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05/03/2009 – Airline Change Of Ticket Fees…Sometimes There Is No Logic
Airline fees rarely make any sense, and sometimes they work to the detriment of an airline.
A few days ago I tried out a new online booking service, FareBuzz.com. In creating my itinerary with FareBuzz an error occurred after I verified my travel information, and after the transaction had been completed. I contacted FareBuzz.com repeatedly, but it seems their customer service agents and customer service supervisors have only one line that they are able to pass along to customers. This line is “call the airline directly please.”
Well I have now called the airline, who did not make the error, and it seems that I can pay the $10 fare difference + a $150 change fee to change my flight date…or I can purchase a new return ticket for $109.
This would mean for a ‘savings’ of $51 I would fly my first flight under the incorrect itinerary, fly home on my ‘new’ return itinerary and never fly the original return itinerary. Of course this makes no sense, until you realize that it would save me $51!
Airlines have fees in place to avoid changes in tickets that will cost them money by having seats fly out empty. The problem with these fees is that they can result in a loss of revenue, such as in this case. The airline would like $160 from me, instead they will get $109 and fly out with an empty seat that they could have freed up and sold to another passenger if they allowed me to simply pay the $109 and open up the future unused seat.
Once airlines are able embrace logic, and create a booking system that looks at multiple options, rather than a single option, they should be able to not only increase revenue in some avenues, but also increase customer satisfaction.
As for FareBuzz.com, they will be getting a strongly worded e-mail from me later today which I am sure will be completely ignored and filed in the trash bin.
I am disputing this with my credit card company as the error was created by FareBuzz.com, and they take no responsibility for their error, however the fact of the matter is that I fly off to work on Saturday and need to come home Sunday…not 11 days later as ticketed by FareBuzz.com.