No “comfort” seat on TAM — and no refund

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Nathan Pearson and his son are bumped into two uncomfortable airline seats on a 10-hour flight from Brazil back to the United States. And now the upgrade fee they paid is missing in action. Will they ever see that money again?

Question: I recently flew from Sao Paolo to New York on TAM with my son. We had purchased “comfort seats” for this flight, for $75 each, and were assigned seats 27C and 27A. When we boarded the flight, we found that these seats had been double booked, and other passengers were already in those seats, with valid tickets.

There were no other comfort seats available, although both business and first class were mostly empty.

Following very long discussions with a flight attendant, we were informed that we were to accept “regular” coach seats far back in the plane, and that we would receive a refund for the $150 we paid for the comfort seats.
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Can this trip be saved? No miles for my flight — can you retrieve them for me?

Here’s a type of case that crosses my desk often, and to which I almost always say “no.” But should I?

Oscar La Torre recently took two flights — one from Miami to Sao Paolo on TAM and the other on from Lima to Piura on LAN Airlines. He’s entitled to miles on OnePass for the TAM flight and through his AAdvantage account for LAN, he says. Both airlines are denying him.

Can I save his miles?

Before I answer, a disclaimer: I am, as many of you know, a frequent flier program skeptic. I believe loyalty programs benefit airlines more than they do travelers, and they also divide us into “haves” and “have-nots” on the plane, which makes this egalitarian, idealistic crusader bristle. But enough about me.
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