Reader Sara writes to U.S. Airways:
Dear Doug Parker,
Due to the snowstorm in the Northeast, I have decided to cancel my overnight trip from New York City to Boston, which I booked on US Airways. USAir posted a travel alert for both of these cities this weekend, and the dates that I had planned to fly–leaving Saturday Dec. 15 and returning Sunday Dec. 16–are within the travel range that USAir posted on its web site.
The USAir site said that it had relaxed certain guidelines due to the snowstorm. However the perimeters are so narrow–I must reschedule my trip within seven days of the original flight–that it is useless to me. Next week is Christmas and, like most people in this country, I have other commitments.
That leaves me paying a $100 penalty on a ticket that cost $251, and of course I don’t get any sort of refund, just $151 credit toward another flight.
Considering that I am canceling my trip due to the weather, this transfer fee is outrageous. JetBlue charges only $25 for a transfer fee–for any reason. That is why I have decided to stop traveling USAir for my regular trips to Boston. From now on, I will fly JetBlue.
Also, I haven’t officially canceled my flight on USAir yet. USAir has provided me with absolutely no incentive to give them early warning of my plans. There is no reason for me to provide USAir with the courtesy of an early decision to cancel my flight (and give USAir the opportunity to sell the seat) so I’m planning to hold the ticket until the last possible minute.
I am writing this letter in the hopes that you will reconsider this extremely punitive policy. None of us can control the weather, and if it was even a $50 fee I would not be so put off. I have flown the USAir shuttle to Boston many times and have always had a good experience. But this entire incident leaves me feeling very cheated, and feeling very badly about USAir.
U.S. Airways reply:
Dear Ms. [Redacted],
Thank you for contacting US Airways. We appreciate and welcome all inquiries, concerns, and compliments, as your feedback is important to us.
I regret you are not happy with our relaxed weather ticket policy. If you do decide to travel and check-in for your flight, if the flight cancels your ticket can be refunded.
If you decide to cancel before that time, the $100 reissue fee will apply.
Thank you for allowing us to explain our position. We hope to see you on a future US Airways flight.
We think that reply was code for “Go fly another airline, see if we care,” so that’s what we recommend in this case. We’re sure JetBlue will be happy to have you.