New low in airline fees: Death fee

Dec 20th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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New low in airline fees: Death fee,6903179.story
TwoFatFeet is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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I am not surprised that an airline would charge a fee to refund a ticket; no doubt that is in the fine print when you book. I don't really see the moral point the person feels is involved. If she had bought trip insurance to cover the cost of the tickets, I think it would have been about ten percent of the value, so that would have been more than the 225. I guess i just don't "get it" on this one.
aloha is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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Shame on Hawaiian Airlines! Bad press, bad public relations, and bad (good)will. This is the kind of event that begs the question "WHAT were they thinking?" Sure they have a right to charge an "administrative" fee, but under the circumstances, why would they? I hope the tremendous noise this causes makes them think twice...
widespreadpanic is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Let's be clear, I'm not justifying their actions. Following the letter of the law (which they are doing) shouldn't override simple common decency especially when the situation won't really cost them much.

But how does this happen and why?

Pretty simple really, the guys who own the bulk of Hawiian Air don't intend to own it in perpetuity. Hawaiian filed bankruptcy in 2003 (I think.) I believe they came out of bankruptcy in 2005. They are mostly owned by private equity firms and hedge funds that purchased their debt before or during the bankruptcy. Most people that buy bankrupt company's buy them with the intention to be out of their investment in 5 years or less.

That brings us to why they would do this. First, the management is probably under tremendous pressure to deliver results. They are probably having their feet held to the fire about delivering performance and revenue is revenue. Especially when they can generate $75 of revenue for essentially no cost.

Is it short-sighted, yes and no. There will be negative press. They will be spoken about harshly. But, they likely have calculated that at the end of the day, the bad press won't change their ability to sell tickets.

I'm sure they've taken the view that what trumps all else in selling seats is price. Be competitive on price, you will sell tickets.

Not saying it's the right thing to do as a human being. But, distressed debt investors rarely care about being called human beings. Their goal is to improve performance and cash out.
Ryan is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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I find no fault with the airline in this situation.

Keith is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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TwoFatFeet is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I think it is interesting the way some people tell stories, esp. when there are grievances. So this article is just one more reminder that when we read threads here at fodors that they are probably not telling the whole story.

This story goes:

"She contacted Delta Air Lines, , on which she'd booked a separate first-class trip ... . "They fully refunded the tickets, no questions asked," Wilkens said."

Except it seems that Delta did ask questions:

"... like Delta, requested a copy of her mom's death certificate."
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Perhaps she was being literal in her use of grammar.

If Delta said "Give us a copy of the death certificate" that would be a declarative statement.

Had they said "May we please see a copy of the death certificate?" then that would be a question.

Ryan is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 09:23 PM
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Continental wouldn't refund our business class tickets to Ireland after my mother-in-law died--we bought the tickets several months in advance to visit her.

Although when I first called about it, they told me they would refund the tickets (the tickets we bought were classified nonrefundable), and to go to the nearest airport with the death certificate. But when we arrived at the airport, we were told that they were not refundable. In the end, they said they would give us credit toward future flights for the amount of the tickets. At the time, we were pleased with that, and decided to go with that rather than use the original tickets.

What they really gave us were 10 $500 vouchers. If you buy a flight for $200, you have to use the voucher, and the $300 balance is lost. You cannot buy more than one ticket with each voucher, so if you are buying two $200 tickets, you lose $600.

Had we been told the truth in the beginning, we just would have used the tickets to visit friends. We thought the tickets were nonrefundable, but I called just to make sure. Dragging our one-year-old to the airport and hanging around for 2 hours while my poor husband tried to hold it together was a horrible experience.
Ann41 is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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She is lucky she received a refund instead of travel vouchers. I know it generates goodwill to accommodate passengers for unexpected events but airlines are businesses.

I have canceled/rescheduled trips due to death of close family members and the "best" airlines offered was waiving the change fee for changing the original ticket (AA) and travel vouchers (CO).
esm is offline  

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