Old Mar 20, 2008, 7:45 PM
MFB MFB is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2
Default Cancellation Policy?

We represent a traveler who purchased a round trip ticket on United Airlines and was bumped off her return flight when she failed to use the first leg of her ticket. Basically, she bought a round trip ticket to Chicago and instead drove there with a friend. When she went to the Chicago airport to catch her return flight, a United representative informed her that she no longer had a seat on the flight because she did not use the first leg; however, she had the option of purchasing another seat if she wanted to get on the flight. Because she had no other option, she did just that, and spent approximately $900 for a first class seat on a flight in which she had already paid for a coach seat. Essentially, United made her pay two times for one seat.

Even though our traveler purchased tickets from United, we suspect that this may be an industry- wide practice and are interested in speaking to passengers who have had similar experiences on United, or any other airline.

Has this happened to anyone else? If so, we are very interested in hearing your story. Please email us here.
Old Mar 20, 2008, 9:33 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nearest Airports: COD, BIL, WRL
Posts: 577
Red face About that unused ticket--

If I read your story correctly, it sounds like the original ticket was never used at all. Also, I am assuming this ticket was for travel, entirely, on United / United Express / Ted. If this is correct, my understanding of the current process is that the ticket is valid under the following conditions.

* Payment of a "change fee." Depending on the airline, this can be as little as $50, and go all the was up to $200. United usually charges on the upper end of this range.

* Your new trip must comply with the same restrictions as existed on the original ticket. Flights can not be taken on restricted days and/or times.

* Depending on the airline, you may be able to use the ticket for one-way travel only. However, in this case, you will probably have to agree to forfeit any remaining value on the ticket, AND, pay the aforementioned "change fee."

* You must be able to provide your original ticket number or reservation id. code. Hopefully, you haven't thrown the ticket away.

* The new trip must be taken within one year from the issue date of the original ticket.

* Don't even think about asking for a cash refund, or credit to your credit card. It won't happen!

* Unless your client is a triple platnum frequent flyer, (with a "private" reservation phone number, that rings in the USA) try to avoid talking to United on the phone. Their reservation center is in India. So, if you don't speak Hindustani, you're out of luck! While Northwest should be avoided, I can say that their reservation people are all in Iowa.

* In the future: Avoid "legacy" airlines (American, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways.) Go with Alaska, Jet Blue, Midwest, Southwest or Virgin America. In a pinch, Continental is worth taking a chance with, even though it is a "legacy" airline.

Old Mar 21, 2008, 2:52 AM
ChrisH ChrisH is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 214
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This policy is the same for all airlines. When you purchase a ticket, if you do not fly a portion of your segment, it cancels your entire reservation, as it shows you as a no show. The person you represent, needed to have called UAL, and inform them that they would be driving to Chicago, so the return segment can be protected. There may have been a change fee involved, to do this, but chances are it would have been no more than $50-$100.

When you purchase a ticket, you are purchasing a ticket that includes ALL segments involved. You aren't purchasing one, seperately, for each segment. Therefore, if you do not take a portion of your ticket, it cancels, because, in effect, you are no longer in abidance with the contract of carriage. Again, this is the same with all airlines. In other words, the person you represent did not purchase a ticket from Chicago, to her originating city, she bought a ticket from her originating city, to Chicago, and back. When they failed to show up for the first portion, the entire ticket is then void. This is done to prevent people from taking advantage of the airlines, and purchasing a two way ticket, that may be cheaper than a one way, and only intending to use one portion of it. Or, purchasing a ticket from one city, to another, with at stopover, but getting off at the stopover, because the ticket just to the stopover location is cheaper - if you understand what I am trying to say.

My advice to you, would be to get a copy of UAL's contract of carriage. It is probably on their website. It will discuss this in the contract. -- Best of luck!
Old Apr 12, 2008, 3:01 PM
EdwardseanRyan EdwardseanRyan is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 5

No the cancellation policy is not the same. American Airlines looks at the reason why someone is canceling before the charge a cancelation fee. Southwest Airlines gives you full credit of your purchase to purchase a new flight at a later date.
Old Aug 1, 2008, 3:26 PM
marketplace marketplace is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 3

Same thing for me -- but they were "kind" enough only to charge us a $150 penalty fee -- an extra $300 for the privilege of flying United.

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