First time to USA from BLR, flight cancelled and no rebooking available

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Aug 22, 2018
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India
#1
Iam writing on behalf of my daughter. My daughter had booked tickets from BLR-ITH to travel on 14TH AUG. She travelled until NEWARK as planned. EWR-ITH was cancelled and no flights were available until 19th August. She got to know the info after finishing the customs and while waiting to board her ITHACA flight. No information was provided to her. This was her first time travelling to USA and she had her luggages with her as it was a domestic flight from Newark to Ithaca. She was alone and was stranded with the luggages after travelling for 20hours. She couldn't use the restroom or have refreshments. She was exhausted, confused, distressed and clueless. After waiting in the queue for almost 4 hours, they couldn't give her a rebooking as all the flights were full, nor offered her any hotel stay or guide her as to how she will reach Ithaca. With someone's help she was able to book a greyhound bus from Newark to Ithaca the next morning and reached after .20 hours later than her scheduled time. Though the person at counter was very apologetic, they literally didn't give her any kind of alternatives. We trusted the airlines to make some arrangements as she was travelling alone. This is a serious issue and we believe the airlines should handle such issues with little more respect.

The most shocking part was when we filed for a refund, they replied saying that INR 1800(approx. 25 USD) will be refunded. I would like to record the expenses involved

  1. The flight ticket BLR-ITH (via EWR) costed INR 69,000 as against INR 50,000 for BLR-EWR. The difference we paid USD 275 approx.
  2. The greyhound bus ticket costed USD 92 from NEWARK to ITHACA
  3. She incurred USD 150 on transportation and accommodation
We trust that the united Airlines will consider the inconvenience and distress caused to us by not making suitable rearrangement for a female student travelling alone in the USA. We should be duly compensated with USD 520 as the airlines has failed to perform their duty.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,160
14,752
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Was she booked on United all the way through to Ithaca?

When a flight is canceled, the airline has to do one of two things- put you on the next available flight (which might not be for days) or give you a refund.

That’s all the airlines are required to do according to the DOT.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
The Newark to Ithaca flights are small regional jets, often cancelled with bad weather.

Flyers have very few rights here, either refund or wait for next seat.

I would certainly write to the airline but if it was a weather cancellation they are not obligated to pay for a hotel. — just a warning.

Be polite and send in receipts and write to the company contacts
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#4
That certainly must have been distressing for your daughter. But the airline did what they were required to do, refund or put her on the next available flight. Please see my responses in bold below

I am writing on behalf of my daughter. My daughter had booked tickets from BLR-ITH to travel on 14TH AUG. She travelled until NEWARK as planned. EWR-ITH was cancelled and no flights were available until 19th August (this was apparently the next available flight). She got to know the info after finishing the customs and while waiting to board her ITHACA flight (since she was in the air, no one would have been able to reach her by cell phone until after she landed.). No information was provided to her. This was her first time travelling to USA and she had her luggages with her as it was a domestic flight from Newark to Ithaca. She was alone and was stranded with the luggages after travelling for 20 hours. She couldn't use the restroom or have refreshments (why couldn't she buy some food or drink?). She was exhausted, confused, distressed and clueless. After waiting in the queue for almost 4 hours, they couldn't give her a rebooking as all the flights were full, nor offered her any hotel stay or guide her as to how she will reach Ithaca (if it was weather-related, airlines do not provide accommodations, nor are they obligated to, or are qualified to offer bus routes, or car rental information). With someone's help she was able to book a greyhound bus from Newark to Ithaca the next morning and reached after .20 hours later than her scheduled time. Though the person at counter was very apologetic, they literally didn't give her any kind of alternatives. We trusted the airlines to make some arrangements as she was travelling alone (why? She is a 20 year old student, certainly old enough to travel alone). This is a serious issue and we believe the airlines should handle such issues with little more respect.

The most shocking part was when we filed for a refund, they replied saying that INR 1800(approx. 25 USD) will be refunded. I would like to record the expenses involved

  1. The flight ticket BLR-ITH (via EWR) costed INR 69,000 as against INR 50,000 for BLR-EWR. The difference we paid USD 275 approx. (Airline math is funny, but you could certainly ask the airline for a breakdown of costs and see if they will reimburse the $275 USD)
  2. The greyhound bus ticket costed USD 92 from NEWARK to ITHACA (they will not paid this--she was refunded for the airline ticket and found alternative transportation--why would the airlines paid your daughter twice?)
  3. She incurred USD 150 on transportation and accommodation (again, they are not responsible for her alternation transportation or accommodations)
We trust that the united Airlines will consider the inconvenience and distress caused to us by not making suitable rearrangement for a female student travelling alone in the USA. Female (and Male) students travel alone all the time-they do not rate special treatment, or care. If she was 12 years old, this would be a different story. We should be duly compensated with USD 520 as the airlines has failed to perform their duty.

I realize that this must have been quite an ordeal for your daughter, a young women for whom English is not her first language, on her first foreign adventure. But as we saying here in America, Stuff happens. Planes are delayed, or canceled regularly due to weather, crew problems, or mechanical issues. Your daughter now knows what to do if it should occur again, and she knows exactly what responsibility the airline has to its customers.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#5
I'm sorry; this sounds awful for your daughter. But.. how old is your daughter? I get that perhaps English wasn't her primary language but with smart phones etc.. now, translators are pretty readily available, or could she not call you either? Did she not HAVE a phone with her? I'm confused about not being able to eat or even use the restroom? Surely, she did not travel internationally without some money in the local currency and/or a credit card? While the precipitating event was the flight cancellation, it appears that your daughter was not adequately prepared for this trip, either. When it comes to air travel anymore one MUST be prepared for multiple contingencies. I'm glad she made it to her destination (eventually) safely and soundly!!
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,692
7,504
113
San Francisco
#6
This is quite an amazing story. I would love to read a report on it directly from your daughter. If we have the exact details, we may be able to assist her. "20 hours without a restroom or food" seems a bit of a stretch.
 
Jan 15, 2018
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#7
I'm speculating that the daughter had more luggage than she could handle which limited her ability to use restroom or buy refreshments.