Refund for a Mistake Fare

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by Muerl, Jan 31, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    So, do airlines, in general, offer refunds on fares they would rather not honor?

    I guess I can be more specific about this. I have a some of the Spainair BOS-MAD fares from last summer. We bought basically for the very end of the window and now, my Wife is starting a new job and worried she will not be able to take the time off.

    Now, I know there were stories of people with these fare having the airlines attempt to cancel them on them, but that was right when the deal broke. I understand that I paid my money and took my chance here, and so that means I might be SOL but I wondered since US had already demonstrated they did not want people on these legs, if that helped me out at all.

    I know that this is also complicated by SpainAir crashing and burning last week so I am not sure even who to contact.

    Not flying until mid march but would like to have a plan in hand for when I need to make a desision.

    Thanks everyone
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Ticket stock? Who sold you the ticket? Codeshare? Metal?

    With Spanair ceasing operations, my understanding is that tickets on Spanair flights will not be traveling, but might be eligible for rescue fares under certain conditions, which are essentially special fares without advance purchase requirements offered by other carriers. Tickets sold by Spanair for other carrier flights might be valid and one needs to contact the operating carrier. Otherwise, it should be a matter of contacting the travel agent, credit card, or travel insurance policy issuer.
     
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  3. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    So, its a Spanair codeshare on US Metal purchased the ticket via travelocity. I know I need to call US to be sure its valid, though I also was worried that calling them would lead to them deciding not to honor it because of Spanair going under AND it being a mistake fare.
     
  4. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    I doubt that would do any good - if the tickets are on Spanair stock, good luck with trying to get a refund from them. Technically travelocity is the one who need to find a solution for your problem so you might get some luck there.

    Although, if the fare is not honored, you should get a refund. Then again, Spanair has your money which bring you back to square zero.
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Can you check the ticket online with US? With checkmytrip? With travelocity?

    I think I would try to check online as much as possible, avoiding calling. It's not obvious that waiting until close to the travel time would be a disadvantage unless you really need the refund ASAP. Even if you decide to try to go, if no advance nonrefundable purchases are required, you could even think about whether it would be worth the cost and hassle to just try to fly and see what happens at the airport. Of course, if you must purchase positioning flights or nonrefundable hotel rooms, this will not work.

    I guess the situation is that you paid travelocity by credit card, they paid Spanair, and you wonder whether Spanair paid US. If so, the further question is whether US would authorize a refund rather than fly you for a mistake fare, but shouldn't it be the case that Spanair ate the cost of its mistake and paid US something close to the normal price or do we know otherwise? Also, the refund would come through travelocity, which could be a major hassle. There should be more information as others try to fly these tickets.
     
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  6. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Usually airlines do not pay each other until after the travel date which might complicate the situation even further. As much as I hate it, you'll have to decide whether you want to cancel or not. Spanair going down, might give you the latch to ask the ticket to be cancelled by Travelocity. They are in charge of providing you adequate solutions otherwise, but I am sure they will be happy just to cancel.

    If on the other hand you do want to travel then it is a much more tricky situation as US might refuse to honor the tickets now.
     
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  7. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    Thank you guys for the feed back I just might be humped.

    I figured I would start on one end, and ask my Credit Card company what my options were, so Capital One got a secure message. Then I looked at Travelocity, and I can't find a PNR in the email conformation or in their "look up a trip" feature online. I do have an eticket number, and I know that worked on the phone with US to make seat assignments about 4 months ago, so if I have to get on the phone that's one thing, but none of the initiatory checks will accept that.

    I tried using the "Online Checkin Code" (mostly because it was 6 digit and alphanumeric) which checkmytrip gives me an error on.

    We will have to see how it goes, hopefully other people will mention how their issues get treated in the coming few weeks.
     
  8. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Travelocity is starting to be proactive. My partner had a booking on UA code-share operated by Spanair and we spent the weekend on the phone with Travelocity trying to find alternative flights (which they finally did). Yesterday a generic e-mail from Travelocity about the sad state of affairs with Spanair had finally arrived. I am glad we were ahead of the curve for finding a solution.

    So, IF you want a refund - Trevelocity might just be the thing to do. It was interesting that United refused to touch the ticket. Technically Travelocity is the travel agent, but in the past I had no problem dealing directly with the airline (usually cutting the uninformed middle man makes sense).
     
  9. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I called Travelocity last night after a long time on hold, they told me that the fair rules seemed to say that I should be able to get a full refund IF I call spanair. They gave me a US Contact number for Spanair (888-545-5757). Now, I don't expect to get my money back from SpanAir, but I do expect that given that information and a Lack of ability for SpanAir to pay me back SHOULD mean I can get my money back by disputing the charge.
     
  10. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Trevelocity is known for giving you the run around. They should handle it. Escalate to a supervisor if you need. It seems to be the lack of draw how good the agent you are talking with. We had to call 3 times to get what we needed, the first two agent (and the supervisors) were less than helpful. The last one really did what he suppose to be doing, even if it was 1:30 hours on the phone. If it helps, the last call was during the day. As the call center is in India, I doubt it makes any difference.
     
  11. bucketlist
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    bucketlist Silver Member

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    UA excellent, US unknown, Orbitz conflicting & irritating.

    United is honoring flights on UA metal, booked as a Spanair codeshare - it's on UA's www site (which is nice of UA). From Notices on their www site:

    Spanair operations ceased
    Our Star Alliance partner Spanair (airline code: JK) ceased operations on Friday, January 27, 2012. We are offering alternative travel arrangements for our customers holding United or Continental tickets for flights operated by Spanair. If you hold a United or Continental ticket that includes one or more segments operated by Spanair, please call reservations or your travel agent to assist with rebooking your travel. Spanair tickets that were issued for travel on United or Continental will be honored as originally ticketed.


    ORBITZ
    I booked w/ Orbitz, US metal, booked as a Spanair codeshare and have gotten a series of messages - at first an email that there may be a problem. 2 - 3 days ago called Orbitz. The Orbitz phone agent talked to a US phone agent and I was told all is well. Orbitz sent an email yesterday, saying everything is cancelled and I should try to get a refund from my cc company (unlikely 4 months after paying for the non-refundable ticket).

    My concerns are:

    Conflicting messages from Orbitz (phone rep said 2 days agp the reservation was fine, email yesterday says it's cancelled)

    US (wish they'd post something definitive on their www site).

    Am seriously ticked at Orbitz, where the reservation was made, saying I'm on my own, tho it seems that Travelocity isn't much better. Code shares are less than 20 % of my trips, but easily the cause of 80 % of my travel grief.

    For any interest it may be, here's Orbitz's latest email.

    *****
    As you may know Spanair ceased operations on January 28. We want to give you an update on what steps Orbitz has taken and what steps you can take regarding your booked travel with Spanair.

    We have attempted to obtain a refund from Spanair on your behalf but were unsuccessful. We recommend that you contact your credit card company and dispute the charges. Please call Orbitz for assistance with rebooking a new flight.

    You can contact Orbitz at 888-656-4546.

    For the latest information visit theFAQ page.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this event may have caused you and we look forward to assisting you with your future travel plans.

    Thank you for booking with Orbitz.

    Sincerely,

    Orbitz Care Team
    ******
     
  12. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Frankly I don't think they are correct. As the travel agents they are the one who should be on the line here. They should be doing all the work, and they should issue the refund. It is absolutely wrong to let you deal with Spanair (although under other circumstances I would wish they just stay out as the middle man).
     
  13. FLYERIL
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    FLYERIL Silver Member

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    Actually, you should be able to obtain a refund from your credit card company if you are unable to take the flight because the airline ceased operations. My understanding is that the credit card company maintains a holdback with its airlines customers to partially cover itself in these circumstances. The less viable the airline the larger the holdback is. The following article on Frontier Airlines and its bankruptcy in 2008 should be helpful in illustrating this point. http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_8899296
     
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  14. bucketlist
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    bucketlist Silver Member

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    Thanks for this info - it may be needed.

    I called US Airways a few minutes ago (just a minute wait time!) and they confirmed that my reservation is "active" and I'm good to go. Apparently US is following the same procedure as UA, i.e., honoring codeshare tickets on their metal, but US is not posting this as a Notice on their www site.

    Orbitz is urging folks to book w/ them and then not honoring any commitment to their customers.

    It would help if folks posted their experience w/ different travel booking sites, to see if any of 'em actually helped out in this situation.

    Orbitz did help on the phone a few days ago, but am having trouble reconciling this w/ them cancelling my reservation on their www site and sending an email that my only resort is claim v. credit card. It's as if Orbitz had a big sign on their www site "CAVEAT EMPTOR" and their phone reps say it translates as "YOUR SATISFACTION GUARANTEED".
     
  15. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    That is good news for my friend who wants to fly his legs, but Not good news for me who is trying to cancel ;)

    I will give Spanair a call monday, and when nothing comes out of that I will go back to travelocity.
     
  16. snapper
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    snapper Active Member

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    I was in the same boat as Muerl, we had two tickets but no longer wanted to make the trip and were interested in a refund. The tickets were BOS-PHL-MAD, JK stock but all flights operated by US. When news broke about Spanair going bankrupt I called my CC company (amex) the next day and asked to dispute the charge. I had booked the ticket through their travel services with my amex platinum so I figured I had a good shot at getting the money back.

    After two weeks of the charge being disputed it was cleared and I was refunded in full. Oddly enough the reservation still shows active when I view it on usairways site. So my suggestion would be to call your credit card company directly and not even deal with travel agent or airline.
     
  17. bucketlist
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    bucketlist Silver Member

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    Away and back again

    A few days ago, noted that 3/4 of the legs of MSY-phl-MAD weren't showing on the US airways site.

    Called US this a.m. - very pleasant agent tried to figure out why these had been canceled - I assured her I had not cancelled and wanted to go on the flight. She spent 15 minutes or so so (I was on hold) trying to reinstate - then said there was some department not available until 2:00 p.m. today needed to reinstate.

    She said it was possible to reticket as all flights were on US metal and there were still seats available in the right fare bucket. She made notes in my record, saying I should call this afternoon, refer the agent to notes in the record, and I should be reinstated.

    Checked a few minutes ago 2:30 pm CST, and 4/4 of my flights were "active" again on their site and all are in W fare class. Even given fairly good seat assignments - think some were "choice" tho I no longer have status w/ US. I didn't call - just checked the www site. May call US tomorrow, don't feel like waiting on hold today.
     
  18. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I appreciate the advice, after dealing with the Spanair agent on the phone who told me "We don't know if we can refund your money because we are waiting for the banks and the courts to tell us what to do" I think this is the wide move.
     

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