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Flight changes--- (un)fair warning
Old 02-05-2018, 05:42 AM   #1
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Flight changes--- (un)fair warning

My partner and I bought tickets last month on Expedia for a June vacation. I purposely chose a United flight that would get us to Boston around 1, to avoid rush hour. (We are actually going to Maine.) Saturday I got an email that told me my flight had been changed from 12 to 1:30, getting into Boston around 3:15. Once we get the car rush hour starts... at least where I live.

Checking Expedia there was another flight on another airline leaving at the time we wanted. I called Expedia yesterday and they told me that United gives you only 2 hours from the email notification to cancel when such changes are made. THAT WAS NOT ON THE EMAIL I RECEIVED. United offered a credit for a future flight but that means we would need to shell out more money for the other flight. And at this time, I don't fly that often.

Has anyone else faced this and resolved it to their satisfaction? Is there a place to register a complaint... not that that might do much. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:04 AM   #2
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I have a friend that complained and received a $50 voucher and took the rescheduled flight. They have to get a supervisor to approve the increased voucher.

You have more than 2 hours. But probably less than 48.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:11 AM   #3
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Airlines hold the power, we have none. This is why air travel has lost its luster, and why some airlines end up on "most hated company" lists.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:28 AM   #4
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A little different but last October I was booked on a United trip to Portugal. The only way to get the lowest mile frequent flyer ticket was to have a 6 hour layover at JFK. I booked it anyway as the tickets were free.

A month after booking they changed the flight and it was now a 7 hour layover. Days after being notified I called United and talked to customer service who put us on a flight with only a 2 hour layover! Worked out great.

Not quite the same as I had booked the tickets directly with United but I'd try to call them instead of Expedia.
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:28 AM   #5
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If you've already complained and not gotten a good response, take it to twitter. Chat svc reps who monitor social media sites have much more flexibility.
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Old 02-05-2018, 07:00 AM   #6
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I book my flights directly because having Expedia in the middle doesn’t help. You can’t change your seats for free, etc.

I don’t think Expedia can handle things like switching you to another airline.

I don’t get the two hour bit. Expedia made the change on your behalf? Or was this a proposed change and you had to confirm?

I think when you purchase flights many months ahead chances of equipment and time changes are much higher.
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Old 02-05-2018, 07:30 AM   #7
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I booked a New Zealand trip thru United. They made changes that had us getting back at 11pm instead of 7pm. That just made a really long day longer.


OP - Changing a ticket to another airline would likely have increased your ticket price. Would that have made it better? Now if it were a code share flight... the price might not have been effected.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:17 AM   #8
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The other issue I learned is that many of these airlines are putting in special fees and rules if you book through a 3rd party. Like we were caught up in that Hurricane Irma mess, we were only given a credit because our flight there was fine..just it was the last flight into a hurricane in which they couldn't fly us back out of..grrrr. Anyway, they "waived" the change fee, we went to re-book and they were like ok so its $102, I'm like how? Oh there is a $50/ticket fee to "take possession" of a ticket booked through a 3rd party so we can change it.

So I try to stick to direct purchases if possible, they have much more lattitude in changing your flights and I find I don't run into as many issues. I am not surprised at all that through Expedia you had this issue, I think the airlines do it on purpose.
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:23 AM   #9
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The only time I tried to change an itinerary after the airline made an unacceptable schedule revision (left me with a layover that was too short for my comfort on an international flight), I called and was able to change to a schedule I actually liked better, connecting through a different airport. This was on AA and I'd booked directly with them. Hadn't heard about a requirement that you request a change within 2 hours but it doesn't surprise me. Anything to get more fees and decrease the value of your original airfare.

Like the others here, I book directly with the airlines whenever possible. One exception was when Orbitz had airfares to Scotland for $300 pp less than on Delta's site. I bought from Orbitz but had a terrible time with seat selections- Delta's system kept trashing them and assigning us less-desirable ones (DH was over 6 feet tall and preferred an aisle seat).
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:32 AM   #10
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I donít get the two hour bit.
I think the agent explained the two-hour bit wrong. They may be able to offer you a refund if your departure time at your origin or arrival time at your destination is more than 2 hours different from the original schedule. This is clearly explained on the airline's website. However that's still a "may" meaning that it's dependent upon terms and conditions of the specific airfare class.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:24 AM   #11
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I'll never book another United flight. Everyone has an "airline horror" story so I won't go into the details here. Let's just say it left a lasting impression. I honestly believe United is among the worst of the (admittedly all pretty bad) airlines.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:31 AM   #12
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I have reduced stress and, probably, blood pressure by accepting this simple fact:

The airlines are my enemies. Anything they can do to cheat me, they will do, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Now, I am never surprised. It's very calming.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:57 AM   #13
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I have reduced stress and, probably, blood pressure by accepting this simple fact:

The airlines are my enemies. Anything they can do to cheat me, they will do, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Now, I am never surprised. It's very calming.
That's a good way to deal with changes that are really out of your control and sometimes inevitable. Fly enough and you will run into flight changes, cancellations etc. Try spending a couple of days and nights in a layover airport while the final leg of your itinerary is delayed due to weather. Any other "airline inconvenience" is quickly put in perspective.

In exchange for the cheapest fares, we lose some of the "services" the airlines used to give us for free in the name of customer satisfaction. It is the modern "Give the customer all the choices and let them make the decisions" world we live in today. I just don't have the time, or inclination to research all the fine print before I purchase.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:01 AM   #14
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In exchange for the cheapest fares, we lose some of the "services" the airlines used to give us for free in the name of customer satisfaction.
I agree- I was just about to respond that you can buy the airlines' love by booking Business Class. A late flight is a late flight no matter where your seat is, but you lose a lot of the junk fees and it makes the whole flight experience a bit more tolerable.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:13 AM   #15
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@CRLLS, @Athena53 you are correct to a degree, but the cheating comes in when the airlines hide the extra charges and even successfully resist the FTC's efforts to force disclosure when fares are quoted. It's not just an honest trade of price for service. It's bait and switch.

Same thing on exorbitant fees to change a booking. There's no fairness or microeconomic market justification for it. It's just gouging, pure and simple.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:31 AM   #16
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@CRLLS, @Athena53 you are correct to a degree, but the cheating comes in when the airlines hide the extra charges and even successfully resist the FTC's efforts to force disclosure when fares are quoted. It's not just an honest trade of price for service. It's bait and switch.

Same thing on exorbitant fees to change a booking. There's no fairness or microeconomic market justification for it. It's just gouging, pure and simple.
If I purchase tickets from Expedia or Orbitz or...... you may be right. I am a Frequent Flyer on United, not because of their service" but because I live near their hub and they fly just about everywhere. I also book on their website. The details of the changes and are all there. I may have to drill down through many pages and it is in very fine print. But I do know the conditions of sale before I purchase. (If I want to).

As an aside, I have recently joined the Alaska Air freq flyer plan. So far, they seem to be very customer related. I do pay an annual fee for their branded Credit Card in exchange for a $100 companion fare every year. I have not tested changing itinerary with them. I hope that I never have to.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:35 AM   #17
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Same thing on exorbitant fees to change a booking. There's no fairness or microeconomic market justification for it. It's just gouging, pure and simple.
I agree with that and I've paid those fees! Airlines have been crowing in their discussions with investment analysts about how much they're raking in in "auxiliary fees".
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:46 AM   #18
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I agree with that and I've paid those fees! Airlines have been crowing in their discussions with investment analysts about how much they're raking in in "auxiliary fees".
From what I have heard, there is a federal excise tax on airfare. By separating airfare from other services, like bags, seat assignment, meals, headsets, WiFi, etc. the excise tax is only owed on the base ticket price, not the extra services.

That in turn make it more profitable for the airline, and maybe cheaper for the flying public.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:58 AM   #19
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... The details of the changes and are all there. I may have to drill down through many pages and it is in very fine print. But I do know the conditions of sale before I purchase. (If I want to). ...
Yup. The classic defense to a bait-and-switch accusation is to point out that all the information was available to the consumer, thoroughly buried or not. IMO it is still bait and switch, as evidenced by the airlines' fighting the FTC on disclosure. They know very well what they are doing.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:08 PM   #20
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A classic consumer dodge is blaming the company for the consumer's own unwillingness to do be conscientious and read and understand what exactly they are buying.
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