Why did Sun Country charge me to fix its agent’s mistake?

Susan Morin books a trip to Las Vegas through Sun Country Vacations for herself and her husband, but the agent has them departing on the wrong day. Can we help her get reimbursement for the ticket change fees?

Question: We would like a full refund of the change fees we paid because of an error by a Sun Country Vacations’ travel agent in booking our recent travel to Las Vegas.

In February, we went to the Sun Country website to book a Sun Country vacation package to Las Vegas, but the website was not working. We made several attempts to book our travel and received several error messages that prevented us from booking our trip.

Because of this, we booked our trip (including hotel and airfare) by phone with a Sun Country Vacations travel agent. We were to arrive in Las Vegas on May 1 and depart on May 5. The agent incorrectly booked our return flight to leave Las Vegas on May 6 rather than May 5, but the hotel arrival and departure dates were correct.

We were charged $100 in flight change fees and $340 for the difference in the airfare when we traveled home on May 5. Sun Country refunded the change fee but has ignored our request for a refund of the difference in airfare.

After several phone conversations with Sun Country Vacations, I was advised to send a written refund request to a Sun Country executive, Eric Curry, who ignored my correspondence.

We are hoping you can help us get a refund for the $340 additional airfare we had to pay because of an error made by a Sun Country Vacations employee. — Susan Morin, Forest Lake, Minn.

Answer: I’m sorry that Sun Country not only made a mistake in booking your return flights but also did not respond to your request for refund. I understand that the hotel nights were booked accurately, but your flight was booked to depart a day later than you wanted, and you learned of this issue when you arrived at the airport on your intended departure day.

Since the Sun Country website would not allow you to book the trip, you spoke to a booking agent, who sent you travel documents via email. You confirmed the departing flight information and hotel arrival and departure dates on the first page, but did not review the return flight information.

While it is reasonable to assume that a booking agent will accurately reserve the hotel and flights correctly, mistakes or misunderstandings can happen. You became aware of the error when you arrived at the airport to head home on May 5.

After a series of messages and phone calls with Sun Country customer service, the company agreed to reimburse the flight change fees but still refused to refund the additional cost incurred of the new flight. The customer service representative stated that the error was your fault because you didn’t review the tickets and recommended that you contact a Sun Country executive, Eric Curry. Although you sent a polite and detailed email regarding the situation, he never responded.

Mistakes and misunderstandings can happen. It is imperative that the consumer carefully review the details of all travel documents upon receipt, including arrival and departure dates and times, arrival and departure airports (and connecting airports when necessary), spelling of names, cancellation policies and the like. Passengers have 24 hours to correct any mistakes on their tickets. This is specified in Sun Country’s “Payment, Cancellation, and Change Policies”:

Sun Country Airlines will allow a customer to cancel a flight-only reservation made directly with Sun Country Airlines reservations staff or on our website without penalty for up to 24 hours from the time of making the initial reservation provided the reservation is made seven or more days prior to a flight’s departure.

(Note: Our website contains executive contacts for Sun Country Airlines.)

But this story has a happy ending. You contacted our advocates for help, and we were able to get the refund that you requested.

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