Expedia, United Blame Each Other For $200 Change Fee For Passenger Stuck In LAX During Shootout

The recent tragic shootings at Los Angeles International put parts of one of the world’s largest airports on lockdown for several hours, resulting in rescheduled and canceled flights for many travelers. Given the extenuating and unique circumstances, one would think that airlines and hotels would have some level of understanding and not hit people with huge fees, and yet…

The L.A. Times’ David Lazarus has the story of one woman whose entire Mexican wedding getaway was ruined after she was locked down for seven hours inside of Terminal 3 at LAX.

Virgin America immediately understood her situation and refunded her the airfare for the flight from L.A. to Cancun she could not make.

“They said they were very sorry that I had to go through something like that,” the woman tells Lazarus.

But her return flight had been booked on United through Expedia, neither of which was very understanding.

Expedia did offer her an airline credit for the full $285 value of her airfare with the stipulation that she use it by Sept. 2014, oh and she’d have to pay a $200 change fee whenever she did get around to using it. So her net refund is only an $85 credit, because some nutjob decided to go on a killing spree.

When Lazarus looked into the fee, Expedia blamed United for mandating the fee while United blamed Expedia for not knowing (because it had probably not been told) that travelers affected by the LAX tragedy would not be hit with the change fee.

As Lazarus points out, some travel insurance policies do cover “terrorist incidents,” which would likely have covered this woman’s airfare. But should a customer really need to purchase an insurance policy to get a refund when they miss their flight because police have them on lockdown for their own safety? We say no.