Should US Airways compensate me for a lodging error?

Markus Mainka /
Markus Mainka /
Ken Middleton and his girlfriend were flying back to the mainland after enjoying a vacation in Hawaii. At least, they were supposed to be. But their US Airways flight was canceled because of a mechanical problem and they were rebooked on a flight 24 hours later.

Ah, 24 extra hours in Hawaii. What to do? I can think of a few things.

Well, US Airways describes what it should do in its contract of carriage, the legal agreement between Middleton and the carrier.

Oh wait, it’s not there! Looks like, for our convenience, they moved it to their customer commitment, which is a non-binding promise. Here it is:

When a US Airways flight on which the customer is being transported is canceled or causes a missed connection due to reasons within the control of US Airways, creating an overnight stay for the customer, US Airways will provide one night’s lodging. US Airways will pay for:

Hotel room (US Airways will not cover: room service, alcohol, or movies, laundry or other hotel services);

Ground transportation (if not provided by the hotel);

Passengers without baggage will be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts for reasonable incidentals such as toiletries needed until they are reunited with their baggage.

So as I read this, US Airways wasn’t legally required to do a thing for him. (Remember, the promise of a hotel is not written into its contract, but its service pledge.) But it did.

“We were told if we could find a hotel room, we would be reimbursed for the cost through their voucher program,” he says.

Most airlines will issue a voucher to cover the full amount of the hotel and offer a van to a hotel in Waikiki. That’s what happened to me a few years ago when my American Airlines flight burst into flames somewhere over Maui.

“We found a room at $386 per night,” says Middleton. “There was a conference in Honolulu, and nothing else was available. When I requested a refund from US Airways, however, they would only reimburse me $75 for my stay.”

He appealed to US Airways. Here’s its response:

I truly appreciated the opportunity in speaking with you and as stated, I have passed along your desire to speak with a supervisor and they will review the case and if warranted make a phone call, but we cannot guarantee that they will be making a call.

After thorough I have not found any reason to change the original decision and am unable to honor your request to increase in your hotel reimbursement amount.

Mr. Middleton, I’m sorry that we couldn’t reach an amicable resolution to the situation.

Hmm. Did our good friends at US Airways skip a few English classes? Maybe.

In my experience, an airline will offer a voucher for an available hotel, which covers all of your lodging expenses. But who stays in Honolulu for $75 a night? You can’t even find a couch to surf on for that much.

Middleton had to pay $311 because of US Airways’ mechanical delay, and that’s wrong.

At the same time, the way I read the airline’s customer “commitment,” it didn’t really have to do anything to help a stranded passenger. Asking the airline to do something it isn’t required to isn’t the strongest argument, from a consumer advocacy point of view. But I’m not afraid to try.

Should I mediate Ken Middleton's case with US Airways?

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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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  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Just because its not part of the contract of carriage doesn’t mean its not enforceable. That’s a trick of the drafter. The OP needs to look into quasi-contractual remedies such as detrimental reliance which may provide relief.

    Where I’m confused is that I thought the airlines generally issued vouchers which you take to the hotel. That’s what happened to me on my overnight delays.

  • LFH0

    I think US Airways (and probably other carriers as well) is being cute with its contract of carriage. Section 09-04 of the contract states, “US Airways’ Customer Service Plan is not guaranteed, is subject to change without notice, and is not part of this Contract of Carriage.” This provision is reinforced within the plan in its second sentence, “This Customer Service Plan is explicitly separate from and not a part of US Airways’ Contract of Carriage.” Thus, the conclusion of Mr. Elliott that the plan is not enforceable.

    But look at the USDOT regulations. At 14 C.F.R. § 259.5(a), the regulations require that “[e]ach covered carrier shall adopt a Customer Service Plan applicable to its scheduled flights and shall adhere to the plan’s terms.” That is, not only is US Airways obligated to adopt a plan, but it is also obligated to adhere to the plan. And the language in the US Airways plan is mandatory as to the provision of, and paying for, hotel rooms with this type of delay. So US Airways was probably required to pay for the hotel room in Hawai’i, notwithstanding the going rate for hotel rooms in Hawai’i.

    Unfortunately, it appears as though consumers cannot directly enforce the regulations against carriers as USDOT has declined to allow a private right of action. See Enforcing Airline Passenger Protections; Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 23,110, 23,130-31 (Apr. 25, 2011). Apparently, USDOT believes that in the case of a violation of the regulations by a carrier, the consumer should simply make a complaint to USDOT, and “the Department [of Transportation] can determine if enforcement action is appropriate in a given situation.” Id. at 23,131.

    As USDOT was considering a proposal that would have required incorporation of customer service plans into enforceable contracts of carriage, US Airways provide its comments on the proposal “that there is no reason to require incorporation of . . . customer service plans as U.S. carriers already post these plans on their websites.” Id. at 23,130. According to USDOT, “US Airways speculates that only a small percentage of visitors to its website review the page containing the Contract of Carriage, suggesting that the inclusion of the plans in carriers’ contracts of carriage would not increase passenger awareness of their rights.” Id. USDOT also reported that “US Airways as well as other carriers are particularly concerned that this requirement would create a private right of action and subject airlines to a multitude of lawsuits in a variety of jurisdictions.” Id. Thus, it seems that the attitude of US Airways is that these issues are just a matter of informing passengers of their rights, but it would be inconvenient to US Airways to actually allow passengers to enforce their rights!

    Moreover, federal law generally preempts state and local regulation of air carrier services, 49 U.S.C. § 41713, thereby throwing another roadblock in front of consumers seeking to enforce their rights under a quasi-contract or other state law theory. (But consider Dan’s City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey, — U.S. –, 133 S. Ct. 1769 (2013) as to the question of whether the provision of hotel rooms is in fact related to the services of an air carrier.)

    USDOT left the door open when it stated that it “will continue to monitor [and] determine if we need to revisit this issue in the future should a problem exist.” 79 Fed. Reg. at 23,131. From the story here, perhaps USDOT should do so.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The consumer work around is to file in small claims court. My understanding is that in many states they routinely ignore such issues and the cost of removing a matter to Federal court would be prohibitive. I’d wouldn’t want to be the attorney who removes a $300 case to federal court. I suspect the federal judge would be very unhappy.

    I’m also be curious to check the annotations to see if 49 U.S.C. § 41713 was applicable, specifically with regards to the metes and bounds of the term “service”

  • technomage1

    So they dump the customer with no place to stay and leave it to them to find a room? They should’ve issued them a voucher, but I’m guessing they couldn’t find space either due to the conference. When the customer did, just like the airline said they should, now they want to back out of their commitment? Sorry, charlie, but the mechanical problem is 100% the airlines fault.

  • BillCCC

    I think that you should mediate. The airline consistently used the word ‘will’ within their commitemnet rather than ‘might’ or ‘could’. This says to me that they intend to do something. Reasonable people would assume that they would cover the cost of a hotel in whichever location the breakdown occurred. Maybe $75.00 in Newark but not in Honolulu.

  • Sam Varshavchik

    Here’s another vote for taking the route of small claims court. I think it actually works in the passenger’s favor, here, the fact that the airline weaseled out of their obligation via their contract of carriage.

    If, say, they did have it in their contract of carriage merely an obligation to dump their displaced passengers into Roach Motel, instead of some reasonable dive, or if they explicitly stated in their contract of carriage that they’ll reimburse their displaced passengers a maximum of seventy-five bucks, than, by the virtue of buying a ticket, the passenger agreed to those terms, and they’ll be out of luck.

    But, since the passenger here did not agree to anything like that, then this seems to be something that’s simply not covered in their contract of carriage. Their “customer commitment” yarn can be safely ignored, it carries no legal weight.

    So, we’re left with an airline delay stranding the passenger, and the passenger incurring financial costs due to that. The only contract of any kind here is the airline ticket the passenger bought: from point A to point B on date C. The airline failed to meet their end of the deal, and the passenger incurring some costs due to that.

    Should be a slam dunk in small claims.

  • sirwired

    It was a mechanical, therefore totally within USAir’s control. They should pony up. (With cash… none of this voucher silliness for this problem.)

    On another note: Who holds a large conference in Honolulu and how do I convince my boss to let me go?

  • LadySiren

    I work with a large professional association and they regularly hold meetings and conferences in Hawaii. ;)

  • John Baker

    I think that the delay was within US Air’s control and they needed to provide him a room for the night. I also don’t believe the OP’s story. I’ve been stranded before. With one exception, the airline has always found me a room and gave me a voucher for the room. With that one exception, they told me, in advance, what they would reimburse.

    Sorry I don’t see any airline looking at someone and saying “Go find any room in Honolulu and we’ll pay for it.” Really… So if the OP booked the Royal Hawaiian Penthouse Suite, the airline is going to pay for it. Really? I also don’t believe that on the entire island of Oahu there was only one room left. Not a single inexpensive hotel in sight.

    Or is it just possible that the OP saw a chance for the two of them to have a nice room at US Air’s expense.

    I think you should mediate for no other reason than to get the airline’s side of the story. In general, it’s a horrible airline and they seem to have a corporate policy of sticking it to their customers. In this case, its just possible that one of their customers is sticking it to them.


    I have been stranded by mechanical delays a couple of times. The various airlines involved gave us vouchers, booked the hotels, provided a voucher for a meal or 2 and rebooked us on other flights. The meal vouchers were a bit stingy, but at least they were something. US Airways fell down on the job here. They should have provided vouchers for the stay or refunded the full amount of the stay to the OP. Maybe they knew they could not get rooms because of the convention in town. Who knows? But they are responsible for the delay and the extra cost to the traveler and should reimburse him the full amount for the hotel.

  • Annie M

    US Airways owes him a refund. I find that often when the first answer is a no, continuing to push for a better resolution often works. Never take a first or second “no” – keep going after them. And perhaps the airline did tell them to find a room if there were large conventions and no hotels available – but to pass it off to the customer is wrong. If it were me, I think I wouldn’t have moved until I exhausted every chance to make the airline find hotel for me. and provide me with a voucher. Chris, you should take this one up.

    That being said – the right travel insurance policy would have helped reimburse him for extra expenses as well.

    I actually DID see an airline say “tough luck” with hotels when there was a mechanical problem with a plane. After Hurricane Sandy, I was flying to Florida from JFK and sitting at the gate next to one where Hawaiian Airlines had their once daily flight to Hawaii from JFK. The flight was canceled and the airline did make an announcement that due to the Hurricane there wasn’t a hotel that had room for the passengers and they would have to remain in the terminal if they couldn’t get home. And they weren’t lying – every hotel was full with people who had no homes. While the cancellation was under Hawaiian Airlines control, the fact that there wasn’t a single hotel room to be found wasn’t – and I always wondered how they compensated those passengers.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Mediate. I’m curious why UScareways didn’t give him a voucher for the hotel, though. What were the PAX told at the airport? This is critical information—did the airline expect them to find their own lodgings? Somehow, I don’t buy that…

  • jerryatric

    Just another example of the airline industry “screwing over” paying customers. They must have a strong lobby to avoid getting binding legislation to better protect the flying public.
    And if you think it’s bad in the U.S. try Canada! With one huge National carrier, we pay more for National flights, get bumped off of flights with little or no compensation, as there is little to nothing at all to protect us.

  • Alan Gore

    Definitely mediate this one. Mecahanical delays are the most clear-cut case of carrier responsibility and the details – picking a hotel, transportation, etc. – are normally handled directly by the airline. Certainly we wouldn’t want delayed passengers cherry-picking the most expensive hotel in town, but if US Air is going to shirk its duty to make the arrangements, getting hit with an unexpectedly big bill is its own fault.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You’d be surprised. I was stranded in LA earlier this year. My fault entirely. A huge gaming convention was in town. The only hotel I could find within a 20 mile radius was a Best Western for $250. And I searched numerous websites and made several phone calls. It’s perfectly reasonable that during a convention finding a hotel room is nearly impossible

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    If USAir told him they’d pay for his hotel, they should have. Carver’s right, I’ve received a voucher for the hotel before leaving the airport the few times this has happened. Granted, it’s usually for a place that I’d rather not stay in so I get my own room, but that’s my choice. But if all the local hotels were full, USAir probably was unable to find rooms for everyone on a timely basis, so they offered to reimburse. It would be interesting to see if the OP contacted numerous hotels or just settled for one he liked … that’s a high price. But a $75 reimbursement offer? Quite insulting. Go get ’em, Chris.

  • karenell

    It’s possible that a naive gate agent incorrectly stated US Airways’ policy, but I think that more than likely Mr. Patterson chose, on his own, to pick his own hotel. And that’s not the deal – nor should it be. As you stated, when passengers are stranded for mechanical reasons the airline offers them vouchers to very specific contracted hotels. They don’t offer a carte blanche hotel reimbursement for whatever hotel a passenger chooses. They need some way of controlling costs, and the voucher program does so, while also fulfilling whatever obligation they might have to the customer.

    I’ve been stranded by US Airways’ mechanical errors on more occasions than I’d like to count. I have always been offered a voucher. No one has ever told me to ‘pick a room, any room, and we’ll reimburse you.’ Very often I’ve chosen to forego the voucher because I didn’t like the hotel they were offering – but that was my choice.

    The $75 they are offering in compensation is likely their cost for the voucher. And considering the circumstances, I think it’s generous.

  • kathymcn

    Get elected to the board of a Hawaiian timeshare. They have meetings at the vacation destination which are paid for by the owners.

  • TonyA_says

    Wonder what the rest of the passengers got? I assume a voucher.

  • Daddydo

    Even more than that, the customer service desk finds the hotel for you. I have been stranded 2 times in the last 2 years, one by machanical, one by oversell. Both times, all I had to do was wait 24 hours in line for customer service to find room and food vouchers. Easy! USscare owes him nothing if he did not press the issue at the customer service desk and get authorization. Never ASSUME.

  • $16635417

    Happened to me in Las Vegas. With ALL those hotel rooms, the airline claimed they could not find rooms. I called a few directly and checked several sites online as well, no luck at any price. It happens. United said the same thing, if I was able to find a room, they’d pay for it. (I ended up leaving several hours late on United and then made a connection on a new ticket on a different carrier.)

  • Jeff Kolker

    $75 is generous for Hawaii? Not sure I’d agree with that statement. Sometimes finding a hotel room in a popular travel destination with a convention going on at the same time at the last minute is virtually impossible. He probably took what he could find….

  • BillCCC

    If he had to wait 24 hours in line he would not have needed a hotel.

  • bodega3

    You need the voucher BEFORE going to the hotel, not after the fact.

  • MarkKelling

    OK, find any room on Oahu for $75 including tax. Any day. I doubt you can.

    While $300+ does sound excessive, I don’t find any rooms for less than about $89 (plus tax) and that is at hotels that have extremely negative reviews. I feel the reimbursement should be at least $150. It doesn’t matter what the actual cost of the voucher would have been to US.

  • emanon256

    As a rues are rules fellow, I voted yes. Even thoguh its not in the contract, its in writing and I believe it to be an enforceable rule.

    I am curious what went down that evening. When I have been stranded by airlines, usually the airline makes the reservation (sometimes they ask me to) and then the customer service desk prints a voucher that I take to the hotel. I was under the understanding that if I pay for the room myself the airline won’t reimburse me, I must use the airline voucher as the airlines have negotiated rates to fill last minute rooms. Not sure if the OP bypassed the process or not by just booking it without talking to the airline first, and if he did, its going to be a hard case to fight.

    Perhaps in this case, US Airways can work out something with the hotel, pay their negotiated rate, and the hotel can reimburse the OP. Thats what I would fight for.

  • emanon256

    Every single time I have gone to Hawaii, and we go at least once a year, there has been at least one if not more large conferences going on. Its almost always trade association, medical association, bankers association, or huge corporate event of some sort. I am convinced that at any given time there is always some sort of conference going on there, even when I go to the less crowded islands there seem to always be conferences. Sadly, I never get invited to any of these conferences either. I always book a full year out to avoid the conference rate hikes. Sadly, when the frequent flyer miles run out we won’t be going on our annual trip to Hawaii anymore (or the random other trips).

  • MarkKelling

    Does US Airways even have their own ground staff in HNL? Or are they, like most US based airlines flying there now, contracting out to either Hawaiian Air or some other company? This might make a difference in what the ticketing agent would be able to offer.

    I do doubt the statement by the OP that there was no less expensive hotel room anywhere than what he found. Did he go back to the same hotel he had stayed in? Last minute rates at the vacation resorts can be very high. Or did he choose the closest hotel to the airport so it would be a shorter ride? He is not complaining about paying for a cab ride, so that must have been covered somehow. Even with a convention in town, it seems unlikely that all the hotel rooms everywhere on the island were taken. You would think the convention goers would congregate as close to the convention location as possible.

    I do know that finding a hotel room when you are stuck at an airport can be difficult – lack of WiFi for searches, limited options presented at the hotels board found in the baggage claim area, and so on. Not the best time or place to try and find a hotel for the night when you were not expecting to have to do so.

  • emanon256

    I found one, and it has decent reviews on Trip Adviser considering the price. This was the first hotel I found actually, its not an oceanfront resort, and its closer to the airport, which is what I was looking for. Here are their nightly prices through the end of next month.

  • DavidYoung2

    I’m reading this as, “Yes we will pay for a room. No we won’t pay $400 per night.” Just FYI, there’s a Best Western about six blocks from HNL on Nimitz Hwy with a free shuttle from HNL and back. Not a very nice hotel, but it’s clean and it has a bed. We stayed there a few months ago and it was under $100.00 / night (with AAA or AARP.) And I assure you NOBODY on a convention would stay there.

    So if they had stayed at the Best Western, US Airways might have covered it. But staying at a place charging $386/night and expecting US Airways to pick up the tab is a bit much. Then again, setting a limit of $75 is a bit too little.

  • lac

    It states “US Airways will provide”, not…”may provide”. I’m not sure it matters what part of the agreement it falls under, “will provide” is not ambiguous.

  • bodega3

    Please note that the OP got their own room, which sadly is different than if the airline got it for them. Did the OP jump the gun and head to the hotel before getting the voucher and approval for that rate??

  • MarkKelling

    Thanks. That one did not show up in the searches I did. Might try them next convention I go to in HNL ;-)

  • Max Johnson

    These cases are always interesting, but don’t forget that travel insurance, which would cover these sorts of expenses, is always available for passengers to purchase.

  • Marketeer

    It happens. I was scheduled on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Washington, DC, with a stop in Charlotte. We were held in Fort Lauderdale because of bad weather (severe summer thunderstorms) between Charlotte and Washington, DC, and were told that it was because so many planes had already been held in Charlotte, there were no hotel rooms left in which to put stranded passengers overnight. So, instead, they held us in Fort Lauderdale and put us up there.

  • omgstfualready

    I’ve never been told I’d be reimbursed; I am told where to go (heehee, lots of people want to tell me where to go….)and given the voucher ahead of time to take with you to the hotel. Which makes sense, imagine having to staff every airline’s Accounts Payable department dealing with reimbursements and checks to all those people? No way. This is one of the few voucher processes that actualy works for everyone involved.

    I’m not sure what happened here but it seems the flyer is truly confused or intentionally misleading the request for help. He says he was told he’d get a voucher but then is asking for reimbursement. Perhaps the hotels near the airport were not to his liking and wanted to go back to somewhere nicer, which is not how it works.

  • omgstfualready

    Agreed. My thought is they wanted to go back to their previous accomodations and not the Comfort Inn or whatever by the airport. You’ll get a bed and bath from the airline that is usually near the airport (they usually have the shuttle services), not a resort. The hotels at the airports have deals for room rates with the airlines so a $120 room could be just $75 for the airline. I doubt a resort or anything away from the airport would have such an agreement.

  • omgstfualready

    The vouchers work in these situations. If you are even a medium sized company you have to staff a good size accounts payable department. Imagine being an airline and every time you have one customer to put in a hotel you have to get the invoice, review it, write the check, send it, etc. It is expensive and would take a huge amount of time and people to handle. This way the airlines have deals in place with the hotels around the airports they operate from and have authorized its personnel onsite to give the voucher to the passsenger to give to the hotel. The hotel then processes it in bulk directly with the airline for payment who would know what billing to expect based on the number of vouchers given out and can pay in one check to the hotel.

    I do not work for the travel industry, but I do process reviews for efficiency and effectiveness. If I every saw a reimbursement program I’d definitely recommend to replace it and then put in the needed fraud controls to ensure vouchers are not misused.

    That said I’m happy to go to anywhere in Hawaii to see exactly how this worked. I’m a team player that way! ;-)

  • omgstfualready

    I doubt where this person chose to stay there was a negotiated rate……my assumption is he didn’t want to stay at the airport hotel.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I respectfully disagree.

    First, it depends on the convention whether conventioneers will stay at a crappy hotel. A medical convention, probably not. But we aren’t told what type of convention.

    The other issue is that even so as the 4* hotels get filled and prices rise, price sensitive 4* patrons will choose a 3* hotel, and so on, so a large convention affects hotels of all quality levels, not just the nice ones.

    As I mentioned, when the E3 convention was in downtown LA, 10 miles away, I could only find an airport Best Western for $250. Everything was sold out.

  • Asiansm Dan

    It happened 3 times to me in Honolulu HNL with American Airlines and 1 time American call ahead so I don’t need to go to the Airport. They pay for room, Taxis and 3 meals. So smoothly.
    American send me to Waikiki Hotels, not Airport Hotel (The Waikiki Terrace)
    By the way, strangely, I don’t know that US Air fly to HNL.
    A 380$ walk-in rate is quite normal in Hawaii. Most people get discount rate because they book in advance but 380$ walk-rate is standard in Hawaii, not counting the Convention.

  • Asiansm Dan

    I agree, there is very few Airport Hotel in Honolulu Airport. Even outside Waikiki, only expensive Resorts.

  • Ellen Burke

    I don’t really have a comment other than to say I love your name!

  • sirwired

    It sounds like US isn’t proposing one of their regular “lodging vouchers” which they could have done at the time of the delay; instead they are proposing the issuance of an airfare voucher in lieu of paying for the lodging in cash (or paying the hotel directly.) If USAir didn’t issue a usable lodging voucher at the time of the delay, the paperwork involved to cut somebody a check for the cost should not be the passenger’s problem.

  • omgstfualready

    Agreed if that is what happened. Though I’ve never had an airline even offer a reimbursement for my hotel; it has always been the take the voucher and see ‘ya tomorrow deal. I don’t know what really happened here….

  • sirwired

    It happens. I was very nearly stuck without a room in PHL due to a weather delay… my only choice was a really bad Motel 6 in a sketchy industrial area. 20 minutes later and I wouldn’t have been able to even book that.

    When big conventions or events are going on, it puts a LOT of stress on hotel inventory because all those people that would be visiting the city normally are still coming (tourists, business travelers, etc.) That can lead to not a single room able to be found… especially since virtually every reservation has a credit card attached that will charge for the first night, whether or not anybody shows up. That means no walk-ins.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I loved it the first time I noticed it, too, but didn’t want to admit that I knew what it meant. ;-)

  • LFH0

    Yes, I think you’re right in questioning the scope of federal preemption. If you take a look at the cited case decided earlier this year, Dan’s City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey, — U.S. –, 133 S. Ct. 1769 (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with a situation where an automobile was towed, stored, and eventually sold. The question before the Court was whether the storage fees could be locally regulated when a federal statute, 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c) (a provision virtually identical to 49 U.S.C. § 41713), preempted local regulation of tow truck services. The Court held that storage is not within the ambit of tow trucking service, and thus states were not preempted from regulating. So is the provision of hotel rooms, in connection with the disruption of air transportation, related to the services of an air carrier? I can think of arguments on both sides of that question.

  • Cybrsk8r

    But can they file in their home state? If they have to file in the jurisdiction where the incident occured, are they really going to go back to HI for a $311 claim.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Of course, the problem here is that, while this hotel might have rooms tonight, that doesn’t mean it had rooms when the OP was looking for one.

  • Cybrsk8r

    I got stranded at O’hare by United. They didn’t do squat. Basically told us we were on our own.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    A good question. However, jurisdiction is not limited to where the incident occurred. It can be where the defendant is headquartered, where the defendant carries on most of its business, where the contract was entered into (presumably the home states), etc.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    I think that Chris should mediate to find out what took place. To me, either the US Airways gate agent screwed up or the OP screwed up. I have been on flights that have been oversold, cancelled for mechanical problems and etc. Most of these flights have been on America WestUS Airways since I live in Phoenix and I have selected them as my primary airline. They get out the vouchers (taxi, food and hotel) and handed them out. I have encountered this same procedure on Air Canada, Continental and Delta.

    The airlines have contracted prices with the hotels. I used to fly through Houston on Continental once a month for eight years and the first flight on my return flight to PHX via IAH was always late leaving due to traffic on the east coast and/or weather; therefore, I usually arrived late in IAH for my connecting flight to PHX. On several occasions, I missed my flight and had to fly back the next morning. Continental gave me a sheet with the various codes to use at the local airport hotels. For example, it was something like $ 45 to $ 65 for a room at the Marriott hotel that is connected to IAH.

    America West was famous for misleading their passengers. One of their tactics is to get people to find alternative transportation to get out of paying for a hotel room. My wife and I were coming back from Las Vegas from a trade show that I was attending. Our 4:00 PM flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems. The Gate Agent made an announcement stating that there were no hotel rooms due to the conventions that were going on; therefore, you were on your own for your accommodations if the plane couldn’t be fixed. At 6:30 PM, I saw on the website that the flight was cancelled. I asked the gate agent about it and they said that the website was incorrect. They said that the part was being flown in from PHX and etc. At 11:30 PM, they announced that the flight was cancelled and they give hoteltaxifood vouchers to the remaining 8 or 10 passengers that were left (it was a 757) and we were given a room at an extended stay property.

  • omgstfualready

    It was basically my POV when I read the 100th help me my own stupidity cost me money and I now I need help. THere is so much Chris can do and shouldn’t be bogged down chasing around for people that needed to learn a lesson…..I was a wee bit surprised it was allowed…..shhhhhh….our secret…..

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    Response from US Airways was probably written by some guy in India named “Robert.”

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    And you were surprised by United?
    Hard chairs and probably stale crackers from a vending machine.

  • teddybeargraham

    i would also disagree, I have been to las vegas many times, many many times staying very cheaply and then one time I booked during the aarp convention. the same hotel that was 19 dollars 3 weekends before was 199 a night.. unfortunately you can’t reschedule someone else’s bachelor party.

    it is possible that the day that you stayed it was cheaper, but prices vary… and by the way the 199 dollar hotel that was 19 before that was a fleabag and it was not clean. It did have a bed, but I slept in the my clothes to not touch the sheets.

  • Bill___A

    If it is a mechanical delay, they should pay for the room.

  • scapel

    I thought airlines told you what hotel to go to and booked you there themselves. They gave you a meal voucher. They therefore controlled the amount of the fee for the night.

  • Lindabator

    Yeah, that’s the norm – because they are sending you to the hotels they have pre-arranged set pricing for. This sounds a bit off.

  • Travelnut

    The insurance professional organization I belong to meets in a different destination every year. This year it’s New Orleans; in 2016 it’s Honolulu. All I need to do for my company to send me is be on a national committee.

  • Lindabator

    But they don’t do that – if you need a lodging voucher, that is what you get. I think there was a disconnect in this story.

  • Lindabator

    Yeah – something is way off here – the airline would send you to the hotel with a voucher, not expect YOU to choose a hotel, and then reimburse you. Something here is way off.

  • Lindabator

    I know. Something is off here – I’d love to know the whole story!

  • Lindabator

    If the cause is due to weather, you actually DON’T get anything. Most folks don’t realize that, though.

  • Lindabator

    True – which is why this story makes no sense – would love to know the truth.

  • davidglass

    How exactly was the OP stupid? They say they were told by an agent of the airline to go to a hotel, find a room in pricey Honolulu, and they would be reimbursed by the airline. “We were told if we could find a hotel room, we would be reimbursed for the cost through their voucher program,” he says.

    OP should sue US Airways in small-claims court. Airlines are great to sue because the big ones have a presence in most states, so you don’t have to go very far to have your day in court. If the airline doesn’t show up, OP takes his default judgment to the local sheriff and the sheriff seizes assets to pay the judgment. Nice thing about airlines is they have a lot of physical assets which can easily be sold to pay the Plaintiff. I guarantee US Airways will pay up in the face of having its assets seized.

    If the airline does show up, odds are OP wins on the merits and the judge orders the airline to pay.

  • bodega3

    It appears that there was a confusion on the OP’s part. You get the voucher BEFORE going to the hotel, not after. The OP many have found a hotel room, but did they check with the carrier for the voucher before heading to the hotel? Something is missing in this story.

  • Cybrsk8r

    UScareways! I love it. I avoid that airline like the plague.

  • justmeeeee

    So, a company should be free to make any bogus promises it wants in order to get business, but should also be free to renege on those promises when called to account? If this is how US Airways wants to operate, it should be widely publicized that their word is never to be trusted.

  • bodega3

    Don’t you have to file a small claims in the county where the business has it’s main headquarters? If you don’t live in the area, you have the added expense of getting there, parking, possible hotel stay and meals.

  • MO22

    There isn’t enough information given here to make a solid opinion. First question that comes to mind is, simply, what was the NAME of the hotel that had the coveted last room left on the island for almost $400 a night? That alone could help me form an opinion as to whether the airline is really to blame or not… If you tell me it was Halekulani (5*) or something similar.. please.