What can I do about this Priceline flight change?

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By Christopher Elliott

Ruben Nieto is trying to fix his flight on Priceline. But the online travel agency won’t help him unless he pays a change fee. What can he do about this Priceline flight change?


I have a problem with a Priceline flight schedule change. My upcoming flight on American Airlines from Madrid to Boston originally had a stopover in Washington and New York. My flight itinerary was changed without my approval, eliminating the stopover.

I contacted Priceline.com about this issue. I asked it to either change the itinerary to add the stopovers back or to adjust the price. I had paid extra for the stopover. Priceline escalated the case but yesterday they told me that they had followed the procedures correctly. If I wanted to change the flight, I would have to pay even more. Can you help me? — Ruben Nieto, Washington, D.C.


I’m sorry about your Priceline flight change. Your online travel agency should have contacted you with at least two options: a new flight of your airline’s choosing or a full refund of your ticket.

It looks as if Priceline tried to call you, but you were out of the country. So the agency made a choice for you — a more direct routing from Madrid to Boston. I think the agent handling your change thought he was doing you a favor by getting you to Boston faster. But you had booked the stopover intentionally because you had meetings in Washington and New York. (Related: When ‘Should I Take The Case?’ becomes ‘Should I Have Taken The Case?’)

How to contact Priceline about your flight change

You could have appealed this to one of the Priceline customer service contacts in our company contacts database. You could have also appealed this to American Airlines. After all, the airline initiated the change, which forced Priceline to rebook you.

Further complicating your case: It looks like your trip was built using a combination of airlines. During the rebooking, three of your legs were canceled. What a headache! (Related: I want a refund for this canceled Priceline reservation!)

Nothing is more frustrating than a company that says you’ve exhausted all of your appeals. You were far from that. If Priceline and American hadn’t helped you, then you could have filed a dispute with your credit card. You booked a flight with two stopovers and didn’t get it. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act you have the right to file a chargeback and receive a full refund for your ticket. America Airlines and Priceline weren’t delivering what you purchased. (Related: A Priceline booking problem leads to a nonrefundable hotel room — or does it?)

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I contacted Priceline on your behalf, and it investigated your ticket change. (Here’s how to get a refund on a nonrefundable airline ticket.)

“Our agent made an error in changing the ticket from multi-destination to round trip,” a spokesman told me. “We have reached out to the customer with a solution.”

Priceline offered to pay for the additional flights required to duplicate your original itinerary.

It’s happening again!

I resolved this case shortly before the pandemic started, which is why there are no references to COVID. But this story is a timely reminder that airlines are slowly returning to their old ways. While some have extended their flexible refund and change policies for the summer, everything will be back to “normal” soon. Too soon.

And that’s why we need you. We’re trying to survive the 92 days of summer here at Elliott Advocacy. For just $1 a day, you can help support our mission by joining Team 92. Our goal is 920 team members to help carry us through the most difficult summer in the existence of our nonprofit. Thank you for your help!

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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