Old Aug 1, 2008, 3:23 PM
marketplace marketplace is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 3
Default More United cancellation horror stories

On June 4, I bought round-trip reservations on United Airlines website to go from Raleigh to Chicago for my Mom’s birthday party on July 26 & 27.

I made a mistake – I actually booked the tickets to come on July 27th and return July 28th. I made this mistake on two of three tickets I purchased.
I did not realize I had made the mistake until Wednesday, July 23rd, when I tried to print my boarding passes.

I was very upset – but it was 100% my fault. I tried calling United to change the flight. I had bought non-refundable, non-transferable tickets and no flight insurance since I was looking for the best price.

On July 23rd, I called United customer service. After over an hour of going through a very complicated phone system, I finally find a human voice. However, the person I talked to was in India spoke highly accented English. He could not easily understand me – and I had trouble understanding him.

I finally figured out that it would cost me over $750 to make the change. It’s $150 penalty per ticket plus the difference in the fare. I decided against it since I could book one-way on American Airlines for $212 per person.

I got to my destination without trouble. Had an enjoyable weekend – and then tried to use the return portion of my flight. I had not cancelled it.
I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t print the boarding pass at the hotel.

I arrived early at O’Hare for my 1 p.m. flight only to discover that my ticket had been cancelled because I did not use the first leg of the flight!

The ticket clerk was friendly, but explained she could not do anything. She called her manager – who also explained she could not do anything. The second manager called her manager. Their only option was for me was to purchase two tickets at close to $1,000 a ticket.

I demanded to speak to the manager’s supervisor, who finally came after one and half hours. During this time, I was making frantic phone calls trying to line up another flight.

The manager decided to override the system and only charge us a $150 each – $300 total – penalty and then gave us back the exact same seats we had reserved on June 4. That there was a delay due to mechanical trouble is par for the course.

I would appreciate that at least the $300 penalty be waived. I am disputing the charge with my credit card company.

I have no idea where the policy came from. I tried to go the website, but still cannot find the policy of unilaterally canceling tickets written in plain English.
Old Aug 3, 2008, 12:49 PM
Corbel Corbel is offline
Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 214

so is the complaint that you had a delay or that the supervisor bent the rules and their policy and only charged you $300 for the change. for it being a mistake that you admitted to being your fault, i say you got off pretty good compared to what some others have had to pay

  • <LI class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; tab-stops: list .5in; mso-list: l6 level1 lfo6; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto">Reservations are subject to cancellation if you are not available for boarding, at the boarding gate, at least 20 minutes between U.S. points, to/from Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean; 30 minutes to/from Hawaii; and 30 minutes to/from international points;
  • Please cancel your reservation if there is a change in your travel plans. Failure to cancel a confirmed booking may result in automatic cancellation of your entire itinerary.
its in the contract of carriage on their website
Old Aug 3, 2008, 1:10 PM
marketplace marketplace is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 3
Default Cancelled flight

My mistake was making a reservation going out for the first leg of the flight. I had no intention of cancelling the return leg -- and I see that other airlines do not have the same policy. The only documentation that I have seen is something the airline ticket clerk found after a long search. Nothing particuliarly on the website.
Old Aug 4, 2008, 4:35 AM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

Unfortunately most airlines do have the same policy when it comes to not cancelling one leg but trying to use the return. If you don't use that first portion, the rest of your trip cancels out. Sad but true. But I agree with Corbel, you got off quite easy considering you could have paid way more.

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