Stroke? For Refund, Prove It

Khanh’s mother had a stroke, preventing her from her from using an AmericaWest ticket for a Las Vegas vacation. He’s trying to help her get a refund but it experiencing one of those key locked in the safe conundrums. His travel agent tells him to call AmericaWest. The airline tells him to call his travel agent. What to do, he asks?

We say… turbo! Go up the America West chain of command and get your issue escalated. Wallow not in automated phone and dead letter box land.

His letter, inside.

“Dear Consumerist,

I have a lovely story for you guys…

My parents booked a Las Vegas through Costco Travel and would be flying America West (aka US Airways).

Unfortunately, my mother had a stroke about 4 days before departure and had to cancel their trip. They didn’t buy insurance, which I believe might have made this easier. But when we canceled the trip, through Costco Travel, they gave us an address to mail in a letter (really customer service looks at letters?) and a copy of the doctor’s note in hope of getting some sort of refund for credit towards another flight:

This is the address they gave us.

Customer Relations
US Airway Vacation
ATTN: Customer Relation
1925 W University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

I’ve called Costco Travel and the first time they said that the US Airway customer relation center would take about 6 weeks to respond. Mailed it July 14, still no reply. The second time I called Costco Travel (I call them because the only thing I’ve got is the confirmation email from them) they give the Customer Service number for US Airway, 1-866-523-5333, and if you go through their automation system directs you the refund area, but it has a whole new telephone number, 480-693-6735.

Well, their refund system is entirely automated and they need a ticket number. But as I ordered through a travel agent and online I never got a ticket number, and what does it tell me to do if I ordered through an agent? Go call the agent. Now at this point I’m just a little peeved, because I’m not sure who’s just pushing me around now.

You think the travel company would have a little sympathy for someone who just had to cancel because of a stroke, but I guess they need every dollar they can get…I don’t know if buying insurance would have helped but it seems like it would have. Any help or tips from you guys would be most appreciated.


Khanh H.”


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  1. Smoking Pope says:

    Good luck getting anything out of AmWest without a fight. I don’t want to get into the gory details (which I believe I’ve posted here elsewhere), but AmWest screwed me over 3 consecutive times:

    I live in Phoenix, a 6 hour drive from Las Vegas. Instead of driving, one year I decided to fly and save time. 6 hours of delays during which I was lied to 5 times and told the plane would arrive in one hour. Same thing on the way back.

    Travelling to San Francisco, I had the same thing happen. 6.5 hours of delays.

    So I noodled out the CEO’s e-mail address, and described the terrible service, outright lies, etc. Demanded $2,000 per incident. Got a nice e-mail from the CEO’s assistant asking for flight numbers, which I provided.

    3 weeks later I received a single $300 flight voucher, which cost them nothing, and since I almost never fly alone, would have resulted in me giving more money to them. I threw the voucher away.

    My advice would be to figure out the CEO’s e-mail address (or call) and make a huge stink. Threaten massive bad publicity. With luck, they’ll cave. Then never use them again. They are the worst airline (at east in my neck of the woods).

  2. MattyMatt says:

    Good grief, what is that photo from?

  3. Incidentally, I bought tickets to a play but couldn’t make it because I broke my leg. And those bastards wouldn’t give me my money back!

    (That’s a lie, actually. Or, as Jesus would call it, a parable.)