The Frustration That Is Airline Interaction

How I hate thee, United dot com, for charging me for something and never sending me a receipt. And thee, Alaska dot com, for sending me paper tickets rather than those of an electronic nature.

In December, I attempted to purchase a ticket for a friend on United.com, and once I got to the confirm your purchase page and clicked the button, I never got to another page (I just left the browser open) and never got a receipt mailed to my account. Some days later, I checked my bank account and had received no charge, so I went to Alaska.com and bought tickets for the friend there instead.

At the same time, I purchased tickets for myself to head back to California to visit family over the winter holiday season. While my friend’s tickets were nicely delivered via email, mine, for some reason, had to be sent physically. This means that when I went to the airport to get on my plane I forgot my paper tickets. Of course, they had my reservation in the computer with my name and all that, but it has a little note saying “requires paper tickets.” This means I had to purchase tickets from Vancouver to San Jose on December 22nd, leaving the same day and coming back right before the 1st. Cha-ching.

After getting to San Jose, I used my check card for all purchases, having had a wallet full of Canadian cash, unbeknownst to the fact that the United.com purchase had gone through during that time, which, coupled with the Alaska.com purchases and the extra set of tickets, drove my account into a negative balance.

Every purchase I made in San Jose incurred a $22 overdraft charge, from the $3 coffees to the $20 books. Once I got back to Canada, I cashed a paycheck and transferred about $1000CAD to my US account… bringing it up to -$150USD. Then as more charges went through, it continued to go back down. I transferred another $800CAD to the account, and it was still at -$150USD. I finally transferred another squad of money to the account to bring it above $0.

Then I called the airlines.

United says, “you clicked the button, you got charged. You should have called within 24 hours if you wanted to cancel payment.” After some hassling and supervisor talking, there was a passing remark that some department might be able to give my friend a credit for the amount of the ticket.

Alaska says, “you can file a lost ticket form, and assuming everything checks out we can refund you the price of your original ticket, minus $60.” The original ticket was about $150 less than the second purchase.

In the end, the whole ordeal has cost far, far too much money. I’m not sure what I can do about it all, if anybody has suggestions or connections within these airlines, by all means let me know, I’ll take you out to dinner.

Tags: [tag:airlines], bad service, [tag:frustration]

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