Ticketing Scam in Shanghai

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Mar 9, 2019
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#41
jsn35, are you insinuating that it is my responsibility for a long immigration line? Isn't 3 hours supposed to be enough for a basic flight transfer? I am very experienced with international flying and have been in nearly 60 countries and never had any such problems. I have followed all rules and done nothing wrong so obviously should not pay a price nor will I.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#42
The Chinese don't permit Wifi for foreigners so no phone will work there. And of course I would not have data for China being there only 3 hours.
 

Neil Maley

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#43
James the only thing we can recommend is using our company contacts and asking Cheapo to try to obtain a credit for you from United. They booked all these separate tickets and that’s what caused this. If you had been all on one itinerary you could have had your boarding pass from the beginning and this wouldn’t have been an issue.

Sometimes booking through these third party sites aren’t worth whatever you save because they book separated flights and then things like this happen.
 
Likes: Patina
Sep 19, 2015
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#44
JamesSteamer thank you for giving the proper itinerary. Was this booked all on separate tickets, or did you have one record locator?

Shanghai is not an easy place to transit. Was there a particular reason that you accepted such an itinerary?
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#45
Yes I just accepted the lowest price. I don't like doing the multiple airline thing but it does sometimes offer significant savings. I don't see why airlines aren't electronically connected so they can give boarding passes from other airlines. I have never had any problems like this in lots of flying. I do photography around the world. Thanks Neil. Now I must find a way out of this mess. It is using up too much of my precious time. I prefer not to wreck my reputation with my perfect record at my bank for 22 years and my credit but I hold very strong principles and will not pay double for tickets.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#46
Yes I just accepted the lowest price. I don't like doing the multiple airline thing but it does sometimes offer significant savings. I don't see why airlines aren't electronically connected so they can give boarding passes from other airlines. I have never had any problems like this in lots of flying. I do photography around the world. Thanks Neil. Now I must find a way out of this mess. It is using up too much of my precious time. I prefer not to wreck my reputation with my perfect record at my bank for 22 years and my credit but I hold very strong principles and will not pay double for tickets.
Booking on separate tickets can be cheaper but it is a risk. Airlines can be connected but that requires buying a through ticket and not having separate reservations.

You took a calculated risk and it did not work. You could have checked in online with United 24 hours in advance after scanning your passport on the UA app. That could have been done in South Korea before leaving for China.

There are many ways this fiasco could have been prevented -- not transiting in Shanghai, not booking separate tickets, and by checking in online with United 24 hours before. You could have scanned your passport at the Incheon airport at a United kiosk.

Sometimes being cheap can be very expensive.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#47
In all my many years of flying I never knew that airlines closed check in a full hour before departure of flights. I am still a bit old fashion, preferring to walk up to ticketing desks rather than using apps and phones since so often WiFi or websites don't work properly. I have not had the best experiences with the internet, sometimes sites not working right or it appearing that a confirmation goes through but really doesn't. I still feel I have a very strong case due to that stupid immigration line in Shanghai, being billed for about $150 more than the quoted price, and being billed by some Chinese operation rather than United. If I don't get this resolved as either a refund or future flight voucher, or through a bank charge back I will happily damage my credit to live by my principles. Fortunately I don't need much credit anymore.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,509
15,841
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www.promalvacations.com
#48
If you had all your flights on one ticket the airline would have put you on another flight at no charge. That’s one of the pluses about booking on one ticket. You would have booked on airlines that code share and work with each other.

When you book separate tickets , that doesn’t exist.
If you don’t like using the internet, call a real travel agent to book your air. I don’t know any that would have booked you like this. You would have had one confirmation and the first airport could have printed your boarding passes for all your flights.

I think this post is a good warning to people who book the cheapest tickets and allow these OTAs to book separate tickets . Cheapest way to book can turn into the most expensive way to book when there is a delay between any flights that cause you to miss one of them.

I’m sorry that this happened to you but you’ve experienced the worst that can happen by booking through an OTA and not knowing the pitfalls.

And the worst part of this is that United most likely not work with you because you bought through Cheapo. You’ll need to write to Cheapo and beg them to try to squeeze out a credit from United. So be polite when you write as you are asking them to do you a favor.

As I said before if you’d like to post your letter here before you send it, we can help you edit it for the best result.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#49
James the only thing we can recommend is using our company contacts and asking Cheapo to try to obtain a credit for you from United. They booked all these separate tickets and that’s what caused this. If you had been all on one itinerary you could have had your boarding pass from the beginning and this wouldn’t have been an issue.

Sometimes booking through these third party sites aren’t worth whatever you save because they book separated flights and then things like this happen.
Neil, I have called Cheapo and they won't budge. I never dreamed any legitimate business such as airlines could be so cruel to its customers and have such terrible rules that allow them to expect customers to pay for services they are unable to use do to no fault of their own. How would you feel if you purchased a $500 chain saw at Home Depot, started it up, it doesn't work and you are told "Sorry no returns no matter what!". This is exactly how I feel.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#50
If you had all your flights on one ticket the airline would have put you on another flight at no charge. That’s one of the pluses about booking on one ticket. You would have booked on airlines that code share and work with each other.

When you book separate tickets , that doesn’t exist.
If you don’t like using the internet, call a real travel agent to book your air. I don’t know any that would have booked you like this. You would have had one confirmation and the first airport could have printed your boarding passes for all your flights.

I think this post is a good warning to people who book the cheapest tickets and allow these OTAs to book separate tickets . Cheapest way to book can turn into the most expensive way to book when there is a delay between any flights that cause you to miss one of them.

I’m sorry that this happened to you but you’ve experienced the worst that can happen by booking through an OTA and not knowing the pitfalls.

And the worst part of this is that United most likely not work with you because you bought through Cheapo. You’ll need to write to Cheapo and beg them to try to squeeze out a credit from United. So be polite when you write as you are asking them to do you a favor.

As I said before if you’d like to post your letter here before you send it, we can help you edit it for the best result.
Thank you. I have called Cheapo and was not treated well and told rules are rules and no exceptions. If you know an address and or name of someone at Cheapo please tell me. Like I say I have much experience for many years traveling by air and always simply book the cheapest I can find and never had any problems though I am listening to what you say. I don't understand why airlines are not more connected.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#51
The check-in times are even greater for some airports. If you click on the link I provided earlier, some are 90 minutes. That's why I stated a preference to arrive 4 hours before scheduled departure, especially on the return flight (s) home. We can trim some of that with online check-in if there are no checked bags.

But once we get past security, we still have to abide by the scheduled departure time and NOT the "posted" time. Airlines can and will move actual departure time around, and some flyers have missed a flight because they sat down for food thinking they had more time, and then the airline moved the departure time up.

And the response from Cheap-O-Air is not surprising. While a long immigration line certainly was "beyond your control", it was also beyond theirs. The culprit here was Chinese immigration. I think you should ask from whomever you purchased the new ticket for a refund of the difference between the walk-up fare and fare that it would have been if booked ahead of time.

The contacts for Cheap-O-Air can be found by clicking the Company Contacts link at the top of this page. Best wishes for success . . .

Read this before you appeal How to Appeal Your Case
 
Likes: Patina
Mar 9, 2019
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#52
Dear Cheapo Air:

I booked a multi airline set of flights through your company November 5th 2018. This is for confirmation number XXXXX, one way from Seoul Korea to Shanghai China to LAX to BWI. When I arrived in Shanghai from Seoul on time I had three hours to transfer to the next flight on United to LAX, flight 199. However, I was forced to wait over two hours in an immigration line in Shanghai with only one officer processing hundreds of passports very slowly. Upon arriving at the United desk there I was told that check in and getting a boarding pass was closed even though I arrived a full 50 minutes before flight time. I was forced by circumstances I had no control over to purchase another ticket to fly home. I was quoted a price of $879.00 but my credit card bill arrived and says $1009 and from Yaun Lu Business, not United Airlines. So to summarize, I entered a situation in which I was forced to spend much money for something I did not cause, billed for more than I was told and from some company I never heard of. Though I understand Cheapo Air does not offer cash refunds I do ask you to obtain a credit from United Airlines that I can use for future flights which I think is a reasonable request.

Edited by moderator ro remove confirmation number.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#53
I edited it slightly - you kept it short and sweet. Your next letter is going to be to the first executive at Cheapo, Lauren.Volpe@fareportal.com

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/fareportal/

Dear Ms Volpe:
I booked flights through your company November 5th 2018. I didn't realize that this would be a series of one way tickets. This is about confirmation number XXXXX, one way from Seoul Korea to Shanghai China to LAX to BWI. When I arrived in Shanghai from Seoul on time I had three hours to transfer to the next flight on United to LAX, flight 199. However, I was forced to wait over two hours in an immigration line in Shanghai with only one officer processing hundreds of passports very slowly. Upon arriving at the United desk there I was told that check in and getting a boarding pass was closed even though I arrived a full 50 minutes before flight time. I was forced by circumstances I had no control over to purchase another ticket to fly home. I was quoted a price of $879.00 but my credit card bill arrived and says $1009 and from Yaun Lu Business, not United Airlines. So to summarize, I entered a situation in which I was forced to spend much money for something I did not cause, billed for more than I was told and from some company I never heard of. Though I understand Cheapo Air does not offer cash refunds I am would greatly appreciate if you could work with United on my behalf to see if they will offer me a credit for a future flight. I have contacted Customer Service who have said they cannot help me, but I am appealing to you as an executive to ask if you can do anything on your customers behalf to at least contact United and see if they would try to help.



Give her a week to reply. If she doesn't or doesn't help, then write to the next executive, Ruben Bello. In that letter you should say "I've written to Lauren Volpe with no response."

Repeat weekly until you get to the top. Let us know how you make out.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#54
Thanks Neil. I will send this email shortly and let you know of the response when I receive one. Nobody should have to be subject to such situations by legitimate businesses.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,509
15,841
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#55
Thanks Neil. I will send this email shortly and let you know of the response when I receive one. Nobody should have to be subject to such situations by legitimate businesses.
I don’t think you are fully understanding that this was due to booking separate tickets. As I said, if you booked a multi city trip on one airline, this wouldn’t have happened. Your initial check in would have checked you in for all the flights and they could have given you all the boarding passes at first check in.

There is no obligation from one airline to the next to assist you if something like this happens on separate tickets. United has no idea where you were coming from, just that you aren’t there to check in before the computers locked down. That’s not their fault.

Why didn’t you do your check in for the United flight while you were in Seoul? If it was less than 24 hours you could have checked in there.

I hope you will take this as a learning experience for future trips. Never book multi city trips on separate tickets.

When you book on your own you don’t know what you don’t know until something like this happens .
You also are acting as your own travel agent and need to know the rules about booking. Just because one can book their own travel doesn’t mean they should.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#56
I once missed a flight because of immigration— but I had a through ticket and was put on other airlines with an extra connection but I made it but hours later.

Shanghai is not an easy place to transit — and China is very bureaucratic.

I have on occasion had separate tickets — thought I was going to meet people and travel by car but plans changed — I bought a separate ticket but made sure I had over 4 hours and this was for a European airport.
I do remember times trying to enter the UK (LHR) in summer where I waited over 90 minutes in immigration. But as that was my destination all it meant was paying the car service extra waiting time — which was annoying but what can one do.

International flights have strict check in times because of sending the flight manifest to the immigration/passenger info to the landing airport — in this case the US. The check in staff has no discretion in this matter.

With separate tickets the airline has no knowledge of where one is coming — I have been on late flights leaving FRA — last one of the day — and the flight has been held for late connecting passengers — all on one ticket not separate— because the airline knew what flights the passengers were coming from.

There are certain international airports I would hesitate to transit in.

You are in a tough position because no travel service controls immigration and there is no way to complain.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#57
Could the difference in cost quote be that the original UA ticket was only to CA and then the additional segment to Baltimore made it more expensive? Baltimore has been a separate ticket on Alaska
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#58
The Alaska Airlines segment only cost $131.
I don’t think you are fully understanding that this was due to booking separate tickets. As I said, if you booked a multi city trip on one airline, this wouldn’t have happened. Your initial check in would have checked you in for all the flights and they could have given you all the boarding passes at first check in.

There is no obligation from one airline to the next to assist you if something like this happens on separate tickets. United has no idea where you were coming from, just that you aren’t there to check in before the computers locked down. That’s not their fault.

Why didn’t you do your check in for the United flight while you were in Seoul? If it was less than 24 hours you could have checked in there.

I hope you will take this as a learning experience for future trips. Never book multi city trips on separate tickets.

When you book on your own you don’t know what you don’t know until something like this happens .
You also are acting as your own travel agent and need to know the rules about booking. Just because one can book their own travel doesn’t mean they should.
 
Mar 9, 2019
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#59
I have flown so much in the last several years (I make photography shows of different countries around the world have over 65,000 photos) and numerous times arrived at the ticketing counters within under an hour, once being the last passenger on Ethiopian due to my printed at home boarding pass not scanning at the airport and having to literally run back to ticketing to get one printed (Isn't that a stupid problem? Would I loose a $900 flight if that plane took off without me?), that I took it for granted that I would have no problem in Shanghai. And only a year ago I was in the same airport at Shanghai and no immigration nonsense was required - went right through security (I continue to ask why I am going through security more than once even though never having left a secure area from a flight? God what absolute nonsense!) up to the gate with no problems.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#60
The Alaska Airlines segment only cost $131.
That was purchased months in advance and not days before a flight.

As for the difference in name on the credit card -/ there may be translation issues and or UA may have to have a Chinese ground service agency handle their tickets as a foreign company.
 
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