It takes Joanna Pierce hours to fix a duplicate reservation with Travelocity, but she’s still left with a $75 fee. Who should have to pay it?
Q: Earlier this year, I booked a round-trip flight on American Airlines from Minneapolis to Shannon, Ireland, for May on Travelocity.com.
The next day, Travelocity sent me a message that American Airlines had increased the price. I accepted the increase, wanting to keep the schedule I had.
All was well until I received my credit card bill, on which I discovered that Travelocity had charged me for both the original reservation which they had modified the next day as well as the final one.
I spent the better part of a working day on the phone with Travelocity’s customer service department, talking to several people, including a supervisor. I was put on hold for lengthy periods. Finally, the supervisor informed me that they would refund the amount of the first reservation minus $75, which the airline required for a “canceled” trip. I called American and was informed that the error was with Travelocity. I want my $75 back. Can you help?
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— Joanna Pierce, Aitkin, Minn.
A: Once you book your airline ticket, the price shouldn’t go up or down. A deal’s a deal, as they say.
Something appears to have gone terribly wrong between you, your online travel agency, and the airline. It is a great mystery. If you scroll down to the end of this story, you’ll see that even Travelocity agrees. No one knows what happened.
But here’s one thing we can all agree on: You didn’t make two reservations and shouldn’t have to eat the $75 cancellation fee.
It’s not clear what the cancellation fee is for or who charged it. Does it cost an airline $75 to cancel a ticket? Did the airline or travel agent somehow incur $75 in expenses by refunding one of your erroneously booked tickets? I don’t think so. It’s a junk fee. Travel companies charges these fees because they can and because you have no choice but to pay. American insists it wouldn’t have charged you the fee, yet you had a bill.
You could have appealed this to a Travelocity executive (Travelocity is owned by Expedia, and I list the contacts on my advocacy site: elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia). You can also contact one of American’s executives: elliott.org/company-contacts/american
Travelocity was wrong to make you spend hours resolving this double booking. Common sense should tell them that this was a mistake. Neither American or Travelocity did anything to deserve the money.
My advocacy team contacted Travelocity on your behalf. The company acknowledged that this was a duplicate booking “that sort of confused things a bit.”
“While we don’t know for sure the root cause yet, we are going to refund the customer her $75,” a representative said.