Can this trip be saved? Caught in the middle of an in-flight altercation

They say there are two sides to every story. But in today’s installment of “Can this trip be saved?” there are three.

That would be the passenger’s, the crewmember’s and Christina Ernst’s. She’s the travel agent. Ernst isn’t sure what to do about this case, and after hearing about it, neither am I.

Maybe you can help.

Her client contacted her last month because she needed to get to Germany quickly. Her mother was dying.

“I found her a last minute consolidator fare saving her $500 into Frankfurt,” says Ernst. “Her mother did pass away, and she tried to change her ticket coming home, since she had to settle her estate.”

Her airline, US Airways, told her it would cost somewhere between $1,300 and $1,500 to change her ticket to a week later. Ernst told her to go to the airport instead, to see if she could do better. She ended up paying a 700 euro change fee, plus a $176 euro re-issue fee, even thought her client showed the ticket agent a death certificate.

To add insult to injury, US Airways insisted that she pay a 55 euro fee for her second checked bag.

After the flight was in the air, they told passengers they would be charging for head phones and drinks. My client asked, “Since when?” and a crew member told her “For years.” But my client did not have to pay on her way to Germany for either.

About an hour and a half into the flight the crew began serving meals. The crew member offered her a meal but my client informed her that she had ordered an Asian vegetarian meal three hours earlier when she checked in. My client stated the crew member was not friendly and told her they had no vegetarian dishes.

At this time, my client had reached a boiling point and said, “What the F#@% is wrong with you people?”

Uh-oh.

You can imagine what happened next.

A crew member was brought over, and she told the Ernst’s client that she’d be arrested after they landed. Her offense? “Interfering with a crew member.”

The client began crying. She tried to explain she’d had a horrible week, with her mother dying. The crewmembers didn’t buy it.

One crewmember left and returned with a NOTICE OF FEDERAL REGULATION VIOLATION. The crewmember told my client that the authorities were already in place in Philadelphia to arrest her immediately upon landing. She told her she had no rights nor would be served anymore, including water.

Two hours before landing, Ernst’s client, feeling a little dehydrated from all the crying and lack of water, apologized to the crewmember. The apology was accepted and the arrest was called off. She was also offered food.

“The attendant that gave her the original warning came by and threw a sandwich in her lap an hour after everyone else’s snacks were given out,” she says.

So now what?

I am truly in the middle. I do believe my client, but also do not know what to say or send into US Airways.

She really just wants them to work with her on her fees, even with proof of bereavement, and she feels they were too hard on her. She swears she did not curse at the crew member but ‘just in general’ because of the service.

Where should I go from here?

Well, this one raises a few interesting questions, doesn’t it?

1) Is dropping the F-bomb the same thing as “interfering” with the crew, or is it merely offending a flight attendant?

2) If the flight was from Germany to the United States, and they were over the ocean when this happened, how can they invoke federal law? I’m no lawyer, so maybe someone can clarify.

3) Did US Airways deserve this treatment for luring Ernst’s client in with a low fare in her hour of need and then bilking her with ridiculous fees? Or is this just the way the game is played — you offer a low fare and then sock it to the passenger when life happens?

Ernst is sending this to US Airways. “I have no problem going to bat for my clients but this one crosses a fine line that makes it difficult in my line of work,” she says.

If US Airways tells her client to take a hike — and I’m pretty sure it will — then should I take the case?

I don’t know. I’ve always been a big believer in the power of politeness, and I think Ernst’s client should have tried to handle this through more conventional means, instead of swearing at the attendant. But on the other hand, I think if my mother had died and the airline was trying to bilk me for more than a thousand bucks, I’d be tempted to give a crewmember a piece of my mind.

Should I get involved?

Update: Just heard back from Ernst: “US Airways responded with a $150 travel voucher and a note stating they are very sorry about the incident they will speak to the flight attendant involved, but due to confidentiality laws that’s where it ends.

(Photo: The Wingy/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • davidglass

    Yes, FA’s invoking the “interfering with flight crew” to punish anyone and everyone they disagree with, no matter how large or small the “infraction”, is just despicable. If someone assaults a FA or attempts to break into the flight deck, they should face the consequences, but briefly swearing at a flight attendant who is rude in the first place? That is just retaliation by the FA.

  • Raven

    Except she had a CONSOLIDATOR fare which is highly restrictive. Also, I don’t care what “traumatic” experience she had; it’s no excuse for bad, vulgar behavior. 

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    The “dehydrated from crying” phrase has bothered me all day.  When I posted earlier, I said that f— isn’t the first word I’d use when upset or angry.  I meant that this probably wasn’t the first nasty thing that this passenger had done or said. 

    Even if the FAs wouldn’t serve the passenger, why didn’t a sympathetic seatmate help out?  I know *I* would offer my water to someone in that situation and it strikes me that most people would do the same.  My suspicion is that this passenger lost the sympathy of her seatmates.

    I am still sorry for the loss of her mother, but you’re right; this all does seem to be a laundry list rooted in her thinking that she paid more money than she thought she should pay.

  • MarkieA

    Huh???

    There’s not a single definition of “Interfere” that I can twist to come up with the opinion that a single, eight word expletive constitutes interference.

  • MarkieA

    My thoughts exactly. Not to be insensitive about it, but the OP was visiting someone who, according to the story, was dying. One assumes that the possibility of having to stay to “take care of things” had to have entered her mind, thus blowing the schedule out of the water. If the OP conveyed this information to the agent, the agent should not have recommended a consolidated fare.

  • Susan N

    Even if it as overreaction by the flight crew, bottom line is that if she acted decent, none of this would have happened.

    Yes, you can go to court over basically whatever you want in this country. But when you’re in court saying “I told the FA to f**k off then … happened” it’s hard to sound completely innocent and reasonable.

  • Scott

    Fire everyone, and then you will do all the airline employee work yourself?  I thought so.  People throw tantrums about 20 minutes delays or blame the airline when THEY THEMSELVES make mistakes on bookings or not arriving at the airport early enough.

    My guess is Tony A is a travel agent who has access to the actual fare rules and is simply posting them so people here will have the appropriate information.

    As long as we are jumping to conclusions, you seem like one of the over-entitled travelers who would berate said employee when you arrive too late to get checked in, and other such boorish behavior. 

    Oh, but it’s not for me to judge, or speculate.  It’s for you, the public, to make your own decisions. 

  • Scott

    It depends on what is available.  If you purchased a very inexpensive ticket in advance, and only want to change it during a busy summer travel season when flights are mostly full, the only available fare categories are very high.  So while the fee to make a change is like $200-400 depending on the fare, the reason the total is so high is the fare difference between the original discounted booking and the higher booking codes available at the time of the change. 

  • Scott

    Yes, as with most people, ignore all facts and base your decision on emotion only.

  • Tony A.

    LFH, most of what you wrote are excellent arguments in COURT. However, what’s to stop the airline from using the INTERFERENCE CARD during a flight? They can still get a passenger arrested and worry about the consequences later. So to be practical, I don’t suggest to anyone traveling to try the limits of a flight attendants temper. You might end up in jail.

  • Tony A.

    Let’s get real here. In a situation like this (when the passenger’s Mom is dying), your job as a travel agent is to get your customer to their destination ASAP. I suppose that Christina Ernst had to overcome the 7 day advance purchase restrictions that came with deeply discounted Published fares so she ended going with a BULK fare often offered through “consolidators”. It should be obvious Christina was doing this to save the passenger money.

    If we overlook the F-bomb incident and simply concentrate on the flight change fee issue, the only question was whether the EUR700 (~$1000) fare difference was unreasonable and not the standard reissue fee (approx $250, which almost all airlines charge). Since the $1000 constitutes one-half of a round-trip basis, then the return trip would have had a FARE BASE of $2000 more than the original’s. In my experience with European fares a $2000 jump would mean you are booking at Y or near Y class.

    If I was her travel agent, I would have looked at my GDS and searched for seat availability at the lower priced booking classes. Perhaps I could recommend a cheaper date to come back home. In my case, that’s 1 minute work. But then again, we don’t know the passenger’s emotional state at that time so we cannot blame Christina.

    Finally one more thing to realize – when a travel agent uses a consolidator, the travel agent loses control of the PNR and the ticket since it is the consolidator who actually does the ticketing. If you want to make changes, you need to do it through the consolidator and the consolidator will charge another change fee above that of the airline. You (as the travel agent) cannot do much yourself. That’s why you will often hear – “just go to the airport counter and make the change there”. It actually is simpler to make changes at the airport especially if you are armed with the information (like the cheapest date to travel).

  • Charles

    Except that basically all this person’s problems were directly tied to the death having occurred. Without that there’s no last minute ticket purchase, no change in plans incurring extra fees, no trying to get a special meal 3 hours before the flight, no circumstances to warrant cussing out the flight attendant.  So, if you want to swear off flying for the chance you’ll get charged a couple extra bucks for headphones, good on ya, but otherwise your post was pointless.

  • Charles

    That was my thought, as well. 3 hours doesn’t give much time to get things squared away. I’d think in that small a window, you’d be living on the prayer that they already had the meal ready to go on the flight.

  • Charles

    This is complicated, because the fees are entirely separate from the hassle on the plane. I don’t think the f-bomb constitutes interfering, but the meal issue could have been avoided. (If you wait until 3 hours beforehand to request a meal, can it be that huge a surprise when it’s not there?) She was having a terrible time, but it seems like she let a couple very minor issues push her over the edge–can’t say I can completely blame her, but it’s not the crew’s fault she had ticket problems and had a family tragedy. 

    But it seems like the travel agent really goofed and then had nothing useful to offer in terms of help. Was there no way to get her to Germany immediately that didn’t carry such severe penalties if the itinerary needed to be changed, which wasn’t that unforeseen a possibility?  And telling the lady the options were to pay the highway robbery change fees or go to the airport hoping for better (by my math, that hassle only ended up saving her something like $50) isn’t really the sort of help I’d hope for out of a travel agent. There was nothing else the agent could offer to take some of the pressure off this poor woman? 

  • Cjk

    Airlines seldom, if ever, have bereavement fares on international routes, for a lot of different reasons, and that’s if they have bereavement fares at all anymore.  I know that they used to waive the advanced purchase on certain types of international fares, provided substantiating information was available at the time of booking, fare code was available, and all other restrictions of the fare were met, including seasonality (can’t use a low season fare for travel in June).  They also had to be booked directly with the airline.  I don’t know if that’s the case anymore.  I can’t remember if they could only be used for actual bereavements, or if they could be used for “imminent death” – it’s been a long time since I looked at anything like that.
    The types of bereavement fares you’re talking about are for domestic travel only.  I don’t know if any of those are still around, either.

  • flutiefan

    fire all of us, huh? NONE of us deserve our jobs? i certainly hope you’re using gross hyperbole with those statements.  i have done nothing to warrant getting fired, and in fact i have worked hard to keep my job, feeling as though i do deserve it.  the fact that you lump every.single.airline.employee together as unworthy shows how unreasonable you are.
    don’t you dare suppose that you understand me or what i do every day. i have had an exemplary record for over a decade, yet you come here with a sweeping statement that all folks like me should be fired?  Real nice. but…it’s not for you to judge.

  • flutiefan

    yes, it sounds like the $1000+ was the change fee PLUS the fare difference.  not just the change fee alone.

  • http://backseatflying.blogspot.com/ Gary Kung

    1. It is interfering with the crew with no doubt – she escalated the problem by literally threatening the flight attendants, which somehow interfering the air safety.

    2. Like Maritime law, the U.S. Government has jurisdiction on all U.S.-bound flight and all U.S. registered aircrafts. One example is United 895/896 – Hong Kong to Singapore – all procedures are still under the federal law.

    3. It is just the way of the game – she could have buy a full-fare to avoid any troubles for rebooking.

  • http://twitter.com/travelingiraffe Crissy

    Sounds like an over sensative crew memeber.  I know it’s a tough job and people are difficult But, when you’re stuck in a metal tube flying through the air you need to be able to recognize different types of behavior (the frustrated person vs the angry borderline violent person), and then work them.  If your solution to rude people is having them arrested you’ll have a short (but mentally long) career. 

    While saying that is rude, it’s not interferring.  and it has nothing to do with the fees they had to pay.

  • DavidS

    It has been a long time since I needed one and that was for domestic travel.

    I just looked at 2 airlines website, Delta and Continental, and they do offer compassion/bereavment fares/discounts. I didn’t look too closely into them…but they are there and are valid for international travel.

  • Sadie Cee

    There are several posters who, as professional TAs, can address the merits and demerits of fares and ticketing much better than I can.  Their opinions will provide reasons for a decision to mediate or not.  In regard to the on board interactions, however, I would like to make the following   observations:

    1. The majority of airlines operating from Europe have an additional charge for the second piece of luggage.  Some airlines enforce this policy assiduously while others often turn a blind eye.  I do not see that asking the pax to pay was “adding insult to injury.”

    2.  Should there be an expectation that a special meal ordered three hours in advance would be available? I don’t think so and the FA saying that there were no vegetarian meals available should not have elicited the abusive response from the pax.

    3.  Many people are emphasizing the impropriety of using the “F” word.  Please consider that the phrase “you people” is just as or more bound to cause offence.  The use of that phrase showed hostility and denigrated all US Air employees and despite her frustration, it should not have been used.   (This is a phrase that I will NEVER use again as it got me into hot water once.  I was using it in the kindest, gentlest way (sounds self-serving, I know) to  encourage a group of individuals to follow my directions.  My audience complained and I was sent for counselling with a psychologist who helped me to understand why using the phrase was harmful.  I am now hyper-sensitive to its use.)
      
    4.  If true, there was absolutely no excuse and there can be no forgiveness or understanding for the FA to have thrown the sandwich at the pax.  It was uncivil, unprofessional and crude.  As a representative of the airline, the FA should have taken the higher ground.  He/she did the org. no favours even though their client had been disrespectful.  

    5.  Headphones/earbuds – They are free in first-class, but some airlines offer them free in economy as well.  I always travel with a couple of them in my purse.  Even though the ones on board come wrapped in plastic, I am not sure that they are sanitary and prefer to use my own.  I have never been told not to use them. 

    Finally, we must accept that ANY display of hostility, anger or rage on board, justifed or not, will not be tolerated.  Bite your tongue, bite your lip, take a pill, or do whatever you have to do, but do not spout off or act out.  The flight crew have no way of knowing how far the hostility will go.  In order to contain the situation and to prevent any escalation, they have to take the matter seriously and trust that threats of arrest will be enough to quell the person.  They are ultimately responsible for the safety of all and rather than being criticized for overreacting, in my view, they acted reasonably and responsibly.

    Having been an eyewitness to an incident of air rage, I know how threatening and frightening it becomes to all on board – all the result of two men fighting about raising the backrest of the chair during a meal!

  • LFH

    Your point is valid for most any dispute. A person may make out a complaint against someone else, and the law will later vindicate the wrongly-accused person. Meanwhile, there has been much inconvenience and expense. It is our system of jurisprudence. Suppose you’re standing on a public sidewalk with a camera, a police officer illegally instructs you not to photograph any people without first securing their permission. Do you take such photographs for which you have a right to do and thereby risk wrongful arrest and detention? Or do you acquiesce to the police officer’s instruction? It’s a personal decision.

    And you’re also correct that the issues involved are legal ones, and not ones relating to whether the carrier was doing things correctly in a business sense. (I’ve worked for many years in the transportation business, and there is a large divide between the management that sits in an office, and the operating people that perform their duties largely without direct supervision from management. It is not uncommon for those operating people to act dictatorially, perhaps a way for them to exercise some power that they are otherwise deprived of possessing, even though that power gets wielded arbitrarily.) I believe that in these cases management should make a quick initial investigation and determine if the employee made a reasonable (though not necessarily “correct”) decision based on the facts available to the employee at the time. If reasonable and correct then management should stand behind the employee. If reasonable but incorrect then management should not discipline the employee but should apologize to the passenger (with compensation if appropriate). If unreasonable then management should discipline the employee and apologize to the passenger. Only if employees are regularly disciplined in this manner can they be reined in from acting as dictators in the sky.

  • Sershev

    Flight attendant is the job they’ve chosen, it is not
    something they have been sentenced to. It is a flight attendant and not a
    princess, know how to work with people in any situation, because sometimes we
    get emotional, frustrated, sick for whatever reason. F*** you is not a threat
    and not a reason to treat a person as a prisoner. There is always extra
    vegetarian meals in the first class, if your company screed it up, you can say
    I am sorry we’re out of vegetarian meal, but let me see if I can find something
    for you. I think US Airways needs to extend apologies to the passenger and
    charges can be filed against the flight crew for a false imprisonment and
    denial of basic necessities like drinking water. And I think also the crew
    needs to be disciplined and go through additional training.
    As of the change fees, I think they should be refunded, because any ticket gives flexibility in case of death of family member and even not, it would be a right thing to do for a company.

  • DavidS

    Any ticket does not give flexibility in case of death of a family member…that was the beginning of the problem.

    She did not give the airline 24 hours notice to guarantee her special meal request, no screw up.

  • flutiefan

    very well written. thoughtful and logical. thank you!

  • Sadie Cee

    Aviation rules and regulations are not what WE think they should be, but rather what our legislators have deemed them to be.  While I can only address what pertains under Canadian law on Canadian registered aircraft, I am almost certain that the U.S. law does have similar regulations.

    Under Canada’s Aeronautics Act, Aviation Rules and Regulations, at the lower levels of the scale disorderly conduct includes harassment, verbal/physical abuse, intimidation and refusal to comply with instructions from a crew member.   None of these behaviours will be tolerated aboard the aircraft.  If any are observed, the flight crew may decide to divert the aircraft, if deemed necessary, and the person involved may be arrested, detained and tried when the aircraft lands, or once they have returned to their point of origin.

    The offensive phrase used on this occasion fits the description of a Level 1 incident “the use of unacceptable language toward a crew member.”   In civilian life these words may seem to be qutie innocuous to some people, but that crew member considered it to be verbal abuse and that was all that they needed for action to be taken.

    Commercial airlines have been charged by regulators with developing policies and providing training for their personnel concerning the actions to be taken at each level of “interference with a crew member.”  We should consider that the crew on board this flight might not have acted arbitrarily, but rather they could have been implementing their employer’s policies as they were trained to do.

    My previous advice about “chilling out” while on board still stands. 

     

     

  • Guest

    Her mother died.  Who cares?  Everyone’s mother dies at some point.  You want the world to bend over backwards because life hits you?!?!?  Come on.

  • Guest

    You could have said “unreasonable passenger” in far fewer words….

  • Guest

    No there isn’t.  This is clearly a spoiled, entitled American who needs a dope slap.

  • Guest

    Keep boycotting, airlines and blogs.

  • Ralphgot

    I do everything possible to avoid USAirways. The last time I flew them was from Los Angeles to Orlando on a first class reward ticket to attend a funeral. I thought the service and the attitude of the staff was terrible.

  • Rosered7033

    Surely THAT’S the way to handle someone who’s just lost her mother.

  • Rosered7033

    I’m guessing you’re the person who also posted that she is an “entitled Anerican”  who just needs a “dope slap”.

  • Anna

    Thank you. Very informative. 

  • Dokeo

    Hello,
    free speech?  She didn’t threaten, she didn’t hit anyone. She lost her
    cool, but dealing with airlines will definitely do that to a person. In what
    way is speaking rudely “interfering?” If the attendant wants to
    refuse service from then on, fine. But arrest? That’s just a person with a
    power trip.

     

    Why didn’t have the
    special meal she was offered at check in? Did they apologize? Why doesn’t failure to provide the promised meal constitute THEM
    “interfering” with HER?
    And seriously, she’s bawling and they won’t give her a glass of
    water for hours? There’s the milk of human kindness for ya.

  • DavidS

    They didn’t have the special meal because she did not request it in time to guarantee it…it was just that…a request.

  • eeeema

    @Sarah J  – If you read the account of what happened, she cursed at the flight attendant AFTER multiple instances of poor treatment both by airport personnel and the flight attendant.

  • http://www.cutcat.com ChelseaGirl98

    I am surprised US Airways doesn’t have bereavement fares. But if they don’t, there isn’t much one can do about it and you have to accept that a last-minute change is going to cost you. I do think it is appalling that they would have someone arrested for cursing, as this does not at all come under the heading of “interfering” with a crew member. If they ever do that to someone else I hope they get the pants sued off them for false arrest.

  • Dokeo

    OR … they offered her a choice of meals, and she picked one, and then they didn’t have it.

    The story above isn’t specific about it, but her outburst makes a lot more sense in my context. She’s not a raging b***, just someone who is receiving unrelenting carelessness and callousness. After getting charged $1200+ for a flight change  — after showing a mother’s death certificate — the unapologetic failure to deliver a meal that *they* offered *me* would probably make me say exactly what she did, quite possibly even worse. And under the circumstances of this scenario, I would have perhaps apologized for one word, but nothing else. And if arrested, I’m 100% sure I would not be charged with a crime, much less convicted.

  • Dokeo

    Yes, everyone’s mother dies. But not in the past week. Are you saying that people who have just experienced a tremendous loss should not be treated with a little extra kindness, if possible?

    Apparently it’s becoming a rarity, but for many years, airlines would offer reduced fares for: last-minute tickets to attend funerals; ticket changes resulting from the death of a near relative; serious illness on the part of a ticket holder; and other circumstances, on a case-by-case basis, that involved a ticket-holder being unable to travel on the reserved date through no fault of their own.

    It was the flip side to the times when the airlines had weather or mechanical delays. We all mutually agreed to cut each other a little slack when the unforeseen/unavoidable happened.

    But now the airlines take no responsibility for their own unforeseen/unavoidable situations, but insist on cashing in when their customer have unforeseen/unavoidable situations of their own.

  • DavidS

    Unlikely. Asian vegetarian is a special meal requring 24 hours notice. A standard vegetarian is usually an option on board. All this info is available on USAirways website.

    More likely she asked at the counter, was told it was on request but not guaranteed.

    I am beginning to think the bereavement fare concept is pointless. These are a throwback to the day when there was one, expensive, last minute fare…like $2000 one way cross country. These were only bought by business travlers on expense accounts. The airlines offered a discounted fare for these purposes to appear more compassionate.

    Since deregulation, as fare structures and competition have made air travel more affordable, is a walkup ticket really that out of line on most routes? New York to LAX is less than $400 one way for a ticket tomorrow.

    Why demand a discount from an airline? If I need to attend a funeral, do I get a discount on my black suit? Flowers? Casket for the deceased? Parking at the airport? Motels? Meals while traveling? (Granted…a motel may offer a discount for out of town guests, but that is to get the group business.)

    The client bought a highly restictive ticket…not even sold by USAirways. The question is the reasoning behind this, knowing there may have been a possibility of changing it.

  • wondermutt

    A question out of ignorance:

    If the “US claims jurisdiction over all US-registered aircraft” as originally posted by johnb78, then doesn’t this also mean that US laws should apply, including that little first-amendment one about freedom of speech?  And if it does apply, then how can any language short of a threat of physical harm to person or plane be grounds for arrest?

    I understand that stupid use of language has its limitations (like the fact that it’s stupid, and in some places illegal, to yell “fire” in a crowded theater), but this incident seems to call to light this question for me and I’d love to hear back from someone with credible/legitimate constitutional law background on it.

  • Traveling man

    Let’s address the airline ticket 1st.
    1.The travel agent stated that she purchased a “consolidator ticket” and saved $500.00.
    2. There are rules that are beyond USAIR’s rules when buying a consolidator ticket. They require special booking classes that are unique to themselves and USAIR’s revenue team.
    3. Generally there is a $250.00 change penalty and you simply have to book the new ticket in the same class of service to get the fare. We do it all of the time. The catch to this is that it must be in a specific class of service to change the flight.
    4. The client should have contacted Christina Earnst to contact the consolidator to change the ticket. In USAIR’s defense, they had no idea in hell (oops, did I drop the H-word, sorry USAIR.) what that ticket fare basis was, so they exchanged it against a full “Y” fare. I looked it up and would have done the same were I behind the USAIR counter.
    Sorry, no money back – mis-handled in the end by the customer.

    Not to the attack of the Attendent
    5. Cussing in a public area – not cool. Cussing in a public area to an airline employeee in today’s world – bad. The attendant threatening the passenger with starvation, dehydration, and jail and seriously throng a sandwich at the passenger? – instant dismissal, hand her from the highest beer stein! The F-bomb is not a threat until attatched with a statement like I’ll F#$@% kill you. Shame on USAIR for intimidation tactics. Fly the foriegn  guys, they are nicer.

  • Traveling man

    The travel agent did absolutely right at the time. Save the money. A fully refundable ticket would have been in the several thousand dollar range. Nobody could have assumed that there would be a death. The airlines are heartless.$$$$$ that is all they want. The refund rules are for the death of the passenger alone, after that it is up to the airlines PR to decide $$$

  • Traveling man

    Wrong! It is very easy to change a consolidator fare if you follow their rules. I use them 10 times a day for normal travel, emergency travel, even 1st class travel. You just cannot make the change with the airline.

  • Traveling man

    Special meals requires a longer time to request. This again sounds like the counter tried to pacify her and let the next airline moron handle the fallout.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PYBPKMCHPLHDPKJJGCOLESY7HI Rabbi Pedro Goldstein

    There are NO “confidentiality laws” any of the airlines operate under. I am so fed up with the way airlines and their employees treat passengers. I am a million mile flier with AA and I no longer ask for preferred treatment, I beg that they treat me at least as well as prison guards treat inmates.