Ana de Pascht’s airline ticket from Albany to Raleigh/Durham came with all of the usual restrictions: nonrefundable, nontransferable and non-changeable without paying a hefty fee.
But it wasn’t the usual flying experience. On her way to Albany, she got a flat tire.
“I called US Airways and asked what could be done,” she says. “I was told that I had to buy a new ticket and also pay a change fee of $150 — a total of $273 — if I wished to travel on the next flight out. I did question the agent about any other ways to avoid paying all that money and was told that was my only option if I wished to fly.”
Interestingly, most airlines used to have what’s called a flat-tire rule that allowed airline staff to rebook passengers like her on the next flight at no extra charge. But in an era of “no waivers, no favors” the loophole was quietly closed.
Well, sort of. Ticket agents still have a lot of flexibility in dealing with passengers who can’t make a flight, and US Airways could have bent its rules. It chose not to.