Question: My wife and I recently flew from Vancouver to Ecuador on Continental Airlines, then to Lima on LAN Chile. After booking the trip through our travel agent of about 20 years, we asked if we could change the LAN leg from Quito to Lima by two days without penalty.
Our travel agent called Continental and was told that the LAN leg could be changed without any change fee because we weren’t changing any Continental legs. He asked if they were certain that there would be no change fee and was assured that was the policy. He had another follow-up discussion with a Continental agent and was given the same information. We changed the flight.
Two months after our flight, our agent was advised that we should have been charged a change fee of $500 and an electronic fee transaction was applied to the travel agent’s bank account. Our travel agency has challenged the payment with Continental without success.
Today I called Continental and spoke to an international ticket agent. She said my agent had no recourse, and should have known the rules. When I asked her how Continental expects travel agents to know the rules, but not their own agents, I didn’t get an answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor about my complaint, but was told “there is no point as the booking is no longer in our computer system.”
If Continental had told us that there would be a $500 change fee when we first enquired about the change we would not have changed our flight to Lima. It is very high-handed of Continental to conduct business in this manner. We would greatly appreciate anything you might do to help. — Brian Petersmeyer, Vancouver, Canada
Answer: Continental shouldn’t have charged your travel agent $500 after your flight. And even if it had, you shouldn’t have been dragged into it.