When airline rules change after booking

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on July 28, 2009

Cash-strapped airlines have been increasingly turning to so-called ancillary revenue to generate income. These lucrative add-ons include fees for things like checked bags, charges for better seats and convenience fees for telephone bookings.

But what happens if you book a ticket and the regulations have changed by the time you take the flight? Will you be liable for a new fee for example on a checked bag or a change in flight date?

In June 2008, US Airways announced another round of policy changes, including cost-cutting moves and money-making fees. Dividend Miles members shouldered some of the duty, facing new fees for issuing award tickets ($25-$50) and for all award ticket changes ($150-$250) after August 6, 2008.

Where a passenger booked a ticket before a change in regulations, US Airways will look at the situations on a case-by-case basis, says US Airways representative Valerie Wunder. The carrier may agree to refund an eventual date-change fee, and redeposit the miles and even waive the fees for that as well.

In one case, “US Airways, in a good faith measure, decided to refund the $150 ticketing change fee given the coincidental timing and circumstances surrounding Jordan’s ticket changes with our changes in policy,” says Wunder.

To avoid trouble, always ask about change policies and other fees, even if you’re a regular customer. Travel companies — and not just airlines — are becoming ever more creative with a la carte pricing, charging fees for “extras” that used to be included in your fare.

Quotes are from http://www.usatoday.com where you can also find more details.

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