Hey, where’s the rest of my refund?

Question: I’m having a problem with a refund for American Airlines tickets I booked through CheapOair.com.

We were flying from Kansas City to the Virgin Islands for my brother’s wedding, and our total fare was $1,643. When we arrived at the airport, an American Airlines representative told us our flight was canceled and handed us a slip of paper with a phone number and a message that said American “regretted” the inconvenience.

Since we knew we had to catch two different connecting flights that day, we rushed to call the number. After about five hours of trying to get a flight that would get us to the Virgin Islands in time for the wedding, we were left with one option: to arrive two days later than expected on the island, miss the wedding and two days of our five-day vacation. Plus, we were going to be charged about $1,000 extra for airline tickets because American Airlines would not cover the flight that we would have to take — it was going to be with an airline that they said they did not cover. And we would have had to find a place to stay in Puerto Rico for the night, another extra expense. None of the options were in our budget, so we decided to cancel our trip and miss the wedding.

American Airlines would only refund $1,313, which they said is the value of the tickets. That left $330. I sent e-mail messages to the customer relations department for CheapOair. I received one call back that was left on my answering machine from CheapOair that said they were looking into the matter and that they would get back to me in the next six to eight weeks. That was eight months ago. Can you help? — Ronnee Schweizer, New York

Answer: CheapOair should have promptly refunded your entire ticket. But there were so many things that should have been done differently — by you and by your online travel agency — that I’m not sure I have the space to cover everything.

Let’s begin with CheapOair. American Airlines would have notified the agency of a flight schedule change, and it should have contacted you quickly to let you know that your flight wasn’t leaving as scheduled. The only exception is a last-minute cancellation, which CheapOair couldn’t have known about.

When you decided to cancel your flight, American was required by federal regulation to refund the entire ticket within seven days. That money would have gone to CheapOair, and it should have passed the money along to you quickly — not in six to eight weeks, and definitely not in eight months.

You might have done things a little differently, too. First, always call to confirm your flights. It’s possible you could have found out about this cancellation earlier, which might have allowed you to reschedule the flight and still make the wedding.

When you learned of your cancellation, your first call should have been to CheapOair, which is your online travel agent. One of its helpful representatives might have had other options for getting you to the Virgin Islands on schedule. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have phoned American Airlines, too — only that CheapOair might have been able to save your trip.

I contacted CheapOair on your behalf. A company representative called you and said they were waiting to hear back from American Airlines about the $330. Even so, the company agreed to send you a check for the balance of your refund.

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 chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Wonder why AA would not refund the full amount or was it because the $330 was Cheapo’s commission? If they were with AA for 5 hours, wonder why they wouldn’t have split up and phoned both AA and Cheapo to double their odds of finding a resolution? A sad story, though. I feel badly for the OP to have missed the wedding.

  • bodega3

    They had to catch two diferent connecting fights? This is very confusing. Was AA only part of the ticket, hence, that is why only part of the ticket amound was refunded by AA?
    As for the poll, I voted NO. Big surprise!

  • Raven_Altosk

    I’m having trouble following this case. Why were they not just rebooked on another AA flight or another flight by AA without penalty?

    And if you do business with something that calls itself CheapOAir, you get what you pay for. Sounds like the latest online Walmart of travel…

  • sirwired

    Tony_A can chime in, but this seems like a “Consolidator Fare”. It’s possible that AA simply didn’t have the full amount; they were paid $1,313 when the tickets were bought in a “bucket” by CheapoAir, and simply didn’t have the reamining $330.

  • EdB

    I have not even looked at “CheapOAir” because of the name alone. The company name just doesn’t give me any confidence in them. Like why would your rent a car from a place called “RentAWreck”? *shudders*

  • EdB

    “When you decided to cancel your flight, American was required by federal regulation to refund the entire ticket within seven days.”

    How do these regulations apply to TAs? If the airline does refund the money in the required time, but the TA doesn’t forward the money on, has the regulation been violated?

    With the TA’s comment about still waiting to hear back from AA about the rest of the money, it sounds like either AA did not refund the entire ticket, meaning AA is in violation of the regulation. Or the TA is trying to keep the money by blaming AA. What is the penalty for violation of the regulation anyways?

    It seems like a letter to the FAA or who ever enforces the regulation is also in order.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    AA didn’t have any flights available, so they opted for the refund.

  • WaldoLydecker

    My guess would be that they had to fly from Kansas City to an American hub like Miami or Dallas and from their to San Juan where they would connect to a different airline for the flight to the Virgin Islands. (It sounds in the scenario offered by American, the would get them to San Juan but they would have to stay overnight to get a connecting flight on another airline.)

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  • BrianKal

    It also sounds like one of the connections was not on AA and on a separate PNR. That could be the missing $330, which AA should not refund as it was a separate ticket and likely non-refundable

  • JimDavisHouston

    It’s the same old, same old. Third Party Booking Sites, non-refundable tickets, no insurance, multiple connections, and no research. People go the absolute cheapest way possible, and then go basllistic when something goes wrong. A simple Google search for Cheapoair reviews will tell you a lot. In short, do the research *before* you click in the “BUY” button.

  • TonyA_says

    You are right! Definitely a 2 connection journey on AA. (Assuming the destination is St. Thomas Is., USVI.)
    1 AA1119 MCIDFW 1005A 1140A/O $ J01 E
    2 AA1690 DFWMIA 1245P 435P/X $ J01 E
    3 AA 795 MIASTT 530P 800P/X $ J01 E
    (Note the married segment logic, too.)

  • NakinaAce

    Cheapo Air are a rip off outfit that is nothing more than a scam to part you from your money. Onc they have it you are never ever seeing it again. They cost me over $3600 about 5 years ago and that was just the cost of the ticket I bought from them and doesn’t include the $5000 I had to shell out for another ticket. Never, ever believe a word they say. Even when you think you are booked sometimes you are not.

  • Lucia_s

    Any word on what the reason of the cancellation was? If it was a schedule change in advance, AA might not have been able to reach them if they bought it through CheapOair (although CheapOair should either have passed their contact information on or contacted them directly). If it was a cancellation on the day of departure, there really isn’t much that can be done if there is no space on any airline.

  • bodega3

    There are some missing details to find out about before any letter writing. As a TA, I will not refund anything until the carrier gives me notification of what is to be refunded when something is done outside of the agency.

  • Michael__K

    Please explain how insurance or refundable tickets or additional research or booking directly on aa.com would have helped them get to the wedding.

    Buying insurance doesn’t create space on full flights, and insurance doesn’t normally pay for new tickets on another carrier in this situation..

    You can’t get from MCI to STT without connections (and if you want just 1 connection there is no competition — it’s just Delta).

    If AA refuses to refund the full amount of the fare how is that the fault of the Third Party Booking Site?

  • Daddydo

    As a life long airline employee then travel agent, I would tell you that in 57 years, a client has never been denied a legitimate refund. American could have and should have done many things. Rule 240, the number “1” ignored rule at airports allows AA to reissue the ticket any which way they can to accommodate the passenger; that means on any airline at any cost and no additional cost to the passenger. Why is this rule ignored – stupidity or laziness of the AA employee behind the counter. We get it invoked weekly through our office.

    Yes, the travel agent is required to make the refund that is due by the airline in the event of a cancellation, unless there are stated non-refundable service fees. I have fought for months over errors made by the airlines. Ronnie called the airline and not the internet, (oh I forgot the computer can’t talk) and there was probably a difference based upon commission received or withheld that AA never knew about. Let me check with AA sounds like a delaying tactic to me in order to redirect the blame, but will eventually be paid as soon as I have enough money in my account. CheapOair is possibly a consolidator and they did pay AA $1313.00 and kept the rest as their commission, the reason they said they would assure the refund.

  • TonyA_says

    Wow, how could anyone NOT LIKE this post? Don’t you have any compassion for a guy who is simply saying he was “scammed”?
    This DOWN ARROW thing is crazy.

  • bodega3

    Consolidators can have different types of contracts, net, bulk, published. If it was net or bulk, the ticket would go back to the issuing agency so the full amount would be refunded, with the carrier’s ok. Published fares, even with a commission contract, can be fully refunded by the carrier and the commission recall is handled between the carrier and the issuing agency. The wording of the letter from the OP doesn’t make it clear that all her flights were on AA since she was trying to make the ‘different connections’. If all flights were on AA, the carrier would have cancelled the entire PNR since the outbound flight was cancelled and the passengers wouldn’t make the connecting flights. It would be helpful to know all flight informaiton, otherwise we are just guessing and making comments that may not apply.

  • kathleen

    Following your excellent advice, I did a trial check for a one-way flight my daughter will be taking in December. CheapOair will sell me a seat on AA, United, or Us Airways for $196.00 plus a $10.00 service fee, making the ticket $206.00 for a nonstop flight.

    On each of these airlines’ own sites I can get the same flights for an all-fees-included price of $186.00.

    How is this company a bargain, then?

  • kathleen

    Based on what I’ve found on a quick CheapOair search, the $330.00 was most likely the commission — they are offering a price for a one-way United ticket for $20.00 MORE than United’s web site’s price.

  • bodega3

    If travel insurance is purchased, you want to get it with a company that has 24/7 service. The one we sell has a toll free number that the traveler would immediately call any time of the day. They will assist with other flights. They have GDS access and would either find them something or agree with the carrier that says nothing is available. The insurance company would tell them what is and isn’t covered, too, so the traveler can make the correct choice for their situation.

  • Michael__K

    Name one insurance company that doesn’t claim it has 24/7 service or doesn’t have a toll free number? Even Allianz/Access America has that (at least on paper).

    Show me any insurance contract that would cover buying a new ticket on another carrier if your ticketed carrier can’t get you to your destination for 2 days because flights are full. All that’s typically covered are additional non-flight expenses like overnight hotels and possibly meals.

  • LeeAnneClark

    It’s probably CheapOair hitting that down arrow! ;-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    “Married segment logic”? I don’t know what that is, let alone how to see it in the code you provided. If you have time, would you please explain it to me? I fly out of MCI occasionally, when OMA (Omaha Eppley) doesn’t have a good set of fares or connection times. Both MCI and OMA have to connect to hubs for most flights, most airlines, so I’m guessing something like this might happen to me someday. Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    In spite of laughing hysterically at the idea of someone booking with an agent named “cheap-o-air”, no question that they are the ones that owe her the refund. Whoever (whomever?) you give you money to needs to give your money back. But cheapoair may or may not refund … how can they stay cheap if they actually deliver customer service and issue refunds?

  • bodega3

    If you have taken out travel insurance, your first call should be to them, not any where else. They can rebook you. Now the OP said AA wouldn’t rebook them on a different carrier and we don’t know if all carriers were sold out. You have a busy gate or service rep agent who many not have access to book all carriers. It could be that WN was available If the cancellation is or is not a covered reason, the insurance rep will be able to tell the traveler what will or will not be covered and what the added costs will be. During the volcano eruption two summers ago, all our clients with travel insurance got great service from their travel insurance company that we told them to call first if a need arose. Oh and I got a new client who got burned by CheapOair and never got their money back on their cancelled flight. He gave up fighting with them. All my clients got their money back if they didn’t travel.

  • TonyA_says

    LOL. At least with Walmart, if you keep you receipt, you can go to the return line within 30 days and get ALL your money back. It took the OP more than 8 months and without the help of Chris, I doubt she would see her $330.

  • Michael__K

    Is this an advertisement for your agency?

    You completely ignored every question in the post you responded to.

    Why would you expect a travel insurance company to do any of what you imply when they have zero obligation to do any of those things under their contracts?

    Plus you contradict what you’ve posted repeatedly in other threads: that you “hate” dealing with insurance companies and that customers need to realize that insurance companies “don’t want to pay out” and will go to great lengths to avoid paying out — even when the customer has a good argument under the terms of the contract.

  • bodega3

    Not necessarily. If a carrier refunds in full at the airport, TA wouldn’t be involved with this with the client and it then is just between the carrier and the TA in their reporting process. There are various way in dealing with the refund. One consolidator I work with, often does not put the pricing info on the ticket as it is contractual and it then requires the client to contact me, then I have to contact the consolidator. This can apply even to published fares as their is a commission contract involved. I wouldn’t refund anything without contacting the issuing company. Now if it is my agency that issued the ticket, I can’t refund anything without contacting the carrier. It is their product and we get fined for doing anything without a code on any fare that is nonrefundable.

  • TonyA_says

    The way I understood the article:
    – they bought 2 tickets and paid $1,643 total to CheapoAir.
    – at the airport, they were told the flights were cancelled and the airline gave them a number to call for re-accommodation.
    – they called the number and they opted for the AIRLINE to refund their ticket.
    – the airline only refunded $1,313.
    – they want CheapoAir to refund the rest of their money ($330) back.

    My Comments:
    If this was a BULK (aka consolidator) fare, the markup (or the PLUS amount over the net fare) becomes part of the total fare. When the airline makes a refund, they will refund the whole amount of the ticket to the original form of payment. The agency that sold the ticket will get a Recall Commission from the airline to return the Markup (Commission). Therefore, this $330 could not have been part of the bulk fare ticket.

    On the other hand, if the agency charged $330 ($165 for each ticket) ABOVE the PUBLISHED fare (or sold the bulk fare at net price and charged $165 per ticket as a service fee separately), that $330 would be a service fee and not part of the airline ticket. The customer will usually see the service fee as a separate charge in their credit card statement. The airline has nothing to do with this service fee. The airline will only refund their ticket cost. The agency is responsible for their own service fees.

    In my opinion, the OP did exactly what she had to do – GET THE REFUND PROCESSED BY THE AIRLINE ITSELF IMMEDIATELY !!!
    Had she waited and asked the travel agency to do it for her, the agency might have difficulty getting a waiver from the airline to process the refund.

    The travel agency has three ways to find out what happened to its customer:
    (1) The airline will place the PNR in the agency’s GDS Confirmation Queue (aka CONFO) and the agency will see the HX (or cancelled) status on the flight segments.
    (2) The airline will send a Recall Commission (debit memo) statement to get back the agency commission.
    (3) The passenger will call the agency. (The OP actually did to request the rest of her money.)
    Therefore, the agency cannot claim it knew nothing or was waiting to hear from the airline. That’s plain rubbish.

    Your e-ticket receipt should have a fare construction explanation at the bottom of the ticket. Read it.

    Better still, if you buy your tickets from an agency, go to the airlines own website afterwards and get and print your eticket receipt from there also.

    Finally, you RARELY can save on a FARE using an online travel agency site. If there is any savings, it is usually on the SERVICE FEES of a travel agency. Why? Because an ONLINE site really has NO SERVICE while a real brick and mortar travel agent CAN OFFER service. It’s just like a gas station – either self or full service.

  • bodega3

    I am an exclusive and don’t advertise.
    I sell the product so I know how the ones I sell work. That 24/7 number is there for a reason, USE IT! Yes, insurance companies don’t want to pay out, but if you don’t call and find out what they CAN do for you, you have wasted your money and screwed yourself. NEVER assume and take it upon yourself if you have taken out travel insurance.

  • bodega3

    Eticket receipts have almost become a thing of the past. We don’t print them any longer and i don’t get them from many of my consolidators any longer either. But when I did get them, one consolidator stopped issuing evern published fare tickets with the information to protect their contracted commission with the carrier so that the refund had to come back to them. I remember years ago the issue we had on commissionable fares where the airline broke their own rules on nonrefundable tickets and ARC stood up for us on that so we got to keep our commission based on the fact that the fare was a contract on our end that they had to oblige. The consolidator is protecting their right by doing this until they can review the reason for the cancellation.

  • Michael__K

    If a traveler calls and reaches someone who promises something that isn’t already promised in the contract and acts based on that promise, then they are in serious danger of getting burned.

    And if that happens and they write to Chris, then I suspect you will be among those who ridicule the person for not being familiar enough with the the contract and for relying on verbal representations.

    You will say they “screwed up” for falling for your non-advertisement advertisement.

  • TonyA_says


    Since you asked for it, you got it [a geeky answer] :-)

    Married Segment Logic is simply a way for airlines to enforce the booking of flights based on an Orgin-and-Destination market instead of on a per segment basis. In the example above, the Origin & Destination (or O&D) is Kansas City to St. Thomas.

    An airline will define fares based on an O&D. But the way they EXECUTE the charging those fares, is by controlling the INVENTORY of seats on particular flight segments.

    Here are AA’s current coach fares from MKC to STT

    1E#QNE7B1Z1 203.00 2OCT2 15NOV2* – 605 ## – / – Q
    2E#QNE7B1Z1 226.00 26AUG2 14DEC2* – 605 ## – / – Q
    3E#WNE0C1V1 312.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – W
    4E#LNE0C1V1 342.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – L
    5E#MCE5UPV1 350.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – I
    6E#MNE0C1V1 372.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – M
    7E#KNE0C1V1 412.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – K
    8E#KCE7UPV1 441.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – I
    9E#KCE3UPV1 471.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – I
    10E#HNE0C1V1 452.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – H
    11E#BNE0C1V5 512.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – B
    12E#Y1EC1V 612.00 6SEP2 – – 605 ## – / – Y

    In order to pay the least ($203) you need to book ALL your flight segments on “Q” class (booking code). If Q class seats are not available, you try W – L – M – K – H – B – Y in that order.

    But AA does not fly directly from Kansas City to St. Thomas.
    To fly a passenger between these two cities, they have to connect in either DFW or ORD, and then in MIA.

    Under Married Segment Logic Rules, the travel agent should really display AVAILABILITY between the O&D completely. Here’s one for 01NOV.

    01NOV-TH-219P MKCSTT CT **
    1*O#AA1554 Y2 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 W0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 MCIDFW 915A1050A
    2*O#AA2024 Y7 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 W0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 MIA 1255P 440P
    3*O#AA1819 Y7 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 W0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 STT 530P 810P

    Note:The number of available seats appear on the right of the booking code (letter).

    So for 01NOV MKC to STT, AA Availability shows that only Y class seats are available for ALL the flight segments MCI-DFW-MIA-STT. In other words, AA wants to sell only Y class fare between Kansas City and St. Thomas for 01NOV. That’s $612 plus tax and surcharge !!!

    But as you can see, to get to St. Thomas, the passenger has to take 3 flights: MCI-DFW, DFW-MIA, and MIA-STT. If you display availability for those flights INDIVIDUALLY you see this:

    1*O#AA1554 Y7 B7 H7 K7 M7 L7 W7 V7 N7 G7 Q7 S7 O7 MCIDFW

    1*O#AA2024 Y7 B7 H7 K7 M7 L7 W3 V0 G0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 DFWMIA

    01NOV-TH-530P MIASTT ET **
    1*O#AA1819 Y7 B7 H7 K7 M7 L3 W0 V0 G0 S0 Q0 N0 O0 MIASTT

    Note that for MCI-DFW AA is willing to confirm their cheapest class “O” seats.
    For DFW-MIA, they are willing to confirm W class seats.
    And for MIA-STT, L class seats.
    But for MKC to STT, AA is only willing to sell Y class seats.

    Married segment logic simply places (or bundled) the segments that comprise the flights from MKC to STT in its own inventory bucket.

    One would think that they could simply sell a L class (least commonly “demoninator”) seat in each segment (one by one) for MCI-DFW and DFW-MIA and MIA-STT segments separately to make one complete MKC to STT flight.

    But the GDS will NOT autoprice this itinerary as L class. The GDS will tell you to book it in Y class to get a VALID FARE because Married Segment Logic rules say so. If the travel agent goes around the Married Segment Logic rules and gets caught, the penalty is a big fine given in a form of a debit memo from the airline.

  • bodega3

    Yeah Michael, you know all about selling travel and travel insurance. Please, take over and help others with your vast knowledge of the industry. My comments stand about calling the phone number provided to you with your insurance coverage. That is you first point of contact if you need assistance. It is part of what you paid for.

  • TonyA_says

    Bodega, I always email the e-ticket receipts to my customers from inside (using) my GDS. The $ amount of the ticket and document (e-ticket) numbers are printed in the bottom of the itinerary section. I just ticketed 3 pax before I wrote this and I issued all their tickets using a ‘consolidator’. All the emails I sent them had the ticket amounts.

    Maybe you are referring to the (automated) stubs. That went away a long time ago. But INFANT ticketing on International Flights on Delta is another story.

  • TonyA_says

    Had the OP bought the tickets DIRECTLY from AA, this (lack of refund) wouldn’t happen. PERIOD.

    AA is not refusing to pay the amount of the ticket (the fare). It already did pay the amount on the ticket record (that’s the way the system works). The $330 that’s missing is not technically part of the ticket. It is probably what CheapoAir ADDED as a fee for itself. AA might not even know anything about that amount.

  • TonyA_says

    Geoffrey, Rule 240 disappeared a long time ago. That said AA does not have one.

    However the DOT requires airlines to forward a credit to your card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application.

    I checked my BULK (aka consolidator) fares for MKC-STT. Most were more expensive than the PUBLISHED fares. [That’s weird!] The lowest bulk R/T fare starts around ~$890 BEFORE MARKUP and taxes; whereas the lowest PUBLISHED R/T fare starts at $406 before tax.

    Since the OP paid $821.50 each ($1,643 for 2 pax) and taxes are $66.40 and fuel surcharge (Q) is $26.50 each direction, then the BASE fare was only ~$700 R/T maximum. So it could not have been a BULK fare (because it is too low).

    If it was not a BULK fare, why didn’t the customer simply go to AA.com and buy a published fare ??? It looks like the customer was doomed as soon as she chose a online agent. I can’t see the added value for using one.

  • bodega3

    Yes, the passenger receipt copies. I miss those as those had the breakdown of taxes and the fare. The itinerary only shows the totals. The consolidator I like to use has the breakdown in the email and when they mailed the passener receipt copies, that is where I called them on the lack of breakdown, just said BULK and the taxes and was told the did that so the carrier had to send the client back to me. They had had to many issues with things happening with the ticket at the airport that went against their contracts that it just became a PITA to deal with.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Hey, moderators: Why are @bodega3:disqus ‘s posts getting hidden “due to abuse reports”? Not sure what’s “abusive” about what she’s posting. Doesn’t *look* abusive. Could someone be clicking on a “flag” icon rather than a down arrow?

  • TonyA_says

    Very good question Judy. The answer depends on 2 things:
    (1) Who has the customer’s money, and,
    (2) How did the customer pay for her tickets.

    The first is simple – the one who holds the customer’s money should return it. Here, AA is saying it only has $1,313 of Ronnee’s money so that is the amount they returned. We can infer that CheapoAir has another $330 of Ronnee’s money.

    The second is not so simple. If Ronnee did not use a travel agent, then ALL her money was paid to AA directly. AA will simply return all her money to the credit card she used to pay AA.

    However, if Ronnee used a travel agency, we will need to know HOW the travel agency handled Ronnee’s payment. If the travel agency ADDED a service fee to the airline ticket, then most likely there would have been 2 charges to her credit card. The first one would be by AA for the amount of the ticket. The second one would be by the Travel Agency for the service fee. AA will only refund the amount it received to the original form of payment (her credit card in this case). The travel agency has to do it’s own process of refunding Ronnee’s credit card for the service fee.

    If the Travel Agency charged Ronnee’s card on its own (they became the merchant) and then the agency paid the airline with CASH, then the airline would refund the CASH to the travel agency. This did not happen in this case, since Ronnee said the airline refunded her directly.

    If the Travel Agency sold a bulk fare (which includes a markup for the travel agency) and the airline charged Ronnee’s credit card for the whole amount, the airline will refund the whole amount it charged Ronnee and return that amount to Ronnee’s credit card. Then on a separate transaction, the airline will recover the markup or commission from the travel agent using a Recall Commission (debit memo). This transaction is not visible to Ronnee.

    There are other variations to this theme. But the key point is to understand that when people buy a ticket FROM A TRAVEL AGENCY, that all the money does not necessarily go to the airlines. So when the airlines give you a refund, they can only give you the amount they actually got in the first place. In my opinion, Travel Agents should be MORE TRANSPARENT in telling their customer who billed what for the sale.

  • Cybrsk8r

    My guess would be they had the $330 all along and were hoping she would just give up.

  • http://bidontravel.com/mobile/index.html Don Nadeau

    Airlines, even traditional ones like American, do not have
    agreements with every other airline to honor their tickets in these situations. Two of the most notorious in this area are Allegiant and Southwest, which to the best of my knowledge have no agreements whatsoever with other airlines in case their flights are cancelled or overbooked. You wait for the next available flight these have.

    Deregulation of airlines brought far greater competition, but it also brought on less cooperation among airlines when they see this as increasing costs.

    At least some airlines like American still have agreements with ones like Delta and United to honor the tickets of each other, when space is available. Nevertheless, these try to keep you traveling with them if possible, which can cause additional inconvenience to their passengers.

  • bodega3

    This is where arm chair quarterbacking isn’t fair without ALL the details.

  • TonyA_says

    The real confusion is the passenger does not know what part of the total amount was paid to the airline and what part was paid to the agency. So when the airline process a discount (without going through the agent) it only returns the part it got.

  • TonyA_says

    Christopher, I have an observation. If an airport desk agent hands you a piece of paper with a toll-free number to call, your odds of getting re-accommodated goes down a lot. Why? because it is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation. If they don’t see you camping out in front of the airport counter, it is easy to forget about you.

    My advice to my clients – do not leave the airport until you are re-accommodated.

  • JewelEyed

    Too bad you probably can’t get a resolution on this now because it’s been so long, because Elliott appears to be damn good.

  • Michael__K

    In that case why would CheapoAir say “they were waiting to hear back from American Airlines about the $330“?

  • TonyA_says

    Simple incompetence or not 100% truthful.
    The Internet is full of horror stories about this vendor.

  • TonyA_says

    Eight long months, no refund??? That is unaccepatable.

  • Michael__K

    You don’t want anyone who doesn’t sell insurance to dare to ask any questions or point out inconsistencies?

    You were invited to share your vast knowledge of the industry and tell us whether you know of any insurance product with a contractual provision that would have paid for the OP to get flights on another carrier to attend the wedding.

    That might be useful info to share with Chris Elliott’s readers. You ignored the question and changed the subject and asserted that the insurance you sell is special. Yet you refuse to tell us what makes your insurance different from any other.

    You imply here that travelers can expect more than is due them in the contract and yet elsewhere you’ve emphatically argued the mirror opposite.

    When asked to clarify, you don’t. Instead you attack me, because I don’t sell insurance. Is that supposed to help Chris’ readers?

  • Michael__K

    Could be, but based on my experience I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand the possibility that AA messed up. About 6 years ago I had a similar issue even though I bought my ticket directly from the airline’s (UA) website. It took about 7 months and a complaint to the DOT before I got a refund. (They responded to the DOT that I was already refunded, but the eventual credit was dated the day after their response to the DOT).