On December 7th, 2016 I purchased 5 tickets ($500 each) through United with parts of my flight with them and their partner, Austrian Airlines. Today (December 12,2016) I received an email stating the tickets through their partner airline, Austrian Airlines, could not confirm my 5 tickets because they only had 4 seats left on their plane. I could, however, rebook and pay 6 times my original price to get on the SAME flight I originally booked (so obviously they have 5 seats). I called Austrian Airlines and they state there are over 90 seats on their plane and they are unsure why the seats were not confirmed, but the issue is with United and not them. I have called United back and they could not get me on the flight I originally booked for the same price because prices fluctuate. This sounds incredibly like a scam. So there are enough seats, I can get on this flight, but I must pay a much higher fare because it is now 5 days later and prices have increased. We have checked prices daily for months to find the lowest fare. To me it appears United or Austrian airlines were not happy with the fare I paid, so the seats would not be confirmed, but now I can buy them at a much higher price. This is price gouging at itís finest.
How can I book, pay for, and be issued an itinerary for a trip, and then not be told for 5 days that itís not confirmed, but then be offered the SAME trip for a much higher rate. This sounds like not only price gauging, but illegal. I could understand if the plane was truly full and they overbooked, but there are plenty of seats. Does anyone know if this is common, or if there's something else I can do besides talk to customer service reps that just offer me the same flight for $3000/person and an apology? This is just horrible customer service and so stressful when trying to plan. Thank you!