UAL Ilegal Connection

Old Feb 25th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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UAL Ilegal Connection

I recently took a vacation booked through Expedia. The flights were listed as UAL but were actually USAir and Continental code shares. There was a segment from Philly to Ft. Lauderdale and then to Freeport. When the USAir flight arrived I was shocked to find out that the connection Continental flight was in terminal at the other end of the airport. Even with the shuttle service we missed the connection. UAL had left only 44 minutes between the two flights. If you condsider that planes close 10 minutes prior to departure that leaves 34 minutes to make the connection which is impossible. The USAir manager (who was extremely helpful) said that USAir and Expedia should never have even booked the connection since Ft. Lauderdal airport requires a minimum of 60 minutes for connections between domestic and international terminals.

I contacted Expedia and they would not do anything, blaming UAL of course. UAL was even worse saying it was not their problem at all blaming USAir and Continental. Basically they said tough luck..

I'm disputing the charges with AMEX and will file a complaint with the FAA.

Has anyone else run into this type of situation? Any ideas on the best strategy to get compensation for losing a day of vacation and paying for a hotel that I missed using for one night?

Thanks,
John
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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Have not encountered this - but this code share business is a problem - it seems like no one is in charge then. Today husband flew USAir (we thought - at least that is through whom it was booked) Bos - Chicago then in the PM Chicago - NYC and tomorrow NYC to Boston. Tried to use upgrade certificates for flight - USAir said theirs could not be used as it was a coade share with UAL - and I think you can guess what UAL said.

Is code share a secret code for "it is not our responsibility"?
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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This might be a good one to submit to the Conde Nast Ombudsman - a free service of advice and mediation.

Ombudsman
Conde Nast Traveler
4 Times Square
New York, NY 10036

Of course you can send letters yourself...remember that you are apt to do better requesting free services than actual monetary reimbursement as it is typically easier for these businesses to give you a freebie that actual money.

I'd ask US Air and UA each for free flight vouchers (RT US) for each affected passenger and ask Expedia for two free hotel nights. Send your letters registered/return receipt as mail that needs to be signed for always gets attention.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 06:44 AM
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I don't believe that CO code shares with UAL or USAir. I think your problem is with Expedia, which apparently booked you on unrelated flights without adequate connection time. I don't want to unfairly malign Expedia, but I think that all services of that ilk have problems because they often connect you on unrelated flights. Years ago, you would have gone to a travel agent for this service, but now we try to get it on the cheap, and the results we get reflect that.

I think it is useful to use the websites of Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.,for research and planning, but if you want your contract of carriage to commit an airline to get you from A to B to C within the specified time, your safest option is to buy the ticket from the airline. As it is, you apparently bought two contracts: one to get you from A to B; one to get you from B to C, and failed to show up timely for the second flight. The idea that code sharing (one airline using another's plane to get you from A to B) caused this problem is inaccurate.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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This is a recurring problem. There are legal connections at every airport in the world and the only way to be sure you have a legal ticket is to contact the airline directly. These cheapie sites are not factoring these airline changes into the itineraries and you would be better off buying ticket directly from airline.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Bottom line- did you complete your flight??? If so you don't have a case. The airlines only have an obligation to deliver you to your destination- not at a time convenient for you if you miss a flight. If you had to return home- then a different story- if you made it- did you incur any additional expenses?? Time lost is not counted.
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Old Mar 4th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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I had a similar problem last year. (you can see all my posts on this forum) when I booked a flight for 5 of us on Orbitz from BOS to CDG. Of course, it turned out to be an illegal connection in London. I was aware of this before I traveled, but after I purchased the tickets and did make Orbitz aware of it. I spoke to Orbitz and all airlines involved and had e-mail correspondence with same. Noone would make a change for us. This would have required changing the connecting flight to one that was 1 hour later. We were also using two different airlines (Virgin and Air France) and were ticketed by continental. That was my first mistake. The second was not researching how long it would take to connect in London and what constituted a legal/illegal connection. The return trip was worse than the trip over. But I won't go into that. Bottom line, when I got back I persisted and contacted Orbitz management, Better Business, and a local Boston News Consumer Reporter. I managed to receive compensation from Orbitz, although they never took blame. I received 3 round trip tickets on Continental, domestically and $500 credit on Orbitz, which I managed to get credited to my card, but that's a whole other story. Just keep trying. Oh, I forgot, the news reporter came to my house and filmed me and I got on T.V., even though I settled the whole thing myself.
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