When Your Complaint Didn’t Go the Way You Thought It’d Go


Upset Lady calls in and says she had made a change to her flights because the airline had made some changes and she was forced to pay a steep $1500 per ticket in fare difference. Understandable. She says her sister has the exact same itinerary and made the same flight change and didn’t have to pay a thing. And she claimed my colleague “pressured” her to accept the fare difference. So she was expecting us to refund her the difference.

Upset Lady: It’s not fair, my sister didn’t pay a thing and your colleague made it sound like I had to say yes (No…)

Me: That’s certainly concerning. Let me look at the record and the notes.

Upset Lady: And here’s my sister’s flight info. You can see it yourself that she did the exact same thing and I shouldn’t have to pay if she didn’t.

So initially, it looked like the colleague working on Upset Lady’s flight change had make the mistake and failed to get a waiver to change the flights for free. However, it was discovered she rescheduled her return flight to depart three days earlier…which is not allowed per airline involuntary schedule change rules. If the airline makes a change to your schedule that doesn’t work for you, you can only rebook to another flight for free the same day or 1 day before or after the original departure date. If the schedule change from the airline is significant (Change of 3 hours or more depending on the airline), then they can cancel for a full refund.

So I call the airline…and the airline advises that my colleague was correct, she would have to pay fare difference because she changed her flight to return three days earlier.

Airline (AL): She is not due a refund, she would have to pay fare difference.

Me: She says her sister got the exact same thing done for free. Here’s the record locator.

Airline pulls up the record locator…and oh boy, my other colleague that helped Upset Lady’s sister had seriously messed up. She had gone ahead and changed the flights for free with a generic waiver and had failed to reach out to the airline first to get approval before making the change. So our agency will now be required to pay the fare difference to the airline.

Me to UL: I spoke to the airline and they said you were correctly charged the fare difference. There was no error here.

UL: But what about my sister??? I told you, it was free for her! I won’t accept this!

Me: …So here’s the thing, the airline says your sister should have also paid the fare difference as well. I don’t know what occurred on your sister’s call to us but we may be reaching out to her regarding her flights now.

UL: *realization dawning on her that her sister may now be forking over $1500 too because of her* Oh my god…

Me: The colleague that assisted you processed the flight change correctly. I’m sorry but that’s been confirmed by the airline directly.

UL: *in panic mode* Isn’t there anybody I could speak to who could advocate for us? Like a higher up or CEO? I’m a specially shiny client, I’m sure you can do do something for us.

Me: I have done all that I can. I’ve spoken to the airline and a supervisor, there was no error here…on your record.

UL: …I will figure something out and call back.

So moral of the story, the “you did it for them, why not me” argument can royally backfire. I would hate to be her sister right now.


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Customer wants to spend money instead of getting something for free…

You hung up on me on purpose!