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Passenger rights when flight cancelled from CBS News


Call Kurtis: Flight Cancellation Mistake Cost Family Additional $8,000

Booking trips through a travel agent is supposed to reduce hassles since they’re the expert.

But when a Stockton couple found themselves stuck in a communication breakdown between the airline and their travel agent, they called Kurtis.

We’re talking about a big trip here too.  14 people from Sacramento going to Costa Rica.

This breakdown ended up costing them 8 grand!

Two months before their big Christmas week trip, grandparents Bune and Marvin Primack learned their Costa Rica trip for 14 somehow ended up cancelled.

“We had a fit… hysterical,” said Bune.

The trip, booked through a travel agent, was on United between Sacramento and LA.  Then LACSA between LA and Costa Rica.

But two months before the vacation, United changed the schedule on their return flight from LA to Sacramento.

They say they asked their travel agent to cancel their United flights, keep the rest and they’d fly another airline to and from LA.

“He was very clear that it was just that segment,” said Bune.

But somehow, their entire trip, including the LACSA flights to and from Costa Rica ended up cancelled, too.

“We jumped up and yelled and screamed and got nowhere,” said Marvin.

The travel agent blames United.  United blames the travel agent.

And no one was able to resinstate their itinerary, forcing them to shell out more than $8,000 more to rebook the same exact seats to and from Costa Rica, which were now more expensive.

“Mad… we’re very mad at them, this is not something that couldn’t have been fixed,” said Marvin.

Travel attorney, Adam Anolik, says somebody should’ve been able to fix this for them, before their vacation.

“I’d definitely put some of the blame on the travel agent but I’m really not above putting the blame on United,” said Anolik with Anolik Law Group.

We reached out to both the travel agent and United.

Both said the other made the mistake here.

Neither was willing to budge.

The Primacks didn’t let it ruin their vacation and ended up suing in small claims court.

They say a United rep then called them, saying it was an “internal problem” and “United will take responsibility”….

United refused to confirmed that to us but said it would refund the family $8,170.96, including court fees.

“Might even fly United again, might even use them as an airline,” said Bune.

United says it discourages travel agencies from booking multiple flights on one record.

But the travel agency and the American Society for Travel Agents say it’s “standard practice” to book the trip, the way it was booked.

Before we got involved, United offered the family 14 $100 in travel vouchers.

The family said that’s not good enough.

They have since received their $8,170.96 check from United.

November 7, 2013
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