American Airlines charges sailor a fee for flight change

I‘m hoping you can help my son with a situation,” Brad Lessem wrote to me a few days ago.

His son had just finished Navy basic training and had enough leave time to fly home during the holidays. But as a newly-minted Seaman Apprentice, he didn’t quite understand the ways of the military, and he miscalculated the actual amount of leave time. Now American Airlines wanted to charge a hefty change fee to get him back to his Navy base — a fee he couldn’t afford.
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What’s behind all those airline change fees?

Dotti Cahill thought she had a $150 ticket credit on Delta Air Lines.

She thought wrong.

When Cahill phoned the airline to redeem the credit, which she’d received when she’d had to change a flight while helping her daughter move to Detroit, a representative gave her the surprising bad news: To use it, she’d have to pay a $150 change fee.

In other words, her voucher was worthless.
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Beaches vacation goes bust, but how about that ticket promise?

Jen Knight’s family was looking forward to an all-inclusive vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, until the resort sent her some bad news: Her hotel, Beaches Boscobel, would be closed for renovations.

A Beaches representative verbally agreed to rebook the family at a sister property, Beaches Turks and Caicos. She was also told the company would cover the difference in airfare as well as the fees for changing their tickets from Jamaica to Turks and Caicos.

Case closed? Not quite.

It turns out that neither of the airlines on which she’d booked various family members — JetBlue and Airtran — flies to Turks and Caicos, nor do they codeshare with anyone who does. But both airlines will allow them to cancel their reservations and receive a credit for the value of their flights that must be used within a year, less applicable change fees.
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Oh dear, did we forget to mention that $500 change fee?

Question: My wife and I recently flew from Vancouver to Ecuador on Continental Airlines, then to Lima on LAN Chile. After booking the trip through our travel agent of about 20 years, we asked if we could change the LAN leg from Quito to Lima by two days without penalty.

Our travel agent called Continental and was told that the LAN leg could be changed without any change fee because we weren’t changing any Continental legs. He asked if they were certain that there would be no change fee and was assured that was the policy. He had another follow-up discussion with a Continental agent and was given the same information. We changed the flight.

Two months after our flight, our agent was advised that we should have been charged a change fee of $500 and an electronic fee transaction was applied to the travel agent’s bank account. Our travel agency has challenged the payment with Continental without success.

Today I called Continental and spoke to an international ticket agent. She said my agent had no recourse, and should have known the rules. When I asked her how Continental expects travel agents to know the rules, but not their own agents, I didn’t get an answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor about my complaint, but was told “there is no point as the booking is no longer in our computer system.”

If Continental had told us that there would be a $500 change fee when we first enquired about the change we would not have changed our flight to Lima. It is very high-handed of Continental to conduct business in this manner. We would greatly appreciate anything you might do to help. — Brian Petersmeyer, Vancouver, Canada

Answer: Continental shouldn’t have charged your travel agent $500 after your flight. And even if it had, you shouldn’t have been dragged into it.
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Missed flight penalty: American Airlines charges $742 to student delayed by customs

grenadaCall it the “missed flight” penalty.

Katerina Naumenko, a medical student in Grenada, had to shell out an extra $742 when she missed a connecting flight in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She and three classmates were delayed in customs. But American Airlines didn’t seem to care, charging her a change fee plus a fare differential to catch the next flight back to the States.

Why not cut a college student some slack?
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