Code Share - Mutual Responsibility or Mutual Deniability

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Apr 23, 2018
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#23
The plot thickens. I received a reply yesterday, signed "Iberia Customer Services." Here it is in full (I have made three redactions).
Dear Mr X,
Thank you for your notification regarding flight IBnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
I have accessed to your booking and checked that it is not refundable. However, I have also checked that you have for this ticket an insurance with the number IBAUSnnnnnnnnnnn of Allianz.
If you hired it at the moment of the purchase it has a cancellation insurance so you have to contact Allianz for the refund. If you hired it after the purchase the insurance is only for the assistance.
Kind regards,
Iberia Customer Services

(I did "hire" the policy at the moment of purchase.)

As I described in my May 12 post, when requesting the refund on Iberia's website, I had to use the “Cancellation” option, which didn't provide for any comments or explanations of my unique incorrect name problem, which included a description of their confusing customer data input form on their booking site. Although they couldn't read my detailed complaint, I assume they had access to whatever notes the telephone agents made in my record during the several conversations in which I tried to get the correction made. So I'm a little miffed that they didn't address my situation but simply reiterated their policy and punted to the insurance company. But to be fair, my mea culpa that I understood I was buying a 'no refunds" ticket and that I was asking for a waiver of that policy due to specific extenuating circumstances was not in their record,

Because my refund request is now in their file, I can now use the "Claims" page of their Complaints system, and that will allow me to attach my letter of pleading, with all the details and my reasoning. But I suppose, to protect my future options with Iberia, I should first follow their suggestion and contact Allianz, even though I think I know what their answer will be. I have already spoken with them twice, and there may be some hope. I memorialized my oral conversation in notes immediately after my two calls. I am posting them in full because they provide some details about Allianz that readers might not know about.
April 19 – Called Allianz Travel Insurance to determine what will be required to correct the name on the insurance policy. Spoke with George at approx. 9:30 am PDT. Was instructed to call back once the ticket name is corrected. They will be able to correct the policy name either at the original help desk or by referring it to a special department within Allianz.
Also inquired if the trip cancellation portion ($678.18) will apply if I have to cancel my flight and re-book it. He said that event was not covered, but to file a claim anyway to see what happens.
May 07 – Called Allianz to follow up on whether my policy can be transferred to a new flight or whether my premium can be refunded. He advised:

  1. If Iberia doesn’t refund the ticket, file a claim addressed to the special review personnel, explaining my unique situation and asking for consideration. Include all correspondences with Iberia.
  2. Allianz has a “770 day” rule, that will either:
    1. Allow me to re-instate the policy for another flight of any itinerary and carrier within 770 days
    2. Allow me to apply the premium against a different Allianz policy I might purchase
  3. To do either, I must Inform Allianz before my Iberia trip by emailing salessupport@allianzassistance.com, providing details
Although my policy does carry "Trip Cancellation Protection" in the amount of my ticket price, I am not sure if this will cover ticket (as opposed to trip) cancellation. By my reading of the Certificate of Coverage, I don't think I'm covered. The only reason I say there may be some hope is because the first Allianz agent told me to file a claim anyway.

Can any advocates weigh in on what route I should take, and the pros and cons between them? Also, if I do pursue Allianz first, and my claim is initially rejected, how far up their management tree should I go before re-focusing on Iberia?

Thanks for your continued help!
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#24
Here, finally, is an update:

Iberia responded on May 16 as follows:

"Thank you for your notification regarding flight IB9734 of 24/06/2018.

"I have accessed to your booking and checked that it is not refundable. However, I have also checked that you have for this ticket an insurance with the number nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn of Allianz.

If you hired it at the moment of the purchase it has a cancellation insurance so you have to contact Allianz for the refund. If you hired it after the purchase the insurance is only for the assistance."

I did "hire" the policy on Iberia's site when completing my booking, so I filed a claim with Allianz, and received the following reply today:

"We have completed our review of your claim, and unfortunately are unable to provide benefits under the coverage you purchased because: As your insuring agreement indicated, this is a named perils travel insurance program, which means it covers only the specific situations, events and losses included in this document, and only under the conditions we describe. Unfortunately, a trip cancellation due to a booking error is not included among those reasons."

Iberia says the Allianz policy they offered on their website has cancellation insurance since I bought it in the same process as booking my flight, and the insurance company itself says it is not covered because the certificate doesn't specifically say it is. More reciprocal finger pointing. Allianz tells me that, if I feel my claim has been wrongfully denied or rejected, "you may have this matter
reviewed by the California Department of Insurance, Consumer Services Division...." I don't think I'll get anywhere with them, at least not anytime soon.

So it seems my only option now is to file a complaint through Iberia's website (since I received no reply from the two executives listed on your Contacts Page). The complaints feature does allow for detailed explanations and document copies. I can only hope I'd receive a reasonably prompt and favorable resolution.

I'm disappointed I received no acknowledgement from Mr.Perdiguero or Mr. Arconada. I might have been able to make some progress through them. Would you suggest I try to get through to them again? Any other advice?

Many thanks, as always.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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#25
Allianz is correct- there is no coverage when you make an error booking your ticket. The insurance covers illness, things like that not mistakes.

And Iberia’s own website says:

Can you change the name on the tickets?
Changes to names on reservations of seats and/or tickets are NOT allowed. For this reason we ask you to pay special attention when writing the names and family name(s) of the passengers which must coincide with the documentation they present at the airport on the day of the flight. If the details on the ticket don't coincide with the documentation presented, the right to board the flight may be denied.


Your only hope is they will offer you a credit less a cancellation fee.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#26
Thanks, Neil I appreciate your comment and understand all that. But lest we forget, I feel my case warrants more-than-usual consideration because the name screw-up was due to unclear instructions on a Spanish-culture website that had no clear labeling for where to put my middle name. The form asked for “Surname/last name” and “Second surname.” I put my surname in the first field, which was asterisked, meaning it was a required field, and left the second field blank. It wasn’t asterisked, meaning data wasn’t necessary, and I didn’t want my ticket to read “A C-B” (first name and hyphenated double last name) instead of A B C (first name, middle name, last name). The system populated the empty field with my last name, resulting in the double last name on my ticket. I don’t want to be provocative, but I would ask readers how they would have handled this, on the assumption they didn’t know how to handle Spanish family naming customs.

But I did explain all this to the two executives, and in my email to the second one, I acknowledged that I ultimately bear some responsibility for the snafu. I asked for special consideration of their no-refund policy because of these exigent circumstances. That’s why I am disappointed that I did not receive even a receipt acknowledgement from either one.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#27
Thanks, Neil I appreciate your comment and understand all that. But lest we forget, I feel my case warrants more-than-usual consideration because the name screw-up was due to unclear instructions on a Spanish-culture website that had no clear labeling for where to put my middle name. The form asked for “Surname/last name” and “Second surname.” I put my surname in the first field, which was asterisked, meaning it was a required field, and left the second field blank. It wasn’t asterisked, meaning data wasn’t necessary, and I didn’t want my ticket to read “A C-B” (first name and hyphenated double last name) instead of A B C (first name, middle name, last name). The system populated the empty field with my last name, resulting in the double last name on my ticket. I don’t want to be provocative, but I would ask readers how they would have handled this, on the assumption they didn’t know how to handle Spanish family naming customs.

But I did explain all this to the two executives, and in my email to the second one, I acknowledged that I ultimately bear some responsibility for the snafu. I asked for special consideration of their no-refund policy because of these exigent circumstances. That’s why I am disappointed that I did not receive even a receipt acknowledgement from either one.
Not to be blunt, but that’s not Iberia’s fault. When you book your own tickets, you act as your own travel agent and any errors are your own. If I made a mistake on a clients ticket, guess who buys the corrected ticket? Me.

I looked at the screen and there are only two asterisks when putting your name in- the first and last. The second surname is not required.

Unfortunately- you didn’t understand what you were seeing and booked without asking questions. You also had 24 hours to get the ticket corrected with no fees. Iberia doesn’t owe you a refund but they usually will give you a credit good for a year from the day you bought the ticket less a cancellation fee. I believe that’s the best you are going really get. They are sticking to their guns on this.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
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#28
One thing I did was disable auto fill on my browser. It was really annoying and can really mess things up, and that is likely where the mistake was made.

Here is how I do it on Spanish site -- if the name is Francisco Goya

Name Francisco
Surname Goya
Second Surname Blank

If the name is Francisco Jose de Goya

Name: Francisco Jose
Surname: de Goya
Second Surname -- Blank

If the name is Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes

Name: Francisco Jose
Surname de Goya
Second Surname y Lucientes

The thing is when booking on a Spanish airline, it will be geared to Spanish customers, even in another language, as that is how it is set up. One can always call and ask, but I do realize that the hold time is often so long that the fare and reservation will disappear.

But I do think the auto fill stuck in the last name twice; it is not able to understand the * mandatory

Iberia is not known for exceptional customer service.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#29
Thanks, Neil and Christina. It might very well have been the auto-fill feature that did me in. I must say in my (whining?:)) defense, however, that the problem would have been avoided had Iberia shown some courtesy to its non-Hispanic customers by adding "/middle name" to the descriptor of the correct box. I appreciate Neil's conclusion that I cooked my own goose, but I do feel Iberia let me down by not recognizing (or even acknowledging) that their input form was not clear and was therefore the root cause of the mistake.

I am now wondering what to do with my Iberia ticket that I cannot use. Would advocates advise whether I should formally cancel it and possibly pay a cancellation fee, or simply not show up?

And are there any other possible remedies? I have not used Iberia's online "Complaint" system yet. That will allow me to provide much more detail than the"Cancel Ticket" option I previously tried.

P.S. - To add insult to injury, when Iberia denied my refund request, they suggested I file an insurance claim, saying it would be covered because I bought the policy on their website when I purchased the ticket. Although the Certificate of Coverage said "Ticket Cancellation" was covered, Allianz denied the claim, saying my circumstance wasn't a specific covered peril. An Allianz agent had previously told me over the phone that Allianz has a “770 day” rule, that will either allow me to re-instate the policy for another flight of any itinerary and carrier within 770 days or apply the premium against a different Allianz policy I might purchase. When I tried to apply the Iberia premium to my new Delta ticket, I was unformed that, because I had filed a claim for refund of the Iberia fare, the policy was considered “used” and therefore non-transferable and non-refundable (even though they denied my claim and paid nothing).

I have reached the point where all I can do is laugh at this whole fiasco.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#30
It is indeed a fiasco. Your existing tix should be good for a future credit less the cancel fee. If you don't cancel nor show up, the tix will be worthless. I'll be very blunt here ... to expect a Spanish airline to offer American choices on their website is naive. Booking tix like this should be done through an experienced travel agent. It is indeed unfortunate that airlines these days have no compassion for anything; they're only interested in revenue, not customer service.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#31
Thanks, jsn55. I'll appeal for a ticket credit through their Complaint web page and see where it leads me. If nowhere, I'll make one last attempt with the Elliot management contacts.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#33
Hi Neil,
My ticket is still active in the system (I can look it up in my reservations account) so I assume no credit would have been issued.

Yesterday, I filed a short but polite request to Customer Service for them to reconsider my request since they told me that my insurance policy covered it but Allianz didn't honor it. I thought it best to go back to the original deniers because I had received no reply from the management contacts to my original request, and I thought they might appreciate going to them rather than escalating it.

Maybe that's pollyanna-ish, but we'll see what happens.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#34
Well, what happened was they again denied my request, this time with a very short form letter that did not address my concerns about their mis-advice about Alllianz.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#35
The insurance doesn’t cover you making a mistake when booking unfortunately. There is a list of covered reasons and mistakes aren’t among them.

If you are flying to or from a US airport you had 24 hours to get the ticket fixed, unfortunately. You can’t use the excuse that you didn’t understand the website - if you book your own tickets, you act as your own travel agent and you need to know what you are doing.

If you booked a ticket with a fare that is totally non refundable- you might just be stuck with losing the money.

Have you gone all the way up the executive list we have?
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#36
I went to the primary (Perdiguero) and after 10 days with no reply to the secondary (Arconada) again with no reply. I have not gone to the Chief Executive or the parent company, the other two contacts you list.

Would you suggest I try the CEO? If so, what would be your strategy - just to concentrate on the confusing website so that Iberia can accept some responsibility? Or should I also reiterate my request for cancellation and refund or credit? (I don't think I could use an Iberia Airlines credit within the next six or twelve months, but I could sure use any cash they might provide.)

Also, my flight is booked for this coming Sunday, so I must cancel before then or be categorized as a no-show. If I voluntarily cancel, will I jeopardize my claim further? My guess is that becoming a no-show will completely doom my claim. Which would be your preferred option?

Thanks for everybody's help.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#37
I don't know that the airline tickets are printing middle names, as on my recent purchase, there was nowhere to list it. I called and was told to just make sure my passenger data was correct on-line. Is there a place to enter your name correctly on the Iberia website under your reservation number, even if your ticket is not changed?

As I see it right now, you have a few options:
Buy a refundable ticket that will suit your travel days and get to the airport earlier than your refundable ticket and early for your originally purchased flight and see if they will fix the middle name issue at the airport. I would be at the airport at least 4 hours early. Do not check in until you get to the airport. If they will not fix it, cancel the original flight so you may at least get a credit. Then fly on your newly purchased refundable fare. If they do change it, cancel the refundable ticket and go on the trip.

I would also try going to the airport in the next few days and seeing if someone at the ticket counter could help. Sometimes having a face to go with the issue makes it more real to the employees on the ground and you may run into a sympathetic employee. You may also be able to talk to an Iberia employee and an American employee so that may fix your troubles.

Also, if you do write, instead of focusing on the confusing website, also state that you realize you made an error and have been attempting to fix the error.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,725
12,711
113
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www.promalvacations.com
#38
You could push the website issue but they aren't really going to care because as I said - you are responsible for knowing what you are doing, whether you are booking through any website. They are likely going to say you should have called if you didn't understand the website.

I wouldn't mention the insurance at all because the agent might now have known why you were canceling when they discussed the insurance. As I said - insurance doesn't cover mistakes, it covers canceling for covered reasons such as illness, death in immediate family, etc.

I would ask if they can simply correct it for you or waive any fees to change the ticket to the CEO. Give a list of the names you have written to and had no response so he knows you tried. But Iberia is just not a customer friendly airline - they aren't US based and customer service isn't their cup of tea.

At the very least ask them if you can have a credit to use less a cancellation fee to use with them for another six months to a year . It doesn't hurt to ask.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,725
12,711
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#39
I don't know that the airline tickets are printing middle names, as on my recent purchase, there was nowhere to list it. I called and was told to just make sure my passenger data was correct on-line. Is there a place to enter your name correctly on the Iberia website under your reservation number, even if your ticket is not changed?

As I see it right now, you have a few options:
Buy a refundable ticket that will suit your travel days and get to the airport earlier than your refundable ticket and early for your originally purchased flight and see if they will fix the middle name issue at the airport. I would be at the airport at least 4 hours early. Do not check in until you get to the airport. If they will not fix it, cancel the original flight so you may at least get a credit. Then fly on your newly purchased refundable fare. If they do change it, cancel the refundable ticket and go on the trip.

I would also try going to the airport in the next few days and seeing if someone at the ticket counter could help. Sometimes having a face to go with the issue makes it more real to the employees on the ground and you may run into a sympathetic employee. You may also be able to talk to an Iberia employee and an American employee so that may fix your troubles.

Also, if you do write, instead of focusing on the confusing website, also state that you realize you made an error and have been attempting to fix the error.
Some airlines don't have the middle name box. Some do. Iberia did BUT it wasn't a mandatory field so it could have been left blank.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#40
Thanks, Tanya. Good advice for any possible future screw-ups (of which I intend to have none) but too late for my current situation.

Thanks Neil. I'll write the CEO this evening in the form you suggest and report the results. My reservation is for Sunday. In your experience, how long can I leave it to self-cancel my reservation over the Internet if I don't get a quick response from the CEO?