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Compensation from United Airlines for denial of boarding (involuntary)

Compensation from United Airlines for denial of boarding (involuntary)

Old Jan 15th, 2015, 10:15 AM
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Compensation from United Airlines for denial of boarding (involuntary)

My daughter, 18, was booked on a flight the Tuesday before Thanksgiving from Columbus, OH to Newark, NJ. She arrived at the airport nearly four hours before departure but was bumped anyway due to overbooking. United had no more flights that night to the NYC area, the next available seat was on a 6:30 a.m. flight. Panicked about a forecasted snowstorm the next morning, she decided to buy a ticket on another airline to get home (flew to Baltimore, then Amtraked to NYC and picked up at Penn Station, an hour from our home). She used the return portion of the United ticket to get back to school in Ohio.

I requested a refund from United on their website and asked for the unused portion of the ticket (roundtrip ticket was $500.00) plus the compensation due for her involuntary denial of boarding, which I understood could be as much as 400% given the circumstances,

I got an email today from United saying my refund request had been processed. When I looked it up on the website, I saw that they had processed a refund of $204.00, a little bit less than half the face value of the ticket.

Am I incorrect in thinking that I'm due additional money as compensation, per the federal rules? The earliest the airline could have gotten her to her destination was 12 hours after the arrival time on her original booking.
ellen_m_rozsa is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2015, 02:41 PM
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United would have put her up in a hotel, paid for meals/incidentals and flown her the next day - plus likely a voucher for future travel for the denied boarding. But she chose to 'do it herself' and book another flight. So AFAIK the 1/2 of the original fare is all she is due.


"<i>The earliest the airline could have gotten her to her destination was 12 hours after the arrival time on her original booking.</i>"

the earliest arrival <i>would</i> have been 12 hours later, but since she took other actions - it wasn't . . .
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 07:24 PM
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Federal rules say if you are prevented from boarding due to overbooking, and the airline can't get you to your destination on another flight within four hours of the original arrival time, you are due 400% of the one-way value of that ticket, up to $1,350.00. She boarded a Southwest flight that departed Columbus at 1 a.m., seven hours after the United Flight she was bumped from. She had to pay for the Southwest flight to Baltimore (closest she could get to Newark) and then pay for a 3:30 a.m. Amtrak to NY. Most airlines overbook (Jet Blue doesn't) but United apparently is the worst offender as far as bumping passengers goes. Won't be flying them again.
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 08:16 PM
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>>but United apparently is the worst offender as far as bumping passengers goes. <<

All airlines overbook. Yes, even JetBlue. They just don't call it 'overbooking' , they call it 'oversold'. They have two whole sections in their Contract of Carriage dealing w/ denied boarding. Though yes, JetBlue is better than most other airlines.
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 04:27 AM
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Unfortunately, janisj is right. Had your daughter stuck it out with United, she would have received all those things: compensation, lodging, meals, ... But she chose to "abandon" the ticket and make other arrangements. That ended United's obligation to her. All they're required to do now is refund the unused portion of the ticket. And since two one-way tickets usually cost more than a round-trip one, that is the amount of the refund.

I'd have done exactly the same thing under the circumstances, given the weather forecast.
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 04:41 AM
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I agree with Janis and Jeff. Unfortunately this is the best you can do.

Live and learn.
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 07:49 PM
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Surprising that the second half of the ticket was still valid. Usually when the first flight in an itinerary is missed the remaining flights are cancelled. Makes me wonder if somehow the record was notated about the oversold/bump situation in a way that would stop the usual automatic cancellation of remaining flights.

Airlines are notorious for trying to blame weather or other circumstances which get them out of having to pay compensation, but it is worth pursuing. Keep in mind that the fare refund you received is separate from any compensation which may be due. When you contact the airline again do not ask for a refund, ask specifically about compensation. Do let us know how this works out.

And for future reference, before panicking and abandoning the original airline, it is worth asking to be put on another carrier who has an earlier flight, or even to ask to be rerouted to a different destination in the same area.
Seamus is offline  
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