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Airline frustration: Mother forced to pay double at airport after son's ticket reservation was canceled

United Airlines reimburses family for the ticket following News 5 inquiry
Travel Frustrations
Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 22:42:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — It's no secret that buying an airline ticket within hours of a scheduled flight could end up costing you more money.

That's exactly what one Colorado Springs mother said she was forced to do after her son's ticket reservation was accidentally canceled at no fault of their own.

After unsuccessfully fighting for a full refund----she contacted News 5 Investigates for help and our team is getting results.

Katy Houston booked a flight on United Airlines for her and her son back in June.

Katy Houston and her father
Katy Houston and her father

Katy's father was terminally ill and the two needed to get to Kentucky to say their goodbyes.

"It was a pretty emotional trip and we needed to get their as soon as possible," Katy said.

Katy bought two tickets to travel from Colorado Springs to Denver and then onto Louisville.

"The night before the trip, I was contacted by United Airlines and was told there would be a delay from the crew that was working the flight from Colorado Springs to Denver," Katy said.

The delay meant she and her son would miss their connecting flight from Denver to Louisville.

"I got on United Chat with an agent and she re-booked us through Chicago," Katy said. "When she did that, I noticed that flight was also delayed."

Katy says she then requested that she and her son be put back on the original reservation and instead of taking the delayed flight leg from Colorado Springs to Denver, they would just drive to DIA and fly direct to Louisville.

When they arrived at the airport, Katy was able to check in for her flight, but her son could not. That's when she walked over to a customer service agent for assistance.

"She told me to go to the red phone which was the reservation line and re-book another ticket," Katy said. "That's what I had to do."

The original ticket price was $408 but since that reservation had been canceled, the new re-booking price at the airport soared to $886.

"It was 2 hours before the flight and I didn't have time to sort through this," Katy said. "I just needed to get my son to Kentucky, so I bought an $886 ticket. I'm just hoping they would do the right thing and give me the $886 back that I shouldn't have had to spend because their agent canceled my son's flight."

United Airlines
United Airlines

News 5 reached out to United Airlines to share Katy's case with them.

A spokesperson reviewed the matter and ultimately issued Katy a refund----making her whole for the extra money she shouldn't have had to pay in the first place.

How to avoid situations like this:

Domestic flights allow passengers to check-in for their flight 24-hours in advance. If you are unable to check-in on your smartphone or computer, this is the first red flag that something may be wrong with your reservation. Contact customer care immediately and do not wait until you arrive at the airport.

With delays and cancellations, flight itineraries can always change. If you initiate the change via telephone, make sure you get a confirmation email of those changes and verify they involve modifications you approved.

If your airline is unable to pull up your reservation after booking a flight, it's important to contact customer care via email or telephone.

While check-in service desk agents may be able to assist at the airport, you may have to wait in line and may not have time to get your issue immediately resolved prior to departure.

You can always check your flight status, gate, and reservation information using your airline's mobile App as well.

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