She missed her grandmother’s funeral — does she deserve a refund for her ticket?

Kimberly Walls missed her grandmother’s funeral. Her United Airlines flight was delayed and she couldn’t make her connection from Denver to Great Falls, Mont.

Should United refund the ticket?

Well, according to the airline’s contract of carriage — the legal agreement between her and the carrier — the answer is “no.”

Rule 240 c) says United will transport Walls on its next flight to Great Falls, but it doesn’t guarantee that it will get her to Great Falls as scheduled.

This kind of thing drives passengers up the walls. Don’t airline schedules represent a guarantee (if not a contract) to transport you to a certain place by a certain time? Strictly speaking, no.

Still, should United refund her ticket, if for no other reason than that it’s good customer service?
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Too much luggage + too short connection = “total nightmare” flight on Delta

detroitVivian Rouleau missed her connecting flight to Akron, Ohio, because of baggage. Not hers, but everyone else’s. Worse, her airline didn’t seem to care about the resulting connection problem, even though it seemed to be entirely preventable.

Rouleau’s story, and others like it, suggest the new $15 fees for the first checked bag aren’t just a commercial failure (as I’ve noted in the past, there can be a negative correlation between the fees and an airline’s profitability) but they also have all the makings of a disaster, from an operational perspective.

Consider what happened on Rouleau’s flight.
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