Departure taxes are the final “gotcha” when you’re flying. Just as you’re getting ready to board a flight back home someone asks you for money, and threatens to deny you boarding if you can’t cough up the cash.
Fortunately, most departure taxes are already built into the airfare. For example, when I visited St. Lucia in 1993, I was told that if I didn’t come up with the money, I couldn’t fly back to New York. I had to stop by an ATM and pay up. But last month when I flew from St. Lucia to Miami, the $26 departure tax was included in my airfare.
Question: We bought two first-class airline tickets to Peru on TACA through Cheaptickets.com. But we soon found out they were economy-class seats.
We’ve asked the airline for a $1,100 refund — the price difference between first-class and economy-class tickets — but it won’t budge. Cheaptickets.com sent a $400 voucher that we don’t want.
We’ve disputed the ticket charges with American Express, but it has denied our claim. It’s obvious to us we didn’t receive what we paid for.
We’ve never sued anyone and I would rather not have to go there. Do you have any other suggestions? — Virginia Pozo, San Francisco
Answer: If you didn’t get a first-class seat, you shouldn’t have to pay for one.
TACA owes you a refund of the fare difference between the two classes. And your online travel agency, Cheaptickets.com, should help you. At the very least, you would expect American Express to take your side in a dispute.