SF Gate has an interesting consumer story about a passenger whose flight was rebooked by American due to “schedule changes” and, despite their attempts to verify that he did/or did not need paper tickets, was charged over $500 dollars at the gate for not having them.
From the story:
Two weeks before our departure, American contacted me and said it needed to rebook me because of a scheduling change. My new itinerary had me flying on SN Brussels Airlines instead of Swiss. I asked if I needed new paper tickets and was told “no.”
So when we arrived at the airport in Rome, we were surprised to learn that SN Brussels Airlines didn’t have tickets for any of us. They tried to call and telex American but couldn’t reach anyone.
I was told the award tickets — one for me and one for my niece — would be honored, but that we needed to pay an additional $566 for the other ticket that we’d bought, but for which we didn’t have a paper ticket.
When I got home, I requested a refund from American. The airline said it would need to contact SN Brussels Airlines to see if it could get its money back.
As the travel expert, Christopher Elliot, points out, the problem is the paper ticket. Some airlines require you to have them. Since American did the rebooking, they were responsible for the paper tickets (or lack there of) and should pay for the mistake. The article has a happy ending, Mr. Elliot called and got American to admit their mistake and issue a refund. The moral of the story is, check, double check and triple check when flying internationally and with a complicated itinerary. Check with all the airlines that you are flying with. You’ve seen The Amazing Race. Air travel is a game all on its own.—MEGHANN MARCO
Airline rebooks, passenger pays [SFGate]