Question about cancelled flights

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Apr 24, 2017
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Hi, Last January 2017 I purchased a round trip ticket on United Airlines for my son to fly home for his sisters wedding in April,2017. He successfully flew from Aspen to Seattle via Denver on evening of April 6. On April 9 as he was ready to return, he tried to check in and found that his flight from Seattle to Denver was cancelled and United had booked him on a flight that had already departed! I quickly scrambled to get him a ticket back that day- none available to Aspen on United. So I purchased an Alaska ticket and a shuttle bus to get him back to Aspen in time for work the next day.
United acknowledges that they did not notify me or my son of the flight cancellation. They refuse to reimburse me for the Alaska ticket and shuttle bus ($771), and instead have offered me a voucher and partial reimbursement for the cancellled ticket.
Do I have any rights here? It seems to me that the airline should be required to notify you if they put you on another flight, especially one that departs hours earlier than the one scheduled.
What are my options here?
Thank you!
Kathy
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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the United States
You can/should appeal to United for a refund of the one-way airfare they charged for the return flight. I don't think they will reimburse you for the Alaska Air airfare.

You can click on our Company Contacts link (top of this page) to find their contacts. Send a brief, respectful email to Customer Service summarizing your experience and indicate their acknowledgement of the failure to notify. Remember to thank them for their time and consideration.

Wait at least two weeks for a reply before moving on to the executive level contacts.
 
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Apr 24, 2017
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You can/should appeal to United for a refund of the one-way airfare they charged for the return flight. I doubt that hey will "pony up" for the Alaska Air airfare.

You can click on our Company Contacts link (top of this page) to find their contacts. Send a brief, respectful email to Customer Service summarizing your experience and indicate their acknowledgement of the failure to notify. Remember to thank them for their time and consideration.

Wait at least two weeks for a reply before moving on to the executive level contacts.

Hi- I have actually already done that. That is how I got the offer for a small cash offer and voucher. This does not seem right or honest to me though- how is one to know that their flight is cancelled unless they are notified? And to rebook hours earlier? What recourse do I have?
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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I understood you to have contacted Customer Service. If you contacted an executive first, try our CS email. I have had success with them ...

Amended: It would help us help you if you shared with us the names of every person with whom you have had contact at United.
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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Did you book this ticket Direct with United or thru an Online Agency (Expedia, etc) usually this is where the lack of notifications come in. Though I know I get email & text messages from airlines I fly with. You need to have a frequent flyer account and also sign up for those services.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I hope this tix was booked directly with United. Airlines usually don't deal with 'third parties', so your son needs to make the contact, unless he's a minor. All airline tix belong to the passenger, no matter who pays for them. You can never count on an airline to notify you of changes and cancellations. They have computer systems capable of removing money instantly from your credit card, but when it comes to customer service, it's not so good. As JV points out, frequent flyer members are usually better served by the airline. In any case, he should have checked in online 24 hours before the flight and he would have been presented with the cancellation scenario, or at least confirmed the flight details.

Please pass our guidance on to your son so he can escalate this and receive some compensation. It's a pretty clearcut case, so he should just keep pounding away, politely of course.
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,453
4,219
113
the United States
I hope this tix was booked directly with United. Airlines usually don't deal with 'third parties', so your son needs to make the contact, unless he's a minor. All airline tix belong to the passenger, no matter who pays for them. You can never count on an airline to notify you of changes and cancellations. They have computer systems capable of removing money instantly from your credit card, but when it comes to customer service, it's not so good. As JV points out, frequent flyer members are usually better served by the airline. In any case, he should have checked in online 24 hours before the flight and he would have been presented with the cancellation scenario, or at least confirmed the flight details.

Please pass our guidance on to your son so he can escalate this and receive some compensation. It's a pretty clearcut case, so he should just keep pounding away, politely of course.
I'm not sure about that @jsn55. I believe that airlines have to give the refund to the purchaser. At least that's how it worked when I paid for my brother's tickets.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I'm not sure about that @jsn55. I believe that airlines have to give the refund to the purchaser. At least that's how it worked when I paid for my brother's tickets.
The person who purchased the ticket will receive a refund on the credit card used. However, if they are only offering a voucher, that will only be in the name of the person who was on the actual ticket.

To our writer, all United owes you for is the fare for the canceled portion of the ticket. BUT I would pursue this more with the airline. If you wrote to the first executive and haven't heard anything in two weeks, then move up to the next executive. Work your way up the executive chain one week at a time until you have hit the CEO with no response.

If you get through all of them with no reply, let us know and we will tell you the next steps.

I would ask for the a reimbursement of the difference in price of what you paid Alaska airlines for the one way ticket and they owe you for the canceled return flight. And make sure you have the names of who told you they erred because that is important to add to your letter.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,748
10,540
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San Francisco
I'm not sure about that @jsn55. I believe that airlines have to give the refund to the purchaser. At least that's how it worked when I paid for my brother's tickets.
Yes, big difference between a straight refund and all other kinds of compensation. I should have made that clear ... so few plain vanilla refunds in the airline biz.