Passenger Screwed after Paying Change Fee

February 2, 2012

in Airport Stories

This took place in October of 2011, as always with United and purchased through Expedia.

I had a flight from Montreal to Costa Rica. I had checked prices and they were around $900 round trip. The day I come to make my purchase, the price has jumped to $1300. Fearing that it will only go higher, I purchase the ticket using some $900 in credit which means I also have to pay a change fee. The worst part is that the return flight available has a 6 hour layover in Newark.

About a week later, the price is back down to $900 or even less, and there is a return flight available with a one hour layover. So I pay another change fee, and purchase this ticket to save myself some time.

I go on my vacation as scheduled, and when it’s time to come back home, I go to checking online, only to realize that my flight has switched back to the one with the 6 hour layover. I spend the night on the phone with United and Expedia, but no one can tell me why I got bumped to another flight. The only thing I get is that the flight must have been cancelled. This was a very frustrating experience, since I had to use Skype to call and it would cut off just as I had finished explaining my story. I must have talked to at least 4 or 5 different agents at Expedia and United.

Due to lack of choice, I take my flight, get to Newark, and find that the flight I was supposed to take is still there, on time, with seating available. Great, I don’t have any bags checked in; I am at the gate as they start boarding.

After talking to the agent, she says that she cannot switch me over since there is not enough time and she cannot delay the plane. When I ask why I was switched from the flight, I get no response. To be fair, I don’t know if it was the airline or Expedia, but I have an email from Expedia showing that my flight was supposed to be the earlier connection.

So over $300 in change fees and taxes and I still get screwed. How are the airlines getting away with this?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron February 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Because they can.


Eric February 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Do a Google search for Chris Elliott and send him an e-mail. He's a travel blogger who often can help in situations like this.


Gregg February 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Yep, he operates a consumer advocacy site for travel-related problems. Here's a link to his site: Elliott.


Tingting July 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

That's because their email system doesn't automatically handle overbooked flights. An agent has to send you an email manually, and that's how things get screwed up. At least that was the explanation I got when a similar thing happened to me.


Jennifer R. Povey April 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm

This is why I don't use Expedia.


Chris August 25, 2014 at 5:09 am

Third party sites are unreliable. I had a similar issue where my flights were changed by Priceline and I was not informed.


Jason July 25, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Don’t ever book on a 3rd party site like Expedia. Too many parties involved. Rookie mistake. Always book directly with the airline.


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