While COVID caused a lot of confusion and chaos in the world, there was one positive change that made travel possible: the elimination of airline charge fees.
Penalty for changing travel plans
This should not be taken to mean that you are being deceived. Airlines can make money by changing travel plans. The airline charge a $200 penalty for changing your travel plans.
Last week, United Airlines required me to make some changes to my flight schedule. It was almost a painful lesson. When I first bought my ticket, I purchased what United calls a “bundle,” which combines perks such as seat assignment, checked bag costs, and lounge access into one not-always-discounted payment. Bundling fees are separate from airfare and can easily exceed airline charge fees of $200 per leg.
However, the bundles that I bought couldn’t be transferred when I tried to book United flights online. The booking engine did not even show that I had bought any bundles. To make sure my bundles had been applied to my new flights, I called the call center. I waited until finally, an agent reached me.
She assigned me seats in the lowest section of the economy, but she didn’t acknowledge that I had purchased bundles. I had to remind her, and she had to reseat my seat.
It was almost as if United had forgotten all about my old bundles in hopes that I would forget them and purchase new ones.
Many people feel comfortable paying more for seats. Some people are not aware of what to do in the event that their plans change. These seat assignments might not always work with your new itinerary.
These are statements from major airlines regarding seat assignment purchases for flight changes.
American will reimburse your seat assignment airline charge fees if your flight is canceled or rebooked.
The airline states that a customer can cancel their flight and rebook if they change their itinerary at will.
American Airlines recommends you cancel your flight immediately if your seat assignment airline charge fees are being transferred to your new booking. The refunded fee can be collected, and you can rebook the entire itinerary to purchase new seats.
American Airlines will pay seat assignment airline charge fees for the following circumstances:
- Upgrade from First to Business Class, if desired.
- You can pay more for a second seat on the plane, but you cannot switch to a cheaper or unused seat.
- American cancels your flight but doesn’t offer you a similar seat on a rebooked aircraft.
- American delayed your flight and could not offer you a seat on another flight. You have missed a connection.
- The flight was already full.
Delta’s position regarding refunds for seat assignments is straightforward.
A spokesperson said that customers who have upgraded their seats can transfer them to the next flight if they are available.
Delta will reimburse the difference if the exact same seat and price are not available on the new flight. While you will be seated in exactly the same seat as before on the new flight, Delta will refund your original money allocation.
You can cancel your Delta plans by visiting the website and clicking on the subject.
You can cancel or modify your flight by paying for an Even More Space Seat (JetBlue’s version of an economy upgrade seat) and receiving your money back with the original payment method.
If the airline cancels your flight due to operational disruption, you can get your money back.
You cannot move seats even if the flight isn’t being modified. You will lose the original price if you assign a seat to another person on your flight.
A United spokesperson said that the ancillary bundle could not be transferred automatically if the booking price was different from the new one.
If the customer selects a seat in the new booking, it is an indication that the bundle transfer has occurred. The spokesperson stated that if this happens, the original bundle fee would be refunded.
My experience was different. My situation was completely different. My new flights didn’t receive the bundles. I was given the option to purchase additional bundles. The customer service agent could apply my old bundle to me without charging me more.
You will need to prove that United has paid you for your seat assignments. I recommend you keep the original “eTicket Itinerary and Receipt”. The confirmation numbers for each bundle you have booked will be sent to you. United cannot be used for flight changes. For confirmation numbers, contact United instead.
You can check to see if the bundles you have purchased are still available by looking at your payment receipts in the United section, My Trips.
It doesn’t matter what airline you fly with, it is important to keep track of all ancillary purchases made during your first flight. This will allow you to confirm that your purchases have been transferred to your new plan.
To see if you have a right to a refund, check your credit history with the airline charge fees. There are some refunds that you can receive on your credit card. Other refunds are available in the form of funds that you can use for future purchases.