Sean booked a flight on
United Airlines, US Airways, but had found the flight through travel übersearch site Kayak. He learned the hard way that there may be an occasional bug in the system: he says that even though he did everything correctly, his flight was booked on the wrong day. He learned the hard way that when this happens, you’d better notice quickly: there’s only a 24-hour window to call about the error before the airline will just keep your money forever. They’re called “non-refundable” tickets for a reason, after all.
If you go through kayak, sometimes you will be placed on the wrong date, so you assume you are buying tickets for the correct date, when their system has something else in mind. If you try and fix this problem anytime after 24 hours, say goodbye to your money, because this airline is just interested in making money, not keeping customers.
After several phone calls and realizing I cannot do anything since the fee they charge is the entire ticket value, I email them trying to figure out where it went wrong and see if we can resolve this. Here is the response I get back.
Thank you for contacting Customer Relations. We appreciate it when customers take the time to share their concerns.
I’m sorry an error was made when you booked your ticket on our website. When customers book on our website any inaccuracies or mistakes may be cancelled within 24 hours at no charge. As you may know, non-refundable tickets present the most economical fares. However, they are among the more restrictive tickets. Because your ticket is a non-refundable ticket, a change fee and any additional fare will apply. If the new fare for travel is less than the unused credit, there is no residual value.
I truly appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts with us. We learn from our customers where we need to make changes to improve our service. Your input is valuable. It is always our pleasure to have an opportunity to serve you and hope you will look to US Airways for your future travel needs.
Representative, Customer Relations
US Airways Corporate Office
Essentially they won’t admit that there are bugs in the system and see great benefit to make money off of issues like these. It’s a methodology and mentality to take advantage of their customers, and I thought I would share my experience with this horrible airline. Southwest so far has been far better in the customer service department.
Learn from Sean’s sad, sad tale: triple-check your dates once the flight is booked, and call within 24 hours if they aren’t right.
UPDATE: Kayak’s CTO Paul English has added the following comment:
I think this was user error.
KAYAK provides millions of consumer searches per day, and we have never found a bug in transferring the wrong dates.
If either of you can find a reproducible case of KAYAK passing the wrong dates to an airline, I will buy you a round-trip ticket.
Also, note that the dates you choose are confirmed to you about half a dozen times between the UI and email.
We are going to follow up with Mr. English to see if we can clarify exactly what happened in this situation.