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COMPLAINT: Air India change fee is a sham

 
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  #1  
Old Mar 26, 2012, 9:53 PM
cortlander cortlander is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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On Mar 11th I took a return flight on Air India flight 191 from Mumbai to Newark. My original return date was Feb 17th, and then I had to keep pushing back two or three times.

The first time I called Air India for a change in booking, I was told that while the change fee was $125, with which I had no issue, the "class" in which I was travelling was full and I would have to upgrade to a higher fare (which would still be coach). I tried several different dates, and not once was my class available. So I made the booking any way as there was no other choice.

A few days later I had to change date again, and once again despite trying several dates, nothing in the same class was available, and the only way to change the date was to fly at a higher fare.

I ended up paying $125 change penalty, plus $233 fare difference i.e. $358 to fly back on a different date than the one I had originally bought.

This is a sham. If Air India wants to charge a higher fee for changing dates, it should be up front about it and tell us what it would really cost when we purchase the ticket instead of coming up with these bogus class full excuses.
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  #2  
Old Mar 27, 2012, 9:28 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
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Typically, I would agree that airlines charge excessive fees for minor changes, but you appear to have needed to make a number of changes over a small period of time. Given that, why would you buy a non flexible ticket. You can purchase a fully flexible ticket, for which there are no charges to change. It seems a bit like you want to have the lower cost of an inflexible ticket for the price of a flexible ticket. I am not supporting their excessive charges, but you appear to need a higher degree of flexibiity than your ticket is designed to support.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 5:11 PM
cortlander cortlander is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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My making a number of changes was not a factor. I could make a booking, and had till four hours prior to departure to pay the change fee before the booking would be cancelled. So I did wait till the last day to pay the change fee just in case my plans changed again.

I any case, even the first time I changed the flight date, I was told that I would have to book in a "higher" class and pay both the change fee as well as the fare difference.
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Old Mar 30, 2012, 3:04 PM
stonecold_1981 stonecold_1981 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 124

Originally Posted by cortlander View Post
My making a number of changes was not a factor. I could make a booking, and had till four hours prior to departure to pay the change fee before the booking would be cancelled. So I did wait till the last day to pay the change fee just in case my plans changed again.

I any case, even the first time I changed the flight date, I was told that I would have to book in a "higher" class and pay both the change fee as well as the fare difference.
Typically I hate Air India and they are one of the worst airlines (from a customer experience perspective). However, in your case, it is one of the best practices (again from a customer perspective) across the industry. Most airlines will charge you every time you change your flight. Air India allows you to change the flight any number of times. You pay only $125 prior to the departure.

Regarding the fare difference (which I think is your key point), you are alleging that Air India intentionally charged you a higher fare/class (for economy). Did you consider that you may have bought the cheapest class/fare when you first booked the flight? When you changed your return ticket, that fare may not be available. In any case, if you have proof that there was a lower fare available that was not offered to you, then that should be the focus of your complaint.

Try to skip out the part about the change penalty from your complaint (along with some proof that you were charged a higher fare when a lower one was available) and you will have a better argument.
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Old Apr 2, 2012, 9:23 PM
cortlander cortlander is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3

The airline stated that the change fee was $125. If I try a dozen times, and each time I am told that I have to "upgrade" to a higher fare, then yes, I do have a good argument that the upgrade fee is a sham.
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