 3 hours of a 3-week vacation precludes me from being a good client. And you wonder why I DIY.

          12. I didn’t say anything negative about your decision. I said I don’t know what transpired between you and your TA to know why all options were not presented to you. FYI, what you didn’t like, another might. That is what is questionable about ratings, such as Tripadvisor.

          13. None of my good clients will connect even for that savings

            Good clients wouldn’t make that decision. If you’re not a good, then you’re what….?

          14. Think you smoked it out there Carver. It’s about $$$. I suspect some TAs won’t offer the options (at least initially) that make them less money.

            Edited: should have said “less money”

          15. One fee charge to the client to do international tickets regardless of price of the ticket. Right now the word coming down the pike is that the carriers are tired of DIY’ers and the issues they cause, that they want us to start doing more issuing, so commissions are on the rebound. And, in an article in yesterday’s paper, brick and mortar agencies are coming back.

          16. How then, would you explain my experience with the local TA? She didn’t just “miss it” – she didn’t even honor my “must haves”. Otherwise she would have said she couldn’t find anything. She wasn’t a good TA.

          17. You are surprising me Carver…very unlike you. My good clients, are ones who have been with me for decades and know that nonstop is the best, but it is their dollar and after all these years they pick time over money.

          18. Generalizations. Can a good client of yours be one who prefers 1 stop to deplane, rest, and eat something? We do this frequently for flights over 3 hours.

          19. No one’s asking you to put them down. But you seem unwilling to acknowledge what is obvious to us – there are bad TAs, just like there are bad doctors, lawyers, technicians, managers, etc., etc,. etc.

          20. I acknowledge that there are people who work in all industries that are good and not so good. I also acknowledge that there are good clients and not so good clients.

          21. Nothing transpired. I told him that I was going to Europe for a three week vacation and I wanted a business class ticket from SFO to LHR and back. He came back with United at $5,500. I said, well AA is $2,300. He then told me that the United flight was non-stop. I said I appreciated that but this was over 3k in savings. He then proceeded to berate me, much as you just did, albeit your “good” client dig wasn’t nearly as mean, for being willing to accept a layover.

            I thanked him, declined to purchase the ticket, and that was the end of it.

          22. That is disappointing to read that you were berated. Nonstop is usually the preference, but ultimately it is your dollar and time.

          23. Unfortunately – perfect example. I always offer nonstops and the less expensive connections if available – and offer legacy carriers vs low-cost carriers if needed (Southwest, JetBlue, etc). I still leave the ultimate decision in my client’s hands, as it is their time, their money and their trip. That WAS a lousy agent.

          24. Sorry Bodega, I know few TAs who chose this line of work because “we can travel for free!” expectation…

            I had one that insisted that Pennsylvania was the best NY hotel…
            In another trip, she made me a hotel reservation in Rome downtown, inside the restricted traffic zone, even knowing I had rented a car – with her!!!

          25. ** EDITED **.
            As far as I know AA/US awards do not allow a stopover (they used to in US Gateways). USAirways used to allow stopovers in partner airline hubs. I re-checked and they still do!

            The AMM-BOM RJ186 usually departed around 8:30-9PM.
            Inbound AMM flights usually arrived before 5PM.
            If the LW had originally scheduled an overnight, then that would be more the 24 hours, thus constituting an international stop over (and not really allowed on a AA Award ticket).

            Bodega, USAir will allow the stopover still but AA won’t 🙂 Strange how the same, merged airline has different rules.

            Stopovers: Travel outside the continental U.S., Canada and Alaska

            You’re allowed one stopover per US Airways itinerary at a US Airways gateway or international destination, or in a partner hub city if you’re traveling on an award partner. US Airways hub/international gateway cities include Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Call Reservations for additional US Airways international gateways and partner hub cities.

            Anyway, he agreed to the original stopover.
            But when they cancelled the AMM-BOM flight, it essentially lengthened his stopover.

            I can understand being reaccommodated on a connecting flight. I am not sure what the rules are if you are coming out of a stopover. Maybe they are different. 🙂

    2. Yes, a paid ticket is handled differently than a mileage ticket. With schedule changes on a paid ticket, I can get my client on just about any flight. With a mileage ticket, mileage space must be available.

      1. I guess I should have had my morning Diet Coke before posting. If Mr. Mehta had *paid* for the ticket, would US Airways have notified him of the schedule change? Remember that he only found out by accident. Would the Customer Service person have at least pretended that he was a valued customer?

          1. Thank you for answering the question I asked originally and the question I really meant to ask. Now the only problem is that I’ve had enough Diet Cokes to get me awake, right around the time I should start slowing down for the evening! 🙂

    3. Depends on what was available to move him to. But just because you see “seats” still available on a flight does NOT mean there are “Mileage Seats” available, as the booking class is most restrictive. Which is why you at least ensure the tickets you get are on a carrier with a lot more options, and not as many shared flights. Would never have suggested this to a client.

      1. This is a repeat of what I posted in reply to @bodega3:disqus:
        I guess I should have had my morning Diet Coke before posting. If Mr. Mehta had *paid* for the ticket, would US Airways have notified him of the schedule change? Remember that he only found out by accident. Would the Customer Service person have at least pretended that he was a valued customer?

        1. Legally, notification can mean simply changing your reservation records to reflect the changes especially if travel is still far away. The airline does not necessarily have to call or email you.

  4. “That’s my bias. If you disagree, have at it in the comments, but you are wrong.”
    Ok, then….seems like this is really a dialogue. Seems about as open minded as (enter any seriously closed-minded entity here) to me. That said, if I was stuck in Amman, I would do a quick trip to Petra! What an amazing place!!

    1. That’s exactly what I did – made lemonade from lemons. Petra was lovely. 🙂

      The only difficult part was most restaurants/shops being closed due to Ramadan.

      And just in case anyone is wondering, I did not ask for anything beyond stay at an airport hotel and meals.

      1. Very cool! It was indeed one of the most special places in the world that I have ever visited (and I get around some!). Did you do the hike up the stairs to see the Monastery? In terms of Ramadan, indeed, this can make it a challenge but also people tend to be more chill during this time (partially cause they are so hungry all day 🙂 ).

        1. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it up to the Monastery but did see the rest of Petra. Beautiful country and very nice/hospitable people.

  5. I think Royal Jordanian would be a dry hole… They have already pointed him back to US Air on this once. They didn’t screw up the ticketing …. US Air did.

    Boy am I glad I don’t have miles in either the AA or US Air programs….

    1. I agree, it’s 2 weeks before departure, the hook is at US Air who should reroute him without any expense. It happened to me with Star Alliance and Skyteam, and no problem for rerouting.

      1. Again – depends on what is available for a MILEAGE seat – that space is restricted, and with code-shares, can be difficult.

          1. Bingo! And that’s the heart of the problem. “You didn’t actually PAY for this flight, so we’re gonna book you later when WE see fit”. You and others argue the CoC, while those of us who object argue right vs. wrong.

          2. I understand where you are coming from, but now you know that this type of ticket has restrictions. Problem is, nobody complains where everything goes as they wish it to, but when a glitch comes in, then they want it their way. You know, I didn’t whine or complain when UA told me it would be 48 hours to get me to my destination. In the end, a flight became available and I was put in first class on a European configured flight. I was very happy!

          3. That was your choice. Good for you. This OP didn’t whine – his time was more important and thus US Airways could have and should have bent over backwards to help him, since they cancelled the flight. Are we seriously saying that EVERY flight booked using rewards can be messed up and we just have to take it!

          4. And the counter argument remains – when airlines cancel a flight they should be obligated to re-book passengers ASAP using available seats, regardless of how the original seats were obtained. Otherwise FF miles are questionable at best.

          5. That is you opinion but the airlines run their own business and have their rules for various types of tickets. There is no law regarding this. So are you wanting government regulation…again?

          6. I assume by “regulation … again” you mean the full regulation we had prior to 1978. The answer to that is no. But when a business becomes abusive or unfair to it’s clients (except for reasons of conscience), regulation may be the only remedy. Airlines offer loyalty points and then proceed to treat them differently than “real money”. The “if the moon is in the seventh house” kind of thing.

            In the process, and because they are the only option once tickets are purchased, they need to treat customers with fairness. To cancel a flight and then inordinately affect a customer’s travel because the original ticket was obtained using loyalty points is unfair and in my opinion absurd. If they are going to offer loyalty points, those points, once redeemed for a flight, should be treated the same as “real money”. Why? Because now the traveler is committed to expenses that are, at best, only partially recoverable and cannot truly be “made whole”. But that should not even be necessary.

            Regulation exists regarding flight delays and cancellations. This scenario would be a slight and simple modification of that.

    2. But it depends on what is available – so might not be as many options. Frankly, this was the wrong carrier to even look at – and would have explained that if it was my client.

    3. Update: After I initially contacted Mr. Elliott, I reached out to RJ a 2nd time. They are looking into the issue. Will keep you posted!

  6. I voted yes, its worth a try. I think in this case the OP is due something. I am actually shocked they wouldn’t re-route the OP due to the scheduel change. Scheduled changes happen, and sometimes flight are full. I understand if a flight is canceled and there are no available seats at all a passenger will have to wait, I also understand that award seats are not always available. But for irregular operations, IME airlines always put passengers in any available seat to get them to their destination. At the very least, they should reimburse the OP for the hotel.

    If you disagree, have at it in the comments, but you are wrong. Wow CE, I always thought you were more open minded than that.

    1. I believe he wanted to point out that the issue here is not whether loyalty programs are good or bad or stupid or genius or whatever. We already know how he feels about them, and that’s why he sort of brushed off that issue. I firmly believe he was at least half-joking anyway.

  7. Airlines, especially alliance partners, don’t think of award tickets as being ‘real’. Never use one for a multi-airline itinerary.

    1. that is really the main problem. if the op had paid for his ticket with money then i will bet you they would have had no issue rescheduling him.

        1. That’s why Chris is always saying that mileage tickets are virtually worthless and almost always more trouble than they are worth. Its basically the airline saying, ‘we don’t care that you flew with us multiple times to earn the miles, you are still getting a free trip from us and as such, we don’t have to do anything for you except eventually get you from point A to point B for free whenever we choose to do so.’

          1. Potato, potatoe, when you don’t understand ahead of time how everything works. Mileage tickets are not paid tickets and are capacity controlled, so mileage space usually has to be available for reaccommodation.

          2. What was not mentioned in the story are the thousands of time people flew a multi-airline award itineraries and everything happened perfectly.

          3. I’ve never flown myself on a mileage ticket, but I flew my (then military) husband home from Korea, FC on a mileage ticket and he still raves about how well he was treated. Around the same time frame, I also flew my son home from Hawaii using mileage points and there were no issues, although it was rather torturous for him (14 hours of total travel time w/ 2 layovers, etc…) I realize Chris’s bias toward mileage programs, and this was about 10 years ago, but back then, I couldn’t have afforded either of those tickets any other way (the FC miles were my Dad’s and he gifted them to me for use) so I was grateful that those dastardly mileage/loyalty programs allowed me to have my family together for the holidays.

          4. I have had good luck with reaccomodation because of schedule changes with mileage tickets on UA and CO.

            Once from IAH to LHR they put me on the next flight later that day. Once from EWR to CDG also ended up on next flight. These were the lowest level mielage redemption rewards for 1st class. there was no availability for rewards on the other flights. The airline put me on those flights. These were last minute changes due to the earlier flights getting cancelled and neither flight in either situation was full in 1st. I was a top tier frequent flyer in both programs at the time of the flights. Did everyone get on the next flights in both situations? Doubtful. Why did I? Just lucky Iguess.

          5. My experience is that it just depends on the gate agent as to how they follow the rules. I was on a ‘free’ agent ticket and was put up in a hotel, given meal vouchers when the rules on my ticket clearly stated I didn’t qualify for such. But for informational purposes, I always give the restrictions associated with the ticket as that is what should be expected, yet could be found to be circumvented.

          6. That’s true. There were slim pickings when I got the flights initially. But I played by their rules. The least they could do was to accomodate me in alternate flights. My flights were cancelled on both outbound and inbound segments. I had ticketed and confirmed seats on all segments through US Airways.

          7. I have been in your place on this myself. My flight was damaged upon arrival at SFO and it would be 48 hours until I could get a ff space on other flights to get to my destination.

          8. Sure, how it works, or reads in their disclaimer is usually along the lines of “we reserve the right to make modifications to your itinerary as it suits us (whenever we have to cancel a flight because we didn’t sell enough tickets) on whatever flight we can put you on that has one of the few remaining ‘mileage’ seats, if any, even if we only offer 1-2 such seats per flight and it takes a week to get you to your destination (and we will not reimburse you for any needed hotel stay in the meantime) or reimburse you the monetary amount you paid for these free mileage tickets.”

          9. It pays to read the rules before you get your ticket and ask questions at that time.

            Award travel

            If your US Airways flight is cancelled, we will re-route you to your destination. If your partner airline flight is cancelled, that carrier’s procedures will determine how you’re re-routed. US Airways is not responsible for any irregular operations, delays or cancellations by partner carriers

          10. I don’t agree with Chris and if you don’t understand how the program you are using works, then you are part of the problem if you complain.

          11. Not true – but in cases like these, where you are using an airline with limited options in the first place, I would not suggest using miles. Too many problems with an itinerary like this on various carriers.

          12. The CoC aside, isn’t the RIGHT thing for US Airways to book him sooner even with an upgrade since THEY cancelled the original flight. He can control his choices during the initial purchase, but once the airline messes things up, they own the problem (right vs. wrong).

          13. Exactly! They cancelled the flights 2 weeks before my departure, after I had arranged my vacation time, other travel arrangements at my destination etc.

          14. Award travel
            If your US Airways flight is cancelled, we will re-route you to your destination. If your partner airline flight is cancelled, that carrier’s procedures will determine how you’re re-routed. US Airways is not responsible for any irregular operations, delays or cancellations by partner carriers

    2. It was a confirmed ticket with assigned seats for all segments. They never say that your miles ticket is not ‘real’ in marketing materials, do they? 🙂

  8. “but you are wrong.”
    And so are you. 🙂
    Gee, it is really great to try and have a discussion with someone lacking an open mind.
    I am open to being convinced that frequent flyer programs and airline alliances are bad. So far I have not been provided with any definite reasons why that would be true.

    1. For me, I just saw one here. When a flyer throws his/her loyalty behind an airline and then attempts to use the loyalty points only to be treated differently because he/she didn’t pay “real money”, that’s “wrong”. Having paid “real money” to get the points, and having demonstrated loyalty, said flyer deserves better. All the restrictions the airlines have make the points much harder to use than they ought to be. Can they? Sure. Do they publish the restrictions? I’m told they do. Doesn’t make it right …

      1. There are a lot of things companies do that are not right. But they are allowed to because they are not illegal. Your choice to be their customer or not.

        In the case of a customer who is blindly loyal to an airline because of potentail rewards, that customer is a fool. And I agree that for this type of customer the programs are a bad deal (I have posted this statement in multiple responses on this web site over time). But for most of us the rewards you get are worth a lot. Not just the so called free stuff you receive sometimes, but real things like a round trip to the foreign destination of your choice. And who says the LW in this article is “loyal” at all (other than Mr Elliott in the article). He may have gotten the miles from a credit card promotion and had never flown with this airline before. He may live in a city where US is the only logical or efficient choice when booking airfare. None of this makes him “loyal.” I fly most of my miles on UA each year because they fly from where I live to most of the places I want to go. But I have no loyalty to them. i would be just as happy to fly Southwesr or Frontier or any other airline that gets me where I want to go efficiently and affordably.

        And as far as being treated differently because of what the ticket costs and how it is paid for, that happens with cash tickets as well. You can’t make me believe that a passenger who paid full fare for a 1st class ticket or even one who purchased a fully refundable economy ticket is not treated better when being reaccomodated than someone who got the lowest possible price from an online travel agancy. It happens that even cash paying customers are sometimes delayed days before being placed on another flight to their destinaiton. And even in this case if there were available tickets on other OneWorld partners, that doesn’t mean they were made available to US to put their passenger in those seats.

        1. The OP clearly states that he used “frequent flier” miles. Those ARE loyalty points. And he WAS delayed for 2 days even though seats were available. You don’t see the “wrong” in that?

          1. No where did I say that in this instance the LW was treated right. All I said was that airline frequent flyer programs are not totally bad as Mr Elliott believes they are.

            You would think that US would have placed him at least on standby for the next flight that had any seat available in the class he booked. Why would they fly with an empty seat when they can get him to his destination sooner than later?

            “Frequent Flier miles” are what most airlines call the points awarded from their affiliated credit cards as well as miles for flying. You can even buy miles directly from the airlines and never set foot on a plane if you want. There is no distinction when they are used as to how they were acquired. This is different than the other credit cards out there that offer to book flights for you on any airline using credit card points. And no I don’t know how the LW got his miles.

          2. It’s a slippery slope. Would it be ok if someone who paid $500 for their ticket is ignored by an airline but someone who pays $1000 is treated differently (assuming same cabin)? Shouldn’t there be a minimum level of care?

          3. It would be nice to have consistency at the airport on how things are dealt with, but keep in mind there are other type of tickets the carriers have than just ones passengers purchase or cash in their miles to get. There on priorities based on the type of ticket you have. Paying for a ticket is the best one and it goes down from there.

          4. Define seats. Seats in coach? Seats in business? Seats in First class? Where they frequent flyer seats? To be reaccommodated with frequent flyer space, then than class of service must be available.

          5. The article quotes the LW as saying there “plenty of seats were available for sale”. But no where is it mentioned if they were 1st, business, or coach seats that remained available.

            And airlines, if they choose, can put even frequent flyer redemption passengers on any flight the so choose as long as the person doing the rebooking has the right level of authority. I was rebooked by UA from a FF redemption ticket in business to a full F seat on Lufthansa when flying to CDG at no cost to me when the original UA flight was cancelled.

          6. If an agent doesn’t do things correctly, they do get in trouble. I am sure some agents have more authority on some things than others.

          7. Thanks for your feedback! In my case, there were paid business class seats available with US Airways, AA, BA etc. on the same dates with a different route, which I was willing to accept. Their explanation was that I had to retain the same route/partner airline or cancel the ticket.

          8. Did you read this about your ticket?

            Award travel

            If your US Airways flight is cancelled, we will re-route you to your destination. If your partner airline flight is cancelled, that carrier’s procedures will determine how you’re re-routed. US Airways is not responsible for any irregular operations, delays or cancellations by partner carriers

          9. I admit that I did not read the contract. I don’t know anyone that does. I am making moral arguments not legal ones.

            Further, this is an adhesion contract between parties with unequal bargaining power. You don’t need to remind me that I am a small pawn with no power or influence compared to a giant airline.

          10. Please, don’t pull a ‘oh whoa is me’ when you state you didn’t even read the rules. Did you have travel insurance? Trip delay might have helped, but it depends.

          11. Do you read the contract of carriage or rules every time you fly? I admit that I don’t.
            I assume you haven’t read Hamlet.:)

          12. The COC isn’t the same as the rules of the fare/ticket. Two completely different things. Yes, I read the rules. I sell airline tickets and assist with award tickets, so I ALWAYS read the rules and provide them to the client in written form. You booked this yourself, wrote to Chris, but didn’t bother to look this up beforehand? YOU, nobody else is responsible for knowing how to use your ticket when you handle the arrangements all by yourself. I am sure the review is due to the ping ponging that your have experienced between the two carriers, so with that, you have my sympathies and hope you get a decent outcome.

          13. That’s part of the problem. If you (the airline) cancel a flight, shouldn’t it be your responsibility (i.e., the right thing) to offer me the next available flight, regardless of class? Put me in first class if that’s what it takes, since YOU cancelled. The OP states that US Airways refused to consider other options – that tells me the OP would have accepted other classes of service.

          14. With a paid fare ticket the carriers will put you on any flight regardless of fare booked. Book Q class, a Q class seat doesn’t have to be available. But for ff tickets, they have different rules.

          15. And now you have validated Chris’s point – that the FF program is “wrong”. The point being that the airlines treatment of FF mileage customers is shameful. This is what leads to government regulations.

          16. I have always believed that less regulation is better (i.e. let a competitive market sort this out) but this experience may end up changing those beliefs.

          17. They aren’t wrong. They may not run how you and Chris want them run….so start your own carrier and ff program. I don’t like all the rules that the carriers have, but since I sell their product, I have to follow them and let clients know them.

          18. Book Q class, a Q class seat doesn’t have to be available

            Where is that rule disclosed to the general public? Where is the competing rule for FF tickets disclosed?

            Here is what the int’l tariff page on their website says (note they don’t define what “Class of Service” means)

            WHEN A PASSENGER WILL BE DELAYED BECAUSE OF A
            SCHEDULE IRREGULARITY OR A CARRIER CANCELS THE
            PASSENGER’S RESERVATION PURSUANT TO RULE 60
            (RESERVATIONS):
            (A) ANY CARRIER CAUSING SUCH DELAY OR IN THE CASE
            OF A MISCONNECTION THE ORIGINAL RECEIVING
            CARRIER(S), WILL TRANSPORT THE PASSENGER
            WITHOUT STOPOVER ON ITS (THEIR) NEXT FLIGHT,
            ON WHICH SPACE IS AVAILABLE, IN THE SAME
            CLASS OF SERVICE AS THE PASSENGER’S ORIGINAL
            OUTBOUND FLIGHT AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE
            PASSENGER; IF SPACE IS AVAILABLE ON A
            FLIGHT(S) OF A DIFFERENT CLASS OF SERVICE,
            ACCEPTABLE TO THE PASSENGER, SUCH FLIGHT(S)
            WILL BE USED WITHOUT STOPOVER AT NO
            ADDITIONAL COST TO THE PASSENGER ONLY IF IT
            (THEY) WILL PROVIDE AN EARLIER ARRIVAL AT THE
            PASSENGER’S DESTINATION, NEXT STOPOVER POINT
            OR TRANSFER POINT, OR
            (B) IF THE CARRIER CAUSING SUCH DELAY, OR IN THE
            CASE OF MISCONNECTION THE ORIGINAL RECEIVING
            CARRIER(S) IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE ONWARD
            TRANSPORTATION ACCEPTABLE TO THE PASSENGER,
            ANY OTHER CARRIER OR COMBINATION OF
            CONNECTING CARRIERS, AT THE REQUEST OF THE
            PASSENGER WILL TRANSPORT THE PASSENGER
            WITHOUT STOPOVER ON ITS (THEIR) NEXT
            FLIGHT(S) IN THE SAME CLASS OF SERVICE AS THE
            PASSENGER’S ORIGINAL OUTBOUND FLIGHT OR IF
            SPACE IS AVAILABLE ON A FLIGHT(S) OF A
            DIFFERENT CLASS OF SERVICE, ACCEPTABLE TO THE
            PASSENGER, SUCH FLIGHT(S) WILL BE USED
            WITHOUT STOPOVER AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE
            PASSENGER ONLY IF IT (THEY) WILL PROVIDE AN
            EARLIER ARRIVAL AT THE PASSENGER’S
            DESTINATION, NEXT STOPOVER POINT OR TRANSFER
            POINT, OR
            (C) THE CARRIER CAUSING THE SCHEDULE IRREGULARITY
            WILL REFUND IN ACCORDANCE WITH RULE 90
            (REFUNDS).
            (D) WHEN PASSENGER IS REROUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH
            PARAGRAPH (II) ABOVE, US WILL ENDORSE TO
            ANOTHER CARRIER THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE
            TICKET FOR THE PURPOSES OF REROUTING.
            […]
            (3) CHANGE IN SCHEDULE WHEN A PASSENGER WILL BE
            DELAYED BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN ITS SCHEDULE,
            CARRIER WILL ARRANGE TO TRANSPORT THE PASSENGER
            OVER ITS OWN LINES TO THE DESTINATION, NEXT
            STOPOVER POINT OR TRANSFER POINT SHOWN ON ITS
            PORTION OF THE TICKET, WITHOUT STOPOVER AT NO
            ADDITIONAL COST TO THE PASSENGER.

          19. I understand that this is the long-standing practice. I’m interested in the consumer (public) disclosure(s) documenting the relevant rules.

          20. Use a TA and we will get it for you. I don’t provide where things are in a public place, just that they exist. We have to have some secrets 🙂

          21. We’ve covered this ground before with US Airway’s fare-rule disclosures.

            You insisted that these are publicly disclosed but then you found that they are not disclosed until “*after* you book the flight and then you get a link for the rules.” And that they are “condensed compared to what [TA’s with GDS’s] have access to

            http://elliott.Org/case-dismissed-2/how-unfair-are-ticket-change-fees/#comment-811175245

            If a vendor claims that certain rules apply to a consumer transaction, then the vendor has a responsibility to clearly disclose those rules to the consumer *before* the transaction is completed.

          22. I had some time on hold today, so played online and found this the very first search out:

            Award travel

            If your US Airways flight is cancelled, we will re-route you to your destination. If your partner airline flight is cancelled, that carrier’s procedures will determine how you’re re-routed. US Airways is not responsible for any irregular operations, delays or cancellations by partner carriers

          23. And according to the article, Royal Jordanian says it’s up to US Airways.

            [Wayne at US Airways customer relations] suggested that I contact Royal Jordanian, which I have already done. They pointed me right back at US Airways, since this flight was ticketed through US Airways.

            The passage you quote doesn’t disclose a policy that:
            “With a paid fare ticket the carriers will put you on any flight regardless of fare booked. Book Q class, a Q class seat doesn’t have to be available.”. Nor does it disclose a policy that FF seats need to be available for award ticket re-routings under US Airways’ own procedures.

          24. Why? The airline cancelled the flight. They can’t do the right thing and put him on the next plane with a seat available? Truth is, they could have but chose not to.

          25. Sorry you don’t understand what Lindabator and I have been trying to explain. FF tickets and ff space is handled differently.

          26. I DO understand. Initially that’s fine – my problem to get the Ts and CS. You and Lindabator don;t understand, or perhaps accept, my explanation that ONCE THE AIRLINE CANCELS MY FLIGHT they need to expedite my travel. CoC or other rules aside, it’s the “right” thing to do.

          27. I don’t defend how they do things, just explain that different types of tickets have different rules. I don’t fly on agent tickets because of similar rules. Know what you are using so you are prepared.

          28. Wait, don’t travel agents get super special upgrades and preference by flashing their IOTA ID at the gate???

          29. But just because he sees “seats” available doesn’t mean they are “mileage seats” anyone who travels on mileage tickets KNOWS they are in a limited class of service, and it clearly states any changes MUST be made in the same class of service — so there may be 2 seats still left, but those could actually be OVERSOLD space, and they will NOT re-assign you into those.

          30. Why not? US Airways cancelled the flight. In what world is it ethical (forget their COC) for them to delay someone for 2 days when there are seats available in another class. When you cancel a flight, get me there AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, even if you have to give me a 1st class seat!

          31. That’s what you may WANT, but NOT what you are entitled to under the frequent flier program, which is VERY specific. And the delay may not have been such a problem had he NOT had something else booked on the side. Since we never really got the whole story, I think Chris needs to go back to him and see just what was booked on the FF ticket, the OTHER tickets and the options he was given.

          32. So what? The issue here is right vs. wrong, not the CoC. An airline has seats available (or so we are told) but won’t accommodate the displaced flyer because it’s gotta be the same class and you didn’t pay us in cold, hard, cash? Wow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          33. Award travel
            If your US Airways flight is cancelled, we will re-route you to your destination. If your partner airline flight is cancelled, that carrier’s procedures will determine how you’re re-routed. US Airways is not responsible for any irregular operations, delays or cancellations by partner carriers

          34. I realize travel agents are highly restricted in what they do and that there are endless rules to follow when rebooking a ticket. But an airline can do whatever it wants with its own tickets.

            If they want to rebook you from the lowest cost economy bulk ticket to the highest price 1st class ticket, they can. I see it happen often in oversold situations (and have even been the recipient of such a rebooking). So why can’t an airline put its FF ticket holders on other planes with available seats even if there are no FF seat available for sale? They can. They do. It is just unfortunate that some choose not to in some situations for reasons that only make sense to the airlines.

            Why would an airline choose to fly with empty seats when they know they have someone waiting and willing to fill the seats? The spot the FF ticket holder ends up on 3 days later is a spot that might just have sold and so now the airline has lost revenue because that later flight today went out with empty seats but the flight 3 days later is full.

          35. Actually – just because you see a seat doesn’t mean they are not already in an oversold situation – and they NEVER will rebook you on those flights with such a restrictive ticket. Since we don’t know the whole story here, I will bet he did have other choices, but didn’t like them, as he had a side trip booked – and wanted them to also work around that – which would have limited his options even more.

          36. We know he stayed in Jordan 3 nights he would have preferred not to.

            So your assumption is that every conceivable alternate itinerary for 3 consecutive days/nights was oversold?

          37. Moot point. US Airways “owned” the ticket and failed to re-schedule him in a reasonable time frame (in a right-wrong sense, not per the CoC or “class of service” rule).

          38. US didn’t ‘own’ that ticket. We don’t know if they were the issuing carrier or did an override in the ticketing process, which is possible.

          39. Two things: The OP then says “He said that since this was a schedule change, there was nothing US Airways could do. He suggested that I contact Royal Jordanian, which I have already done. They pointed me right back at US Airways, since this flight was ticketed through US Airways. So I’m now without recourse”.

            So then Chris is wrong and the OP is lying?

          40. The word own is incorrect. They were probably the issuing carrier, but regardless, according to the rules of US Award Tickets, Royal Jordanian was responsible for reaccommodating. Because of the ping ponging, that is probably why this is being reviewed.

          41. So, to educate myself I called US Airways with a hypothetical question (no mention of airlines or passengers). The agent was helpful and stated the following:

            1. They “own the ticket” (her words) except for flight delays/cancellations (on partner-based itineraries)
            2. For domestic flights, first level agents can re-book a passenger in ANY class that’s open if their flight has been canceled.
            3. For international flights (operated by US Airways), first level agents can DOWNGRADE a passenger to get them on the next flight (they lose their award points), but cannot upgrade them. The upgrade limitation is per US Airways policy, and may be (she was uncertain) overridden by a supervisor or above.
            4. For international partners who cancel a flight, US Airways agents can assist a displaced passenger in locating other flights and sometimes find one that their partner missed and can/will assist in re-booking.
            5. For domestic and international flights, the partner airline controls the re-booking policy. They may or may not be willing to accommodate the passenger in securing a different class of service.
            6. US Airways (at least this agent) makes every attempt to re-book ASAP and has never seen a 2 or 3 day delay.
            7. She was surprised when I asked what I should do if their partner sent me to them and began the ping-pong. She seemed very clear about the partner “owning” the re-booking process.

            So, an interesting and complicated if-then-else scenario. Nonetheless, taking the OP at his word he was caught in the middle with no one willing to help.

            Edited: She did also say that the reason the first level agents cannot upgrade the class for international flights is because of the vast difference in fares vs. domestic flights.

        2. The George Clooney character in “Up in the Air”, seems to have gotten amazingly good treatment for his “loyalty”? Why don’t they do that for everyone? Isn’t that in part if not in whole the definition of loyalty, behaving against your interests, in light of the relationship?

          1. I think that someone who has flown enough to get his name put on a plane would be treated well by that airline because he would put in more hours per month in the air than their flight crews do and has probably paid enough in airfare to buy that plane.

            Airlines don’t treat everyone amazingly good simply because everyone is not going to be that frequent of a flyer. There is no financial incentive to treat the average coach passenger any better because the next time that person flies they will still pick whichever airline is cheapest no matter how they were treated the last time they fly.

          2. I heard a story on the radio about how airline CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management), assign values to flyers. They look at a lot of factors. Not just class of service, but also the price they regularly spend on tickets, flight delays, how often they fly, where they fly, etc. For example a person who regularly buys full fare economy is higher value than someone who occasionally buys discounted first class tickets. They said that every airline employee can see the customers value to the company, and they treat them differently based on the value. They said the program also automatically looks for things like high value customers who may have had a lot of delays recently, and has customer service get in touch with them and give them free things to make up for the delays. People who buy discount economy, even if they buy it a lot, are very low on the rating system.

          3. i will be the first to say that no, not “every airline employee can see the customers’ value to the company…”. i’ve never seen such a score. when a customer checks in, i can’t even see their history of flights, even though they think i can.

    2. I’m not open to a lot of thing: anal probing, vivisection, prison, meth, republicans (well Anne Coulter I’d be open too, but not for anything involving politics), etc. Some things by their inherent nature are just bad, loyalty programs are one of those things.

      How long must you be open minded before your brains fall out?

  9. “Maybe miles really are as worthless as I’ve always said they are.” Ohhh… it must have done your heart GOOD to say that. 🙂

  10. Usually before departure by definition, USAir must reroute the itinerary and handle in the best interest of the loyal customer. Royal Jordanian is on the hook only if the traveler is en Route.
    By my own experiences, Star Alliance and Skyteam treat Award Tickets much better than OneWorld and I guess no discrimination Award or Revenue Tickets. Once the United plane in Hong Kong was infected and needed 2 days to clean the SARS virus in 2009, United put me on the next CX business class (I were on First Class Award but CX don’t fly First on my HKG-SGN) and I arrived sooner than scheduled on United same day. Once DELTA/Northwest, by cancelling their DTW-NRT flight, they reroute my reward ticket on Korean Air Prestige Class with a night Hotel in DTW and 3 meals. All taken care in 20 minutes in the beautiful DELTA Sky Club in DTW.

    1. I agree…all of my award travel (except for a reservation on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong which was using Alaska Airlines miles) have been with Star Alliance and Sky Team.

      My number one disappointment of the US Airways acquisition of American Airlines was leaving the Star Alliance and joining OneWorld.

  11. Miles are worthless (says so right in the program documentation).

    Loyalty/Frequent Flier programs are worthless. Caveat: except for the point redemption programs offered by various credit cards, where your spending points can be redeemed for travel as opposed to cash back or some other reward.

    I voted to mediate, but I’m pretty sure I know what the reply will be. If they wanted to help the LW they could have back at a time where it would have done some good, such as putting him on an earlier flight.

    I would strongly advise putting him in touch with the regulatory authority, as a schedule change can not be used in lieu of a canceling a flight.

  12. The real issue of this situation is that the OP booked a non-refundable side trip from Mumbai to Hyderabad as he wrote in the comments below. It is my opinion that if the OP did not had this non-refundable side trip, he won’t be complaining as much.

    The first rule in award tickets is to understand the rules and risks associated with them.
    Each airline has allocated a percentage of their seats on each flight for award travel. For example, Singapore Airlines allows one FC seat on a flight that is why I will book one FC and two BC seats when I book reward travel on that airline.

    A first class ticket could cost $ 15,000 but the compensation that a Star Alliance member pays to Singapore Airlines is much less that is why there is a restriction on the number of award seats. No airline could afford to have 50% to 100% of its BC and FC seats to be award seats since BC and FC regular fares generates a higher percentage of the revenue of a flight.

    A reasonable person will understand why an airline can’t have 100% of their top revenue producing seats as award seats.

    When I book reward tickets, I purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of changes or etc. for other airfares, hotels, etc. in case if my flights are changed and I need to make a change in my other travel plans.

    It seems to me that the OP made these two mistakes: 1) not buying travel insurance to cover the non-refundable airfare for the side trip that was not part of this award-ticket itinerary. and 2) not knowing the rules and risks of the award tickets.

    1. When I book reward tickets, I purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of changes

      Which travel insurance policy covers anything more than the mileage redeposit fees? Which policy would cover “cost of changes… for other airfares, hotels, etc.” for an award booking?

      not knowing the rules and risks of the award tickets.

      If we go by the rules of US Airways’ contract, where do the rules promise that holders of paid (non-award) tickets will be treated any better than the OP?

      1. “Which policy would cover “cost of changes… for other airfares, hotels, etc.” for an award booking?”
        When we take a trip to Europe or Asia, there things like hotel, rental cars, possible intra-countrycontinent airline flights, etc. during our trip. Some of these items have fees to change; to cancel and etc. that is why I purchase travel insurance to cover these items in case if our flight is cancelled, a family member get sick, etc.
        In this situation, the OP had a side airline trip that was NOT part of the award ticket. It was non-refundable which was probably was reason why he wasn’t flexible about the changes. My suggestion was that the OP should have purchased travel insurance to protect himself for the other portion of his trip.

        1. What Covered Reason of what policy provides any benefit when a carrier’s schedule change 2-weeks before departure affects a separately booked side trip?

          1. With Cancel for Any Reason coverage, if you plan to cancel and re-book the trip because of the schedule change, the insurance policy costs, plus the 25+% penalty, means that you will recover less than half of your non-refundable deposits net of insurance costs.

            A Cancel for Any Reason that reimburses 75% will cost about 15+% of the non-refundable costs (varies by age, etc.). If you still want insurance when you re-book that will cost another 15+%. 25% + 15% + 15 = 55% of your non-refundable costs spent.

            And then if the schedule changes again…

          2. Without having specific numbers, you can’t make statements of “you will recover less than half of your non-refundable deposits net of insurance costs”. Also, the premium for travel insurance includes other benefits as well…you need to look at cost for the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit against the refund.

            For example, we will be taking a trip in the near future with a total trip cost of $ 5,200. The cost of the RoamRight policy from Squaremouth is $ 324.00 which includes the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit. Without the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit, the cost will be $ 180.00; therefore, the cost for the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ is $ 144.00

            For example, if the non-refundable cost of your trip needs to be at least $ 192.00 to break even ($ 144 divided by 75% = $ 192 x .75 = $ 144). If the $ 5,200 of our upcoming trip was 100% non-refundable, the total cost for the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit is still $ 144.00 which is 2.77% of $ 5,2000…I don’t know where you came up that the Cancel for Any Reason benefit cost 15% of the non-refundable costs.

            The purpose of insurance is to cover risks that you don’t want to assume and it is not usually 100% of the risks. Personally, if the non-refundable costs are only a few hundred dollars for a trip then I could handle the risk of losing $ 200 since the break even point was $ 192. If the non-refundable costs was $ 1,000, it make sense to purchase that riderbenefit.

          3. In comparing multiple carriers, I found no CFAR policies better than 75% of the trip cost. So, it’s still a big loss …

          4. “Without having specific numbers, you can’t make statements of….”

            Without specific numbers, and without detailed T&C’s, you unequivocally stated that the OP made a “mistake… not buying travel insurance to cover the non-refundable airfare for the side trip…”

            Since you’ve offered some sample numbers here, let’s explore those.

            I went to RoamRights’ website to get quotes. I can approximately replicate your numbers for a traveler who is under 35. For a traveler who is 35-59 years old, their cheapest policy for a $5,200 trip that is eligible for CFAR has a $267 base cost plus $160 to buy the CFAR upgrade. That’s $427 total which is a little over 8% of the total trip cost. [That’s much cheaper than the other policies I checked, e.g. Travelex & TravelGuard.]

            Now what does this policy cover? Glancing through the policy, I could not find any option for a pre-existing medical condition waiver. Perhaps I missed it, but that might explain much of the cost savings. Chris has written about a few claims denied on the basis of pre-existing conditions customers didn’t know they had. And typically we see comments on those articles disparaging the OPs’ choice of insurance policy.

            I also noticed that the policy benefits explicitly cover only the cost of economy-class transportation. That might not be the best choice for someone traveling on a business class ticket.

            On the plus side, it appears that the policy covers unforeseen pregnancy, which is practically unheard of. Good to know.

            Anyway, when you add it all up, even at 8%, 25% + 8% + 8% = 41%. So you do get more than half of your deposit back if you CFAR — but you spent 41% of it on insurance.

            And then your award flight can be re-scheduled again (wash, rinse, repeat)…

          5. As I stated in my comments, I went to the Squaremouth website to get quotes. There were quotes for 16 policies from nine companies (RoamRight, April, Travelex, Global Alert, Travel Insured, CSA, TravelSafe, Seven Corners and MH Ross). The first quote was from RoamRight and I used the numbers from that policy for the numbers in my comments because of time. Please understand that I am not recommending that policy…just using it for the numbers.

            I have been buying travel insurance polices from Squaremouth for several years. One thing that I like about Squaremouth is that you enter the information for your trip, what benefits that you need, etc. For example, if I remove the ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit, the number of polices goes from 16 to 40. Since all policies have different terms, a smart shopper needs to read and choose the best one for them.

            “I could not find any option for a pre-existing medical condition waiver.” If you went to the Squaremouth website, you can see the details and etc. for each policy. For example, I will need to purchase this RoamRight policy by 10/5/14 in order to have coverage of pre-existing conditions.

            Most if not all professional travel agents will recommend travel insurance when traveling internationally. A majority of seasoned travelers will purchase travel insurance when they travel internationally.

            I will recommend a travel insurance policy to a traveler if they were going to Alaska especially if they were above the age of 50. The cost for a medical evacuation between Alaska and state of Washington ranges from $ 90,000 to $ 150,000. Recently, a doctor spoke to our church who was on a mission and he became seriously ill. It took 3 medical evacuations to get him back to the US…the flight back to the US, they removed nine rows of seats and there was a doctor and nurse with him…that is the reason why most policies have an option of $ 500,000 or $ 1,000,000 for medical evacuation.

            Travel insurance doesn’t cover 100% just like other insurance policies…a traveler needs to read the policy to see what it covers and doesn’t.

            It seems like you are not a fan of travel insurance based upon your comments, so we must agree to disagree. We find value in travel insurance.

            Also, we must agree to disagree over your logic on your numbers. My CFO have reviewed my logicnumbers and he has agreed with my analysis. Again, we must agree to disagree.

          6. I get the exact same quote regardless of whether I use the RoamRight or SquareMouth website.

            If someone is travelling to a remote location, MedEvac coverage may be a prudent purchase for them and it can be purchased stand-alone. It doesn’t follow that it’s also prudent for them to purchase Cancel for Any Reason coverage which will cost substantially more.

            Some travel insurance products make sense for some travelers in some situations.

            Of course we can agree to disagree on specific situations.

            I just think it’s much more helpful to point out the pros AND the cons instead of promoting travel insurance as a panacea. Especially for a case like this one where no Covered Reason applies and only CFAR might help and even then the traveler incurs a substantial loss.

          7. Our discussion about ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ coverage is a mute point now since I just noticed that the OP removed “booking a non-refundable side trip from Mumbai to Hyderabad” from the comments that he earlier posted…which proves my point that was his main complaint about the reschedule affecting this non-refundable side trip.

    2. You and others are missing two points: a) the subject is right vs. wrong, not the airlines CoC and b) the airline cancelled the flight. In the context of the those two things, trip insurance and class of service are irrelevant. The question this whether it was “the right thing to do” for US Airways to re-book him on the next flight, even if it meant they gave him and upgrade (or at least offered a lower class seat in case he would accept that).

      1. You can’t force or regulate companies to do the right thing…you can only force them to follow the rules and regulations (which is basically stacked against the consumer most of the times) that are in place. If you don’t like the outcome, you can 1) make it a law, policy, regulation or 2) ‘vote’ with your feet or wallet. There have been many new companies started because the existing companies were not treating the customers correctly.

        I just left a meeting where a vendor is going to lose my business over $ 5.00.
        In business, I have walked away from business because the prospective client didn’t want to disclose the ‘rules of engagement’. I am not going to spend time and/or money pursuing something that I don’t know the ‘rules’.

        Personally, I asked for the ‘rules’ upfront before I will commit to joining, buying, investing, etc. If I don’t get them then I move on to a company that will.

  13. I have made several award travel reservations with America WestUS Airways over the years. Over the years, there have been a few changes to the flights. In all cases, I have received an e-mail stating the changes to our itineraries and asking us to call to accept. Most of the times, the flight times were moved up or back by 20 minutes or etc. so there were no effects on our travel plans. I can recall two times, I had to cancel the reservation and had to rebook flights but it was weeks out so America WestUS Airways were able to find seats on other flights on the same day or the day before or the day after (again, the key to award travel is being flexible).

  14. I would like to know the following:

    1. What is Prabir Mehta’s status with the US Airways frequent flier program? Is he an elite or just a normal member? As an elite member, I have always been treated fairly by US Airways.

    I am asking because it will be unusual for someone who lives in Atlanta (I am assuming that the OP lives in ATL since the flight originates from that city) to be a heavy duty flier on US Airways because it will require a flight segment from ATL to CTL. Most people that I know prefer direct flights.

    2. How did Prabir Mehta accumulate the miles? From travel? Or from promotions? Or from credit cards? For example, a person could accumulate 140,000 miles in the US Airways Grand Slam promotions a few year ago for as low as $ 600. You could spend $ 600 and get a FC ticket for an international flight on an award-winning airline such as Asiana or Singapore.

    I am asking because everyone is assuming that the OP was a loyal FF of US Airways. There is a difference between earning miles in the seat and buying miles through promotions or credit card.

    In addition, I am tired of reading “the XYZ airline should give the OP a full refundmoneyetc. because it will build goodwill and etc. and the OP will fly more with them and etc.” in the comments to the various articles that I have read in the past three months. The reality is most people buy their tickets on price than loyalty and the airline knows it. I will be surprise to see an airline to treat a top rank elite FF poorly by the end of the day (they might have received an initial denial but got what they want by the end of the day) because these customers are the bread and butter to an airline.

    I am asking these questions since the article didn’t state that the OP booked a non-refundable side trip from Mumbai to Hyderabad and he was upset about losing that money.
    I think that the readers need to have full disclosure of the facts so that we can respond fairly and based upon the facts instead of making assumptions that could be or could not be accurate and/or responding on emotions.

      1. Also, I found it to be interesting that Prabir Mehta removed the comments about booking a non-refundable side trip from Mumbai to Hyderabad.

  15. If there aren’t mileage seats available there is not much that the airline can do. Their hands are tied when it comes to schedule changes that occur on other airlines. They cannot override or ask inventory to overbook other airline mileage seats, even they are in alliance together. Unfortunately these schedule changes do happen and if you don’t agree with the change you can have the miles redeposited. It is a shame and I understand you wanting to get some sort of compensation. But in this case you are being given advanced notice and unfortunately airline schedules are always subject to change. I don’t think taking this case on would be worth it. Had it been a situation where the flight was cancelled due to maintenance then the airline would provide hotel reimbursement. I may or may not work for a major airline 🙂 Hope you enjoy your trip and I’m sure those extra days in Amman will end up being fun!

    1. 1. US Airways had seats available for sale on their own metal to several European destinations like AMS, LHR & CDG.
      2. BA was showing OneWorld miles ticket availability to several destinations including BOM (through AA.com).
      But US Airways wouldn’t even consider these flights stating that I had to keep to the same route. I was willing to be flexible and they weren’t. Does that sound fair?

    2. Thanks for your input! Jordan is a beautiful country and I had a wonderful time there despite a lot of things being closed due to Ramadan.
      I have a feeling that my AMM-BOM flight was cancelled due to lack of passengers (the next flight 2 days later was half-empty). I don’t hold US Airways or RJ responsible for my other non-refundable trip. I don’t blame them for cancelling flights. However, they should provide accommodation/food in a foreign country where I am stuck due to their fault.

    3. I guess I look at it simplistically. I’m not looking at this as a legal question but a moral one. Either:

      1. Provide an alternate flight +/- 2 days of my original flight (that’s a 5 day range on days where there were no significant weather issues) with no associated hotel/meal costs; or
      2. Pay for my accommodation & meals in the 3rd country where I’m stuck due to your cancellation.

      I’m not particular whether US Airways or RJ compensates me.

      I have not asked for compensation for the cancelled return flight from BOM-ATL, which delayed my return by a day.

    4. I thought I was being flexible by being willing to accept compensation in the form of cash, vouchers, miles or any other creative method that US Airways or RJ chose.

      Appreciate everyone’s feedback! Many lessons learned. 🙂

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