price gouging??

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Sep 6, 2018
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#1
I arrived at Phil International Airport at 4:00am, August 9, with my seven family members expecting to board an Air Canada Flight 7533, to Toronto and then on to Vancouver. The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:10 am , however it was cancelled. Air Canada would not help and I and my other family members felt stranded , needing to arrive in Vancouver before 3:00pm to embark on a cruise.

Can you imagine the anxiety and frustration trying to book eight passengers on some airline that would take us all to Vancouver and arrive before 3:00pm I found six seats on a Delta flight through Atlanta to Vancouver and three seats on your United Flight to Houston to Vancouver.

Without any choice I accepted the United flight for two. I paid $2374 plus a $25 “booking fee” per ticket for two 77 year old seniors for a flight from Philadelphia via Houston to Vancouver. The two hour cancellation notice was a short time to arrange for a plane to Vancouver to meet with a cruise. Now I know prices are high particularly when I needed an immediate change but $2374 per person seems to be a little over the top. And I did not need a “refundable fare” since I was leaving in 30 minutes after I booked the flight. Upon researching fares when I returned home I found that the highest fares for a one way economy non stop one day booking was $742 Flight 2113 plus $917.47 Flight 600, for a total of $1659.47 per person Phil via Houston to Vancouver. This is $715 less than what I paid per person.

Now I realized I accepted the flights, since I was under duress and didn’t have a choice. Also I understand that fare prices vary considerably, of which I don’t understand. But I would ask that you consider my appeal and request for a partial refund based on the above researched pricing. I realize that you could refuse but I would like to pose that if I did not accept these two tickets, your flight would have flown with the vacant seats. So I ask that you consider this whole situation and extend a partial refund.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
First- you should never fly in to your cruise port the day of a cruise. With the amount of cancellations with air these days you should have been advised to arrive a day or text before your cruise starts.

Second, when an airline cancels a flight, there have to do one of two things according to the DOT- out you on the next flight with available seats or give you a refund. That next available flight might not be for a day or two. If you can’t wait - then they have to refund you.

You say the airline would not deal with you. Did you book your air directly with them or through an online travel agency? If an OTA- the OTA has to handle the rebooking.

What was the reason for the cancellation?

Walk up fares are very expensive. Last minute tickets are always much more than you would have paid even booking two weeks before.

Unfortunately- you accepted the price by booking the tickets so there is nothing you can do at this point.

Did you send that email to United? They won’t see it here - they don’t monitor this site.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
This must have been a nightmare, with the whole family counting on you. A time deadline and a cancelled flight with little notice, so disappointing. Why would Air Canada not help you?

In the future, it would be good to use a travel agent for booking these kinds of trips, and also to purchase trip insurance. A TA would have advised you that flying to board the ship the same day is a recipe for disaster. Insurance would have reimbursed you for the walk-up fares to get everyone out to Vancouver. Air fares vary by the minute, so checking UA's fare on another day has little meaning.

You can certainly write to United and ask them for a voucher towards a future flight. You never know, and it would be nice to salvage some dollars out of this mess.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#4
I arrived at Phil International Airport at 4:00am, August 9, with my seven family members expecting to board an Air Canada Flight 7533, to Toronto and then on to Vancouver. The flight was scheduled to depart at 6:10 am , however it was cancelled. Air Canada would not help and I and my other family members felt stranded , needing to arrive in Vancouver before 3:00pm to embark on a cruise.

Can you imagine the anxiety and frustration trying to book eight passengers on some airline that would take us all to Vancouver and arrive before 3:00pm I found six seats on a Delta flight through Atlanta to Vancouver and three seats on your United Flight to Houston to Vancouver.

Without any choice I accepted the United flight for two. I paid $2374 plus a $25 “booking fee” per ticket for two 77 year old seniors for a flight from Philadelphia via Houston to Vancouver. The two hour cancellation notice was a short time to arrange for a plane to Vancouver to meet with a cruise. Now I know prices are high particularly when I needed an immediate change but $2374 per person seems to be a little over the top. And I did not need a “refundable fare” since I was leaving in 30 minutes after I booked the flight. Upon researching fares when I returned home I found that the highest fares for a one way economy non stop one day booking was $742 Flight 2113 plus $917.47 Flight 600, for a total of $1659.47 per person Phil via Houston to Vancouver. This is $715 less than what I paid per person.

Now I realized I accepted the flights, since I was under duress and didn’t have a choice. Also I understand that fare prices vary considerably, of which I don’t understand. But I would ask that you consider my appeal and request for a partial refund based on the above researched pricing. I realize that you could refuse but I would like to pose that if I did not accept these two tickets, your flight would have flown with the vacant seats. So I ask that you consider this whole situation and extend a partial refund.
Did you book this travel with the airline and cruise line yourself or through a travel agent? If you booked this trip through a travel agent you can look to the travel agent for some consideration because this was a very poor booking. If you did this yourself you have no recourse.

As others have noted, trying to fly into a port of embarkation on the day of a cruise departure is a disaster waiting to happen, even flying to a nearby port such as NY or Miami, much less across the continent in another country. The fact that you were able to board the cruise that day is very fortunate and unusual.

You are due refunds from Air Canada for your canceled flight. Your fare as a "walk-up fare" on United cannot be compared to any advance booking. You should not expect any refund from United. Had you planned to travel to Vancouver 1-2 days prior to your cruise embarkation you would have had some flexibility in your choice of flights, such as taking an Air Canada flight with a later arrival the day prior to the cruise departure. Air Canada would have transported you at no fare increase on your original ticket. Air Canada certainly had other flights that would get you to Vancouver on your day of flying, but not to make a 3 PM cruise sailing that day.

If you had travel insurance, this would also have paid some or all of the difference in airfare.
 
Last edited:
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
You are comparing the proverbial apples to oranges.

Researching prices once you return has no bearing on what the prices were days earlier. Different days different prices different demand.

Your argument will go nowhere.

That is like me saying I should be able to buy Apple stock years ago when there was less demand, the price today is gouging.

You already said it was impossible to rebook 8 people on one flight — and that means the demand was high. You could not find anything cheaper because those fares weee sold out and planes full.

I think you need to accept the fact that this was not good planning to arrive the day of a cruise.

If the cost of the UA flights were too high you did not need to buy them. You cannot say yes I willingly bought the tickets and now I want money back. UA did not cause the problem.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
And the flights may not have gone out empty if you did not buy it— a last minute business traveler may have bought an even more expensive ticket using part of the routing— such as Houton to Vancouver to Halifax.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#7
So sorry Ewenjo, for such a horrible start to your cruise. This was an expensive lesson to learn.
It would help us to know how or through which company you booked the air tickets, and if you used a travel agent for the cruise. As others have said, a good travel agent would have never booked flights to arrive the day of the cruise (unless you insisted they were the only flights you would accept). A good travel agent would have stressed the need for trip protection/insurance.
 
Sep 6, 2018
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#8
thanks for all the replies and yes I agree somewhat that since I accepted the tickets I was responsible. No buts, my error. However I booked the Air Canada flight many months before the flight date with Air Canada direct.. When I approached the agent after I found that it was cancelled she said the only flight out was the next day, which I could not accept. Based on her response to me it was a done deal and if I did not accept the next day flight there was nothing that could be done. I asked for a transfer of tickets to another carrier, and was told that it is not Air Canada policy. I have a request to Air Canada for a refund, but as of today have not received a response
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#9
Hoping that was the end of your Misadventures and your entire party had a wonderful cruise!

But who the heck booked those flights?
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#13
Sadly, you had a very specific timeline to meet, and no flexibility. Thus, you were at the mercy of what the pricing structure is at the time you accepted the ticket.
A quick check of one way fares from PHL to YVR for tomorrow shows tickets as low as $339 to as high as $7173 (!!!!!) depending on the exact flight combination. I agree that $2300 per ticket is very high, but you were purchasing them on 30 minutes notice.

Now you do bring up an interesting point... if the OW ticket price from PHL to IAH, then IAH to YVR was lower and the fare rules allowed the fares to be combined, it's a fair question to ask why this wasn't offered to you.

A polite letter asking for a goodwill gesture may get you some vouchers, but your routing left you no wiggle room in the event of a cancellation. However, if United and Air Canada tells you to go pound sand, then that's it.
 
Likes: krisseye

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#14
The airline did what they are required to do- put you on the next flight - which was the next day- or provide you with a refund. Had you flown in at least the day before- you could have taken the next days flight and been fine.

Walk up fares at last minute are very expensive. Why? There is always someone there who will pay it jfvrhey have no other choice.

In the future- fly in one or two days before you cruise. Two nights at a hotel would have been a lot cheaper.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#15
Sadly, you had a very specific timeline to meet, and no flexibility. Thus, you were at the mercy of what the pricing structure is at the time you accepted the ticket.
A quick check of one way fares from PHL to YVR for tomorrow shows tickets as low as $339 to as high as $7173 (!!!!!) depending on the exact flight combination. I agree that $2300 per ticket is very high, but you were purchasing them on 30 minutes notice.

Now you do bring up an interesting point... if the OW ticket price from PHL to IAH, then IAH to YVR was lower and the fare rules allowed the fares to be combined, it's a fair question to ask why this wasn't offered to you.

A polite letter asking for a goodwill gesture may get you some vouchers, but your routing left you no wiggle room in the event of a cancellation. However, if United and Air Canada tells you to go pound sand, then that's it.
But these were fares after the OP returned — ie not the same dates so the price then was irrelevant.

The price for a ticket will be different on December 22 vs January 2 for example — supply and demand.

One thing I have to ask — why was there no travel insurance? Seniors on a cruise?
 
Likes: krisseye
Feb 21, 2018
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#16
One thing I have to ask — why was there no travel insurance? Seniors on a cruise?
I'm not even sure travel insurance would have helped here.

The flight cancellation would likely have triggered the 'travel delay' benefit, but based on flight times and the fact that this was the day of embarkation, there may not have been enough time between the planned arrival in Vancouver and the updated arrival to meet the necessary 'time' for delay.

Almost every trip insurance policy I've purchased has a travel delay benefit - but only if the delay exceeds four hours. I've seen some as high as six or eight hours. If the OP was departing PHL at 6:10am, traveling first to Toronto and then on to Vancouver, I have to believe that's a good7 hours in a plane. Conservative 'original' arrival time 11:00am-noon local time. They had to be on the ship by 3:00pm. That is just a 3-4 hour window right there.

Let's assume they made it by 1:00pm local time, a delay from the original arrival time of 1-2 hours. That's not long enough to meet the delay minimum for most travel insurance, and the benefit would not pay.

Just another piece of the travel puzzle a consumer has to pay attention to when booking flights.
 
Mar 8, 2018
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#17
What credit card did you use to buy the tickets? There are many that come with some travel insurance, so you may want to check to see if it would apply to this case.
 
Likes: jsn55

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#18
The Cruiseline booked these tickets.. which cruiseline, they have a Guaranty (many advertise “book with confidence or We will get you to the ship”) have you given the cruiseline the opportunity to play anypart of this?
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#20
If it was booked through the cruise line then the cruise line should have been called to see about alternative flights - that’s why the airline wouldn’t deal with her directly.
When I asked above the LW stated the Cruiseline booked these flights. See Post 12