US Airways / Ticket Price, Change Fee, Guaranteed Air Fare Rule
I just had a very disturbing incident with US Airways this week and just needed to get it off my chest. As some of your know, Darrell and I are going to Europe in March. Being less than 2 months away, I figured I better book our trip, since last year (yes, we went to Europe last year too), prices started going up after the New Year.
So on January 17, 2009, I went to the US Airways website and booked our tickets. At the time, I thought I was getting a bargain, and you all know how much I love a good bargain. Well, imagine my surprise when four (4) days later, on January 21, 2009, US Airways drops their price by $125/person -- a lot of money for the same itinerary, same airline, same booking channel. In true stereo typical Asian fashion, I called US Airways and asked for a credit/voucher for the difference. After all, the price changed within 4 days of when I booked it.
This was their reply (which is also apparently their policy):
When a fare qualifies for the Guaranteed Air Fare Rule, a new ticket will be issued and it is considered a changed ticket. All restrictions of a nonrefundable ticket will apply including the appropriate change fee for reissuing the ticket. The Guaranteed Air Fare voucher may be used for purchase of a future ticket.
FYI, the change fee is $150.00. Yes, that is correct. In order to get any money back through the "Guaranteed Air Fare Rule", the price drop has to be more than $150.00, otherwise, US Airways' change fee will absorb any difference you may have gained as part of a price drop. For example, if the price of a ticket dropped by $160, you would not receive a voucher for $160, but rather $10.
Contrast US Airways' "Guaranteed Air Fare Rule" with "Orbitz Price Assurance" with states:
Once you book a flight on Orbitz, we start tracking to see if another customer subsequently books the same flight on Orbitz at a lower price.
If that happens, we'll issue a refund for the difference, between $5 and $250 per traveler. We'll continue tracking until the day you fly. So each time the price drops and another customer subsequently books your same itinerary for a lower fare, your refund amount will increase.
Expect to receive your refund check approximately 30 days after your trip is complete. We'll mail it to the billing address for the credit card used to make the booking. You'll have 90 days from the date the check is issued to cash it.
SIMPLE, EASY, LOGICAL. FYI, US Airways is a part owner of Orbitz. Go figured!
I have been a loyal customer of US Airways for 16 years (even before the merger when they were America West). But after this, do you think I am going to be booking my flights on the US Airways website or even fly with them? Oh HELL-TO-THE-NO!!! I will gladly pay an extra $125 to fly a different carrier.
As far as I'm concern, US Airways just lost this 16 year old relationship over the fact that they let their policy override good, common sense, customer service. This is 2009 and in this economy, you would think that you do whatever you can to retain customer loyalty. Throw this dog a bone. Free cocktail, even a partial credit/voucher, something. But to simply state, "I am sorry I was not able to help you with this issue. Thank you for flying with US."??? I will take my hard earned money to someone who still knows the value of good customer service.
UPDATE 1/23/2009 @ 1:43pm: US Airways dropped the price $164/person. I again called them up and asked for the "Guaranteed Air Fare". This time, I was transfered to the International Reservations desk, where I was told the Change Fee on international travel was $250 and again, the fee would not be waived.
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