CheapOAir insist all must fly to use the credit

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Apr 18, 2020
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Hi,

I originally booked (2/18/20) round trip tickets to Madrid on American Airlines for myself, my husband and our under 2 years old son. We were supposed to leave on April 15th and return April 28th. When COVID hit we waited for a while to see what would happen. I recieved an email March 15th that said a schedule change had been made to our flight but no other info. On April 5th I canceled our flight using the CheapOAir online form (I tried calling but they had shut down the customer service lines by then. I assumed we had to do cancel the flight, but now I realize this was my first error. I did select that we wanted to re-schedule not just cancel but that seems to have been ignored. On April 12th I received a call from a customer service representative explaining the process and that we would have a credit to use.

Here is the problem: The gentleman said all the original passengers must fly to use the credit! There are a few problems with that, the biggest of which is that my husband is a Spanish citizen and wants to return to Spain as soon as possible for business reasons. Currently though there are travel restrictions for non-citizens (myself and our son) so we can't go even if we wanted to at this time.

Another problem is that If restrictions continue into June my son will then be 2 years old and just over the lap child age. We had planned to travel well before he was 2!

I explained both these issues to the representative and he told me that CheapOAir is unable to resolve these and that I would need to speak with American if I wanted an exception to their everyone must fly to use the credit. I called American on April 16th and they told me I need to resolve this with CheapOAir. It is impossible at this time to speak with anyone at CheapOAir. They have completely shut down their customer service phone numbers. I have submitted another online form but have heard nothing back.

I want to use the credit to fly my husband back to Spain at the end of May or early June. I don't understand why I cannot split the credit. After looking at my bank statements it appears they charged my 3 times for the tickets: $1071.10 for myself, 1071.10 for my husband, and 149.60 for my son. If they charged me 3 separate times for the tickets why can't they give me 3 separate credits? I don't understand this ridiculous rule. Did I not pay $2291.80? Why can't I just get a credit for $2291.80 and use it as I see fit?!? Especially given travel restrictions that are completely out of my control.

Why is this so impossible? How can you shut down the phone lines?

Any ideas how to get a hold of someone at this company????
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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My understanding is each ticket has a credit value, not all tickets combined. I know that in these circumstances you are required to work with the OTA on any changes made to your reservation but I would try contacting AA again and finding a sympathetic agent to help you with this. I assume it was AA that charged your credit card, not chepoair? One last question, are you able to pull up your reservation through AA's website? If so, see if you can book a ticket for your husband to return to Spain. You would need the record locator specific to AA.

For the future, please book all your flights directly with the airline. One of the most common complaint we have on this forum is the lack of customer service from OTAs such as chepoair.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,016
22,969
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Here are our company contacts for Cheapo, they are part of Fareportal. Click on the link:





This is how to write:

 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,730
10,525
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San Francisco
I realize that this is a most frustrating situation. Frequent travellers are aware of all the little bits on how things operate and we kind of take it all for granted. When you purchase a non-ref tix from an online booking service, they own your tix until you arrive at the airport and check in for your flight. Each tix is issued to a specific person, and only that person can use that tix, either for a flight or to rebook a new flight in the aftermath of a health crisis like this. The airline may help you in the midst of this crisis, so it is worth contacting them directly, as Patina suggests. This online booking service is cheap for a reason ... they have little customer service. You'll need to proceed with the "rules" in mind to be sure you don't lose your money. I would be very leery of booking an international flight in May or June, probably better to wait until things normalize a bit.
 
Apr 18, 2020
6
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My understanding is each ticket has a credit value, not all tickets combined. I know that in these circumstances you are required to work with the OTA on any changes made to your reservation but I would try contacting AA again and finding a sympathetic agent to help you with this. I assume it was AA that charged your credit card, not chepoair? One last question, are you able to pull up your reservation through AA's website? If so, see if you can book a ticket for your husband to return to Spain. You would need the record locator specific to AA.

For the future, please book all your flights directly with the airline. One of the most common complaint we have on this forum is the lack of customer service from OTAs such as chepoair.
I just checked my bank statement again and yes, the charges are from American Air. 3 different charges. I have 2 charges from Fareportal as well (one for ~$20 and another for ~40)...
 
Apr 18, 2020
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The airline may help you in the midst of this crisis, so it is worth contacting them directly, as Patina suggests.... I would be very leery of booking an international flight in May or June, probably better to wait until things normalize a bit.
I will try to contact American again, but the first time was a hard "no, you need to call CheapOAir".

I don't really want to fly anywhere for another year, but my husband needs to return to Spain for business reasons.
 
Apr 18, 2020
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Did AA cancel your flight or did you cancel it?
That's kinda hard to answer...I received an email from CheapO that said there was a change to our ticket Mid March. "We have received a notification from the airline that there has been a schedule change to your upcoming flight"

On April 5th I used the CheapO air form on their website to request a reschedule. But the request for reschedule is the same form as a request for cancelation.

If I remember correctly the rep from CheapOair said the airline had canceled the flight. This was when we finally spoke on the phone on April 12th.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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3,506
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I just checked my bank statement again and yes, the charges are from American Air. 3 different charges. I have 2 charges from Fareportal as well (one for ~$20 and another for ~40)...
The OTA is flat out wrong. My guess is CheapOAir receives another set of fees when you rebook so they are pushing you to do so.....just a hunch that could be way off base.

I would call AA, when you are on the automated system, keep asking for international customer service. Don't waste your time giving the automated system any information. Once you get connected with an agent, give them the ticket number (lots of numbers not the record locator number which is usually only 6 letters/numbers, it should be on your confirmation from the airline) and request a credit to be used for future flights and even see about scheduling your husband's flight to Spain. I wouldn't even mention CheapOAir. If they bring it up, just state that all you need is to reschedule your husband's ticket and receive a future credit for the other two tickets. Ask them to make an exception, that you plan to book all your future flights directly through AA as CheapOAir has been less than helpful. Be as nice as can be, patient and polite. Ask them how they are holding up under the circumstances. With a little bit of persistence, I feel you will get what you need.
 
May 20, 2020
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Dear Forum: I've been following this thread for CheapOAir because I have a similar situation, and wondering if I should just tag on here or new thread.

I've been following the general forum suggestions to create a paper trail, and have continued to escalate to Fareportal's leadership. I've escalated (so far with no responses from anyone after a two month's of letters) up to Ruben Bello, Global VP Custermer Excellence. The next step in the escalation process would appear to be to the CEO of Fareportal, Sam Jain. I have tried to be courteous and non-threathening in my letters. I am not having any luck obviously.

My question is should I just continue on this path (which seems unlikely to have any results), or should I now start contating the varioius airlines (Alaska, United, and Turkish) on which CheapO. booked us in January 2020 (and which were Covid-cancelled in March)? Or should I try taking both tracks at the same time.

This is all obviously very time-consuming.

Attached is my last letter sent to Mr. Bello at Fareportal.

Thanks!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,016
22,969
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The airlines won’t deal with you because you booked through an agency.

If you didn’t cancel the flights- if the airline did- you are owed a refund on any flight that takes off or lands in the US according to the DOT.

Contact your credit card and file a dispute.
 
May 20, 2020
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The airlines won’t deal with you because you booked through an agency.

If you didn’t cancel the flights- if the airline did- you are owed a refund on any flight that takes off or lands in the US according to the DOT.

Contact your credit card and file a dispute.
Thanks Neil,
The advice at Ellioit.org is to develop a paper trail and keep escalating. Should I NOT continue this path with Fareportal (i.e. CheapOAir)? And what about Turkish Airlines? I was promised refunds and have hear not a peep?
Thanks,
Patric
 
May 20, 2020
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Ok, deal with CheaOAir (don't the CC dispute route yet). Got it.

Now, as I stated previously, I've gone up the Fareportal chain of command to Mr. Bello, the Globla VP Cust. Excellence (I attached my letter from earlier in May). So far there is just silence. Sould I just continue up to the Founder & CEO Sam Jain? This seems like it will be equally fruitless but I'm patient.

Can you give me any other tips besides just continuing doing what I'm doing?

Is there another section of the Forum I should perhaps post my messages for some other thoughts?

Thanks,

Patric
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,016
22,969
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
How long has it been in between your emails? We are advising at least two weeks- many of these companies are working from home and are prioritizing their work.

If it’s been at least two weeks, yes, go to the next executive and mention who you wrote to, the dates you wrote and that you haven’t received any response.
 
May 20, 2020
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Thanks Neil,
I do understand the difficult situation these companies face and have tried to be understanding.

- Messages sent to the main CheapOAir cust. sup. emails on 3/13 and 3/19; followups sent to same address on 4/27, 4/29, 5/1. None of these were awknowledged

-Escalation message sent to 1st VP Ruben Bello on 5/12.

- 2nd escaltion message sent to CFO Peter Shanley on 5/23.

My messages have been very accommodating, basically inviting these individuals to provide excellent cust. service.

My plan was to next send letters (i.e. mail) to these individuals per the suggestions of the Elliot strategy pages.

Thanks,
P.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,835
3,627
113
Maui Hawaii
Dear Forum: I've been following this thread for CheapOAir because I have a similar situation, and wondering if I should just tag on here or new thread.

I've been following the general forum suggestions to create a paper trail, and have continued to escalate to Fareportal's leadership. I've escalated (so far with no responses from anyone after a two month's of letters) up to Ruben Bello, Global VP Custermer Excellence. The next step in the escalation process would appear to be to the CEO of Fareportal, Sam Jain. I have tried to be courteous and non-threathening in my letters. I am not having any luck obviously.

My question is should I just continue on this path (which seems unlikely to have any results), or should I now start contating the varioius airlines (Alaska, United, and Turkish) on which CheapO. booked us in January 2020 (and which were Covid-cancelled in March)? Or should I try taking both tracks at the same time.

This is all obviously very time-consuming.

Attached is my last letter sent to Mr. Bello at Fareportal.

Thanks!
You appear to have booked on Cheapair (https://www.cheapair.com/).
CheapOair is a different company. (https://www.cheapoair.com/). Writing to https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/fareportal/ will not help.
 
May 20, 2020
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No CheapOAir. I believe all of my references are to CheapOAir unless there was a typo.
 
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