Flying Relatives Home On United For The Holidays? Better Just Send Them A Check

When Cindy purchased her adult daughter’s plane tickets to visit for the holidays, she didn’t realize that United would rather have her just send her daughter the cash. At least, that’s the only logical explanation for the rule she learned about only after the purchase was complete: the credit card used to buy the tickets must be available at check-in. How is Cindy’s daughter supposed to present her credit card?

On October 6, 2011 around 12:35am I used a VISA United Mileage credit card online at the United website to purchase a ticket for my adult daughter to fly home to Santa Barbara for the holidays. I have done this in the past with the same credit card. AFTER accepting my purchase and displaying the confirmation page to be printed it had a warning in red letters “The credit card used for this purchase must be available for check-in.”.

How is my daughter living in another city supposed to have my credit card? I called United and they told me to drive to the airport and show them my credit card because they can’t do anything over the phone. What if I lived an hour or more from the airport ? So I take off during the day to go to the airport, have to pay for parking, wait in line for an agent and they tell me this is fraud protection. I say this is baloney. They have all my information from at least 25 years as a frequent flier, my daughter’s information as a frequent flier, we both have the same last name and there is almost 3 months until the ticket will be used. If, as the agent claimed, this is to prevent fraud why have they never done this before in all the years I have bought my daughter’s plane tickets and why wouldn’t fraud protection be done by the credit card company? After all, the charge will have cleared or been contested long before the airline ticket was ever used.

This particular business practice is a burden in both time and expense to consumers who already have a multitude of regulations, fees and requirements imposed on them by the airlines at their whim.