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Airfare: Rant and Rave

Old Apr 11th, 2007, 09:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,633
Airfare: Rant and Rave

Hi all,
Since the airlines keep changing schedules, I check my flights weekly.

Today, for the heck of it, I looked up my flights for our upcoming visit to Europe and found that they had dropped to $589.

Since I had paid $774, I called the carrier - Delta.

I spoke to an agent and to a supervisor. Both very nice people, but adamant about charging me $200 per ticket to make the change to the cheaper tickets.

After hanging up. I checked the Delta site again.

The fare had gone up to $1141.

The same empty seats showed up before and after I spoke to the supervisor.

Darn quick work.

On the one hand, I am peeved that Delta was charging me so much to change the tickets.

On the other, I am very pleased to have bought my tickets for only $774.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,938
Businesses couldn't operate very well if they constantly let people get refunds because something was on sale cheaper than when they bought it. It sort of defeats the whole purpose of changing prices based on demand and availability, so they get the best capacity and keep fixed costs per seat low. These kind of prices are common and defined on an airlines web site (change fees). I don't think you have a right to be peeved myself, the change fee is the price you should pay for trying to get the best of both worlds -- reserved seats early and then the cheapest price whenever you want, even if the demand turns out to be different, etc. You paid the rate that was valid for the seat when you bought it. YOu could then (in theory) stop spending your time and effort on looking for airfare, at least, so that would be a relief and savings, but you apparently enjoy doing it so continue. I love it when I've made a decision and can move on to other things.
Christina is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
Actually, I believe American used to tell folks that if the price went down subsequent to purchase you could get some sort of credit for a future trip.
Dukey is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
I would be annoyed that the change fee is $200. Good rant. Good rave, too.

Best wishes,


rex is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 997
Christina -- phooey! I'd be annoyed as well. You used to be able to make changes without the sky high "change charge." I can understand a fee of $50. or so, but $200. per ticket?! Very unsporting of them.
Tries2PakLite is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
I'm afraid those change fees have become pretty commonplace regardless of the reason for the change...another way to earn revenue without even having to fuel and launch an aircraft...what could be better?
Dukey is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Christina, what other business won't let you resell a commodity or service to someone else if you can't use it? If I bought tickets to the baseball game for a week from Friday and got sick, I could sell the tickets to someone else or even give them away if I wanted. Not so with an airline ticket.

Many businesses will give you a refund if you find a cheaper price within a specified period of time but not the airlines. The consumer gets no breaks with the airline industry period.
bettyk is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,100
I've been pretty lucky doing re-fares on United--a couple of times in the past year. If I want cash, I'd have to pay the change fee, but I've been able to get vouchers for the full amount of the difference with no fee. For example, when the cost of my flights to Japan last year went from $1300 to $900, I got vouchers for $400. Plenty of caveats here, of course. I've only done this on itineraries operated solely by United, don't know what happens if part of the itinerary was operated by another carrier. Don't know if it applies to all fares; in my case, it was on mid-level discounted and restricted economy fares (e.g., V or W). Rules can change at any time. Etc.
ms_go is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
I think it's a very valid rant!

You book your flights way ahead, the fare goes down $150, and it will cost you $200 to rebook at the lower fare for the same seats/flights. Ridiculous. Meanwhile, your fare (and those of others who have already booked) has contributed to the airline's cash flow.

Most retailers will give you "benefit of sale", and hotels will give you the lower rate (and you don't have to repay).

I continue to re-check, to fine tune the shopping process for next time, not that it helps much.
djkbooks is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 662
Ira, I feel your pain. If I had a dollar for every fare change I have missed, I would be rich. I wish my memory were better, but somewhere (maybe here)I read a piece on "if they sold paint the way they sold airline tickets." It was hilarious and really true as to the no rhyme or reason of air ticket pricing. We would never stand for this with most comsumer products! If anyone has it, post it!
wondering is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 662
Author: lm
Date: 12/22/2002, 08:46 pm

Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?
Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends on quite a lot of things.

Customer: Can you give me a guess? Is there an average price?
Clerk: Our lowest price is $12 a gallon, and we have 60 different prices up to $200 a gallon.

Customer: What's the difference in the paint?
Clerk: Oh, there isn't any difference; it's all the same paint.

Customer: Well, then I'd like some of that $12 paint.
Clerk: When do you intend to use the paint?

Customer: I want to paint tomorrow. It's my day off.
Clerk: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.

Customer: When would I have to paint to get the $12 paint?
Clerk: You would have to start very late at night in about 3 weeks. But you will have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.

Customer: You've got to be *&%^#@* kidding!
Clerk: I'll check and see if we have any paint available.

Customer: You have shelves FULL of paint! I can see it!
Clerk: But it doesn't mean that we have paint available. We sell only a certain number of gallons on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, the price per gallon just went to $16. We don't have any more $12 paint.

Customer: The price went up as we were talking?
Clerk: Yes, sir. We change the prices and rules hundreds of times a day, and since you haven't actually walked out of the store with your paint yet, we just decided to change. I suggest you purchase your paint as soon as possible. How many gallons do you want?

Customer: Well, maybe five gallons. Make that six, so I'll have enough.
Clerk: Oh no, sir, you can't do that. If you buy paint and don't use it, there are penalties and possible confiscation of the paint you already have.

Customer: WHAT?
Clerk: We can sell enough paint to do your kitchen, bathroom, hall and north bedroom, but if you stop painting before you do the bedroom, you will lose your remaining gallons of paint.

Customer: What does it matter whether I use all the paint? I Already paid you for it!
Clerk: We make plans based upon the idea that all our paint is used, every drop. If you don't, it causes us all sorts of problems.

Customer: This is crazy!! I suppose something terrible happens if I don't keep painting until after Saturday night!
Clerk: Oh yes! Every gallon you bought automatically becomes the $200 paint.

Customer: But what are all these "Paint on sale from $10 a litre" signs?
Clerk: Well that's for our budget paint. It only comes in half-gallons. One $5 half-gallon will do half a room. The second half-gallon to complete the room is $20. None of the cans have labels, some are empty and there are no refunds, even on the empty cans.

Customer: I can't believe this! I'll buy what I need somewhere else!
Clerk: I don't think so, sir. You may be able to buy paint for Your bathroom and bedrooms, and your kitchen and dining room from someone else, but you won't be able to paint your connecting hall and stairway from anyone but us. And I should point out, sir, that if you paint in only one direction, it will be $300 a gallon.

Customer: I thought your most expensive paint was $200!
Clerk: That's if you paint around the room to the point at which You started. A hallway is different.

Customer: And if I buy $200 paint for the hall, but only paint in one direction, you'll confiscate the remaining paint.
Clerk: No, we'll charge you an extra use fee plus the difference on your next gallon of paint. But I believe you're getting it now, sir.

Customer: You're insane!
Clerk: Thanks for painting with United.

Donald G. Jones

wondering is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,201
I have a similar story:

I purchased a ticket on ATA for a Friday flight because of my schedule. It turned out that I could fly out a day or two earlier, which I would have preferred. By that time, tickets for Friday had gone up $75 but the Wednesday ticket was cheaper than what I had paid for the Friday ticket. I offered an even exchange, which meant that the airline would get a higher price for the Wednesday ticket and could sell my freed up seat on Friday at a higher rate than what I had paid. I could do it, but it would cost me $175, more than the price of the original ticket. I declined and flew on Friday.
Michael is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 981
It's a valid rant, and a valid rave!

The price of my JetBlue flight dropped, and 4 of us were flying. The customer service agent had no problem crediting all of our JetBlue accounts the difference - dollar for dollar. No they did not give us cash back, but considering that we fly with them a lot, I'll use the credit on my next booking. And they did this without fees, questions or arguments.
Margo_Chester is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,706
I Know this is the Europe board, but this topic fits exactly what I've been doing today.

I'm currently looking for a business class fare to Cape Town from Toulouse. Normally we fly Toulouse-Frankfurt-Cape. Since my husband quite rationally said there's no point paying business class for the 1 1/2 hour internal flight, I checked the business rate from Frankfurt to the Cape, figuring we could then add on the coach rate from Toulouse to Frankfurt. Turns out the Frankfurt-Cape Town rate is 250 euros more expensive than Toulouse-Frankfurt-Cape

So what kind of business charges you more for one non-stop flight than for the same flight PLUS an internal flight of about 500 km.? Beats me.
Carlux is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Ira, sorry about this and I feel your pain. So, where ya headed?
Leely is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 374

love it!!
lucygirl is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Maybe they try to attract unsuspecting customers by showing them a carrot of a low price while hitting them with a stick of the changing fee?

Just a guess

Mental note to myself: if ever check the prices after paying, buy travel insurance in case of a heart attack.
FainaAgain is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Hi Christina,

>Businesses couldn't operate very well if they constantly let people get refunds because something was on sale cheaper than when they bought it. <

My experience with many firms, online, catalog and stores has been that they will refund the difference if they are having a sale and I bring back an unused item.

I was wiling to pay a reasonable price to change the tickets.

Since all they have to do is punch a few keys on the computer, I thought that $100/ticket would be reasonable.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,633

>I don't think you have a right to be peeved myself, the change fee is the price you should pay for trying to get the best of both worlds -- reserved seats early and then the cheapest price whenever you want,... and guarantee that if the price goes down you can change your reservation to the new rate, without paying a fee.

They seem to be doing very well.

ira is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,633
Hi L,

ATL to Munich and then a tour through Austria, Germany and France.

More details as the final date approaches and, a trip report afterward.

ira is offline  

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