Flight Change Dilemma

Jan 31st, 2003, 11:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 147
Flight Change Dilemma

I recently got laid off and needed to shorten our trip to Europe by a week to help save money. I called AA and they told me it would cost the equivalent of one full-price ticket to change dates.

I appealed, explained my situation, told her I would use my miles, was a member of their club, etc. Nothing doing. I kept getting the old "this is a business" line. Is there any way I can fight this?
Biscuit is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Sorry, Biscuit.

Unless you have been living in a vacumn the last few months, this is the way things are.

The airlines (all of them) have made no bones about you book....you pay. If you want to change, you pay. That's the way it is in real life now.

Curious is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 11:44 AM
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Biscuit, I'm guessing that you purchased low fare airline tickets that had restrictions and you should have read the fine print before hand. You can't expect the airline to accommodate you, even they are suffering financially. You accepted the risk when you bought the tickets. Its a difficult decision to go forth with your vacation when you're on a tighter budget, but maybe you can find other ways to cut back. Think of it as an adventure. Find those cheap hidden away cafes that have fixed price menus. You can go to bakeries to get breakfast and lunch, and even dinner in some cases. Seek out budget accommodations. Don't rent a car.

Go away with a positive outlook, and make the trip fun. I'm sure you'll find away to save money and keep within your budget.
leslie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 11:46 AM
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Hi there Biscuit!
Sorry to hear about your occupational predicament but I'm afraid you're up s**t creek. The airlines and AA probably have a personal sympathy for you but not a professional one. Any airline or AA employees left are also worried about inevitable layoffs. Any nonrefundable air fare is just that and any changes to the agreed itinerary will incur a hefty change fee, regardless of the circumstances. Hindsight is 20/20 but trip insurance would probably have reimbursed you the cost of this trip since you lost your job. With that money you may have been able to rebook an abridged itinerary and pocket the savings. Most people who purchase trip insurance never need it (thankfully) but every now and then something does go wrong and it's assuring to know that one is covered.
Happy Travels,
Rick_Steevs is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Unfortunately you don't have an option. But what sort of budget was your original trip? If it was 3 or 4 or more star hotels and a car, etc, you can stay in 1 or 2 star places and drop the car. The airfare is usually the largest budget item and it is easy to economize on accomodations, food and ground transportation. You may be able to take your oringnal trip - just downsize your other costs.
janis is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 12:56 PM
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Hmmm, well I can understand if I had cancelled, but why is changing a flight so monumental for airlines? They are not losing my business. They still get to keep my money. I just think charging the equivalent of a full-price ticket is over the top.

Oh well, taking my loss and getting cheaper hotel rooms. This economy stinks, but I am grateful I get to go at all. I just don't like to give up without a good fight, fine print or not.
Biscuit is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 01:20 PM
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Tomorrow, we leave for France. There are 4 of us in our party. Three of the four tickets were gotten with ff miles. We paid for the other ticket. This was about 8 weeks ago. On a whim, I called our airline (US Air) and asked what that same flight itinerary costs today. There was about $150 difference. I asked for the difference, they said they could not, but they were sending me a voucher for $150. I think, but am not sure, they may be transferable (sellable). Maybe, you could call AA and they would do this for you, too.

Just an idea. I also hate to give up without a fight.

Ali is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 01:38 PM
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Biscuit, when you bought the discounted airline tickets you bought them with restrictions, and that is why the airline does not have to acquiesce. Now, if you had bought full fare tickets, you could have changed them or cancelled them and received a refund without penalty. But that is the price you pay when you buy tickets that have restrictions.

Have you thought of postponing your trip. Usually the penalty is only $100 - $200 per ticket of the face value of the ticket, but even with the credit voucher you might be playing Russian roulette with future airfares.
leslie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 02:48 PM
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Hi Biscuit!
I thought AA meant Automobile Association, not American Airlines - my bad. Sorry for the redundancy. In answer to your question about why changing a flight is such a big deal to the airlines, the new flights you want may only have a few seats left, thus warranting a higher fare. The airlines thrive on changes to nonrefundable tickets, which are mostly brought on by business travelers. A change fee is only the tip of the money tree iceberg, there may also be an increase in fare so the difference is to be collected. Here is a trick that might work but it will depend on the availability of seats (fare issues) on the desired flights: Call your airline and ask how much the flights you want will cost. Do not mention that you are currently booked with them. If the fare is similar or less than your current ticket, ask the agent to hold the flights for 12 hours, call the airline back and speak with a different agent to cancel your ticketed reservation and jot down the record locater or ticket number (this will only work with an E-ticket), once your reservation(s) are cxld, call back and speak with yet another agent to ticket your new flights and use the value of the cxld ones towards the fare. If the agent claims they have no record of your cxld reservation, provide them with the record locater or tix number. This is called an exchange and will incur a $150-200 change fee. If you have a paper ticket, an exchange can still be done but you will have to hustle to the airport or nearest airline city ticket office ASAP to have it done. Maybe you'll be able to outsmart the airline with this tip.
Good luck and happy travels
Rick_Steevs is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 06:38 PM
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Biscuit, I second the previous suggestion to downsize accomodation, eat cheap (especially breakfast) Walk or take cheap transportation and pick off all the free entertainment to be had before starting the pay ones. Look for special days at museums that allow you in free.
Mikex is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 09:33 PM
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Biscuit, where will you be flying out of? Is it possible to ditch the return flight and try a bid with priceline? Just throwing things out there, sorry about your situation. How much is a full price ticket? There are so many deals out there right now it may be cheaper to just buy 2 RT tickets from your destination and again discard the return. Another choice would be to just show up at the airport and tell them you need to go home early. This happened to me once in Canada. On the phone the agent told me it would cost $200pp to change, when we got to the gate the agents were very nice, put us on the flight, and never charged us a dime. You never know, hope something works out for you = )
cnmiranda is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 09:41 PM
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cnmiranda, good thought about Priceline, however, if you don't use the first leg of your ticket (the outbound flight) the airline will negate the rest of the ticket. The only way around this is to not buy the ticket on Priceline's US site, but to use its UK site, and the originating airport would then be wherever Biscuit's original arrival city is. Although a decent idea, that's just spending more money on the airline to save money on lodging, food, ground transportation and entertainment.

The suggestion about showing up at the airport early for the return and seeing if someone at the desk will take pity on you is reasonable. Might take some planning to see if there is availability on the flight.
leslie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2003, 10:37 PM
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Biscuit- the airlines could care less about if you change your tkt or not--
I flew in and out of DFW right after the new re-structuring of the airline rules...

I arrived 4 hrs early and there were seats on 2 different planes-- IF I wanted a CONFIRMED seat, they were going to make me pay the $100 change fee and the cost between the old and NEW tkt-- all the while having a ton of seats to be sold....the planes were almost empty...

I opted to go STAND-BY---Your best bet is to call the Airlines and ask them what their standby rules are currently--they keep changing the stupid rules daily...

Another option ( and you don't say WHAT city your tkt is a roundtrip to and from) --would be to buy a tkt FROM that European city ONE WAY to the US----

This same scenerio happened to my neice in London and she had a roundtrip tkt that was unchangeable without exhorbitant fees...she ended up going to a LONDON travel agent who booked her one way on BA back to the state and only spent $200 for the tkt...So that is doeable....

Only other suggestion is to downscale hotel rooms like everyone said....

Also TRIP CANCELLATION insurance would NOT have covered you in an instance like losing a job--It only works for Illness or death.................
andy is offline  
Feb 1st, 2003, 12:02 AM
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I had the same problem with AA. Wanted to change my flight return and they wanted to charge me almost the price of a new ticket. Don't think this is good bussiness for them. They can still sell the old seat I'm vacating and charge me more for the new seat. Maybe I'm wrong but they are still getting money both ways. Chances are they would be selling my old seat for more money and charging me more for the new seat.
Chatmandu is offline  

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